Written by: Jake Tweedie
Follow him on Twitter: @MLBUKAnalysis1
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW
**Right below is the Nationals Top 20 list simplified. Scroll further down for FULL Present/Future Grades, FV, ETA, and summaries on EACH PLAYER ranked in the system! Tons of Statistics on each player as well! Some player highlights, future outlooks and more enjoy!**
|1||Luis Garcia||SS / 2B||International FA Signing 2016|
|2||Cade Cavalli||RHP||1st Round: 22nd Overall – 2020 Draft|
|3||Jackson Rutledge||RHP||1st Round: 17th Overall – 2019 Draft|
|4||Cole Henry||RHP||2nd Round – 2020 Draft|
|5||Eddy Yean||RHP||International FA Signing 2017|
|6||Mason Denaburg||RHP||1st Round: 27th Overall – 2018 Draft|
|7||Tim Cate||LHP||2nd Round – 2018 Draft|
|8||Andry Lara||RHP||International FA Signing 2019|
|9||Wil Crowe||RHP||2nd Round – 2017 Draft|
|10||Matt Cronin||LHP||4th Round – 2019 Draft|
|11||Drew Mendoza||1B||3rd Round – 2019 Draft|
|12||Jeremy De La Rosa||OF||International FA Signing 2018|
|13||Israel Pineda||C||International FA Signing 2016|
|14||Seth Romero||LHP||1st Round: 25th Overall – 2017 Draft|
|15||Sammy Infante||3B / SS||2C Round – 2020 Draft|
|16||Yasel Antuna||SS / 3B||International FA Signing 2016|
|17||Roismar Quintana||OF||International FA Signing 2019|
|18||Tyler Dyson||RHP||5th Round – 2019 Draft|
|19||Joan Adon||RHP||International FA Signing 2016|
|20||Jackson Cluff||SS||6th Round – 2019 Draft|
1. Luis Garcia – SS / 2B– MLB
20 Years Old – Bat: L – Throw: R – Ht: 6’2 Wt: 211
Signed for $1.3m in 2016, he has quickly risen through the ranks and showcased his hitting ability throughout. Averaging just over .300 in his debut season in rookie ball, he made the step up to A in 2018 and continued to excel. He made 127 appearances in total in 2018, averaging just shy of .300 with 34 XBHs and only 82 SOs. There was a similar progression in 2019, stepping up to AA and averaging .257 with 30 XBHs and 86 SOs in 129 games. This impressive progression saw him start in the Majors in 2020, and he has looked just as comfortable.
His quick left-handed swing allows him to have plus contact with the ability to find all around the field. He stands up tall and allows the ball to come to him before he shows his talent for dominating the strike zone. He has good plate discipline and continues to barrel the ball well, as shown by some of his Major League hits. Although he isn’t a power hitter, his contact allows his raw power to shine through and pick up XBHs regularly. With more development and experience he could tap into that raw power a bit more to increase his overall potential.
Defensively he has an above-average arm, as well as quick, efficient hands from the middle infield that allow him to play either 2B or SS. His bat may play up more for a 2B position but he has the instincts and projection to make it his own in the long-term.
An exciting player with plenty of potential, he is easily the #1 after Kieboom graduated not long ago. He will be the next one to graduate the list, with just a few more ABs required.
2. Cade Cavalli – RHP – Drafted 2020
22 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’4 Wt: 226 – ETA: 2024
No Professional Stats
The 2020 first-round pick for the Nationals has had his troubles with injuries, however, when he is fit he has the ability to be a solid pitcher. He is not renowned for his strikeouts but seems to have developed his pitches significantly at the Alternate Site. His fastball has gained some velocity and his breaking balls have developed some more movement. It will be interesting to see how this is replicated in-game situations but definitely promising signs.
His fastball sits between 95-97mph, touching 99mph at the Alternate Site. It has riding action and he uses his large frame to be aggressive with it. This has seen some improvements with his velocity since being drafted.
His secondary pitches include a curveball, a slider, and a changeup. His curveball sits in the low-80s with power and depth. It has started to show more deception since he was drafted, as well as being sequenced better with his heater. His slider is more upper-80s which has the potential to have batters swinging and missing. His changeup is another developing pitch, with more emphasis on its feel and being more productive with it.
Since he was drafted by the Nationals he has significantly improved his stuff and although there is no season in 2020, it has been the perfect development for him. He is learning to sequence his pitches better and working on increasing velocity and control over his secondary pitches. There was a lack of command and deception in college ball but he seems to have worked on this and this bodes well for him in the future.
3. Jackson Rutledge – RHP – Hagerstown Suns (A)
21 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’8 Wt: 250 – ETA: 2022
After excelling in his sophomore campaign, he emerged as one of the best college prospects with stats of 134/30 K/BB in 82.2 innings, and an ERA of 0.87. He was signed slightly below slot before making 10 appearances in his debut season, being promoted twice in that time. Hagerstown is where he showcased his stuff, picking up 31 SOs in 27.1 innings, with a 2-0 record and an ERA of 2.30.
His fastball sits between 95-98mph, topping out at 99mph. There is certainly the potential to reach triple digits as he develops due to his incredible frame. He has the ability to create difficult angles with his pitches, sinking towards the bottom of the zone at times, and riding towards the top at others. There is more emphasis on velocity than movement.
His secondary pitches include a curveball, a slider, and a changeup. His curveball sits in the low-80s but has plenty of 12-6 downer action. His slider is more upper-80s with plenty of life down in the zone. It has late bite and plenty of depth. And is a true wipe out pitch at the next level. His changeup is being developed, but still shows a league average pitch so it is well behind his other pitches, but a higher volume of use at the Alternate Site will allow it to come back stronger in 2021.
He will need to work on his repeatability, as well as using his frame to his advantage on a consistent basis. The work he is putting in on his weaker pitches will allow him to have better command and control and will aid their development. Although there is not much movement on the mound in terms of his feet or body, he has a low maintenance operation and should be able to gain a better understanding of his pitches in the future.
4. Cole Henry – RHP – Drafted 2020
21 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’4 Wt: 211 – ETA: 2024
No Professional Stats
Signed for $2m and well above slot, this stopped him from heading back to LSU. He was regarded as their best starter in freshman year as he recorded an ERA of 3.39 with 72/18 K/BB in 58.1 innings in 2019 before starting the 2020 season with an ERA of just 1.89 and 23/6 in 19 innings. His 2020 campaign helped him earn a second-round pick.
His fastball sits between 90-96mph, with good life that can either ride or sink dependent on what he wants to do with it. It can drop low in the zone or can stay high and catch hitters looking. He is fairly effective with both but needs work to stay away from the barrel of the bat.
His secondary pitches include a curveball and a changeup. His curveball sits mid-70s with downer action that gets regular swings and misses. It has the potential to be a nasty pitch if commanded well enough. His changeup is more mid-80s and is a promising pitch that has depth and room for improvement.
His action has certainly smoothed out as he has progressed. He shows more ability to repeat his action despite the odd occasion where he loses his slot. There is the ability to pick up strikes, and he shows his potential at being a starter in the future. His size and 2 main pitches make him a promising starter, with durability and a fresh arm heading into his first year in pro ball.
5. Eddy Yean – RHP – Auburn Doubledays (A Short)
19 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’1 Wt: 180 – ETA: 2023
Signed for a $100k bonus out of the Dominican Republic, Yean started off at rookie ball, where he didn’t really have a chance to show his abilities fully. He had mixed results with not enough SOs and just allowed 1 HR. His 2019 started much better, with 36 SOs and just 12 walks in just 35.1 innings before a promotion to A Short for the final couple games of the season. He showed his ability to be controlled at pro ball, with an ERA of just 2.45, and done this with a reduced amount of SOs.
His fastball sits between 91-94mph, topping out at 96mph. His explosive FB has late life and angle. He showed progression with his velocity and should continue to get better as he physically develops.
His secondary pitches include a slider and a changeup. His slider sits mid-80s with depth on the pitch and it works well alongside his FB. It is set up nicely based on his velocity. His changeup is a promising pitch that needs more work to be of real use. This will come with time and experience.
He has the athleticism and physique to do well. There will be a test of his durability in a proper season, and he will need his action to be more refined for this, but the potential is there.
6. Mason Denaburg – RHP – GCL Nationals (ROK)
21 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’4 Wt: 195 – ETA: 2023
Signed $500k above slot, Denaburg has struggled with injuries and also had minor surgery in the fall to clean up his right shoulder. He wasn’t overly productive in his first season in rookie ball, making just 7 appearances, with 19 SOs in 20.1 innings. There’s a lot to like about his stuff but it’s more a battle of staying fit and healthy than seeing what he can produce.
His fastball sits between 93-95mph, topping out at 97mph when he is healthy. However, he was slightly down on these numbers in 2019 so will be interesting to see if he can reach these figures again or whether he will have to deal with lower velocities moving forward. His pitch has good life down in the zone when it is at its best.
His secondary pitches include a slider and a changeup. His slider sits in the upper-70s with depth and finish. It has high spin rates and comes down and away from hitters. His changeup has started to have been developed but may be more emphasized post-surgery and into his rehabilitation to work on his action before adding in the velocity.
Despite his injury record, he is athletic and has a good shape that allows him to have average control at the least. Injuries have hampered his development and it will be interesting to see his potential durability and whether his numbers can match, in terms of velocity. He seems to be heading in the right track and has said he felt better after surgery.
7. Tim Cate – LHP – Potomac Nationals (A Adv)
22 Years Old – Bat: L – Throw: L – Ht: 6’0 Wt: 185 – ETA: 2022
He turned in an impressive first full season in pro ball despite concerns about his frame and his previous Tommy John Surgery. He didn’t start off great in his 2018 season post being drafted, with an ERA of 5.02 and a 2-6 record in just 13 appearances. His 45 SOs in 52 innings also wasn’t a great return but he bounced back in his first full season with a better SO rate and more dominant appearances that saw him finish first in qualified Nationals pitchers in SOs and starts, as well as 2nd in ERA and WHIP. Although he picked up more SOs and gave up fewer hits in A ball, his stuff improved significantly in A Adv.
His fastball sits between 88-91mph, topping out at 93mph. Although not the quickest due to his size and frame, he controls his pitch well and can pitch to both sides of the plate effectively. However, his Fastball has shown a tendency to have higher velo out of the pen.
His secondary pitches include a curveball and a changeup. His curveball is his standout pitch with 12-6 downer action with plenty of tilt. He has command over this pitch and uses it in all counts. It works well to encourage swings and misses but also accounts for his decent GB rate. His changeup is potentially average but with more exposure and experience he should be able to make this better. It will be more dependent on against RHH, so there was more reliability on it in 2019, and it looked better than it previously had done.
Although there is the obvious improvement to his FB velocity, his overall command and control are good and this was shown with impressive numbers in 2019. Working within the Alternate Site should allow his pitches to develop further. If he can continue to throw all his pitches with a smoother action and emphasize his arm strength more then he could develop into a nice pitcher.
8. Andry Lara – RHP – DSL Nationals (ROK)
17 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’4 Wt: 180 – ETA: 2025
No Professional Stats
Signed for $1.25m, the young Venezuelan provides plenty of promise and upside with his tall frame and projection. He will need time to develop but with his advanced physicality, it should allow him to become a solid pitcher.
His fastball sits between 92-94mph, topping out at 95mph. He can certainly add to this velocity as he bulks up and continues to develop physically. He has a hard breaking ball that is distinguished as a curveball. Although it can be quite slurvy as it has decent shape, with swing and miss potential. His 3rd pitch is a promising changeup with sinking action. There is some deception with his pitches and he creates this with an effortless delivery. He can be aggressive with his pitching but will need to refine this as he develops to harness his command and control.
9. Wil Crowe – RHP – MLB
26 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’2 Wt: 228
After having Tommy John Surgery in 2016, Crowe worked hard to come back and make himself a second-round pick for the Nationals. His first full season in pro ball saw him go 11-0 with A Adv before a step up to AA resulted in an ERA of 6.16 and just 15 SOs in 26.1 innings. He did, however, win Carolina League Pitcher of the Year for his early seasons effort and an ERA of 2.69 in A Adv. In 2019 he was promoted to AAA, where, although he struggled, he showed continued progression with his stuff. There has been a handful of appearances in the Majors in 2020.
His fastball sits between 92-94mph, topping out at 96mph. He controls this pitch well as well as having the ability to produce high spin rates. He hasn’t really shown big velocities in the Majors but has had the potential to cause hitters problems with his movement. There is a mix-up with his sinker pitch to change the hitters’ line.
His secondary pitches include a curveball, a slider, and a changeup. His curveball is in the low-80s and has the potential due to its movement and big break away from his FB velocity. His slider sits around 84mph and is an average pitch. His changeup plays well off his FB with its mid-80s velocity with good movement.
A durable pitcher who has continued to excel in terms of innings pitched. He has good control and although he doesn’t have big command, this control leads to success with his breaking balls especially. There is the potential that he is hit around often in the Majors but if he can refine his approach slightly he could cause hitters more issues.
10. Matt Cronin – LHP – Hagerstown Suns (A)
22 Years Old – Bat: L – Throw: L – Ht: 6’2 Wt: 195 – ETA: 2022
Drafted in the fourth round in 2019, the ready-made reliever made waves in Arkansas after having 14 saves in 2018, and a further 12 saves before he was drafted. He pitched to perfection in A ball, with an ERA of just 0.82 and 41 SOs in 22 innings. There is every possibility he could be fast-tracked to the Majors as a key part of the bullpen.
His fastball sits between 93-95mph, topping out at 97mph. It has great ride in the strike zone and he has been working on improving his spin rates. It is the main pitch alongside his CB and there is the potential for much more velocity.
His secondary pitches include a curveball and a changeup. His curveball sits mid-70s with nice depth. It is more of a hammer curveball and another pitch being heavily focused on. His changeup is not regularly used and more of a 3rd pitch, rather than a pitch that will cause problems.
Although all 3 of his pitches could do with improvement, especially if he wants to make that next step, he has the ability to strikeout hitters with decent action and above arm slot that causes depth. He can be slightly out of control and this was seen by allowing 11 walks in just 22 innings last year. The accuracy of his pitches is key as he moves forward and hopefully towards the Majors. A nice bullpen arm with big potential.
11. Drew Mendoza – 1B – Hagerstown Suns (A)
22 Years Old – Bat: L – Throw: R – Ht: 6’5 Wt: 230 – ETA: 2023
Signed above slot in the 2019 Draft, he went straight into A ball, where he averaged .264 with 16 XBHs and 25 RBIs in 55 appearances. He showed off some of his power potential but what was impressive was his contact with the ball. There is still plenty of development left but it was a good start to pro ball and Nationals were that excited about him they added him to the 60-man roster in August.
The big 1B has a strong solid stance and waits for the ball before he starts his swing. He has a medium kick and really shifts his body forward to make contact with the ball. He has plenty of raw power, but there is more emphasis to refine his approach to strikeout less in order to showcase this. There is a tendency to not be as aggressive early in the counts, which could be worked on to see him attack pitchers more as he has the leverage with his swing to hit XBHs when he times it right.
Defensively he has an above-average arm to make plays from 3B but that is dependent on where he is put moving forward. He spent the majority of 2019 at 1B, where his bat plays up well and he can utilize his size and frame more effectively. Although there were a couple of errors, his .989 fielding percentage shows his ability to adjust to what is needed for the team.
An interesting prospect with plenty of upside, he just needs to continue to develop at the rate he is and use the experience of being in the 60-man pool to his advantage moving forward.
12. Jeremy De La Rosa – OF – GCL Nationals (ROK)
18 Years Old – Bat: L – Throw: L – Ht: 5’11 Wt: 160 – ETA: 2024
Signed for $300k, the Dominican outfielder started his pro career in the Gulf Coast League in 2019. Although he only hit .232, he showed some ability at the plate that led to 5 XBHs, including 2 HRs and 3 SBs. A very young player with plenty of projection both physically and at the plate. He seems in control of his swing and has that advanced knowledge of how to utilize it.
He has the ability to make solid contact with the ball despite his stance being slightly too wide and too much emphasis on his back leg. This can sometimes lead to him getting caught out by being ahead of the ball, but he will gain experience of pitches and learn to read them better as he develops. If he can refine his stance slightly then he won’t get caught behind the ball and it will also allow him to showcase his physical projection with a more powerful swing. His bat speed and the torque he generates through his hands and hips should allow for his untapped power to shine through.
Defensively he has an average arm but this should develop as he gets stronger. He has the ability to play CF well, but if his bat plays up as it should, and his physical projection continues, then it could see him switch to a corner role.
A young player with plenty of development left, he has the upside to become a decent player for the Nationals down the line. The team will look at the success of Robles and Soto and try to replicate this success with De La Rosa. He will need time and patience but one to watch out for.
13. Israel Pineda – C – Hagerstown Suns (A)
20 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 5’11 Wt: 190 – ETA: 2023
|30 / 45||45 / 50||20 / 45||30 / 20||60 / 60||40 / 50||40|
Signed for a $450k bonus, the Venezuelan catcher spent his first season at rookie ball, before a quick step up to A Short in 2018 due to his advanced bat and glove. He responded well to the task and hit 11 XBHs and struck out just 35 times in 46 appearances. His season, however, ended prematurely due to a broken left hamate bone but he did manage to earn New York-Penn League All-Star Honors before this happened. His 2019 season saw him take the next step up into A ball, where he hit .217 and struck out 102 times in 101 appearances. This is a far cry from where he was at pre-injury, thus showing it hampered him slightly, and playing against better pitchers at just 19 was a bit too much for him. He did manage to show late improvements towards the end of the season, having an average of .270 in August and 2 HRs, showing some adaptation to the level.
His contact skills when he has momentum are good. He can be slightly low on his stance but he kicks his front leg up well to then drive through the ball. There is a slight tendency to hit towards the pull side, but he has shown previously he can hit around the field. There seemed to be more emphasis on power than contact at A ball, which resulted in more SOs, but he can generate enough leverage and contact to not strikeout as often if he worked on his approach slightly.
His average power comes from his legs and his ability to make solid contact. He isn’t a big HR hitter but had more in 2019 than his previous 2 seasons combined. This occurred more to the pull side but if he opened up his body a bit more he could do this around the field again.
Defensively he has a plus arm that saw him pick off 43% of base runners in his 3 seasons so far. Although he had 26 passed balls in 2019, he has the ability to catch and throw quickly and effectively. He will need more work to be a more complete catcher but he is still young and has plenty of time to develop. There is the potential to be an everyday catcher down the line in the Majors but he will need to adapt to all situations and work on his weaknesses behind the plate.
14. Seth Romero – LHP – MLB
24 Years Old – Bat: L – Throw: L – Ht: 6’3 Wt: 240
No 2019 Stats due to being shut down – TJ Surgery
A player with plenty of upside, his off-field issues have caused his development to stagnate slightly. He signed for $2.8m in the 2017 Draft but was involved in an incident that had him sent home from camp. He only made 14 appearances in 2017 and 2018 combined before being shut down in the 2019 season due to Tommy John Surgery. His return to fall instructional league gave the Nationals a glimpse of what he can do and he will be hoping for a fit and healthy 2021 to showcase his full potential, despite a handful of appearances in the Majors in 2020.
His fastball sits in the low-90s. He originally had more velocity but health issues seem to have reduced this slightly. He was clocking between 93-95mph in the instructional league.
His secondary pitches include a slider and a changeup. His slider is pretty sharp in the low-80s with more emphasis on strikes with this pitch. Showed his ability in the Majors with a few strikeouts with his slider. His changeup has developed well post-surgery with some movement in the low-80s. He has developed to use against LHH as well as RHH.
His command has been average despite his lower velocity. It may allow him to be more controlled and if he can develop this into real command then he could be a useful bullpen arm that comes out in short bursts.
15. Sammy Infante – 3B / SS – Drafted 2020
19 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’1 Wt: 185 – ETA: 2024
No Professional Stats
Signed for $1m and above slot, Infante has stood out at different events and become the latest player to come out of Monsignor Edward Pace High School. He doesn’t possess a standout tool but he is steady across the board nonetheless.
He has a nice stance with plenty of room to have a big kick before shifting his body through the ball. He tries to get under the ball but has the ability to line drive around the field and make hard contact. His swing seems more controlled and this combined with his quick bat speed shows real hitting promise. There is the potential to grow his strength and lead to more XBHs.
Defensively he has a strong arm and a decent throw across the diamond. He has quick hands but lacks the agility and mobility to stick to 3B. His bat also doesn’t play up enough so he may need to make it work at SS moving forward. Likely seeing that move to 3B the glove will grade 55 there.
16. Yasel Antuna – SS / 3B – GCL Nationals (ROK)
20 Years Old – Bat: S – Throw: R – Ht: 6’0 Wt: 170 – ETA: 2023
Signed for a franchise-record for an international amateur at $3.9m, he showcased his talents in his first season at rookie ball. He hit .301 with 12 XBHs and just 29 SOs in 48 appearances. A promotion to A ball in 2018 saw a struggle to replicate form, averaging just .220 with 79 SOs in 87 appearances before Tommy John Surgery brought a premature end to his season. He did get back to make 3 appearances back in rookie ball in 2019 but there will be heavy emphasis to stay healthy in 2020 and come back stronger next season.
His wide stance and effortless swing allow him to make nice contact with the ball. He can generate hard contact from the left side and hits to the pull side effectively. There isn’t as much effectiveness from the right side as his contact isn’t as smooth and he can’t generate a decent barrel. Although he is not a big HR hitter, all 7 HRs he has hit has come from that left side. There is good raw power but it needs to be replicated in match situations and he needs to adjust his batting swing from the right to improve as a switch-hitter.
Defensively he has an above-average arm but not enough to stick at shortstop long-term due to his throwing action. There is some uncertainty on his defensive home because of this as he lacks the profile to be a SS and he will need his bat to develop to be a 2B.
There are a few issues that need ironing out before he can come close to the Majors roster but with time and development, he may find a defensive home and work on his overall offensive game.
17. Roismar Quintana – OF – Signed 2020
17 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’1 Wt: 175 – ETA: 2024
No Professional Stats
Signed for an $820k bonus in 2019, the young Venezuelan was signed alongside Andry Lara and participated in the organization’s fall instructional league. He has plenty of potential and will be interesting to see where he debuts in 2021.
He can drive the ball to all sides of the field with his clean swing and nice approach. If he targets to hit for average as well as power he could prove fruitful but will need development and exposure to show what he can do. There is the potential for decent strength due to his frame and physicality.
Defensively he has an average arm that suits the outfield role he has for now, there is the possibility of moving to corner outfielder as he develops. His arm allows him to play that position and hopefully, his bat follows suit.
18. Joan Adon – RHP – Hagerstown Suns (A)
22 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’2 Wt: 185 – ETA: 2023
Signed for $50k, the Dominican started his pro career out of the bullpen, pitching 58.2 innings and picking up 71 SOs in 2017 and 2018. This strikeout ability saw him moved to a starter role in 2019, where he had mixed results. His overall ERA of 3.86 was good but only after an August that saw him allow an ERA of just 1.93. His SO rate significantly reduced but he needs to develop his secondary pitches more to be a more refined starter.
His fastball sits between 92-96mph, topping out at 98mph. The main reason why he was initially used out of the bullpen, but he showed maturity with this pitch to maintain velocity throughout starts and deeper into innings. It has some late life.
His secondary pitches include a slider and a changeup. His slider sits mid-80s with cutter action. It certainly improves the more regularly he uses it. His changeup is a developing pitch that averaged mid-80s, with tops of 87mph last year. He will need to distinguish more between his FB and CH to be more effective as a starter.
He has the raw stuff to be an effective starter but will need to improve his secondary pitches to have a real chance. His FB/SL combo works well but his CH lacks real conviction. What does work in his favor is his repeatable delivery, athletic operation, and medium effort despite his slight lack of control of his pitches.
19. Tyler Dyson – RHP – Auburn Doubledays (A Short)
22 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – Ht: 6’3 Wt: 210 – ETA: 2023
Although he was signed over slot, he was initially projected to be drafted much higher in the 2019 Draft. There were some issues in his Junior year that saw him moved from a starter spot to a reliever. Despite this, he showed impressive stuff and worked well coming out of the bullpen. He spent a good chunk of the 2019 season in A Short and did well. His ERA of 1.14 was impressive, especially coming back into that starter role, but he did only pick up 14 SOs in 31.2 innings.
His fastball sits in the mid-90s. It lacks some movement and can be hit if it misses its target. There is the potential to catch hitters out and can be a big pitch if it’s going well with his clean action and repeatable delivery.
His secondary pitches include a slider and a changeup. His slider regressing was one of the main reasons his stock fell in 2019. It has the ability to be a power-plus pitch but lacks consistency and location. His changeup seems to have started to show some improvements as he gains more of a feel for it. There needs to be work on control but it is getting there.
His lack of SOs last season showed a lack of real command. He did well keeping his ERA low and getting outs but there wasn’t enough with his pitches to cause real problems. His stuff may be better suited for a reliever role as he can use his arsenal in short bursts and there doesn’t seem enough there to be a long-term starter. There is the ability to reduce walks and stay around the zone but his command needs to come close to his control to make a difference. Momentum also seems to be a big thing for him, as when he gets in a jam it is hard for him to get back out of it.
20. Jackson Cluff – SS – Hagerstown Suns (A)
23 Years Old – Bat: L – Throw: R – Ht: 6’0 Wt: 185 – ETA: 2023
Despite being signed in the 6th round, he was sent straight to A ball after an explosive season with BYU. His raw ability saw him average .229 with 18 XBHs and 11 SBs. There is plenty to like about him and he will be looking to continue his development in 2021.
Although his hitting tools are slightly behind his defensive capabilities, he has been picking up lots of ABs against quality pitchers at the Alternate Site. His quick bat speed and smooth action allow him to make decent contact with the ball. There is a concern about how often he was struck out but if he can work on his discipline alongside tapping into his low key raw power then it would make him a more well-rounded prospect. He is not the biggest of guys but when he makes decent contact he can find the gap with line drives rather than aiming for over the fences. Once on base, he shows good instincts to get out of the box well and gives him a chance to steal bases despite his above-average speed.
Defensively he has an above-average arm that allows him to make plays within the infield. He has good range and instincts, as well as being a confident fielder that plays the middle infield with ease. His arm is utilized well and combines with his natural instincts and ability to make him a dangerous defender.
With more work, he could be an exciting prospect for the future but he is fairly young and not exposed as much as others of similar ages.
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