Bullpen Banter Ranks The Nats Top 15 Prospects

The offseason Top 10, 11, 15, 20, 25 or 6 to 4 list season has begun, and it starts with Bullpen Banter’s Washington Nationals Top 15 List:

No. Player Pos.
1. Anthony Rendon 3B
2. Lucas Giolito RHP
3. Brian Goodwin CF
4. Alex Meyer RHP
5. Matt Skole 3B
6. Tony Renda 2B
7. Eury PΓ©rez OF
8. Brett Mooneyham LHP
9. Brandon Miller OF
10. Matt Purke LHP
11. Michael Taylor OF
12. Stephen Perez SS
13. Sandy Leon C
14. Jason Martinson SS/3B
15. Cutter Dykstra IF

I strongly recommend that folks read their commentary (plus there’s scouting video) because it’s important to read the opinions outside the Natmosphere. Not to mention, these guys do good work.

As you’ll see in my comment there, I was glad to see them agree with my assessment that the system isn’t nearly as good as we keep hearing from the local media. Jeff Reese said precisely what I believe was first put out there by Brian Oliver; that the system is five or six strong prospects, and then it drops off with a razor-thin difference between the next 14-15 in a Top 20.

I’m intrigued, of course, by the inclusion of the likes of Stephen Perez and Cutter Dykstra — enough to reconsider their placement on the 2013 Watchlist. I’m not surprised by the exclusion of Nathan Karns, who made Reese’s Top 10 (sadly, the two lists are combined versus broken out as they did previously), as his age is going to be held against him, regardless of the injury/surgery situation.

This, of course, also reminds me that I need to get on the horse about soliciting votes for Top 10 position players (bats) and pitchers (arms), which will most likely be tomorrow’s post.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of NationalsProspects.com. Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

31 thoughts on “Bullpen Banter Ranks The Nats Top 15 Prospects”

  1. “25 or 6 to 4” — You get 10 bonus points for this obscure pop reference, although anyone under the age of 45 will be forgiven for not having any idea what you’re talking about.

    There’s a lot of head-scratching stuff here, but if you’re a seamhead like me & just about anyone else here this makes the offseason so much fun.

    1. I thought my previous references to James Taylor (Carolina hasn’t been a friend) and Neil Diamond (no salvation on a hot August night) might have been just for me…

  2. The dropoff from 4 to 5 (I’m still not sold on Skole’s long term success as a MLB regular) is indicative of not only the graduations, but also of the Nationals draft philosophy (college guys early) as well as their lack of a presence internationally

    1. International signings. This.

      I’ve posted about it before, but the best farm systems in baseball get anywhere from 33-50% of their talent from international signings. I think when I posted a few months ago, I found the majority of the Rangers top 20 prospects were acquired via int’l FA and not the draft. The Nationals have shot themselves in the foot by ignoring a huge source of talent.

      I’m a complete outsider to the international market, but what has prevented the Nats from making more of an effort? It’s not like Jurickson Profar was a complete unknown before he signed his deal. If a well-connected team like the Rangers were willing to give him $1.5m, that should indicate to the Nats that this guy is a stud. Anyone with an internet connection could easily figure out who the next big Latin American amateur signings are. Or is there just so much nepotism and behind-the-scenes deals that basically ensure that only the teams actively connected and engaged internationally get the good players?

      1. Unfortunately, the new CBA has made it harder for teams to go all in on IFA spending the way the Rangers, Pirates, and Orioles have over the past few years. On the other hand, while the outbid/outspend tool is gone, it still doesn’t preclude teams from outscouting the next guy. (This is true for draft-eligible guys, too, but to a much lesser degree).

        All I can tell you for sure is that this is where the Nats are trying to cultivate teenage talent and we’ve yet to see a post-Smiley sign reach High-A.

        1. I really wish the Nats would try to sell that they are doing something internationally. Take the $2.9M and sign 58 guys at $50K a pop and sell it as quality from quantity

    2. Forget Cutter Dykstra.

      What happened to Erik Komatsu? He’s not a free agent until 2019!!! Did he spend too much time as a rule 5 draftee to still be considered a prospect?

      If you are going to consider Dykstra what about Komatsu and Rahl?

    1. If it was on a Cubs or Sox site it would not be considered very clever, and you certainly wouldn’t get the bonus points!

    1. I presume you mean the money spent on the guys, though I doubt I could tell you what was spent on who without looking it up. I know lots of folks have their panties in a bunch about how much some prospects got and didn’t pan out, but I can live with some guys getting grossly overpaid when so many are criminally underpaid.

      1. Ive been and around baseball my entire life and my idea of a prospect is much different than a sports writers! Lets start with purke when he was able to pitch he was shelled everytime out in A-ball. Giolitto pitches 2 innings and done! In my mind you need to prove yourself in minors to be prospect and age doesnt matter too m

  3. I think my onl real gripe is that somehow Cutter Dykstra made it in the top 15 and Robbie Ray and Solis did not. I thought the point of “prospect” lists is to put out the guys who have a good deal of upside. Ray is coming off a not so good season and Solis is coming off an injury but to the franchise 2 lefty pitchers have to hold more value than Dykstra.

  4. I don’t see how you exclude Solis either. Recovery from TJ surgery is low-risk these days, and Solis was looking like a sure-fire big leaguer before his injury. Not saying he’s high-ceiling, but I’d have to think he has a better shot at big league success than most of the other guys listed 6-15.

    I guess I’m not especially concerned about the lack of depth in the system. I’d prefer to get big upside/big risk in someone like Giolito than have multiple “5” level players. Especially given that Strasburg, Harper, Ramos, Storen and Espinosa are all going to be 25 or younger this season.

    1. I’d disagree that Solis was “looking like a sure-fire big leaguer” but would agree that he’s farther along than Mooneyham is at the age of 22.

      1. OK, “sure-fire” was over the top, but lefty with plus command and low-90s FB is a very good big-league profile. Without the TJ surgery, you would expect him to be 5 or 6 on this list, agree? (He was #5 for Reese and #7 for Skorupa last year.) If so, I think pushing all the way off is far too high a penalty for that surgery.

        1. There’s a reason why I don’t rank guys and why I created a separate category for the surgeries πŸ˜‰

          Healthy, #5 or #6 seems possible.

          1. Not to mention that there’s some suspicion floating around that the injury occurred from his successful attempts to increase the velocity of his fastball as advised by Nat’s player development.

            We don’t know what Solis will be like after the surgery. They’ve had some wonderful, even amazing successes but also some failures such as McGreary.

            Luke is spot on being cautious.

  5. I do not particularly care for this list, but as Luke pointed out, they have a good reputation and do solid work. Like each of these lists points out, the drop-off from Meyer to Skole is massive, and the drop from Skole to the rest of the list is large and quite sobering.

    Makes me nervous for the farm system in the future as we have the smallest bonus pool in baseball for 2013 and could lose our 1st round pick if we choose to sign a stud in free agency.

  6. Not that I would not prefer a stronger list, but isn’t this what happens when you graduate a bunch of productive prospects to the big league team in only a 1-2 year period?

    Also, while we may understand the “age” issue with Karns, is there anyone who would not swap Cutter Dykstra for Karns tomorrow? If you could trade Cutter for a clone of Solis, Karns or Ray, would you? Injury, age and disappointment (respectively) notwithstanding.

  7. Again, Luke:
    Congratulations on a great web site.

    My takeaway from your thoughtful responses is:

    1) At this point in time, the Nats do not have a deep reserve to replenish the high cost of acquiring Gio, which nobody now questions. It may look much stronger by mid-summer, when our unheralded 2012 draftees have more experience, when we get a better look at Purke, and Solis coming off TJ.

    We have definitely been hurt by the lack of ineffective IFA recruiting, with nothing solid to show besides catchers and Perez. My question: What happened with the high-profile signing of the Dodger star IFA scout?

    My comment is this:

    Outside of being shut off from another Gio-type acquisition (no small loss), it seems to me that, if ever there was a team with enough youth to wait for a second wave of prospects — it is the Nats.

    Your thoughts and comments?

    1. I’d like to see the team tilt younger. I’m not advocating all HS picks, but I’d like to see the portfolio a bit more mixed. I also realize that’s much more difficult picking 30th, but teams like the Red Sox have been able to do it. Again, I stress: I’m not draft expert; I base this mostly on seeing so many 22-24 y.o.’s and so few under-22 players.

  8. Farewell to Alex Meyer for Denard Span. Thoughts ? It seems silly to me to trade yur best young pitcher that is producing. We need to get more involved internationally.

  9. Was curious to see if there was commentary there to explain why Cutter Dykstra, but nothing. I even watched the scouting video (not that I would really know what to look for) and it showed him striking out and hitting into a DP. I wouldn’t go putting him on the watchlist yet … I have to think that the combination of name recognition and decent numbers this year caused them to miss his history & the fact that he had been dropped down a level.

    That aside, was pleased and surprised to see Renda so high (even with the comments about the dropoff there).

    1. Well Dykstra is dating a popular Hollywood actress, in fact he is on his way to LA by car to see her as we speak.

      Guess that must count for something? πŸ™‚

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