Welcome to the seventh edition of this category, which became necessary after the first two years when it was apparent there were a group of players that were either old (ok, mostly), on the cusp (but still old), or had simply been in the system for a long time. Perhaps a couple of high-price IFAs put on the 2017 list (Yasel Antuna, Luis Garcia) will bump up the number of Notable Bats to get more than a cup of coffee. As of now, it still remains one (Brian Goodwin).
A model of consistency, Marmolejos steadily rose through the ranks from the DSL to High-A from 2011 to 2016. He generally hit .280 or better with (some) power, took a few walks, and held his own defensively. Alas, John Sickels’s prediction that he would top out at AAA had thus far been proven correct. He was outrighted last summer and while that doesn’t prevent him from being added to the 40-man, it takes away the roster flexibility that GM Mike Rizzo so desperately craves.
It was once said that if the best thing you could say about a prospect is that he’s young, he probably isn’t a true prospect. For the past two summers, that’s more or less a description of Drew Ward. Yes, he made it to AA at the age of 21. Three seasons later, he’s still there. Like “The Orange,” Ward has demonstrated some power, but not enough for a CI, and definitely not for a 1B, which the Nats finally conceded in 2018, having been obvious to everyone else since 2015.
Wiseman led the Nationals’ minors in 2018 with 21 homers… and still wasn’t promoted to AA. To his credit, he also drew 63 walks, which was also the most in the system. Defensively, he took a step backwards, but it’s hard to say that poor defense was what was holding him back or a high K rate (122, 3rd most) since there are plenty of examples of either condition and couple of both (e.g. Matt Skole).
While a 4th Rd. pick isn’t what it used to be (thanks to the CBA), the fact remains that Freeman prolly had his ticket punched for this category when he didn’t play in the GCL in the summer of 2017. Despite being nearly two full years older than the league average and having a CWS pedigree like Wiseman (LSU), Freeman did not dominate Low-A pitching and excelled only at stealing bases (26, most in the org). Scouts believe he’s a 2B-only grinder in the mold of Tony Renda.
A 2015 draft pick of the… wait for it… Oakland A’s, the Nats picked him in 2017 in the 13th Rd. out of Midland (TX) College and sent the almost-20-y.o. to the GCL for a grand total of six games. Thus, he repeated the level in 2018. Scouting reports are almost nil, but what little could be found indicate he is the classic “tools-to-skills” project as the 20-y.o. Canadian is quite athletic.
Because Mike Rizzo has a track record of picking up hidden gems, and (are you spotting a pattern here?) his CWS pedigree with Oregon State, Harrison almost immediately became a notable once he was part of the Gio Gonzalez trade. While he split time between C and 1B in college, it seems rather obvious that if the Brewers used him mostly at 1B, so will the Nats. His 12 HRs would have been sixth-best in the Nats but his 147 K’s would have been first by nearly 20 (Armond Upshaw, 129).