2023 Nats All-Prospect team

Now that the 2023 season is a wrap, we’ve taken broad looks at the year that was for the Nationals. Individual player reviews will start coming out on a daily basis this week, with Mark Zuckerman handling the major league roster and me taking a look at some of the top prospects.

But before we take a deeper dive into each player's performance, I wanted to have one overarching view of the minor league system in the form of a fun exercise.

Overall, the Nats’ minor league system did not fare too well this year in terms of win-loss records. The Dominican Summer League Nationals finished 11-39, the Florida Complex League Nationals 24-25, Single-A Fredericksburg 65-63, High-A Wilmington 55-75, Double-A Harrisburg 59-77 and Triple-A Rochester 66-80.

But among those results, there were some really strong individual performances.

“The best part of the minor league season was that all the players that we really were looking forward to take a step forward, we believe have,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We think that was a success in that regard.”

With that, I present the 2023 Nationals All-Prospect Team!

A few qualifiers: This team is solely selected based on this reporter’s humble opinion. The roster will include a starter at each position including designated hitter, five starting pitchers, five relief pitchers and a “utility” player to make it an even 20 players.

No prospects who spent all of this season in either the DSL or FCL are included, so only the four higher minor league affiliates count. And for a player to be eligible for this team, a major publication, such as MLB Pipeline or Baseball America, must consider him to still be a prospect at season’s end (sorry, Jake Irvin and Matt Adams).

Without further ado …

One of two catchers consistently ranked in the top 30 Nats prospects list (the other being Israel Pineda, who spent most of this season recovering from a broken right finger), Millas is ranked as the organization’s No. 23 prospect per MLB Pipeline and No. 28 per Baseball America while enjoying a breakout year on the farm.

After hitting .342 with a .991 OPS in 25 games with Harrisburg, the 25-year-old backstop earned his first promotion to Triple-A, where he hit .270 with 17 extra-base hits and 24 RBIs in 58 games with Rochester.

Across both levels, he slashed .291/.390/.442 with an .833 OPS, 25 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs and 42 walks to 49 strikeouts. He ended the season tied for the organizational lead among catchers with seven total homers.

Behind the plate, he threw out 28 percent of would-be base stealers.

Millas was promoted to the majors and made his debut on Aug. 28. He was in the bigs for only 11 games, but he hit .286 with an .839 OPS, six RBIs and four walks to five strikeouts with the Nats.

Honorable mention: Maxwell Romero

This is one of the harder positions to select as it’s currently one of the weakest positions on the Nats farm. The best first basemen in the Nats’ minor league system were Travis Blankenhorn (.262 average, .877 OPS, 23 homers and 75 RBIs) and Matt Adams (.246 average, .726 OPS, 17 homers and 53 RBIs). But neither of them qualify as prospects anymore.

The honor falls to Tostado, who had the most production of the prospects who consistently played first base. In 119 games between Harrisburg and Rochester, he slashed .240/.304/.383 with 19 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs and 78 RBIs.

Tostado was acquired in a trade with the Mariners for cash considerations in December. The 25-year-old is a former 19th-round pick by the Giants out of Oxnard College.

First base isn’t a premium position and other players can shift over as their development progresses, but the Nats lack serious depth here.

Honorable mention: Branden Boissiere

While Baker sits back and watches his dad, Dusty, manage the Astros in the American League Division Series, he can reflect on one his best seasons as a professional.

The overall numbers (.273/.338/.340 with a .678 OPS, 110 hits, 10 doubles, four triples, three homers, 14 RBIs and 19 stolen bases) don’t necessarily jump off the page. But the fact that he produced them over 99 games at Triple-A is the most impressive.

At 24 years old, the 2021 10th-round pick out of the University of California-Berkeley needed to prove that he can play at the higher minor league levels. Becoming the Red Wings’ everyday second baseman (with a .968 fielding percentage) proved he might be worth taking a chance on at the major league level.

Honorable mention: Sammy Infante

Perhaps no development was more important for the Nationals this year than House at third base.

After missing most of last year with a back injury and shifting full-time from shortstop to third, the 2021 11th-overall pick rose from Fredericksburg to a quick stop in Wilmington and eventually Harrisburg. Across all three levels, he slashed .312/.365/.497 with an .862 OPS, 21 doubles, three triples, 12 homers, 47 RBIs and nine stolen bases.

House also had a .946 fielding percentage and committed only four errors over his final 51 games at the hot corner, establishing himself as the Nats’ third baseman of the future.

Honorable mention: Yohandy Morales

The Nationals’ future at shortstop is solidified with CJ Abrams already at the major league level. That’s a good thing because the depth of the farm isn’t anything to get too excited about.

Barley gets this honor based on how he rose through the system and his performance at the highest minor league level.

He only hit .228 with a .647 OPS at Wilmington, but in a small sample size, he found some success at Rochester. In 23 games with the Red Wings, he hit .283 with a .752 OPS, two homers (his only extra-base hits), six RBIs and nine stolen bases. He also posted a higher fielding percentage at Triple-A (.974) than at High-A (.928).

Honorable mention: Jackson Cluff

This is where the Nationals have the most depth, so it was actually difficult narrowing it down to three players.

Young hit wherever he went. Across three levels at Wilmington, Harrisburg and Rochester, he slashed .305/.376/.418 with a .794 OPS, 21 doubles, five triples, six homers, 58 RBIs and 39 stolen bases.

He earned a promotion to Washington and stayed in the majors for the remainder of the season, hitting .252 with seven doubles, one triple, 12 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 33 games.

Crews proved himself worthy of the No. 2 overall pick right away. He only needed one game in the FCL (going a perfect 3-for-3 with a double) before crushing Single-A ball and advancing straight to Double-A.

Across those three levels, Crews slashed .292/.377/.467 with an .845 OPS, nine doubles, five homers, 29 RBIs and four stolen bases.

Wood was named the Nats’ minor league Hitter of the Year after slashing .262/.353/.520 with an .874 OPS between Wilmington and Harrisburg. He led the Nats system with 26 home runs while driving in 91 runs with 28 doubles, eight triples and 18 stolen bases.

Honorable mention: Daylen Lile, Jeremy De La Rosa, Andrew Pinckney

An eighth-round pick in 2021 out of Texas A&M, Frizzell has been the Nats’ most consistent DH on the farm.

In 98 games between Wilmington and Harrisburg, the left-handed bat hit .221 with a .744 OPS, 13 doubles, two triples, 10 homers and 42 RBIs.

Honorable mention: Terone Harris III

Rutledge’s ascension was another great sign for the Nationals. Between Harrisburg and Rochester, he went 8-4 with a 3.71 ERA, 1.269 WHIP and 106 strikeouts in 23 starts.

The lone right-hander in this group finished his season with a few encouraging starts with the Nats after a rocky major league debut.

Bennett, who unfortunately will miss next season after Tommy John surgery, had a strong start to the year. The 2022 second-round pick out of Oklahoma pitched to a 1.93 ERA and 1.000 WHIP with 54 strikeouts in nine starts with Fredericksburg before getting promoted to Wilmington. His injury limited him to just six starts with the Blue Rocks.

Alvarez was named the Nats’ minor league Pitcher of the Year after going 7-7 with a 2.99 ERA, 1.168 WHIP and 116 strikeouts in 26 outings (22 starts) between Wilmington and Harrisburg.

Herz, acquired at the trade deadline with Kevin Made from the Cubs for Jeimer Candelario, impressed in just eight starts in the Nats system. He went 2-2 with a 2.55 ERA, 1.132 WHIP and 53 strikeouts with Harrisburg.

Parker followed up his strong season last year with a solid start at Harrisburg, going 9-6 with a 4.20 ERA, 1.355 WHIP and 132 strikeouts in 25 games (23 starts). But he struggled in three starts at Rochester, giving up 12 runs in just 10 ⅓ innings.

Honorable mention: Jarlin Susana, Alex Troop, Dustin Saenz, Andry Lara, Kyle Luckham

Baseball America still counts Ferrer as a prospect, so he qualifies. Before his 39 appearances with the Nats, the only lefty here posted a 3.83 ERA and 1.550 WHIP with 33 strikeouts in 34 games with Rochester.

Sinclair finished 5-7 with a 3.79 ERA, 1.297 WHIP, 65 strikeouts and six saves across 48 games with Wilmington, Harrisburg and Rochester.

Peguero pitched to a 4.62 ERA, 1.638 WHIP, 40 strikeouts and 10 saves between Harrisburg and Rochester.

Grissom finished 4-2 with a 2.18 ERA, 1.113 WHIP, 39 strikeouts and 11 saves in 31 appearances with Fredericksburg in his first full season since being a 13th-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech in 2022.

Pena had a 3.15 ERA, 1.218 WHIP, 55 strikeouts and three saves with Harrisburg and Rochester.

Honorable mention: Kevin Rodriguez, Marlon Perez, Tyler Schoff, Reid Schaller, Matt Merrill

What didn’t Lipscomb do for the Nats system this year?

While playing some at all four infield positions, he slashed .272/.311/.419 with a .730 OPS, 29 doubles, two triples, 14 homers, 72 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 129 games between Wilmington and Harrisburg.

He may be the sneaky prospect that we’re not talking about enough.

Honorable mention: Jake Alu

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