The Nationals have done a very good job in recent years building depth in the outfield. Everyone talks about Victor Robles and Juan Soto, but there is another outfielder who is turning heads in their minor leagues and that is Daniel Johnson.
Baseball America has Johnson as the No. 8 overall prospect in the Nats system.
No. 8 OF Daniel Johnson
Johnson played center field for low Single-A Hagerstown and high Single-A Potomac for a combined 130 games. He stole 22 bases in 2017.
Carlos Collazo, national writer for Baseball America, says Johnson made a favorable impact according to their scouting reports.
Johnson, 22, just finished playing 17 games for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. His club reached the AFL championship game before falling to Peoria Javelinas 8-2. He hit .217 for the Solar Sox with three doubles, one triple and five stolen bases. He made only one error in the outfield. His five stolen bases were second only to Robles’ seven on the team.
“Personally, Daniel Johnson is one of the most exciting guys for me, just hearing about him, because this guy is super toolsy,” Collazo noted. “A couple of guys in the system told me he was maybe the strongest player in their system pound-for-pound. He’s a smaller guy, but he’s incredibly physical. He’s like 5-10, 185.”
But the biggest headline of his report on Johnson is that Baseball America believes Johnson has one of the top two defensive arms in the organization.
“It’s him and Kelvin Gutierrez who could fight for the title of the strongest arm in the system,” Collazo said. “They would be happy to say that Johnson has best outfield arm and Gutierrez has the best infield arm. He has got a plus arm.”
Collazo noted that scouts had questions about Johnson’s sustainability with the bat. Although he hit just .217 for Mesa, he did hit .298 for Hagerstown and Potomac, with a .356 on-base percentage and a .505 slugging percentage.
“He has got plus power on the bat. It’s more of a hit tool question at this point,” Collazo said. “But this season, he performed really well with the bat, answering some of the questions people had about his bat. He got to the power more often. He’s got incredibly quick hands and a whippy swing, which helps him translate that to plus power in that smaller frame. He is also a plus runner.”
Because of all these attributes on the field, Collazo has a very optimistic outlook for Johnson and his ability to move up from No. 8 as the season progresses.
“Those tools, when you put them all together, can give you some real impact,” Collazo said. “He’s really raw at this point still and I know he’s not super young. But he’s got a chance to be a really good player if he can continue to refine his swing and then clean up some of his route running and his first steps in the outfield. He could be a real, real exciting player.”