[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 – The Nationals added Yasel Antuna to the 40-man roster in 2020 prior to the Rule 5 draft.
His rating may have slipped a bit this season, but he gives the Nationals depth on the infield in a farm system that is much better than it was a year ago.
One thing Antuna has in his favor: despite no minor league season in 2020, he has seen a lot of playing time for someone who just turned 22 in October.
The Dominican-born infielder had 405 at-bats this year for high Single-A Wilmington and he has 907 at-bats in his pro career that began in 2017 in the Gulf Coast League.
Antuna hit .227 this year but showed pop with 12 homers and 65 RBIs in 106 games.
He played for low Single-A Hagerstown in 2018 when the Suns were in the South Atlantic League.
When the Nationals protected him from the Rule V draft in 2020, the team release said Antuna is the fourth-best prospect according to Baseball America and
“is also cited by Baseball America as being the ‘Best Hitter for Average’ and the ‘Best Power Hitter’ among Nationals’ Minor Leaguers.
A switch-hitting, versatile infielder, Antuna was a member of Washington’s 60-Player Pool in 2020 and spent the entire season at the Alternate Training Site (Fredericksburg).”
Following the season, he participated in the Nationals’ Instructional League.
According to a report by Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty this last week, the club made a decision to move Antuna to the outfield going forward, after he struggled over at short in 2021.
“We think Antuna is going to come fast,” Mike Rizzo, the Nationals’ general manager, said in early November. “We moved him to the outfield so he could focus more on his bat, and he had a hell of a second half of the season after not playing for two years.”