When it comes to the Nationals’ farm, a lot of attention turns to James Wood and Robert Hassell III. And rightfully so as they are the top two prospects in the organization and two of the five that came back in the blockbuster Juan Soto trade.
But there are other top prospects making moves in the minor league system who were here even before that trade.
Brady House and Trey Lipscomb can both be found on top 30 Nats prospects rankings by many outlets. And both played well enough to start the season to rise the ranks of the minor leagues.
Less than two weeks after Wood earned a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg, House was promoted to High-A Wilmington and Lipscomb to Harrisburg, the first tastes of those levels for both prospects.
“Two of our young prospects,” Nats manager Davey Martinez said Friday of the promotions. “Brady has been swinging the bat really well, so he gets promoted up to Wilmington. And then Lipscomb, who I really liked in spring training, can play the field and swing the bat as well. He gets the opportunity to go to Double-A and see what he can do in Double-A.”
The No. 11 pick in the 2021 draft out of Winder-Barrow High School in Georgia, House’s development was slowed last year with a back injury that limited him to just 45 games with Single-A Fredericksburg.
Finally healthy heading into this year and having made the move from shortstop to third base, the 20-year-old showed why he was considered one of the best high school prospects in his draft class.
House, who is ranked as the Nats’ No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline (No. 94 overall) and Baseball America, slashed .297/.369/.500 with an .869 OPS, eight doubles, a triple, six homers, 22 RBIs, five stolen bases and 16 walks in 36 games with the FredNats before his promotion. He recorded two hits, including a double, and a run in his High-A debut with the Blue Rocks. He followed that up with another two-hit performance plus a stolen base in his second game Tuesday. And then he recorded an RBI despite a hitless game last night.
But the biggest thing is still health for the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder.
“It's awesome,” Martinez said. “The biggest thing for us is that he's healthy and he's on the field every day, which is great. It's part of his development. He's doing well, so he should be proud of himself to get bumped up, and we're excited about that.
House’s path to Wilmington was cleared by Lipscomb’s promotion. A local production from Frederick, Md., Lipscomb was selected in the third round of last year’s draft out of the University of Tennessee.
He hit .299 with 15 runs scored, four doubles, one triple, one homer, 13 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in his first 23 professional games with Fredericksburg last year.
Starting at Wilmington this year, he hit .251 with 14 doubles, four homers, 27 RBIs and six stolen bases before moving up to Harrisburg.
Lipscomb finally connected for his second Double-A hit on Tuesday with his first home run for the Senators. He then mashed his second last night on his 23rd birthday. He is ranked as the Nats’ No. 18 prospect per MLB Pipeline and No. 24 per Baseball America.
It should be noted a big difference between House and Lipscomb and Wood and Hassell. The infielders were drafted by the Nationals. Wood and Hassell were acquired in a trade.
As much as we make of the ascents of Wood and Hassell, we should also take notice when the Nats are able to promote their homegrown guys.
“All these guys,” Martinez said of the importance of promoting prospects. “When you get young players in a trade, you want to see them do well. You put value in those guys. But to have our own homegrown guys that we drafted move up like that, it's awesome. That says a lot about you know about our scouts and what they look at and what they value and what we value. So to watch these guys continue to get better and get bumped up, it's great for our organization.”