WASHINGTON – The Instructional League roster of the Nationals this month has included three players who have yet to turn 18: pitcher Andry Lara, from Venezuela, who turns 18 in January; infielder Juan Garcia, who is from the Dominican and turns 18 in February; and outfielder Roismar Quintana, also from Venezuela who also turns 18 in February.
Among the handful of 18-year-old prospects in camp in West Palm Beach, Florida has been outfielder Jeremy De La Rosa, who is from the Dominican Republic and played in the Gulf Coast League in 2019.
A left-handed hitter, De La Rosa has drawn comparisons with Juan Soto when it comes to plate discipline, and an ability to go the other way with pitches on the outside part of the plate.
After spending time at the alternate site in Fredericksburg, De La Rosa has gained more experience in Florida this month. He turns 19 on Jan. 16.
“We had an opportunity to bring a few position players to Fredericksburg. He was working extra hard down in the Dominican Republic with one of our hitting coaches,” Mark Scialabba, assistant general manager, player development, told Federal Baseball this week.
“We felt he would fit in and he did so (in Virginia). Within a few days he was never intimidated,” Scialabba added. “He has plus-bat speed; he tries to go to all fields.”
De La Rosa has seen time at all three outfield positions in Florida, with a focus on center field.
“We are happy with his progress; he is still learning. He is very green,” Scialabba said.
The Nationals signed De La Rosa and several other foreign prospects, including Lara, Garcia, and Quintana, on July 2, 2019.
In his first pro season, De La Rosa hit .232 with two homers, 10 RBI and .709 OPS in 26 games and 82 at-bats in 2019 in the Gulf Coast League.