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“Washington Nationals acquire top prospects in exchange for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner”


photo by Tim Brown

From the Nationals:

“The Washington Nationals acquired catcher Keibert Ruiz, right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray, right-handed pitcher Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Washington Nationals Managing Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner made the following statement regarding Max Scherzer and Trea Turner:

“Today is heart wrenching as we say goodbye to two of the most accomplished players and two of the best people in our team’s history. On behalf of my family and the entire Washington Nationals organization, I want to thank Max and Trea for their invaluable contributions both on the field and in the community, where each have been selfless with their time and resources over the years. Trea’s electric combination of speed and power brought so much excitement to games at Nationals Park, and the three games in which he hit for the cycle will always live in Nationals lore.

As for Max, I think I speak for Nationals fans everywhere when I say that it has been the highest privilege to watch him give everything he has on the mound every fifth day, pitching through anything and everything to help our team win. I have said many times that he is the greatest competitor I have ever had the pleasure of watching. From the two no-hitters to the 20-strikeout game to Game 7 of the World Series, Max has rightfully secured his place among the all-time greats in D.C. sports and Major League Baseball history, and it will be an honor to watch him get inducted into the Hall of Fame one day.

Without Max and Trea, we never would have brought the World Series trophy back to the nation’s capital and had that joyous parade down Constitution Avenue. The Nationals organization is forever grateful for their excellence on the field and exemplary leadership in the clubhouse, and we wish them both nothing but the best in the next chapter of their careers.”

Ruiz, 23, is the top prospect in Los Angeles’ Minor League system and the No. 16 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America. He hit .311 with 18 doubles, 16 homers, 45 RBI, 23 walks, 27 strikeouts and 39 runs scored in 52 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season. Ruiz led the Dodgers’ system and ranked among all of Minor League Baseball (full season) in slugging percentage (6th, .631) and OPS (10th, 1.012). Ruiz has appeared in six Major League games in 2021. He clubbed a home run in his first game of the season, May 4 at Chicago (NL). It was a pinch-hit solo home run off Kyle Hendricks.

A switch-hitter, Ruiz has posted a strikeout rate at 12.0% (MLB average: 23.6%) or below in five of his six Minor League seasons, including an 11.7% mark in 2021. In 2019, he recorded 30 walks against just 22 strikeouts in 350 plate appearances across 85 games between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The six-foot, 225-pound Ruiz spent the majority of the 2020 season at the Alternate Training Site before making his Major League debut on Aug. 16 at Los Angeles (AL). He went 2-for-8 with one homer, one RBI and one run scored in two Major League games in 2020. Ruiz hit a home run in his first career at bat, a solo home run off Julio Teheran. He became the first Dodger since Garey Ingram in 1994 to hit a home run in his first Major League at bat.

A native of Valencia, Venezuela, Ruiz has hit .300 with a .355 on-base percentage and a .447 slugging percentage across 439 career Minor League games. He has hit 94 doubles, six triples, 45 home runs, 244 RBI, 127 walks and 227 runs scored across six Minor League seasons (2015-21). Ruiz originally signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent, July 20, 2014.

Gray, 23, is the No. 2 prospect in Los Angeles’ Minor League system according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America. He is the No. 42 prospect in baseball according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 59 prospect according to Baseball America. In four starts this season for Triple-A Oklahoma City, Gray is 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA. He has 22 strikeouts and two walks allowed in 15.2 innings pitched.

Gray had his contract selected on July 20 and made his Major League debut that day against the San Francisco Giants. He allowed four earned runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in 4.0 innings out of the bullpen. He made his first Major League start on July 25 vs. Colorado, allowing two earned runs on three hits with six strikeouts and four walks in 4.0 innings of work. He spent the 2020 season at Los Angeles’ Alternate Training Site.

Gray was Los Angeles’ 2019 Minor League Pitcher of the Year after leading their system with 147 strikeouts and ranking among Dodger farmhands in wins (T1st, 11), starts (T1st, 25) and innings pitched (3rd, 130.0). All told, he went 11-2 with a 2.28 ERA across three levels of Los Angeles’ Minor League system in his first full professional season.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound righty was originally selected in the second round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. In 42 Minor League games (40 starts), he is 14-5 with a 2.41 ERA, 228 strikeouts and seven home runs allowed. He was an MiLB.com Organization All-Star in 2019 and a Baseball America Rookie All-Star in 2018.

Carillo, 22, is the No. 17 prospect in the Dodgers’ system according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 22 prospect according to Baseball America. He is 3-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) for Double-A Tulsa in 2021. He has 70 strikeouts – good for seventh in Los Angeles’ organization – in 59.1 innings pitched.

Carrillo spent the 2020 season at the Dodgers’ Alternate Training Site and was added to their 40-man roster following the season.

A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Carrillo has pitched to a 3.73 ERA with 238 strikeouts in 253.2 innings pitched across four professional seasons (2017-21). That includes a breakout campaign in 2018 in which he went 4-1 with one save and a 1.50 ERA in 13 games (10 starts) between the rookie-level Arizona Dodgers and Single-A Great Lakes.

Casey, 25, joins the Nationals after hitting .296 with 15 doubles, one triple, 11 homers, 36 RBI, 26 walks, 15 stolen bases and 51 runs scored in 73 games for Double-A Tulsa this season. His 89 hits rank tied for sixth in all of Minor League Baseball (full season).

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder has hit .286 with a .348 on-base percentage and a .474 slugging percentage in 305 games across four professional seasons (2017-21). He’s recorded 45 doubles, 12 triples, 40 home runs, 142 RBI, 93 walks, 39 stolen bases and 187 runs scored. In 2019, Casey was a California League All-Star.

A native of Stratford, N.J., Casey was selected in the 20th round of the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Boston (MA) College. At Boston College, he hit for the cycle on March 29, 2017, and was the first to do so since 2003.

Scherzer, 37, is a 2019 World Series Champion and the winner of two National League Cy Young Awards during his seven seasons with the Washington Nationals. He was named a National League All-Star six times. In seven seasons with the Nationals, Scherzer went 92-47 with a 2.80 ERA and 1,610 strikeouts in 189 starts.

Turner, 28, is a 2019 World Series Champion, 2021 National League All-Star and the Nationals’ all-time (2005-pres.) leader in stolen bases (192) and leadoff home runs (14). In seven seasons in Washington, D.C. (2015-21), he hit .300 with a .356 on-base percentage and a .486 slugging percentage. In 637 games, he clubbed 135 doubles, 32 triples, 93 home runs, 306 RBI, 208 walks and 444 runs scored.”

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