Thanks to an array of injuries, the Washington Nationals have needed to call up many more minor leaguers than expected this season. Some of these players will make an impact throughout the year, while others were only short term fill-ins. Let’s look at three prospects who could continue to make an immediate impact in Washington.
1. Zach Walters – Walters is a utility infield who can hit for power. He differs from the usual utility infielder, as they are often hit for contact but have little power. As the season continues Walters could fill the role previously occupied by Steve Lombardozzi while providing a different skill set. Walters can play all around in the infield and has even spent time in left field this year. Because he does not hit for average, he could find himself in AAA Syracuse after the returns of Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche if Greg Dobbs begins to swing a hot bat. However, his power has been a much needed asset for the Nats as he has already hit three pinch hit homers.
2. Blake Treinen – Acquired as the secondary peace in the Michael Morse trade with the Seattle Mariners, Treinen has been surprisingly consistent at the major league level. Though he has spent most of the year in the minors, and will most likely be heading back there when Gio Gonzalez returns from the DL, he could make an impact later on if another pitcher is injured or begins to struggle. Treinen has a sinker that can reach the upper 90’s, but can lose his control at times. If a spot in the rotation or a long relief role becomes vacant, look for Treinen to get more opportunities in the big leagues.
3. Steven Souza Jr. – Souza Jr. is an outfielder with an intriguing combination of power and speed. He has been held back throughout his career due to injuries, high strikeout totals, and a PED suspension. Once Bryce Harper returns it is difficult to envision a scenario in which he returns to the major leagues this season, but Souza Jr. could return while Harper is still on the DL. Nate McLouth has struggle at the plate so far, and though it is unlikely that he would be designated for assignment any time soon, I would not put it out of the question.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, the injuries to the major league squad’s regulars has sped up the development of many minor leaguers. In addition to the three players listed above, starting pitcher A.J. Cole could possibly find himself in Washington before the year is over. However, as the season progresses, it is more likely that the Nationals add more previously injured major league regulars to the 25 man roster than minor league call ups.