Feb 082011
 

Picking up where we left off yesterday, here’s 16 through 30 on the Baseball America Top 30 list for 2011…

16. Tom Milone, LHP
17. Adrian Sanchez, 2B/3B
18. A.J. Morris, RHP
19. Michael Burgess, OF
20. Elvin Ramirez, RHP
21. Jeff Kobernus, 2B
22. Jason Martinson, SS
23. Danny Rosenbaum, LHP
24. Tyler Moore, 1B
25. J.P. Ramirez, OF
26. Ryan Tatusko, RHP
27. Brad Meyers, RHP
28. Trevor Holder, RHP
29. Adam Carr, RHP
30. Hassan Pena, RHP

As mentioned yesterday, there were 14 holdovers — Norris, Espinosa, Marrero, Kobernus, Burgess, Hood, Perez, Meyers, Morris, Brad Peacock, Hassan Pena, Lombardozzi, J.P. Ramirez, and Rosenbaum. Burgess and Morris have since been traded, which means that there 16 newcomers to the list. Here’s the breakdown of they came into the system:

2010 Draft — Harper (1), Cole (4), Solis (6), Hague (14), Ray (15) , Martinson (22)

2010 Acquisitions — Ramos (5), Tatusko (26), Elvin Ramirez (20)

2010 IFA — Maya (11)

2009 Draft — Holder (28)

2008 Draft — Milone (16), Moore (24)

2007 IFA — Sanchez (17)

2006 Draft — Kimball (7), Carr (29)

As you can see, there’s a reason why the Nationals jumped from #24 to #14 and it’s not just Bryce Harper. Almost half of the Top 30 has been drafted or acquired under the Rizzo front office, and more than a third were brought in last year alone. That’s in quite stark contrast to Bowden’s Reign of Error, particularly the ’06 draft, which is has yet to produce a single major-leaguer (Marrero, Pena, and Brad Peacock join Kimball and Carr as ’06ers, so there’s still a little bit of hope). Thus, even without the #1 pick overall, there’s reason to believe that things can continue to improve with a deep draft this June and the Nationals possessing three of the first 34 picks.

As Brian Oliver pointed out last week, there are still reasons to be concerned. The list is roughly 50/50 in terms of pitchers and position players, but there are more relievers than starters. It tends to skew older, in part because the ’07-’08 drafts were more college-oriented, but also in part because the ’06 draft was such a perfect failure. Espinosa is poised to become just the second homegrown bat since the club set up shop in Washington — that’s two position players in six drafts, three in seven if you want to count Desmond. And until Jordan Zimmermann or Stephen Strasburg pitches a full season, John Lannan remains the team’s best homegrown starter.

But if folks are looking for reason to hope, take a look at BA’s projected 2014 lineup for Washington. Now, a lot of things have to go right  (this is taking-the-tartar-sauce-while-you-go-after-the-whale optimism) for this to happen, but with a week to go until pitchers and catchers report, hope springs eternal, right?

C – Wlson Ramos
1B – Derek Norris
2B – Danny Espinosa
SS – Ian Desmond
3B – Ryan Zimmerman
LF – Jayson Werth
CF – Eury Perez
RF – Bryce Harper
#1P – Stephen Strasburg
#2P – Jordan Zimmermann
#3P – A.J. Cole
#4P – Sammy Solis
#5P – John Lannan
CL – Drew Storen

  23 Responses to “The BA Prospect Handbook, Part Two”

  1. Dare I hope to see Jackie Bradley, Jr. or George Springer in that OF?

    Or perhaps Gerrit Cole in that rotation?

  2. They’re also assuming that Zimmerman will have been re-signed. I can see Perez making the jump in less than three years (’11 at A+, ’12 at AA/AAA, ’13 at WAS) but Cole becoming a #3 by ’14 is a bit optimistic (’11 at A-. ’12 at A+/AA, ’13 at AAA/WAS). I’ve already been on record that I don’t see Norris moving to 1B unless his bat makes a quantum leap (e.g. Wil Myers) or he regresses severely on defense (compared to Myers, Norris is a Molina brother).

  3. Sigh…Just imagine where we would be now had we had a competent GM after the Lerners took over in 2006. Of course then we would likely not have Strasbug and Harper, so I guess there is a silver lining.

    • +1 for silver lining.

      Years of torture at the major and minor league levels gave us strasburg and harper. god does not shut a door (or play Nook Logan in Center or let Odalis Perez ever touch a baseball) without opening a window.

  4. I am interested to see whether the other Guzman twin, Tanner Roark, is on any prospect radar. I seem to recall that he did pretty well in Harrisburg.

  5. Brian’s right … have to assume they pick up even more [starting] pitching in this year’s draft. I don’t know if you guys have seen it yet but Kilgore apparently went to the Domenican to check it out. Apparently, the Lerner’s/Nationals are known for their frugality there. Is that still Smilely fall-out or is it the rule of thumb?

    • I’d start with Kilgore’s blog post before reading the full article.

      Like a lot of things to do with this farm, it’s better than it was, but not as good as it could be. Spending will help, but I don’t think it’s that simple. You can do the chicken-and-egg argument, but the Nats have to get a *young* DR prospect to make some noise stateside — it will work both ways: convincing the Lerners to spend more, and prospects to cast their lot with the Nationals.

      • Good points – Kilgore’s blog post noted the teams’ current ‘buy low’ posture toward the buscones. That, and relying on the MLB fact-checking system for player names & ages might keep them from repeating Bowden’s blunders in the DR. I’d call it cautious rather than cheap, but that’s just my opinion.

        Again, it’s back to re-building trust & faith, much like Rizzo is trying to do with the MLB free-agents. It just amazes me that two GM’s (Minaya & Bowden) were allowed to do so much damage to an orginization over a 6-7 year period; But then, it wasn’t like the owners (Loria/MLB/Lerner group) either wanted to, or had the background knowledge to stop them. It has set the orginization back probably a full decade in development – no wonder the remaining DC fanbase is so upset.

  6. I agree with the general tenor of everyone’s comments that this is pretty encouraging. When I look at 21-30, that isn’t a bad group. Mostly (not all) age appropriate for their levels, and having some success. Maybe that is par for the course for good organizations, but this is the first time that I feel that way about us.

    And I think that we are in for good press going forward, too. This Top 30 probably only graduates 3 guys next year, and adds 3 first rounders in a loaded draft, minimum, plus maybe some value lower down. Also looks like some better international signings are trickling in, according to WaPo, although I doubt anything hits the rankings by next year. So absent a high profile setback, we should be like the Jefferson’s next year.

    One question – what is the general feeling on Ryan Matheus (sp?), the guy we got for Beimel? Have all the injuries just taken him off everyone’s radar, or should he never have been there in the first place? I dunno why, but I have a hunch he could be a surprise guy.

  7. I agree with Wally about Mattheus. I thought I read somewhere that he had a good play at Instructional League. Maybe this is his year to show what he’s got after the elbow surgury…

  8. Hardball Times had Corey Brown as high as sixth for the A’s. The guy hits for good power and he had a great end of the year when he demolished AA and continued on into AAA in the second half. Second half has to weigh more than the first … absolutely HAVE TO rank him above Chris Marerro!! And Eury Perez. He is still 25 and young enough to be ranked.

    I would say somewhere around fifth or sixth would be about right?

  9. I like Brown. He missed almost a full year, but, other than batting average, he has quite good numbers across the board. In a little over a hundred at bats in triple A last year, he had a terrible BA but even then his other numbers weren’t all that bad. I would put him number seven on the Nat’s prospect list.
    That was a great trade that Rizzo made. The potential is high. Whether it pans out, we’ll have to wait and see. Just like anything in baseball.

  10. Ladson is announcing that they just inked Alex Cintron to a minor league contract for ST. Another one of Rizzo’s MI originally from the AZ organization.

  11. Ladson also just posted that CA Hector Taveras has been suspended for 25 games for violation of the Minor League Baseball’s Drug Abuse & Prevention policy, with said supension to begin with the start of the 2011 season.

    Color me dissapointed on this one; I’d hoped he was a ‘diamond in the rough’ for the Nationals. Damn.

    • Me too. It’s also a little backhanded that MiLB announces them late-afternoon, clearly trying to bury them in the news cycle. And I’ll have to admit that it’s working.

      • From our view, there may seem to be intent to ‘bury the news’, but let’s be honest – Minor League suspensions are of a much more local interest point in the daily news cycle than a Major-League player getting caught as positive for the same test.

        I was suprised to see that Ladson picked up on it, given that Taveras is at such a low level in the system. Good on him for having a sharp eye; Bad for us as minor-league seamheads.

  12. @BinM.

    I think Ladson’s realized that there actually is a very high degree of interest in the Nationals farm system … a good part of that will clearly be because of Harper and Stras (when he begins his rehab starts) but he’s probably also noticed that at times he’s been more than a bit behind in the past.

    A lot of people (including Ladson) tend to forget about Tom Milone and to some extent Bradley Meyers. Both might be pitching for Syracuse in that rotation in 2011. In Harrisburg there will likely be Danny Rosenbaum … Also, given the increase in velocity in Harrisburg don’t you expect Tatusko to pitch for Syracuse as well? Milone, Meyers, and Tatusko will have to beat out Chico, Martin, Martis, Arneson, Gaudin, Barthmaier, Mandel et al. What if they do? What if they begin to look good enough?

    If they manage this in spring training that could put an awful lot of pressure on Livo, Marquis, Lannan … at the very least make Lannan potentially a tradable commodity. He’s cheaper than Marquis and younger. Livo likely ends up in the bullpen.

    Zimmermann, Marquis (because of the salary), and Gorzelanny look to be the only fixed slots in the rotation at this point … and clearly ST could change that.

    I expect that is exactly the sort of competition Rizzo is trying to induce. Instead of having to “settle” actually end up with some good, solid arms in his rotation setting things up for the eventually return of Strasburg.

  13. @peric: I think Ladson is finally coming to the realization that he has competition in coverage of Nationals’ baseball. Between the WaPo, MASN, CSNWashington, and the independentant blogs, maybe he’s finally realized that he’s not in Montreal anymore.

    Regarding your seemingly unrelated 2nd point, I don’t know where to begin… I’ll just say that smart (or game-wise) pitchers have just as much a place in any starting rotation as hard-throwing arms, and leave it at that for now (Whitey Ford, or Andy Pettitte, anyone?).

  14. I’ll just say that smart (or game-wise) pitchers have just as much a place in any starting rotation as hard-throwing arms, and leave it at that for now (Whitey Ford, or Andy Pettitte, anyone?).

    If that’s your criteria, and it is both plausible and acceptable; there is ONLY ONE PITCHER who matches: Livan Hernandez. Based upon the number of quality starts, complete games … just getting into the later innings. NO OTHER pitcher on the staff including John Lannan has come close to matching that. Lannan is a soft tosser who doesn’t quite or consistently match up to the “innings eater” designation. And Livo is 36 going on 46. Consider the possibilities: Tom Milone just might do a better job. He’ll get his chance to prove that this spring.

  15. I have seem H. Pena RHP in the top 30 prospect since 2007 I believe, I think he can play in the mayors pretty soon. I have been following some of the player and I think he looks finally healty now, that is what have been preventing him from moving up (the surgeries he had in the past) even that he manage to have good number never had a really bad season, He got GOOD STUFF, follow him in the winter ball in PR and he did GREAT. in the other hand I see all you need is one good year because C. Kimball had some not so good ERA and just really good year then right away made the 40 man keep it up guys. hope to see you all in the mayor soon.

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