Nationals Arm Race

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

Updated Master Prospect List in Google XLS


The official Logo of the St. Louis Prospects. Apropos to this post.

The official Logo of the St. Louis Prospects. Apropos to this post.

Since we’ve been talking a lot about prospects, i thought i’d note that I’ve been catching up the Master Prospect rankings list (here’s the direct Google xls link) that I maintain.  Major edits lately:

  • I’ve noted those who have lost Rookie status in 2016: Trea Turner and Wilmer Difo, even if Baseball America and MinorLeagueBall insist on ranking him.  I’m not sure what to do with A.J Cole in this regard, nor Pedro Severino.  Koda Glover still seems to be a “prospect” by everyone’ standards so he’s still ranked.
  • I’ve noted those traded in 2016: Taylor Hearn, Max “future hall of famer” Schrock, Chris Bostick
  • I’ve noted those former “prospects” who were DFA/Waived/released in 2016: Abel de los Santos, Matthew Spann, Cutter Dykstra
  • I’ve noted those post-2016 MLFAs who at some point were ranked: Erik Davis, Paolo Espino, Kevin Keyes, Jason Martinson, Drew Vettleson, Neil Holland, Michael Brady.  If they re-sign, i’ll un-do the “out of the system” categorization.
  • Lastly, we’ve noted those prospects traded in the Winter Meetings: Dane Dunning, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez
  • I’ve now put in a couple of the early rankings from major pundits that have come out post-2016: BA top 10, minor league ball top 30, MLBpipeline’s top 30 as of the end of the 2016 season, and JP Schwartz’ post-2016 list.  We expect a ton more to hit in the Jan/Feb time-frame.

The Spreadsheet now has more than 100 “lists” from various sources dating to the beginning of the Nats franchise (Nov 2004 BA list, ahead of 2005 system).

Each off-season I generally expect to get 7-8 rankings lists from what I call the “major pundits” who follow prospects:

  • Baseball America/BA Prospect Handbook (J.J. Cooper, John Manuel, formerly Aaron Fitt)
  • Baseball Prospectus (Chris Mellon/Jason Parks/Ezra Wise):
  • MLB/ (Jim Callis/Jonathan Mayo/Mike Rosenbaum)
  • (John Sickels/Nick Melotte)
  • Fangraphs (Dan Farnsworth, formerly Marc Hulet/Kiley McDaniel)
  • ESPN (Keith Law)
  • Prospect Digest ( Joseph Werner)
  • (J.P. Schwartz)

I’ve seen other pundits rankings in the past but not consistently year over year like the above seven lists.  If you know of any pundits who i’m missing, please let me know.

This year we’ll start to see a new #1 prospect in Victor Robles, after seeing 47 straight lists with Giolito ranked #1.  Robles becomes the 11th distinct player to be ranked #1 in our farm system at any point.




23 Responses to 'Updated Master Prospect List in Google XLS'

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  1. Of the MLFAs…

    Brady signed with Oakland
    Davis with Arizona
    Espino with Milwaukee

    Nothing yet on Keyes, Martinson, Vettleson, and Holland

    Mick Reinhard

    16 Dec 16 at 3:36 pm

  2. Thanks Mick. I’ll get the updated xls done soon. I had that data in another file, plus noticed a couple other errors in the prospect xls. Hard to keep track of all the moves this off-season!

    Todd Boss

    16 Dec 16 at 4:15 pm

  3. I scratch my head at the relative enthusiasm for Neuse. I hope he pans out, but a pro start of .230/.305/.341 doesn’t exactly get people doing cartwheels.


    16 Dec 16 at 6:44 pm

  4. I’ll admit I liked the Neuse drafting; proven accomplished collegiate player. Very surprised he has struggled so far.

    Todd Boss

    16 Dec 16 at 7:58 pm

  5. I did like the Neuse pick and was thrilled to get Banks. Both struggled at Auburn, though. Hope they can hit the ground running in 2017.


    16 Dec 16 at 8:16 pm

  6. Ziegler to Fish for 2/$16M. The Nats didn’t need him at that price.


    16 Dec 16 at 9:21 pm

  7. At some point, you have to adjust your expectations of price by what the market pays. If you don’t think Ziegler is good, that’s one thing. But if you think his stats are accurate, that is his going rate, and maybe light.

    Relievers pay has increased at least 50% over the last couple of years. It just is.


    16 Dec 16 at 10:59 pm

  8. I was willing to pay the market rate for an elite closer. I wasn’t sure that was smart, but the Nats don’t have one in-house. What the Nats do have in-house are top-shelf bullpen arms, though. They don’t need to pay a big price for a non-elite closer or a non-closer. I’d rather have Kelley or Treinen closing for the Nats than Ziegler.

    You could at least get in the ballpark for Tyson Ross for what Ziegler got. I’d much rather go in a direction like that if you’re going to spend it on a pitcher.


    17 Dec 16 at 7:23 am

  9. But you have no idea if he is going to pitch, so while I could see a flyer on him, if you want a closer he can’t be the guy you count on. Same is true with Holland, although for him, it’s less about if he’ll pitch, and more about how well.

    You can consider Hudson or Feliz, but in this market they are getting two or even three years. I understand not liking those contracts, but it likely is here to stay. There is more money in the game, which is raising salaries across the board, and relievers are seeing increased values.

    If you think they’ll help, and I do see value in at least 1 more quality pen arm, if not two, then these salaries shouldn’t stand in the way of adding someone.


    17 Dec 16 at 8:35 am

  10. That last post was me. Not sure why login details go away sometimes


    17 Dec 16 at 8:36 am

  11. I’ve had a sinking feeling for months that the Nats are going to end up with Holland (TJ recovery “bargain,” Boras client, etc.) I don’t know. Ziegler might have been more of a “sure thing” than Holland. I’ve not been thrilled by either option. I thought Ziegler was/is better than Robertson, so I hope they don’t sell more of the farm for Robertson.

    I agree that they’ll probably add another bullpen arm or two. I’m just not sure that one needs to be a “closer.” Collins, who they have already signed, will be a great lefty addition if he can come back from the TJs.


    17 Dec 16 at 9:36 am

  12. I’m going to do a post soon about the 2017 Syracuse roster outlook; they’ve signed a SLEW of arms that are AAA projected, to go along with the ton of other arms already there. It should be an interesting spring training competition.

    Todd Boss

    17 Dec 16 at 10:45 am

  13. All they’ve got to do is find the “next Rich Hill”! And to think, two years ago, we were paying more attention to Taylor Hill . . .

    Yeah, they’ve signed a bunch of arms. Jacob Turner is an interesting one to me, still only 25.


    17 Dec 16 at 11:58 am

  14. By the way, for those who may not be looking regularly, Luke has up the call to vote for “favorite arms” at Nats Prospects. It’s a sobering exercise once you get past the top five or so. There are a lot of good young and/or recently drafted arms, but not a lot at the AA-AAA level now.


    17 Dec 16 at 12:01 pm

  15. we HAD Rich Hill. that’s the ridiculous part. Who knew he’d frigging turn into a #2 starter.

    I have already emailed my ballot on arms to Luke; and yes KW i agree. In fact, past basically the 5th spot I literally had to go scour through stats and rosters to fill out hte ballot. I cannot believe how thin the arms are on the farm right now. In fact, i included Adams as one of my remaining 5 arms because I couldn’t make a case to include anyone over top of him. Its really bad.

    Todd Boss

    17 Dec 16 at 3:49 pm

  16. I did the same thing for the arms, just looking through the stats of the lower minors. There are several players who people keep touting who just haven’t produced. But the low-A guys are so far away that there’s no guarantee that they’ll even make AA. Meanwhile, there are guys who have been successful at AA, like Mapes and Simms, who don’t particularly strike me as big-league material for a contending club. Of course I would have said the same about Roark in 2012, so you never know.


    18 Dec 16 at 6:59 am

  17. Watching Neuse next year will be very interesting. He’s highly touted still, remember, it takes about 600 AB’s to get the aluminum out of their swing.
    If he takes off in 2017, we can say we knew it all along.

    Is the big club better than it was in September? Absolutely!, Melancon notwithstanding.

    If you are in the least a metrics person, than you love this club for a lot of reasons.
    Another whiff machine is gone; the Nats are now a high contact lineup.
    The closer position has always been a much less important position to sabremetrics folks.

    There is no doubt that the pressure is on this year for Ross, Voth & Cole to produce when the need arises. There is no deep backup any longer.

    Mark L

    18 Dec 16 at 8:28 am

  18. Here’s a random thought while reading about Bryce’s wedding: what if an aching heart was his real problem in 2016? As much as his 2016 was over-over-over-analyzed, I haven’t heard this one. It has nothing to do with Matt Williams or a mystery injury. A 23-year-old guy had his engagement broken off during last offseason and presumably had many ups and downs, long-distance, before getting re-engaged.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but this scenario sure would have messed with my head. And how would you even dare mention it as part of the reason you’re not 100%? The talking heads would rip you to shreds.

    Anyway, that’s my new theory. I’m sure Marty will buy it completely.


    18 Dec 16 at 2:42 pm

  19. On the Arms: my difficulty ranking arms in general is valuing starters versus relievers, and valuing low minors versus upper minors prospects. For example: who is more valuable Matt Grace or Joan Baez? One is a reliever who is on the 40-man and has succeeded at AAA and could be ready to contribute at the majors, the other is a starter in the very low minors who needs to repeat his success at 3 more successive levels to reach what Grace has achieved?

    I’d almost rather try to rank starters and relievers seperately.

    Todd Boss

    18 Dec 16 at 3:59 pm

  20. Yes, I had the same issue figuring out ranking the arms. Mapes, Simms, and Jaron Long are a lot closer to the majors . . . but may be close to their ceiling.

    I didn’t have Baez in my top 10 (11). No one with a WHIP that high made it for me. He’s still walking way too many and is now the same age as a college draftee (turning 22 next week).

    The Nats didn’t give Grace more of a look before trading Max HOF Schrock for Scrabble and taking a long peek at Burnett and his sub-90 heater, so it’s hard to think they see Grace above AAAA emergency use.


    18 Dec 16 at 5:27 pm

  21. Wieters, anyone? Someone seems to be fanning the Wieters-to-Nats rumors, possibly Boras himself. I would think about it at no higher than $10-12M per year, certainly nothing close to the $15M QO level he got last year.

    I’m conflicted on this. I’ve been saying all along that I don’t think Norris solves much behind the plate. At the same time, I don’t think it’s an area where the Nats need to overspend, particularly on a guy like Wieters who has trouble staying healthy. A Wieters-to-Nats deal seems more likely in Feb., after the price has dropped, than during the days before Christmas.


    18 Dec 16 at 5:31 pm

  22. At least Wieters has no QO. But yeah, don’t get that use of money. Wieters had an 87 ops+ figure last year with marginally better overall defensive metrics than Norris. Is he worth double the pay that Norris will command?

    Todd Boss

    19 Dec 16 at 9:19 am

  23. btw, just new posted on the arms, to further discuss.

    Todd Boss

    19 Dec 16 at 11:05 am

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