The Nationals have another excellent crop of players playing for their Arizona Fall League affiliate for the 2017 season. I will be checking in with their progress and give you some background on a few of them throughout the offseason.
CF Daniel Johnson
5-10, 185 lbs.
New Mexico State
Round 5 (2016)
2017 season: HAG, POT
Johnson slashed .298/.356/.505 for low Single-A Hagerstown and high Single-A Potomac in 2017. He had 29 doubles, four triples, 22 homers and 72 RBIs, with 22 stolen bases and 83 runs in 130 games.
The Nationals continue to stockpile talented and speedy outfielders. Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson told me on 106.7 The Fan that Johnson fits into that mold for the Nats.
“For the guys that moved up, D.J., Daniel Johnson, did a great job,” Anderson said. “It was a treat to be able to watch him every day. He has got a lot of tools, and you are going to be able to see more of. He really has a lot of tools that have started to be more playable this year.”
Johnson is currently hitting .286 in five games for the AFL Mesa Solar Sox. He has a triple with three stolen bases and three RBIs. He has scored five runs and has not been caught stealing. Anderson says Arizona is an outstanding next step for these talented prospects and a proving ground for how their tools can work at the next level.
“I saw guys turn the corner,” Anderson said. “When they get out there, they understand what professional baseball is all about, I believe, because you are around older guys that have a lot more experience and they know what they need to be able to do. They’re facing the best players in minor league baseball, so that whole combination is nothing but good things for everybody.”
One example was left-hander Felipe Rivero, who turned an impressive AFL stint into what is now a closer role with the Pirates.
Johnson is looking to display his talents with the Nationals in the years to come and continue the tradition of outstanding outfielders that are working their way up in the system.