In a time where consistently planning for the future is as much a priority as winning now, the Washington Nationals are on the track to put together a solid team to contend for the World Series. ESPN recently put together a “Franchise Player Draft” where their top baseball analysts we’re able to choose one player for which their team would be built around. Included in those players taken were the likes of Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, and Troy Tulowitzki but 3 names on that list will soon be familiar faces around the baseball community for years to come.
Selected with the 9th overall pick was “The Phenom”, Bryce Harper. Harper, who has yet to see a Major League pitch, has arguably become the highest touted prospect to ever come out of the draft. Currently playing for the Hagerstown Suns in Washington’s farm system, he is currently hitting .331 in 181 at bats with 11 HR’s and 36 RBI’s. A converted outfielder, Harper also has 4 assists to his name for his 1st season in the Sally League. As his presence in Washington’s lineup comes closer to reality, Harper will have some hardware to take home in ROY and MVP if he is able to put up his Single-A numbers against MLB pitching.
Following Bryce Harper in the draft comes the muscle on the mound, Stephen Strasburg in the 22nd slot. A phenom in his own right, Strasburg wowed the Majors with his debut gem throwing 7 innings, allowing 4 hits, 2 earned runs, and totaling 14 strikeouts. In 12 starts in 2010 before he underwent Tommy John surgery, No. 37 compiled a 5-3 record with 92 K’s and an ERA of 2.91. Expected to come back by the end of the season, DC will welcome him with open arms as his first full season will be a sure sight to witness.
Rounding out the “Franchise Draft” and the Nationals 3 Franchise players is, catcher Wilson Ramos. Ramos has shown significant promise during his time with the Nationals and is expected to take over full time catching duties as the Nationals are perusing trades for Pudge Rodriguez. The veteran catcher does command some respect in that he has taken the young Ramos under his wing to show him the ropes of “The Show” as it has shown on the field. Don’t let his .252 average fool you as Wilson has shown flashes of multiple hit games and solid plate duty with 22 assists and 44% of runners caught stealing.
The future is a funny thing when it comes to predicting what players will outlast the ever growing hype. These 3 however, have shown steady progress towards becoming a staple in the Nationals lineup for years to come. The pieces are in place as Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman will certainly be able to anchor the ship towards a playoff spot in the near future but one trade can set them apart… a No. 2 Pitcher.
My prediction: Wild Card in 2013.