Thurman runs down Nats young outfield prospects

Here is our final installment on the young outfield corps for the Nationals, guys that are making some noise at the lower levels. Most of these prospects got to work out and play games during instructional league in West Palm Beach, Fla., back in October.

One well regarded outfielder who did not get to participate but is certainly worth notice is 17-year-old Roismar Quintana from Caracas, Venezuela. He had a quad injury and didn’t play games this season, but Nationals outfielder/baserunning coordinator Gary Thurman had updates on past work with him and his potential down the road.

The-Ballpark-of-Palm-Beaches-curly-W-sidebar.jpg“He is a big strong guy, he’s got all the tools,” Thurman said. “I saw him last year in instructional ball. He’s very raw, but he’s (17 - birthday is Feb. 6). I haven’t seen him play a lot but I know from doing the drills with him he’s got a very good arm. He is a powerful runner. He’s not like a Deion Sanders-type but more like (a football player). He looks like he could be a running back.

“He’s got some pop on his bat, some raw power. But because he was hurt a lot he didn’t get to work this year’s instructional ball. He’s a baby, but I think he’s going to be pretty good.”

Thurman pointed out the most experienced outfielder is 24-year-old Cody Wilson, right-handed hitter/thrower at 6-foot-2, 195 lbs. Wilson played for the rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals, the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays and the low Single-A Hagerstown Suns in 2019. Wilson is a 13th-round 2018 selection out of Florida Atlantic, who slashed .222/.317/.330 in 86 games. Obviously he would love to bring up those numbers if there is a season here in 2021.

“We have a talented outfield,” Thurman said. “It’s in the lower levels but we got some good players, like Cody Wilson. He’s probably the best outfielder that we have in the organization. He’s a little older and it really hurt that this year they didn’t get to play. You talk about guys with quick twitch, he’s flies. He takes great angles. He throws with accuracy. He’s got a plus arm. He does it all.”

Other young prospects who worked out and played at instructional league include Andry Arias, Jeremy De La Rosa, Daniel Marte, Jorge Hurtado, Jake Randa and Gage Canning, among others.

“Andry Arias, he’s another young guy that we have,” Thurman said. “He’s going to be a good one. De La Rosa, he’s on track to being an All-Star-type guy because he’s going to hit with power and he can play center field very well, and he is young. Hurtado is a big strong kid. Daniel Marte has probably got one of the better arms in our organization from the outfield. He is strong, can play some center. Jake Randa can handle the bat. Gage Canning is probably one of our most accurate throwers. He is very consistent in the outfield. I think he is a corner guy.

“I like all of our young guys, including Justin Connell, Braian Fernandez, Ricardo Mendez. It’s very enjoyable to work with those guys.”

Thurman said the Nats do not currently have that Billy Burns-type-speed runner in this class, but he does like the running ability he has seen from Wilson and De La Rosa. Burns was a Nats 2011 draft pick known for his speed and he played in the major leagues from 2014-2017. Burns is currently a free agent. Thurman said that without a team in Auburn or Hagerstown this upcoming season, there is a good chance Nats fans will get to see some of these young outfielders play for the brand new low Single-A Fredericksburg Nationals in 2021.

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