There hasn’t been a whole lot to get excited about for the Washington Nationals this season, as some young players like Josiah Gray and Luis Garcia have made strides at the major league level, but most veteran players on the roster – including Juan Soto – have struggled throughout most of the first half of 2022.
The team will continue to get younger at next month’s Trade Deadline, but their most impactful young player will likely be added via the MLB First-Year Player Draft Sunday night.
The Nationals own the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, and it’s the highest pick they’ve had since selecting Bryce Harper first overall in 2010. With their top pick, they’re almost certain to select a position player for the second consecutive year (Brady House in 2021). Last season was a departure from their typical approach, which had been to select a high-risk, high-reward pitcher. I discussed Washington’s recent draft history last year, and NexGen Nats offered a harsh but fair critique of the team’s failures in the first round since 2012.
This time around, they won’t really even have the option of taking a pitcher, because this year’s group is rather subpar.
The consensus top two prospects in this year’s crop are outfielder Druw Jones and shortstop Jackson Holliday – both of whom are sons of long-time, highly productive Major Leaguers (Andruw Jones and Matt Holliday). Beyond that, there’s less agreement within the draft community. However, there’s a group of four players from whom Washington’s selection seems most likely to come.