Jan 302016

A pleasant surprise — even if I did pay extra for expedited shipping — as the 2016 Baseball America Prospect Handbook arrived in today’s mail. This is almost a full week earlier than last year… and despite the recent snowstorm.

A bigger surprise? The folks in Durham, NC rated the Nationals as the fifth-best organization..

Obviously, having a Top 5 overall prospect in the person of Lucas Giolito helps. But they also give props to the team’s success in the D.R., noting that five of the team’s Top 11 come from the Caribbean island nation “despite a restricted international budget from ownership.”

While this doesn’t change my opinions that system is top-heavy, drafts too many college seniors, and isn’t deep at certain positions, BA sure loves what the Nats have been doing in terms of acquiring younger talent with more upside – including a high-priced 2016 IFA who has yet to play a professional game (some things never change).

Let’s review how last year’s Top 30 fared:

Graduated (2) – Michael Taylor, Felipe Rivero

Traded (3) – Steven Souza, Nick Pivetta, Tony Renda

Removed from 40-man – Taylor Hill

Dropped out (11) Brian Goodwin, Hill, Jake Johansen, Jefry Rodriguez, Spencer Kieboom, Matt Grace, Matt Skole, Drew Vettleston, Hector Silvestre, John Simms, Robbie Dickey

The Top 30 is now down to two (2) older-than-25 guys — both left-handed relievers — which is something we’ve been hoping for and had suggested might happen last year.

With that, I’ll close with the Top 15 from the book and continue with nos. 16-31 in Part Two. Last year’s ranking, if applicable, in parentheses:

1. Lucas Giolito (1) 6. Wilmer Difo (7) 11. Pedro Severino (13)
2. Trea Turner 7. A.J. Cole (6) 12. Blake Perkins
3. Victor Robles (25) 8. Andrew Stevenson 13. Rafael Bautista (20)
4. Erick Fedde (4) 9. Austin Voth (11) 14. Jakson Reetz (14)
5. Reynaldo Lopez (3) 10. Anderson Franco 15. Osvaldo Abreu
Jan 272016

Watchlist Added3The first pass at the player reports for the 2016 Watchlist is now done. Rather than use the snowstorm to work on my novel, I tried to get as many written as reasonably possible.

Truth be told, between doing this and reading the books from Baseball America and John Sickels, this is where the real research gets done.

Until the BA book and the Sickels PDF arrive, I punt on some with a “Report Not Yet Written” with the belief hope that one or the other will list him and discuss him – especially with the 2015 draft picks and guys who I haven’t seen recently (with an exception or two).

The Baseball America handbook and John Sickels’s prospect PDF have been ordered, so now we wait until they arrive to fill in the gaps, which I’ve labeled “Report Not Yet Written,” because I believe one or the other will cover the player. Nevertheless, you’ve got individual capsules on 36 of the 51 pitchers and position players to read, plus the essays on the DSL guys and notables.

The latest BA Transaction post yielded just one new name to ponder: Darin Gorski, who fits the Rizzo mold of an MLFA that can eat innings for either AA or AAA. [Insert speculation about conversion to relief to help big club here].

As always, feel free to discuss in the comments.

Jan 202016

Catching Up On Transactions
Things have been slow, but with the Baseball America transaction post earlier this week, we have some stuff to discuss:

• RHP Boone Whiting

• RHP Andrew Cooper
• RHP Sam Johns
• RHP 2B Thomas Alvarez
• RHP OF Wilman Rodriguez

• RHP Erik Davis
• RHP Taylor Hill

Whiting would appear to be in the mold of other AAA/AA inventory, but *gasp* not a former Arizona draft pick. He struggled in two stops at AAA, going 0-2 with an 7.77/7.10/2.32 line in seven appearances for Mempis; 4-7, 1 SV and 6.04/5.78/1.82 in 22 appearances for Colorado Springs.

Cooper’s release is a mild surprise, given he turns 24 in June and wasn’t terrible (3.53/3.63/1.40) for the Suns last summer. Johns and Rodriguez appear to be classic cases of aging out (both will turn 25 by mid-July). Alvarez, who at one point was the youngest American-born farmhand in the Nats system, looks like he simply hit his ceiling as he struggled to produce a line of .204/.332/.284 in 151 games over four seasons in the DSL and GCL.

Jan 152016

0216101852Just a quick note to update folks on what’s been going on.

Like a few years ago, one of my site plugins failed. Ironically, thanks to another plugin, the front page remained intact but anywhere else, you got an error message regarding said plugin. Well, long story short: It’s fixed and the bad plugin has been deleted.

I’ve been working on the on the player pages for the 2016 Watchlist and have put up three already (C, 1B, 2B). We’re at the stage where I skip over the ones that I believe will be written about by Sickels and Baseball America, ergo, “Report Not Written” for four thus far.

With long weekend upon us, I should have more time to work on the others, and perhaps an edition of “Morning Reading.”
Otherwise, it’s “Happy Friday!”

Jan 072016

mehJust a quick note to let folks know we’re still here. Waiting. For. Some. News.

About the only consolation I have is that I am not alone in this situation, as witnessed by this WaPo missive, from which I barely even have to note that Erik Davis and Taylor Hill were both designated for assignment, i.e. it’s news only to F.P. Santangelo.

So while I could tell you about the work I’m doing on the site (or plan to do), I won’t because I’m sure many of you get enough of that elsewhere.

Dec 312015

Final Winter League Update
In lieu of a 2015 review, for which I just couldn’t find more than a couple of truly good stories (never mind ten), here’s a final look at how players in the Nationals organization are doing in the Winter Leagues for the 2015-16 offseason. All statistics as of 12/31/2015.


Marquez Smith PWL 43 136 28 39 10 1 4 27 28 29 .287 .425 .374 7
Rafael Bautista DWL 40 104 14 29 5 1 0 6 9 11 .279 .348 .346 8
Jose Lozada PWL 37 122 13 38 7 0 0 14 15 17 .311 .403 .369 1
Brian Goodwin VWL 35 133 21 42 8 1 3 18 19 28 .316 .401 .459 5
Reegie Corona VWL 30 89 12 21 5 0 0 4 12 18 .236 .327 .292 2
Pedro Severino DWL 23 58 9 12 4 0 2 4 2 14 .207 .233 .379 0
Isaac Ballou PWL 17 62 11 12 3 1 0 4 10 8 .194 .333 .274 0
Jose Marmolejos-Diaz DWL 3 9 0 3 0 1 0 2 0 1 .333 .333 .556 0
Melvin Rodriguez PWL 1 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 0
Estarlin Martinez DWL 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0


Paolo Espino VWL 2 3 0 4.28 10 10 40 48 24 19 5 18 33 1.65
Jon Velasquez PWL 1 0 4 2.03 14 0 13⅓ 9 3 3 1 5 12 1.05
Stephen Shackleford VWL 2 2 0 3.65 14 0 12⅓ 11 5 5 0 7 10 1.46
Rafael Martin MWL 1 2 0 3.60 10 0 10 7 4 4 1 1 12 0.80
Wander Suero DWL 0 0 0 5.40 2 0 1⅔ 3 1 1 0 0 1 1.80

The Venezuelan and Mexican Leagues finished up on Tuesday; the Puerto Rican Winter League ends on Monday. Before folks get too excited about Lozada and Smith, both are 30 years old (Smith turning 31 in March) and are doing precisely what they ought to be against the uneven pitching found in the winter leagues. Sadly, the latter part of that caveat should also apply to Goodwin, even if it seems fairly obvious that the Nats may only value him as a trade chip at this point.

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve and stay safe. See you in 2016.

Dec 272015

2016 WatchlistOK, fine. So it’s a little late this year—but it’s here.

Part of this is that I was waiting to see if a trade would be made that might [mess] things up, but with the spate of FA signings that seems to be highlighted by Daniel “not bad just unlucky on defense” Murphy, that seems less likely.

Thus, I present the sixth annual NationalsProspects.com watchlist. These are the folks that we’re paying a bit more attention to than the others for a variety of reasons. I am quite well aware that more than a few of them are only considered prospects in our little bubble, but I’ve never denied that there’s a fan component to this site (pro tip: check the tagline above).

Now is when we dance for the caveats…

It’s not a depth chart – Players are listed primarily by the highest level they’ve played. This mostly applies to the pitchers and outfielders, but it’s unwise to assume that the player at the top of the list is better than the guy at the bottom.

It’s not a prediction of usage – In the early iterations, I listed pitchers by whether they started or relieved. Now, I simply list them by right or left, which works until the Nats draft the next Pat Venditte. Some players could be listed elsewhere, but let’s not forget that positions changes are kind of commonplace.

It’s not fair – You may notice some names have been dropped and/or shuffled around since the preliminary list was released. This is when and where you find out if my mind has been changed. It happens.

You can see that I’ve already added it to the tab above, but I’ll repeat it below to save you a click. Over the next few weeks, I’ll work on the player capsules and hyperlink the category pages when I’m done.

In the meantime, feel free discuss in the comments (or make corrections; remember who’s my copyeditor).

C 1B 2B SS 3B OF
Severino Skole Difo Turner
Ward Ballou
Kieboom Marmolejos-Diaz Bostick Abreu Gutierrez Bautista
Read Kerian Mejia Lora Franco E. Martinez
Tillero Ortiz Dulin
Schrock Keller
RHPs LHPs DSL Bats DSL Arms Notable Arms
Notable Bats
Cole Grace Corredor Avila Br. Harper Goodwin
Giolito N. Lee
Perdomo Peguero Bacus Mesa
Voth Bach Ventura Y. Ramirez J. Rodriguez Wiseman
Guilbeau Medina Chu
Baez Reetz
De Los Santos Hearn Evangelista
Duran Serrata
Mapes Borne
R. Lopez Watson
A. Williams
P. Valdez
A. Lee

Player Name = Traded or released
Player Name = Graduated from prospect status
Player Name = On the 40-man roster

Dec 242015

Wut doo yu meen thair for Santuh?

The weather sure doesn’t seem like it, but it’s almost time for the final Friday of December, which is Christmas for some, December 25th to others, and a day off for most people outside of the retail and restaurant industries.

As I’ve done the past few years, my post-solstice wish is that by the time you read this, you’ve checked off everything on your list, have arrived at your preferred place to be, and can spend time with folks who you want to be with (and, ideally, vice-versa ;-).

Be happy, stay safe, and be grateful. Regardless of your religion or your beliefs, it’s a sentiment that applies to everyone, everywhere no matter what the season.

Dec 192015

No, we haven’t gone dark… there’s just not much going on right now.

Like some of you have noted in the comments, there’s the wondering how the Nats farm will be tilled to fulfill the proposed trade for Brandon Phillips. If you want some amusement, take a look at the philistine commenting about the delay being about DC. Thankfully, he or she is getting piled on like the plates at a holiday buffet.

The hope here is that the trade will have a domino effect and will start the process of signing minor-league free agents, which has been noticeably slower this year, Bill “The Rocket” Ladson’s story this week notwithstanding. (Thanks for “ruining” the next BA post on transactions, Bill 😉

With that I return you to you families and/or loved ones on what retailers refer to as “Super Saturday.”

Dec 152015


For the fourth straight, Lucas Giolito snagged the top spot in this (quite) unscientific poll for the fourth straight year and was the unanimous choice for the second. With that suspense ruined….

  1. Lucas Giolito
  2. Reynaldo Lopez
  3. Erick Fedde
  4. Austin Voth
  5. A.J. Cole
  6. Austen Williams
  7. Koda Glover
  8. John Simms
  9. Andrew Lee
  10. Abel De Los Santos

Others receiving votes: Taylor Hearn, Phillips Valdez, Nick Lee, Mariano Rivera, Tyler Mapes, Dakota Bacus, Jefry Rodriguez, Tyler Watson, Maximo Valerio, Robbie Dickey, Joan Baez, Sammy Solis, Rafael Martin

Now, for the thoughts, as threat…er, promised:

• If the only questions regarding Giolito are his health and service time, then expect a Strasburg-esque recall from the minors in June. It’s not like Rizzo could have been just playing to the crowd with the recent “invite to spring training” comments.

• Despite a 2015 that paled in comparison to 2014, Reynaldo Lopez’s stock did not drop. Then again, it’s not like the Nats have an abundance of younger-than-the-level pitchers with his potential, either.

• Erick Fedde moved up, with perhaps a lot of folks hoping for his 2015 to equal Giolito’s 2013, which would mean a breakout 2016.

• Austin Voth held steady at #4 despite a strong showing (2.92/3.07/1.11) for a weak Harrisburg team and winning the 2015 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award.

• A.J. Cole, who turns 24 next month, might be suffering from prospect fatigue, not to mention less-than-stellar results when he was called up.

• Austen Williams was the last of the on-every-ballot pitchers… as we often lament, after the first few, it’s a free-for-all (freefall?)

Sadly, we’re now at the point of the offsesason where it’s waiting for trades and transactions, both of which have been sparse [insert Billy Beane lost his cellphone joke here]. As per usual, feel free to discuss in the comments.