Initial 2017 Player Reports Completed

I’ve made it through the first pass of writing the 2017 Watchlist and Player reports as I await the arrival of Baseball America’s 2017 Prospect Book. With Sickels no longer doing his book, I couldn’t punt on too many guys, which may be better because it forced me to write and research a little more.

While it’s a lot of work, it pays off down the line. Once the season starts up, the focus is on delivering the news and notes every day, which I enjoy, but gets progressively harder as the season progresses (even with reduced coverage of the DSL and GCL).

This is when I get the legwork done, and more than a few times during the season I’ll use this as reference material (and I’m sure others do, too, so you should know what to do with that the images that appear under “Pay The Bills”).

As always, feel free to discuss in the comments – (UPDATE) preferably here, but I just enabled them on each category page.

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.

25 thoughts on “Initial 2017 Player Reports Completed”

  1. Luke . I must say the 50 plus degrees
    Made spring seem closer and my dog more excited to take me out on walks which put me in non roster invitee form but to the left handed
    Pitcher list. My gut is telling me that by June some of us might want to pencil Braymer underneath Y Ramirez.??
    Plus the thought of Mooney , Angher C and lefty Howard in a same bullpen makes one grin like a Cheshire cat .

  2. Thanks Luke. My favorite part is come June or July when I go back to see where everyone was before the season starts. Lots of fun.

  3. Apologies if this has already been brought up, but why no Davidson?

    3B is already our thinnest position. Oddly, the Nats have been incredibly conservative with Davidson, but he finally got his promotion and performed admirably in Potomac (.258/.389/.411). He’s not young, but the list is peppered with players who should have aged off lists like these by now. He’s basically a carbon copy of Ian Sagdal (3 days different in age, 13th vs 16th round picks, .836 vs .837 OPS in Hagerstown, infield positional flexibility, etc.) except Davidson has nearly 50 games at high A under his belt.

    I think their success is almost entirely attributable to their advanced age, so it’s not really a snub to leave Davidson off, but with such a thin roster at 3B, he’s at least worth mentioning.

    1. Sagdal gets the benefit of being in an even shallower pool (2B), if not entirely for the trade of Max Schrock. This, however, nails it:

      [T]he list is peppered with players who should have aged off lists like these by now

      I think we’re seeing the “reverse Bell curve”* as it applies to prospects; in this case, the argument of a player on the fringe of a “C” or “C-” (to borrow from Sickels’s grading system).
      * In college, most of the students arguing for a grade change are either on the cusp of an “A” or just missed passing.

  4. Thanks Luke for all your work. I enjoy the lists and the information therein.
    Jeese, Will, I thought third base was one of the Nat’s strongest positions. (Next to outfielders) There is Rendon in the majors. Ward at AA. Gutierrez at high A. Then there are Franco and Neuse.

  5. I think I mentioned Davidson at some point. Luke has made comments in the comments sections over time that lead me to believe that he wasn’t too impressed with Davidson at Potomac, for some reason. Perhaps he’ll chime in and elaborate. In the extremely SSS that I saw him, he struck me as more polished than Abreu and Mejia, although he is a bit older. He had an overall OPS of .820, with .837 at Hagerstown and .800 at Potomac. He also walked (49) more times than he struck out (46), which is rare among players at this level.

    I’m curious to see what the Nats do with Davidson this year. I’m wondering if they will put him at 2B at Harrisburg since Mejia didn’t look ready for promotion, and since the Nats have more promise at 3B with Ward, Gutierrez, Neuse, and Franco than they do at 2B.

    1. It’s hard to put my finger on it exactly but Davidson just never struck me as more than an OG. I can see what you mean by the stats. We thought the same about Mejia last offseason but now I know why the prospect gurus passed on him – just not very good on defense.

      1. Davidson’s OPS in 2015 was .616, which does scream “org guy,” or “start planning another career.” The Nats were probably as surprised as the rest of us at the significant strides he made at the plate in 2016. In looking at the stats, much of it seems to have been due to better plate discipline, arguing against the myth that it can’t be taught or learned. In 312 PA’s in 2015, Davidson K’d 47 times and walked 26. In 380 PA’s in 2016, he struck out one less (46) but walked 23 more (49). That doesn’t explain everything, as he doubles nearly doubled (from 11 to 21), but, at least theoretically, better plate discipline led to better pitches to hit.

        Now, before we elevate him too much, his college OPS over three years was .755, with a high season of .813, and with doubles and HR totals in line with what he’s been producing in the pros. That’s who he is. We can all think of plenty of guys who couldn’t come close to replicating their college stats in A-ball, though, so good for him for making something of his opportunity. We’ll see what he can do at Harrisburg.

    2. Luke. New topic before camp breaks in new WPB digs: use of org guys?

      Lisson? Harrisburg
      Davidson ? Harrisburg
      Sanchez and Norfulk:? Harrisburg
      Wooten and Carey? PotomAc
      Grant DeBruin? PotomAc
      Brian Jeroloman? Potomac
      Matthew Reisttetter!!?? Potomac ?
      Taylor G? Harrisburg
      Bryan Meijia? Infield brother to Lora
      Potomac

      Biggest question in B fields ?
      Does Robles make bus to Harrisburg
      In April??

  6. And yes, an additional shout-out to Luke for all his work on this. It’s a great resource on the Nats’ system, and Luke’s assessments are generally pretty realistic about each player’s potential and place in the grand scheme of things.

  7. Thanks for all your work, Luke. I enjoy getting more insight into many of the Nat’s prospects.
    I wrote and posted this yesterday and it immediately showed up on the comments. When I checked later it wasn’t there. I notice today it says there are eight comments but only four show up.
    As well yesterday I questioned Will’s comment suggesting that third base is one of the Nats thinnest positions. Next to the outfielders, I believe third base is among the Nats strongest positions with Rendon, Ward, Guterrez, Franco, and Neuse.
    Hopfully, this post will make it to fruition.

    1. If, of course, you don’t mind prattling about the parent club and blathering about their favorite college coaches. I found it tedious.

      1. I can see why. But for someone living in the UK, who gets precious little direct content, it was a decent fine. Has kept me going on the commute home!

          1. Maybe, but it certainly explains why the U.K. is my no. 1 country (Switzerland is No. 2?!) in Europe.

  8. Two RP signings: Albers and Nathan.

    Albers- no idea what they see in him. He’s been in the league for a decade now and has never once been good. He’s one of those guys that manages to stick around despite his really miserable track record. Let’s hope we aren’t so desperate to give him a roster spot. But I think we might see his name popping up on this site to start the season.

    Nathan- this looks like a pretty shrewd signing. Yeah, he recently underwent his 2nd TJ, hasn’t pitched in almost 3 years, and he’s 42, but unlike Albers, Nathan has a long history of success. His velocity has dipped since his 1st TJ. It sat around 93-94 in 2009 to 91-92 in a short stint in 2016. That’s not too serious. If Nathan can provide 50 innings of mid-leverage relief, then we’ve just found a steal.

    But I do agree with Jeff, and think signing Barrett is another low-risk, high-reward move worth making.

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