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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (13) | 2012 (1) | 2011 (14) | 2010 (24) | 2009 (21)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [86-76] NL East
AAA: [66-78] International League – Syracuse
AA: [77-65] Eastern League – Harrisburg
A+: [84-55] Carolina League – Potomac
A: [80-57] South Atlantic League – Hagerstown
A(ss): [26-49] New York-Penn League — Auburn

Graduated Prospects
Anthony Rendon (2B/3B); Tanner Roark (RHP); Taylor Jordan (RHP)

The Run Down
Once again, the Nationals are sporting an exciting group of prospects, with fantasy intrigue at every level of the org.  Even after graduating Anthony Rendon and Taylor Jordan, and then trading away Robbie Ray, this Washington farm is still primed to churn out big league productivity for the next handful of years.  If there’s a weakness to this top ten, it’s that a handful of the prospects listed are on the wrong side of the age curve, developmentally.  That sort of trend needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.  You can’t write a prospect off simply because he’s 25 — there are other variables to consider.  And having had the chance to weigh the risk, I’m not overly concerned with that aspect of the Nationals farm.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1.  Lucas Giolito, RHP:  Drafted 16th overall in 2012, Giolito hasn’t yet had the opportunity to showcase his impressive skill set on the professional stage.  The 6-foot-6, 225 lb righty underwent Tommy John surgery late in the 2012 season, returning to action in 2013, but in a very limited capacity.  To-date, Giolito has appeared in only 12 games as pro, none of which were above the short-season level.  That will change this season, as the 19-year-old, finally fully healthy, will step up to Low-A Hagerstown for his first taste of full-season baseball.  Giolito has the combination of size and stuff that scouts go bonkers over — he’s one of only a handful of prospects that profile as big league aces.  His usage will be monitored closely given the lack of innings over the past couple years, but if the Nats are inclined to push the pace, this is the sort of arm who could breeze through class-A and reach the upper levels before year’s end.  ETA:  2016

2.  A.J. Cole, RHP:  Cole got off to a bit of a slow start at High-A Potomac in 2013, but began turning things around in May, and found himself in Double-A before the end of July.  His line at Harrisburg (2.18/0.90/49 in 45 IP) reflects just how well the 22-year-old was throwing down the stretch.  With a plus-plus fastball, Cole hasn’t yet needed to rely much on his secondary stuff in order to be effective, but that will change in 2014 as he settles in for a full year in the upper levels.  If the off-speed stuff takes a step forward, Cole will be looking like a #2 type starter.  As it stands, he projects like a solid mid-rotation arm, with good whiff potential for the fantasy game.  ETA:  Late 2014

3.  Brian Goodwin, OF:  In a full season at Double-A, Goodwin hit .252/.355/.407 with 10 HR and 19 SB.  He’s always been a toolsy prospect with exciting potential for fantasy purposes, but his production has suffered since he arrived at Double-A late in 2012, and it’s fair to wonder if his 20/20 projection is still attainable.  I think Goodwin can still reach that level as a big leaguer, but at age 23, he needs to show us something soon.  ETA:  Late 2014

4.  Michael Taylor, OF:  In his second full season at the High-A level, Taylor batted .263/.340/.426 with 10 HR and 51 SB.  With pop in his bat and outstanding speed, the 22-year-old’s fantasy potential is quite clear.  Still, there are plenty of questions surrounding his hit tool, and some evaluators don’t see him amounting to much more than a fourth outfielder.  Taylor’s production at Double-A in 2014 should go a long way in determining just how excited we should be about him.  ETA:  2015

5.  Steven Souza, OF:  Souza is another outfielder with a noteworthy combination of power and speed.  At Harrisburg in 2013, he knocked 15 homers and stole 20 bases, all while posting a slash line at .300/.396/.557.  His prospect status is still being harmed by a 2011 PED suspension, but it’s probably unwise to ignore Souza’s tools.  He should be ready to contribute at the highest level at some point this season.  ETA:  2014

6.  Nate Karns, RHP:  Karns’s fastball/curve combo has been an extremely effective weapon in the minors, and thanks to it, the 26-year-old has piled up whiffs over the last two seasons.  Now, I know you’re thinking that 26-years-old is a little long in the tooth to be considered an exciting prospect, but this is a unique case in that the early seasons of his career were almost entirely lost to injury.  I like Karns, and I think his arm will play either as a mid-rotation starter, or as a late-innings asset.  Either way, great whiff potential should bring fantasy relevance.  ETA:  2014

7.  Matt Skole, 1B/3B:  After drilling 27 homers in 2012, Skole entered 2013 with big expectations, but an unfortunate collision during the first week of April left the 24-year-old badly injured, and headed for season-ending surgery.  He’ll return to Double-A Harrisburg in 2014, looking to get his considerable power stroke back on track.  ETA:  2015

8.  Jake Johansen, RHP:  Drafted in the 2nd round last June, Johansen stands 6-foot-6, and is an intimidating presence on the mound.  As you might expect, the 23-year-old brings a power arsenal and his fastball is a weapon.  If all goes well, he could develop into a Lance Lynn-type starter — perhaps better if the secondary stuff surprises us.  ETA:  2016

9.  Drew Ward, 3B:  Ward was in quite the hurry to turn pro, graduating high school a year early in order to gain 2013 draft eligibility.  The Nats took him in the 3rd round and quickly got him started at the complex level, where he posted a .789 OPS in 49 games.  Ward has a long way to go, but he brings the upside of an above-average hitting 3B with good power.  ETA:  2017

10.  Zach Walters, SS:  Walters batted .253/.286/.517  with HR in 521 PA at Triple-A Syracuse in 2013, earning himself a late-season cup-of-coffee with the big club.  That sort of power from a premium position on the diamond is certainly exciting from a fantasy perspective, but with a 4% walk rate and a 26% whiff rate, the 24-year-old’s weaknesses are quite clear.  He’ll need to refine his approach significantly if he expects to play regularly at the highest level.  ETA:  2014

For a retrospective look at the Nationals farm, have a look at their 2013 MiLB preview.

From Around The Web

  1. Count de Monetball says:
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    Hey Scott happy Super Bowl Sunday. About how many teams do you have left to go over?

    • Count de Monetball says:
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      @Count de Monetball: Nevermind I see the nationals were number 13 in your counting down so clearly there’s 12 left

  2. TheNewGuy says:
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    Ha! Turns out Ive got 1st pick in our prospect draft in my newly formed keeper league.

    Gotta go Buxton over Taveras for long term upside right?

    • TheNewGuy says:
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      @TheNewGuy: Tanaka and Abreu can also be drafted for short term benefits, but this is a long term keeper so think id be better with a younger guy.

      • Count de Monetball says:
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        @TheNewGuy: It would be hard for me to take anyone over Buxton at this point in that type of format. Enjoy the keeper league! Have you done one before?

        • TheNewGuy says:
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          @Count de Monetball: I have bud, already in a roto auction keeper, so wanted to try a H2H snake keeper now. Looking forward to it.

    • @TheNewGuy: I’d go Buxton, but depending on how your active roster is shaping up, there’s an argument to be made for Tanaka/Abreu…

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans: Well it is all starting from scratch so no one has any players rostered yet ha. Buxton sounds like a certainty then, huge upside and less risk than many prospects.

        Hope you’ll be around to advise me with some other picks! All prospect eligible guys available, so guys like B Hamilton are still available too. Lots of guys to pick from.

  3. Jay

    Jay says:
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    SCOOOOOTTTTT,

    Tanner Roark… were you surprised to see him pitch above his ability at the end of last season? I mean, yeah, small sample size applies, but do you see any reason why he can’t be a stable 4/5 guy if given the starts?

    • @Jay: I was absolutely surprised by Roark, but he sort of fits the late-blooming mold of this Nats org… it’s amazing how they can let prospects marinate ’til they’re 25 or 26, and all of a sudden they’re showing tools they we never thought existed… Michael Morse is a good example of that… Anyway, based on the stuff he showed down the stretch, and the ability to spot that stuff — especially the fastball — Roark can be solid back-end starter… he outperformed is peripheral numbers, which comes back to the small sample, but I could see an upper-3’s ERA with modest whiffs & stretches during the year where he could be useful as a mixed league streamer…

      • Jay

        Jay says:
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        @Scott Evans: Awesome. For the sake of my dynasty team, use your magic powers and get him 150 innings please.

        • @Jay: If I had said powers, I’d use ‘em to bring Philip Seymour Hoffman back… what a fuckin’ bummer.

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            @Scott Evans: amen to that

            • Count de Monetball says:
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              @Mike: no doubt!

  4. Niceguybilly says:
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    Hey Scott!
    I have the 5th, 6th, and 7th picks in our upcoming prospect draft and I’m really considering taking Giolito with one of those picks. The top 9 guys available in our league this year IMO are (no order) Tanaka, Abreu, Bradley, Russell, Bryant, Appel, Gray, Syndergaard and Polanco. Four of those guys will be gone by the time I pick and I’m hearing that Tanaka and Appel will surely be picked, after that I have no idea. Would you consider Giolito among this grouping, with his ceiling being even higher? I don’t care about position or ETA, just who will be the best players in their prime. I appreciate your educated guess.

    • Niceguybilly says:
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      Forgot to include Correa in that grouping. Anyone feel free to chime in!

    • @Niceguybilly: I would target Bryant, Polanco, Russell, Syndergaard, Giolito, Appel, Gray in that order… I’m thinking the first 3 you list will be gone by pick 5. Correa falls a bit outside this group for now, but if his power starts taking form, he could be a monster.

  5. goodfold2 says:
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    when i asked about altherr after toles was taken, i didn’t know who souza even was. How do souza/altherr match up? I can bid on Souza at the All-Star break. I’ll be compiling a list of these guys, only stipulation is that if we win them we have to keep them on our active roster for the rest of the season. It’s generally expected to be a handicap for teams so winning teams can’t also suck up the minor league great players in season.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: i’m sorry, i did have souza listed, but he was 10th by you last year, so that’s where I still had him.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @Scott Evans: hope i’m the highest on him for i can afford the bid price then in that 30 man league at all star break.

  6. DoubleHeaders says:
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    Thanks for the abundance of helpful info Scott, these are always fun to read. Who do you project to be a “safer” bet to reach at least a number two in the rotation type……Giolito or Syndergaard? Thank you sir.

    • @DoubleHeaders: Thanks! Syndergaard is the safer prospect, but Giolito brings a tick more upside.

  7. goodfold2 says:
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    now that b.chen signed i asked a guy if my b.maurer and chen for his gallo. this sound solid? previous owner of gallo (team changed owners last week) was amenable to this, seeing if new one is too.

    • @goodfold2: I like it… I figure Chen is in the bullpen by mid-season to make room for Ventura anyway…

  8. PBMax says:
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    Any thoughts on keeper league Xander vs Machado? It’s an OPS league and I have neither SS nor 3B covered by another keeper.

    • @PBMax: I go with Machado… think he gains SS eligibility in 2015 too…

  9. Steve d says:
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    What’s up Scott. Would you trade Machado for Arenando and Rendon?

    • @Steve d: Likely not, but I suppose there are some needs-based scenarios that would make it an acceptable deal…

      • Steve d says:
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        @Scott Evans: thanks Scott. I was looking to upgrade my final keeper spot. Right now I have archer. Love the guy but I keep reading bad things. I’ll stand pat. That’s what I was leaning towards.

  10. Mike

    Mike says:
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    Just curious which newly repaired elbow you would put your money on if you didn’t care about ETA…Bundy or Giolito? I’m leaning Gio

    • @Mike: Interesting question, but I go with Bundy based on established upper levels success… Giolito still has work to do on that end…

  11. amalric7 says:
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    Scott, far be it from me to be the party pooper, but…Billy Burns is on the A’s. He was traded for reliever Jerry Blevins on Dec 11, 2013.

    • Count de Monetball says:
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      @amalric7: billy beane trading for him, raises his ranking, more like a #3 prospect now! Ha!

    • @amalric7: Wow that slipped my notes… thanks for the catch… will amend list shortly…

  12. The Ghost of the Disappeared says:
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    Scott: Is there a chance of putting together a list of MOST LIKELY Prospects and current MiLBers (who have may have had limited previous MLB appearances) by Organization to appear in 2014 before September.

    Not just the top touted ones… The ones in the best position to appear and play in MLB in 2014.

    Do you know of a site that guesstimates this kind of thing????

    Thanks…

    PS Poor Jay Wrong never gets to post anymore.

    • @The Ghost of the Disappeared: I do a 2014-specific top 50 which starts this coming wednesday… I also put ETAs on all my T10 notes… baseball prospectus highlights “factors from the farm” in each of their team previews, highlighting 3 less touted prospects who should contribute at the highest level…

      • Count de Monetball says:
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        @Scott Evans: ooh, your top 50 Comes out soon I am super excited. That list helped me out so much last year!! Great work bro.

  13. Will says:
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    What about Zach Walters? Not everyday a SS launches 29 home runs in AAA. I know his K/BB rate is awful but he definitely has power.

    • @Will: I had Walters at #11, but check back a little later & he’ll be in at #10 w/ notes — the Burns trade somehow slipped my notes, so everyone behind him moves up a spot…

  14. MB says:
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    How much will I regret trading giolito for liriano in dynasty? I am competing now and won last year but BOY

    • @MB: Can’t regret a move it helped you win a title… that said, Giolito could be special…

  15. English says:
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    Hi Scott. My looooong 45 round draft as finished and as well as my MLB lineup I have finished up with this set of minor leaguers. I’d love to know what you think. Just as a lead in; after the top group went I decided to go for upside so a few are a bit risky. If you get chance let me know what you think. Thanks.
    Hitters
    C
    Kevin Plawecki, C, NYM
    James McCann, C, DET
    CI
    DJ Peterson, 3B, SEA
    Max Muncy,1B, OAK
    Seth Mejias-Brean, 1B/3B, CIN
    Stetson Allie, 1B, PIT
    Amaurys Minier, 3B, MIN
    MI
    Dilson Herrera, 2B, NYM
    Carlos Correa, SS, HOU
    Chris Bostick, 2B, TEX
    Richard Urena, SS, TOR
    OF
    Rymer Liriano, OF, SD
    Tyrone Taylor, OF, MIL
    Aaron Altherr, OF, PHI
    Danry Vasquez, OF, HOU
    Tyler Collins, OF, DET
    Mikey Edie, OF, SFG
    Jordan Patterson, OF, COL
    Junior Arias, OF, CIN

    Pitchers
    SP
    Kyle Zimmer, SP, KC
    Lucas Giolito, SP, WAS
    Luiz Gohara, SP, SEA
    Adam Conley, SP, MIA
    Joe Wieland, SP, SD
    Vidal Nuno, SP, NYY
    Felix Jorge, SP, MIN
    Jacob Constante, LHP, CIN
    Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP, CHC
    Omar Luis, LHP, NYY
    RP
    Stephen Pryor, RP, SEA
    John Stilson, RP, TOR

    • You’ve got upside at every position, which is what you’re looking for… pitching is a little top-heavy, but nice to have Zimmer & Giolito… deep dynasty, so tough to criticize some of the fringier guys… pretty decent farm, I’d say

      • English says:
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        @Scott Evans:
        Yeah I took a few of the pitchers (Nuno, Pryor, Wieland, Stilson, possibly Conley) with one eye on them helping me out this year so I ended up with a couple more than I would have aimed for.
        I basically went Correa, Zimmer, Giolito, DJ Peterson and then most of the top guys were gone. Hoping some of the international guys turn into stars but you never know I suppose.
        What are your thought on Constante and Omar Luis?

  16. Dan says:
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    What’s your take on Marten Gasparini as a prospect? I know he is worth more in real life than in fantasy. How about Gasparini compared to Micker Zapata?

  17. TheNewGuy says:
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    Doing 2 starter minor league drafts concurrently so bear with me if it gets a little confusing.

    Trying to plan for my 2 upcoming picks (15&18) in the same draft. Looking at the likely available guys, how would you rank these lot in order of preference:

    A Russell, B Hamilton, J Taillon, G Springer, K Bryant, R Stephenson, G Polanco.

    Thanks.

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