Nationals Arm Race

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Prospects1500 Nats top 50 List released


Henry all the way up to #4 on this list. Photo via

With the absence of MLB news (we’re not to mid Feb yet, so no chance we’ll have a new CBA), there still is some analysis to be had. We’re getting into the meat of the Prospect ranking season, and that means more lists being released.

Today, we have and their writer Colin Coulahan with perhaps the most aggressive prospect list out there: a top 50 for the Nats system. BA goes 10 deep, Fangraphs goes 30 deep, but these guys go 50 deep. Every list, they add in several guys who have never been ranked before, and this time is no different.

Here’s a link to the raw list, which I highly recommend visiting for the video embeds of key players. If you’ve never seen video on our top guys, this is the place to go. Also online, they don’t just list 1-50, they have tiers built in that kind of serve as predictors of future production. I probably push back on some of the players he lists in Tier 3 (expectation of making the majors) as being a little too rosy, but I like who he has listed in the first two tiers as being a pretty good predictor of the future.

Anyway, here’s some thoughts on the list with an eye-squint towards players they have much higher or lower than the consensus of other shops right now.

  • Top 3 are as expected and the same as everyone else. Put a dotted line between these three guys (Ruiz, Cavalli, House) and the rest of the system right now b/c they’re head and shoulders above everyone else at this point. These three, by the way are also the only 3 guys making the BA top 100. They came in at #11, #27 and #59 respectively in the entirety of the minors. So far, so good on the House drafting.
  • They have Cole Henry all the way up at #4 on the strength of his AFL performance. Bravo. Fangraphs had him all the way down at #13 in September. Lets hope he stays healthy and becomes part of a future Nats rotation. I like him as a sneaky-good #3 starter for a good team; imagine him pitching this way in a rotation along side Strasburg, Corbin, and Cavalli.
  • Antuna pushed down to #8; they’re still decently bullish on the player, but at least acknowledge that he’s going through a position change. At least they don’t have him in “future all star” ranking territory like BaseballAmerica did in October. I’m on record frequently in this space as questioning the continued prospect love for Antuna, especially now that he’s proven without a doubt he can’t play the dirt. Now he’s a corner 6’0″ outfielder with middling power and a career .684 minor league OPS.
  • What a rise for Joan Adon: they’ve got him at #11 and BA had him at #7; last year he was in the 20s or lower.
  • A caveat in the post says it was written just before the official signing of Cristian Vaquero. They would have had him in the #14-15 range apparently. That’s fair as a starting point; i probably would have had him a bit higher but sight unseen its hard to quibble with a mid-range ranking like this.
  • Evan Lee on the list at #16; he wasn’t even on Fangraph’s top 30. This is probably due to his K/9 rate in the AFL and his placement on the 40-man roster, but still seems awfully high.
  • Definitely high on #19 Brandon Boissiere, our 2021 3rd rounder who projects as a low-power 1B who hit .200 in 25 games in Low-A this year. Why would you rank Boissiere above, say, Ricardo Mendez, who plays CF, out hit Boissiere this year, earned a promotion to high-A, and is the same age?
  • Aldo Ramirez: all the way down to #21 on this list but top-10 on others. Interesting.
  • First time prospect mentions for three guys in the mid 20s: Yoander Rivero, Jacob Young, and Ivan Murzi. All three were hitters in the FCL or Low-A this year. Rivero hit .270 as a SS in the FCL with 3 homers and had more walks than strikeouts (a rarity in the game today). Murzi was a backup catcher in the FCL who got 34 at bats in 2021 and barely hits: not sure why he’s even this high. Young was a 7th rounder this year who hit .200 and had a lower slugging than his OBP in low-A. Strange placement for Murzi and Young honestly: there’s probably 10 guys I rate higher than either in the system or ranked below them.
  • Seth Romero, all the way down to #30. And that’s before his DWI arrest. He continues to be a train wreck, and the Nats executives can’t do a thing about it because he’s on the 40-man and thus he’s locked out. Romero is now #1 on my “Next player to get released when the team needs 40-man room” list. I think his time with the team may now be complete. Is this the worst ever 1st round pick by this team? Great post idea; maybe i’ll write that up for when he gets released.
  • Speaking of failed 1st round picks, Mason Denaburg comes in at #38 on this list. It is hard to believe that he was as high as the #2 ranked prospect in our system in January of 2021 in one publication.
  • Tim Cate: all the way to #40. Which is way, way too low, even if he did struggle this year. I mean, a 24-yr old lefty starter in AA with top tools has to rank better than a guy with 20 pro ABs. The fallacy is this: even if you thought Cate sucked in 2021, he’s a lefty who can go straight to the bullpen, focus on two pitches in stead of four, and become an effective MLB reliever almost immediately.
  • There’s a huge discrepancy between where Prospects1500 has some veteran prospects like Drew Millas and Drew Mendoza, buried in the 40s, versus where other shops have them. Just a month ago Fangraphs had Millas #12 overall, and still had Mendoza with some value. I think this ranking is a little to punitive for their bad 2021 seasons.

There’s no real reason to quibble about the rest of the players ranked in the 30s and 40s; some of them i’d never heard of. Could anyone tell me when we acquired #46 Miguel Gomez or how he performed this year?

Ranking a thin system to the 50th player is tough, but this is a good way to get recognition for some lower-level guys who may matriculate forward. Thoughts?

Written by Todd Boss

January 21st, 2022 at 9:55 am

12 Responses to 'Prospects1500 Nats top 50 List released'

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  1. Thanks for the link Todd, something to chew on in the dead of winter.
    Jake ‘no respect’ Alu earns his moniker with a rating in the 40’s. He had a breakout year in 2021 and should be in Rochester sometime this year, and he plays a position, 3rd, that the Nats have a need.

    Mark L

    22 Jan 22 at 8:48 am

  2. I think it’s really tough for a “top 50” to be meaningful after a certain point. Most of these guys aren’t gonna make it; most of the guys on a given top 30 aren’t gonna make it. So it’s really just a top 10-20 or whatever plus a variable number of other guys to watch.


    24 Jan 22 at 2:32 am

  3. My first thought was very similar to Sao’s, along the lines of there being a WHOLE LOT of filler here with guys who have little to no chance.

    My second thought was at how many guys he completely left off even while striving for 50. I’m not arguing for the greatness of some of the following, but they all would be at least in consideration for a “top 50,” certainly ahead of some of these stiffs. (Had to look up some, including Ivan Murzi, who hit .177 in the FCL, but he’s ranked #26.)

    Not on the top 50 list:

    Gabe Klobosits
    Todd Peterson
    Jackson Cluff
    Will Frizzell
    Jackson Tetreault
    Jhon Romero
    Tyler Dyson
    Alex Troop
    Carson Teel
    Richard Gausch
    Gage Canning
    Armond Upshaw
    Justin Connell
    Jacob Rhinesmith
    Darren Baker
    Dustin Saenz
    Seth Shuman
    Cole Quintanilla
    Daniel Marte
    Leandro Emiliani
    Gilbert Lara
    Erick Tejeda
    Steven Fuentes
    Holden Powell
    Amos Willingham
    Michael Kirian


    24 Jan 22 at 8:51 am

  4. Seth Romero has no future. He just doesn’t. Aside from all the off-the-field, still-ongoing disaster, he came up to the majors in 2020 and was only throwing 91 on guns in MLB stadiums. Also, for reasons never explained, he only managed to pitch in eleven games in all of 2021. He had very good K numbers but also absurdly high walk and H/9 rates, resulting in an overall WHIP of 1.63. Just go away. They never, ever, should have gone anywhere near him and have paid a lingering price for doing so.

    Although I didn’t like the Denaburg pick at the time, and have had no reason to reconsider disliking it, there’s still time for him to live up to his potential. He’s 22 now, will turn 23 in August, . . . and be eligible for Rule 5 in December. Wow. But at least theoretically, he’s still a top-level talent in an organization starved for them. If healthy and in form, he’s certainly one of the top 10 players in this thin organization. But that’s all still a big “if.”

    From a FanGraphs assessment of Denaburg from three years ago: “At his best, Denaburg would sit 93-95, hit 98 mph, mix in a consistently 60- or 65-grade curveball and an emerging 55-grade changeup with the size and athleticism scouts can project near the front of a rotation.” We can only hope.


    24 Jan 22 at 9:19 am

  5. Speaking of guys who are about to hit Rule 5, I give you the much-hyped Jeremy de la Rosa. I don’t get the hype. He “played up,” but not very well at all, slashing .209/.279/.316 with only five homers and 12 doubles. He just turned 20, so there’s still time, but let’s be realistic. We’ve seen the numbers that Soto and Robles posted in the lower minors. We know what the numbers of a fast-rising prospect look like. We also know what the numbers of Antuna and Anderson Franco look like.

    The only number that matters with Antuna is $3.9 million. If not for that number, no one would care. He hit .227/.307/.385 in A+ at age 21, bringing his career numbers to .238/.317/.367. He’s hit 19 homers in 244 career games. It boggles the mind how this guy stays in anyone’s top 10. Yes, certainly it would be great if everything suddenly clicks and he becomes a star. But right now, there’s more unrealistic belief in this guy than there is in the Tooth Fairy.


    24 Jan 22 at 9:34 am

  6. Quibbles:

    — I disagree with the pundit not having House in his Tier 1. I certainly have all-star-level expectations for House. They may be unrealistic, but that’s where we’re starting.

    — I’m very pleased with Cavalli’s progress in 2021, but I’m still not totally convinced that he’s a #1-2 starter. We’ll know more this season. He’s got the heat but lacks the polish. Henry is, and always has been, a more polished overall “pitcher” than Cavalli. He’s just got to stay healthy.

    — It’s interesting how many seem to be giving Rutledge a free pass on 2021, writing all of his considerable struggles to injury. I hope they’re right. He’s also Rule 5-eligible this December. He’s facing a bit of a make-or-break season.

    — Cruz did nothing to assure a top-10 ranking or big signing bonus, slashing an anemic .232/.292/.305 while committing nine errors. He just turned 18, though, so he should just be in his draft season in high school. Hope he can show up in the FCL and look more ready for pro ball.

    — Looking forward to seeing what Lara can do at F-burg. Denaburg should be in the same rotation. So much of the Nats’ future will be on the F-burg roster.


    24 Jan 22 at 11:02 am

  7. – Agree on House. Someone on quora asked a question recently, which basically was, “What are your immediate expectations of a 1st round pick?” And I responded that I expect a team’s 1st rounder to be an exceptional player, an all-star calibre player. now, add in another clause for “top 10” or top 5 of first round and the expectations go up. House was in 1-1 talk for most of his prep career, which puts him in lofty company. I have high expectations.
    – Cavalli: Pegging him as a future ace in the MLB (top 15-20 starters) is tough, agree. By most observations, he’s been able to advance based on being able to overpower hitters, even in AA (which is amazing). I’d like to see him in AAA for half a season, learning how to get “professional hitters” out. but, then again, he can do that in the majors too. its all about managing his service clock now (assuming they don’t fix that in the new CBA).
    – Definitely worried about Rutledge.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jan 22 at 9:38 am

  8. […] Mr. Boss has the skinny on another service,, which, for my money is too fantasy-focused, but Todd has a good point that they’ve done a good job of aggregating video on “our guys.” And I’ll be honest, when I’m researching injuries, the fantasy guys often seem to have the intel. […]

  9. At Wilmington and Harrisburg, Cavalli was able to get a lot of hitters to chase balls out of the strike zone. That won’t work anymore in Rochester and above.

    That said, keep him at AAA for most of the year and let him learn his craft.

    Mark L

    25 Jan 22 at 11:19 am

  10. Let’s see what Andry Arias can improve on this next summer


    25 Jan 22 at 11:35 pm

  11. If they had changed free agency and service time, I thought they might bring Cavalli up to start the season, but it looks like those changes are off the table for now. (Meaning the players are already caving.) I completely agree that Cavalli needs more seasoning before being exposed to MLB hitters. He’s still learning how to pitch. If they can refine him, he truly could be a mid-to-upper rotation guy.

    He really struggled at Rochester, though, not just with throwing strikes, but with getting hit. He gave up 12.0 hits per nine. His H/9 was high in college as well. When you see numbers like that, you worry that while his stuff may be hard, it’s too straight. And that’s something that’s hard to fix.


    26 Jan 22 at 8:45 am

  12. With Andry Arias, I’m not even sure where he can get playing time. He’s a corner OF/1B. OFs who figure to be at Fredericksburg include White, Lile, maybe Quintana if they think he’s ready, and maybe de la Rosa, who sure doesn’t look ready to be promoted to A+. (All of them are younger than Arias.) Boissiere and Frizzell are both 1B guys who may also get looks at corner OF slots. Jackson Coutts, also 1B/OF, hit well enough in FCL to keep getting a look as well. So it’s a crowded field, at least at that level. Thins out very quickly as you move up the ranks, though.


    26 Jan 22 at 8:56 am

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