The Next Aaron Judge Is Playing Minor League Ball For Washington Nationals: James Wood Is A Generational Black Baseball Prospect

At 6 feet 8, 250 pounds, Aaron Judge is a not only a physical specimen, he’s an incredible baseball player. 

He leads MLB with 25 homers, RBI (62), walks, OBP (1.135) and is slugging over .700, just to name a few categories. The New York Yankees are demolishing the competition and sitting comfortably in first place in the American League East.

Judge’s combination of football size, basketball height and baseball acumen make him one of the rare players in history. 

James Wood Is The Next Aaron Judge?

There’s another young, Black baseball player with similar measurables coming down the MLB pipeline, James Wood. The Washington Nationals have a bevy of young talent in their farm system, but no player stands out like the 6-foot-7, 240-pound outfielder.

Some say he favors Judge; others say he reminds them of former Yankees great Dave Winfield.

“His size, power, length, strength and effortlessness of his game is a combination of Darryl Strawberry and Dave Winfield,” said Martin Weiss, co-host of “The Bad Boys” show on Sportsrap Radio 1270 AM in Detroit. 

The club’s top-ranked prospect is inching his way closer a being called up to the majors. Blessed with a live bat and great athleticism, Wood has shined since arriving to the club via the blockbuster Juan Soto trade which occurred in August of 2022 and sent the star outfielder to the San Diego Padres for a slew of top picks, including current shortstop CJ Abrams and minor leaguer Wood, both Black baseball players. 

Washington Nationals prospect James Wood has been compared to Yankees star slugger Aaron Judge. (Photo: Getty Images)

Wood has quickly worked his way up to the Triple-A level and just like he did in Single-A and Double-A, he’s flourished. 

In fact, Wood has been so lethal this season that he was named International League Player of the Month for the month of May, which included a 12-game hitting streak that stretched from May 3-16, the longest for any Red Wings player this season. He also had eight multi-hit games.

In all Wood went 28-for-71 in May with a league-leading (.506) on-base percentage, slugging percentage (.746) and on-base plus slugging (1.252). He led the team with 53 total bases, 22 RBI, 17 walks, 28 hits, and, of course, homers, with seven. Wood also tied for the team lead with 18 runs scored.

To put it simply, he was a one-man wrecking crew who has mashed at every level and is probably ready to attack MLB pitching now. 

Wood Stacking Numbers Despite Being Injured Late In Month

Wood was so good in May that the middling Nationals considered bringing him up, but he suffered hamstring tightness sending him to the seven-day injured list on May 28. Now back in the fold, the hulking slugger is looking to get back to excellent play. Prior to his injury Wood boasted a slash line of .355/.465/.596 with nine homers.

Speaking with reporters prior to his injury, Wood talked about staying focused and consistent.

“I’m just trying to be consistent. I’m just trying to get myself prepared, and sometimes the game just goes your way a little bit more times than others.”

“Obviously reaching the majors is the goal, but I’m just really trying to stay focused on what I can accomplish here every day.”

Wood Is Ready, So When?

Wood has shown time and time again throughout his minor league journey that he’s a keeper. This season he’s shown it against the top prospects in the minors. All that’s left now is for him to show he’s fully healthy and ready, and the expectancy is the Nationals (32-35) will likely promote him in the coming weeks. 

Despite being 14.5 games behind the NL East division-leading Phillies and 10.5 games behind the second-place Braves, a wild card playoff berth isn’t out of the question this season.

The major quandary for Nats GM Mike Rizzo, who is known to be cautious with his top prospects, is whether the Nationals are willing to bring him up despite a season that most likely won’t result in a playoff berth or run. 

The best way for Wood to continue to develop is playing against the best, and with him having dominated Triple-A pitching it may be time for a change of scenery.

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