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Washington Nationals’ prospect countdown: No. 20 - Jackson Cluff

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The speedy infielder is making waves in the Arizona Fall League after injury-riddled minor league season …

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 – Jackson Cluff is one of the top infielder prospects in Washington’s system, and he is putting himself into a position of perhaps helping the major league club in the coming years.

Cluff has made a strong impression at the plate in the Arizona Fall League after missing time during the minor league season in 2021, going 25 for 74 (.338/.438/.459) with six doubles, a home run, 14 walks, and seven stolen bases in 20 games.

“He missed a lot of time this year with a hand injury,” assistant general manager, player personnel Mark Scialabba told Federal Baseball from Arizona earlier this month.

“He has worked extremely hard to get himself back into playing shape.”

“He came to Arizona a couple of days behind,” Scialabba added. “It took him a few days to get his timing down; he started barreling the ball more consistently. This is a young man with tools. He has the ability to play shortstop every day. He can move over to second base if necessary. He has the tools to stick here and can impact the game on the bases. He pushes the envelope on the basepaths. We love where he is at.”

Cluff, 24, was drafted out of BYU in the sixth round by the Nationals in 2019 and played regularly that season for low Single-A Hagerstown, which was then in the South Atlantic League. He hit .229 with 11 steals in 62 games with the Suns that year.

He was part of the alternate site roster for a time in 2020 in Virginia.

This past year, the Colorado native played in five games with the Florida Complex League team and five games with low Single-A Fredericksburg.

Cluff played in 35 games with Double-A Harrisburg and hit .190 with two steals.

Overall in 2021, he hit .214 in 45 games with seven steals across three levels.

Cluff went on a church mission while in college and will turn 25 in December, so that works against him a bit. But he has shown he has the potential to perhaps be a key bench player at the major league level.

Previous: No. 21 - Drew Mendoza; Next: No. 19 - Sammy Infante