Starting Pitcher – Mason Denaburg
Next up: Wil Crowe, Seth Romero, Jake Irvin
Somewhat infamously, the Washington Nationals have generally struggled to develop quality starting pitching within their own system in recent years. They haven’t had a top 100 pitching prospect since Erick Fedde, but Mason Denaburg could easily change that this season.
Perhaps the only reason their most recent first-round pick isn’t in there already is that he’s only had two instructional league outings since signing with the Nats. After suffering from a bit of bicep tendinitis, it was wise for them to take it easy with their young new pitcher.
In high school, Denaburg spent time behind the plate and in the outfield, but now with the Nats, he has a chance to hone his craft on the mound. He has an electric fastball that sits in the mid-90s with a power curveball that’s his main out-pitch and a changeup that should be a good third offering.
Expect the right-hander to open the season either in the Gulf Coast League, or potentially short-season if they feel he’s up to it. But with his raw ability on the mound, Mason Denaburg could easily move up the system once he gets his feet under him in pro ball, with a 2021 or 2022 ETA not out of the realms of possibility.
While he has a lower ceiling, Wil Crowe has the safest floor of anyone in the system and should make a fine back-end starter at the major league level. Jake Irvin has a similar profile, but a year behind after being drafted in 2018, followed by Seth Romero who will sit out in 2019 after TJ Surgery.