Get to know Abrams, Gore and the Nats' newest top prospects

August 3rd, 2022

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are ushering in a new wave of young talent after completing a blockbuster trade that sent Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres on Tuesday. Get to know the five young prospects who were acquired to shape the next chapter of the Nats’ foundation.

C.J. Abrams
Position: Shortstop
Age: 21
Draft: No. 6 overall, 2019, Padres
Years of control: Five after 2022

Scouting report: Abrams showcases 80-grade speed with range and a strong arm. He is projected to have average power while looking to improve against breaking and offspeed pitches. Abrams was named Georgia’s 2019 Gatorade High School Player of the Year.

2022: Abrams began the season as the Padres’ top prospect and No. 9 overall. He made his Major League debut on Opening Day this year, amid Fernando Tatis Jr.’s left wrist fracture. In 46 games, Abrams slashed .232/.285/.320 with 29 hits, 16 runs, 11 RBIs, two home runs and one stolen base.

How he fits: Luis García can shift to second base and Abrams can fill the shortstop role. He was assigned to Triple-A Rochester following the trade.

What the Nats have to say: “He’s a tooled-up, twitchy type of live-body guy that can really run, really play shortstop, very acrobatic and light on his feet. He’s got twitchy hands and really a quick bat. We see him as a five-tool type of talent. He can steal you a base. He stays at shortstop, he’s got a good arm and [he is] a guy that can hit at the top of any order.” -- General manager Mike Rizzo

MacKenzie Gore
Position: Left-handed pitcher
Age: 23
Draft: No. 3 overall, 2017, Padres
Years of control: Five after 2022

2022: Gore began the season as the Padres’ No. 4 prospect and No. 86 overall. He debuted on April 15, and he went 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 16 games (13 starts). Gore is on the 15-day injured list with left elbow inflammation.

Scouting report: After being named the 2017 Gatorade National Player of the Year, Gore was hampered by a blister problem his first full season, followed by mechanical issues in 2020. Prior to his injury this season, he showed flashes of Rookie of the Year candidacy with a fastball that averaged 94.7 mph. He yielded more whiffs on secondary pitches with a low-80s curveball, an upper-80s slider and a mid-80s changeup.

How he fits: Once healthy, Gore will join the starting rotation.

What the Nats have to say: “[He] has been a famous guy, a name for years. Finally put it all together at the age of 23. He’s got big stuff, a big arm from the left side. [He] came out of the chute very, very strong and kind of faded out because he’s pitched from limited innings for his whole professional career. So we’re going to go easy with him when he gets here and really kind of take him slow and step by step.” -- Rizzo

Robert Hassell III
Position: Outfield
Age: 20
Draft: No. 8 overall, 2020, Padres
Years of control: N/A, yet to debut

How he fits: Hassell is viewed by the Nats as a center fielder. He is ranked as their new No. 1 prospect and No. 21 overall.

2022: Hassell hit .299/.379/.467 with 49 runs scored, 91 hits, 19 doubles, 55 RBIs and 10 homers in 75 games for High-A Fort Wayne.

Scouting report: Hassell was revered as the best pure high school hitter in his Draft class, with a left-handed swing that drives to the middle and opposite fields. He already has demonstrated control over the zone, and his numbers are expected to increase as he gets stronger. He has arm strength, range and speed to play the corner outfield as well.

What the Nats have to say: “Hassell is a five-tool talent that we believe stays in center field, and [he is] a guy that can hit with power, play defense, throw, run and steal bases. His ceiling is high.” -- Rizzo

James Wood
Position: Outfield
Age: 19
Draft: No. 62 overall (second round), 2021, Padres
Years of control: N/A, yet to debut

How he fits: Wood has a strong enough arm to transition from center field to right. He is ranked as the Nationals’ No. 4 prospect.

2022: Wood slashed .337/.453/.601 with a 1.054 OPS and 10 home runs at High-A.

Scouting report: Wood is projected as a potential 30-homer hitter. He pairs strong instincts on the bases with skills as a plus runner. Early into his career, Wood has exceeded expectations on defense and has improved his accuracy.

What the Nats have to say: “A 6-[foot]-7, specimen of a body. He’s got big-time power. He was a plus-plus runner. Just a good, balanced player.” -- Rizzo

Jarlin Susana
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Age: 18
Draft: 2022 international signing class, Padres
Years of control: N/A, yet to debut

How he fits: Susana is a future member of the starting rotation. He is ranked as the Nationals’ No. 8 prospect.

2022: Susana is 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA in eight games (seven starts) in Rookie-level ball.

Scouting report: Listed at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, Susana was the top-ranked arm in the 2021-22 international class. He showcases a triple-digit fastball with a mid-to-upper-80s slider and a low-80s curveball. He is developing a changeup, while working on overall command.

What the Nats have to say: “The youngest and least known of the group is possibly the highest upside of the group. That was the piece that we coveted and really wanted after what we call ‘The Elite Four.’ … We believe if he was in this 2022 Draft, he would have been a high-to-mid first-round pick.” -- Rizzo