WASHINGTON – Perhaps the highlight of the pro career of Nick Banks, a prospect in the Nationals’ farm system for now, came in June 2019.
The outfielder from Texas hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning as the Northern Division beat the Southern squad 8-7 in the Carolina League All-Star Game before 6,927 fans at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, Maryland.
He had played in two previous minor league All-Star Games but doesn’t remember doing much at the plate.
“Nothing like this,” he said after he was named MVP of the Carolina League event.
Now another important event could take place on Dec. 10 as Banks is eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
According to MLB.com, teams have until Friday, Nov. 20 to decide what to do with their 40-man roster.
Some of those not on the 40-man roster are eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
“Players signed at age 18 or younger need to be added to their club’s 40-Man roster within five seasons or they become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
Players who signed at age 19 or older need to be protected within four seasons.
Mark Scialabba, assistant general manager, player development for the Nationals, confirmed to Federal Baseball on Sunday, Nov. 15 that Banks is among a group of Washington minor leaguers eligible for the Rule 5 Draft as of that day.
As of this morning, the Nationals haven’t added any Rule 5 eligible players to their 40-Man roster.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis listed outfielder/infielder Cole Freeman, infielder prospect Yasel Antuna, catchers Israel Pineda and Raudy Read, and right-handed pitchers Joan Adon and Sterling Sharp as the other Nationals’ Rule 5 eligible players who are on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top 30 prospects in the organization.
Freeman was teammates with Banks on Single-A Potomac in 2019 and was also named to the Carolina League All-Star game.
“He has been an aggressive hitter,” Freeman said of Banks during the 2019 season.
Sharp was drafted by the Nationals in 2016 out of Division II Drury. He was picked up by the Marlins in the Rule 5 Draft in 2019, made his Major League debut with the Fish with three games in 2020 and then was returned to the Nationals.
Sharp recently had surgery after being part of the 60-player pool this summer in Virginia.
Adon pitched for Single-A Hagerstown in 2019 and was part of the 60-player pool and Instructional League roster this fall.
Pineda, who has drawn raves from catching instructors, also played for the Suns in 2019 and was part of the alternate site in Fredericksburg and instructs in West Palm Beach this year.
“How far he has come in such a short amount of time is amazing. It is amazing what he has done when you look at the limited amount of games we have been able to play for obvious reasons,” catching coordinator Michael Barrett said of Pineda and the 2020 minor league season that wasn’t in an interview with Federal Baseball.
Read, another catcher, made his MLB debut with the Nationals in 2017 and was part of the 60-player pool in Virginia this year. He played in six games with Washington in 2019.
Banks was drafted by the Nationals in the fourth round in 2016 out of Texas A&M. He was named to the 2016 New York-Penn League and 2018 South Atlantic League All-Star games.
Banks also played in 45 games with Double-A Harrisburg in 2019. He was not on the Nats’ 60-player pool or instructs roster this year.