Nats celebrate '22 Minor League Award winners

October 1st, 2022

WASHINGTON -- As the Nationals’ season nears its end, the organization honored its future talents.

Six prospects were recognized on Friday as the winners of the Nats’ 2022 Minor League Award winners. This group includes three of Washington’s Top 30 prospects, as ranked by MLB Pipeline.

With family and friends looking on, the players were presented with their awards following the Nationals’ 5-1 loss to the Phillies at Nationals Park.

“For the players, it's awesome,” said manager Dave Martinez. “It's kind of a gratitude for how they played right all year long. When you win awards like that among your organization, that's huge for them and their development.

“For me, it's a good sign of things to come. We’ve seen some of these guys getting better, developing, and hopefully they continue to do that and they get up here as soon as possible and as soon as we deem they’re ready. … They’ve just got to keep knocking the door down there and get themselves in a position to get up here and help us win games.”

Hitters of the Year: Outfielders Jeremy De La Rosa (Nats’ No. 10) and James Wood (Nats’ No. 3, MLB’s No. 34)
In 101 games between Single-A Fredericksburg and High-A Wilmington, De La Rosa slashed .280/.358/.436 with a .794 OPS, 111 hits, 66 runs scored, 23 doubles, 11 home runs and 67 RBIs. He also stole 39 bases. The 20-year-old began the season by being named the Carolina League Player of the Month in May, with a league-leading 35 hits during that period.

Wood joined the organization at the Trade Deadline as part of the Juan Soto deal with the Padres. He introduced himself by batting .400 in his first seven games with Fredericksburg. The 6-foot-7 20-year-old slashed .293/.366/.463 with 14 runs scored, eight doubles, two homers, 17 RBIs and 10 walks in 21 contests with the FredNats.

Pitcher of the Year: RHP Cade Cavalli (Nats’ No. 4, MLB’s No. 55)
The electric Cavalli went 6-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 20 starts with Triple-A Rochester. He recorded 104 strikeouts to 39 walks in 97 frames, including a complete game. Cavalli, 24, was named the International League Pitcher of the Week on July 11. Just over a month later, he was promoted to the big leagues and debuted on Aug. 26. Cavalli made one start before being sidelined by right shoulder inflammation. 

“This is what we play this game for, is to be at this level,” Cavalli said. “You go through the Minors, and getting recognized in the Minor Leagues is awesome. I’m still very honored. Even though I’m in the big leagues now, it’s really cool to have that award given to you. I know the work that I put in and the work they put into me. We’ve just got to keep working.”

Defensive Player of the Year: SS Jordy Barley
Barley boosted his fielding percentage at shortstop from .853 last season to .960 in 85 games with High-A Wilmington this season. He turned the most double plays among all shortstops in the South Atlantic League (52), and he decreased his errors at the position by 28 from season to season. Barley, 22, played 719 1/3 innings at shortstop.

Baserunner of the Year: OF Jacob Young
Young maximized his baserunning talents to become one of only two Minor League players this season to score at least 100 runs and steal at least 50 bases. He also tied for most runs scored in all the Minors (118). Along with his 52 stolen bases, he was caught stealing only seven times.

Nationals Way Award: 3B Jake Alu
Alu received the recognition for the Nats Minor League player who “best demonstrates the professionalism, leadership, loyalty, passion, selflessness, durability, determination and work ethic required to play the game the ‘Washington Nationals Way.’”

Between 132 games in Double-A and Triple-A, the 25-year-old lefty hitter paced all Nationals Minor Leaguers in batting average (.299), slugging percentage (.506), OPS (.871), doubles (40), extra-base hits (62) and total bases (254). He also tied for first in RBIs (81). Alu concluded the season with a 20-game on-base streak.