More evaluators with opinions on the prospects, and one thing they can all agree on is James Wood!

FREDRICKSBURG, VA: James Wood celebrates a home run (Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats)

Evaluations are all over the place with respect to the 2023 prospects in baseball. FanGraphs came out with their Top-112 prospects today, and yesterday, Baseball America ranked the Washington Nationals Top-30 prospects. Prospects Live came out with their rankings also. It just shows that 10 different people can look at the same athlete and see something else. 

If we go by the average of the seven sites that have posted up a Top-100 prospect ranking, James Wood is rated very good-to-elite across the board with a Top-10 ranking. FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus have him as the №3 prospect in all of baseball. High praise for the young man from Montgomery County, Maryland who was drafted in the second round of the 2021 draft by the Padres.

There is not as much agreement on Robert Hassell III, and the Nats №1 pick in last year’s draft with Elijah Green. Hassell, who played through a fractured hamate bone last year, went from rankings ranging from №26-to-№37 a year ago to nearly off the charts with FanGraphs.

The same with Green who was seen by some evaluators as the №2 prospect in the 2022 draft to off this year’s prospect rankings with ESPN. Why? In a small sample size in the FCL, Green put all of his tools on display on his way to a .302 batting average and a lofty .939 OPS. But that 40.4% K rate in the FCL has soured some of the evaluators. Kiley McDaniel of ESPN left Green off of his Top-100 but he was somewhere un-numbered in McDaniel’s Top-129 as part of 29 prospects along with Brady House who are on the fringe.

Brady House and Elijah Green — the Nats’ past two first-round picks — both have sky-high ceilings and could slide onto my next [Top-100] list with a hot month or two,” Kiley McDaniel of ESPN wrote on the pair.

House was selected in the 1st round (№11 overall) of the 2021 MLB Draft, and sat out with COVID then returned and dealt with a back injured that finished his season abruptly. His April numbers looked great then he spiraled down until the Nats stopped his season. Green was selected in the 1st round (№5 overall) of the 2022 MLB Draft by the Nats for a slightly over slot $6,500,000 bonus. Green’s pro career started in the Florida Complex League (FCL) for the Nats in August of last year. In his first game, he clubbed a booming home run. But he also K’d three times in that game. There is a reason why the evaluators cannot agree on Green who just turned 19 in December, and it is that K rate. But those other tools are so strong that he could still be a superstar with a high K rate.

For Nats’ general manager Mike Rizzo, he says he doesn’t care about the outside noise and the rankings from outsiders. He says he cares about how his staff ranks the Nats’ prospects.

“…Our objective we have is to win championships — not to be №1 in Baseball America,” Rizzo said to applause and laughs by the fans gathered at the Ballpark Bash event.

Maybe Rizzo should order his rankings from the ala carte menu and take the best from each.

“I’m optimistic. I’m excited about this time in our developmental curve with the organization,” Rizzo said a few days ago. “When you guys do get out there on the [Minor League side of camp], those prospects — it’s an exciting time. It’s the best group of upside players we’ve ever had here. I’ve been here since ‘day one’, and I’ve never seen it like this before.”

“You filter in — there’s 22, 23 and 24 year-olds [on the MLB roster], I think you see what we’re trying to accomplish here. That’s the first rung on the ladder to get back to a championship.”

Last month, Rizzo used the word ‘lush’ at his Hot Stove event to describe his farm system, and said it was the best prospect group the team has ‘ever’ had.

“This is the most lush and successful prospect list that we’ve ever had. It’s the most talented players we’ve ever had in the farm system at one time.”

As mentioned, Baseball America posted up their Top-30 prospects and Jake Alu did not even make their list.

Yesterday, MLB Network spent the morning at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches with the Washington Nationals. They created a 2025 roster for the Nationals. Look at some of the names on there just two years from now.

MLB Network graphic

Look at that graphic above. Maybe that first baseman will be T.J. White or if the Nats choose a college position player in this year’s draft, can Dylan Crews play some first base? Also consider that Cristhian Vaquero, Jeremy De La Rosa, and Armando Cruz will be pushing for spots on the roster. A rotation with MacKenize Gore, Cade Cavalli, and Josiah Gray are also part of that equation.

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