Like developing teams everywhere, the Nats need to be able to count on an infusion of farm system talent to grow.
But that has been a recurring weakness of Rizzo’s tenure in Washington, where the most highly regarded system products have generally failed to live up to expectations. Consider Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles, or Eric Fedde.
And on the occasions when the Nats did develop a true star, fate intervened. Lucas Giolito and Juan Soto were both traded away, although, in the case of Soto, that trade only transpired after he had played a major role in Washington’s 2019 World Series win.
It’s a safe bet there are no Juan Sotos in Rizzo’s 2023 rookie class. There are only three members to that class, two of whom are presently active.
The Nats summoned pitcher Jake Irvin from Rochester in May and threw him right into the rotation. Through 10 starts, he’s 1-4 with a 4.72 ERA. Irvin has shown just enough ability to probably be able to remain with the actives through the season, which for a rookie would be an accomplishment in itself. His WAA, though, is for the present modestly negative, at -0.2.
The other rookie is system product Amos Willingham, summoned just last week. It’s been a quick rise for Willingham, who began the season in Double-A. After a neutral debut, Willingham got bombed Saturday by Philadelphia, allowing five hits and four earned runs in 1.1 innings … which was not the way he hoped the second half of the season would begin.