Vote for Your Favorite Bats

It’s time to put up a post before people think the site’s gone dark.

This is our 8th annual crowd-sourcing exercise for the Top 10 (or more likely, Victor Robles and the next nine) minor-league position players.

Quick rundown on how this works: Send me your Top 10 list of minor-league position players (40-man guys are eligible as long as they have rookie status) to enfieldmass-top10bats[at]yahoo[dot]com (link will open your preferred email client) or submit them in the comments.

I’ll tabulate the voting with a reverse-order weighting (#1 = 10 points, #2 = 9 points… #9 = 2 points, #10 = 1 point). When it feels like I’ve got a decent number of submissions, I’ll either update this post (if nothing new has happened) or create a new one to let folks know the Russians told me to stop I’m ready to post the “Top 10 Nats Bats” post.

As you might have guessed, I use the word “Bat” as a shorthand for “position player” – we all know too well there are guys in the system who need to be hidden on defense and guys at the plate who look like Jeff Sessions in a Big & Tall store. Try to account for defense when making your picks since the N.L. enjoys losing out on free agents, the All-Star Game, and the World Series still doesn’t have the DH.

Unfortunately, the Winter Meetings are still more than a week away—the Rule 5 Draft nearly two weeks away—so we’re looking at some more dead time on the minor-league front.

Byron Kerr has been profiling the 2018 Nats Top 10 per Baseball America and is halfway through, having recently finished with #6 Luis Garcia.

And if you’re the sort who obsesses over former players who, for the most part, couldn’t hold a spot on the current 25-man roster, Mark Zuckerman has you covered.(No offense to Zuckerman, he’s drawing a paycheck and needs to file stories – my derision is with the subset of “fans” who wax nostalgic for players who weren’t as good as their typed-with-one-hand comments would suggest.)

Otherwise, I think we’re in for another week of the Shohei Otani sweepstakes and whither Giancarlo Stanton, a.k.a. how fast can a popular player become more hated than the team’s previous owner?

As always, feel free to discuss in the comments…

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.

40 thoughts on “Vote for Your Favorite Bats”

  1. Hooray! But oh the torment of trying to come up with the Next 7 after the Big 3 . . .

    1. Soto
    2. Robles
    3. C. Kieboom
    4. Read
    5. Antuna
    6. L. Garcia
    7. D. Johnson
    8. Marmolejos
    9. Stevenson
    10. E. Senior

    As I did last year, I’m probably going to be the holdout who keeps Robles from winning unanimously. I’m not anti-Robles at all; I just think Soto has a higher ceiling.

    Read may be the most underrated guy in the whole system, particularly now that LeCroy has supposedly improved his defense (to go with 17 HRs and 25 doubles). Antuna and Garcia are currently lottery tickets, but they may have higher ceilings than #s 7–9, so I’m giving them 5 and 6. I still don’t know what to think of the great Daniel Johnson. If he continues to hammer the ball at AA, I may start to believe more. I’m believing less in Stevenson, particularly after how bad he looked in his brief MLB stint.

    I went for a total wild card at #10. I still don’t particularly believe in Gutierrez or Ward, Gushue severely trailed off after his torrid start, Reetz showed some improvement but still has a long way to go, and Perkins still hasn’t made great progress after three seasons. I came down to two young GCL guys. Justin Connell played a good bit and impressed, albeit without much power yet. Eric Senior got hurt early but has “tools” and super JUCO numbers. When he breaks out in 2018, you heard it here first!

      1. I’ll freely concede that Robles likely will be significantly better than Soto defensively. But how much do teams really value defense? Look at the current free agents. As we’ve discussed, Eric Longenhagen has already comped Robles to Lorenzo Cain, who is fantastic defensively. In contrast, J. D. Martinez sucks in the field . . . and will likely get paid more than twice as much as Cain.

        I think Kieboom is decent defensively, but I doubt he stays at SS by the time he makes the majors.

        1. Fair point, but Soto had better hit 40 homers then, and that seems aggressive.

          I’ve read Kieboom getting Tulo comps. I agree he will likely move to 2nd or 3rd, but hopefully he is a suitable replacement for Rendon, and Rendon will likely earn more in his contract than JD Martinez will.

          1. Fangraphs has a 40/50 fielding grade on Soto and a 50/50 grade on his arm, so I don’t think he’s going to be that bad defensively. Offensively, I don’t know that it’s fair to expect 40+ HRs a year from someone who doesn’t look like Judge or Stanton. My hope would be that Soto can get to the 30-35 level. I’m not sure Robles will reach 20, but he does a lot of other things well.

            We’ll see. Having both of them is a good “problem” to have . . . unless you have to decide which one you’re more willing to trade!

            Meanwhile, the Fangraphs grades aren’t a huge fan of Kieboom defensively — 40/50 fielding and 55/55 arm.

          2. Yeah I just said 40 homers because had JdM only had 30 or so, I don’t think he would be up for such a massive contract now.

            I didn’t realize FG was meh on Kieboom’s fielding. I thought he was supposed to be pretty decent.

        2. This brings up a 4 am insomnia
          Can’t roll over thought. If Kieboom moves off SS , then should we stick with Edwin Lora @ short for 2018 in a POTNATS
          Repeat April18 or give him an OF glove. Play PP @ SS more. ??
          Carter breaks with POTNATS April 18
          A bat I will put ahead of Eric Senior for 18? Kameron Esthay.
          Interesting possible Hags OF: Pryor, Choruby and Esthay.
          O2 plays some 1b while Scudder can play some 3b vs RHers
          Good luck to Matt Skole in white sox ladder

          1. And again apparently some scouts really like Jose Sanchez at shortstop and he like Antuna and Garcia might just jump to A ball next season … and then Potomac.

  2. Thanks for keeping the light on Luke.

    1. V. Robles
    2. J. Soto
    3. C. Kieboom
    4. D. Johnson
    5. A. Stevenson
    6. Y. Antuna
    7. L. Garcia
    8. P. Severino
    9. R. Read
    10. J. Marmolejos

    Honorable Mentions in case of trades: 11. K. Gutierrez, 12. D. Ward, 13. B. Perkins.

    1. I pondered what to do with Severino. All he had to do to mark himself as a candidate for an MLB roster spot in 2018 was to have a half-decent season. Instead, he pretty much replicated at AAA the AA season he had in 2015 that left folks with a lot of doubts whether he’d ever hit enough. The big club now finds itself in need of signing someone else to back up the awful Wieters, and by 2019 when Wieters is gone, the guess would be that Read is going to be more in line for an MLB slot than Severino is now.

      All of that said, Severino is just 24, coming off his age-23 season (as is Read, who is just two months younger). As we noted in the last post, however, teams tend to lose interest in a hitter if he hasn’t established himself by his age-23 season. Sererino is starting to look like a perfect example of this point.

      1. My thought process on Severino/Read was that I don’t see either one as a MLB starter and defense is more important for a backup catcher than offense so I put Severino higher. The guys from 8 on down were pretty tough, but I put Severino at 8 because I still see him as a major league backup and don’t know that any of the guys behind him profile any higher than that.

        1. I don’t know that Read will make it beyond MLB back-up status, either, but it’s starting to seem pretty clear that he’s going to hit more than Severino, particularly for more power, which will keep him employed longer. I’ll add that I’ve haven’t been much of a Read fan until this year, but the improved defense and the 17 HRs in 108 games have convinced me that he’s stepped up.

          1. Perhaps fewer passed balls, but he also committed more errors and saw his CS% come in at just over 30%, which isn’t bad, but having seen him play in person I can tell you his arm is maybe half-a-tick better than average, and a full notch (at least) below Severino.

            What’s not going to show up in minor-league box scores is his ability (or lack thereof) to prevent wild pitches, take throws from the outfield (is there anyone *worse* than Wilson Ramos), and call a good game.

            Is it possible he’s gotten better? Hell, yes. Just exerting some effort vs. little-to-none would be an improvement and noticeable. My frustration with Read is that he never seemed to play with any urgency in 2016. Adderling Ruiz filled in for him on one Sunday afternoon and it was like the difference between Adam Dunn and Michael Taylor in the outfield.

          2. Good scoop. And yes, I remember Read seeming positively laconic the few times I saw him at Potomac. He was never in a hurry, never seemed particularly upset, even when he struck out. He’s a stark contrast to Severino, who bounds around everywhere.

            How much has Read improved? It’d be interesting to hear from someone in Harrisburg, like Mick the beat writer. LeCroy has sung Read’s praises, and he won the Bob Boone Award, which would seem to indicate that the organization liked his effort.

            Severino is an outstanding defensive catcher and always will be ahead of Read on that score. But Severino only had nine extra-base hits at Syracuse this year, ISO of .090, SLG of .332. Read had 17 HRs, 25 doubles, ISO of .190, SLG of .455. He led Harrisburg in HRs, doubles, and total bases and was just a tick behind Marmolejos in SLG. Those are better offensive numbers than Ramos posted in the upper minors. Guys who hit like that will get a lot of chances to learn how to catch throws from the outfield.

          3. There seems to be a repetition
            In watching the dollar general signing bonus kiss hit their ceilings up the ladder except for several exceptions. R. Lopez…

  3. 1. Victor Robles
    2. Juan Soto
    3. Carter Kieboom
    4. Daniel Johnson
    5. Andrew Stevenson
    6. Yasel Antuna
    7. Luis Garcia
    8. Raudy Read
    9. Blake Perkins
    10. Jose Marmolejos

    This list was pretty easy. Wish I could say the same about the pitchers.

  4. I’m not too original here. Robles, Soto, Kieboom, Garcia, Antuna, Gutierrez, Johnson, Severino (I haven’t given up hope), Stevenson, Read.

  5. KW asked for someone from Harrisburg to give insight on Read. I have been a season ticket holder for over 20 years and attend all of the games. Read hit well, but his defense was lacking. He was called for catcher’s interference 3 times and had numerous passed balls. He did not block balls in the dirt on a consistent basis. Serverino was a much better catcher in Harrisburg than Read.

    1. Good scoop. Thanks. Obviously Read’s defensive “improvement” is incremental at best. Maybe he will attract some trade interest because of his bat.

      What players stood out to you this year in the midst of a not-very-good season by the team? I’m always interested in hearing firsthand observations since there’s not much to go on for the minor leaguers other than stats.

      1. Andrew Stevenson excelled at both the plate and in the field in his short time in Harrisburg. Jose Marmolejos did very well hitting, but he needs to work on his defense (1st base and/or LF). Erick Fedde was their best starter. Now that the experiment of turning him into a reliever is over, I expect him to revert to his regular form again.

        Victor Robles only played in 30-some games in HBG and you could see he has talent. However, he still needs more time in the minors. He was pulled from 2 games for not running hard to first base and over slid bases like he did for the Nats. His first throw to homeplate hit the backstop on a fly, but his throws improved as the season progressed.

      2. Read to the Twins.
        Lol
        Interesting that Mark Z in his latest piece or org charts listed Austin Voth after Eric Fedde .
        Josh Johnson going home since he played QB for USD. Interesting .
        We should have that minor league FA signing list in increments during then after the winter meetings

  6. 1. V. Robles
    2. J. Soto
    3. C. Kieboom
    4. D. Johnson
    5. Y. Antuna
    6. L. Garcia
    7. R. Read
    8. J. Marmolejos
    9. Gutierrez
    10. Noll
    Honorable Mentions in case of trades: Sagdal, Perkins, Severino, Connell, Mendez

    1. Also, my player to watch: Marmolejos.

      I thought 2017 would be his break out year, but alas it wasn’t. I’m getting a strong feeling that Nats management don’t see a future for him with the club, and he’ll end up one of those guys that leave you wondering why he never got a shot (sort of like when you look at Clint Robinson’s minor league numbers from 2008-2012).

      However, I could also foresee with the right spell of injuries, Marmolejos could ‘rocket’ up to 7th on this chart and get the chance to impress in DC. I could see him carving out a spot as an Adam Lind-lite, but that future is largely out of his hands, and dependent on the ML roster working out some space for him.

  7. 1. V. Robles
    2. J. Soto
    3. C. Kieboom
    4. D. Johnson
    5. Y. Antuna
    6. L. Garcia
    7. J. Marmolejos
    8. Gutierrez
    9. Noll
    10. Severino

    Honorable Mentions: Connell, Mendez, Read, B. Perkins., Franco

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