Washington Nationals

Nationals plan to call up top prospect James Wood, reports say

James Wood runs the bases after hitting a solo home run during the ninth inning of a spring training game against the Minnesota Twins March 21, 2024.
Nick Cammett for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Washington Nationals plan to call up top prospect James Wood to make his major league debut on Monday against the New York Mets, multiple outlets reported Friday.

The 21-year-old Wood was acquired in the trade that sent Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres and is the third-ranked prospect in Major League Baseball. The 6-foot-7, 234-pound outfielder has shown impressive power in the minors.

Speaking before Friday night's opener of a three-game series at Tampa Bay, Nationals manager Dave Martinez declined to confirm the impending move, which would allow Wood to make his debut at home.

“But I will tell you this, I’m very excited when he does get here,” Martinez said. “He’s an outstanding kid. I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Wood is batting .346 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs in 51 games this season for Triple-A Rochester. In 2023, he hit 26 homers in 473 at-bats in Class A and Double-A.

“He’s a student on the game,” Martinez said. “He wants to learn. He wants to get better. You got to remember he’s still 21 years old. He’s still learning a lot about himself, but he’s got unbelievable talent.”

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Wood was born in the Washington suburb of Rockville, Maryland. He was drafted 62nd overall by the Padres in 2021 out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The Nationals acquired him in August 2022 in the deal for Soto that also brought shortstop CJ Abrams and left-handed starter MacKenzie Gore to Washington.

Abrams and Gore have been mainstays on a rebuilding club that has remained competitive a year after finishing last in the NL East at 71-91. Washington (38-42) entered Friday three games out of an NL wild card spot.

“We lost a really good player, as we all know,” Martinez said. “But to get the quality players that we got and helping us out in the big leagues right now with more to come, it’s exciting. We definitely have a bright future.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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