Green homers in pro debut, Susana strikes out four in Nats farm debut

Try not to get too excited, but it's hard not to take notice of some impressive debuts for a couple of the newest Nationals prospects.

Elijah Green homered in his professional debut and Jarlin Susana struck out four in his Nats farm debut at the Rookie-level Florida Complex League this afternoon.

Green, the No. 5 overall pick in last month’s MLB Draft, sent the second pitch of his second at-bat over the left-field wall of one of the back fields at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The right-handed hitter with a 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame at the age of 18 was scouted as a five-tool player with tremendous upside heading into the draft. On the 20-80 grading scale, he already is rated with 60 power and 70 speed.

Green played center field and hit third for the FCL Nationals. He struck out looking on three pitches in his first at-bat (at least according to the box score) and finished 1-for-4 with the home run and three strikeouts in his first professional game.

Susana, the fifth and final prospect from the Padres in the Juan Soto-Josh Bell trade, was on the mound to make his first start as a member of the Nationals organization.

The 6-foot-6, 235-pound right-hander struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches, but then issued back-to-back walks on eight consecutive balls. He then struck out the next batter on three pitches and issued an RBI single before the sixth batter reached on a fielding error by the Nats second baseman. Susana induced a flyout to end his first frame.

Susana was highly sought after by the Nationals, who needed to include Bell with Soto to complete the trade with the right-hander in it. He joined left-hander MacKenzie Gore, shortstop C.J. Abrams and outfielders Robert Hassell and James Wood in the return from San Diego.

Also 18 years old, Susana already has a 70-grade fastball, which has been clocked as high as 103 mph. He’s now the Nats’ No. 8 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

Left fielder Brenner Cox, first baseman Blake Klassen, designated hitter Nathaniel Ochoa Leyva and second baseman Everett Cooper III joined Green as members of this draft class to make their professional debuts.

Cox (fourth-rounder out of Rock Hill High School in Texas) went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a walk and a strikeout from the leadoff spot.

Klassen (17th-rounder out of UC Santa Barbara) hit fifth and went 1-for-3 with two runs, one walk and two strikeouts.

Ochoa Leyva (sixth-rounder out of Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Ontario, Canada) batted sixth and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.

Cooper (16th-rounder out of Pro5 Baseball Academy in North Carolina) batted ninth and went 0-for-3 with an RBI, a strikeout and a fielding error.

Shortstop Armando Cruz went 1-for-4 with a strikeout in the two-hole. The 18-year-old was the Nats’ top signee in the 2021 international signing period. His $3.9 million bonus was tied for a then-club record for an international prospect.

Outfielder Cristhian Vaquero, the Nats’ No. 7 prospect, surpassed that during this signing period.

Cruz, the Nats' No. 11 prospect, is slashing .310/.343/.409 with 34 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples, two home runs, 15 RBIs, six walks and five stolen bases in 42 games at the Florida Complex League this year.

The FCL Nats lost 10-5 to the FCL Astros Orange team.

Elsewhere, a handful of this year's draft class made the move from the the Florida Complex League to low Single-A Fredericksburg.

Infielders Cortland Lawson (14th), Trey Lipscomb (3rd) and Murphy Stehly (10th), outfielder Jared McKenzie (5th) and catcher Maxwell Romero (9th) were all transferred from FCL to Fredericksburg this afternoon.

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