We have more updates from instructional league workouts as we turn the spotlight to the hitters.
Shortstop Yasel Antuna, the Nationals’ No. 8-rated prospect according to MLB.com, is recovering from Tommy John surgery, which could keep him out for about one year. Nationals hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich said Antuna did some stretching and strength training, but no baseball-related activities yet. Antuna, 19, played 87 games for low Single-A Hagerstown this summer before being shut down.
“Yes, he had his surgery and came in and had physical therapy and basically kind of watched,” Gingrich said. “He wasn’t able to do anything at all. Hopefully, by sometime mid-spring training, I think, is what they’re thinking. He will be able to start doing stuff then. Hopefully, (the recovery) will be a little quicker than what a pitcher goes through.”
Shortstop Luis Garcia, the Nationals’ No. 3-rated prospect, moved up from Hagerstown to high Single-A Potomac after making some early-season adjustments. Garcia, 18, hit .297 in 78 games for the Suns with 14 doubles, four triples, three homers and 31 RBIs. In 49 games for Potomac, Garcia hit .299 with seven doubles, two triples, four homers and 23 RBIs.
“He had an outstanding year,” Gingrich said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him, the things he accomplished from where he started from in the month of April in Hagerstown. All the adjustments he made. He made it up to Potomac, just incredible the things that kid did.”
Catcher/first baseman KJ Harrison, the Nats’ No. 30-rated prospect, who came to the Nationals with third baseman Gilbert Lara in the trade that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Brewers, worked out at instructional league with his new team. Harrison, 22, was a third-round selection in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft. The 6-foot, 208-lb. Oregon State product played in 115 games for low Single-A Wisconsin this season.
“First time I got to meet him was here in instructs,” Gingrich said. “Big, strong, physical kid. Loves hitting. We did a lot of stuff with him at first base. It was good just to get to know him and learn a little bit about him.”