Our general manager Mike Rizzo might say he doesn’t care about prospect rankings, but when things are good like a Top-10 ranking you take it. MLB Pipeline ranked the Nats’ farm system today at №10 to go with Baseball America’s №7 ranking. It is nice to hear and also to see the progress being made by the Nats of the future. Looking a few years into the future is like dreaming. Again, a year ago the Nats’ farm was ranked last in MLB. Today, it is in the upper-third of all farm systems thanks to the haul received back in the Juan Soto trade. There are enough team-controllable players and top prospects to fill every spot for the position players plus some backup bench spots in the year 2025, and that does not even include possibly the best Top-4 of college players in any draft in recent history in which the Nats pick second in July’s draft.
“…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 last year.
Maybe Rizzo should order his rankings from the ala carte menu and take the best from each. Will he complain if next year the Nats are the №1 farm system? Doubtful.
“I’m optimistic. I’m excited about this time in our developmental curve with the organization,” Rizzo said over the winter. “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.”
It no longer takes much imagination prior to this draft to see what a Nats batting order could look like in two to three years, and then imagine if the Nats add one of Dylan Crews, Wyatt Langford, or Paul Skenes from this draft class to add to the roster. A college player who could be quick to the Majors and certainly part of the 2025 roster for sure will be revealed on July 9.
Reading the Nationals’ Top 10 Prospects for the NOV issue of @BaseballAmerica—preorder your copy today!—I see Washington has a nice position core forming
C Keibert Ruiz
1B TJ White
2B Luis Garcia
3B Brady House
SS CJ Abrams
LF Robert Hassell III
CF Elijah Green
RF James Wood
— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) October 26, 2022
Again, everyone has an opinion, and your mileage may vary. Five of the names on Eddy’s list must come through the Nats’ player development system and live up to the hype. That rarely happens, but never say never. Again, these are the fun types of projections and shows that the Nats can literally pencil in eight position players from all players who have ranked as a Top-100 prospect -except- for T.J. White who might find his way onto the list at some point since he just turned 19 a few months ago.
Incredibly, all of those names on Eddy’s list have been Top-50 prospects by analysts except for Luis Garcia and White, although give White some time as he is Top-10 in the Nats system currently and Garcia was a Top-100 prospect. While Brady House and Elijah Green have fallen back on some lists, both are still teenagers and will be playing in Class-A to start 2023. Of course the system has James Wood at the top of the prospect rankings and Robert Hassell III behind him.
The current core of Garcia, Keibert Ruiz, and CJ Abrams are already contributing for the Nats. Garcia and Abrams could be the middle infield for a long time for the Nationals. The corner infield next year could see Jake Alu at third base and Joey Meneses at first base until they are unseeded. It is the outfield that has the mega star names in Green, Wood, and Hassell with Cristhian Vaquero a year or two behind them. The athleticism in that outfield is off the charts.
For anyone paying attention, it is the starting rotation that remains the biggest question mark for the future of this team. Cade Cavalli, MacKenzie Gore, Cole Henry and Jackson Rutledge are/were all Top-100 prospects, but all four have been hit with the injury bug, and that puts some deep question marks on the future of this team and how Rizzo will build a starting rotation with no clear №1 pitcher. Jarlin Susana, Jake Bennett, Andry Lara, Aldo Ramirez, Mitchell Parker, and Rodney Theophile are all starters at High-A and below to keep an eye on.
The goal here is to develop each player to their fullest potential and build a team from within the farm system. This list of Washington Nationals prospects might be the strongest ever.
“It’s the most talented players we’ve ever had in the farm system at one time,” Rizzo said over the winter.
The 2023 draft class rankings last year at Baseball America with №1 to №7 going from Crews, Dollander, Jacob Gonzalez, Max Clark, Walker Jenkins, Rhett Lowder, to Jacob Wilson now has a Top-5 of Crews, Langford, Skenes, Dollander and Clark. One of those names should be Nats’ property this summer.
Hagerstown’s own, Jim Schlossnagle, is the head baseball coach of the Texas A&M Aggies and his team faced Skenes last Friday night.
His comments: “I’ve been doing this 33 years and Stephen Strasburg, Mark Prior and Paul Skenes are the best I’ve ever seen. He’s pitching in the wrong league, I’ll tell you that. He needs to be in the American or National League.”
Crews is batting .515, a month into the NCAA Baseball season, and Langford had phat numbers too until he was hit in the private parts and sidelined with a minor surgery. Skenes is just looking incredible and has shot up the draft boards along with Langford.