A northern California native who spent his college days at New Mexico State University, outfield prospect Daniel Johnson cruised through two levels for the Washington Nationals in the summer of 2017, slashing .298/.356/.505/.861 in 130 games (549 plate appearances), with 29 doubles, 22 home runs, 22 stolen bases, 35 walks, and 100 strikeouts for Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac. After the season, the Nationals rewarded Johnson’s 20/20 campaign with a trip to the Arizona Fall League, where the outfield prospect played for the Mesa Solar Sox and slashed .217/.270/.290/.560 in 74 plate appearances, with three doubles, five stolen bases, five walks, and 11 strikeouts.
It was there at the AFL that Baseball Census saw the 22-year-old (DOB: July 11, 1995) Washington Nationals outfielder play in nearly a dozen different games with Mesa over a six-week period, and it’s from there that we’ve produced this full Daniel Johnson scouting report — which includes tool grades, game video, and projection notes — below.
Daniel Johnson Scouting Report, Washington Nationals — 2017
Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League
Daniel Johnson Scouting Report, Washington Nationals — 2017 Game Video
Daniel Johnson Scouting Report — Notes, Analysis & Projection
Somewhat undersized at first look and perhaps seen some as the ‘other’ Washington Nationals outfielder at AFL besides the exceptional, attention-getting Victor Robles, I must admit I didn’t think much of Daniel Johnson the first few times I saw him in Mesa. His athleticism and raw tools slowly won me over, though, and I think he’s got a shot to be an above-average everyday outfielder at ceiling if his offensive production continues as it did in 2017 thanks to ample tools across the board. He has a remarkably mature, no-nonsense personality that profiles well to navigate the ups and downs of professional baseball, and his speed, contact skills, and sneaky pop combine to give him a shot to be a legitimate offensive weapon in Washington a year or two from now.
Admittedly, I’m probably higher on Daniel Johnson than most — he’s certainly overshadowed by Robles, for one — and he may well fall short of my probably-too-optimistic projection here, but I think the tools, athleticism, and college-product polish all line up to give the Washington Nationals a legitimate above-average everyday outfielder (55 FV) at Johnson’s ceiling. If he falls short of that, a second-division regular job or a spot in a productive platoon situation are well within reach for the New Mexico State product. Barring another truly monster year in 2018 as he had this past summer, expect Daniel Johnson to spend the coming summer in the upper minors making adjustments against better pitchers, with his first taste of the big leagues coming at some point in 2019.
Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Athletic with contact skills that grew on me through AFL; higher on him than most, but has a shot to be an above-average everyday outfielder at ceiling thanks to tools and maturity (55)
MLB ETA: 2019
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