Down on the Farm: Checking in on the Nationals’ Top 5 Prospects

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July 17, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Washington Nationals first round draft pick

Lucas Giolito

in the dugout before a game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

For most players, the All-Star break is an opportunity to spend time with family and rest for the second half of the season. For fans, the All-Star break is an opportunity to see their favorite players perform on a national stage at the Home Run Derby and, of course, at the All-Star Game itself.

But while the All-Star break and the festivities that go with it focuses on today’s best players, it’s also a great opportunity to step back and look to the future.

In the Nationals’ farm system and around Minor League Baseball, the future of the sport becomes closer to reality each and every day as the game’s best prospects strive to hone their skills and make it to the big leagues. Sunday’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which kicked off this week of All-Star festivities, was a great opportunity for fans to see how their teams’ best prospects have progressed in the last year. 

But, just as we can’t judge how the Nationals have performed this season based on the fact that they only have one player in the All-Star Game, we also have to go beyond the players who performed in the Futures Game to see just how deep Washington’s farm system really is.

The Nationals may be one of the best young teams in baseball right now, but that success wasn’t born overnight. The first-place Nationals are a team that was created through years of excellent draft picks and careful player development. Maintaining a strong farm system has been general manager Mike Rizzo’s number one priority since he took over as GM in 2009 and is the main reason why the Nationals have evolved into the championship-caliber team they are today.

Although many of the team’s best young players – including Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon – are already producing at the big league level, the team still has a plethora of talented prospects that are just a few years away from making an impact on the Major League team.

Today we’ll be checking in on the Nationals’ top five prospects according to All five are some of the game’s best rising stars and all five have All-Star potential as they progress to the next level in the near future.

We’ll start with left-hander Sammy Solis, rated the Nationals’ No. 5 prospect by