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Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talks plan for prospects after 2020 campaign...

What’s next for the Nationals’ prospects in Fredericksburg and around the country (and world)...

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Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked over the weekend about the team’s goals with their Alternate Training Site in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and how they attempted to use the facility built for their High-A affiliate to keep some of their prospects progressing instead of just sitting home with the minor league season wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We thought it was vital to get some of our good prospects down there so they didn’t have kind of a wasted 34 of a season with no minor league baseball,” Rizzo explained.

With two weeks left in the 60-game MLB season, however, there is the question of what to do next, since the recent reporting is that the Instructional and the Arizona Fall Leagues are expected to be canceled as well. Rizzo’s plan?

“We’ve got plans in the works,” he explained. “Our goal is to have a full instructional league.

“I’m not sure what they’re even calling it this year, but it’s some type of instructional league in West Palm [Beach, FL].

“There [are] still a lot of hoops that we have to jump through, but our plan is to do that, and we think it’s extremely important for us, to get some of our prospects some type of playing to get our eyes on them before Spring Training next year.

“Our plan is to move forward with that. Again, there’s nothing that’s concrete right now other than that we’re progressing towards that end.”

Will it be players who were at Fredericksburg? Players who have until now been at home on their own working however they can?

“It will be a mix,” Rizzo said. “It will be an expanded amount of players. A lot of our current draft class this year who we haven’t seen play as professionals yet, also some of our more traditional instructional league-types will be there. High profile prospects along with guys that we want to see more of. So, it’s going to be extremely important for us, and it will be a really good venue for us to get these guys some professional work under their belts, and it kind of allows us to go into Spring Training next year, which we hope will be a normal Spring Training not having to see them for the first time when they arrive next year.”

Before the MLB season is over though, and after Rizzo said on Sunday that down the stretch you’d see, “... a steady diet of our young players and players that we’re committed to for the long-term,” will we see any other players make their MLB debut, after the seven who have in the Nationals’ first 45 games?

The Nationals’ 2019 and 2020 1st Round picks, Jackson Rutledge and Cade Cavalli, have impressed in Fredericksburg. And 2019 4th Round pick Matt Cronin is considered a fast-rising prospects.

Any decision they make, Rizzo assured reporters, “... is well thought out, well-crafted by many, many people.”

“That’s entails scouting, player development people, experience, are they ready for the big leagues, and we’ve never had an issue with starting anybody’s [arbitration] clock, and that’s not one of the precursors to bringing a guy to the big leagues, it’s that when he gets to the big leagues, we want them to stay in the big leagues, to be ready to perform in the big leagues.

“And with the limited professional experience with the Rutledges and Cavallis, and those type of guys, they’re certainly — we don’t feel like they’re ready to compete, without some of them pitching a professional inning.”