Washington Nationals Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects 2023

Chris Clegg takes a look at the Washington Nationals top prospects.

It seems like quite some time since the Washington Nationals were hoisting a World Series trophy with young stars like Bryce Harper, Juan Soto, and Trea Turner as a core moving forward. Fast forward three years and the core is gone and the Nationals are rebuilding. In the process of trading Soto and Turner, the team was able to stock the farm system with plenty of talent. Let’s take a look at the Washington Nationals‘ top prospects for fantasy baseball.


Washington Nationals Top Prospects for Fantasy Baseball


1. James Wood, OF

Age: 20/2022 Stats (Rk/A): 291 AB/.313/.420/.536/12 HR/20 SB/70 R/62 RBI

James Wood’s massive power should surprise no one. He is a physical presence at 6’7/240 lb. It is more impressive that despite his size and long levers, Wood brings very strong contact skills plus plate discipline to the table. Wood’s 90th percentile exit velocity was elite and would have ranked above Major League hitters like Pete Alonso, Austin Riley, and others, and he coupled it with strong zone contact rates. Beyond what he does with his bat, Wood is an impressive athlete and moves well for his size. He stole 20 bases in 76 games last year.

Wood was part of the Juan Soto deal that sent him from San Diego to Washington, but the move did not seem to phase him. He did miss time with injury in 2022 but finished the year with a .313/.420/.536 slash with 12 home runs and 20 stolen bases across 348 plate appearances. There is effortless 30-home run power with a solid feel to hit and even some speed in the profile. Wood is a player I want to acquire everywhere in a dynasty because he has a strong chance to be the top prospect in baseball after Gunnar Henderson and Corbin Carroll graduate.


2. Elijah Green, OF

Age: 19/2022 Stats (Rk): 43 AB/.302/.404/.535/2 HR/1 SB/9 R/9 RBI

Elijah Green might be the biggest wild card of any player in this year’s draft class. He is one of the most hyped prep prospects in recent years and for good reasons, given his crazy tools. He has elite athleticism with effortless plus power and speed. The biggest questions come down to Green’s contact skills. We have seen Green struggle with swing and miss on the prep circuit but eventually, work through it and improve. The same can happen at the professional level. If you are looking for an elite upside in your dynasty farm system, take a chance on Elijah Green in FYPDs.


3. Robert Hassell III, OF

Age: 21/2022 Stats (A+/AA): 450 AB/.273/.357/.407/11 HR/24 SB/67 R/70 RBI

Everyone has jumped off the Robert Hassell train, it appears. Once considered a top-ten fantasy prospect, a poor second half after his trade to Washington caused everyone to move off of him for dynasty. Those aren’t the only concerns, though as Hassell’s exit velocities were sub-par for the season.

Hassell is an easy plus hitter who controls the strike zone well. He makes good contact and has the potential to hit for a solid batting average. The issues ultimately come in when we talk about the quality of contact. Hassell did not hit the ball hard, but his hard-hit rate jumped by over ten percentage points when he pulled the ball. If Hassell can gain strength and add power there is potential for a 15-HR and 25-SB bat with a solid average.


4. Brady House, SS

Age: 19/2022 Stats (A): 176 AB/.278/.356/.375/3 HR/1 SB/24 R/31 RBI

Brady House was a draft day value by the Nationals as he fell in their lap at #11 overall in 2021. I fell in love with the profile after seeing him when he was in high school and seeing how good his data was. House was always knocked as someone who would not stick at shortstop, but he is an excellent athlete for his size. House moves well, controls the strike zone, and has massive power.

His 2022 numbers were quite uninspiring, as he hit just three home runs in 45 games. But House missed most of the season due to a back injury. I wonder if the back issue also bothered him early in the season before he was shut down. Over his first 16 games, before he missed time with the injury for the first time, House had a .386 batting average, two home runs, and 23 RBI through 70 at-bats.

Some will be quick to cite House’s poor batted ball data, but again I chalk it to injuries. During the month of April, he posted a 90th percentile exit velocity of 105 mph which is well above MiLB and MLB average. It is prime time to buy Brady House in a dynasty league, as his profile has plenty of upside.


5. Cade Cavalli, RHP

Age: 24/2022 Stats (AAA): 97 IP/3.71 ERA/1.17 WHIP/104 K

If you want to acquire a prospect arm in a dynasty league that may be a bit undervalued, it is Cade Cavalli that you’re looking for. Cavalli features a true four-pitch mix in his four-seam, curve, slider, and changeup. Cavalli has a big fastball that consistently reaches the upper 90s. His curveball generates a ton of swing and miss as it has nice 12-6 shape. His slider and changeup both have flashed of being solid pitches, but he will need to be more consistent with them.

Cavalli’s issues have always stemmed back to walks and command. But we did see him post a 9.7% walk rate in Triple-A last year which was his lowest since he debuted in 2021. He has dealt with plenty of injuries over his career and had a violent delivery which has some scouts concerned he could be a bullpen arm. How he bounces back from his shoulder injury that ended his season will be telling with Cavalli.



6. Jarlin Susana, RHP

Age: 18/2022 Stats (Rk/A): 45 IP/2.40 ERA /1.067 WHIP/66 K

Jarlin Susana’s debut in 2022 was nothing short of stellar. His massive 6’6/235 frame generates easy power with a fastball that sits in the upper 90s and has reached well over 100 mph. Susana has a power slider that is consistently in the upper 80s. While his fastball does not generate a ton of swing and miss, his slider does. Susana also features a changeup that shows advanced features for his age. Susana is young, but with his arsenal, there is plenty of upside and reason to buy in for dynasty.



7. Cristhian Vaquero, OF

Age: 18/2022 Stats (DSL): 176 AB/.256/.379/.341/1 HR/17 SB/33 R/22 RBI

Cristhian Vaquero was among the top players in the 2021 international signing class alongside Roderick Arias. The Nationals gave him a signing bonus just shy of $5 million. Vaquero is tall and lanky with plenty of room to add power to his frame. He brings a ton of potential with his bat but also shows a strong glove and arm in center field. It is never a good idea to put too much stock into DSL numbers, especially for a talent player like Vauero. A full season stateside in 2023 should be a good indication of his dynasty value moving forward. I am optimistically buying low on him.


8. Cole Henry, RHP

Age: 23/2022 Stats (AA/AAA): 31.2 IP/1.71 ERA/0.79 WHIP/34 K

Cole Henry possesses as much talent as any arm in this system but, unfortunately, has a long track record of injuries. Since being drafted in 2020, Henry has managed just 78.2 professional innings. In those starts, he has a career 2.06 ERA and 104 strikeouts. Henry has a well-rounded arsenal and a solid fastball. He throws plenty of strikes as well which increases his chances of being a starter if he can get healthy. His 2022 season ended when he underwent thoracic outlet surgery which is quite concerning when looking at other pitchers who have gone through with the surgery.


9. T.J. White, OF

Age: 19/2022 Stats (A): 329 AB/.258/.353/.432/11 HR/8 SB/55 R/52 RBI

T.J. White was drafted in the fifth round of the 2021 draft as a 17-year-old. The Nationals love what they saw in the switch hitter with a projectable frame. White has a smooth swing from both sides of the plate but gets to most of his power from the left. White posted solid high-end exit velocities and contact rates for his age, considering he was 18 for most of the 2022 season. White is likely a corner outfielder as his bat is the carrying tool. If the power can continue to develop, there is plenty of intrigue in White for dynasty leagues.


10. Jake Bennett, LHP

Age: 22/ 2022 Stats: Did Not Pitch

The Nationals have a thing for drafting pitchers out of the Univerisity of Oklahoma and showed that by taking Jake Bennett in the second round of the 2022 draft. Bennett looked extremely good in his freshman year in three starts before COVID ended the season early, and his sophomore year was one to forget. He had a strong showing in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2021 which led to a solid junior year.

Bennett’s arsenal does not feature a standout pitch, though the sum of the parts work well together. His fastball has shown the ability to reach the upper 90s, but he often sits in the low 90s. His changeup is arguably his best pitch, even though it is used exclusively to righties. He also mixes in a slider. Bennett’s frame is durable, and he repeats his delivery well. Bennett has a high floor to be a back-of-the-rotation starter.


11. Jeremy De La Rosa, OF

Age: 21/2022 Stats (A/A+): 397 AB/.280/.358/.436/11 HR/39 SB/66 R/67 RBI

Every time I want to be out on Jeremy De La Rosa, he sucks me right back in. De La Rosa dominated in Low-A where he hit 10 of his 11 home runs. He did have a hand injury so the loss of power is explainable after his promotion. De La Rosa has a very good 90th percentile exit velocity and paired it with good zone contact skills. He moves well and is capable of stealing bases. 2023 will be a big season for him as he looks to prove his Low-A dominance was no fluke.


12. Jackson Rutledge, RHP

Age: 23/2022 Stats (A): 97.1 IP/4.90 ERA/1.38 WHIP/99 K

As with other Nationals pitching prospects, injuries have been a major issue. Jackson Rutledge stands tall at 6’8″/250 lb. He gets a ton of extension and generates plenty of velocity with his fastball. His slider is a strong secondary pitch that gets plenty of swinging strikes. Rutledge has a strong changeup as well. He actually took a step forward with his walk rate in 2022 but the results just weren’t there overall. There are still plenty of concerns and reliever risk with Rutledge, but he has big stuff which still makes him an intriguing pitcher.


13. Thad Ward, RHP

Age: 26/2022 Stats (Rk/A/A+/AA): 51.1 IP/2.28 ERA/1.15 WHIP/66 K

This year, Thad Ward was the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft. Much like other arms in this system, he has struggled with… you guessed it.. injuries. Ward has big stuff and was dominant in 2019 in his first full season. The COVID shutdown set his development back and then Tommy John surgery cost him almost all of 2021. Ward has a chance to be a starter long term but considering he has to be on the MLB roster in 2023, he is likely a bullpen piece.


14. Jake Alu, 3B

Age: 25/2022 Stats (AA/AAA): 502 AB/.299/.365/.506/20 HR/15 SB/81 R/81 RBI

Jake Alu is likely a name you have never heard of. A random 25-year-old prospect that was good in Double and Triple-A. Okay, what’s the big deal? Alu makes excellent zone contact, can get to pull-side power, and has a path to playing time in 2023. The Nationals lineup has very few players locked in and Jake Alu could stand a chance to get playing time. Alu likely flew under the radar due to being part of the 2019 draft class that got set back in a big way after missing 2020. College players were especially affected and are “older” for their levels. Alu has strong bat-to-ball skills and interesting power and speed. Buy in a deep dynasty league.


15. Brenner Cox, OF

Age: 18/2022 Stats (Rk): 35 AB/.286/.366/.400/1 HR/2 SB/4 R/5 RBI

Brenner Cox was the Nationals’ fourth-round selection in the 2022 draft. Cox seems like an undervalued player in FYPDs this year due to his projectable frame and power, plus good speed. He is an extremely good athlete, listed at 6’3/195. He is a tooled-up center fielder with plenty of projection. This is the kind of prospect to bet on in a deep dynasty league and watch the return on investment happen over time.


Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter)

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