Checking in on the Nats' top prospects

While the Nationals enjoy Thursday’s off-day (and hopefully use it to break out of their offensive slump), let’s take a long overdue look at some of the top prospects down on the farm and not just the ones you know we’re going to talk about …

“You talk about the players, everybody talks about the one guy, but we got quite a few,” said manager Davey Martinez.

A Nats minor leaguer received some recognition over the past week, with Andrew Pinckney being named Eastern League Player of the Week on Monday.

“Pinckney won Player of the Week, which is awesome,” said Martinez. “Nobody talks about him, but he's a pretty good player.”

A fourth-round pick last year out of the University of Alabama, Pinckney slashed .429/.478/.905 with five extra-base hits and seven RBIs last week with Double-A Harrisburg. He’s slashing .279/.327/.396 with a .723 OPS, seven doubles, one triple, three homers, 19 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 38 games with the Senators.

Pinckney saw his 10-game hitting streak end on Tuesday, which is the longest streak by a Senator this season. Over the streak, he hit .395 with nine RBIs and 11 runs scored. He did, however, reach base on a hit-by-pitch and scored the go-ahead run Tuesday and went 2-for-4 with a double on Wednesday, extending his on-base streak to 12 games.

Pretty good player indeed.

Dylan Crews is starting to get hot at the plate with Harrisburg. After posting a .224 average and .663 OPS in April, last summer’s No. 2 overall pick is swinging well in May. He’s hitting .310 with a .948 OPS, six doubles, three triples, one homer and 16 RBIs this month.

Crews has also come up big for the Senators with runners in scoring position, knocking 15 hits and 26 RBIs while batting .395 with a 1.231 OPS in those situations. Of those 15 hits, eight have been for extra bases with three homers, four doubles and a triple.

Brady House hit his ninth home run Tuesday, his sixth in May, for Harrisburg. He is second in the Nats system only to Travis Blankenhorn (11 with Triple-A Rochester) and second in the Eastern League in homers. He finished Tuesday’s game 3-for-4 while adding a double and two RBIs and drove in the game-winning run on Wednesday. He’s also posting a much-improved 11 percent walk rate.

House has also been strong in the field, playing 24 straight games without committing an error.

Robert Hassell III is continuing his strong start to the season with the Senators. After coming out hot out of the gate to the tune of a .308 average and .838 OPS, he has cooled off slightly at the plate. But Hassell still has a respectable .277 average and .377 on-base percentage with 20 walks and 11 stolen bases. From the leadoff spot, he’s hitting .291 and getting on base at a .381 clip.

“Hassell is gonna be a good player. Dylan Crews is going to be coming here before you know it,” Martinez said. “So the future's bright.”

The unfortunate news at Harrisburg is Yohandy Morales landing on the seven-day injured list earlier this week with a thumb injury. Last year’s second-round pick injured his thumb Saturday night when sliding into home while trying to score on a wild pitch. There is no timetable for his return.

Morales is slashing .239/.315/.346 with a .661 OPS on the season, but had started to swing better in May. His slash line is .274/.328/.419 with a .747 OPS in 17 games this month. He was also riding a seven-game on-base streak, hitting safely in six of those games, before the injury.

And what about that one guy everybody talks about?

James Wood hit his eighth homer of the season on Tuesday, trying to keep pace with House and Blankenhorn (who has only hit four homers this month with the latest coming on May 11). He then caught House on Wednesday night with his ninth homer with Rochester and seventh in May, taking a left-hander deep to the opposite-field corner. He finished last night’s game 3-for-4 with two runs, a double, a home run, two RBIs and a walk.

That has kept up his own pace of being an on-base machine.

Wood has reached safely in 28 straight games for a .456 on-base percentage over that stretch. It’s the second-longest active streak in all of Minor League Baseball.

Although he had a 12-game hitting streak snapped last weekend, he has hit safely in 17 of 20 games in May, while slashing .400/.506/.757 with a 1.263 OPS, four doubles, seven home runs, 22 RBIs and 16 walks to 13 strikeouts.

Overall on the season, the Nats’ top prospect is hitting .358/.465/.600 with a 1.065 OPS, 13 doubles, nine homers, 31 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and 34 walks to 37 strikeouts.

So the question remains: When will he get called up to the majors?

“He's gonna develop a little bit,” Martinez said. “He's young. He's 21 years old. But, hey, when he's here, we want him to be here to stay. So he's gonna get here. He's gonna get here.”

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