Nats Prospect Watch: At 18, De La Rosa ahead of competition

Exciting to hear positive news about 18-year-old prospect Jeremy De La Rosa.

The left-handed hitting outfielder from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic signed with the Nationals on July 2, 2018. De La Rosa spent 2019 with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals for 26 games, hitting .232 with a double, two triples, two homers, three stolen bases and 10 RBIs.

baseballs-generic-art-nats.jpg"He has a lot of good tools," said Nationals minor league hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich. "For being only 18 years old, I actually expect a lot of good things from this year. I don't know where he will start, but there's just a lot of things that he does that a lot of kids at his age don't do. He might chase pitches out of the zone, which is acceptable, and do things like that, but the way he chases pitches out of the zone are different than how other kids will chase pitches out of the zone. He never alters his ready position when he chases pitches out of the zone, where a lot of kids will change completely. He's always in a strong hitting position. For me, that's a huge head start."

De La Rosa is ranked No. 13 on the Nats top 30 prospect list. At 18. Gingrich emphasizes that point: head start. De La Rosa gets to begin the race laps ahead of the competition because the Nats got to work with him at such a young age. Next to Luis Garcia, De La Rosa is the highest-rated teenage prospect position player in the entire Nats system.

"Along with his hand quickness, his bat speed and he's grown from last year to this year," Gingrich said. "He has even gained 12 pounds and he would be a senior in high school this year that would have been drafted somewhere in the first round. That's kind of special that you have the ability to work with a kid for two years now and he is yours.

"Just seeing some of the things that he has done in the GCL last year, hitting coach Jorge Mejia, who is going to low Single-A Hagerstown this year, they got De La Rosa into a routine and they got him to where he is in a really, really consistent hitting position. That's a huge deal for me. He's got a lot of things that you watch and you go 'whoa!' Those are always fun 'whoa's!' when you get to say that."

Even though the season is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, De La Rosa is listed on the GCL Nats roster to begin the season. It makes sense for the 18-year-old with less than 30 games under his belt to begin in Florida and see where that leads. It will be fun to see how the 5-foot-11, 170-pound. prospect rises as the year moves along, especially with the tools and ability the youngster has displayed in such a short time in the Nats organization.

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