2014 Washington Nationals Top 10 Prospects


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TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Lucas Giolito, rhp
2. A.J. Cole, rhp
3. Brian Goodwin, of
4. Matt Skole, 1b/3b
5. Robbie Ray, lhp
6. Sammy Solis, lhp
7. Michael Taylor, of
8. Jake Johansen, rhp
9. Nate Karns, rhp
10. Steven Souza, of
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Tony Renda
Best Power Hitter Matt Skole
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Billy Burns
Fastest Baserunner Billy Burns
Best Athlete Michael Taylor
Best Fastball Lucas Giolito
Best Curveball Lucas Giolito
Best Slider Aaron Barrett
Best Changeup Christian Garcia
Best Control Taylor Hill
Best Defensive Catcher Pedro Severino
Best Defensive Infielder Stephen Perez
Best Infield Arm Zach Walters
Best Defensive Outfielder Michael Taylor
Best Outfield Arm Narciso Mesa
TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 and UNDER
Year Player, Pos 2013 Org
1. Bryce Harper, of (21) Majors
2. Stephen Strasburg, rhp (24) Majors
3. Anthony Rendon, 2b (23) Majors
4. Lucas Giolito, rhp (18) Short-season
5. A.J. Cole, rhp (22) Double-A
6. Taylor Jordan, rhp (25) Majors
7. Brian Goodwin, of (23) Double-A
8. Matt Skole, 1b/3b (24) Double-A
9. Robbie Ray, lhp (22) Double-A
10. Sammy Solis, lhp (25) High Class A
11. Steven Lombardozzi, 2b/of (25) Majors
12. Ian Krol, lhp (22) Majors
13. Michael Taylor, of (23) High Class A
14. Jake Johansen, rhp (23) Low Class A
15. Steven Souza, of (24) Double-A
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org
2004 Clint Everts, rhp Sugar Land (Atlantic)
2005 Mike Hinckley, lhp Out of baseball
2006 Ryan Zimmerman, 3b Nationals
2007 Collin Balester, rhp Rangers
2008 Chris Marrero, 1b Nationals
2009 Jordan Zimmermann, rhp Nationals
2010 Stephen Strasburg, rhp Nationals
2011 Bryce Harper, of Nationals
2012 Bryce Harper, of Nationals
2013 Anthony Rendon, 3b Nationals
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org
2004 Bill Bray, lhp Nationals (2nd round)
2005 Ryan Zimmerman, 3b Nationals
2006 Chris Marrero, of Nationals
2007 Ross Detwiler, lhp Nationals
2008 *Aaron Crow, rhp Royals
2009 Stephen Strasburg, rhp Nationals
2010 Bryce Harper, of Nationals
2011 Anthony Rendon, 3b Nationals
2012 Lucas Giolito Nationals
2013 Jake Johansen (2) Nationals
*Did not sign
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
Stephen Strasburg, rhp, 2009 $7,500,000
Bryce Harper, 2010 $6,250,000
Anthony Rendon, 3b, 2011 $6,000,000
Brian Goodwin, 2011 $3,000,000
Ryan Zimmerman, 3b, 2006 $2,975,000
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects

After snapping the franchise’s 31-year postseason drought in 2012, the Nationals headed into 2013 as a popular pick to win the World Series. But Washington scuffled out of the gate and played .500 ball for the season’s first three months, then went into a tailspin in July.

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The low point came on Aug. 7, when Washington found itself six games below .500 and 1512 games out of first place.

For much of the season, the Nats were too reliant upon home runs to score, but they evolved into a more efficient offense down the stretch and finished 32-16. Core players Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth all finished with strong seasons, while sophomore Bryce Harper turned in a historically good season for a 20-year-old despite a nagging hip injury.

Washington still has one of the best young cores in baseball, and a strong case can be made that they landed the best player available in four consecutive drafts. Having the No. 1 pick in back-to-back seasons helped, as Stephen Strasburg and Harper have thus far lived up to their lofty billing. Anthony Rendon was rated as the top prospect for the 2011 draft but slipped to the Nats at No. 6 because of injury concerns. Rendon finally stayed healthy in 2013 and turned in an impressive rookie season despite learning to play second base on the fly.

In 2012, Washington once again pounced on an elite talent who slid in the draft because of injury and signability issues. Righthander Lucas Giolito had Tommy John surgery shortly after signing for a $2.9 million bonus as the 16th pick, but he returned to action in 2013 and showed the kind of dazzling stuff that gives him a Strasburg-esque ceiling.

Opportunistic drafting clearly has played a big role in Washington’s surge, but the player-development staff also deserves credit for developing homegrown talents like Desmond, Ross Detwiler and Taylor Jordan, who turned in an encouraging nine-start run in his big league debut.

After sending numerous young stars to the big leagues in recent years, Washington’s farm system has been left somewhat depleted. The return of righthander A.J. Cole—traded away in the Gio Gonzalez deal but re-acquired from the Athletics last offseason in the three-team Michael Morse trade—helped immensely. Cole thrived in his return to the organization and established himself as one of Washington’s top prospects. Brian Goodwin, Robbie Ray, Nate Karns and Steven Souza all joined Cole in spending meaningful time in Double-A last year, and any of them could contribute in Washington soon.

The Nationals are also starting to reap rewards from their rejuvenated Latin American program. Exciting young talents like Jefry Rodriguez and Rafael Bautista had sterling U.S. debuts, helping the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals put together an incredible 49-9 season.

After essentially starting over from scratch three and a half years ago, Washington is now spending money again in Latin America, highlighted by the $900,000 bonus it doled out for 16-year-old Dominican third baseman Anderson Franco in August. It has been a long time since Washington has been a player on the market for pricy international free agents, so this development is one more sign that the franchise is healthier than ever.