We move into the National League with our 2018 homegrown roster series, starting with the NL East. You can check out the American League East here, American League Central here and American League West here.
To rehash, any player signed for entry into Major League Baseball is eligible to be listed with the team that signed them, so foreign professionals signed from Japan, Cuba, South Korea or other countries are included in addition to those drafted and signed, signed as international amateurs or signed as undrafted free agents.
Players must have been active in 2017 and are scheduled to be active in 2018 to be eligible.
Honorable Mention: Elvis Andrus, Brandon Drury, Nick Ahmed, Tyler Flowers, Mike Minor, Gregor Blanco, Jose Peraza, Randall Delgado, Johan Camargo, Junior Guerra, Neftali Feliz, Matt Belisle, J.J. Hoover, Chasen Shreve, Cory Gearrin, Jesus Sucre, Tommy La Stella, Victor Caratini
Analysis: The Braves have the strongest track record in baseball of identifying and developing shortstops. Andrelton Simmons, Elvis Andrus, Nick Ahmed and Jose Peraza are all starting shortstops in the majors, and there is also Ozzie Albies, who plays second base but is a natural shortstop, and Yunel Escobar, who began as a shortstop and has since moved to third base. Brandon Drury, who plays mostly second base, is another everyday up-the-middle player the Braves can claim…Shortstop success and big draft hits at catcher (Brian McCann) and first base (Freddie Freeman) give the Braves a nice track record of homegrown infielders, but they are light on outfielders. Jason Heyward has been a below-average player for two years, Ronald Acuña has never actually played a major league game for all his promise and Evan Gattis is a designated hitter and catcher who moonlights as an outfielder. Beyond them, there are no impact, everyday outfielders the Braves can claim as their own…Pitching-wise the Braves have an interesting but not overwhelmingly great hometown group, which is why so many of their promising young starters at the big league level were acquired in trades (Sean Newcomb, Luiz Gohara, Mike Foltynewicz, Max Fried).
Analysis: The Marlins have some of the highest highs and the lowest lows of any franchise when it comes to homegrown talent. Their homegrown outfield was arguably the best in baseball until this offseason’s teardown, and Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez and Logan Morrison at first base is as loaded as a position group gets….Miami’s crop of lefthanded starters (Andrew Heaney, Jason Vargas, Adam Conley) isn’t bad, while Jose Ureña and Trevor Williams are respectable righthanders. The late Jose Fernandez, of course, was a homegrown success story and would have been the ace of the staff …At the same time, the Marlins are completely barren at second base, third base and shortstop, to an astounding degree. Austin Barnes, who is primarily a catcher, is the only second base option. JT Riddle and Brian Anderson made their ML debuts last year and should not be the best a franchise has to offer over a two-decade span….When it comes to depth, beyond first basemen, the Marlins are woefully short, both in terms of the starting lineup and rotation, a problem that has sunk the franchise time and again despite its homegrown successes.
NEW YORK METS
Honorable Mention: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Scott Kazmir, Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman, Steven Matz, Joe Smith, Yusmeiro Petit, Mike Pelfrey, Rafael Montero, Brandon Nimmo, Ezequiel Carrera, Juan Lagares, Ruben Tejada, Dominic Smith, T.J. Rivera, Matt Bowman, Dillon Gee, Hansel Robles
Analysis: While the Mets have many homegrown successes, many of them are well beyond their prime. David Wright, Jose Reyes and Scott Kazmir are nearing the end and don’t contribute much anymore, while Matt Harvey isn’t old but is no longer a positive contributor either….Finding outfielders has long been a Mets strength, with Nelson Cruz, Michael Conforto and Carlos Gomez all All-Stars and Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares and Ezequiel Carrera legit big leaguers. Starting pitching has been an area of success as well, with both depth and a mix of righthanders and lefthanders….Since Reyes and Wright, who were both signed pre-2002, the Mets have struggled to find or develop impact infielders, with one notable exception. Daniel Murphy blossomed, but Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada and others have been good but not exceptional at their best. Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith are the Mets’ best hopes to change that mixed legacy, post-Wright and Reyes, of finding and developing homegrown infielders.
Honorable Mention: Chase Utley, Ryan Madson, Jonathan Villar, Freddy Galvis, Travis D'Arnaud, Brad Ziegler, Andrew Knapp, Carlos Ruiz, Mark Leiter, Jean Machi, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan, Jake Diekman, Jarred Cosart
Analysis: The Phillies have few established homegrown stars in today’s game and have to rely mostly on young players with limited, or spotty, big league track records to field a lineup…Organizationally there has certainly been some recent shortstop success with Jonathan Villar, Freddy Galvis and, presumably, J.P. Crawford. The Phillies have also been able to uncover frontline arms over the years with Cole Hamels, Aaron Nola and Carlos Carrasco…Catching has also been an area of strength, with Cameron Rupp, Travis D’Arnaud and Andrew Knapp all established big leaguers following the success of Carlos Ruiz… The outfield, especially center field, has been a problem area for the Phillies to grow on their own, and starting pitching depth beyond the three standouts has been rather light…What is most noticeable is the overall step down in homegrown talent the Phillies produce compared to years past. In the seven-year span from 1996-2003 the Phillies drafted and signed Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Marlon Byrd, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers, Randy Wolf, Ryan Madson and Gavin Floyd and signed Ruiz and Carrasco internationally. Their current active group of homegrown players, while fairly well-rounded and involving some of those same players, is overall not close to the same caliber or depth.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Zimmermann, Nate Karns, Danny Espinosa, Reynaldo Lopez, Alex Meyer, Nick Pivetta, Brian Goodwin, Wilmer Difo, Derek Norris, Craig Stammen, Ryan Buchter, A.J. Cole, Aaron Barrett, Matt Grace, Koda Glover, Sammy Solis, Tommy Milone
Analysis: The Nationals have excelled at finding and developing corner players over the years with Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper all becoming MVP candidates and Steven Souza blossoming into 30-home run threat. The Nationals are similarly stocked pitching-wise, with a deep group of starters that can be mixed and matched to include as many veterans (Jordan Zimmermann, Nate Karns) or young players (Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez) as you like….Where the Nats have fallen short recently is in developing up-the-middle players. Sandy Leon is the best of a limited group of catchers, while the franchise’s best active middle infielders--Brandon Phillips and Ian Desmond--were drafted in 1999 and 2004, respectively. Desmond hasn’t actually played shortstop everyday since 2015, but there are no other homegrown options. Similarly, Michael A. Taylor was a revelation last year and is the franchise’s only everyday center field option, although Victor Robles may soon change that.