Konnor Fulk's mid-season top 20 prospects list

Earlier today, I posted my personal top 20 list. My Twitter buddy Konnor Fulk put together his own list. We disagree on a few players (Michael Taylor, Ian Krol and Destin Hood being the most prominent three), but I think Konnor put together a solid list.

Mid season Top 20 prospect list:

1)    Lucas Giolito- This one is definitely different then what most lists will have as the number one. But the ceiling of Giolito is what pushes him onto this list as the number one prospect in the system and a probable top 50 prospect in major league baseball next year, high 90’s heat, plus pitches, plus size, and an apparent healthy elbow establishes him as the top prospect in my mind. His limited experience will put him as the number 2 prospect on most lists, but I believe with some fine tuning on his weak post TJ control will allow him a dominate rise through the system. This declaration does stand as a risk, as he only has 8 innings of true experience as I write this post.

2)     B rian Goodwin- Goodwin, the normally number one prospect on most lists, has had a fairly average season by top prospect standards, with an average that has hovered around .250, lower power numbers excluding a spike in triples, depleted strikeout to walk numbers, and even on base prowess. Goodwin though still excels with defensive prowess and lack of grounding into double plays. Goodwin still represents an elite centerfield prospect, that will continue to sit on the Major League top 100 list. He still represents solid centerfield power, and if he can get back to last years plate discipline levels a very viable leadoff candidate.         

3)     AJ Cole- The Nationals representative in the Futures game, AJ Cole still maintains his flashes of brilliance as a future top of the rotation starter but with inconsistency continuing to haunt him significantly. Cole continues his trend of having plus strikeouts/nine numbers, second in the orientation in strikeouts. Coles WHIP has decreased from the previous season. Cole is still young, and with a recent promotion to AA (first start 7 innings 1 earned) is showing a maturing game. With Cole in AA, it should be only a couple seasons until the Nationals rotation becomes a significant possibility.  One improvement spot to look at would be homeruns allowed, something fixable and common of a young inconsistent pitcher.

4)     Michael Taylor- Taylor is having his best professional season of his career, with significant improvement on contact, and improvement on his overall power previous to last season. Taylor is very strong defensively, plus arm, good double power, with plus speed. With improvement Taylor is primed for a chance at AA for the 2014-2015 season. Taylor also is not old for his level, being 22 years old, offers enough plus tools to be a top 5 prospect.

5)     Nathan Karns- Karns got his first cup of coffee this year, with limited success, but has continued consistency as a solid pitcher within the system. He continues to be a predominantly fastball pitcher with good strikeout/nine numbers, has back of the rotation potential with a good fastball, but a switch to the bullpen is still a possibility with his secondary pitches being weaker.  

6)     Robbie Ray- Ray has had a significant bounce back year, leading the system in strikeouts and continuing his advance to AA Harrisburg.  Ray is young, and considered high end pitching talent. Not a huge frame, but has several good plus pitches from the left side. Ray offers middle of the rotation talent and is primed for a continued rise through the system at the age of 21.

7)     Matt Purke- Purke finally is apparently healthy, after having significant shoulder issues. Offering a large frame and plus pitches, he has struggled in high A following several dominate appearances in Low A Hagerstown.  He continues the trend of Nationals pitchers of having very high strikeout/nine numbers, but has been fairly hittable. With further experience, the problems likely will improve. It’s up to Purke to show why he should maintain his 40 man roster spot and natural spot in the top 10 prospects.

8)     Eury Perez- With several cups of coffee under his belt, Perez still maintains the consistent attributes that have always made him a solid prospect. Perez has good defensive range, speed, and seems to have improved on several weaknesses including some newfound power with 7 homeruns. Perez will continue to be buried on the Nationals organizational chart, but will likely continue getting chances at the Nationals lineup.

9)     Zach Walters- Arguably the best performing batter in the Nationals minor league system this year, he has exploded power wise with 24 homeruns this year, and 28 doubles. Shortstop or thirdbasemen predominately, Walters may translate better to secondbase considering a significant number of errors with 23.  Needs to improve on plate discipline with significant strikeout totals and only 11 walks.

10)     Taylor Jordan- Already getting a significant look in the major leagues, the impressive Jordan has been a very impressive starter at the Major League level without any AAA experience. With good ground ball stuff, Jordan will see himself in direct competition for the back of the rotation spot in major league spring training next year. Excels at not allowing balls getting out of the ballpark, with one homerun allowed in the minors. Has strikeout ability, but maintains his game that he offers, which is very dependent on surrounding defense.

11)     Jeff Kobernus- Cup of coffee with Washington this year was not necessarily a disaster, showing what he basically offers, super utility outfielder, with low power, but plus speed. Kobernus has improved his game across the board this year, with improved plate discipline mainly. Can hit for high average as he has shown. Kobernus offers a possible bench utility player, basic clone of Lombo with more speed. 

12)     Matthew Skole- Unfortunately injured in a freak accident, Skole will not see regular season action this year. The minor league batter of the year from 2012 will hopefully return to form in his return in 2014. Still many tools to offer as a prospect.

13)     Sammy Solis- Long journey for Solis, with health being a significant problem throughout his career. With another good season under his belt, Solis continues to show flashes of why he has long been considered a viable rotation candidate. At 24 he is old for advanced A, so a promotion would be expected shortly. Another left handed option in the chain of impressive starting rotation options.

14)     Jake Johansen- This year’s recent second round draft pick from Dallas Baptist, has had an impressive professional start in short season A so far this year. With a huge frame and upper 90’s velocity, Johansen has shown potential. Being at such level, Johansen likely is overpowering the younger competition. In addition control has been spotty, but regardless has flashed enough potential to offer another solid arm in the system. A switch to the bullpen is always a option down the road, but as of now shows starting potential.

15)     Jason Martinson- Martinson continues to offer an intriguing power-speed combination that is fairly rare within the system. Martinson is probably best served as a second basemen with shortstop and third base showing significant amounts of errors. In addition he continues to strikeout often but offsets that with high walk numbers. The heavy strikeout totals are starting to be ignored at the major league level as just a basic offshoot of heavy power swings. Martinson is starting to reach the age where AA or AAA has to be the levels he is at to maintain prospect status.

16)     Ian Krol- A great piece in the Morse Trade, Krol has proven to be a key bullpen piece this year. Lefty with plus pitches and a great mound demeanor looks to be a cemented bullpen piece in the Washington Nationals rotation. Has shown flashes of closer level talent and attitude.

17)     Destin Hood- The only reason why Destin Hood is still on this list is due to age and his continued potential skill set. One would have thought last year was his low point, but major statistical categories have dropped across the bored. At age 23 he has time, but with minor league free agency creeping up, Hood needs to begin producing soon.

18)     Brandon Miller- One of the most powerful bats in the Nationals system, the plus power is what puts him on the list.  At 23 he isn’t young for Hagerstown, and his massive strikeout rate is threatening to his advancement in the system. But in a system that lacks elite power, he offers a plus tool that is getting difficult to find.     

19)     Brett Mooneyham- The large framed lefty has had an impressive year at Hagerstown. Mooneyham though has control issues, and in addition is a little old for his level. Brett though offers plus pitches and great size, with a 2 year track record of success.

20)     Drew Ward- The high school third round pick has impressed me over his 29 career games enough to squeak into this list at the end. An astonishingly good plate discipline is what impresses me most with 17 walks to 25 strikeouts. In addition to some flashes of power by GCL standards with 10 doubles, he has maintained an excellent average. At 6 ft 3, and being so young, he offers a very intriguing bat in the Nationals minor league system.

Honorable Mentions: Taylor Hill, Pedro Severino, Christian Garcia, Austin Voth, Dixon Anderson, Pedro Encarnacion, Blake Schwartz, Billy Burns, Aaron Barrett

Significant Snub of the List: Chris Marrero- I simply have a tough time considering the guy to be a prospect anymore, the best chance he has at getting a truly significant chance in the major leagues would be a chance with another team.

At 25 he is still a good hitter, but will lack true chances with the Nationals, and does not translate well as a pinch hitter. Expect a September call up nonetheless.

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