We’ve recently completed our very first annual Top Prospect list here at DoD. It was a valuable experience, both in terms of learning about the team’s top prospects and personally, as this is the first such list I’ve compiled in the time I’ve spent as a baseball blogger. Individual player profiles were written to pair with each ranking. Those links can all be found under our Featured Posts page, located up top on our Home Page. So, let’s recap our results, how we got them, and what it all means for the Washington Nationals organization moving forward. But first, let’s recap our final Top 15:
- Bryce Harper
- Anthony Rendon
- Brad Peacock
- A.J. Cole
- Brian Goodwin
- Alex Meyer
- Matt Purke
- Sammy Solis
- Tom Milone
- Stephen Lombardozzi
- Derek Norris
- Chris Marrero
- Cole Kimball
- Eury Perez
- Robbie Ray
The list includes three outfielders, three outfielders, a catcher, three left-handed pitchers, and five right-handed pitchers – a fairly solid balance across the diamond. There are five players who have already made their MLB Debuts. Four joined the organization through this past year’s Draft. In Baseball America’s most recent projected 2015 lineup, six of the above players make the cut.
Of course, that is before four of the above players were traded to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Gio Gonzalez, depleting a strong farm system of some of it’s MLB-ready talent. Gone are Peacock, Cole, Milone, and Norris. Peacock and Milone, in particular, were tough to part with in this deal – at least initially. The pair were the organization’s two most MLB-ready pitchers by a wide margin. Milone made five September starts in 2011, going 1-0 with a 3.81 ERA in 26.0 innings. Peacock added two starts of his own, finishing 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 12.0 innings. The four players will play big roles in the massive rebuilding process going on in Oakland and it’s possible that all three pitchers will instantly move into the organization’s Top 10 prospect rankings.
For those curious, the next four names which received consideration in forming our Top 15 rankings were outfielder Destin Hood, first baseman Tyler Moore, infielder Zach Walters, and right-hander Josh Smoker.
As for how these rankings came about, there were numerous considerations taken into account. It seemed prudent to put some stock into the rankings published by Baseball America, FanGraphs, and MLB.com. We also opted to factor in the rankings by our minor league partners here at FanSided, Seedlings to Stars. Each of the four lists were compiled based on a wide variety of differing criteria. Each of the four lists were taken into account and weighted equally into our final rankings.
In addition, it was necessary to have some of our opinions in the mix. Myself, and each of our two writers here at DoD, Michael and Andrew, came up with our own Top 15 lists. Each of us were able to come up with our lists based on whatever criteria we felt appropriate. These were each weighted twice in determining the final overall standings.
Lombardozzi, Marrero, and Kimball are the other three players on the above list who made their debuts this past season. Both Marrero and Kimball will begin the 2012 season on the Disabled List but could return as early as the All Star Break if there are no serious setbacks. Lombardozzi is widely expected to begin the season in Washington with the Nationals, either supplanting Ian Desmond in the lineup as the starting second baseman or in a utility role with regular playing time.
Harper will arrive in Washington sometime during the 2012 season. There has been some recent speculation that Davey Johnson may insist on that time being April, as the team starts the season out of Spring Training. It seems more likely that the organization will wait until at least June for his much-anticipated arrival. Rendon could also see Washington in 2012, if he is able to remain healthy and perform up to expectations. With Harper, Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg the Nationals were able to draft arguably the top talent in each of the past three drafts. All three could be in Washington by September.
Goodwin and Perez are both further away from the Majors, with only Perez likely to see any time in Double-A or higher this coming season. The pair are similar players – lanky bodies, strong range in the outfield, speed to help cover ground and on the bases, and a developing ability to get on base. The duo could ultimately end up battling for the organization’s future center field opening in the years ahead.
Meyer, Purke, and Solis represent a potentially formidable trio of pitching prospects that should continue their development through the 2012 season. Of course, there are some concerns that will need to be overcome. Solis has been slated to visit Dr. Lewis Yocum for a checkup on his elbow (he reportedly felt some soreness while pitching in the AFL), but the visit has been postponed at least a few weeks now thanks to another unrelated illness. Purke also has a long injury history which he’ll need to overcome (back, shoulder, blisters). Purke, Meyer, and Ray may all begin the season in the same High-A rotation.
There it is. Our first annual DoD Top 15 Nationals Prospects list. Feel free to share your thoughts on the rankings and on the player profiles. Feedback is always encouraged.