Martinez intrigued by new young talent in Nats system

PHILADELPHIA – It’s a demanding job being a major league manager. All the pressure in the world lies on your shoulders. You don’t get enough credit when you win and you get all of the blame when you lose.

For eight to nine months of the year, Davey Martinez has to worry about the 26 players he has on the Nationals’ active roster. He often even has to worry about the guys that make up the 40-man roster and some of the players in the upper levels of the minor league system.

Needless to say, this is a busy time of year for Martinez. He has his plate totally full.

But even he can’t help himself in checking out the new young prospects the Nationals received in the Juan Soto-Josh Bell trade with the Padres on Tuesday. Three of the five prospects – outfielder James Wood at low Single-A Fredericksburg, outfielder Robert Hassell III at high Single-A Wilmington and shortstop C.J. Abrams at Triple-A Rochester – made their organizational debuts over the last couple of days. And Martinez was impressed with what he saw.

“Yeah, as I said before, I got 26 guys here that I worry about,” Martinez said before Saturday’s game against the Phillies. “But it's good to see that these young guys are doing well. We got some guys, I check up on all our guys. We got some guys down there that are having really good years, and that's really, really good to see.”

Wood had a fantastic debut with the FredNats on Friday night, going 4-for-6 with a two-run homer, three RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base.

“Wood had a great day yesterday,” Martinez said. “So it was kind of fun to watch. I watched the videos. He had a really good day, home run. Played well.”

At 19 years old, Wood is massive at 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds roaming the outfield. What does Martinez find so intriguing about the big kid?

“When you think about guys that are that size, you're thinking about (Giancarlo) Stanton, you're thinking about (Aaron) Judge,” the skipper said. “And then you got him, who is young and is still developing. But you know, I say, man, if he continues to mature - and we'll watch his growth - then he's got potential to be really good. And that's the exciting thing about it.”

Wood, ranked as the Nats’ No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts in his second game in the Nats system last night.

Hassell, the Nats’ new No. 1 prospect, went 0-for-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and a stolen base in his third game last night. He’s collectively 0-for-11 with a run scored, a walk, four strikeouts and a stolen base since joining the Nats system.

Abrams went 1-for-3 with a run, a walk, a strikeout and a stolen base last night after going 0-for-4 with an RBI, two strikeouts and a fielding error in his Rochester debut Friday night.

Even though it’s only been a couple of games (and Abrams figures to join the major league roster sooner rather than later), Martinez does find himself tempted to check their box scores after games.

“Usually, when I get up in the morning after I do everything else, I'll look to see what they're doing,” he said. “Yeah, so it's kind of nice, and just kind of see their progression.”

Right-hander Jarlin Susana is with the Rookie-level Florida Complex League Nationals in West Palm Beach, Fla. Martinez hasn’t met the 6-foot-6, 235-pound 18-year-old, but he said he’s looking forward to their first conversation.

“I haven't talked to him yet,” Martinez said. “He's one of our babies right now. So kind of letting him just do his thing a little bit.”

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