Let’s do this – The Washington Nationals #21-#30 prospects, which shows a nice cluster of players from this most recent draft, along with a few promising outfielders.
#21 Rafael Bautista OF
Bautista was signed from the Dominican Republic as an international free agent in 2012 and has steadily risen through Washington’s farm system, finally reaching the majors for 13 games in 2017. Offensively Bautista utilizes his excellent speed and solid bat-to-ball skills to act as a leadoff hitter – he has little home run power, but there is enough potential to keep pitchers’ honest. In the field Bautista plays a solid center field due to his speed, range and average arm. He can play all three outfield positions, although his arm is a bit light for right field. The almost 25-year-old possesses four average or better tools and profiles as a solid backup outfielder, perhaps in Washington this season.
#22 Jackson Tetreault RHP
Washington plucked Jackson Tetreault in the 7th round last June from the State College of Florida Manatee based on his projectable 6-5 170lbs frame and impressive three pitch arsenal. Tetreault is blessed with a low-90s fastball with life, along with an intriguing curveball and changeup. He has impressive arm speed and scouts believe he could add velocity in the future. He struggles with his command and is quite raw, but the upside could be a future #4 starter or impact reliever. Tetreault is a project for Washington’s development staff and a name to remember from the 2017 draft class.
#23 Justin Connell OF
Drafted in the 11th round last June, Washington signed Connell for $125,000 based on his projectable 6-1 185lbs frame, along with his impressive speed and athleticism. He has a solid arm and the ability to play all three outfield positions, although he is stretched in center field. The 18-year-old fared well last summer in the GCL, batting .323/.407/.365 with more walks than strikeouts. There is plenty of risk in the profile, but Connell is a true sleeper in the Nats’ farm system.
#24 Kyle Johnston RHP
The Nationals’ 6th round pick last summer from the University of Texas, Johnston is an undersized 6-0 225lbs righty with a low-to- mid-90s fastball and a promising upper-80s cutter. In addition, he throws a changeup, but it is a distant third offering and needs significant development. Johnston should begin his career as a starting pitcher, but likely projects as a 2-pitch middle reliever down the road.
#25 Telmito Agustin OF
Originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Agustin moved to the Dominican Republic and signed with Washington for $50,000 in October 2013. The 21-year-old Agustin struggled mightily in his first experience at High-A this year, forcing a demotion mid-season back to Low-A where he rebounded with a .277/.308/.456 batting line over 80 games played. Listed at 5-10 160lbs, Agustin is an athletic outfielder with plus speed, good barrel skills and some sneaky pop from such an undersized hitter. He has a fringe-average and accurate arm, which allows him to profile well in both center and left field. The lack of power limits his ceiling, but Agustin profiles as a future potential 5th outfielder.
#26 Ricardo Mendez OF
Washington signed Mendez for $600,000 from the Dominican Republic as an international free agent in July 2016. Mendez was known as one of the top defensive outfielders in his class, based upon his plus or better speed, excellent instincts and below-average but accurate throwing arm. He showed well as a 17-year-old hitting .252/.319/.338 over 151 at-bats in the GCL last summer. Listed at 6-0 160lbs, the almost 18-year-old is projectable and has a solid package of tools yet needs to add strength to become a stronger offensive threat going forward.
#27 Cole Freeman 2B/OF
Washington’s 4th round selection last June, Freeman was drafted from Louisiana State University as a senior after two strong years in Baton Rouge. He is an undersized 5-9 175lbs with above-average speed and athleticism, along with excellent barrel skills in his righty swing. Freeman lacks power, limiting his offensive upside and has a below-average arm, giving him a difficult defensive profile. His ability to hit and pure speed make him intriguing, but his lack of another tool limits him to a utility profile.
#28 Drew Ward 3B
Washington’s 3rd round pick in 2013, the 23-year-old Ward is a large 6-3 215lbs left-handed hitting third baseman with easy plus batting practice power. He struggles recognizing spin and has a long swing, inducing far too many strikeouts and hindering his offensive profile. Defensively he has a strong arm and good reactions at third base, but his mediocre speed and athleticism limit his range. He projects as a backup corner infielder or Quad-A hitter, with a ceiling of a below-average starter at the hot corner if he can improve his contact issues.
In-Person Scouting Report -> http://natsgm.com/2017/08/16/scouting-report-drew-ward-3b/
#29 Joan Baez RHP
Washington acquired Baez as an international free agent in April 2014 based on his projectable 6-3 190lbs body and mid-90s velocity. Presently his 3-pitch arsenal features a 91-93mph fastball that touches 95mph, a mid-80s change and upper-70s curveball. Unfortunately his secondary pitches lag behind his powerful fastball, and his command is below-average at present. If he can develop one of his off-speed pitches to compliment his heater, he projects as a potential 7th inning reliever.
In-Person Scouting Report -> http://natsgm.com/2017/08/25/scouting-report-joan-baez-rhp/
#30 Armond Upshaw OF
Chosen in the 11th round in 2016 from Pensacola State junior college, Washington gave Upshaw a noteworthy $400,000 bonus to sign. A switch-hitter, Upshaw has legitimate “70” or better speed and drew 41 walks in 60 games last summer, showing a good knowledge of the strike zone. Unfortunately he also struck out 62 times in only 195 at-bats, an unacceptable number for a table-setter. Defensively he has a fringy arm and utilizes his outstanding athleticism to cover plenty of ground. He projects as a strong defensive center fielder, but Upshaw must limit the strikeouts in order to reach his potential.
Next Five -> Aldrem Corredor, Anderson Franco, Gabe Klobosits, Jakson Reetz, Jackson Stoeckinger