Next on the list is a player who reached the major league level with the Nationals in 2017 and played in eight games in September. Catcher Raudy Read recorded 11 at-bats and notched three singles for a .273 average in his limited time up with the big boys.
With the uncertainty at backup catcher in 2018, Read could get a long look at that spot in spring training.
No. 9: C Raudy Read
Read comes in at No. 9 on Baseball America's top 10 list of Nats prospects. National writer Carlos Collazo said Read might have made the biggest leap of all the Nats minor league players.
"Raudy Read is a guy who might be the most improved player in the system if you're just looking at guys who performed, put it together and figured some things out," Collazo said.
Collazo said Double-A Harrisburg Senators manager Matt LeCroy, a former big league backstop, spoke highly of the work Read put in, especially to one critical defensive statistic.
"I was talking to his manager in Double-A and he was really impressed with the work he did defensively, cleaning up his game a lot," Collazo said. "He cut down his passed balls from 20 to 14 despite catching the most innings he had ever caught in his pro career. He's got an above-average arm and he's always had that, but he improved his footwork this year to kind of take advantage of that. I heard previously that he threw from his knees a lot. He's cleaned up some of that to take advantage of that strong arm that he has."
Read hit 25 doubles, one triple, 17 homers and 61 RBIs in 108 games with the Senators, speaking to his power bat and potential for that to translate to the Nats.
"Offensively, he has potential for above-average power as well," Collazo said. "When you get a guy who gives you a chance to have an impact behind the plate and then hit above-average power as well, that's a real commodity at the major league level. Even though we have seen the increase in power the past couple of years, having that come from a catcher who can also help you out with the glovework is really exciting.
"I know the Nationals are really excited about Read. He also won Washington's Bob Boone Award. That speaks to his off-the-field character and work ethic."
Nats coaches have spoken highly of Read for a while now, and the 24-year-old Dominican product is starting to demonstrate on the field that he is ready to take the next step.
Programming note: I'm talking Nats today on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Report on MASN from 5-6 p.m. Be sure to tune in!
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