1:15pm: The Nationals have now made it official, announcing that they have selected Young’s contract. In corresponding moves, infielder Jeter Downs was optioned to Triple-A Rochester and outfielder Stone Garrett was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Garrett suffered a fractured fibula earlier this week and is now done for the year.
11:51am: The Nationals are calling up outfield prospect Jacob Young, according to Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post (X link). Young will be making his MLB debut whenever he appears in a game, which could be as early as today against the Marlins. The Nats will need to make at least one corresponding move, since Young isn’t on the 40-man roster.
Young is a University of Florida product who was a seventh-round pick for the Nationals in the 2021 draft. Playing in A-ball for his first two pro seasons, Young has made a quick progression in 2023, starting in high-A ball and now moving all the way up to the majors. Hitting well at both the high-A and Double-A levels, Young has only played in four Triple-A games, appearing in Rochester for the first time just earlier this week.
Over 496 total minor league plate appearances this season, Young has hit .305/.376/.418, with six homers and an impressive stolen base ratio of 39 steals against seven times caught. This comes on the heels of Young’s 52 steals (in 59 chances) at A-level Fredericksburg in 2022. Pundits rate Young as plus-plus speed, with Baseball America’s scouting report noting “some scouts called him one of the best baserunners they have ever seen.”
This skill alone makes the 24-year-old Young an interesting player to watch, though the rest of his game might need some polish. BA ranks Young 24th among Washington prospects and MLB Pipeline ranks him 30th, as Young doesn’t have much power and is reliant on his speed to beat out a grounder-heavy approach. His defense is promising, since Young has mostly played left field in the pro but has also seen time as a center fielder and right fielder, as well as a couple of games at second base.
With Stone Garrett likely out for the season due to a leg fracture, the Nationals have some need for outfield help. Young figures to join Lane Thomas, Alex Call, Jake Alu, Blake Rutherford, and utilityman Ildemaro Vargas in the outfield mix, as the rebuilding Nats continue to evaluate their young talent while quietly playing some quality baseball in recent weeks. Washington has a 24-15 record since the All-Star break.