HomeTeamsNationalsJames Wood’s Meteoric Rise in Spring Training

James Wood’s Meteoric Rise in Spring Training

As the Washington Nationals look to work their way back into contention after four consecutive fifth-place division finishes, 21-year-old outfielder James Wood, one of the top prospects in baseball, has had a remarkable spring training for the team.

Midway through 2024 Grapefruit League play, Wood leads the Nationals with 12 runs, 11 hits, and three home runs, along with five RBIs, three stolen bases, a .306 batting average, .444 OBP, and 1.055 OPS in 16 games played. Two of Wood’s home runs came in each of the first two Spring Training games for Washington, on Saturday, February 24th against the Houston Astros, and Sunday, February 25th against the Miami Marlins, where he launched a 422-ft shot to deep center field for a two-run homer off a 110 MPH breaking ball.

On Thursday, February 29th against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wood hit a 411-ft. dinger to center field right after his teammate Lane Thomas homered in the same inning. Wood finished that contest 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, an RBI, and a run, as the Nationals won that game 3-1.

In a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins this past Sunday, March 10th, Wood finished 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs. He scored in the second inning where he reached home plate on an Alex Call infield ground ball, and in the fourth where he scored on a throwing error by Twins second baseman Kyle Farmer.

One notable fact about Wood is that he is from the Washington, D.C. area, as he was born in Rockville, Maryland in Montgomery County and grew up in Olney. He attended St. John’s College High School in D.C. before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Wood also committed to play college baseball at Mississippi State shortly before transferring to IMG.

Wood was selected by the San Diego Padres with the 62nd overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, and was assigned to the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League Padres to start his professional career, batting .372 with three home runs, 22 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases over 26 games.

 On August 2nd, 2022, Wood was included in a trade along with five other players including C.J. Abrams and Mackenzie Gore to the Nationals in exchange for Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Washington then assigned him to the Fredericksburg Nationals of the Single-A Carolina League, where he batted .293 with eight doubles, two home runs, and 17 RBIs in 21 games.

Wood was assigned to Washington’s High-A affiliate Wilmington Blue Rocks at the beginning of the 2023 season, batting .293 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 42 games. He was then promoted to the Double-A affiliate Harrisburg Senators and selected to play in the 2023 All-Star Futures Game.

In terms of the 2024 regular season, Wood will most likely begin in the minors, specifically Double-A. But if he can put up some stellar stats in 50 or so games, he could possibly make his major league debut sometime in the middle of the MLB season. Wood, along with fellow Nationals teammate Dylan Crews, are two possible breakout stars to watch out for in 2024.

Harry Lichtman
Harry Lichtmanhttps://mlbreport.com/
Washington Nationals Beat Reporter | Frostburg State University Class of 2018 | Resident of Potomac, MD


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