WASHINGTON - He is from the Dominican Republic, plays the outfield, bats from the left side, and is adept at hitting pitches to the opposite field.
But it is not Juan Soto. This player in question is Jeremy De La Rosa, 18, the youngest in the 60-player pool for the Nationals this year at the alternate training site in Fredericksburg.
“Every left-handed hitter we have from the Dominican will probably be compared to Juan Soto,” Mark Scialabba, Assistant General Manager, Player Development, said with a laugh. “But there is only one Juan Soto.”
De La Rosa, who turns 19 in January, began his pro career in North America last year and hit .232 with an OPS of .709 in 26 games with one double, two triples, two homers, and 10 RBI.
That may not be awe-inspiring but the Nationals are hopeful.
“He was a later addition to the [Fredericksburg] camp. We really wanted to him over to the alternate site,” Scialabba told Federal Baseball on Monday.
De La Rosa, before that, had been in the Dominican Republic working with Jorge Mejia, the hitting coach in 2019 for low Single-A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League. He is an outfielder who can play all three spots.
“He worked extra hard in the Dominican,” Scialabba said. “We are very high on him. He has an advanced approach, he stays through the baseball.”
Does that sound familiar?
[ed. note - “Hmmmmm...? (see below).”]
#Nats' Johnny DiPuglia on @MLBNetworkRadio: GM Mike Rizzo trusted dev. staff promoting players Harper, Soto, Robles, García, "... and next year, we'll probably have another guy which I'll let you know about at a later date that will probably be in the big leagues at a young age."— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) August 29, 2020