Notorious for being one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball since moving to Washington, the Nationals have had several top draft picks to build their system from the ground up. They have a deep, talented system; though their top ten may be deceiving due to Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, and Ian Desmond loosing prospect status last season. Although this list is far from the most impressive prospect list this season, the Nationals likely have the most exciting stock of players under 25. Additionally, Bryce Harper picks up any and all hype that Strasburg left behind. There are several top talents in this system that tend to get lost in the excitement surrounding Strasburg and Harper.
(Click player’s name to see his player profile)
1. OF, Bryce Harper: The first overall pick in the 2010 draft, Harper is the most advanced hitter for his age likely since Alex Rodriguez. He should become an annual MVP candidate.
2. C, Derek Norris: An on base machine, Norris is one of the best offensive catching prospects in the game. The Nationals converted him to catcher, so his defense is lacking though he projects to become an average defensive catcher.
3. RHP, A.J. Cole: Drafted in the 4th round, of the 2010 draft, Cole is a young pitcher with a high ceiling. He already throws in the mid- 90’s and looks to gain velocity as he develops. His off-speed offerings are above average as well. If Cole reaches his potential, he could fit in nicely behind Strasburg as the Nationals # 2 starter.
4. OF, Corey Brown: Although he as the ability to be a dominating player, he may be closing in on his peak. At 24, and seemingly given up on by Oakland, Brown looks to show the Nationals that he still can be the player scouts thought he would be when he was younger.
5. 1B, Chris Marrero: Marrero has the ability to become a middle of the order power hitter. In order to do so he will have to overcome some holes in his swing. He also is a poor defender even for 1st Base. His stock lies entirely in what his bat will become.
6. LF, Destin Hood: Much like Marrero, Hood will need to be carried by his bat. Still extremely raw, he could develop into a power hitting left fielder. Primarily a football player in high school, Hood is still learning basic mechanics all while putting up solid numbers against mostly older players so far in his short career.
7. SS, Danny Espinosa: An outstanding defender, but he swings a big question mark as his bat. Espinosa will at least be a solid utility player with the ability to become an everyday player if he hits enough.
8. LHP, Sammy Solis: Solis was the Nationals 2nd round draft pick in 2010. He is a big lefthander who will not overwhelm you with anything. However, he seems to have enough to be a solid middle to back-end of the rotation starter.
9. RHP, Henry Rodriguez: Rodriguez is a fire-throwing reliever who has already seen time in the big leagues. He struggles to throw strikes at times, but at only 24 next season he still has time to improve. He could be the closer of the future for the Nats.
10. C, Wilson Ramos: Once thought to be the incarnate Joe Mauer, Ramos has not quite lived up to expectations. Solid defensively, he will serve as a compliment to Derek Norris. If his bat comes around, one of the two could make good trade bait to solidify the Nationals pitching staff.
If everything clicks, the Nationals look to be building a competitive team for years to come.