Earlier today, I posted my personal top 20 list. My Twitter buddy Konnor Fulk put together his own list. We disagree on a few players (Michael Taylor, Ian Krol and Destin Hood being the most prominent three), but I think Konnor put together a solid list.
Mid season Top 20 prospect list:
Lucas Giolito– This one is definitely different
then what most lists will have as the number one. But the ceiling of Giolito is
what pushes him onto this list as the number one prospect in the system and a
probable top 50 prospect in major league baseball next year, high 90’s heat,
plus pitches, plus size, and an apparent healthy elbow establishes him as the
top prospect in my mind. His limited experience will put him as the number 2
prospect on most lists, but I believe with some fine tuning on his weak post TJ
control will allow him a dominate rise through the system. This declaration
does stand as a risk, as he only has 8 innings of true experience as I write
B rian Goodwin– Goodwin, the normally number one
prospect on most lists, has had a fairly average season by top prospect
standards, with an average that has hovered around .250, lower power numbers
excluding a spike in triples, depleted strikeout to walk numbers, and even on
base prowess. Goodwin though still excels with defensive prowess and lack of
grounding into double plays. Goodwin still represents an elite centerfield
prospect, that will continue to sit on the Major League top 100 list. He still
represents solid centerfield power, and if he can get back to last years plate
discipline levels a very viable leadoff candidate.
AJ Cole– The Nationals representative in the
Futures game, AJ Cole still maintains his flashes of brilliance as a future top
of the rotation starter but with inconsistency continuing to haunt him significantly.
Cole continues his trend of having plus strikeouts/nine numbers, second in the
orientation in strikeouts. Coles WHIP has decreased from the previous season.
Cole is still young, and with a recent promotion to AA (first start 7 innings 1
earned) is showing a maturing game. With Cole in AA, it should be only a couple
seasons until the Nationals rotation becomes a significant possibility. One improvement spot to look at would be
homeruns allowed, something fixable and common of a young inconsistent pitcher.
Michael Taylor– Taylor is having his best
professional season of his career, with significant improvement on contact, and
improvement on his overall power previous to last season. Taylor is very strong
defensively, plus arm, good double power, with plus speed. With improvement
Taylor is primed for a chance at AA for the 2014-2015 season. Taylor also is
not old for his level, being 22 years old, offers enough plus tools to be a top
5) Nathan Karns– Karns got his first cup of coffee
this year, with limited success, but has continued consistency as a solid
pitcher within the system. He continues to be a predominantly fastball pitcher
with good strikeout/nine numbers, has back of the rotation potential with a
good fastball, but a switch to the bullpen is still a possibility with his
secondary pitches being weaker.
6) Robbie Ray– Ray has had a significant bounce back
year, leading the system in strikeouts and continuing his advance to AA
Harrisburg. Ray is young, and considered
high end pitching talent. Not a huge frame, but has several good plus pitches
from the left side. Ray offers middle of the rotation talent and is primed for
a continued rise through the system at the age of 21.
Matt Purke– Purke finally is apparently healthy,
after having significant shoulder issues. Offering a large frame and plus
pitches, he has struggled in high A following several dominate appearances in
Low A Hagerstown. He continues the trend
of Nationals pitchers of having very high strikeout/nine numbers, but has been
fairly hittable. With further experience, the problems likely will improve.
It’s up to Purke to show why he should maintain his 40 man roster spot and
natural spot in the top 10 prospects.
Eury Perez– With several cups of coffee under his
belt, Perez still maintains the consistent attributes that have always made him
a solid prospect. Perez has good defensive range, speed, and seems to have
improved on several weaknesses including some newfound power with 7 homeruns.
Perez will continue to be buried on the Nationals organizational chart, but
will likely continue getting chances at the Nationals lineup.
9) Zach Walters– Arguably the best performing batter
in the Nationals minor league system this year, he has exploded power wise with
24 homeruns this year, and 28 doubles. Shortstop or thirdbasemen predominately,
Walters may translate better to secondbase considering a significant number of
errors with 23. Needs to improve on
plate discipline with significant strikeout totals and only 11 walks.
10) Taylor Jordan– Already getting a
significant look in the major leagues, the impressive Jordan has been a very
impressive starter at the Major League level without any AAA experience. With
good ground ball stuff, Jordan will see himself in direct competition for the
back of the rotation spot in major league spring training next year. Excels at
not allowing balls getting out of the ballpark, with one homerun allowed in the
minors. Has strikeout ability, but maintains his game that he offers, which is
very dependent on surrounding defense.
11) Jeff Kobernus– Cup of coffee with
Washington this year was not necessarily a disaster, showing what he basically
offers, super utility outfielder, with low power, but plus speed. Kobernus has
improved his game across the board this year, with improved plate discipline
mainly. Can hit for high average as he has shown. Kobernus offers a possible
bench utility player, basic clone of Lombo with more speed.
12) Matthew Skole– Unfortunately injured
in a freak accident, Skole will not see regular season action this year. The
minor league batter of the year from 2012 will hopefully return to form in his
return in 2014. Still many tools to offer as a prospect.
13) Sammy Solis– Long journey for Solis,
with health being a significant problem throughout his career. With another
good season under his belt, Solis continues to show flashes of why he has long
been considered a viable rotation candidate. At 24 he is old for advanced A, so
a promotion would be expected shortly. Another left handed option in the chain
of impressive starting rotation options.
14) Jake Johansen– This year’s recent
second round draft pick from Dallas Baptist, has had an impressive professional
start in short season A so far this year. With a huge frame and upper 90’s
velocity, Johansen has shown potential. Being at such level, Johansen likely is
overpowering the younger competition. In addition control has been spotty, but
regardless has flashed enough potential to offer another solid arm in the
system. A switch to the bullpen is always a option down the road, but as of now
shows starting potential.
15) Jason Martinson– Martinson continues
to offer an intriguing power-speed combination that is fairly rare within the
system. Martinson is probably best served as a second basemen with shortstop
and third base showing significant amounts of errors. In addition he continues
to strikeout often but offsets that with high walk numbers. The heavy strikeout
totals are starting to be ignored at the major league level as just a basic
offshoot of heavy power swings. Martinson is starting to reach the age where AA
or AAA has to be the levels he is at to maintain prospect status.
16) Ian Krol– A great piece in the Morse
Trade, Krol has proven to be a key bullpen piece this year. Lefty with plus
pitches and a great mound demeanor looks to be a cemented bullpen piece in the
Washington Nationals rotation. Has shown flashes of closer level talent and
17) Destin Hood– The only reason why
Destin Hood is still on this list is due to age and his continued potential
skill set. One would have thought last year was his low point, but major
statistical categories have dropped across the bored. At age 23 he has time,
but with minor league free agency creeping up, Hood needs to begin producing
18) Brandon Miller– One of the most
powerful bats in the Nationals system, the plus power is what puts him on the
list. At 23 he isn’t young for
Hagerstown, and his massive strikeout rate is threatening to his advancement in
the system. But in a system that lacks elite power, he offers a plus tool that
is getting difficult to find.
19) Brett Mooneyham– The large framed
lefty has had an impressive year at Hagerstown. Mooneyham though has control
issues, and in addition is a little old for his level. Brett though offers plus
pitches and great size, with a 2 year track record of success.
20) Drew Ward– The high school third
round pick has impressed me over his 29 career games enough to squeak into this
list at the end. An astonishingly good plate discipline is what impresses me
most with 17 walks to 25 strikeouts. In addition to some flashes of power by
GCL standards with 10 doubles, he has maintained an excellent average. At 6 ft
3, and being so young, he offers a very intriguing bat in the Nationals minor
Significant Snub of the List: Chris Marrero– I simply have a tough time considering the guy to be
a prospect anymore, the best chance he has at getting a truly significant
chance in the major leagues would be a chance with another team.
At 25 he is still a good hitter, but will lack true chances
with the Nationals, and does not translate well as a pinch hitter. Expect a
September call up nonetheless.