Washington Nationals Top 100 Prospects
On Tuesday, I posted my top 30 Nationals prospect list. Here are 70 more, with a few longer blurbs for guys I find to be especially interesting. Amazingly, I cut the list down from about 115 guys who I legitimately considered and spent time thinking about. Damn you, David Kerian and Drew Vettleson.
31. SS Edwin Lora (2015 mid-season rank: HM) – Super fast, but mediocre performance at the plate. Still very young, so nothing to be concerned about yet.
32. C Raudy Read (2015 mid-season rank: 25) – Read struggled at the plate in 2015, but according to Nats hitting instructor Troy Gingrich, he was concentrating on hitting the ball to all fields instead of just pulling the ball. Changes to the approach don’t happen overnight, so he’ll be an interesting one to watch in 2016.
33. RHP Joan Baez (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – One of my favorite sleepers – Baez has hit triple digits with his fastball. He struggled mightily after being called up to Auburn and Hagerstown (8 starts, 28 innings, 27 runs allowed), but excelled in the GCL beforehand as well as in 2014. The 21 year old needs to work on his control and command, but you can’t teach having a 100 mph arm.
34. RHP Mariano Rivera, Jr. (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – As long as you’re not expecting him to be his father, Mo Jr. will keep you happy with his low-to-mid 90s fastball and solid slider. Rivera gave up an insane 51 hits and 27 runs in 33 innings at Auburn, but also put up an impressive 8.67 K/BB ratio. I’d bet he ends up closer to #20 this time next year.
35. 1B Matt Skole (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Not going to be a big league starter, maybe not a big leaguer at all. Can still crush meatballs from soft-tossing righties.
36. LHP Tyler Watson (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Over-slot signing in the 34th round of the 2015 draft ($400,000 signing bonus). Big frame at 6’5” 200 lbs, and allowed 1 run (0 earned), 7 hits, 4 walks and 16 K in his 13 and 1/3 inning pro debut. His low-90s fastball and hammer curve are a solid combination, but he needs to develop a third pitch.
37. RHP Jake Johansen (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – He’s not here just because he was the Nats’ top pick in 2013. Johansen finally started striking out guys in 2015 and throws a lot of ground balls. We’ll see if he can limit the walks and homers in 2016.
38. RHP Maximo Valerio (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Consistently good at baseball in his pro career. Only 20 years old. 5.00 K/BB ratio at Auburn last year (13 and 2/3 IP). Hard worker, adding 20 pounds to his frame and 5 mph to his fastball in 3 years. Solid curve/change mix. Sleeper alert.
39. RHP Tyler Mapes (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Who’s got two thumbs and hates walking batters? This guy. I like this guy.
40. 1B Jose Marmolejos-Diaz (2015 mid-season rank: 30) – Puts up excellent minor league stats (career .287/.355/.436 hitter, finally hit double digit HR in 2015). Needs to show more power to keep moving up the org latter at 1B.
41. LHP Matt Grace (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Probably not as bad at pitching as he looked in the majors last year.
42. RHP Taylor Hill (2015 mid-season rank: 29) – Also probably not as bad at pitching as he looked in the majors last year.
43. SS/3B Kelvin Gutierrez (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Hit .305/.358/.414 in Auburn as a 20 year old. Dat’s good.
44. LHP Grant Borne (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Control was one of my worries about Borne when the Nats drafted him, and he did a good job there, walking only 1.3 batters per 9 and posting a 4.57 K/BB ratio. Results aren't super pretty (5.85 RA), but solid combo of sinker/curve/change with the potential to add velo to his 6'5" frame has me thinking sleeper.
45. RHP Phillips Valdez (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Bounced around in the minors before finally settling down with the Nats, his third organization, in 2012. The 24 year old righty has shown some promise in the Yusmeiro Petit swingman role, with 18 starts and 12 relief appearances in 2015.
46. RHP John Simms (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Simms’ ERA has gone significantly down each season in his pro career. Simms’ K rate has also gone significantly down each season in his pro career. I don’t get it. Hopefully the former keeps going down and the latter goes back up, because 5.5 K/9 is not good.
47. RHP Wander Suero (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – got a little taste of big league Spring Training this year. Nothing too Wanderful in his arsenal, but could get a look as a swingman in the near future.
48. OF Yoel Andujar (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – one of the Nats’ prized 2014 IFA signings. Showed good arm strength and raw power, but good lord he was bad in his GCL debut: .177/.292/.203 in 186 PA.
49. LHP Hector Silvestre (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Missed the 2015 season due to an unspecified injury. Throws hard but pitches to contact, getting ground balls when he’s on his game. His pitching profile reminds me of Henderson Alvarez to some degree. Sleeper if he returns to form from his injury.
50. RHP Michael Brady (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – I said in my top 30 post that I wouldn’t consider him because he’s 29, but you didn’t make me pinky swear (suckers!). I can’t stop staring at dat career 6.08 K/BB ratio.
51. RHP Tommy Peterson (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Could move quickly through the organization as a late-inning reliever. Sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and generally only throws his decent slider otherwise. 2015 12th round pick out of USF, signed slightly overslot at $125k, and is a guy I will keep my eye on. Stuff is seemingly better than his results, and would like to see a lot more in the K department.
52. LHP Bryan Harper (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – I’ll give kudos to Bryce’s big bro – he’s worked hard to turn himself from a nobody to potentially a somebody. His baseball card stats (ERA’s of 3.19 and 2.96 the last two seasons) are prettier than his rates (2.04 K/BB and 1.79 K/BB the last two seasons), but he’s a relatively hard-throwing AAA lefty. He’ll probably get a shot for somebody.
53. LHP Matt Crownover (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Small but sturdy lefty (5'11", 205 lbs.), had an excellent career at Clemson. Fastball touches the low 90s and is paired with a good change and meh curve. Crownover doesn’t have put-you-away stuff, but limits free bases (1.6 BB/9) and throws strikes.
54. RHP Matt DeRosier (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – solid rate stats throughout his career (4.06 K/BB, 1.9 BB/9, 7.9 K/9. Worked back from TJ surgery (8/14) with an uptick in K rate (9.8 K/9) in a small sample size in 2015. He’ll get another crack at Auburn this year, and is still just 21 years old. Of the lottery pick-types, he’s one of my favorites.
55. RHP Kevin Mooney (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – The Maryland Terrapins’ all time saves leader was a 15th round pick by the Nats in 2015, and throws a solid low 90s/curve mix. He got hit hard in his pro debut (24 H, 13 R, 13 BB, 15 K in 21 and 2/3 innings for Auburn) after already throwing 38 innings for Maryland; I’d like to see what he can do with a fresher arm. He does need to improve his control, though (5.4 BB/9 in Auburn, career 5.32 BB/9 in college).
56. 2B Bryan Mejia (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Hit an impressive .349/.370/.567 in 279 PA between Auburn and Hagerstown last year, tallying 36 extra base hits, 15 steals, and a hilariously bad 5/53 BB/K ratio. The switch-hitting 22 year old’s stats look really strange, but from a guy playing his first full-ish season in the US at an age-appropriate level, I’ll take it.
57. RHP Robbie Dickey (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Not good in his first 2 seasons as a pro. I’d like to see him in the bullpen yesterday, where he stands a chance at getting by on one and a half pitches.
58. RHP Dakota Bacus (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Continues to move up in the system, and had a decent year (mostly in Harrisburg), with a 3.33 ERA and 2.00 K/BB ratio as a swingman. Turns 25 just before opening day, and best case for him is probably similar to Taylor Hill.
59. LHP Taylor Guilbeau (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – 2015 10th round pick was known as a big game starter at Alabama. Had solid results in his pro debut, and did the one thing I really needed to see from him coming out of college - keeping his BB rate down (1.9 BB/9 is much better than he did in college, and will likely regress to closer to at least 3.0 BB/9).
60. OF Isaac Ballou (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – at 26, he’s not really a prospect anymore, but he has logged a little time at AA and AAA and has enough speed and defensive skills to still potentially make it as a 4th OF.
61. OF Juan Evangelista (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Solid performance in the DSL in his age 17 season, posting a .283/.328/.443 triple slash with 20 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR and 9 SB in 64 games. Praised for his speed and range in OF.
62. OF Elvis Alvarado (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $700k in 2015. 16 year old (6’4” 175 lbs.) with pop and a strong arm.
63. OF D.K. Carey (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – hit .234 with 8 HR and 10 SB as a 23 year old in Hagerstown. Has decent tools but hasn’t put them together.
64. SS Bryan Bencosme (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $400k in 2014. Was seen as a speedy doubles hitter who could spray line drives to all fields, but hit only .191/.281/.250 in 253 PA in DSL debut, with 24 BB/61 K, 10 XBH, and 34 errors in 64 games (270 total chances). Only turned 18 in December, though.
65. 2B Dalton Dulin (2015 mid-season rank: NR) –The Nats grabbed another scrappy switch-hitting second baseman in the 17th round of the 2015 draft. Dulin impressed in his pro debut, hitting .273/.410/.354 with 8 steals and 27 runs in 35 games. He seems to have a good command of the strike zone, with 18 walks to 21 strikeouts. No power, though.
66. RHP Tomas Alastre (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Signed out of Venezuela in 2014 for $350k. Still relatively new to pitching, can hit low-90s with room to grow into more velocity at 6’4”, 210 lbs. Doesn’t turn 18 until June, and posted an erratic but decent stat line of a 3.98 ERA, 5.5 BB/9, and 8.3 K/9 in 54 and 1/3 innings in the DSL.
67. RHP Francys Peguero (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Woooo boy is his stat line sexy – 34 and 2/3 innings, 0.837 WHIP, 5.7 H/9, 1.8 BB/9, 13.5 K/9, 7.43 K/BB. The most impressive part is that Peguero was an infielder from 2013-14, and this was his first year back on the mound. I’ll tab him as a sleeper alert.
68. RHP Pedro Avila (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – As an 18 year old, Avila dominated the DSL, posting a 2.26 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 13.1 K/9 and 5.12 K/BB in 59 and 2/3 innings. The Venezuelan righty is not big (5’11” but has demonstrated advanced command at an early age.
69. SS Luis Aquino (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Cristian Guzman’s nephew is a switch hitting middle infielder with a good glove and some solid speed. If Aquino is just like his uncle, let’s hope he gets LASIK earlier in his career so we don’t have to sit through a .219/.260/.314 season.
70. RHP Weston Davis (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – 2014 11th round pick missed 2015 due to an unspecified injury. Had a solid 4 pitch mix lead by a mid-90s fastball before injury.
71. OF Darryl Florentino (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Came from the same Dominican trainer (Niche Batista) as many other recent Nats IFA signings (Neivy Pilier, Randy Novas Encarnacion, Juan Soto and Juan Evangelista). After a strong .329/.346/.447 triple slash in a tiny 82 PA sample size in the GCL, Florentino was challenged with a month in Auburn, where he hit a disappointing but not outright awful .230/.309/.264 in 97 PA. He only turned 20 on New Year’s Day despite seeming like he’s been on these prospect lists for forever.
72. LHP McKenzie Mills (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – big (6’4”, 205 lbs.), young (turned 20 in November), raw lefty. Signed for a slightly overslot $150,000 in 2014 (18th round). Results are ugly so far (72 H, 49 R, 46 BB, 37 K in 57 and 2/3 pro innings).
73. RHP Gilberto Mendez (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Good K/BB #/s in minors (career 8.85 K/9, 2.0 BB/9). Held his own against AA competition in 2015 as a 22 year old, posting a 3.84 ERA and 3.06 K/BB ratio.
74. OF Israel Mota (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Struggled with his first taste of state-side GCL ball in 2015, hitting .221/.272/.291 in 92 PA after hitting .310/.355/.485 in 290 PA the year before. The 20 year old has good size, speed, and power and a cannon of a throwing arm, but needs to work hard on his plate discipline, as his BB% hovers around 6% with a K% in the low 20%s.
75. C Davinson Pimentel (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Followed up an awesome 2014 (.350/.443/.550 in 235 PA in the DSL) with a poor 2015 (small sample size of 74 PA, but hit .167/.189/.222). I’m keeping my eye on him in his age 19 season, where he should get more reps. Also, will somebody please water him so he can grow taller than 5’9”?
76. LHP Justin Thomas (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Turned 25 in October and has not reached higher than A+. Good career rates (4.44 K/BB, 1.9 BB/9, 8.4 K/9), but will need to start wowing the scouts to keep moving up as a LOOGY-type.
77. LHP Gilberto Chu (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Did an excellent job in his DSL debut as a 17 year old, with a 2.55 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 7.8 K/9. The Panamanian lefty is on the smaller side (5’11”, 160 lbs.) and reportedly has a solid mix of fastball and breaking stuff.
78. SS Ian Sagdal (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – 2015 16th rounder out of Washington State is already 23 (senior sign). Looks like the prototypical SS (6’3”, 190 lbs., hits lefty) but hit a pedestrian .235/.323/.327 with 1 HR and 1 SB in 49 games for Auburn.
79. OF Alec Keller (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – negative power, but good contact/OBP skills.
80. LHP Connor Bach (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Started for most of the season after relieving in 2014. K’s went up and BB’s went down, but 1.54 K/BB still ain’t great. Has good size (6’6”, 230 lbs.) and stuff, just not great control or command.
81. RHP Cody Gunter (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – After two mediocre years as a third baseman, Gunter moved to the mound in 2015 to surprisingly solid results, posting a 4.15 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9 and 9.6 K/9 in 21 and 2/3 innings for Auburn. The soon-to-be 22 year old was scouted as both a pitcher and hitter when the Nats drafted him out of Grayson County CC in 2013.
82. RHP Angel Guillen (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Look past the 6.08 ERA as an 18 year old in DSL ball and you’ll see a beautiful 12.6 K/9 and solid 3.7 K/BB ratio in 2015. Signed for $80k out of Venezuela in 2014 article about his signing process here.
83. RHP Ryan Brinley (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – 27th rounder in 2015 out of Sam Houston State. Numbers look pretty (1.44 ERA, 1 walk in 31 and 1/3 innings for the GCL Nats, Auburn, and Hagerstown), but only 16 K’s and 7 unearned runs.
84. IF Omar Meregildo (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Struggled in the DSL last year as a 17 year old (.202/.320/.355 in 271 PA, 29.0% K%), but had some positives, with 28 extra base hits and an 11.4% BB%. Meregildo was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for $170k and started at least 15 games each at 2B, 3B, and SS last year.
85. RHP Jeffrey Rosa (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – A little old for DSL ball, but decent results – 6.1 H/9, 4.7 BB/9, 11.1 K/9.
86. LHP Yonathan Ramirez (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Second straight year of good results in the DSL (in his age 17 and 18 seasons, no less). Career 2.72 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 8.0 K/9 in 96 innings.
87. RHP Robert Benincasa (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – The man with the perfect twitter handle missed most of the 2015 season due to injury. Before that, he had a career 2.7 BB/9 and 10.2 K/9, so he’s someone I’ll hold on to as long as he’s in the system. At 25 years old, this is probably his last chance of becoming a Guy instead of just a guy.
88. 1B/OF Aldrem Corredor (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Sent back down to the DSL in 2015, where he finally found a tiny bit of the power he was supposed to have (.072 ISO in 2013, .036 in 2014, .114 in 2015). Contact and plate discipline look solid so far, with 91 career walks to 85 career K’s.
89. OF Edwin Ventura (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – hit a solid .300/.374/.387 in 245 PA in the DSL as a 17 year old, with an impressive 15 SB.
90. OF Narciso Mesa (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Still fast, still hits for an OK average, still allergic to power and walks and loves strikeouts. Hasn’t gotten past A+ ball through his age 23 season.
91. RHP Steven Fuentes (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Followed up impressive DSL debut in 2014 (2.30 ERA, 3.65 K/BB) with meh GCL debut in 2015 (5.22 ERA, 2.20 K/BB). Still doesn’t turn 19 until May.
92. RHP Wirkin Estevez (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Estevez is Wirkin his way back from two Tommy John surgeries, and Byron Kerr reported in January that his mid-90s velocity is back. Estevez was always a favorite of the stat line scouts, with solid BB and K rates (2.51 BB/9, 8.62 K/9) prior to his elbow issues. He’s not young anymore at 24, but maybe he gets the stuff back and moves up the list.
93. RHP Jorge Pantoja (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Big (6’5”, 220 lbs.) righty reliever out of Alabama State. Has a solid fastball/breaking ball mix. Couldn’t find any info as to why he only pitched 8 innings combined for Alabama State in 2014-15, but he put up decent rates in 12 and 1/3 innings for the GCL Nats, with 11 K and 3 BB in 12 and 1/3 innings. As with a lot of guys in this range on the list, could be an interesting sleeper, or could be released next week.
94. 1B/OF Matthew Page (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – 2014 10th rounder (senior sign) who was billed as a professional hitter. 2015 was better than 2014, as he put up a respectable .270/.362/.384 triple slash, but has shown no power, which does not bode well for a 1B/LF type.
95. RHP Bryan Serrata (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Like Peguero, he moved to the mound after spending time in previous seasons as an infielder to pretty solid results. Serrata didn’t put up amazing rate stats (3.6 BB/9, 6.3 K/9) but is a big righty with a heavy fastball.
96. C Jorge Tillero (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – 22 year old Venezuelan backstop held his own in his first full-ish season, hitting .264/.284/.33 in 171 PA split between Auburn and Hagerstown. He’s a solid defensive backstop, but will need to have a breakout year with the bat to become relevant, or at least improve to remain semi-relevant.
97. 1B/OF Luis Perdomo (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Put up solid stats as an 18 year old in a repeat of the DSL in 2015, hitting .295/.385/.405. Ran too wild on the basepaths, as he was caught stealing almost as many times (13) as he was successful (14).
98. RHP Warner Duran (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Sparkling 2.67 ERA and 8.6 K/9 in his pro debut, but meh 4.0 BB/9 as a 17 year old in the DSL. Not bad. If he becomes a big-time prospect, I will make too many Duran Duran jokes.
99. LHP Matthew Spann (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – Last year was a mixed bag for the lanky lefty, as he reached AA (and AAA for a start) but didn’t really improve at anything he needed to. I wonder if/when the Nats will try him as a LOOGY.
100. RHP Carlos Pena (2015 mid-season rank: NR) – I’ll end with my lotto pick. The big righty (6’5”, 240 lbs.) came to the Nats as an undrafted FA from Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY. Always posted good K numbers in college, and had 7 K in his 7 and 1/3 innings for the GCL Nats, too (shhh don’t look at the 9.82 ERA, 2.45 WHIP, or 6.14 BB/9).