Three Nats ranked in Baseball America's new top 100 prospects list

There is only so much offseason content to put out with a month left to go before the start of spring training, but some major publications are starting to roll out some preseason topics.

Among those, Baseball America released its latest top 100 prospects list Wednesday morning with some familiar names from the Nationals making the cut.

Outfielder Dylan Crews was ranked as the No. 6 overall prospect in the sport by Baseball America’s staff, with outfielder James Wood coming in at No. 11 and third baseman Brady House at No. 55.

For these preseason rankings, the publication puts together the list of players based on “their long-term MLB impact.”

It’s no surprise that Crews was the highest ranked Nationals prospect after he was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in last summer’s draft after winning a national championship and the Golden Spikes Award with LSU. He entered the draft as the consensus top ranked position player.

What was surprising was that Crews fell a few spots from where he was ranked in Baseball America’s previous top 100 prospects rankings. At the end of last season, Crews was the No. 3 prospect in the sport per the publication. Now he’s No. 6, even after a solid professional debut.

Per Baseball America: “Crews came into 2023 viewed as the best hitter in the draft class. He hit .426/.567/.713 to lead LSU to a national title, and immediately becomes the focal point of the Nationals’ rebuilding effort. He should hit for average, power and play solid outfield defense.”

Baseball America scouts his tools on a 20-80 grading scale as a 65 for hit, 65 for power, 55 for run, 55 for field and 60 for arm. They also have him as the Nats’ best hitter for average among their farmhands.

Wood also fell a few spots from his previous ranking. By the end of last season, he was ranked No. 7 to give the Nats two prospects in the top 10. Now he has fallen out of the top 10 at No. 11.

From the article: “Wood’s jump to Double-A in 2023 saw his strikeout rate rise, but he continued to hit for power while displaying his athleticism in the outfield and on the bases. The combination of Wood and Dylan Crews gives the Nationals an outfield duo to envy.”

Wood’s tools are graded as a 50 hit, 65 power, 55 run, 50 field and 55 arm. He’s also listed as the best defensive outfielder and power hitter in the Nats system.

Despite a strong season (and perhaps the best all-around among Nats prospects), House didn’t take a leap in Baseball America’s top 100 rankings either. In fact, he too dropped, although only one spot from No. 54 to No. 55.

Per the rankings: “A member of the highly-touted prep shortstop class of 2021, House has been a well-known player since he was 15. After dealing with a back injury that cost him most of 2022, House returned in 2023 to hit .312/.365/.497 over 88 games. House has multiple plus tools in his power and throwing arm, and has taken to his new position at third base.”

House is scouted as a 50 hit, 60 power, 50 run, 55 field and 60 arm. He’s also listed as the best infield arm on the Nats farm.

This time last year the Nats had three other prospects ranked in Baseball America’s preseason top 100. But all three dropped out over the course of the season and did not return to start 2024.

Robert Hassell III was ranked No. 57 before the 2023 season, with Elijah Green right behind him at No. 58 and Cade Cavalli not too far off at No. 61. All three are now on the outside looking in.

Though fans would have liked them ranked higher and for the Nats to have more prospects on the list, having multiple prospects make a top 100 list – and crack the top 55 – by a major publication is high praise for the system.

Baseball Prospectus also recently released its top 100 prospects list. Crews came in at No. 5, Wood at No. 7 (preseason No. 3 last year), House at No. 69 (not ranked preseason last year) and Cavalli at No. 85 (preseason No. 71 last year).

Both Hassell and Green also fell out of this top 100 list after ranking No. 66 and No. 68, respectively, in last year’s preseason rankings. While both are recovering from injuries that plagued their 2023 seasons, they are looking for similar improvement this year that we saw from House, who made a big jump in Baseball Prospectus’ rankings after being unranked this time last year.

MLB Pipeline will reveal its new top 100 prospects list at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, with a one-hour show on MLB Network and Currently, Crews is ranked at No. 4 overall, Wood at No. 7 and House at No. 40.

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