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Washington Nationals’ prospect Jackson Cluff excited about new opportunity

The infielder is one of the prospects from the Nationals named to the Arizona Fall League ...

Scottsdale Scorpions v Phoenix Desert Dogs Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

WASHINGTON - This was a challenging season for Jackson Cluff, an infielder who was a sixth-round pick by the Washington Nationals in 2019 out of BYU.

Cluff went on the Injured List twice - in May and August - with Double-A Harrisburg and ended up hitting .223 at three different stops in the minors in 2021.

But the Colorado native is excited about being named to the Arizona Fall League roster with Surprise.

His manager there will be Mario Lisson, who held the same post for Single-A Fredericksburg in the Washington system this past season.

“It’s a great opportunity to represent the Nats,” Cluff wrote to Federal Baseball on Wednesday.

“We have a lot of talented players in our organization who could easily play at that level so I’m grateful for the chance to compete,” he added.

Other Washington prospects named to the Surprise roster were pitchers Jackson Rutledge and Cole Henry, catchers Drew Millas and Israel Pineda, Donovan Casey and Todd Peterson.

Cluff played for Single-A Hagerstown in 2019 after he was drafted out of his Utah college.

He hit .229 with five homers that season.

Also on Wednesday, Baseball America named pitcher Cade Cavalli the Nationals’ minor league player of the year. He advanced to Triple-A Rochester this year.

Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo said this past Sunday that he watched the 2020 1st Round pick closely this season and was impressed with his progress.

What did he make of the season as a whole, and how did he assess Cavalli’s time at Triple-A, where he struggled a bit.

“I’ve seen every start he had this whole season on video and my assessment is that he wore down at the end of the season,” Rizzo said. “Better competition, worn-down pitcher, but the developmental part of Cavalli could not have gone better. He made every start, he threw deep into games every time he pitched, his stuff was crisp, and it was good and he’s finishing the season with the same stuff that he started it with [and for] a guy who did not pitch much last year.

“Obviously, in 2020 there was no [minor leagues], and he did not pitch much, so you’ve got yourself a good young arm, that’s a fresh arm, that got through a full season starting in A-ball and ending in Triple-A, it couldn’t have gone better for him.”