A look at Alu: Get to know Nats No. 27 prospect
This story was excerpted from Jessica Camerato’s Nationals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.
Infielder Jake Alu turned heads last season in the Nationals farm system, and this spring the 25-year-old from New Jersey is in camp vying for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
As an unranked prospect, Alu led all Nats Minor Leaguers in batting average (.299), slugging percentage (.506), OPS (.871), doubles (40) and extra-base hits (62) last season. His impressive performance across the Double-A and Triple-A levels garnered International League Player of the Month honors in September and Washington’s annual “Nationals Way Award.”
Protected by the Nationals in the Rule 5 Draft and added to the 40-man roster, Alu is ranked as their No. 27 prospect by MLB Pipeline this preseason. With experience at second base and third base, he will contend for a backup role on a team that values defensive versatility.
Alu is slashing .333/.385/.417 in his first seven Spring Training games.
In this prospect Q&A, get to know Alu off the field. Stay tuned for other Q&As during camp.
MLB.com: If you could play a game as any athlete from any sport, who would it be?
Alu: I think I’ve got to go [with] Michael Jordan back in his prime. That would be unbelievable. After seeing that documentary as well, that just solidified it.
MLB.com: What non-baseball accomplishment are you proud of?
Alu: I shot under 80 in golf this offseason. It was actually in Boca [Raton, Fla.]. I came down here with my buddies for a week and we played a few rounds of golf. I shot sub-80, so that was a big, big accomplishment for myself.
MLB.com: How long have you been golfing?
Alu: Ever since I was a kid. I would just go out with my dad and grandpa. It was never very consistent.
MLB.com: What is your favorite pizza topping and where do you get it from?
Alu: I’ve got to go [with] sausage -- a hundred percent, a hundred percent … There’s two [restaurants] right across the street from each other called Papa’s and De Lorenzo’s.
MLB.com: Who have you met that you couldn’t believe you were meeting?
Alu: This is going to sound so Jersey of me. (Laughs) I met Pauly D [from “The Jersey Shore”]. I was so rattled. I was like, “You couldn’t be more the exact person I thought you were going to be.” … It was [at] the Philly airport three or four years ago. … He was standing in the Dunkin’ Donuts line and I was right behind him, so I had to say something.
MLB.com: Did you take a picture with him?
Alu: No, I didn’t want to do all that. I had to be suave, you know?
MLB.com: How do you think that your teammates would describe your personality off the field?
Alu: Off the field, I really just like being the relaxed guy, being able to hang with everybody. I don’t like being alone too much. I like hanging with the guys and just kicking it with them, just being around everybody.
MLB.com: Who is your best friend in baseball?
Alu: My best friend in baseball has to be one of my buddies growing up who actually got drafted by the Nationals, Anthony Peroni. He was drafted in 2017 [in the 14th round]. We actually, ironically enough, live right down the street from each other. We train every offseason together. He’s in Independent Ball, but we grew up together.
MLB.com: A lot of players spend their offseason in Florida or Arizona. What’s the best part being close to home in New Jersey?
Alu: I like being close to home in the offseason, but those people who are going out to Arizona and Florida are smart, because I think I might be doing that this offseason, too. (Laughs)
MLB.com: You live close to Philly and New York. What’s your favorite big city?
Alu: Definitely New York City. I go there all the time on the weekends. My girlfriend lives there, so I’m always there. A bunch of my buddies from college live there as well. I’m always finding myself taking the train right into the city.
MLB.com: What’s your New York City vibe once you’re there?
Alu: I usually end up going into SoHo, but I like the Meatpacking District and Chelsea area. It’s beautiful there.
MLB.com: Lastly, what’s the movie you’ve seen so many times you can quote it?
MLB.com: You said that without hesitation.
Alu: We used to make a joke in college about it – I knew all the lines. It’s just a good, heartwarming movie. You know, a little underdog story. It kind of reminds me of myself, I guess.