One player in the Nationals system that has garnered a lot of buzz in the past year has been Jeremy De La Rosa. De La Rosa was a 2018 international free agent from the Dominican Republic that the Nationals paid $300,000. Just 16 at the time, he wouldn’t get his first taste of pro ball until the following year. The young outfielder was assigned to the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League (GCL) in 2019. In just 26 games, he batted .232 but did have an OBP of .343 and flashed some power and speed. I realize these numbers are uninspiring, but keep in mind he was almost 2 1/2 years younger than his peers in the GCL.
Flash forward to the 2020 season. As we are all aware, the minor league season was canceled. Fortunately for De La Rosa, he was invited to the alternate site camp along with some of the more high-profile prospects. His performance at the alternate site greatly increased the National’s excitement over what they have in the young outfielder. Even though he was one of the youngest players at the site, De La Rosa impressed with his athleticism and strength. He also drew praise for his mature approach at the plate, something he has been working on while working out with and being mentored by Juan Soto.
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats) March 12, 2021
Going into 2021, I have him listed at number 6 on my Nationals Top 50 Prospects list. It’s a high ranking for a player who hasn’t appeared above rookie ball yet, but it makes more sense in a system short on impact players. I fully expect that if De La Rosa performs well in 2021, his name will become commonplace amongst top prospect lists. It’s unfair to compare him to someone like Soto, but the work ethic, leadership, and multiple tools have many projecting a breakout season.
The upside for De La Rosa is apparent. Scouts see his left-handed swing as one that can create power while maintaining a higher average. His continued physical growth and prioritizing the mental side of the game will help him tremendously going into a full-season league in 2021. I would expect to see him start with Low-A Fredericksburg to start the season, possibly ending it in High-A Wilmington. He has the ability to play all three outfield positions. With his speed, though, I expect the Nationals to give him plenty of time in centerfield during his first full season.
If expectations become a reality for De La Rosa, I think the Nats continue to be aggressive with his assignments and could quickly move through the system.
— PNY Sports (@pnysportsagency) August 3, 2020