These Nationals prospects broke out in 2022

October 18th, 2022

_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.

As the Nationals build for their future, there are prospects to watch across all Minor League levels. We’ve talked about the Nats’ top prospects, including the group that ranks in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 -- outfielders Robert Hassell III (No. 22), Elijah Green (No. 28), James Wood (No. 34) and right-hander Cade Cavalli (No. 55). This week, let’s take a look at others who emerged this season and are poised for a notable 2023.

3 players who forced their way onto the radar this year

INF Jake Alu (Unranked): In a standout season in Double-A and Triple-A, Alu paced the Nationals’ affiliates with a .299 batting average, .506 slugging percentage, .871 OPS, 40 doubles and 62 extra-base hits. He tied for first with 81 RBIs and finished second with a .365 on-base percentage and 150 hits. Alu, 25, played the majority of his games at third base, where he recorded a Minor League-best 17 defensive runs saved. He received Washington’s “Nationals Way Award” and was named the International League Player of the Month in September.

1B/DH Will Frizzell (Unranked): The lefty hitter finished the season strong with Fredericksburg, slashing .500/.528/.750 and a Carolina League-best 1.278 OPS in eight September contests. Frizzell, 23, earned Carolina League Player of the Month honors for that performance. On the year, he batted .388 in 45 games between Rookie Level and Single-A.

OF Jacob Young (Unranked): One of only two Minor League players to score at least 100 runs (118) and steal at least 50 bases (52), Young was named the Nationals’ Minor League Base Runner of the Year. Young, 23, tied for most runs scored among all Minor Leaguers in his 115 games with Fredericksburg. He was caught stealing only seven times.

2 possible breakout players to watch in 2023

OF T.J. White (Nationals’ No. 20 prospect): Only 19, White slashed .258/.353/.432 with Fredericksburg. The switch-hitter also recorded 20 doubles, 11 home runs, 52 RBIs and eight stolen bases in his first full season of pro ball since being drafted in the fifth round last June.

LHP Jose A. Ferrer (Unranked): Across Single-A, High-A and Double-A, Ferrer went 3-2 with a 2.48 ERA in 48 relief appearances (65 1/3 innings). He earned 11 saves and finished 31 games while being named the replacement to Cade Cavalli in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

1 big question for next season

How will RHP Cole Henry (Nationals’ No. 6 prospect) progress? Henry excelled at the Double-A level (0.76 ERA in seven starts) and was promoted to Triple-A in June. But he was sidelined after two starts with Rochester, and he underwent season-ending thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. A second-round pick by the Nats in 2020, Henry showed strong potential as a future piece of the pitching staff with a Major League debut ETA of '23, per MLB Pipeline, prior to the procedure.