Top 22 Prospects: Washington Nationals

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Washington Nationals. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Nationals Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Victor Robles 21.6 MLB CF 2019 65
2 Carter Kieboom 21.3 AA SS 2020 60
3 Luis Garcia 18.6 A+ SS 2021 50
4 Mason Denaburg 19.4 None RHP 2022 45+
5 Wil Crowe 24.3 AA RHP 2020 45
6 Tim Cate 21.2 A LHP 2021 40
7 Yasel Antuna 19.1 A 3B 2021 40
8 Seth Romero 22.7 A LHP 2019 40
9 Israel Pineda 18.7 A- C 2022 40
10 Gage Canning 21.7 A CF 2021 40
11 Tanner Rainey 26.0 MLB RHP 2019 40
12 Malvin Pena 21.5 A RHP 2020 40
13 Telmito Agustin 22.2 A+ LF 2020 40
14 Reid Schaller 21.7 A- RHP 2020 35+
15 James Bourque 25.4 AA RHP 2019 35+
16 Sterling Sharp 23.6 AA RHP 2020 35+
17 Taylor Guilbeau 25.6 A+ LHP 2019 35+
18 Jeremy De La Rosa 16.9 None RF 2024 35+
19 Jordan Mills 26.6 AA LHP 2020 35+
20 Joan Adon 20.4 A- RHP 2022 35+
21 Ben Braymer 24.6 A+ LHP 2020 35+
22 Brigham Hill 23.4 A RHP 2020 35+

65 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 65
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
60/65 50/50 45/50 70/70 70/70 70/70

If not for a hyperextended elbow that shelved him for several months in 2018, Robles wouldn’t be on this list. (The injury to Robles was also part of why Washington pushed Juan Soto along quickly.) In the 2017 Fall League (he missed some time that season due to hamstring tightness), he looked both readier and nearly as talented as fellow Fall Leaguer Ronald Acuña, and it seemed certain that he’d be up for good at some point the following spring. But in April an awkward dive on a shallow fly ball that most center fielders wouldn’t even have sniffed at bent Robles’ elbow backward and based on the way he writhed around in pain, the injury appeared catastrophic. X-rays were negative and an MRI showed no structural damage, but Robles didn’t start swinging a bat for a month and a half and was out of game action for three. He spent July and August rehabbing before a great September in Washington, during which he slashed .288/.348/.525. This is a do-everything center fielder who glides from gap to gap, has runner-halting arm strength, and plus-plus speed that is aided by seemingly sixth-sense instincts on the bases. Robles has middling bat speed and doesn’t generate huge exit velocity, but he has above-average hand-eye coordination, bat control, and pitch recognition, and a gap-to-gap approach that suits his speed. He’ll slug on paper by turning the line drives he slaps into the gaps in to extra bases. Robles has slightly below-average plate discipline, which may dilute his production for a bit, but he projects as a 3-plus WAR center fielder with a skillset akin to Lorenzo Cain’s, and he’s big league ready right now.

60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Walton HS (GA) (WSN)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 55/60 40/60 50/45 40/45 60/60

Kieboom entered 2018 with just 48 full-season games under his belt due to a nasty hamstring injury that cut short his promising 2017 campaign. He crushed Hi-A, hitting .298/.386/.494 and forcing a promotion to Double-A at age 20. Kieboom didn’t hit well during his two-month stay in Harrisburg and he didn’t look very good at shortstop in the Fall League, but he has performed much better than expected for a hitter who is the age of a college sophomore. He is going to stay on the infield, and has big, playable raw power, and we’re unconcerned about his late-season struggles. Kieboom’s hands work in a tight, explosive circle, which generates all-fields thump and enables Kieboom to catch up to premium velocity. He’s a little heavy-footed on defense but his arm plays on the left side of the infield and his mediocre range might be able to be hidden by modern defensive positioning. This is a complete player with a chance to hit in the middle of the order and also stay at shortstop, if not second or third base. That’s a potential All-Star.

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 18.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/60 50/55 30/45 55/55 45/50 55/55

In the Nationals’ budget-busting 2016 international signing class, Garcia ($1.3 million) was the lesser-paid and, until close to signing day, lesser-regarded prospect when compared to Yasel Antuna ($3.9 million). Antuna looked like one of the top players in the class early, tailed off a bit, and then began improving in pro ball, whereas Garcia was a smaller kid with solid tools and advanced feel who slowly developed above average tools after Washington had locked him up at a lower price. Garcia has filled out some in the intervening time, and has sneaky raw power that may be above average at maturity. That, in combination with clearly above average bat control and enough patience that Garcia lays off pitcher’s pitches, is a rare combination for an 18-year-old middle infielder. You can see why Washington pushed him to Hi-A and why he continued performing. Garcia is an above average runner and thrower but may not stick at shortstop, in which case he’ll be fine at second base. There’s a shot Garcia continues hitting this year, mixes in more game power, and becomes a top-50 prospect in the game, so he’ll be one to monitor closely early in 2019.

45+ FV Prospects

4. Mason Denaburg, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Merritt Island HS (FL) (WSN)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 60/60 50/55 40/50 92-95 / 98

Denaburg was a legitimate pro prospect as a catcher, but it became clear during showcase season that he fit best on the mound and aside from biceps tendonitis in the spring, he was on a trajectory to go in the top half of the first round. At his best, Denaburg works 93-95 and hits 98 mph, and throws a plus curveball that’s among the most consistent 60-grade curveballs you’ll see from a teenager. He also has a rarely-used changeup that was used more and flashed 55-potential late in the spring, particularly in the region final when he twice used it to strikeout Red Sox first rounder Triston Casas. In addition to consistently throwing the best version of his curveball, Denaburg also located it well for his age, often down in the zone. His fastball also works best down due to his plane and the life on the pitch. Denaburg arguably could have been regarded as the best prep pitcher in his draft class if not for the biceps injury (which appears to have no long-term affect), so he could rise in 2019 relative to the prep pitching class if he can show that level of stuff over a longer period.

45 FV Prospects

5. Wil Crowe, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from South Carolina (WSN)
Age 24.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/50 50/55 55/55 45/50 91-94 / 95

Crowe turned down approximately $1 million out of a Tennessee high school and had a smaller market than his talent would indicate, due to some long-term questions about his elbow and knee. At South Carolina, he stood out as a freshman by staying healthy and showing the above average stuff he showed in high school. Then he blew out about halfway through his sophomore year, requiring Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2017, then came back for an age-22 redshirt junior year and appeared to be all the way recovered, which lead to the Nationals taking him in the second round. Early in his career, Crowe looked to be on the same trajectory as Joba Chamberlain (who also slipped in the draft due to elbow and knee concerns), which would mean ending up in the bullpen while throwing in the high-90’s with a power breaking ball. Post surgery, he’s a little more starter-looking than that, working 91-94 and hitting 95 mph, with a changeup that has emerged as his best offspeed pitch, and a high-spin curveball and slider that both are average to above. Crowe has made progress with starter traits like pitch efficiency, and reading and setting up hitters, while his stamina is building to the point of handling a starter’s workload. He’ll open in the upper levels and could be big league rotation help as soon as in the second half of 2019.

40 FV Prospects

6. Tim Cate, LHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Connecticut (WSN)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 60/65 40/45 45/50 89-90 / 93

Early-season forearm tightness sparked a lot of concern about Cate as a draft prospect, both because he had already had Tommy John in high school and because of the way UConn rode former Huskie prospect Anthony Kay into the ground during his final post-season. Scouts were worried the same fate would befall the hyper-competitive Cate later in the year. He returned in May and pitched out of the bullpen with the same 88-92mph fastball he had as a starter. Cate is a great athlete with great makeup and a devastating snapdragon curveball. He’s a cold-weather arm who lost reps to injury and the rest of his craft requires polish. He may end up being a multi-inning reliever.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 45/55 20/50 55/50 40/50 55/55

Antuna was a nearly $4 million signee as a lanky, projectable infielder with a wide range of potential career outcomes depending on how his body developed. After a strong statistical debut in the GCL, the Nationals pushed Antuna to full-season ball at age 18, and he struggled. Scouts have him projected to third base and think he’ll grow into significant power, but the hit tool projections are tepid. Teenage switch-hitters often have raw feel to hit since they have two swings to develop, so it’s prudent to be patient with Antuna in this regard. He had Tommy John in early-August and is going to miss important reps. Non-pitchers only comprise 3% of UCL reconstructions and there isn’t great feel in the industry for hitters’ typical recovery times. If everything comes together for Antuna, he’ll be a switch-hitting infielder with pop, but he’s the riskiest hitting prospect on this list.

8. Seth Romero, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Houston (WSN)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 45/55 40/50 91-93 / 96

A litany of off-field issues dominate every discussion about Romero, who can’t seem to get out of his own way. A fist fight with a teammate ended a college career marred by various other infractions and inconsistent physical conditioning. Romero’s stuff was really good — he’d bump 96 and flash two plus secondaries — and he probably would have gone early in the first round of the 2017 draft had he not been a makeup powder keg, but he fell to pick 25, where Washington decided his talent was worth the gamble. Romero was sent home during his first pro spring training for repeated curfew violations. He came back in July and made six starts, then was shut down. He was back up in mid-August for a single start, then was shut down again and needed Tommy John, which he had at the end of August. The timing of the injury means Romero may not pitch until 2020, when he’ll be 24. There’s a chance he pitches in Arizona next fall or perhaps in the Aussie League, but if not, he’ll just be a 40 on our lists until we see that the stuff is back.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (WSN)
Age 18.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 45/50 20/40 30/20 40/45 55/55

Pineda has all the catcherly intangibles you can think of and scouts have been wholly unsurprised that Washington has pushed him up the minor league ladder at a speed that might be considered a bit quick since catcher development is typically taken very slowly. He went straight to the GCL at age 17, then to a Penn League packed with 21-year-olds at age 18. Pineda works hard enough that scouts from opposing clubs have taken notice; his leadership qualities have been evident during two postseason runs (circumstances that are helping to drive the ‘winning player’ narrative here) in two pro seasons. He’s a bat-first catcher with some pull power and an above-average arm. He’s raw on defense and is already a sturdily built young man who may overthicken and become immobile, but based on the makeup reports it sounds like Pineda will do what is necessary to stay back there. Teen catching prospects are risky. This one seems like a potential everyday backstop if everything breaks right, but it’s more likely he becomes a backup.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Arizona State (WSN)
Age 21.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 178 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 30/45 60/60 45/50 45/45

Canning’s junior year at ASU got off to a roaring start and, because so much of the scouting industry is in Arizona in February and March, he was quickly seen by lots of decision makers. Though they all left skeptical about his bat-to-ball ability, Canning’s speed, physicality, and max-effort style of play were all appealing and buoyed his draft stock. He ended his junior year with a .369/.426/.648 line. Canning wasn’t running as well after the draft and he’s not a very instinctive player, so there’s a chance he’s only a fringe defender in center field. He has similar issues on the bases. Realistically, he profiles as a fourth outfielder.

11. Tanner Rainey, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from West Alabama (CIN)
Age 26.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/70 55/60 40/40 35/40 95-99 / 100

Rainey was among the top small-school prospects in the 2015 draft, showing plus stuff in a relief profile at West Alabama, where he popped up late because he was a two-way player with limited mound experience. His raw stuff gives him a chance to pitch in late-innings if he can harness it, but Rainey’s control is behind what is typical for a 26-year-old and it may scare managers away from using him in high-leverage situations.

12. Malvin Pena, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 50/55 45/50 91-93 / 96

Peña missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to injury and is a bit behind other 21-year-olds, having thrown just 30 innings above rookie ball thus far. But he has three big league offerings and filled up the strike zone in 2018, so he could move quickly if he stays healthy. Peña’s delivery is pretty rough and features quite a bit of violence about his head. This, along with his lengthy injury history, has created worries about his health, and hinders his ability to locate with precision, as he throws strikes but not always where he wants to. Perception about Peña’s health may drive Washington to move him quickly so he can reach the majors before he breaks again. His stuff appeared close to ready last year, as he worked in the mid-90s with armside movement that pairs well with his power, and a mid-80s changeup, while his lower arm slot enables his slider to play against righties. He started last year but we like him as a three-pitch middle relief prospect.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from U.S. Virgin Islands (WSN)
Age 22.2 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 50/50 40/50 45/40 45/55 45/45

The last time one of us wrote up Agustin he was a skinny, all-fields line drive tweener who looked like a classic bench outfielder. He has put on about 30 pounds since and has undergone a swing and approach change that has him lifting and pulling the ball more often. He’s likely limited to left field due to mediocre arm strength, but he may profile as a low-end regular out there if the bat maxes out. Keep an eye on Agustin’s walk rate. In 2018 it was a good bit better than his career mark. If that holds, he’ll have a better chance of profiling than if it regresses to his career norms.

35+ FV Prospects

14. Reid Schaller, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Vanderbilt (WSN)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Schaller was a draft eligible redshirt freshman who lost his true freshman season to Tommy John. He pitched out of Vanderbilt’s bullpen in the spring and was throwing really hard, sitting 94-97 and touching 99. After he signed with Washington, he joined Short-season Auburn’s rotation. We have Schaller projected as a reliever but it makes sense to run him out as a starter as a way of developing his milquetoast slider and below-average changeup, as he’ll be throwing 25 or 30 innings every month instead of the 12 to 15 innings he’d get coming out of the bullpen. His ceiling will be dictated by the eventual quality of his breaking ball.

15. James Bourque, RHP
Drafted: 14th Round, 2014 from Michigan (WSN)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Bourque moved to the bullpen full-time in 2018 and had a bit of a breakout, enough that Washington added him to the 40-man. He scrapped his changeup during the year and worked primarily with his above-average curveball. He struck out 52 Hi-A hitters in 33 innings before he was promoted to Double-A for the season’s final month. He may re-introduce the changeup to give hitters another look, but for now profiles as a two-pitch middle reliever.

Drafted: 22th Round, 2016 from Drury (WSN)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Though he’ll be 24 in May, the clay may not be totally dry on Sharp, who has several late bloomer traits. Tall, lanky, cold-weather arms often develop late; small-college players are typically a little behind large conference peers; and malleable athletes are frequently able to make adjustments throughout their entire careers. Sharp is all of these. Originally from Michigan, he pitched at three colleges in three years (Eastern Michigan, Darton State College, and Drury University) in front of various groups of area scouts before he was drafted late in 2016. Sharp is also an ectomorphic 6-foot-4, and his limbs distract and also aid in his down-mound extension, enabling his fastball to sneak up on hitters more often than one would expect given its fringe velocity. Sharp learned the grip for his sinker, which has helped him generate a nearly 60% ground ball rate over the last two years, by seeing Blake Treinen’s grip on the internet. Scouts have also noted that he has begun to vary the timing of his delivery to disorient hitters, à la Johnny Cueto. He’s clearly still developing and doing so quickly. His stuff — the sinker, a good changeup, average slider — looks like that of a swing man or up/down arm, and most pitchers this age with this kind of stuff don’t end up on our lists. But that stuff might play up because of extension and deception and continue to improve as Sharp’s body and feel for his craft evolve. He may end up as a core member of a pitching staff rather than just a depth arm.

Drafted: 10th Round, 2015 from Alabama (WSN)
Age 25.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Guilbeau’s velocity was up during the Fall League. Low-slot lefties who touch 96 and have an average breaking ball typically end up in someone’s bullpen, and we thought Guilbeau had a shot to be picked in the Rule 5. He was hurt a few times during the spring and summer and his fastball has a hittable angle, so we’re rounding down a bit on what otherwise looks like a fine middle relief piece if you just look at the stuff.

18. Jeremy De La Rosa, RF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 16.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

De La Rosa only signed for $300,000 but he made a lot of really loud contact as an amateur, both during BP and in games, and he continued to do so during 2018 instructional league. His hands are very quick and strong, and he is a pretty advanced hitter for a 17-year-old, with more present game power than is typical for a hitter this age. His frame is already very physical and has less room for mass than most teen prospects and though he’s an above-average runner who will get early-career reps in center field, there’s a strong chance he moves to left at some point (he has a 40 arm). De La Rosa’s physical maturity and potential tumble down the defensive spectrum merit skepticism, but his bat is much more interesting than that of most $300,000 signees.

19. Jordan Mills, LHP
Drafted: 28th Round, 2013 from St. Mary’s (HOU)
Age 26.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Once you’re able to look past the macabre nature of Mills’ sidearm delivery — cross-bodied, rigid, with an R-rated head whack — you can see a viable big league reliever. He only sits 87-91, but Mills’ delivery helps his fastball and average curveball play against left-handed hitters and his best pitch, an above-average changeup, might be enough to stymie righties and keep them from teeing off on his fastball. He at least appears to be a viable lefty specialist, though those are starting to disappear. He went unselected in the Rule 5 but we kind of like him.

20. Joan Adon, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Adon is a physical, throw-it-by-you relief prospect who inspires Neftali Feliz body and delivery comps. Like Feliz, Adon generates mid-to-upper 90s velocity without much mechanical violence outside of his incredible arm action. He also can’t repeat his release, which detracts from the consistency of his slider. If Adon can dial in his slider feel and fastball command, he could be a high-leverage reliever. For now, he’s an arm strength lottery ticket in short-season.

21. Ben Braymer, LHP
Drafted: 18th Round, 2016 from Auburn (WSN)
Age 24.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

In 2015, Braymer set the single-season strikeout record at LSU-Eunice, a junior college that produces a lot of pro baseball talent. He transferred to Auburn and spent his junior year pitching mostly out of the Tigers bullpen. He signed for $100,000. Washington has tried him in the rotation and in long relief and Braymer has been fairly successful at both, but he projects as a two-pitch reliever long-term. His low-90s fastball has flat plane and lives in the top of the strike zone. It’s hard to differentiate between it and his 12-6 curveball, which is effective against both-handed hitters.

22. Brigham Hill, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2017 from Texas A&M (WSN)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Hill was A&M’s Friday night starter as a junior and he struck out more than a batter per inning in the SEC with a monster changeup that looked like it might carry him to some kind of big league role. In 2018, Hill missed two months with injury, his control backed up a bit, and he didn’t miss that many bats at Low-A, which is arguably worse talent-wise than the SEC. We’ve shaded him down a half grade and are hoping for a bounce-back.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Young Sleepers
Viandel Peña, 2B
Jose A. Ferrer, LHP
Carlos Romero, RHP

Peña, who turned 18 in November, is short at about 5-foot-8 but he has a good frame for that size. He’s a switch-hitting middle infielder with precocious feel for the strike zone and a nice swing. Ferrer (not the guy from Dune, a different Jose Ferrer, but also not this one) can really spin it and posted 2800 breaking ball spin rates in the DSL last year, but he’s quite physically mature. He has an upper-80s fastball and it’s unclear how much more is coming because the frame isn’t obviously projectable. Romero is a 6-foot-6 projection arm with little feel for spin. He sits 87-91 right now.

Bench Types
Cole Freeman, 2B
Jake Noll, 3B
Austin Davidson, 1B/LF
Jose Marmolejos, 1B

Freeman has above-average bat-to-ball skills and speed, and he plays with his hair on fire. He could be a utility infielder. Noll has power but is limited to the corners on defense and will be 25 in March. Davidson has performed for several years but took a tumble down the defensive spectrum last year and now sees time in left field and first base instead of at second and third. Marmolejos had a bad statistical season after several very good ones. It’s hard to roster more than one Noll/Davidson/Marmolejos type at the big league level, and Washington already has Matt Adams.

Post-hype Long Shots
Anderson Franco, 3B/1B
K.J. Harrison, C/1B
Gilbert Lara, 3B

Franco is a 21-year-old power bat with a good frame and raw bat. Harrison and Lara were acquired together for Gio Gonzalez and both were once very interesting prospects. Harrison had a huge freshman year at Oregon State but his aggressiveness at the dish began to be toyed with the following year. He has pop, but the bat and inability to catch are a barrier. Lara was a $2 million signee who looked like he might be a shortstop or third baseman with huge power as an amateur. After a raucous first fall and spring as a pro, he just stopped hitting and it’s never been clear why.

Catching Depth
Raudy Read, C
Tres Barrera, C

Read has enough stick that he might one day be a 40 but he’s coming off a PED suspension. Barrera has the better glove. Both project as third catchers.

Starter Depth
Kyle McGowin, RHP
Jackson Tetreault, RHP
Nick Raquet, LHP

McGowin has a 40 fastball but can really spin a breaking ball, and he throws strikes. He’d be fine making a spot start. That’s what Jackson Tetreault projects to be, but he’s very lanky and thin for a 22-year-old and some think there’s more velo on the way. Raquet is a funky lefty, 90-93, average secondaries.

Older Relief Fliers
Austin Adams, RHP
Ronald Peña, RHP
Joan Baez, RHP

Adams has nasty stuff — mid-90s, elite breaking ball spin — but can’t repeat his delivery and sends many pitches skipping to the backstop. Peña, who has touched 100, is similar and improved a bit last year. He’s 27. Baez sits 94-96 and flashes a plus curveball. Any of this group could be on the main section of the list pretty quickly if they arrive for spring training with better command.

System Overview
This system is very thin but has about as much potential high-end impact as most farm systems do. Both Denaburg and Crowe, who has some of the better spin rates we’ve dug up during this process (you can see those on The Board), could be on our midseason top 100, and Antuna and Romero have more talent than the typical 40 FV. This farm is strangely better equipped to add a star in a one-for-one kind of deal than it is to add talent with a package of 40s and 45 FVs.

Seven of the twenty-two prospects we wrote up for this list have had UCL reconstructions, by far the greatest number and highest rate of any club we’ve covered so far. That’s not accusatory and other than the org’s penchant for drafting players who have fallen past where they’d be drafted on talent due to a TJ, is probably just randomness.

We hoped you liked reading Top 22 Prospects: Washington Nationals by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel!

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sadtrombone
Member
sadtrombone

Good list. I’m very high on Denaburg, too. That draft class was weird because lots of talented prep players fell unexpectedly, but Denaburg has good stuff and looks like he could move fast. Rizzo is really smart about grabbing guys who others have over-corrected on, and this is another good example.

Romero, on the other hand…man, talk about 20-grade makeup. What are the chances he works hard enough at rehab to come back from his TJ surgery? 40%? 60%? What a disaster.

My favorite writeup here is Garcia. I had no idea that Garcia was doing so well full-season ball at 18. Based on the scouting report on his hit/power (which I didn’t know about), he looks like a possible star, and with a surprisingly stable floor considering that he’s 18 with that statistical profile and defensive ability.

Trying to figure out what that translates into is a fun exercise. 60 hit / 45 power at shortstop is probably something like..well, the average OBP last year for qualified players was .338, although probably there’s some selection effects there based on who qualified. Other places, Kiley has said a 50 hit tool (average) is about a .320 OBP, so let’s go with that. Standard deviation on OBP last year was .034. So that makes a 60 hit tool something like a .350-.355 OBP. Average .ISO last year was .182; again, there’s probably some selection effects going on, so maybe scale that down to a guy with 18-20 home power, which clocks in at…a .17? Standard deviation on .ISO is about .05, so Garcia probably clocks in somewhere around .14-.15.

So using these very, very rough (and at least somewhat arbitrary guidelines…it would be great if we could get updated info from Eric/Kiley on what the power/hit tools project to) you’re looking at someone like…2016 Xander Boegarts, who over 600 PAs would have been something like a 4-win player. So yeah, Eric and Kiley are saying this guy has real potential.

willl
Member
willl

Luis Garcia was the youngest batter in A+ in 2018. The next youngest player was 9 months older than Garcia. Meanwhile, Garcia hit well above league average (112 wRC+). He’s a very interesting player to watch in 2019!