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Washington Nationals’ prospect countdown: No. 24 - Evan Lee

Right-hander out of Arkansas made 20 starts for high Single-A Wilmington in 2021 …

Surprise Saguaros v. Peoria Javelinas Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images

[ed. note - “With interest in the Washington Nationals’ farm system at a high level, Federal Baseball has begun a series featuring the top 30 prospects in the system as of late last season, according to Baseball America. We will start with No. 30 and work our way to the top over the next few weeks, with one prospect highlighted each weekday.”]

WASHINGTON – Last fall, Evan Lee teamed up with Jackson Rutledge and Steven Fuentes to shut out the Marlins 5-0 in the Instructional League in Florida.

Rutledge and Fuentes – more known as prospects – each went three innings while Lee threw only one frame in the win.

But Lee was used a lot more in 2021, as he pitched in 21 games with 20 starts for high Single-A Wilmington in the Washington system.

The University of Arkansas product – drafted in the 15th round by the Nationals in 2018 – posted an ERA of 4.32 in 77 innings with a WHIP of 1.31 and an impressive 104 strikeouts.

“I am fastball heavy,” Lee told Byron Kerr, then with MASN, in 2020.

“I’ve got a high spin fastball that I like to use as well as a breaking ball behind that. It’s a 12-to-6 curveball. Those are my two pitches that I would consider plus pitches. The rest is a changeup and a cutter. A cutter/slider that I use sparingly to get hitters off of my fastball or breaking ball. Just give them a wrinkle. If I am able to have four pitches, I am real successful.”

Lee’s father, Michael, played baseball at Central Arkansas.

The younger Lee saw time as a product outfielder/DH in college before focusing on pitching.

In 2017 as a freshman, he played in 18 games in the outfield or DH while pitching in 15 contests.

He hit .333 with three doubles and eight RBIs.

As a pitcher, he got the final out against Missouri State to force a deciding game in the NCAA regional in a game that ended around 3 a.m. He fanned Justin Paulsen for the final out.

The Nationals are hoping that was a wise decision for him to turn to the mound on a full-time basis.

Previous: No. 25 - Mitchell Parker; Next: Catcher No. 23 Tres Barrera