The Washington Nationals have a core of players that the team has built around the last couple of seasons.
While this group helped carry the team to a 2019 World Series title, they have struggled to put it back together this year.
However, the good news for Nationals fans is that there is talent in their farm system.
This is headlined by a group of pitchers that sit atop their prospect rankings.
Washington's 'Big Three' — Cade Cavalli, Jackson Rutledge and Cole Henry — will start the season in the same Minor League rotation.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 3, 2021
Here is a look at the three most promising pitchers in the organization who will look to make an impact in Washington.
3. Cole Henry, RHP
Cole Henry is a young, 21-year-old arm from Louisiana State University who was the Nationals’ second-round selection in the 2020 MLB Draft.
He has a projectable 6-foot-4 frame with electrifying stuff on the mound.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 11, 2020
His fastball sits in the mid-90s, with an above-average 12-to-6 curveball and a developing changeup.
This is the pitch repertoire of a successful pitcher in the majors, but Henry has just lacked consistent command early in his career.
So far this season in Single-A, he has pitched to a 1-3 record with a 3.00 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 24 innings.
It has been a successful professional debut for Henry, who is looking to solidify his name among the league’s best prospects.
As of now, he sits at third in the Nationals organizational rankings.
However, he has the potential of becoming a frontline starter later in his career.
2. Jackson Rutledge, RHP
Jackson Rutledge is another big frame that has outstanding pitching potential.
At 6-foot-8, there are few starting pitchers that have the same size as Rutledge.
Jackson Rutledge was our 1st round pick in the 2019 @MLB Draft.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 4, 2021
His fastball has been up to 99 miles per hour, which he pairs with a slider, changeup, and curveball.
The Nationals think highly of their young righty, viewing him as a future pillar of their pitching rotation.
This was clear as the team elected to hang onto Rutledge in the Josh Bell trade this offseason.
In 2019, Rutledge’s first professional season, he posted solid ERAs in Single-A.
However, he has not seen the same success in 2021.
In four starts at High-A, Rutledge has a 12.66 ERA in just 10.2 innings.
He also has a high walk rate (7.6) and a low number of strikeouts (10).
Though he has not performed at a high level this year, he is a project for the Nationals.
If he can put it together, he could provide the major league club with a potentially dominant arm.
1. Cade Cavalli, RHP
He entered this season as the 99th ranked prospect in all of MLB after being taken in the first round in 2020.
The 22-year-old has dominated this season, posting a 1.63 ERA in five starts.
The hottest pitching prospect in baseball?@Nationals RHP Cade Cavalli.
The @WilmBlueRocks ace leads the minors in strikeouts.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 1, 2021
He has also registered an outstanding 45 strikeouts in 27.2 innings, flashing above-average stuff on the mound.
His fastball sits around 95-98 miles per hour, with it topping out at 101.
Cavalli adds a sharp, power curve to serve as his strikeout pitch.
However, his changeup may actually be his best pitch, according to Nationals assistant GM of player development Mark Scialabba.
Along with his slider, he reps an outstanding repertoire of pitches that will play at a high level.
Expect him to be on a fast track to the majors, with the potential to become an All-Star.
Between these three arms, the future of the Nationals rotation is in good hands.