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Washington Nationals select contracts of prospects Yasel Antuna & Joan Adon

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Nationals add infielder Yasel Antuna and right-hander Joan Adon to 40-Man roster to protect both from selection in this year’s Rule 5 Draft.

Nationals’ prospect Yasel Antuna, screencap via @TigresdelLicey on Twitter.

Ahead of this afternoon’s deadline to add Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to MLB teams’ 40-Man rosters, Washington’s Nationals selected the contracts of 21-year-old infielder Yasel Antuna and 22-year-old right-hander Joan Adon, protecting both from selection.

That leaves infielder/outfielder Cole Freeman, outfielder Nick Banks, catchers Israel Pineda and Raudy Read, and right-hander Sterling Sharp as the only players on MLB Pipeline’s list of the Nationals’ Top 30 prospects left unprotected in this year’s Rule 5.

Sharp, of course, was selected by the Miami Marlins in last year’s draft, and the 25-year-old, 2016, 22nd Round pick by the Nats debuted for the Fish and made four appearances out of the bullpen before he was returned to the Nationals in late August.

As per the rules of the Rule 5 Draft, teams that, “... do pick a player must pay $100,000 to the club from which said player was selected.”:

“Rule 5 Draft picks are assigned directly to the drafting club’s 26-man roster and must be placed on outright waivers in order to be removed from the 26-man roster in the subsequent season. Should the player clear waivers, he must be offered back to his previous team for $50,000 and can be outrighted to the Minors only if his original club does not wish to reacquire him. A Rule 5 Draft pick can be placed on the Major League injured list, but he must be active for a minimum of 90 days to avoid being subject to the aforementioned roster restrictions in the next campaign.”

Players who, “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.”

Antuna signed for a reported $3.9M out of the Dominican Republic back in 2016, at the same time the Nationals signed Luis García (who debuted in the majors at 20 years old during the 2020 campaign) for a reported $1.3M.

Antuna “is the No. 4 prospect in Washington’s Minor League system, according to Baseball America,” the Nationals wrote this afternoon in a press release on the decision to add the infielder to the 40-Man roster.

“He is also cited by Baseball America as being the ‘Best Hitter for Average’ and the ‘Best Power Hitter’ among Nationals’ Minor Leaguers.

“A switch-hitting, versatile infielder, Antuna was a member of Washington’s 60-Player Pool in 2020 and spent the entire season at the Alternate Training Site (Fredericksburg).

Following the season, he participated in the Nationals Instructional League.

In his three seasons in the Nationals’ system, Antuna has put up a combined .247./325/.353 line, 22 doubles, five triples, and seven homers in 138 games and 569 plate appearances.

He also had Tommy John surgery in 2018, and returned to play just three games total in the Gulf Coast League in 2019 before spending this past summer in Virginia.

Adon, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2016 as well, for a reported $50,000, was, the Nationals noted, “ranked as the No. 14 prospect in the 2016 international signing class by both Baseball America and MLB.com,” that year.

Adon was part of the 60-Player Pool as well this year, working in Fredericksburg and then West Palm Beach in the Instructional League with no minor league season this year.

In 2019, he went, “11-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) with Single-A Hagerstown,” as the Nats noted in their press release today.

“[Adon] struck out 90 batters in 105 [IP], [and his] 11 wins were tied for most among [Nats’] farmhands and tied for second among South Atlantic League hurlers. He allowed three earned runs or fewer in 19 of 22 appearances.”

Overall, Adon is 16-5 with a 3.85 ERA, 75 walks, and 162 Ks in 55 games (21 starts) over four seasons in the Nationals’ system.

“He is a power arm that attacks the zone with his fastball, change, and slider,” Assistant GM in Player Development Mark Scialabba told FBB’s David Driver this past September.

“[Adon] does a really good [job] of pitching up and down with his fastball and his change has become a weapon he can use against right and left-handed batters.”