Washington Nationals Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects

Washington Nationals Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

From 2012-2019, the Washington Nationals were one of the most successful organizations in Major League Baseball. The Nationals’ competitive window was powered by a farm system that graduated the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Juan Soto, & many other impact talents. Mike Rizzo & Co converted picking at the top of the draft into multiple superstar talents and rode that to a World Series title in 2019. While the Nationals were putting all their chips in on a World Series title, they traded a lot of top prospects, leaving their farm system bare by the time 2020 came around. That combined with outdated player development & player evaluation processes, the Nationals had some catching up to do.

After multiple years of picking at the top of the draft, along with the trade of a generational superstar in Juan Soto, the Nationals’ farm system is heading back in a positive direction. This farm system is very top-heavy, as has always been the theme with Mike Rizzo-led farm systems, with a steep drop-off outside of the top-tier players. There may not be many diamonds in the rough from this farm system, but the top features multiple future elite talents.

Head over to the Pitcher List dynasty page to check out the other prospect rankings already published.

Top Nationals Prospects

The Top Tier

1) Dylan Crews– OF, 21 YO

2023 MiLB Stats (Rk/A/AA): .292/.377/.467/5 HRs/4 SBs/23.9 K%/8.8 BB%

One of the best pure hitters the draft has seen in recent memory, Crews immediately put himself at the top of the Nationals’ prospect list after being taken second overall in the 2023 Draft. Crews’ best tool is his ability to hit, which led to a career .380 avg over three seasons in the SEC. He also features plus power that led to impressive power numbers during his time in Baton Rogue. Crews does not come without some question marks though. After dominating Single-A competition in 14 games (.355/.423/.645), the Double-A competition seemed to be too much for him. He proceeded to hit .208/.318/.278 in 20 games for Harrisburg. Through the spring college season, there were legit concerns about Crews approach, leading to a more than desirable groundball rate, and an oppo-focused approach limiting his game power.

During his Junior season at LSU, his power numbers went in the wrong direction, but that was masked by a career-high .426 avg against the top competition in college baseball in the SEC. Crews seemed to intentionally sacrifice some power to decrease his swing and miss during the 2023 season. He struck out 56 times in 62 games in 2022, dropping that total to 46 in 71 games in 2023. All of this considered, Crews featured an absurd HardHit%, and if he can translate that elite impact into balls in the air, he will possess one of the best hit/power combos in all of baseball. Are the Double-A struggles just from fatigue after a long college season or a sign of those question marks being magnified? 2024 will determine that, but until then Crews’ combination of hit and power keeps him in the elite territory.


2) James Wood– OF, 21 YO

2023 Stats (A+/AA) :.262/.353/.520/26 HRs/18 SBs/31.5 K%/11.8 BB%

Arguably the prospect with the highest ceiling in all of baseball, James Wood has an impressive set of tools. Featuring both plus power and speed, it is easy to dream of the potential fantasy impact of Woods. After a phenomenal first half with the Padres, he was included in the blockbuster trade that sent Juan Soto from the Nationals to the Padres during the 2022 trade deadline. Woods was the name several in the industry circled as the crown jewel of the deal for the Nats, and Woods has delivered.

During the 2023 season he did not put up video game numbers, but the ability to slug .580 at a notorious graveyard, High-A Wilmington, is an impressive feat. Also after being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg, showcasing the ability to flash consistent power to the tune of 19 2Bs and 18 HRs is a good sign for his power translating to the higher levels of pitching. The reality is that Woods will most likely never hit .300 in a season, or potentially even close to it, but that is not where his value will come from. The ability to have an advanced approach at the plate, while possessing impressive in-game power and speed will lead to a ton of value in his OBP, HR, and SB totals.


3) Yohandy Morales– 1B/3B, 22 YO

2023 Stats (Rk/A/A+/AA):.349/.423/.494/0 HRs/0 SBs/19.0 K%/10.1 BB%

The industry concerns surrounding Yohandy Morales centered around his ability to hit for average with wood. There was never a question about his ability to hit for power after hitting 49 home runs and slugging .635 in his career at the University of Miami. Well, Morales responded to those concerns by hitting zero home runs in his debut pro season, all while hitting .349 across four levels. For some evaluators that may be cause for concern, but for anyone who has seen Morales play, there should be zero questions about his ability to hit for power.

Standing at 6-4, 225 lbs, built more like a defensive end than a baseball player, Yohandy consistently barrels the ball in the air. The ability to show up in pro ball and hit .349 with only a 19.0 K%, tells me that he has the capabilities to hit for average at the professional level, and it is only a matter of time before the power arrives. Morales’ college track record has shown that his ability to impact the baseball will produce some of the more impressive power numbers, and if you combine that with an improved hit tool and swing-and-miss rate? It’s easy to see an impact every day big leaguer.


4) Brady House– 3B, 20 YO

2023 Stats:.312/.365/.497/12 HRs/9 SBs/23.8 K%/7.0 BB%

When I evaluate the future power of hitters, I live and die by the phrase “Doubles power becomes home run power with age.” It’s the Corey Seager theory. A hitter who can show doubles power showcases present ability to hit the ball consistently hard in the air, which we all know is the most important part of hitting home runs in the big leagues. Sometimes, like in House’s case, they are still 20 YO, meaning they are not physically mature enough to hit the ball consistently over the fence.

During the 2023 season, House hit 21 2B in 88 total games. As he continues to mature physically, as well as mature in his approach as a hitter, some of those 2Bs will turn into HRs, which immediately increases House’s ceiling. There are definitely concerns about his ability to draw walks with a 7.0 BB%, which certainly impacts his ceiling, but as a career .300 hitter in the MiLB combined with projectable power, it is easy to see the potential impact House possesses. If he continues to develop, it is easy to dream on 25-30 HR potential with the ability to hit for a high average.


5) Elijah Green– OF, 20 YO

2023 MiLB Stats (Rk/A): .218/.336/.327/5 HRs/31 SBs/41.6 K%/14.4 BB%

When people drool over a prospect’s ceiling, Elijah Green is the player they think of. The tools Green possesses were evident through his time at IMG, leading to his being drafted fifth overall by the Nats in 2022. Green possesses plus tools in power, speed, defense, and arm, but the tool that will ultimately limit his potential impact is a below-average hit tool.

Green’s biggest kryptonite is his inability to make consistent contact. During the 2023 season, he had a 41.6 K% while only slugging .327 over a full season. Strikeout rates only tend to get worse as players progress through the minor leagues. With all of this considered, why does Green still fall into the top tier of Nationals prospects? Simply because if I am going to die on the hill of a prospect for my dynasty roster, I am going to die on the hill of potential. Sure you might end up dropping him when he struggles to make it past Double-A, but what if he develops? There are very few prospects in baseball with the potential impact of Green, so that keeps him in the top tier for me.


6) Cade Cavalli– SP, 25 YO

2023 MiLB Stats: Missed 2023 Season due to Tommy John

After the Nationals drafted Cavalli in the first round of the 2020 draft out of the University of Oklahoma, there was instantly a lot of buzz surrounding his potential through his first pro season in 2021. Always possessing really good stuff, featuring a fastball that sits in the upper 90s, touching 100, and three other above-average to plus secondary offerings, there was never a question about Cavalli’s repertoire. But there were significant questions about his ability to throw strikes. During that 2021 season, Cavalli pitched to a 3.58 ERA with a whopping 175 K’s in 123.1 IP across three levels, finishing the year at Triple-A Rochester. The walks were still a concern with 60 BB total through those 123.1 IP, but entering the 2022 season, he made progress only walking 41 in 101.1 total IP.

The main concern with Cavalli is his ability to stay healthy. He made his major league debut during that 2022 season, but shortly after was diagnosed with a shoulder inflammation leading him to be shut down for the rest of the 2022 season. Then this Spring, he was diagnosed with a UCL sprain, leading to Tommy John surgery ending his chances of returning for the 2023 season. Cavalli will be in the Nationals plans for the 2024 season, but availability is the best ability. It will be interesting to see how many innings he is able to throw in 2024, but the stuff shows the signs of a legit mid-rotation arm with the capabilities of being at the top of a rotation.


Prospects Dynasty Managers Should Know

7) Daylen Lile– OF, 21 YO

2023 Stats (A/A+): .269/.355/.452/9 HRs/23 SBs/21.3 K%/11.2 BB%

In a system stocked with big name OF prospects, Lile gets easily forgotten about. But for all the big names/potential from the other OF prospects, Lile has an impressive skill set as well. He is more hit over power, but his power showed up this year with 27 2B!!! As a 21 YO, we can assume that those 2B will turn into HR production over time. Also getting out of the graveyard that is High-A Wilmington, where his numbers plummeted over the last 40 games of the ’23 season, should paint a better picture of the player Lile can be. If the power continues to develop, he is going to push for a spot in the Nationals’ future starting OF, even with names like Crews, Wood, & Green in the same system.


8) Travis Sykora– SP, 19 YO

2023 MiLB Stats: Did not pitch during the 2023 Season

If we are going to die on a hill with a prospect, we are going to die on potential! Travis Sykora featured the best fastball in the 2023 high school class, sitting in the upper 90s and reaching 101 consistently. He fell to the third round in the draft, where the Nationals who never shy away from big, strong, right handed flame throwers, were there to pick him up for an over-slot deal. He features three above-average pitches with a slider and splitter on top of the big fastball. For a larger pitcher, he does a good job of repeating his mechanics, which allows him to throw strikes at a high clip. Sykora could see his stock rise quickly in 2024 if he steps on the mound and dominates hitters with his plus stuff.


9) Robert Hassell III– OF, 22 YO

2023 Stats (A+/AA): .221/.324/.321/9 HRs/15 SBs/29.5 K%/12.5 BB%

Robert Hassell received a lot of love as a hit-over-power prospect, when the industry was infatuated with the development tracks of hit-first prospects, and their power development over time. Hassell showcased some power potential with the Padres hitting 21 home runs in a season and a half, but since coming to Washington in the Juan Soto trade his power numbers and average have plummeted. He has not hit above .225 and has 11 total home runs with the Nats. Hassell is a fascinating buy-low candidate because of what we have seen in the past and his impact with his legs, but do the Nationals have the player development chops to turn his potential into production? Their track record does not instill hope.


10) Cristhian Vaquero– OF, 19 YO

2023 MiLB Stats (Rk/A): .252/.383/.359/2 HRs/22 SBs/20.4 K%/15.8 BB%

Vaquero did not light the world on fire during the 2023 season, but when looking at his stat line there is a lot of potential to dream on. Already featuring double-plus speed, he proceeded to steal 22 bags in just 58 games. On top of that walking at a 15.8% clip, while only striking out at a 20.4% clip, shows an advanced approach beyond his age. The issues for Vaquero come with the development of his power. He produces above-average impact to the baseball, just too many groundballs. The increased power should come with increased age and physical maturity, but Vaquero has already showcased an advanced approach and the ability to make an impact with his legs at a young age.


11) DJ Herz– SP, 23 YO

2023 Stats: 94.1 IP/3.43 ERA/32.4 K%/13.9 BB%

Herz had a phenomenal 2023 season punching out 133 in 94.1 IP between the Cubs and Nationals organizations. His FB sits more in the low 90s, but plays up to his low release height, where he is able to pair that with an average SL and a plus CH. There are definitely concerns with his control, but that is heading in the right direction decreasing his BB totals from 70 in 95.1 IP in 2022 to 57 in 94.1 IP in 2023. Herz features a repertoire that would play up in the bullpen, but if he continues to progress in strike-throwing, the punchout totals show the stuff will play as a starter.


12) Jarlin Susana– SP, 19 YO

2023 Stats: 63.0 IP/5.14 ERA/21.8 K%/14.1 BB%

Jarlin Susana was a hot name as the final piece of the Juan Soto trade. In 29.1 IP with the Padres Rk team, Susana dominated hitters with a 2.45 ERA and 44 punchouts all at 18 YO. It was a struggle this season with the Nationals with ERA, K%, and BB% all heading in the wrong direction. Is this a sign of growing pains for a young pitcher or is the Nationals’ player development to blame for the regression? 2024 will be a huge deciding factor for the potential impact of Susana as a starting pitcher.


13) Andrew Pinckney– OF, 23 YO

2023 MiLB Stats (Rk/A/A+/AA): .321/.415/.457/4 HR/11 SB/20.2 K%/10.1 BB%

Andrew Pinckney stands out the instant you watch him play. Coming from the University of Alabama, he could be mistaken for a Crimson Tide safety, physically. That shows in his tools with above-average power, and plus speed. When looking at his college stats, he has progressed each and every year, finishing with 2nd-team All-SEC honors in 2023. He continued to progress in his professional debut, showing a better knack for average and contact than many expected. Pinckney features tools to be a solid power/speed combo to be a productive player.


14) Trey Lipscomb– 3B, 23 YO

2023 Stats (A+/AA): .272/.311/.419/14 HRs/10 SBs/18.8 K%/4.9 BB%

Lipscomb had one full season as the starting third baseman for the University of Tennessee, where he led the team in several offensive categories. That was enough to earn him a third-round draft pick from the Nationals. The HR power that Lipscomb showed in Knoxville has not translated to the MiLB level, but he did hit 29 doubles in 129 games showing the ability to create loft and impact on the baseball. As a career .276 MiLB hitter, there is a solid hit/power combo to make Lipscomb a regular in the Nationals lineup, but that is assuming he continues to develop and everything clicks.


15) Roismar Quintana- 1B/OF, 20 YO

2023 Stats (AA/AAA): .255/.349/.346/4 HRs/0 SBs/27.9 K%/11.8 BB%

As a fantasy manager, chasing potential in this range of prospects is more fruitful than chasing the sure thing. Quintana is a complete ceiling play. He features plus raw power, that has not shown up in the game yet, but the approach is advancing and an improved awareness of the strike zone should create a better ability to tap into his power in-game.


The Next Five

Although these prospects do not crack the Top-15, dynasty managers should keep their eye on these five players.

Jake Bennett– 23 YO- Strike throwing lefty with good enough stuff to miss bats.

T.J. White– 20 YO- 60-grade power with average speed combo is very intriguing.

Kevin Made– 21 YO- Glove first guy with legit MLB potential for the glove alone.

Jeremy De La Rosa– 21 YO- Can flat-out boogie, leading to potential impact with his legs.

Armando Cruz– 19 YO- HUGE international signee with MLB level glove, but a light stick.


Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on X)

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