Washington Nationals News: Nats Farm System On The Rise

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On Tuesday, Baseball America released their rankings of the top farm systems in Major League Baseball. When you look at the list done by John Manuel, the Washington Nationals continue to rise up the rankings. After being ranked 24th on the list in 2014, the Nats rose up 15 spots to number nine on the rankings. They were second in terms of NL East teams, behind the New York Mets, who were fourth.

In addition to the rankings, BA also updated their top ten prospects by team. When you look at the Nationals list, six of the top ten and four of the top five are right-handed pitchers. At the top of that list is Lucas Giolito, who is ranked seventh on Baseball America’s list of top prospects. The question surrounding Giolito going into 2015 is where he will start his season, either high-A Potomac or double-A Harrisburg.

The only non-pitcher in the top five is Michael Taylor, who is ranked second. Taylor will likely be the Opening Day center fielder on Monday due to Denard Span recovering from core muscle surgery. That being said, Taylor showed some of his power towards the end of the last season and he is hitting .340 with four home runs and seven RBI’s in 12 games this spring.

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When Baseball America described this system, they looked at a sleeper in each organization that could rise up the ranks. The player for the Nationals is outfielder Victor Robles. Last year, the 17-year old hit .313 in 47 games down in the Dominican Summer League with three home runs, 25 RBI’s, and 22 stolen bases. He played the bulk of his games in center field last year.

Last week, Ashley Marshall of MILB.com discussed with the head of Nationals player development, Mark Sciabba, about many prospects. Here is what Scialabba said about Robles’ progression.

The prospect I am interested in seeing the most this season in terms of development this year is last year’s first round pick, Erick Fedde. Fedde, the right-handed pitcher out of UNLV, is rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery. Scialabba told Marshall where Fedde will likely start his 2015 season:

All in all, this is a Washington system that continues to rise up the rankings and will continue to do so as soon as shortstop Trea Turner becomes a part of that system in June when the Padres trade is official. The one thing you have to give Mike Rizzo credit for is that he has found a way to build a win-now championship club while also setting up the franchise for long-term success.

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