In the old world order, this would have been a post about John Sickels’s take on the Nationals prospects, who has become a free agent after Vox Media pulled the plug on him, no doubt because he refused to rely on vacuous maps or endless quotes of Tweets, but time hurries on (and the leaves that are green turn to brown)…
As noted in the comments, this edition is more thoughtful than the last (photo illustration in case they play Fox News historian) but the overall prognosis is similar: three guys who appear to be future major-leaguers with low-to-medium risk.
FanGraphs uses a 20-80 scale where 40 is a bench guy, 50 is an everyday player, 60 is an All-Star, etc. For pitchers, it’s a little different – the scale is based on starters, not relievers and ranges from 40 (FIP ~5; #5/6) to 45 (4.20; #4/5) to 50 (4.00; #4) to 55 (3.70; #3/4) to 60 (3.30; #3) to 70 (>3.00; #2). Eighty-grade pitchers on their scale are your top 1-3 arms in the game. I’d recommend reading their primer, which explains this in more detail.
Before we go any further, here’s the breakdown of FanGraphs’ Top 22 by the scale:
|45||Mason Denaburg, Wil Crowe|
|40||Tim Cate, Yasel Antuna, Seth Romero, Israel Pineda ,Gage Canning, Tanner Rainey, Malvin Pena, Telmito Agustin|
|35||Reid Schaller, James Bourque, Sterling Sharp, Taylor Guilbeau, Jeremy De La Rosa, Jordan Mills, Joan Adon, Ben Braymer, Brigham Hill|
Here are some notable nuggets I spotted in the writeups:
• If it weren’t for his injury, Robles would finally have graduated (agreed) and Juan Soto might not have been pushed up so quickly (maybe; not sure even a healthy, productive Robles would have prevented his rise).
• While not stated explicitly, Carter Kieboom’s struggles after his promotion from Potomac may have been influenced by fatigue, given he played in three times as many games in 2018 vs. 2017 (144 vs. 48).
• Like many, they’re high on Wil Crowe and make comps to Joba Chamberlain. I’ll have to take their word on his “improving his pitch efficiency,” which must be a comparison to the pitch counts in college vs. the 90-plus in five-or-so innings I routinely saw.
• Yasel Antuna apparently had his TJ in August but, given how few of UCL rebuilds are on position players, his recovery time isn’t as clear-cut. They called him the “riskiest hitting prospect on this list.”
• Seth Romero also had his TJ in August, but may not pitch at all in the regular season. They believe he may be sent to Arizona, which Washington does have a history of using as a rehab (see: Reyes, Luis; Solis, Sammy).
• Sterling Sharp could be the common-in-comments, rare-in-real-life late bloomer as he is tall, lanky, from a cold-weather state, and attended a smaller college. Sharp has long been considered one of, if not the, best athletes in the system and that athleticism enables him to do things like vary his the timing of his delivery.
• Let’s end with a direct quote: Seven of the twenty-two prospects we wrote up for this list have had UCL reconstructions, by far the greatest number and highest rate of any club we’ve covered so far.