Which prospects missed out on big league camp invites?

Elijah Green Fredericksburg

The Nationals took one step closer to the start of spring training yesterday by announcing the first round of non-roster invitations to major league camp.

The first batch of invites includes top prospects Dylan Crews (No. 1 in Nats system per Baseball America), James Wood (No. 2), Brady House (No. 3), Robert Hassell III (No. 7), Trey Lipscomb (No. 16) and Darren Baker (No. 28), all of whom will be attending their first big league spring training.

Other non-roster players invited yesterday include outfielder Travis Blankenhorn, first baseman Lewin Diaz, left-hander Joe La Sorsa, catcher Brady Lindsly and first baseman/outfielder Juan Yepez.

Two weeks from today, Nationals pitchers and catchers will hold their first workout to start the 2024 campaign at the team’s facility in West Palm Beach. Six days later the first full-squad workout will take place.

As general manager Mike Rizzo looks to fill out the roster before the team convenes in a few weeks, which top prospects just missed out on a major league camp invite?

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Morales out to prove Nats got first-round talent with No. 40 pick

Yohandy Morales

PROSPECT REVIEW: YOHANDY MORALES

Age on opening day 2024: 22

How acquired: Drafted in second round in 2023 from the University of Miami (FL)

Ranking: No. 7 per MLB Pipeline, No. 8 per Baseball America

MLB ETA: 2026
* Projected by MLB Pipeline

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Source: Crews to Harrisburg, Morales and Pinckney to Wilmington

Dylan Crews Fredericksburg

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – As they showcase themselves before a national audience for the first time this season, the Nationals are moving their top picks from this summer’s draft a step closer to the big league stage, including a big jump for their No. 1 prospect.

The Nats are promoting outfielder Dylan Crews to Double-A Harrisburg, a source familiar with the decision confirmed, after the No. 2 overall pick dominated at Single-A Fredericksburg in his professional debut.

Crews hit a robust .351 with five homers, 24 RBIs and a 1.073 OPS in only 13 games with Fredericksburg, proving more than capable of competing at that level only months after he led LSU to the College World Series title.

The fact the Nationals are bumping Crews up to Double-A, skipping the High-A level altogether, underscores how advanced they believe he is, not to mention how soon they believe the 21-year-old could be big league ready.

Crews will join a Harrisburg lineup already loaded with top prospects, including outfielders James Wood and Robert Hassell III and third baseman Brady House.

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Crews tops latest Nats prospect ranking

Dylan Crews Fredericksburg

MLB Pipeline released its midseason rankings of the top 100 prospects in baseball and the top 30 for each major league team, adding the 2023 draft class and trade deadline moves, and there’s no surprise who tops the Nationals’ list.

Dylan Crews, the No. 2 overall pick out of LSU, is the Nationals’ new top prospect, coming in at No. 1 on the team’s top 30 and No. 4 overall in the sport.

The outfielder was MLB Pipeline’s top-rated position player in this year’s draft, so it’s no wonder they hold him in high regard. But it was going to be a close call between him and fellow outfielder James Wood, who has been the Nats’ top prospect since the end of last season.

Wood is now the Nats No. 2 prospect (such a big drop) and the No. 7 overall prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline. Both he and Crews have a major league ETA of 2024.

Third baseman Brady House is now the Nats’ No. 3 prospect while also becoming one of the highest-ranking newcomers in the top 100, landing at No. 43 after his promotion to Double-A Harrisburg earlier this summer. He rounds out the Nationals prospects in the top 100.

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Nats encouraged by Harvey news, Abrams named Player of Week

Hunter Harvey Keibert Ruiz

CHICAGO – Hunter Harvey’s MRI revealed a mild right elbow strain, an injury that will sideline the Nationals reliever for a while but was still described as “good news” by manager Davey Martinez, who feared worse.

“Best-case scenario for us,” Martinez said. “We’re going to shut him down for 10 days, and he’ll resume his throwing. We’ll just let it calm down a little bit and build some strength up and get him back as soon as we possibly can.”

Harvey, who reported soreness in his arm after pitching a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th Saturday in St. Louis despite diminished fastball velocity, was officially placed on the 15-day injured list today. The Nationals were prepared to make that transaction no matter the severity of the injury, but club officials were relieved to learn the injury wasn’t more serious or would require surgery.

“Especially with his history, and the way he was feeling, I was very concerned,” Martinez said. “But this came out great. They said everything looks great. He just has a little mild strain in there, and he should be back.”

Harvey’s career has been littered with IL stints, the vast majority of those coming while he was a member of the Orioles organization from the day he was drafted in 2013 until he was placed on waivers after the 2021 season. He did miss 2 1/2 months with a forearm strain last summer after joining the Nats, but he had been a durable fixture in the bullpen since, making 73 big league appearances in the last calendar year with no health issues.

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Nats focus on college experience in 2023 draft

MLB Draft 2023 generic

The 2023 MLB Draft is over and the Nationals have their new class of young prospects.

The Nats made 20 picks in this week’s draft, highlighted by No. 2 overall selection Dylan Crews, the highly touted outfielder from Louisiana State University and Golden Spikes Award winner.

Of their 20 selections, the Nats drafted three outfielders, four infielders, two catchers, nine right-handers and two left-handers. They drafted 18 players from the college ranks and two high school players.

Nine of the players the Nationals drafted in the first 10 rounds came from college programs, with righty Travis Sykora, taken in the third round, the lone exception.

“There were a lot of college bats, a lot of really good college hitters. Not a lot of pitching,” vice president of scouting Kris Kline said. “You had three or four college pitchers, so there wasn't a ton of depth. Those guys were gonna fly off the board fast. There were a lot of high school kids as well. But yeah, it was an unusual year as far as the depth of the college hitters, position players went.”

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Nats find another power bat with Morales in Round 2 (updated)

Yohandy Morales Miami

Kris Kline saw every top hitter in the country this season. He drafted the best of them in Dylan Crews, the Golden Spikes Award winner selected by the Nationals with the No. 2 overall pick Sunday evening.

And it’s quite possible the Nats’ longtime vice president of scouting was even more impressed in some ways with the hitter he selected in the second round of the draft several hours later.

"One of the loudest bats I heard this year," Kline said of University of Miami third baseman Yohandy Morales. "We were pretty happy with that one, to get him at 40."

As much attention was given to the Nationals’ first-round pick - and rightfully so given the talent available and the significance of that selection - internally, club officials believed their second-round pick was going to be just as important to the franchise. Though they lost the No. 1 overall pick to the Pirates via the new draft lottery, they still maintain the first choice for every other round based on their worst-in-baseball record in 2022.

"When you're picking that high (in the first round), it takes care of itself," Kline said. "A lot of the work, most of the work actually, went into pick 40."

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