Baseball America Ranks Nats #15 Farm System

Ordinarily, this would probably be glossed over, but in the offseason from hell, this qualifies as news.

Here’s what the boys in Durham had to say…

The Nationals farm system has produced a steady stream of stars over the decade–Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner. With Victor Robles and Jesus Soto, the Nationals have another pair of potential stars, even if their prospect depth can’t match many of the teams above them in the rankings.

The development of Carter Kieboom, Daniel Johnson, and Raudy Read was also cited in the system’s rise from #19 last year. For those wondering, the Braves were ranked #1, followed by the Yankees at #2, while the Mariners were dead last at 30, ahead of the Royals at #29. Rounding out the N.L. Least: the Phillies at #6, the Marlins at #19, and the Mets were #27.

It should be noted that these rankings can change very quickly. Just two years ago, the Nationals were ranked #5. Three years ago, the Cubs (#28 in ’18) were #1, four years ago, it was Pittsburgh (#16), and five years ago, St. Louis was #1 (#13).

My concern is precisely that which BA cited regarding the system’s depth (or lack thereof). Victor Robles is going to graduate this year, Erick Fedde probably will, too.

Even if the short-season guys (Seth Romero, Wil Crowe, Yasel Antuna, Luis Garcia) have strong seasons, that will merely continue the trend since roughly 2012: five-to-six blue-chip guys, another five that are a notch or two below, and then little-to-no difference between the #12 guy and the #42 guy.

As noted in the comments, the system is precariously short on pitching and will need several guys besides Romero and Crowe to step up in 2018. It was an embarrassment to have a mediocre 26-y.o. free-agent pitcher named as the best right-handed starter in the entire system.

We’ve been told that 2017 Draft was all about pitching. Here’s to hoping that promise will be fulfilled.

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.

34 thoughts on “Baseball America Ranks Nats #15 Farm System”

  1. They’ve been drafting pitchers but some have fallen to injury: Purke, Solis. Others just have not developed as successful MLB starters (Milone, Cole) or have been late bloomers (Ray, Peacock). The jury still is out on the 3 traded for Eaton. I have to wonder if the Nats pitcher development system needs revamping.

        1. Luke there are some dopes in the MLB arena that might equate Rizzos Job esque patience with collusion participation. Not
          . I am all In for getting a cheaper Lynn or J . Garcia to reunite with Lilliquist

          1. If there’s collusion, it’s at the ownership, not the GMs. It’s getting harder and harder to believe that ALL 30 teams have come to the SAME conclusion regarding this year’s FAs, although it helps that George Steinbrenner is dead — it used to be that you could count on him to break a stalemate like this.

  2. Luke, your comment on little difference between #12 and #42 is SO true. However, I would suspect that it’s also true of a lot of other systems.

    I also agree on the need to have a good number of the pitchers from the 2017 draft to pan out. Romero is the high risk/high reward guy. Crowe is already 23, so he needs to show something fairly quickly. I think Raquet was an overdraft, probably bound to be a hard-throwing reliever (although not striking out many as of yet). I’m skeptical that Hill and Johnston will be much more than the next Simms and Mapes. They’ve got the pedigrees to move up quickly if they’re succeeding, though. I’m looking at Tetreault, Troop, and Stoeckinger as the higher-ceiling potential starters.

    A lot of these guys should start at Hagerstown, with an open field to move up rapidly to Potomac.

    Maybe I’m hoping against hope, but I’m still intrigued by a couple of rehabbing guys from previous drafts, Ryan Williamson and Andrew Lee.

  3. KW. Perhaps this is the time for some of the Latin arms under the radar to break out
    I wonder if Michael Tejera first made an impression on Spin Williams when he latched into the Pirates chain in 2007??

    1. Here’s a question: why have the Nat Latin hitters done better than that Nat Latin pitchers? It’s almost universal. Lopez was the exception, perhaps because he signed late. I think he was 18; his mom wanted him to finish high school. Suero is 26 and has been in the Nat system for eight seasons. He’s the only one close. Valdez is at Harrisburg, also 26, with nine seasons in the minors.

      Of course one could counter by saying that their track record developing U.S.-born pitchers hasn’t been much better.

        1. Yes, Valdez started with the Indians, with two seasons in the Dominican, then another season there with the Nats. He didn’t debut in the GCL until age 21 and didn’t play a full season until age 23.

          1. Speaking of former Indian farmhands , I read in latest BA transactions release that Nats inked former CLE/Chisox AA OF
            Hunter Jones( R/R). Luke might have his dogs stir with Nats news. My dog naps in the front porch sun.
            Hmmm. I still think Robles returns to Harrisburg to fill out April OF core. Keller, Hernandez , Jones, Sundberg, Norfork since Knorr should have Sierra, Stevenson , Marmelos ( if Gamache plays 1b with F-mayor), Bautista , Collier.
            What do you think, Springfield Fan??

  4. Springfield fan , I don’t blame you for placing the two Rule V picks @ both AAA/AA considering the bullpen
    Numbers and just how Wilson will be squeezed to Harrisburg to help out Ward or Abreau playing 3b/2b in relation to Sanchez or Reid B not making big club . ??

  5. Former Nats draft pick and farm-hand Josh Smoker was dealt from the Mets to the Pirates. Technically, another MLB pitcher that the Nats farm system produced, eventually.

        1. Maybe not even that… Career WAR -0.3. I’m not big on that stat, but it’s at least useful for comparison’s sake.

      1. For every Josh Smoker reaching the bigs there are six loogies who get lost in the farm system swamps
        Eaten up by stalled progress , retirement , frustration or other

    1. The track record for pitchers with shoulder problems is not good at all, so good for Smoker that he was eventually able to make it all the way back.

  6. If you can’t beat them join them
    . Oh brother where art thou.
    Big dollar seats behind home plate
    To watch catching skills sour.

      1. I hope the Montero signing quiets the Realmuto trade momentum. I just didn’t see giving up one or two top prospects for Realmuto. Yes, the Nats need upgrades at catcher, but a lot of their future rides on guys like Robles, Soto, and Kieboom.

  7. Springfield fan. Are you waiting for the L2 SB to be over to update big board or just for the moving truck to depart D.C. For WPB??

  8. Baseball Prospectus VERY bullish on the Nats: Robles #2, Soto #22, C. Kieboom #71, S. Romero #76, Fedde #87. Wow.

    1. Really surprised to see Romero and Fedde so high.

      Like with just about every other prospect list, Fedde’s stock rightfully tumbled pretty significantly after a forgettable 2017.

      I’d also think there are 100 other more deserving prospects than Romero out there, Dunning and Luzardo, for example (ranked 88 and 89th). But I won’t complain!

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