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Washington Nationals’ prospect countdown: No. 8 - Armando Cruz

The shortstop from the Dominican made his pro debut in 2021; doesn’t turn 18 until January …

Photo screencap via Ben Badler/Baseball America on Twitter (@BenBadler).

[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 – Over the past few seasons, the Nationals have lost veteran middle infielders such as Trea Turner, Brian Dozier, Howie Kendrick, and Wilmer Difo to other teams or retirement.

For now, those at the top of the depth chart in the middle infield for the Nationals includes Luis García and Alcides Escobar (as well as recent signee César Hernández, and the waiver pickup Lucius Fox).

But some of the top prospects in the minor league system for Washington are middle infielders, though several of them are probably a few years away from seeing the big leagues.

That includes shortstop Armando Cruz, who made his debut this past year in the Dominican Summer League in his home country this past season.

He doesn’t turn 18 until January.

Cruz played in 48 games in 2021 and hit .232 with just one homer in 177 at-bats. He had 11 steals in 15 tries.

He signed for nearly $4 million before his 17th birthday, according to Baseball America.

Like many shortstop prospects in the system, there is little power at the plate at this point while defense comes first for some of the teenagers.

An exception to that model in the minors is Jackson Cluff, who was drafted out of BYU in 2019 by Washington. He turns 25 on Dec. 3, has shown some power in the minors and distinguished himself in the Arizona Fall League as the top defender in the prospect circuit.

Previous: No. 9 - Cole Henry; Next: No. 7 - Gerado Carrillo