The talent pool of up-and-coming MLBbros is as good as it’s been in quite some time, so choosing these five elite diamond miners wasn’t as easy.
James Wood, Washington Nationals, OF
The 6-foot-6 and 240-pound power hitting prospect ranks No.7 on MLB prospect rankings list. Wood enjoyed a very productive 2023 season with time split between Single-A Wilmington and Double-A Harrisburg.
Wood showed he’s much more than a power hitter, as he batted a solid .270 with a .536 slugging percentage and .899 OPS. His 26 homers were expected, but his 28 doubles and eight triples, 91 RBI and 65 walks are indicative of his potential as a pure hitter. A guy with refined hit tools who can also power surge, like St. Louis Cardinals phenomJordan Walker.
For his efforts the Nationals No.2 prospect was named the club’s Minor League Hitter of the Year.
Needs Improvement: Woods will need to cut down on the strikeouts (173). That’ll need to change prior to his expected call up sometime in 2024.
Termarr Johnson, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2B
Johnson was pretty electric during the 2023 season. Starring for Single-A Bradenton and High-A Greensboro, Johnson put together a quality season at the plate batting .244 with 18 homers and 59 RBI.
He also tallied 85 total hits and scored 83 runs. One of Johnson’s best traits is his plate discipline. He was able to draw 101 walks, which boosted his on-base percentage to .421. The Pirates have a budding difference-maker at second base.
Johnson’s expected arrival with the Pirates isn’t until 2025, but the anticipation and eagerness around the organization is growing daily. Big things are expected of the former No.4 overall pick. Johnson was named the Pirates Minor League Player of the Year.
During an in-season interview a reporter made reference to Johnson bulking up and getting stronger, the 19-year-old phenom responded with this.
“I’m glad you can see it. I don’t know how much it is, but it’s definitely a good bit.”
Needs Improvement:Much like Wood, Johnson must clean up the 120 strikeouts he posted.
Justin Crawford, Philadelphia Phillies, OF
Being the son of former MLB player Carl Crawford means the bloodline is there. And in 2023 Justin didn’t disappoint one bit. The budding Phillies outfield prospect showed why he was taken with the 17th pick of the 2022 MLB Draft.
The club’s No.3 ranked prospect and MLB’s 77th-ranked prospect batted a remarkable .344 in stops between Single-A Clearwater and High-A Jersey Shore. Crawford also drove in 64 runs and accumulated 47 stolen bases and 32 walks.
Not expected to be called until 2026, Crawford has all the tools to be get an earlier call up to the big leagues. When he was drafted Crawford told reporters this in his introductory interview: “I think I have a high IQ for the game. I take a lot of pride in that and I thank my dad a lot for that.”
Needs Improvement: His low homer numbers (3) are not a cause for concern because he swings a good bat and as he matures and gets stronger that number should increase.
Victor Scott II, St. Louis Cardinals, CF
Scott, the Cardinals No.4 ranked prospect behind the likes of Masyn Winn, Tink Hence and Chase Davis, could be the game’s next great defensive centerfielder.
Victor Scott II spent the 2023 season between High-A Peoria and Double-A Springfield, where he swung a great bat and played elite defense.
A .290 batting average to go along with 166 hits, including 20 doubles and ten triples, 94 stolen bases and 95 runs scored, are numbers that have the Cardinals organization excited.
Needs Improvement: His power numbers and plate consistency will increase as he moves up the pipeline.
Cam Collier, Reds, 3B
The son of former MLB player Lou Collier looks the part, and the belief is he’ll only get better with time. “Bam Bam” recently turned 19-years-old and had a solid season at Single-A Daytona where he batted a respectable .246 with 68 RBI.
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.
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.
On July 11th, MLB’s brightest stars will all gather in the Pacific Northwest for the 2023 MLB All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, home of the Mariners. Three days prior to the big one — on July 8th — the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game will have center stage. That game is MLBs annual showcase of the best prospects throughout all of baseball.
One of this year’s participants will be Washington Nationals slugger James Wood, who’s making quite an impression in the minors.
Wood, who stands an imposing 6-foot-6, hits like a bulldozer and runs like a gazelle. In fact, he’s been so impressive in the Nationals’ farm system since the team landed him in the blockbuster trade that sent superstar Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres, the belief is he could make an appearance with the big club late this season, or definitely be an everyday member in 2024.
Wood’s progression has drawn praise from Washington Nationals brass who are enamored with his combination of size and skill, such as director of player development De Jon Watson.
“I’ve never had a player this tall as graceful as he is,” said Watson.
Wood Is Nationals No.1 Prospect And No.5 Overall Prospect In MLB
Wood who was called up to Double-A Harrisburg in late May, is batting just .236 but he’s also produced four homers, one triple, six doubles and 16 RBI. In 2023, as a whole he’s batting .270 with 13 dingers, 55 RBI and 13 stolen bases. His .897 OPS is one of the highest in the minor leagues.
Since being taken with the 62nd pick of the 2021 MLB Draft, Wood has a batting average of .304 with 28 long balls, 139 RBI and 43 stolen bases, and a .938 OPS.
One reason for Wood’s success is his ability to understand the strike zone.
Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez raves about Wood’s uncanny ability to dissect the strike zone, which for young hitters is never easy as they advance up the ranks.
“He understands the strike zone. The biggest thing for young hitters is understanding what you’re really good at and what you can hit really well. Accepting your walks,” Martinez said. “And he’s done that. The last person we had like that was Soto.”
That’s high praise when you consider how Soto is perceived in D.C. and around MLB.
Wood Has Been Compared To Yankees Superstar Aaron Judge
Because of his size, power, and graceful nature with how he plays the game of baseball, Judge has been compared to New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge, the reigning AL home run king after his 62-homer 2022 season. While Wood understands the comparison he also says their swings are too different for him to really model anything after the Yankees slugger who signed a $360M extension last offseason.
“He’s ridiculous. He’s a special player,” he said. “So even getting those comparisons, it’s a blessing.”
For the Nationals, just having a player like Wood in the fold is a good cornerstone piece of their rebuild. And while he may or may not reach the level of Judge as a player, the folks in D.C. no they have a good one.
Washington Nationals top-ranked prospect James Wood is a towering presence standing 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds.
The 2021 second-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres, who was acquired in the blockbuster Juan Soto trade last summer, has all the tools to be one of the prominent faces of a young, rising Nationals franchise in the very near future. In fact, he may have that opportunity much sooner than anticipated as on Sunday the slugging lefty was promoted from Single-A Wilmington to Double-A Harrisburg.
James Wood Almost Ready For The Show
The 20-year-old Woods has more than proven his ability to handle the game at the minor league level. He has a Big League approach with his batting prowess and ability to draw walks. In 42 games with Wilmington, Woods batted .293 with eight homers and 36 RBI. He also tallied nine doubles, five triples, eight stolen bases, a .392 on-base percentage and a .972 OPS.
Nationals Manager Excited About James Wood
The power that Wood possesses definitely has the attention of Nationals manager Dave Martinez, who told reporters this after the team announced the promotion of the No.7 overall prospect in MLB Pipeline.
“When he hits the ball, he hits it hard,”Martinez said. “And he’s walking, so that’s a good sign. They felt this was like the time to move him up, and he definitely deserved a shot to go up to Double-A.”
Of the five prospects the Nationals received in exchange for superstar Juan Soto last summer, Wood is by far the best, and his ascension only proves it even more.
Congrats to James Wood on his promotion to the Harrisburg Senators‼️
The Nationals have a strong history of promoting prospects in mid-to-late June or early July, but in this instance, they decided not to wait until then to make the call on Wood, who will likely be their future cleanup hitter. The move also suggests that Wood, whose expected major league arrival is currently 2025, may get a call-up to the big leagues as soon as 2024.
Martinez And Nationals Are Big On Prospect Development
Wood’s promotion is a prime example of what the Nationals are focused on just 3.5 seasons removed from winning the franchise’s first and only World Series championship.
Only pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin remain from the 2019 World Series team, so in essence the team is in a completely rebuilt. And that’s just fine with Martinez, who takes pride in seeing players develop.
“For me, it’s all about development for our young players,” Martinez said. “He’s still really young, he’s learning a lot. I’d like to see him play all three outfield positions, because you never know what the need will be here when he gets here. Hopefully he goes down there and plays all three. But he’s going to be a good one. He’s learning a lot, and he’s getting better.”
Wood will excel at every level, his skill set just exudes the various elements it takes to be successful. Of course, Woods will encounter growing pains along the way, but the Nationals have themselves a real Bro Bomber who is just one of a crop of MLBbros that have been taking over our nation’s capital.
Just four seasons after winning the World Series, the Washington Nationals are in a complete rebuild. A huge part of that do-over is James Wood the 6-foot-7 and 240-pound power hitter who’s originally from nearby Rockville, MD. The former IMG Academy star possesses a ton of physical ability, and for a player his size, he’s also extremely quick.
Wood’s strengths are his bat, and how comfortable he is at all three outfield positions. As the Nationals’ future centerfielder, Wood’s instincts bode well for a team that’s going to need that kind of player in center in the future.
When asked about his routine to get more comfortable at the position daily, Wood told reporters this.
“I am just trying to refine a routine and keep working at that,” Wood said. “I’m comfortable playing all three (outfield positions). I spent time at all three during spring. I have mostly been playing center, and trying to help my pitchers win games.”
Wood Gets Off To Hot Start At High Class-A Wilmington
To begin the 2023 season, Wood came out smoking with 11 hits in his first 23 at-bats. He even hit his first home run in that timeframe, showcasing the all-around talent that the Nationals demanded in the blockbuster trade for superstar Juan Soto.
Wood is currently the Nationals’ No.1 ranked prospect and the MLB Pipeline’s 15th-ranked prospect overall. Wood’s main focus is to get better every day and showcase his all-around abilities. He’s been very successful so far with a .277 batting average, 11 RBI and three stolen bases in three attempts.
With his hot start to the season, the ever-confident Wood isn’t getting ahead of himself and told reporters this.
“I think all aspects of my game can continue to grow. I think that is my main goal here. Just trying to get myself as ready as possible and learning how to approach the game each day.”
Nationals Rebuild Is Centered Around Wood
As the Nationals rebuild takes center stage, gone are the likes of the aforementioned Soto, along with Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, Anthony Rendon and others.
But Wood is the new centerpiece of the team’s future, and when you watch him play you can see why. With a powerful bat and shoulders broad enough to carry a franchise, Wood’s continued development is the key to how long the Nats will take to become contenders again.
“I don’t try to reinvent the wheel,” Wood said. “I just go out there every day trying to be prepared and leave everything out there. It is nice to know the organization values me, but it means I still have to keep working. And I got a long way to go.”
Hearing Wood talk like that shows he’s mature beyond his 21 years, and it also proves he’ll be ready to handle the pressure that comes with being a key face of the franchise, along with CJ Abrams, Josiah Gray, Stone Garrett and Elijah Green going forward.