MLB Farm System Rankings: #27 Washington Nationals
By John Verburg
It’s that time of year again. Time to give this prospect junkie his fix. Last year, I did farm system rankings for all of baseball, and so I wanted to do so again. As I explain with any farm system rankings, this is a completely subjective business. I do watch minor league baseball, I do a lot of research on the players, and I do talk to people who do talent evaluation in baseball. I certainly don’t have the clout in the prospect world that the guys at Baseball America have, nor do I care to. This is meant to be fun for me, and hopefully fun and informative for the reader. At the very least it should allow for some debate from other teams’ fans, as well as allow Tigers fans a glimpse into other organizations farm systems, so when the Tigers make a trade, there may be some knowledge of who they are getting. Last year, the Texas Rangers took the top spot. Who will it be this year?
1. Anthony Rendon(2B)- Rendon is of course known probably for injuries more than anything at this point in his career. If he could ever stay healthy, he should be adequate at 2B defensively, but carry an above average bat with some power to the position. Let’s see a full year first.
March 07, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) at bat during the spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
2. Brian Goodwin (OF)- Goodwin is an athletic outfielder who has some above average tools. He displays some patience at the dish despite some swing and miss in his game. Good speed and good power. I could see a productive regular in his future.
3. Lucas Giolito (SP)- Injury questions concern Giolito as well. However, if healthy, he would’ve been a top 5 pick in the 2012 draft. Potential two plus pitches in his fastball in breaking ball make him someone to watch. We just have to wait.
4. Nathan Karns (SP)- There is a enough to like here upside wise to put Karns at four on this list. Karns had shoulder surgery but return to sit in the low 90’s with his fastball and show a sharp curve ball. Needs to develop a third pitch and maintain health.
5. Matt Skole (3B)- Skole is going to have to go to first base with Ryan Zimmerman in town, but he should have enough bat to do so. Skole displays a good idea at the dish and good power. Not the most athletic guy in the world, but at first he won’t have to be.
6. Sammy Solis (SP)- Solis is a lefty with quality stuff, and of course he can’t stay healthy either. Coming out of college he looked at least like a #3 starter, and that doesn’t change if he can stay on the mound.
7. Destin Hood (OF)- Hood is a guy with plenty of good tools who had a very good 2011, and suffered a bit in 2012 numbers wise. I don’t tend to give up on a guy after one bad year, so I will look for a bounce back in AA from him this season.
8. Matt Purke (SP)- I’m sounding like a broken record, but Purke is loaded with talent to be at least a mid rotation guy, but can’t stay healthy. Hopefully the Nats have good doctors, and it looks like they do, because Purke is yet another talent that needs to get back on the mound.
9. Christian Garcia (RP)- Big time fastball and good breaking ball. Has late inning reliever written all over him, but again, a guy who has been through some arm surgeries. Let’s hope he holds up.
10. Estarlin Martinez (OF)- Let’s see. Martinez is young, has some pop, isn’t lost at the plate, and can run well also. I am intrigued by the package, and look forward to seeing how he does in full season ball in 2013.
Just Missed The List:
Tony Renda (2B), Eury Perez (OF), and Brett Mooneyham (SP)
Renda is the little engine that can hit for average. Perez is a speed burner, and Mooneyham has a strong arm but needs a bit of control for the holidays.
Wander Ramos (OF) and Kylin Turnbull (SP)
Ramos is a physical specimen that played with Martinez in short season ball. Good corner outfield profile but needs to cut down on the swing and miss a bit. Turnbull is a live armed lefty that needs some command. His fastball and breaking ball are quality though.
I think it’s pretty clear where this one is going. I can’t in good conscience rank this system very high at all until some of the talent they do have actually gets on a field for an extended period of time. Obviously with Giolito, Rendon, Purke, and Solis, there is a chance for this system to take off. The main thing is they have time to rebuild it because the big league club is relatively young. This system could use a little bit of influx of talent on the positional side of things, as the pitching is probably a little bit stronger. Most of their players have a backup profile.