Thursday, August 21, 2008

Washington Nationals Top 5 Prospects

I usually like to find the top 5 pitchers and the top 5 hitters from each team for these lists, but the Nationals have such limited talent that I think a top 5 overall list is sufficient. Of all the teams out there, I can’t find many that can match the Nationals lack of young talent in the minors. While they have 2 power hitters in Michael Burgess and Chris Marrero, there’s not much pitching depth, and they failed to sign pitcher Aaron Crow out of Missouri, their top pick from the 2008 draft. All these things combined make for a really weak farm system.

1. Chris Marrero – Right now Marrero is rehabbing a broken leg he sustained in a collision at home plate earlier this year, but he should be back and ready to go by next spring. I’m beginning to have my doubts about him, however I think he still has a lot of potential, so I’ll stick with him for now.

Projection:.255-.290 average, 25-40 home runs, .750-.850 OPS
Comparable player: Jeromy Burnitz with more power

2. Michael Burgess – If Marrero fails to show signs of development next season, Burgess will take over the #1 spot on this list. I guess if we went purely by possible ceiling, Burgess would be ahead of Marrero, but right now he’s being held back by an inflated strikeout rate, which usually sits in the 25-30% range. He has tons of power and could be a real beast one day, but he’s too raw right now to warrant a #1 ranking.

Projection:.260-.290 average, 30-45 home runs, .850-.950 OPS
Comparable player: Mark Reynolds with a bit more power and more strikeouts

*There are a few other hitters that are just beginning their pro ball careers in the Nationals’ system that could prove to be solid players. However, without any substantial amount of stats to go by, I won’t include any of them on this list. Otherwise, there really aren’t any other above average hitters in the system right now.

And now, on to the pitchers…

3. Jordan Zimmermann -- While not the most talented pitcher out there, Zimmermann still has solid numbers all around and good potential. He’s still at least 2 or 3 years from being a productive major league pitcher, but he’ll have some very good years in the future.

Projection: Good #2, possible #1
Comparable player: Mike Pelfrey

4. Jack McGeary – While it’s true that McGeary has only pitched in rookie ball this year, he has shown significantly more potential than all the other pitchers the Nationals have at the moment. I’m going to go with McGeary at #4 on this list for now and hope his numbers aren’t a fluke.

Projection: Unknown, possibly top of the rotation
Comparable player: Unknown

5. Josh Smoker – I’ve been a little disappointed in Smoker thus far, but he’s still got a lot of time, so maybe he’ll come around. With only about 40 innings under his belt there isn’t much to go on, but his low ground ball numbers and average strikeout rates don’t warrant much excitement.

Projection: #3-5 starter
Comparable player: Ian Snell

Honorable mentions: Ross Detwiler, Colton Willems

...Read more


Mike said...

Mark Reynolds with more strike outs? Is that possible? I really feel bad for the Nats. Not only are they one of the worst teams with one of the worst farm systems, they failed to sign their first round pick. That's just embarrassing. I would put them and the Astros together as the worst ran franchises. Who would trade their future for Randy Wolfe and Miguel Tejada when there was no way you'd finish even 2nd in your division? At least my Giants are headed in the right direction.

Sam Baker said...

Limited talent!? They have such a deep system. I guess everyone who isn't a fan just doesn't know.

Sam Baker said...

Is it ok if I quote you in a forum if I leave a link as well?

Adam G said...

Hey Sam, feel free to quote me and leave a link if you want. I realize that Nationals fans are going to hate this list, but if they think they have more than a bunch of #3-5 starters (or worse) in the system and a bunch of average to below average hitters (besides Marrero and Burgess) then they need to get a reality check.

Also, I read some comments on a Nationals forum that the comps I gave for Burgess and Marrero were bad comps. If you run the stats from each player (Burnitz and Reynolds) you'll see that statistically they match up almost perfectly in terms of strikeout rates, walk rates, power totals, etc. People should really double check stats before getting critical. It makes them look bad.

Adam G said...

Mike -- I meant to address your comment in my above comment.

I think you are absolutely right. The Nationals are being run into the ground, and a perfect example of that is the fact that they failed to sign their top draft choice. Crow was asking for something like $4 million and they only wanted to pay him like $3 million, so they let him go. It's unlikely that they didn't know his asking price before they drafted him, so why draft him knowing you won't give him the money he's asking?

However, the Nationals made some decent trades in the off season, and they have some great young talent at the major league level. Unfortunately for Nats fans, it'll be at least 5 years before all that talent matures.

I'm not picking on their minor league talent to be mean or harsh (it doesn't help me to be emotional about baseball stats). I'm just stating the facts. If anyone disagrees that's fine. Just be sure to back up your claims with solid stats.

Sam Baker said...

Hey Adam a Nats board that gets into good depth about the farm system is I already posted this article and most of the members are getting a bit angry but I guess its just because all we do on those boards is look at the farm system because of how terrible the ML team is and thus leads to overhyping.