Prospect Spotlight: Brady House, SS, Washington Nationals
Brady House was selected by the Washington Nationals as the 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Winder-Barrow High School in Winder, Georgia. House was highly touted coming out of high school in 2021; he was mentioned in the same conversation as the other elite prep shortstops (Mayer, Lawlar, Watson) for the number 1 overall pick. When he fell to the Nats at pick 11, they snatched up the Tennessee commit, signing him for an over slot value of $5 million. His hitting profile is that of a traditional power hitter, lots of pop and some swing and miss. The Nationals have high hopes for the 6′ 4 and 215 lbs right hand hitter. Some evaluators think eventually, he will move over to third base. He’s very athletic for his size and has a rocket for an arm (he touched 96 mph as a pitcher in high school) and the Nats think he can stick at shortstop.
House has played two partial seasons as a pro; in 2021 he played 16 games at the Complex level and in 2022, he played 44 games at Low-A Fredericksburg. His 2022 season started off very well (.341/.424/.471 line in 20 April games) but it quickly went off the rails. He was placed on the IL in early May with COVID and after he returned on May 13th, he struggled. From May 13 to June 11th, House hit just .190/.286/.429 with a 32% K rate. On June 23rd, House was placed on the IL with a back injury and did not play again the rest of the season. The Nats have been clear that the length of the second IL stint should not worry anyone, as they were simply being cautious with their 19-year-old shortstop. He was participating in baseball activities as the season came to a close and all reports have House being ready for spring training.
Because of the underwhelming start to his pro career, and the injuries that have held him off the field, House fantasy owners could be starting to think twice about their investment in dynasty leagues. If you look a little deeper, there are underlying signs that now is the time to buy in on House. Early on, he was hitting the ball with authority. His 90th percentile exit velocity in April was 105 mph which puts him in the 77th percentile of major league hitters around the likes of Corey Seager and Tyler O’Neill. He also posted an average zone contact rate and slightly below average chase rate which is very positive for someone that hits the ball that hard. After he came off of his first IL stint, his 90th percentile EV was down to 101 which is well below average while maintaining the contact rates. Although we can’t be 100% certain, the timing of this dropoff would lead us to believe that he was not fully healthy in May and June, and that his back injury occurred much earlier in the season leading to his poor performance on the field.
If he can harness all of his tools, the upside for House is immense. He has excellent bat speed which leads to his light tower power, but like a lot of power hitters, there are times when his swing gets long, which leads to whiffs. He has so much power though, that even with a shorter, more compact swing, the easy backspin he develops will lead to plenty of home runs (some scouts think 35 plus at peak). This short and compact swing is the key to reaching his potential, and it’s something his hitting instructors will definitely be preaching to him as he moves through the Nationals system.
House grades out as an average runner at this point, so speed will not be a huge part of his game, but as we mentioned earlier, he is very athletic for his size, and he could swipe a few bags early in his career. By all accounts, he is a hard worker who wants to be the best player possible. Lofty comps for House include Carlos Correa and Austin Riley, but we will just have to wait and see how he develops through the minors in the coming years. His ETA to reach the major leagues is 2026, so he has time to work on his game and reach his maximum potential. (Greg Hoogkamp)