The Nats aren’t too prospect-rich these days – while they have one of the best in all of baseball in Lucas Giolito, as you go down their list it gets thin pretty quick. But one guy we’ve been hearing about for the past few seasons is Destin Hood, and he’s finally starting to show what he can do.
Hood is a corner outfielder without a ton of power, so the life of a Major League starter probably isn’t in his future. But he’s shown promise, like in 2011 when he hit .276/.364/.445 at high-A Potomac at age 21. The next two seasons weren’t as kind to him, and in 2012 he dealt with a wrist injury that limited his time and his production.
Until this year, he didn’t advance much after that, despite being loved by the organization. His numbers the last two seasons made it so he started out this year at AA Harrisburg, just one level above where he was an organization, mid-season and postseason All Star in 2011.
He was never thought of as a 5 tool player, he’s not particularly fast, nor does he have a ton of power. But he’s developed patience over the last few years, and the former HS wide receiver, who signed a letter of intent to play baseball and football at Alabama, is a great athlete.
Some of that athletic ability has translated this year, as he’s shown real development. He’s been super hot so far – he played 19 games in Harrisburg, and in 76 PAs he hit .329/.355/.384 before the Nats promoted him to AAA. In Syracuse he’s been even better. So far he’s hitting .330/.392/.527 in 125 PAs there.
This might not be something you’d expect him to maintain in the Majors, and you’d probably be right. But he’s hot right now, and he’s a RHH with some ability to get on base, the Nats should probably see what he can do with the big league club.
The team is getting healthy, but they’re not quite there yet. Ryan Zimmerman is on his way back this week, and if things go well, the only missing person by next week will be Bryce Harper. But they’ll still need to use their bench, because that’s the way baseball works.
Some of the bench has done well, but the outfield fill-ins haven’t been great. Scott Hairston has great numbers but his playing time has been very limited thanks to injury.
Kevin Frandsen is hitting .236/.299/.315 right now, which is pretty much useless. Unlike Nate McLouth, who’s .555 OPS is worse, but over the last 3 weeks is hitting a very useful .286/.364/.347, there isn’t much you can do with arbitrary endpoints for Frandsen. You can say he’s been doing well since 2 weeks or 3 weeks or 3 days ago, he’s just been pretty bad. He’s had a good moment here and there, but as a whole, he’s been bad.
Tyler Moore is in a McLouth-like state. His .666 OPS beats Franden’s and McLouth, and just like with McLouth, if you go back 3 weeks to May 12th, he’s hitting .234/.321/.383 in that time.
So if there’s an odd man out, it should probably be Frandsen. And I’m not the only one who thinks this. In his chat on Friday last week, Keith Law was asked about Hood. Actually, he was asked about his ability in comparison to some of their more well-regarded OF prospects. Law dismissed him as a high level prospect, but not as an MLB player
Nice extra outfielder. Doesn’t walk or hit for power, not an everyday CF.
Which sounds a little bit negative (Law is good at that), but then he adds another line in the chat window after that
Better use of a roster spot than Kevin Frandsen, though.
This is certainly not an odd take, after looking at those numbers. There is some worry about having a youngster like Hood ride the bench, but it shouldn’t be such a big deal. He’s not a true prospect, so if he regressed a bit and had to be sent back down, so be it. More convincing to me, though, is how poorly Frandsen has done off the bench. His veteran presence hasn’t contributed to being a great bench player, so why think that matters so much?
Destin Hood is the hottest hitter in the entire organization right now. The Nats have an opportunity to take advantage of that at the Major League level, and all they’d have to do is replace their worst hitting bench bat.