No. 4 Nats prospect: Wilmer Difo

Shortstop Wilmer Difo was so critical to the Nationals’ late-season push that he made the postseason roster and had the final at-bat in the National League Division Series.

But he is still a young prospect, and is important to the Nats’ infield depth.

Baseball America’s top 10 Nationals prospects list has him at No. 4.

No. 4: SS Wilmer Difo

I asked Baseball America national writer Teddy Cahill if they believe Difo is good enough to make the Nats’ 25-man roster in 2017.

wilmer-difo-bat-white.jpg“That is the key question, I suppose,” Cahill said. “And there is reason to believe that he can. It’s going to be difficult for him to get that opportunity with the Nationals in the next couple of years with (Daniel) Murphy and (Trea) Turner in the middle of that infield. But he’s made some significant strides defensively to the point where he’s looking like he can handle that position.

“Consistency is a little bit of an issue, but if he can do it, he’s a really valuable player. If not, he’s a solid utility player and that holds a lot of value as well. Either way they’re looking at a pretty good player here. With Turner here now, he can settle in at the Triple-A start next year and work on the things he needs to work on and polish up parts of his game.”

But with Danny Espinosa moving on to the Angels, does that open the door for Difo getting a shot at the major league roster come April 1?

“That’s quite possible, as well,” Cahill said. “They liked enough to put him on the postseason roster last year obviously. With a couple of these guys, especially him, they’re going to have to make a decision whether they want them to develop a little bit more. Would they benefit from time in the minors or whether they want them helping in the big leagues next year?

“With him, he really hasn’t played much in Triple-A. I feel like if they want to send him to Syracuse, it would be beneficial. He really has not seen much of that level. But at the same time, he can also help them in the big leagues. There’s a role that he can fill there.”

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