Sickels Releases Top 20 Nats Prospect List

Late this morning, John Sickels released the last of his Top 20 lists, which was the Washington Nationals. As I’ve done the past couple of years, here’s a look at how it breaks down by letter grade:

A- Lucas Giolito
B A.J. Cole, Brian Goodwin
B- Matt Skole, Drew Ward, Michael Taylor, Steve Souza, Felipe Rivero, Tony Renda
C+ Drew Vettleson, Jake Johansen, Eury Perez, Zach Walters, Aaron Barrett, Rafael Bautista, Sammy Solis
C Blake Treinen, Jefry Rodriguez, Randy Encarnacion, Osvaldo Abreu

I realize some of you may be making a face like this when trying to decipher this, so let me try to do a better job than I did last year in explaining this…

The primary focus here is on letter grades, not numerical rank, which you can get by going top to bottom, then left in each row. Lucas Giolito is #1, A.J. Cole is #2, Brian Goodwin is #3… Randy Encarnacion is #19, Osvaldo Abreu is #20.

The secondary focus is on improvement by letter grade, which you can see by the color red. Because Sickels only ranks Grade C or better, that means becoming a C+ or better guy after being previously identified as a Grade C.

Top 20 guys (for the Nationals) from 2013 are in bold while guys that played their way onto the list are in italics. Because it would be specious, I chose to neither bold nor italicize Vettleson and Rivero, though I did indicate whether or not they improved.

Now that that’s out of the way, time for a few quick thoughts…

…The sea of red shows what most of us already know: there were several guys that truly improved in 2013.

…With only eight repeats, there were also quite a few guys that took a step back — most notably, RHP Christian Garcia and LHPs Sammy Solis and Matt Purke.

…After falling to seven players graded at B- or better (and none A or A-), the system has rebounded to nine, though that does include one acquired by trade and one drafted.

Rather than summarize Sickels any further, I highly recommend folks click through and read his thoughts on the system, which begins after the list of players outside of the Top 20.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of 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.

9 thoughts on “Sickels Releases Top 20 Nats Prospect List”

  1. A lot to ponder here, need more time to gather thoughts, but first glance the most pleasant surprise is his rating of Drew Ward.

    Great photo.

  2. Tony Renda also a pleasant surprise, IMO.
    Potentially on the low side, as as far as I’m concerned, is Treinen (although I would have graded him C before spring training – but given his spring, and now 3 IP in the majors without a run, at least C+ is justified); Cole (I’d go for B+).

    1. Sickels indicated in the comments that Cole may well end up as a B+ when Sickels finalizes the grades for his annual prospects book, due out fairly shortly.

  3. One can never draft enough LHP starters
    Renda is a real grinder. Flashes good leather @ 2b
    A long year ahead for some injured guys
    To re apply themselves

  4. Zach Walters had another home run for the big boys last night. Good job by the Nats; he was pretty raw when they got him.
    No Severino, let’s hope he wows us this year at the Pfitz.

  5. The criticism with his ranking “system” of course, is that he doesn’t distinguish between the best prospect in the minors and the 25th such ranked prospect, thanks to them all getting an “A.” I’ve read stories about how, instead of reacting to such criticism he’s simply blocked questioners on twitter.

    1. while the top 3-5 may be elite prospects I doubt there is much difference in the next 20-25 players and anybody who thinks they can tell you the difference is blowing smoke.

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