No. 10 Nats prospect: Yasel Antuna

It is time to begin our countdown of the top 10 Nationals prospects according to Baseball America. We bring in national writer Carlos Collazo to break down each prospect, beginning with No. 10.

No. 10: SS Yasel Antuna

Collazo likes what Antuna brings to the table. At 6-foot, 170 lbs., Antuna has the body to be able to generate power on offense. For the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nats in 2017, Antuna hit .301 in 48 games with eight doubles, three triples, one homer and 17 RBIs.

Nationals-bag-bat-dugout-sidebar.jpgYasel Antuna is probably one of the most physical of the three 2016 big-time international shortstops, which includes Luis Garcia and Jose Sanchez,” Collazo said. “He’s the most physical of those three and probably has the highest offensive ceiling, and because of that, there is some real projection for some power down the line. He could turn into a plus-power guy. At the same time, because of his size, I feel like it’s more likely that he moves off the position.”

So is it more likely that Antuna will be able to break into the majors as a third baseman instead of a shortstop?

“He had 20 errors in 174 innings at shortstop this season,” Collazo said. “You don’t want to put too much into just fielding percentage at this point, but I would be a little concerned that he’s going to have to move off the position in the future, which obviously puts more pressure on his bat.”

Collazo argued, though, that we might not have seen as many games at shortstop that we would have liked for Antuna this season because of extenuating circumstances at that position.

“It was a little tough for those guys down in the GCL this year because there are just so many guys playing shortstop,” he said. “I think even Carter Kieboom was there when he was rehabbing. So they’re going to need more time at the position. There was definitely a glut at the position this year, so they didn’t get into a groove that they wanted and it was really their first pro season. So there is still a lot of projection there and you want to give them time to figure it out.”

But in the end, Collazo likes what he sees from Antuna, 18, and projects him moving to third base in the future.

“He’s a guy that can turn into a future offensive player potentially at the hot corner,” Collazo concluded. “I’d say that’s the safest bet for him.”

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