Wood swats homer in first game since being traded

August 6th, 2022
Jerry Espinoza/MiLB

It was three days ago when James Wood was traded from the Padres to the Nationals as part of the Juan Soto/Josh Bell deal, and he showed why the future is bright for the organization with the young players they received.

The No. 4 Nationals prospect impressed in his first game with the organization Friday, as he went 4-for-6 with a homer, three RBIs and a stolen base in Single-A Fredericksburg’s 10-9, 10-inning loss to Down East.

The numbers have been impressive for Wood this season as he slashed .337/.453/.601 with a 1.054 OPS in his first season at the Single-A level with his former organization. The move has not stopped the 19-year-old from producing right away with his new team.

The outfielder’s first at-bat did not go well as he struck out in the first inning, but he was productive the rest of the way. After an RBI single in the third, and before tacking on two more late singles, Wood showed what he is capable of power-wise, hitting a two-run homer to left-center field in the fifth.

The power development continues to show for Wood, as he has tallied 11 homers on the season, after hitting three in his first season at the Rookie-level in 2021.

Nights like Friday show why Wood made the wise decision of going for baseball over basketball. Basketball is in his family genes, as his father played professionally in Europe, while his sister is a captain of the Northwestern University women's basketball team.

The lineage and talent in basketball may be there, but Wood decided to stick with baseball and showed his dedication when he moved from his home in Maryland to attend IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) to focus on baseball.

That decision paid off when he was selected by the Padres in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Wood then spent '21 in the Arizona Complex League, where he slashed .372/.465/.535 in 26 games.

The Maryland native started the 2022 season at the ACL, but after five games, he was sent to Single-A Lake Elsinore, where he went 65-for-193 with 19 doubles, one triple and 45 RBIs. It's a new start for Wood in a new organization, but nights like he had on Friday show the potential he has to become the next big player for the Nationals.