If you’re thinking this is late, you’re right. Usually the book arrives in January, sometimes in early February.
For better or worse, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook is the Bible for prospect followers insofar as everyone refers to it. I’d say more but—to steal from Jeff Foxworthy—who needs grief from folks who flip you the bird when you obey their “honk if you love Jesus” bumper sticker?
The brethren from Durham have deemed the Nationals as the 15th-best organization of the 30, despite midseason trades that cost them last year’s nos. 15, 17, and 27 prospects (see below) and a breakout southpaw (McKenzie Mills). That’s how much they valued the 2017 Draft, which is represented by seven pitchers in the Top 31.
New to the book this year are positional rankings for prospects across of all of baseball, of which Victor Robles was ranked the #2 centerfielder, Juan Soto, the #7 corner outfielder, and Carter Kieboom, the #15 shortstop.
Despite the Nats yo-yoing him
like an Italian rapper between starting and relieving, Erick Fedde was still rated the 29th-best righthanded pitcher. (For those wondering, they ranked 10 for C, 1B, 2B, 3B, and COFs, 15 for LHP, 20 for SS and CF, and 40 for RHP.)
Without further ado, let’s review how last year’s Top 30 fared:
Graduated (4) – Wilmer Difo*, Koda Glover, A.J. Cole, Brian Goodwin,
Traded (3) – Jesus Luzardo, Sheldon Neuse, and Tyler Watson
Dropped out (3) – Edwin Lora, Matt Skole, Nick Banks
* had already surpassed service-time limits in 2016
That’s roughly a third of list, which is fairly normal. Seven of the nine newcomers are the aforementioned pitchers from the 2017 Draft. One you’ll see today, the other you’ll see tomorrow. They should be pretty obvious.
Unfortunately, none of them are teenagers, thus the Nats’ Top 31 according to BA still skews older: four players are or will be 25 before the season starts, two more will turn 25 during the season, and two more will turn 25 by the end of 2018. Some things never change.
So, as we’ve done in years past – a look at the Top 15 today, nos. 16-31 tomorrow. Last year’s ranking, if applicable, in parentheses:
|1. Victor Robles (1)
||6. Luis Garcia (7)
||11. Blake Perkins (20)
|2. Juan Soto (3)
||7. Wil Crowe
||12. Kelvin Gutierrez (16)
|3. Erick Fedde (2)
||8. Daniel Johnson
||13. Andrew Stevenson (5)
|4. Carter Kieboom (8)
||9. Raudy Read (22)
||14. Pedro Severino (9)
|5. Seth Romero
||10. Yasel Antuna (25)
||15. Rafael Bautista (11)