Nats 2013 Top 10 Prospects – Baseball Prospectus

By now you’ve already seen a few prospect lists for the Nats, and Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks just finished up his list. The Nats, with the best record in the league, got to go last in this series, which started way back on November 15th with the Twins. You don’t need to pay to see the names on the list, so here they are:

  1. 3B Anthony RendonRendon
  2. RHP Lucas Giolito
  3. OF Brian Goodwin
  4. RHP A.J. Cole
  5. RHP Nate Karns
  6. RHP Christian Garcia
  7. IF Matt Skole
  8. LHP Matt Purke
  9. LHP Sammy Solis
  10. OF Eury Perez

Of course, there isn’t too much variety from alot of what we’ve already seen, but there are certainly some things of note. I won’t go into every detail – you gotta pay for Baseball Prospectus for that – but here are some things that I found interesting.

Of course, first and foremost, is Rendon. He projected that Rendon will be .300 or better hitter with “excellent on-base potential and good extra-base pop,” but as we’ver often seen with reports on him, the ability to hit line drives will probably limit his home run hitting ability.

Brian Goodwin is a 5 tool player, and some of the strengths that Parks notes are certainly intriguing: “Big-time athlete; easy plus run; quick out of the box and good second gear… excellent range in center; good glove; throws well for position; can put bat to ball at the plate; has a plan.” I like that he considers him an athlete but also notes he has a plan, suggesting he’s not some guy who has skills but can’t play baseball. Questions remains about his development, as he’s still very young and untested, so he’ll have to hit at AA and beyond to get us too excited.

He calls returning prospect A.J. Cole a “high-ceiling talent” who, despite struggling last year, showed his “high-ceiling potential” after returning to Low-A. In terms of where he sees Cole, he said “Based on talent alone, he’s an easy top 101 prospect in the game, and if the secondary stuff improves, he should jump up the rankings.”

Nate Karns, the unheralded prospect before last season, landed #5 on this list as well as Keith Law’s list. His health questions notwithstanding, Parks notes that Karns pitches a good, low zone fastball in the low-mid 90s and can miss bats.

Parks likes Matt Skole’s raw power and sees him as someone who could “hit .260-plus with 15-20 bombs and some on-base ability.” Unfortunately he doesn’t see him sticking at third, and as a 1B, this is major league talent but probably not high-end starting 1B talent.

Sammy Solis has always been thought of as a lower risk, lower ceiling starter, and Parks keep that up. He is returning from TJ surgery, and “Has the body to log innings and the stuff to force poor swings and miss a few bats; most likely a mid-rotation innings chewer.” He’s gotta get healthy, but “If he returns to form, he could move quickly as a mid-rotation type.” Parks also noted positives in his makeup and work ethic, and while he doesn’t make the link directly, you’d think this would increase his ability to come back successfully from the surgery.

Outside the Top 10

When discussing his 3 prospects on the rise – guys who didn’t make his top 10, he mentioned Michael Taylor, everyone’s favorite Mike Cameron comp, calling him “Toolsy and frustrating.” Taylor struggled in high-A last season, but he’s young enough to start in low-A without behind too far behind the curve, and try to build from there.

As for guys who he thinks could contribute this season, but are outside of the top 10, the names aren’t entirely surprising. He mentions Zach Walters, and likes his ability to field even if he might not have the range of a very good middle infielder, and doesn’t love the bat but mentions ability to hit mistakes hard. Even less surprising are Sandy Leon, who was nicely complemented for his potential as a backup C with his “above-average catch-and-throw skills to the table along with a competent bat”, and Chris Marrero.

Top 10 Talents 25 and Under

Perhaps my favorite quote in the whole article, though, is after he ranks Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (born 4/1/87 or later) in the entire system (including DC):

Although Washington’s farm system lacks depth behind the elite talents at the top, no team in baseball can top their under-25 one-two punch. Even that may be an understatement, as Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are two of the game’s rapidly emerging superstars.

Harper’s narrow edge over Strasburg is all about personal preference, and it leads to an intriguing debate. Just for kicks, a handful of scouts and front office personnel were asked, “If you were starting a team, in a vacuum that excludes contract status, would you choose Harper or Strasburg?” The answers were split about evenly. In the end, the rankings of these two are subjective.

Fun little debate, no?

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