MLB.com released its 2012 Top 100 Prospect list earlier this week. The Washington Nationals have a solid prescence on the list, having four players ranked among the top prospects in all of Major League Baseball. The organization has been steadily building their farm system into one of the better ones in all of MLB, but the system seemed relatively depleted after the recent trade to acquire Gio Gonzalez which cost the Nationals four players ranked in Baseball America’s organizational Top 10. For what it’s worth, two of those players made it to MLB.com’s Top 100: right-handed pitchers Brad Peacock (#75) and A.J. Cole (#88).
Bryce Harper was named the #2 prospect, coming in just behind Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore and in front of Los Angeles’ Mike Trout. Harper, who really doesn’t need much of an introduction on this site anymore considering how much we’ve discussed him, batted a combined .297/.392/.501 with 17 HR and 58 RBI in 387 at bats between Hagerstown and Harrisburg. How he performs this Spring will determine whether he begins the 2012 season in Washington or Syracuse.
Anthony Rendon checks in as the #27 prospect. Oakland’s Jarrod Parker comes in just before him and New York’s Zach Wheeler follows. The 2011 1st Round Draftee has yet to make his professional debut but expectations are already high for the infielder. A third baseman by trade, it’s generally believed that Rendon has the ability to become a Gold Glove caliber defender. It’s widely expected that he will end up moving over to second base once he reaches Washington, but it’s uncertain how soon that will be. Some have speculated he could prove himself enough in the minor leagues to be in Washington by midseason but a September callup seems much more likely – barring a massive and unexpected collapse by the organization’s current middle infielders.
Alex Meyer is the #83 prospect, ranking just after Detroit’s Drew Smyly and before Houston’s George Springer. Like Rendon, Meyer was a 2011 Draft pick who has yet to make his professional debut. The lanky right-hander is still developing – particularly on his changeup and command – but shows a great deal of promise and poise on the mound. He boasts two plus pitches – a fastball that reaches 97 MPH and a power slider that comes in between 86-88 MPH. With further development to his changeup, Meyer could develop into a top of the rotation starter – a luxury considering the projected top three in the rotation for the next few years.
Finally, at #86 we have Sammy Solis. The left-hander checks in just behind Oakland’s Sonny Gray and before Miami’s Matt Dominguez. In 17 starts between Hagerstown and Potomac during the 2011 season he went a combined 8-3 with a 3.26 ERA. He struck out 93 and walked 23 over 96.2 innings. There have been rumblings this offseason that the organization has some concerns about his elbow after he felt some soreness during the Arizona Fall League. The holidays and some other circumstances delayed a meeting with Dr. James Andrews until after the beginning of the new year. To date there have been no new reports of any concerns or a need for surgery, so there’s reason to be optimistic that this was all just a scare. If healthy, Solis will probably find his way to Harrisburg for the 2012 season.