When the Washington Nationals traded superstar outfielder Juan Soto last season, move around the D.C. area was met with sadness. Soto was one of the last pieces left from the 2019 World Series team. One year later the haul the club received in return for Soto is beginning to take shape.
That group is led by 6-foot-6- and 240-pound slugger James Wood, who’s the club’s No.2 ranked prospect and MLB’s No.7 overall prospect. Wood just finished his season with the Harrisburg Senators (he was called up May 28th), with seven hits in his final three games, which include a pair of doubles and crushing his 26th homer of the season, and 18th with Double-A Harrisburg.
For his efforts the former IMG Academy standout was named MiLB Player of the Week for the second time this season. His previous award came during his time with High-A Wilmington.
Since that May call-up Wood posted a respectable 248/.334/.492 slash line with 40 extra-base hits, 55 RBI, 48 runs scored and went 10-12 in stolen base attempts. What was even more shocking was the success Wood (a lefty himself) had versus left-handed pitching instead of right-handed pitching.
Wood Loves Being Close To Home
A native of Rockville, MD, Wood says he’s excited to be back in the DMV playing for the hometown Nationals. In an interview with MLB Network, Wood raved about the opportunity to be back home.
“It was definitely a blessing,” Wood said of the trade. “Coming back to Washington, playing for the hometown team. I mean, it kind of took me by surprise for sure but I’m really excited for the opportunity and just super excited to work with the Nationals and they’ve been great so far.
Being back in Washington, also teamed Wood back up with Elijah Green, the Nationals 2022 first-round pick and his former high school teammate at IMG Academy. The two are expected to be cornerstone pieces of the Nationals future going forward.
“I’m sure I’m going to be seeing him around and I’m really looking forward to playing with him again,” Wood said. “This is going to be a lot of fun.”
Wood Has Big Plans This Offseason To Prepare For 2024
With the 2023 offseason just underway, Wood isn’t resting on his laurels. The imposing slugger says he’s gonna get right in the gym and working on goals he wants to meet and crush for 2024.
“I definitely plan on hitting the weights pretty hard, put on some weight,” Wood said. “I mean, I lost a little bit throughout the season, which happens sometimes, but I’m just really, really looking forward to getting myself prepared so that I’m ready to hit the ground running come springtime next year.”
Wood’s estimated time of arrival to the majors is sometime in 2024. If he continues to play at the level displayed this season, it’s safe to say he’ll likely be called up pretty early next season.