Author: Sean Hogan

Mike Rizzo, Washington Wizard

Did you know that Ted Leonsis’ basketball team signed a 54 year old white guy? Because Mike Rizzo is a freaking wizard.

Almost universally, the Nats are seen as the big winner of yesterday’s trade. The headline of Keith Law’s wrap-up is “Nationals make out like bandits in trade”; he goes on to sum it up by saying: “The Nationals seem to make out particularly well here, trading a quality minor leaguer who doesn’t fit on their major league roster for two very good prospects who should help them in the long term.” Bow-tie enthusiast Ken Rosenthal quoted an anonymous executive as saying: “I think the Nats must have pics on TB and SD!! They are the clear winner. Not even close.” Jonah Keri of Grantland wrote in his recap“the Nationals might be the team that leapt into the ring, whacked the opposition with a steel chair, and snuck away with the championship belt.” Continue reading

Nats Add Two Interesting Prospects to the System in Detwiler Trade

The Nationals waited for the Winter Meetings to conclude before making a move, dealing LHP Ross Detwiler to the Texas Rangers for two prospects: 22 year old RHP Abel De Los Santos and 21 year old 2B Chris Bostick.

De Los Santos benefited by being moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen before the 2013 season; from 2010-12 where he was predominately a starter, De Los Santos put up the following stat line: 3.81 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.32 H/9, .64 HR/9, 2.43 BB/9, 8.47 K/9 and 3.35 K/BB ratio. Since being moved to the bullpen in 2013, he’s gone 2.58 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 6.36 H/9, 0.55 HR/9, 2.86 BB/9, 10.41 K/9 and 3.65 K/BB. While he spent his third straight season in A ball, he was still only 21 years old, so he wasn’t considered old for his level. His ceiling is as a middle reliever at the ML level, but if he can keep those BB and K rates right where they are, he stands a decent chance of reaching it. Making strides in 2015 is vital if he wants to reach the bigs; he needs to put on a strong performance for the Nats to have no choice but to add him to the 40-man and protect him from next year’s Rule 5 Draft. Continue reading

2014 Nats Draft Class: No Bueno so far…

Just over six months have passed since the 2014 MLB draft, and 1st round pick Erick Fedde may have had the best professional debut out of the entire Nats draft class. Erick Fedde is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and did not pitch in a professional game of any sort.

The Nats were widely considered to have a pretty average class full of interesting pitchers and lacking hitters (especially since 9th round slugger Austin Byler did not sign). One half season of rookie/A-ball stats absolutely do not make or break a draft class, but the Nats’ draft class is off to an abysmal first impression here.

The standouts (I use that term pretty loosely):

  • C Jakson Reetz (3rd round, NE HS) – hit .274/.429/.368 in 155 PA with a dinger for the GCL Nats, but struggled behind the plate (23% CS, 7 PB, 6 E in 33 games). Also, where’s the power? Continue reading

Nationals Prospect Risers and Fallers

We’ve reached the point in the MLB season where we can start debating about which players’ hot starts are legit or fake. Instead of talking about the likes of Jose Altuve, Charlie Blackmon and Michael Brantley, though, I want to look at which Nats prospects have started hot or cold.

HOT

OF Steven Souza, Jr. (25 years old)
.355/.439/.588, 13 HR and 16 SB in 67 games in AAA Syracuse
.125/.222/.125 in 8 games in ML Washington
Souza isn’t gonna hit .355 all year, but the power and speed are legit, and I love the fact that he’s improved his AAA walk rate a tad (12.7% to 13.1%) while seeing a nosedive in his strikeout rate (23.5% to 17.6%). He’s looking like a pretty valuable trade chip if the Nats want to make a move this month, but could also find his way on the ML roster if injury or poor performance creates a hole in the Nats’ bench. Continue reading

Nats Feed the Narrative with 2nd Round pick Andrew Suarez

In the first round, the Nats took a pitcher recovering from Tommy John surgery. In the second round, the Nats took a pitcher who had labrum surgery in 2012. It’s easy to get drawn in by the narrative, “the Nats take all of the injured pitchers,” but you’re smarter than that!

Yes, Andrew Suarez had labrum surgery in 2012. That was also 2 years ago, and he has since regained his velocity and feel for pitches. Labrum injuries are scary (as we’ve seen with Matt Purke), but it seems that the problem for pitchers who have labrum issues is getting their velocity and pitches back to form. For that reason, I’m not buying into Suarez as an injury reclamation type; there still is some reason to be concerned, but he’s already gotten over the biggest hurdle. Continue reading

Nats tap RHP Fedde with 18th overall pick

It just made too much sense.

Scott Boras client. Tommy John surgery. Coached by Tim Chambers (Bryce Harper’s former Junior College coach). High risk and high reward pick. I thought that the mock drafters that sent UNLV RHP Erick Fedde to the Nats were being lazy, since Lucas Giolito, Anthony Rendon and Matt Purke were all drafted when battling injuries (or battling the injury-prone tag). I didn’t really buy into the hype until ESPN’s Keith Law responded to my tweet this morning that the Fedde/Nats rumors were “based on actual intel.” Before that confirmation, I hadn’t seen any MLB Draft insiders refer to any sources inside the Nats organization, so naturally I was skeptical. Continue reading

Who Will the Nats Take in Thursday’s Draft?

There was not a lot of buzz surrounding the Nats prior to last year’s MLB Draft, as they didn’t have their first pick until the end of the second round (68th overall) due to the Rafael Soriano signing. This year, they’ll be back in the middle of the first round, a range that treated them well in 2012 (Lucas Giolito, 16th overall) and 2011 (Alex Meyer, 23rd overall).

The 2014 draft class is a bit strange, as no true consensus top pick exists. HS LHP Brady Aiken, NC State LHP Carlos Rodon, HS RHP Tyler Kolek and HS C/OF Alex Jackson seem to be the ones in the running, but there is no chance in hell that any of them reach the Nats at 18th overall. There is no player in the draft that is a slam dunk superstar, and it instead is a melting pot of high risk/reward guys, high floor/lower ceiling guys and pitchers battling through injuries or recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Because there isn’t even a consensus for the top few picks, I haven’t a clue who will even be on the board when the Nats pick rolls around. Many “expert” mock drafts project the Nats to chase one of the college righties who had Tommy John surgery in May: Jeff Hoffman (ECU) or Erick Fedde (UNLV); I’m trying to decide for myself if these so-called experts are being lazy and shuffling these guys off to the Nats just because of their recent good history with prospects having TJ surgery, or if they are actually geniuses suggesting the Nats grab excellent value in exchange for missing a year of development time. Some other names being thrown around include prep infielders Jacob Gatewood and Michael Chavis as well as college bats such as Derek Fisher, Michael Conforto, Casey Gillaspie and Kyle Schwarber.

Here are a few names you might see (presented in alphabetical order):

RHP Tyler Beede – Vanderbilt

2011’s 21st overall pick spurned the Blue Jays to go to Vanderbilt. Despite not improving his mediocre command over his three years in school, Beede will probably be drafted higher in 2014. His fastball is his best pitch, hitting up to 96 with last-minute action, and his change/curve both have potential to be solid, but there are just too many if’s with his mechanics and command for me to be excited about him. He has a chance to last to the Nats at 18, but I feel like he’ll probably go beforehand.

Continue reading

Believe it or Not: Nats Prospects

We’re now just over a month into minor league seasons and there have been both some pleasant surprises and big disappointments in the Nats system so far. One month is a pretty small sample size, but some people will still jump to conclusions either that a prospect has put it all together or completely fallen apart. Today, I’ll do my best to determine what to believe and what not to.

Michael Taylor – 23 years old – OF – Harrisburg (AA)
No prospect post is complete without mentioning Michael Taylor. Somehow I’m amazed that he’s still only 23, as it seems like he’s been in the organization forever (he was a 6th rounder in 2009). Taylor has roared off to a .275/.359/.549 start through 28 games in AA Harrisburg. This is the first time he’s played at that high of a level, and he’s more than a year and a half younger than the average player in the Eastern League.

Taylor’s start includes huge increases in isolated power (.275 as opposed to .163 in 2013 and a previous career high of .179) and BABIP (.404, as opposed to .331 in 2013 and a previous career high of .335). While his uptick in walks is nice to see, (10.3 BB%, above his previous career high of 9.5%) he’s striking out a ghastly 37.6% of the time. I want to believe in Taylor, and he still has tremendous upside due to his rare combination of power, speed, and defensive ability, but with regards to his early 2014 batting success, I am NOT believing. Continue reading

Wilmer Difo is Here to Steal Your Bases

Image

This is Willem Dafoe, not Wilmer Difo
Photo via NNDB.com

Image

This is Wilmer Difo, not Willem Dafoe.
Photo via Glenn Gaston, Auburn Citizen

You probably don’t know who Wilmer Difo is. Hell, I barely know who Wilmer Difo is. The middle infielder is not an especially sexy prospect given his lack of power (five career HR in 231 games) and propensity to make mistakes in the field (70 errors in 1022 career chances, .932 fielding percentage).

Difo has made himself interesting, though. He caught my eye by stealing two bases in each of Hagerstown’s first two games of the season this year. With a career OBP of .342 buoyed by a mature-for-his-age control of the strike zone (11.4% BB rate and 13.3% K rate), he raises the eyebrows of stat guys like myself. His 76 stolen bases in 100 total chances (that’s a 76% rate for those of you who didn’t major in math) show off both the raw speed that scouts love (76 SB!!) as well as the efficiency that stat guys love (76%!!). With Difo, there isn’t a superstar in the making, but there is enough to like about him for both sides of the prospecting aisle. Continue reading

Six minor leaguers who could make an impact in 2014

 

Much will be written this offseason about who the Nats should sign, trade
for and hire. I’m not one to beat a dead horse, so I decided to look for an
angle. Since the minor leagues are what I know and love, I’ve compiled a list
of players in the Nats organization who are not on the 40-man roster who I
could see adding value to the 2014 Nationals. I’ve also decided against
including top prospects like Brian Goodwin or AJ Cole, as both would be obvious
picks.

OF Billy Burns 

The 24-year-old switch hitter has
top-notch speed and baserunning ability (125 SB in 142 career attempts – an 88%
success rate!) to go with excellent bat control (149 BB/144 K, .421 OBP in his
266 game minor league career). I don’t think his bat is ready for the show yet,
as he has basically zero power to speak of and just 138 PA at the AA level. I
do think that he can be a great addition to the September roster and could
conceivably see him sneak onto a potential playoff roster as a pinch runner
extraordinaire/defensive replacement type. Billy Hamilton was worth 0.6 fWAR in
just 13 games for the Reds down the stretch, stealing 13 bases and scoring 9
runs. While Burns does not have quite as much speed as Hamilton (nobody in the
league does), he’s still one of the fastest and best baserunners in the minors.

OF Steve Souza 

 After struggling mightily in
his first five seasons in the Nats organization, Souza put it together in 2012
and 2013, with a .938 OPS in the former and a .944 in the latter. He’s got a
sexy power/speed combination (38 HR and 36 SB in just 178 games played in
2012-13) and looks more and more like a late bloomer than a bust. He handled AA
pitching very well this season (.300/.396/.557 in 323 PA) and could help out as
a right-handed bench bat and defensive replacement with some upside.

 C Adrian Nieto

 I’m less convinced about
Nieto’s 2013 improvements being permanent than I am about Souza, but the 2008
5th round pick is finally starting to show a more consistent offensive game
(.810, .726, .821 OPS’s over the last 3 years after .656, .624 and .544 in his
first 3). The switch hitter is still raw behind the plate, but could
conceivably surpass Sandy Leon or Jhonatan Solano as the backup catcher if a)
the Nats don’t sign a veteran backup this offseason and b) Leon and Solano
struggle in the beginning of the 2014 season like they did in 2013.

 RHP Taylor Hill

 I don’t buy Hill as a long-term
ML prospect because he doesn’t strike many batters out, but you can’t argue
with his 2013 success split between A, AA and AAA ball (2.95 ERA, 1.136 WHIP,
3.59 K/BB ratio). Hill doesn’t walk many batters (1.8 BB/9 career, 1.6 in 2013)
but as we saw in 2013 with Jordan, Roark, Ohlendorf and Karns, you almost
always need those 6th, 7th and 8th starters around for when guys get banged up.
Hill relies on his fielders, as he throws a bunch of ground balls. I don’t
think he’s as good as Taylor Jordan, but he could still be a worthwhile long
reliever or spot starter in 2014 if needed.

RHP Aaron Barrett

 Barrett was considered to be a
nice sleeper pick by the Nats in 2010’s 9th round, as he was always seen as a
guy who had good stuff but couldn’t translate it to on-field success. He
struggled out of the gate in the minors, putting up a dreadful 9.43 ERA and
1.14 K/BB in 21 innings in 2010 followed by a 4.05 ERA and 1.60 K/BB in 26 and
2/3 innings in 2011. Everything clicked as he transitioned to being a full-time
reliever, however, as he has a 2.12 ERA, 12.5 K/9 and 2.56 BB/9 to go with 43
saves in 102 innings split between A and AA ball over the past two seasons. The
righty has ML-quality stuff (a 95 mph fastball and a nice slider) and could be
the first Harrisburg-to-Washington promotion in 2014. 

RHP Richie Mirowski 

The 2011 45th round pick has continuously
exceeded expectations (mainly because there are very few expectations given to
a 45th round pick). 2013 was a big year for Mirowski, who lowered his BB/9 from
4.5 to 2.0 and raised his K/9 from 9.5 to 11.5 despite facing better
competition. His inclusion on this list assumes that he’ll be able to replicate
that success next season (which is far from a guarantee). If he can, and can
keep the ball in the yard, he could be one of the first calls if a righty
reliever goes down with an injury or is ineffective.

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New Nats addition: Dakota Bacus

 

It’s not a huge surprise that the Nats dealt Kurt Suzuki this morning, as he
was a pending free agent backup catcher with over $1 million left on his
contract (plus a $650,000 buyout on his option). I was a bit surprised that the
Nats got a solid prospect in return for him – 22 year old RHP Dakota Bacus.

Bacus is the type of pitcher who can
move up the organization quickly after being converted from being a starter to
a reliever (similar to another guy the Nats got from the A’s, Ian Krol, in that
respect). He’s seen a huge uptick in his ability to strike out batters out of
the bullpen (between 10.5-11 K/9 as a reliever, under 5 K/9 as a starter) and
strikes me as a Craig Stammen type who gets a bunch of ground balls with decent
control and the ability to strike out guys when needed.

Bacus was a fan favorite for the Beloit
Snappers this year, posing as the “Whitewall Ninja,” trolling around
the outfield during games with a white jersey and ski mask, blending into white
walls. He does not claim that he’s truly the Whitewall Ninja; calling him
“he” in interviews, but it is apparent that the Ninja is truly Bacus’
alter ego. In an interview with Benjamin Hill of MiLB.com,
Bacus said that when it first started, “the goal was to see how far he
could get out there before being caught by any of the umpires”. The USA
Today blog FTW has more photos here.

He’s seen by Matt Eddy of Baseball America as “a fairly
standard-issue righty…who’s maxed-out physically” that profiles as a
middle relief type. Eddy mentions that he’s got an average fastball (various
sources put him at 90-93 MPH) and solid control of his slider and also notes
that he’s had success in his conversion to the bullpen this season (3.25 ERA,
11.0 K/9, 3 BB/9 and only 1 HR allowed in 36 innings as opposed to 3.69 ERA, 4.85
K/9, 2.74 BB/9 and 5 HR allowed in 85 and 1/3 innings as a starter).

The 2012 9th round pick out of Indiana
State University wasn’t rated as a top 20 A’s prospect by John Sickels of Minor
League Ball, but made his Honorable Mention list (meaning he was likely in
the top 30) and was rated
as a C prospect
 in December. A
year ago
, Sickels wrote that Bacus was too old for the competition
he was dominating in his first sting of minor league baseball, but was still
one to keep an eye on.

Jim Callis of Baseball America
considered Bacus a “personal
cheeseball
” going into last year’s draft and mentioned that
he has a solid 3 pitch mix between his fastball, slider and changeup. Callis
profiled Bacus as a #4 starter or middle reliever who could reach a ceiling as
a set-up man with his plus (at times) slider.

In November, Jim Shonerd of Baseball
America mentioned in a chat that his changeup has a nice
sinking element to it, but that he also needed to work on his mechanics. He was
rated the #220 overall prospect in the Baseball America top 500
before last year’s draft.

Bacus joins Ryan Tatusko as the only
two Indiana State University pitchers in the Nationals organization.

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September Callup Candidates

 

September is just 16 days away. With
15 games in those 16 days, a lot of things can happen with the Nats. They can
go on a run and get back into the thick of things in the Wild Card race. They
could also go on a losing streak and drop out of the race just as easily. For
the most part, the Nats’ September call-up candidates will be the same, but
their eventual roles may differ.

The only player on the 40-man roster
that I don’t think has a chance of making it to the Majors in September is Matt
Purke, who has always struggled with injuries and is just starting to hack it
in high A ball. 

Obvious
candidates

RHP Ryan Mattheus –
He was just sent down yesterday to make room for Drew Storen. I’ve never been a
huge fan of Mattheus because I don’t trust relievers who don’t strike guys out,
but he’s traditionally been one of Davey’s go-to guys (before punching a
locker, at least), and will be back.

 LHP
Xavier Cedeno – He’s on the 40-man roster and has already been called up
to the bigs this year. Cedeno has handled his AAA opposition pretty well this
year, putting up a 1.50 ERA and 3.07 FIP. His control hasn’t been great (4.8
BB/9), but he’s striking out a more-than-impressive 11.7 per nine to help balance
it out. He’s a lock for a call-up.

RHP Erik Davis – Just
like Cedeno, he’s on the 40-man and has been called up this year. He’s got a
hilarious 6.23 ERA and 0.50 FIP (neither of which are typos) in the big leagues
this year and a 3.09 ERA/3.31 FIP in AAA that makes much more sense. Davis has
almost a 3:1 K/BB in the minors this year and has succeeded despite an unlucky
.341 BABIP. He’s a healthy candidate for a 2014 bullpen spot and will have
plenty of chances to audition next month.

1B Chris Marrero – He’s
hacking it okay in AAA this year (.276/.324/.419) and has made it up to the
bigs this year. He’ll be auditioning for a bench spot next year. Also on the
40-man.

UTIL Jeff Kobernus 
Kobernus will be up as a super utility guy. His inclusion to September’s roster
gives the Nats an option allowing them to shut down Espinosa if necessary. He’s
still hitting over his head in AAA (.327/.371/.395 in 341 plate appearances),
but the defense and speed are real.  Also on the 40-man.

1B/OF Tyler Moore 
Davey seems to be suggesting that Moore makes it up before September. He’s
currently at .314/.393/.568 in 196 AAA plate appearances and will get plenty of
opportunities in the big leagues between now and the end of the year.  Also on
the 40-man.

OF Eury Perez – I’ve
never been a huge fan of Perez, but I have to give him props for developing
some power (7 HR this year after only having 11 in the rest of his career).
He’s at .301/.334/.429 this year and will be up predominantly as a pinch runner
and defensive replacement.  Also on the 40-man.

Returning
from the DL

If Ross Detwiler, Christian
Garcia
and Ross Ohlendorf get healthy, they’ll all be up. 

Potential
Candidates

IF Danny Espinosa 
he’s still not hitting well in the minors (.211/.281/.289 overall, .212/.298/.240
since the all-star break, .260/.339/.300 in August). His glove will probably
get him back up for September, but I think there’s also a greater than zero
chance that he’s shut down to get healthy.  Also on the 40-man.

SS Zach Walters – In my
opinion, he and Rhymes are the only non-40 man candidates to be added to the
September roster. His .254/.285/.541 triple slash is both awful and awesome,
and he has 28 HR. The 15 BB/116 K ratio needs to burn, though. 

2B Will Rhymes – The former
Tiger and Ray has a .281/.365/.353 triple slash and an amazing 57/25 BB/K ratio
this year. He can fill in at 2B and 3B to spell Rendon and Zimmerman and could
serve as a good contact/on base lefty off of the bench.

OF Corey Brown – Brown
could have helped the Nats weeks ago as a lefty option off of the bench
(#FREECOREYBROWN). He’s been just okay in AAA this year (.241/.303/.467), but
his career numbers are much better, so I’ll chalk it up to being a partial
abberation. He’s got plenty of pop still and has a history of good plate
patience. He’s on the 40-man.

RHP Nate Karns – He was bad
in his 3 ML starts (7.50 ERA, 8.38 FIP in 12 innings), but got pretty unlucky
with homers (3.75 HR/9 ain’t gonna stick). Karns’ 20 AA starts look much
better, with a 3.45 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 10.58 K/9 and 3.53 BB/9. He’s a
candidate to replace Taylor Jordan in the rotation once he’s shut down, but
could also contribute in the bullpen. Also on the 40-man.

LHP Tyler Robertson – As guys
on the 40-man go, he’s the second least likely to make the September roster
after Purke. Robertson has a decent ERA (3.63) and improved control (7.0 BB/9
with Minnesota’s AAA squad this year, 3.3 with Syracuse), but is still a
mediocre option where the Nats already have some decent depth (Krol, Abad and
Cedeno are all ahead of him). 

C Jhonatan Solano –
Either Solano or Leon will make the playoff roster. I’d say Solano has probably
an 80% chance, but he’s struggled with injuries and poor performance this year,
hitting just .211/.244/.274 in 136 PA in Syracuse. He’s on the 40-man.

C Sandy Leon – Leon is
currently under the Mendoza line for AA Harrisburg, but is at least taking
enough walks to not be a total zero at the plate (.194/.303/.277 in 323 plate
appearances). He’s still the Nats’ backup of the future over Solano, but is
still not qutie ready. He’s on the 40-man.

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Konnor Fulk’s mid-season top 20 prospects list

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:

1)    
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
this post.

2)    
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.         

3)    
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.

4)    
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 prospect.

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.

7)    
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.

8)    
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
attitude.

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
soon.

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
league system.

Honorable Mentions: Taylor
Hill
, Pedro Severino, Christian Garcia, Austin Voth, Dixon Anderson, Pedro Encarnacion,
Blake Schwartz, Billy Burns, Aaron Barrett

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.

Sean’s mid-season top 20 prospects list

2013 has not been a kind season to the Nats organization.
The major league Nats have struggled all year, but so have their prospects. Top
prospect Anthony Rendon graduated from the prospect list, but Brian Goodwin,
A.J. Cole and Matt Skole, generally 3 of the top 5-6 on most lists, haven’t
taken the steps forward that I would like to see and Lucas Giolito, another top
guy, is still recovering from Tommy John surgery.

In my mid-season updated list, 7 of my top 20 names were
listed at 20th or below (or not ranked) in my preseason list
published in the Washington Baseball Annual. Ian Krol and Jeff Kobernus weren’t
ranked because they weren’t in the organization at the time of publication;
Krol was acquired from the A’s to complete the Michael Morse trade in March and
Kobernus was a rule 5 draft pick returned to the Nats in March as well. The
other two who weren’t ranked were Erik Davis (a regrettable oversight by me)
and Jason Martinson (always old for his level with poor patience). I made sure not
to look past these guys again.

I’ve teamed together with Konnor Fulk, an equally
prospect-obsessed young writer and tweeter to come up with new top 20 lists.
Konnor’s list will run later today. Without further ado, here is my list, with
all stats pulled from Baseball-Reference and/or Fangraphs on 7/30.

1 – OF Brian Goodwin
(#2 on my preseason list). ETA – September 2014

Goodwin’s .254/.351/.399 triple slash is a bit
disappointing, especially considering he hit .280/.384/.469 in his professional
debut last season. That being said, he’s pretty young for his level (still just
22 in AA Harrisburg) and still seems destined to be the Nats’ CF of the future
within the next few years. I’m skeptical of Goodwin’s power and contact
potential, but can see him as a 4 tool player in the big leagues if he hits his
ceiling, figuring one of the two out.

2 – RHP Lucas Giolito
(#4 on my preseason list). ETA – 2016

I fought myself hard between Cole and Giolito on my original
list. I believe that Giolito has ace upside and Cole looks more like a #2/3 at
this point, though, which is why I gave Giolito the bump. The Nats’ 1st
rounder from 2012 got back on the pitcher’s mound on July 9, about 10 months
after he had Tommy John surgery. Amanda Comak’s source had him in
the 95-98 mph range in his first start for the GCL Nats, which gives me
confidence that he’s on the right track in his rehab. If Giolito can combine
his upper echelon velocity with the good curveball and changeups that he threw
in high school, the Nats will have another Tommy John success story in DC by
2016.

3 – RHP AJ Cole (#3
on my preseason list). ETA – 2015

The Nats’ sole representative in this year’s Futures Game
has always been a favorite of mine since being drafted in the fourth round in
2010. 2013 has been an up and down year for him; his 4.50 K/BB ratio is
outstanding, but he’s more hittable than I had hoped (8.5 H/9, which is
actually under his career average of 8.9). For the third straight year, Cole’s
HR/9 has gone up, this year eclipsing the 1 HR/9 mark. I think that Cole will
continue to figure out pitching as he moves up in the organization (and he is
moving up, having been called up to Harrisburg last week), but for now I feel
more comfortable with him one spot behind Giolito.

4 – RHP Nate Karns (#7
on my preseason list). ETA – Played in the ML in 2013

There’s a big talent gap between the top 3 and the rest of
the list. I had to think hard for #4 between Karns, Jordan, Krol and Skole. I
went with Karns because out of the 4, I believe he still has the best
combination of ceiling and floor.

Karns came out of nowhere to be the best pitcher in the
Nats’ minor league system last year. Because he missed so much time due to
injury over the years, I was concerned that he might take a step back in 2013,
especially since he would be facing AA and higher batters for the first time.
Karns has been rock-solid, posting a 3.41 ERA and a 2.89 K/BB ratio in 92 and
1/3 innings and got a cup of coffee with the Nats, where he posted up a 7.50
ERA in 12 innings over three starts. Jordan is the better major league pitcher
right now, but Karns has the stuff to be a great #3 pitcher if he can keep the
walks and homers down in the future.

5 – RHP Taylor Jordan
(#15 on my preseason list). ETA – Played in the ML in 2013

Jordan’s year has been phenomenal. To this point, he put up
a 1.00 ERA in 90 and 1/3 innings in Potomac and Harrisburg and a more than
respectable 3.31 ERA in 35 and 1/3 big league innings. He’s certainly
outperformed Karns in the big leagues and has exceeded all of my expectations.
So why is he a spot further down? Ceiling. Karns has the upside as a powerful
#3 starter and the downside of a set-up man or closer.  Jordan is a control-first groundball pitcher;
if everything breaks right, I see him turning into something in the Mike
Leake/Rick Porcello range. Not bad by any means, but not nearly as sexy as a #3
starter.

6 – LHP Ian Krol
(NR on my preseason list). ETA – Played in the ML in 2013

Although he’s stuggled of late (4 ER allowed over his last 8
and 1/3 innings), Krol has been an excellent addition to the Nationals’
bullpen. The PTBNL from the Michael Morse deal has a 2.00 ERA, 2.48 FIP, 5.33
K/BB ratio and .889 WHIP in the big leagues and was equally good in AA
Harrisburg, where he put up a 0.69 ERA, 2.51 FIP, 4.14 K/BB and .808 WHIP. He
overmatches lefties, holding them to a .167/.212/.233 triple slash against in
the big leagues, but still pitches righties toughly as well (.229/.250/.371).
The only reason Krol is #6 here rather than closer to the top is that he’s a
reliever. Thank goodness he took Zach Duke’s role. Note – Krol’s rookie eligibility has expired due to his extended stay on the Nats’ roster. I added a #21 writeup for ya’ll. Hope you don’t mind being called ya’ll.

7 – SS Zach Walters (#9
on my preseason list). ETA – September 2013

Walters has real power; with 24 HR and a .555 slugging
percentage in 395 plate appearances at AAA Syracuse this year, there is little
doubt about his ability to hit the ball hard. What’s keeping a switch-hitting
middle infielder with a ton of power this far down the list? Bro can’t get on
base. Walters is currently sporting a 11/93 BB/K ratio, and while our own Ian
Desmond shows that you can be an effective hitter without walking a bunch, 2.8%
is really, really bad. Walters’ track record of power (25 career HR in 3
seasons prior to this year) is a little shaky as well, so I’m hesitant to push
him too far up the list.

8 – 1B/3B Matt Skole (#5
on my preseason list). ETA – 2015

A freak injury in the second game of the season has robbed
Skole of valuable development time as he rehabilitates from Tommy John surgery
on his left (non-throwing) arm. Because he’s a righty and not a pitcher, rehab
time won’t take a year, but he’ll still probably be out until September. Grant
Morrow of Penn Live has an informative article about Skole’s recovery here. When healthy, Skole has a
nice combination of power and patience and profiles as a league average corner
infielder (which is much more valuable than it sounds).

9 – OF Eury Perez (#12
on my preseason list). ETA – Played in the ML in 2012

In the past, I’ve always been low on Perez. I’ve always
considered him to be a 4th OF type. Well, the Nats could sure use a
4th OF right now, so either he or Corey Brown needs to make an
appearance in DC soon. Perez is showing power for the first time in his career
this year, already setting a career high with 7 HR through 66 games.  Patience has always been the problem with Perez
because if he could get on base at a higher clip, he’d be a nice leadoff guy.
Unfortunately, he’s down to a 2.3% BB% this year. Perez’ lack of OBP skills or
power push him into the reserve OF role, but I think he’d thrive there given
his excellent baserunning ability (68% this year in SB attempts, 77% last year
and 77% as well for his career) and solid defensive instincts. Perez likely is
not going to benefit by more time in AAA; he’s the same player now that he’ll
ever be, so the Nationals might as well bring him up since they could use the
contact, speed and defense off of the bench.

10 – LHP Robbie Ray (#21
on my preseason list). ETA – 2015

I didn’t see this coming. After a great first full
professional season in 2011 (3.13 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 2.5 K/BB in A ball), Ray was
destroyed last season in high A (6.56 ERA, 5.00 FIP, 1.76 K/BB). The numbers
that you want to be high were low (7.32 K/9, 17.7 K%) and the numbers that you
want to be low were high (.287 batting average against, 1.62 WHIP, 1.19 HR/9,
4.17 BB/9). Ray has rebounded nicely this year, putting together a 3.28 in 21
starts between Potomac and Harrisburg. His strikeouts are back up, his HR/9 is
back down and he’s not being hit as well. I expect Ray to have control issues
for most of his career, but there’s still something quite useful about a young
lefty who can strike guys out. See Gonzalez, Gio (and no, that’s not a direct
comparison).

11 – RHP Erik Davis (NR
on my preseason list). ETA – Played in the ML in 2013

Omitting Davis from my original list was a stupid, stupid
oversight. The Tyler Clippard clone has put together another solid season in
Syracuse (2.92 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 10.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 in 40 innings) alongside a few
brief stays with the big club (6.23 ERA, 0.50 FIP, 14.54 K/9, 2.08 BB/9 in 4
and 1/3 innings). Barring the trade or injury of a Nats reliever in the next
month, I wouldn’t expect to see Davis until September, but like Christian
Garcia last year, I could see him getting some meaningful innings in the last
full month of the season.

12 – 2B/OF Jeff
Kobernus
(NR on my preseason list). ETA – Played in the ML in 2013

Kobernus missed my initial list because he was taken in the
Rule 5 Draft. Like Perez, He is what he is at this point: a contact hitter who
provides good baserunning and defense but without power or much patience.
Kobernus actually has improved with his batters eye this year, improving his
BB% to 6.8% and dropping his K% to 14%, both career bests, so I’m happy to see
that. I’d prefer Kobernus to Lombardozzi on the bench right now because he has
elite speed and more range at 2B rather than being a jack of mediocre trades.
But more than likely, Kobernus will have to wait until September to be called
back up.

13 – LHP Sammy Solis (#10
on my preseason list). ETA – 2015

The Nationals still consider Solis to be one of their top
pitching prospects despite throwing just 131 and 2/3 innings over the past four
seasons. He’s got a promising three pitch mix (93-94 MPH fastball and good
curve/change combo), but has issues staying healthy. After undergoing Tommy
John surgery in 2012, Solis missed some time due to shoulder fatigue this
season.  He’s back in action now, and has
a shiny 2.63 ERA in 24 innings for Potomac, but his 3.91 FIP and 5.63 K/9 add
some grime to the mix. Solis’ health will be interesting to monitor over the
next year or two, but if he stays healthy he could be a decent #3-4 starter
fairly quickly.

14 – LHP Matt Purke (#11
on my preseason list). ETA –2014

According to Mike Rizzo (via Federal Baseball), Purke was
hitting 94-95 mph on his fastball earlier this month, so it’s good to see him
regaining arm strength. If he can get back to full health, the Nats will have a
nice prospect, but that’s a huge if. Purke threw pretty well at Hagerstown this
year (2.48 ERA, 5.86 K/BB) before being called up to Potomac at the beginning
of July. In Potomac, Purke has a 7.07 ERA and 1.70 K/BB ratio. That ain’t good.
Purke just turned 23, so all is not lost, but it would certainly be nice to see
him start putting together some good numbers.

15 – RHP Christian
Garcia
(#6 on my preseason list). ETA – Played in the ML in 2012

Poor Christian. Poor, poor Christian. He’s never healthy,
and probably will never be healthy for a full season. When he returns from the
DL (or if he does), the Nats should bring him up to the majors and stick him in
the pen and ride out his arm as long as they can. He’s got a dirty three pitch
mix, including a GIF-worthy
curve
. Jim Bowden semi-famously prayed
for
Jesus Colome’s buttocks and his family, so we should pray for
Garcia’s buttocks and his arm (that’s how it goes, right?).

16 – OF Michael Taylor (NR on my preseason list). ETA  2015

The tools are there – Taylor has a nice combination power and speed. The problem is that Taylor can’t really hit. He’s up to .266/.336/.418 so far this year, which really isn’t that impressive for a guy repeating high A ball. Time is one Taylor’s side, at just 22 years old still. The .151 ISO is nice, and the 34 steals are excellent, but I just don’t think Taylor will ever be able to hit given his .248 career average, 8.1% BB%, and 24.1% K%. The tools are great, though, and perhaps he could be a Justin Maxwell type (with more speed, less power) even if he doesn’t develop better hitting skills.

17 – OF Steve Souza (#28
on my preseason list). ETA – 2014

After years of suckitude, Souza hit the crap out of the ball
in 2012 and has continued to do so this season, even after being promoted to AA
for the first time. In his 672 PA from 2012-13, Souza has 37 HR, 116 RBI, 111
runs, 27 SB and a .288/.369/.562 triple slash. Pretty damn good. Don Shelton of
the Seattle Times wrote
an article
in March about his rise back to being a prospect after an
ADHD drug-related suspension in 2011.

18 – 2B Tony Renda (#14
on my preseason list). ETA – 2015

Renda’s 2012 season scared me, as he only hit 9 extra base
hits with a .031 isolated slugging. While the second baseman obviously wasn’t
drafted for his pop, you need at least something to keep pitchers from just
slinging the ball down the strike zone because they know the worst thing you
can do with it is single. Fortunately, Renda has come through with 36 extra
base hits this year in 399 at-bats and has an impressive 11% BB%. I like Renda’s
chances of being a decent spot starter at 2B and utility guy eventually.

19 – OF Billy Burns (#20
on my preseason list). ETA – 2015

If we’re going by tools, Burns wouldn’t make the list. At 5’9”
and 180 lbs soaking wet, he’s not exactly a physical specimen, and he has 42
extra base hits to his name in his 232 game minor league career. Burns is an
on-base machine, though, and has fantastical speed (yes, fantastical). He
covers every category you’d want in a classic leadoff man (169 career runs, 100
career steals, career .308 hitter) and in a new-fangled one (.417 career OBP, 87%
success rate on steal attempts, exact 1:1 BB:K ratio). I’m not sure that the
2011 32nd round pick out of Mercer will be able to keep hitting this
well when he continues to move up in the system, but he’s done all the Nats
could ask for him to this point, thus the 19th overall player in the
system.

20 – SS Jason
Martinson
(NR on my preseason list). ETA – 2015

He’s always been old for his level, but in no season since
his rookie campaign has the 2010 5th round pick put together less
than a .770 OPS for the season. He’s on pace to eclipse 20 HR and 20 SB for the
second straight year (and in 2011, he went 19/26). Martinson strikes out too
much and will never hit for a high average, but he’s an intriguing left side of
the infield prospect with pop and speed.

21 –  OF Corey Brown (#8 on my preseason list). ETA – Played in the ML in 2012

#FREECOREYBROWN! He’s a 27 year old lefty bat with a history
of patience and pop. He’s a solid defender and with a track record of running
the bases efficiently. He’s basically the exact opposite of Roger Bernadina,
and that’s who he should replace in the majors ASAP.
 

Next Ten (in
alphabetical order):

RHP Aaron Barrett

RHP Robert Benincasa

LHP Matt Grace

RHP Jake Johansen

1B Chris Marrero

C Adrian Nieto

RHP Nic Pivetta

1B Shawn Pleffner

OF Wander Ramos

3B Drew Ward

First Half Minor League Accolades

The All-Star Break is coming to an end, so I thought it would
be fitting to hand out my awards for Nationals minor leaguers based on their
first half performances. Many of the names of the award winners should come as
no surprise, as they’ve made appearances in DC already this year.

MVP – Taylor Jordan

While I’m typically not a fan of giving a pitcher the MVP
title, there haven’t really been any blow-you-away performances in the
organization this season besides Jordan’s 9-1 record and 1.00 ERA through 90
and 1/3 innings in Potomac and Harrisburg. Jordan’s excellence led to a
promotion to the big leagues, where he’s put up a very respectable 3.32 ERA in
21 and 2/3 innings. Other candidates include Anthony Rendon (1.027 OPS, but in
just 166 plate appearances), Steven Souza (.886 OPS, but in just in 237 plate
appearances), and Jason Martinson (.835 OPS over the full year), but all either
missed too much time or weren’t quite elite enough to be considered
organizational MVP’s.

Cy Young – Taylor Jordan

To be perfectly honest, Taylor Jordan was at best on the
edge of my radar going into this season. The 2009 9th round pick had
a nice 2011 season (2.48 ERA, 2.74 K/BB) before succumbing to Tommy John
surgery around mid-season. He came back in 2012 to throw 54 and 1/3 innings of
5.13 ERA ball in A ball, which wasn’t something to cheer about considering he
was 23 years old.

This season, as you read above, he’s been pitching out of
his mind. Amongst Nationals minor league starting pitchers, Jordan is first in
wins (tied – 9), win percentage (90%), ERA (1.00), shutouts (tied – 2), WHIP
(.947), HR/9 (0.1), and K/BB (4.8) as well as second in H/9 (tied – 6.8) and
BB/9 (1.5).

As we’ve seen, Jordan does not have strikeout stuff (only
4.2 K/9 in the majors), but has excellent control (1.2 BB/9 in the bigs, 1.5 in
the minors this year) and is excellent at inducing ground balls. There are some
red flags that would suggest Jordan’s performance from 2013 as unsustainably
good (only 1 HR allowed and minor league BABIP’s of .280 and .243 in Potomac
and Harrisburg, respectively), but now’s not the time to discuss them. Jordan
is a clear-cut organizational Cy Young winner in my book, and would be a
shoo-in for Comeback Player as well if Anthony Rendon didn’t have something to
say about it.

Rookie of the Year (best performance by
a 2013 draft pick) – Drew Ward

The 2013 Nats draftees have played relatively poorly as a
group, as the Auburn Doubledays have a 10-18 record. Their best 2013 draftee
performance to date has been a guy who isn’t playing for Auburn, but rather for
the Gulf Coast Nats. Drew Ward still hasn’t hit a home run in his professional
debut, but has still put up an excellent .313/.432/.463 triple slash in 20
games so far. Ward’s 10 doubles are encouraging; as he grows into his 6’3”
frame, those gappers could very well turn into home runs. One of my early
worries was that Ward would be overmatched by professional pitching (even in
the GCL) with a bunch of strikeouts, but he has kept his K% at a respectable
22.2%. While overall the Nats’ 2013 draftees have put together a bunch of
mediocrity, the player with the highest upside out of the draft class is
performing the best to start his professional career.

Hank Aaron Award – Anthony Rendon

I couldn’t bring myself to name Rendon the MVP since he only
played 36 games in the minors this season, but felt that he needed to be
recognized for hitting the bejeezus out of the ball in his short time down on the
farm. In just 166 plate appearances, Rendon put together a .307/.452/.575
triple slash with 20 extra base hits and a 32/28 BB/K ratio in just 36 games.
With his excellence in both the minors and majors this season, Rendon is
proving that injuries were the only thing holding him back from being a
productive major leaguer.

Relief Pitcher – Ian Krol

Stats-wise, Krol could have been a candidate for the
comeback player of the year as well, given his 5.20 ERA in 97 innings for the A’s
last season as a starter. The Nats moved him to the bullpen for good and he has
absolutely throttled opponents. In the minors, Krol put up an 0.69 ERA, .808
WHIP, 4.8 H/9, 10 K/9 and 4.14 K/BB ratio through 26 innings. He’s also killing
it in the big leagues, with a 1.80 ERA, .600 WHIP, 4.8 K/9 and 13 K/BB ratio in
15 innings.

Krol was the player to be named later in the Michael Morse
deal, and has been half a win more productive than Morse by himself this season
(0.3 WAR to Morse’s -0.2). The Nationals are surely looking forward to what
comes next from their six seasons of team control over Krol.

Comeback Player – Anthony Rendon

Can you believe that Rendon fractured his ankle only 15
months ago? Last year, Rendon only got to play 43 games, where he hit a
mediocre .233/.363/.489 in 160 at-bats. This year, he’s back and is as nimble
as ever. Rendon is absolutely crushing the ball (1.027 OPS in the minors, .812
in the majors). Did I mention that he’s doing this all while playing a new position?
Your move, Espinosa.

All-Star Team

C – Adrian Nieto – .300/.379/.462
with 8 HR in 76 games for Potomac

1B – Chris Marrero – .289/.338/.466
with 10 HR in 70 games for Syracuse

2B – Anthony Rendon – .307/.452/.575
with 6 HR in 36 games for Harrisburg and Syracuse

3B – Drew Ward – .313/.432/.463 in 20
with 10 2B in 20 games for the Gulf Coast Nats

SS – Jason Martinson – .266/.371/.464
with 13 HR and 16 SB in 91 games for Potomac and Harrisburg

LF – Billy Burns – .306/.411/.372
with 45 SB in 78 games for Potomac

CF – Michael Taylor – .272/.339/.433
with 7 HR and 29 SB in 88 games for Potomac

RF – Steven Souza – .272/.371/.515
with 12 HR and 13 SB in 58 games for Harrisburg

SP – Taylor Jordan – 9-1 with 1.00
ERA and 4.80 K/BB ratio in 15 games for Potomac and Harrisburg

RP – Ian Krol – 0.69 ERA and 4.14
K/BB ratio in 21 games for Harrisburg