This should be the year Nationals fans can track the progress on the field of the No. 7 prospect in the system, according to Baseball America, right-hander Andry Lara.
Lara just turned 17 on Jan. 6)and is a hard-throwing starter who is not afraid to go after hitters. The Coro, Venezuela, native is expected to get some work in the Nats’ Rookie-level system.
Baseball America’s Nats correspondent, Lacy Lusk, said Lara appears in the Nats Top 10 because the right-hander is versatile for his age.
“I don’t think he would be this high on a lot of lists,” Lusk said. “He’s not just a stuff guy. They actually like the way he goes about attacking hitters, even as a 16-year-old last year.”
His 6-foot-4, 210-lb. frame seems to be advanced as well for a kid who just turned 17.
Lara signed in 2019 for $1.25 million. MLBPipeline.com then ranked him as the No. 16 international signing.
“Usually, you see 175 lbs. from the new signees from Venezuela,” Lusk said. “But if he’s already 210 pounds, then, yes, they are going to have a big, strapping right-hander work his way through the system.”
The 2019 Nats international class was smaller than usual, so the figure he signed for shows just how high the organization is on what they saw from Lara.
“They do (like him a lot),” Lusk said. “And with all the success they’ve had with international signings, he’s the one they are highest on right now out of this 2019 crop.”
MLB.com reported at his signing they believe Lara can be “a top-of-the-rotation starter, with a fastball that hovers around 92-94 mph; he has reached as high as 96 mph with it. His two-seam fastball might be his best pitch, but he also throws a power breaking ball. Lara also has good feel for his changeup, which features some sink. And he knows how to attack hitters, with some deception in his delivery and an aggressive approach.”
The Nats have done so well with their international signings in the field recently, it will be nice to see if Lara can continue to progress this summer on the mound. This would demonstrate the club also has the ability to find top-notch pitching from their international scouting, similar to their uncovering of Wander Suero for the bullpen, signed way back in 2010 at 18. Suero made his major league debut in 2018.