Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Completed Nats prospect rankings and Org Rankings for 2015


Now that we’re into the 2015 season, we are officially through the “prospect ranking” season.  I have updated two important prospect tracking spreadsheets that I maintain with a host of links and updated information.

First; the Organizational Rankings Spreadsheet.  I’ve got 59 different rankings now collected of the 30 teams’ organizational rankings over the years.  The big “holes” I have in this spreadsheet are the Baseball America handbooks sent out each January … though it seems to be safe to say that the official released Baseball America rankings in March or April of each year effectively mimics the rankings in the publication.  The rankings go back to 2001, with a link to even earlier Baseball America rankings.  Only BA goes back that far; other experts go back to 2007 (Baseball Prospectus), 2009 (Keith Law/ESPN) and 2012 (

Secondly, a republishing of the Nats Prospect Ranks going back in time.  I’ve greatly updated this spreadsheet from the earlier publishing of it this off-season, now having 79 separate rankings of Nats prospects going back all the way to January 2005.   178 different Nationals Prospects appear on the list, spanning from current #1 Lucas Giolito to the first #1 listed (believe it or not, Mike Hinckley in BA’s January 2005 list).

There’s a separate tab in the XLS tracking the major pundits: Baseball America (J.J. Cooper, Aaron Fitt, John Manuel now, formerly Jim Callis), Baseball Prospectus (Chris Mellon, Jason Parks now and Kevin Goldstein for years), MLB (Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo), (primarily Jon Sickels), Fangraphs (Marc Hulet, Kiley McDaniel), ESPN (Keith Law) and Prospect Digest (Joseph Werner).

As always, if you can think of pundits who i’m missing, i’m always up for more information.  Or if i’m missing links, let me know.  Both these links are also available directly from the “Links” section on the right hand side of this blog in the “Nats Arm Race Creations” section.

7 Responses to 'Completed Nats prospect rankings and Org Rankings for 2015'

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  1. The organizational middle infield derby is proving to be the most exciting competition to watch in the minor leagues right now. With the unsettled situation at the major league level, the excellent progress of Turner, Difo, Renda, and even Martinson (!!!!) is not a moment too soon and has implications for 2016.


    18 Apr 15 at 10:12 pm

  2. Todd, this is excellent info, worthy of analysis on a national site like Fangraphs. It somehow puts the system ranking in perspective, though, when you see that one has the Giants among the best at #5, while another has them near the toilet at #29.

    Personally, for the system rankings, I probably pay more attention to Sickels and Law. They have the Nats from #9 (Law) to #16 (Sickels), and I’d probably agree that they are somewhere in that 9-16 range. They’d be in the top 5 with arms but significantly lower on the bats. Of course Harper and Rendon “graduated” younger than some other name guys, though, so there has to be some extra credit for them somehow. (Harper is nine months younger than Kris Bryant, for example.)

    In general, the Nats have done well with their recent #1 picks. Picks in rounds 2 through 5 have not panned out as well.


    19 Apr 15 at 9:13 pm

  3. KW: totally agree. For the most part, these rankings agree with each other, but yes there’s some massive outliers. Even at the very top right now, there’s a lot of disagreement on a system like Houston; Law has them #3, BA, Sickels and BP all have them in the 10-14 range. I like Law’s analysis in general, but believe he over-weights younger potential power arms and totally ignores certain types of players (mostly relievers and middle infielders). My big problem with Sickels is that he doesn’t actually see games … and he stubbornly deviates from the 20-80 scale of rating players, using the far rougher letter-grade scale and thus not really accounting for slight but important differences in players (a guy might have anywhere between 65-80 power … but its all just an “A” in Sickel’s book). I think the BA does a great job of analysis .. but needs to get their Handbook to market sooner (they write it in Nov, it publishes in Jan and they basically miss all the winter meeting transactions year after year).

    Todd Boss

    20 Apr 15 at 9:15 am

  4. Todd, I agree with you about the shortcomings of how Law and Sickels rank the individual prospects. I think they have a pretty good grasp on ranking the overall organizations, though. Law in particular seems to go out of his way to intentionally have a controversial individual ranking or two, such as putting Ross at #2 this year and Fedde at #3. Fedde could be the next Giolito or the next Mooneyham, but until he throws a pitch, who knows? McDaniel, meanwhile, seems more keen on Lopez (#2) than the others.

    McDaniel was the individual ranker I got the most out of reading this year. He had either seen the players or looked at film and had also talked with scouts.

    In scrolling across the list, the one player who jumps out at me whom the pundits seem to like noticeably less than the Nats and the Natosphere do is Difo. He’s off to a strong start at Potomac, so here’s hoping his 2014 wasn’t a fluke.


    21 Apr 15 at 5:02 am

  5. I did like Kiley’s stuff too. But oddly Fangraphs doesn’t do system rankings from what I can tell. The two I do have are either interpretations or odd one-offs.

    How about the way Skole is treated? Before the 2014 season he was routinely ranked #3, #4 …. now he’s #23 in MLB, #19 McDaniel, outside the top 15 by Law. There’s some potential there. Difo seems like he won’t ever get any street cred until he’s in the majors.

    Todd Boss

    21 Apr 15 at 8:26 am

  6. Skole got completely derailed by the injury that cost him essentially all of 2013. He struggled to find everything last season and got “old” in prospect terms in the meantime. He had a good spring with the big club but is off to a very slow start while repeating AA. I hope that Goodwin’s lingering injury won’t prove similarly career-debilitating. These were two of the Nats’ consensus top 5 guys just a couple of years ago.

    As for Difo, he’s a little older and had a significant production jump in 2014 that many deemed suspect. He seems to be repeating it, though (326/404/587). Meanwhile, Turner is rockin’ AA at a rate even better than we could have hoped (341/426/488).


    21 Apr 15 at 12:23 pm

  7. Yeah … Turner’s early success at AA might have the team re-thinking its plans. I think we were initially thinking he’d go to high-A when he got here … if he continues he’s clearly heading to at least AA if not higher… and maybe that greases the skids even more for Desmond to head out of town.

    Todd Boss

    21 Apr 15 at 4:47 pm

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