James Wooden set to make MLB debut for Nationals vs. Mets on Monday TERMAN WEBSITE

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James Wooden, the extremely touted Washington Nationals prospect who has developed right into a drive within the minors, is anticipated to make his main league debut Monday towards the New York Mets at Nationals Park, a supply conversant in the matter advised The Washington Submit on Friday.

Wooden, 21, started the 12 months with the Class AAA Rochester (N.Y.) Purple Wings. The 6-foot-7 outfielder, whose long-awaited call-up has generated buzz all through the season, is hitting .346 with a 1.036 OPS in 51 video games for the Purple Wings.

The Nationals, in the midst of a 10-day journey, are set to fulfill the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida in a while Friday.

“I can’t affirm or deny the rumors,” mentioned Martinez, who smirked when requested earlier than Friday’s recreation concerning the reviews of Wooden’s call-up. “However I’ll let you know this — I’m very excited for when he does get right here. He’s an excellent child. I’m trying ahead to working with him.”

A strong left-handed hitter, Wooden has hit 51 house runs in his minor league profession, together with 26 a season in the past. Wooden, who grew up in Maryland, landed within the Nationals’ system in 2022 — one of many prospects the San Diego Padres despatched to Washington as a part of the commerce for Juan Soto. Additionally a part of that deal: MacKenzie Gore, the left-handed pitcher in line to start out Monday.

“We’ve obtained to recollect, he’s nonetheless 21 years outdated,” Martinez mentioned. “He’s nonetheless studying about himself, however he’s obtained unbelievable expertise.”

The Nationals’ 40-man roster is full, in order that they must commerce or designate a participant for task to clear house earlier than Wooden debuts Monday. Eddie Rosario, whom the Nationals signed to a minor league deal in March, appears the likeliest choice. The Nationals might attempt to discover a group prepared to commerce for Rosario, the 2021 Nationwide League Championship Sequence MVP for the Atlanta Braves who has a .556 OPS this season. However that might show tough, even with Rosario’s postseason expertise.

The Nationals have 4 different outfielders on the roster: Lane Thomas, Jacob Younger, Jesse Winker and Harold Ramirez, who signed a minor league cope with Washington this month after being designated for task by the Tampa Bay Rays. Winker was taking observe reps at first base with Joey Meneses forward of Friday’s recreation, maybe signaling how the Nationals wish to incorporate each Winker and Wooden into the lineup.

Wooden, brilliant and soft-spoken, has lengthy carried with him the load of expectations. And his mom, Paula, has mentioned that he has “at all times been obsessive about baseball differently than the rest in his life.” His supervisor in Rochester indicated that he may be prepared for a much bigger stage.

“Clearly, that’s not my selection,” Purple Wings Supervisor Matthew LeCroy mentioned in Might. “However he’s finished sufficient proper now that I might really feel assured, in the event that they requested me [about calling him up], [to say], ‘Hey, man, would possibly as nicely.’”

Wooden is in the midst of his fourth season within the minors. He began the 2023 season in excessive Class A Wilmington and jumped to Class AA Harrisburg after simply 42 video games. This 12 months, he participated in his first massive league spring coaching and impressed.

Wooden didn’t make Washington’s Opening Day roster — the Nationals wished to provide him extra time to develop. Martinez has raved about Wooden’s dedication to studying and enhancing his strategy on the plate. And as he started to dominate Class AAA pitching, the noise round him continued to develop. Wooden suffered a proper hamstring damage in mid-Might, which sidelined him for just a few weeks. He returned June 18 and has performed in simply six video games.

When the Nationals traded Soto, they hoped to construct a younger core that will make them aggressive once more. Two items of that core — Gore and shortstop CJ Abrams — are already in Washington and have had robust begins to the season. Different gamers concerned within the Soto commerce embrace outfielder Robert Hassell III, who’s on the injured listing in Class AA Harrisburg, and right-hander Jarlin Susana, who has allowed two runs or fewer in his previous 5 begins for low Class A Fredericksburg.

“We misplaced a very good participant, as everyone knows,” Martinez mentioned, referring to Soto. “However to get the standard of gamers that we obtained they usually’re serving to us out within the massive leagues proper now, with extra to return, it’s thrilling.”

Wooden is ready to reach within the majors not lengthy after outfielder Dylan Crews, the No. 2 general choose within the 2023 draft, joined the Purple Wings. Crews, 22, was promoted to Rochester final week.

Wooden will be a part of a younger Nationals group that has at occasions shocked this season because the franchise’s reboot continues to take form. Abrams and infielder Luis García Jr. have been two of the group’s higher hitters. The speedy Younger has impressed in middle subject, and Washington’s pitching — together with Gore and two of his fellow starters, Jake Irvin and Mitchell Parker — has shined. Proper-hander Josiah Grey, an all-star in 2023, has spent many of the season on the injured listing however might rejoin the group within the close to future.

And now Wooden’s second looms as Washington’s years-long rebuild takes one other massive step.

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