2013 Washington Nationals Top 10 Prospects

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Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible.

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1. Anthony Rendon, 3b
2. Lucas Giolito, rhp
3. Brian Goodwin, of
4. Matt Skole, 3b
5. Nate Karns, rhp
6. Christian Garcia, rhp
7. Eury Perez, of
8. Sammy Solis, lhp
9. Matt Purke, lhp
10. Zach Walters, ss
Best Hitter for Average Anthony Rendon
Best Power Hitter Matt Skole
Best Strike Zone Discipline Anthony Rendon
Fastest Baserunner Billy Burns
Best Athlete Brian Goodwin
Best Fastball Lucas Giolito
Best Curveball Lucas Giolito
Best Slider Aaron Barrett
Best Changeup Christian Garcia
Best Control Taylor Hill
Best Defensive Catcher Sandy Leon
Best Defensive Infielder Anthony Rendon
Best Infield Arm Zach Walters
Best Defensive OF Michael Taylor
Best Outfield Arm Michael Taylor
Catcher Wilson Ramos
First Base Ryan Zimmerman
Second Base Danny Espinosa
Third Base Anthony Rendon
Shortstop Ian Desmond
Left Field Brian Goodwin
Center Field Denard Span
Right Field Bryce Harper
No. 1 Starter Stephen Strasburg
No. 2 Starter Lucas Giolito
No. 3 Starter Gio Gonzalez
No. 4 Starter Jordan Zimmermann
No. 5 Starter Ross Detwiler
Closer Drew Storen
Year Player, Pos 2012 Org
2003 Clint Everts, rhp Blue Jays
2004 Clint Everts, rhp Blue Jays
2005 Mike Hinckley, lhp Out of baseball
2006 Ryan Zimmerman, 3b Nationals
2007 Collin Balester, rhp Tigers
2008 Chris Marrero, 1b/of Nationals
2009 Jordan Zimmermann, rhp Nationals
2010 Stephen Strasburg, rhp Nationals
2011 Bryce Harper, of Nationals
2012 Bryce Harper, of Nationals
Year Player, Pos 2012 Org
2003 Chad Cordero, RHP Out of baseball
2004 Bill Bray, LHP Reds
2005 Ryan Zimmerman, 3B Nationals
2006 Chris Marrero, 3B 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, RHP Nationals
*Did not sign
Stephen Strasburg, 2009
Bryce Harper, 2010
Anthony Rendon, 2011
Brian Goodwin, 2011
Ryan Zimmerman, 2006
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Washington Nationals

After years spent building a rock-solid foundation, the Nationals were rewarded for their planning and opportunistic drafting with a resoundingly successful 2012 campaign.

They posted their first winning season since moving to Washington in 2005, leading the majors with 98 wins, cruising to the National League East title and snapping the franchise's 31-year postseason drought. The city embraced a team that spent all but a handful of days atop the division, capped by the first playoff appearance by a Washington baseball club since 1933.

But the dream season had a nightmarish finale. After splitting the first four games of an NL Division Series against the Cardinals, the Nationals blew a 6-0 advantage in the decisive fifth game. Drew Storen failed to hold a two-run lead with two out in the ninth, and St. Louis rallied for four runs to complete a stunning comeback.

Still, Washington could take solace in the knowledge that it has perhaps the best young core in baseball and looks poised to contend for championships for years to come.

The Nationals led the National League with a 3.33 ERA in 2012, as homegrown arms meshed with offseason acquisitions to form a deep, talented staff. They traded four of their best prospects (Brad Peacock, A.J. Cole, Derek Norris and Tommy Milone) to get ace lefthander Gio Gonzalez from the Athletics in December, and he rewarded them by topping the NL with 21 wins and 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. In his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, Stephen Strasburg was dominant at times and would have outranked Gonzalez with 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings—if Washington hadn't made the controversial decision to shut him down after 159 innings.

The Nationals took the same approach with Jordan Zimmermann when he came back from elbow reconstruction in 2011, and he responded with his best season in 2012. Another homegrown pitcher, lefty Ross Detwiler, also took a major step forward. Free-agent signee Edwin Jackson rounded out a rotation in which all five starters won at least 10 games.

The lineup featured more player-development success stories. Bryce Harper's rookie season was one of the most anticipated in baseball history, and the 19-year-old phenom didn't disappoint. Called up in the late April, he earned a trip to the All-Star Game and hit .270 with 22 homers—the second-most ever for a big league teenager.

Beyond Harper, Ian Desmond blossomed into one of baseball's best shortstops as a 26-year-old, validating the work of minor league instructors who spent five long years easing him along and major league coaches who didn't give up on him after a trying 2011 campaign. Desmond and Danny Espinosa give Washington a pair of dynamic homegrown middle infielders to go with cornerstone third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

The future is bright for Washington largely because ownership, general manager Mike Rizzo and scouting director Kris Kline have shown they aren't afraid to take chances and spend money in the draft. After hitting the jackpot with Strasburg and Harper as back-to-back No. 1 overall picks in 2009-10, the Nationals pounced on elite prospects who slipped because of health questions with their next two top choices. Third baseman Anthony Rendon (2011) and righthander Lucas Giolito (2012) now rank as the top prospects in a system that has been thinned by graduations and trades.

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