A Look at Sean’s Pre-Season Top 15 Through April

When I put together my top 15 prospect list for the Washington Baseball Annual, I knew it was a bit risky. Only five of the top ten were not injury risks before the season, and out of those five, two have already been injured this year. Through the first month of the season, the top part of the Nats’ farm system has been similarly mediocre to the Nats in general.

1)     
3B Anthony Rendon – I didn’t think we’d see
Rendon in the big leagues this soon, but he was the first call when Ryan
Zimmerman went down with a hamstring injury. Rendon put up a nice
.292/.462/.500 triple slash in 65 Harrisburg plate appearances. In his limited
time in DC, he struggled both at the plate (.182/.308/.227 in 26 PA) and in the
field (3 errors in 22 total chances). Still, the future is bright and Rendon
could certainly play his way onto the roster late in the year. TRENDING: STEADY

2)     
OF Brian Goodwin – While his .262/.336/.439
triple slash in 119 PA in AA looks decent, I’m not all that pleased with
Goodwin’s start to the season. Goodwin’s walk rate has dipped (9.2% so far this
season, 13.5% last season) and his strikeouts have gone the wrong way (up to
28.6% from 19.7% last season). Changes in plate discipline aren’t truly evident
until you get past 200 PA or so, but the beginning of the season trends make me
at least a little wary. TRENDING: SLIGHTLY
DOWN

3)     
RHP AJ Cole – Cole’s first few high A starts in
2013 (4.85 ERA in 5 games) haven’t been nearly as bad as they were last year
(7.82 ERA in 8 games), but they’re still not where he needs to be. Cole’s BB
and K rates look good (4.17 K/BB), but he’s been very hittable so far (10.4
H/9, 1.385 WHIP). It’s hard to draw many conclusions from five early season
starts, though, so he earns the benefit of the doubt for now. TRENDING: STEADY

4)     
RHP Lucas Giolito – He’s still a ways away from
fully returning from Tommy John surgery, but threw off of a mound on Wednesday,
the first time he did so since going under the knife. He should get into some
games later on in the summer barring setbacks. TRENDING: STEADY (recovering from injury)

5)     
1B/3B Matt Skole – The Nationals have had pretty
good luck with Tommy John surgeries on their pitchers, so why not one of their
hitters? Skole suffered a microfracture in early April that was only supposed
to see him out for three to four weeks, but when he went in for a second exam,
it was determined that he tore the UCL in his left (non-throwing) arm. Skole
will be out for three to four months before returning and may not make it back
until the Arizona Fall League begins. TRENDING:
DOWN (injured)

6)     
RHP Christian Garcia – Garcia is recovering from
a forearm injury suffered in Spring Training. At last report, it appears that
he is still in Viera at extended Spring Training. TRENDING: DOWN (injured)

7)     
RHP Nathan Karns – It’s no surprise that the top
portion of this list is a M*A*S*H unit, but it is a slight one that Karns is
not one of the walking wounded. His ERA through 4 games isn’t particularly
beautiful at 3.80, but he’s striking out 12.2 per 9 and has a solid walk rate
of 3.4 per 9 (3.63 K/BB). If he can continue to keep his walk rate under 4 BB/9
and stay healthy, I’ll stay happy. TRENDING:
UP

8)     
OF Corey Brown – Suffered an oblique injury in
late April. Holds a .257/.316/.514 triple slash in 39 plate appearances, but
has struck out in 35.9% of them. TRENDING:
DOWN (injured)

9)      SS Zach Walters – Zach Walters is not injured
and has 6 home runs this year. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he’s
hitting .227/.250/.477 overall with 3 BB and 25 K in 93 plate appearances for
Syracuse. TRENDING: DOWN

10)  
LHP Sammy Solis and LHP Matt Purke – It’s easy
to group Solis and Purke together, being the team’s two high-ceiling and
injury-prone lefty prospects. To further cement themselves together, it appears
that they are both on track to return in May, with
Solis expected back a tad ahead of Purke. TRENDING:
STEADY (recovering from injuries)

11)  
Purke (see above)

12)  
OF Eury Perez – Out of this entire bunch, Perez
is one of the healthiest (despite missing a week or so due to a wrist injury in
April). He’s still allergic to walks (only 1 in 70 PA so far for Syracuse), but
we knew that already. He’s stolen 5 bases in 6 chances, which is both positive
and not a surprise. TRENDING: STEADY

13)  
C Sandy Leon – I honestly bought into Leon’s
offensive improvements from 2012, but they have not held steady so far this
season. He’s currently at .211/.299/.289 in 87 plate appearances for
Harrisburg. TRENDING: DOWN

14)  
2B Tony Renda – He’s doing the little things
well (7/7 on stolen bases, solid 10/14 BB/K ratio, 19 runs in 25 games) but is
only at .250/.315/.360 overall. Where is the gap power that we heard about? TRENDING: STEADY

15)    RHP Taylor Jordan – Finally, someone who is
rewarding my offseason prospect ranking faith with solid performance! Jordan
has a 1.59 ERA in 5 starts, with a sparkling 5/1 K/BB ratio in 28 and 1/3
innings. TRENDING: UP