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Under the guidance of Gm Mike Rizzo, the Nationals have experienced a successful, yet frustrating run in their franchise’s history. With five straight winning seasons, but nothing to show for it, the Nationals were once again aggressive on the trade market. Sending top prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, along with 2016 first rounder Dane Dunning to the White Sox for Adam Eaton. Despite moving some very good prospects in Giolito and Lopez, the Nationals activity in the International market, and a strong 2016 draft crop, has helped restock the lower levels of the system. Due to diligent scouting, and astute drafting, Washington has been able to maintain organizational balance throughout all of the levels of the system. They have a potentially ready made replacement for Bryce Harper, should “Make Baseball Fun Again” walk for Greener Pa$trues. There’s far less arms in the upper reaches of the system than there used to be, but Erick Fedde isn’t that far from contributing on the major league level. There’s exciting young power hitter Juan Soto, and top international signing Yasel Antuna, as well as another Tommy John reclamation project in Jesus Luzardo. The Nats keep churning out the talent, and there’s no reason to think it won’t continue. It’s the Top Washington Nationals Prospects.

 

Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.

Victor Robles, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A+/ A-

Ranked 4th overall in my Top 100 Prospects, Robles is one of the hottest prospect names in fantasy baseball. With a 60 grade hit tool, 60 grade speed, and average power that’s still being tapped into, there’s a lot to like. His elite defense will push his ETA despite his young age, though not to sell his hitting short, as the bats advanced too. The outfielder should touch AA this year, after finishing the year in A+. He slashed .305/.405/.459 at Hagerstown before promotion to the Carolina League. He struggled a little in high A to the tune of .262/.354/.387, but he was the youngest cub in the Carolina League, and he still stole 18 bases. If he hits in his return to Potomoc, and meets the challenge of AA Harrisburg, we very well could be looking at the top overall prospect as soon as mid-season.

Erick Fedde, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+

Ranked number 59 on my Top 100 list, Fedde had 1.1 buzz heading into the 2014 draft.  Unfortunately those dreams crashed when Tommy J ate his elbow his last season at UNLV. So he instead fell to the Nationals at 18 in the 2014 draft. He took off last year after debuting late in 2015. His stuff is all the way back working mostly in the low to mid 90’s with the sinking fastball, but he can ramp it up to 97 on occasion. His slider is a plus pitch, while his change has developed to the point of being labeled average. His mechanics are clean, loose, and athletic, so he has no problem throwing strikes. He could stand to improve his command a bit, hitting his spots more consistently. Should see time in the upper minors with a chance for an MLB debut sometime during the season.

Juan Soto, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk

Ranked number 96 on my Top 100, Soto signed with the Nats in 2015 for $1.5 million. He made his pro debut in the rookie level Gulf Coast League this season, and proceeded to hit .361/.410/.550 driving in 31 runs in 169 at bats, and winning MVP honors. He has a quick and compact lefthanded swing, and should draw from his natural power to end up at least an above average home run hitter. Not sure what approach the Nationals take, could see full season Hagerstown or return to Auburn and short season ball. Long way off but one to keep an eye on.

Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.

Koda Glover, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA/AA/A+

After skipping across four levels last year there’s big things expected of the 2015 8th rounder out of Oklahoma State. His triple digit fastball with sinking action, and hard slider, allow him to really attack hitters. Looks to me like the makings of a future closer. Should have a role in some capacity in the Washington bullpen this year, with a darkhorse shot to lockdown the closers role.

Austin Voth, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA

A pitchability over stuff guy, he’s not the typical Nationals starter profile, but he’s managed to lead the minor league system in strikeouts in consecutive years. He lacks a plus pitch, though his changeup grades as above average. He gets results by knowing the art of pitching. He mixes his arsenal well, and gets deep into games, racking up consecutive seasons of 150+ innings. Looks like a backend of the rotation innings eater.

Wilmer Difo, 2B/SS | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA

The switch-hitting middle infielder bloomed late, but rose through the upper minors of the Nationals system relatively quickly. He has only below average power, but he has good bat to ball skills, and base stealing ability. Only really a flier in the deepest of formats or NL Only Leagues.

Andrew Stevenson, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+ 

A former LSU Tiger and teammate of 2015 second overall pick Alex Bregman, Stevenson is a potential future lead off hitter with serious wheels. He doesn’t hit for power, opting more for a hard ground ball and liner to the gap approach, becoming of his speed. Looked excellent in the Arizona Fall League finishing second in the batting title, and first in hits. Could be an all-speed future SAGNOF type. Don’t sleep.

Drew Ward, 3B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+

Solid third base prospect, flashed some power in high A Potomac, smacking 11 homers before being called up to AA Harrisburg. He struggled in his 53 games in the Eastern League, but he still managed to walk at a 10% clip. Impressed scouts in the Arizona Fall League, with a .391 OBP, though he hit for very little power there. If he can continue to cut back on the strikeouts and tap into his raw power we could be talking about an MLB regular.

Others: A.J. Cole, Pedro Severino, Rafael Bautista, Rhett Wiseman, Kelvin Gutierrez

Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs

Yasel Antuna, SS | Age: 17 | ETA: 2021 | 2016 Level: N/A

A polished teenage prodigy, Antuna was considered by many to be the top shortstop prospect in the Dominican Republic this year. His natural instincts on offense and defense and five category potential make him an intriguing draft and stash in deeper dynasty formats.

Luis Garcia, SS | Age: 16 | ETA: 2021 | 2016 Level: N/A

Another signing to go along with Yasel Antuna, Garcia was the most highly ranked of the Nationals 2016 signing class. The son of a former Major Leaguer, Garcia is a young toolsy middle infielder with a loose, quick lefthanded swing that’s more line drive focused at the moment. He makes loads of hard contact leading many to believe he’ll unlock some raw power. He’s an excellent athlete that runs well, and fields his position well enough to stick at short long term.

Carter Kieboom, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk

The younger brother of Nationals catching prospect Spencer Kieboom, Carter is an all around solid if unspectacular player. His bat speed is above average and he has shown the ability to drive the ball, but he strikes out a bit too much, and needs to refine his plate discipline. He has the defensive instincts and arm to stick at short long term.

Jesus Luzardo, LHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2022 | 2016 Level: N/A

A potential first round prep arm, that underwent Tommy John months before the draft, he fell to Washington in the third round. He mixed three above average or better pitches in his prep days, and has some under the radar upside.

Others: Anderson Franco, Tyler Watson, Sheldon Neuse, Osvaldo Abreu, Joan Baez

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  1. M says:
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    What do you think of Joe Ross this year? Would you rather have him or Jharel Cotton in a roto league that has IP & K/9 as 2 of the scoring cats

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @M: I think I’d lean Cotton I feel simply for the K/9. It’s really close though and I couldn’t go either way.

  2. Brett says:
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    Ralph

    I’m in a league with daily roster moves. It’s a 260 auction league with a 3 man bench. We can keep 5 players. A player is kept at his auction price year 2 and year 3 we have an option to keep them and let them go or contract them for up to 4 years with their price going up $5 a year. Because of the daily moves it is hard to keep more than one player in the minors on your bench for a long time and how soon they are up also increases their value as I can then use them.

    I’m between Moncada and Brinson. Who would you rather get?

    Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Brett: Moncada all day and it’s not close.

  3. JayB says:
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    Hey Ralph,

    Need your advice on a proposed offer I received in my dynasty league.

    It’s a deep 12-team H2H keep forever league. We keep 20 MLB guys and 8 MiLB guys and have a 12 round draft (144 picks) each year–for a total of 40 man rosters. The draft is held for teams to draft the new 2016 draftees and whatever MLB talent didn’t make a team’s keeper list and/or are left in the FA pool. So typically the hot prospects and good MLB talent is gone by round 4.

    The scoring categories are:
    R H HR RBI SB BB K TB AVG OPS and IP QS W ERA WHIP SV+HLD HRA K/9 K/BB

    I received the following trade offer:
    – I trade JD Martinez+a 6/7/8 rounder (picks 72, 76 and 89 overall) FOR DBundy+two 1st and a 3rd rounder (picks 2, 6 and 33 overall)

    The only reason I’m contemplating this deal is that currently, my first 3-picks are the 15th, 72nd and 76th overall

    At OF I have – Pollock/Cruz/JDMart/Bautista/Thames/Broxton/Conforto (we start 5 OF)
    At SP I have – Arrieta/Greinke/Hill/Lackey/Gsellman

    Ideally I’d pick Senzel (but he may be gone by pick 2) so it’d be Corey Ray and then the best available MLB talent at picks 6 and 33.

    What I’m wondering is if it’s crazy for me to even consider this offer. Essentially I’m trading a top-15 OFer for Bundy and 3 rolls of the dice. Risky.

    Is this enough value in return for JD in your opinion? My team has a chance to compete this year but this trade could yield some nice talent through the draft

    Thoughts? Would you do it or stand pat?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @JayB: I would hold on Martinez. Don’t like Bundy, he scares me.

  4. Chud says:
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    Great stuff as always Ralph!

    10 team full salary keeper trade offer for u:

    I give Cano ($38)/Franco ($10)/quintana($7)/Starlin Castro ($18)

    I get Dozier ($13)/JD Mart ($9)/Lackey ($12)/ Salvador Perez ($17).

    Your wisdom is always appreciated!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chud: Like the Dozier side.

  5. Eddie says:
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    Hey Ralph, I know you love Beni as much as just about anyone, but I was curious to hear how much value you think he loses in a league that doesn’t count Runs (we use slugging instead, as well as OBP in place of avg). Our format usually leads me to covet middle of the order mashers, and I had been planning to gamble on Sano’s power potential for my final keeper spot. Now I’m having second thoughts. Given similar cost (both super cheap), would you just go with your boy and the better hitter? Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Eddie: It depends how much power he hits for. If it’s slugging % it may not effect him much, particularly because he’s an OBP stud.

  6. Another Dan says:
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    Excellent stuff again Ralph, thanks.

    Another Dan

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Another Dan: No problem Dan!

  7. Steve says:
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    Hey Ralph,

    Long term 14-team roto keeper, do you like Pollock in the 8th or Benintendi in the 15th round? Guess I’m asking who has the better season and is a better long term asset? Only a 1-rd penalty per year (Pollock will be a 7th rounder next year and Benintendi will be a 14th rounder)

    Thanks

    • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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      @Steve: there’s just no way he picks pollock here.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Steve: Yea it’s Benintendi for me all day.

      • Steve says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: feel the same way about Swanson too? Over Pollock…

        Thanks Ralph

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Steve: This year no, but long term yes.

  8. Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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    great work with these lists, hope you do more than only 10 total next year for us deep as shit leaguers (deeper than the league i’m asking about here). take that longenhagen you finished!

    our keepers were voted in as being 4 not 5, so one of these has to go. we keep guys at a round cost that is their last year ADP from fantasy pros’ ADP averaged rankings across many sites at end of previous season. it’s a league with a bunch of added stats like hits, OPS, total bases, slugging, OBP, steals %. 5 OF and 1 CI/MI and 3 utils 16 team league.
    mookie (1)
    villar (26)
    k.davis (12)
    bregman (28)
    ceager (4)
    thinking my drop can’t be villar with that value, i won’t get mookie back as i won this league thus have the 16th pick in 1st round so he’s gotta be kept. bregman (pick value right now and future upside) ceager (future value but smallest round value) are hard drops too.

  9. Jibbs says:
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    Nice writeup as always…I’ve been on the Robles train for a couple years now so hopefully when Harper signs with the Yanks for a billion dollars he gets the call.

    Quick dynasty league arm question – I can trade Duffy/A Chapman for JD Martinez/Sandy Alcantara…I’m inclined to do the deal with or without Alcantara, but would he be an upgrade over Aiken, Stewart, Basabe, Wall, Kilome or Gohara?

    Right now I’ve got Robles, Tapia, Verdugo, Bader, Weaver, Chapman and Tellez as locks and can choose from that first list.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jibbs: He’s an upgrade over Wall for sure, I don’t like that deal though.

  10. The Lord's Disciple says:
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    when Bryce Harper wants butt in the locker room, he takes butt

    • Sheriff McRawDawg says:
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      @The Lord’s Disciple: and when Harper takes too much butt this year (and injures Werth), does anyone see Rafael Bautista up as a 4th/5th OF for SBs?!

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Sheriff McRawDawg: He could, but I want to part of it.

        • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: razz30 steals definitely ain’t got no face! Speaking of Nats, what did you think of Michael Taylor for $11 in that one? thought he’d go for more and bumped up my spend on pitching so I was bummed

  11. Milarky says:
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    Great stuff as usual! You’ll know I’m a loyal follower when I tell you that in my 3-round prospect draft last year, I took Benintendi and Hader. And that leads to my question. From these prospect drafts held mid-year, we can keep up to 3 of them for two years beyond the year we draft them. Those two are no-brainers given that I only took them last year. For my third prospect keeper, I have to choose between Lourdes Gurriel (who I’d get to keep free for this year and next unless I pickup a better one at this year’s prospect draft) and Jose Berrios (I’d lose him after this year).

    I was assuming I’d keep Lourdes, but if he’s not going to make an impact this year then maybe it’s better to take the flier on Berrios’ upside. What do you think?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Milarky: I would go with Berries and drink the sweet sweet bounce back juice.

      • Milarky says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Yeah? You think he’s got a bounce-back in him? If he still qualified as a rookie then it would be an easy choice for me (we have to start one rookie hitter and pitcher), but since he doesn’t, I was assuming the extra year of being able to keep Lourdes would cinch it. But since we take 3 more prospects in July…

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Milarky: I’m not sure Lourdes is that good that he would warrant it.

          Yeah Berrios is still crazy young.

  12. Beware the Shit Rope says:
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    normally i don’t post classifieds in razzball comment sections as i’d rather not have my leaguemates having a guaranteed method of best info and possibly getting scooped to my own advice questions, but it’s getting late in the game and i need one more owner for:

    brand new dynasty 16 team roto in yahoo (free):
    there will be 7 man minor league protected list (and can be anybody, even those not in yahoo as long as under 130 at bats/50 innings), the minor league list will be drafted first as soon as league fills up, 1 spot left. the regular active player draft will be march 31st at 8 PM eastern online.

    rosters: 1 each of all infield spots, 1 exact OF each (LF/CF/RF), 2 extra OF of any type, 1 each of CI/MI, 2 utils, 5 SP, 5 RP, 1 P, 3 BN, 5 DL, 2 NA. the minor players can be called up/sent down till any time till they hit their maximums.

    scoring (roto): runs, hits, HR’s, RBI, steals, total bases, OBP, slugging, OPS, steals %, wins, saves, holds, K’s, ERA, WHIP, K to BB, K per 9, QS, net saves. 1750 max innings per year. 162 games for hitting spots. 1750 max innings per year. drop email here i’ll get invite.

  13. Thorbs says:
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    Great writeup as always – I’m considering picking up Glover and dropping Aiken in a dynasty league as a sneaky minor league keeper (we only keep 8 minor leaguers) that I could plug into one of my RP slots.

    Been offered JD for Ozuna and the tenth overall pick in the first year players’ draft. Surely this should be done? I feel whatever upside Rutherford or whoever might be available there isn’t close to the gap between Ozuna and JD, right?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Thorbs: Id take JD.

  14. T Bizzle says:
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    Nice work Lifshitz

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @T Bizzle: Thanks Bizzle!

  15. The waffler says:
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    Dyno bench flier. Raul mondesi or nick Williams?? Thx!!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @The waffler: Nick Williams.

      • The waffler says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Thx. I noticed u don’t have nick williams on your top 100 prospects? Would u prefer a basabe, laureano or j Jones over nick w? It’s a keep 25 out of 36 lge. 12tm 5×5 h2h

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @The waffler: I prefer Laureano for sure.

  16. Iron Sheik says:
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    @Ralph Lifshitz: What are your thoughts on Sean Newcomb of the Atlanta Braves? I noticed he was on your top 100 but man did he just make the Phillies look really silly. A power lefty who could be up by sometime this season. Physically he’s a new kid. Looks like a small sample size but if this kid corrected his mechanics then we may need to adjust quickly. He could be up quickly. I would just make sure to keep him on the radar. Frontline starter maybe once again…

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Iron Sheik: I’ve known about Newcomb since he was in high school, followed him a little but at Hartford, and when he was drafted by the Angels. The stuff was always legit but the control and mechanics were an issue. He was on my last two top 100’s but he needs to show and prove. I hope that he’s finally reaching his potential. He wasn’t terribly far off from the list. He probably about 125-130.

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