Nationals Arm Race

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

Fangraphs Updated Nats Prospect Rankings with new Draftees


Fangraphs has become the first shop to publish updated system rankings that include our new draftees. Lets do a quick review of where Kiley McDaniel and team have put the new guys.

Reminder, our review of their pre-season Nats top 30-or-so is here: Fangraphs’ methodology leaves a little to be desired and their FV-based ranking does leave us with some weird rankings. That being said, here’s where they’ve slotted in our 3 big 2023 draftees:

  • Dylan Crews: New Nats System #2, and #5 overall in the entirety of the minors. Not a bad debut.
  • Yohandy Morales: new Nats system #5, outside the top 100.
  • Travis Sykora: new Nats system #8, outside the top 100.

I’m sure we’ll start to see other major shops update their rankings and we’ll react as they do.

Written by Todd Boss

August 9th, 2023 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Prospects

7 Responses to 'Fangraphs Updated Nats Prospect Rankings with new Draftees'

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  1. I know Green has had a rough year but having guys like Baker, Made and Millas in front of him is absurd.


    9 Aug 23 at 6:54 pm

  2. Playing devil’s advocate here a bit, but the argument of ranking Green behind these guys is that all three of them have demonstrated mastery of low A pitching, which Green has not. Also “rough” is a pretty charitable description of Green’s 2023. His 43 K% is 7th worst of over 1200 full season minor league players, but perhaps most worrying (since we knew about the strikeout issues before) is that his power has almost completely disappeared. His .100 ISO (only 3 HR in 250 plate appearances) is quite a bit below league average (.117). Even during James Wood’s recent struggles in AA, he’s still crushing the ball (just with less regularity than before). So far basically all Green has demonstrated is that he’s fast and plays good defense, which are skills the aforementioned players have demonstrated, except the others have also shown an ability to hit a baseball.

    With all that said, Green has the potential to be an All Star, which can’t be said of any of the other 3 (except maybe Millas). Prospect rankings aren’t meant to be lists of prospects based on their current performance, but of their future potential, so it is kind of dumb to put a guy like Kevin Made with such limited upside ahead of Green, especially when Made (unlike Baker and Millas) has also struggled to live up to his (much more limited) tools.

    Eric Longenhagen, at FanGraphs, notoriously places inordinate value on risk, and values players with high floors over players with higher ceilings. Green is perhaps the highest-risk/highest-reward player in minor league baseball right now. However, at the moment, Longenhagen is looking pretty good. Last year before the draft, he was equally negative about Green’s profile, and ranked him 11th in the draft and a considerable margin behind the other consensus top 4 picks, when other prospect watchers were making cases for whether Green would go #1.

    What is most interesting to me about these rankings is Roddery Munoz. The Nats quietly picked him up off waivers after the Braves DFA’d him. That waiver claim yielded half the value of Jeimer Candelario’s trade. I’m kind of surprised we haven’t had more notable waiver claims this year. There’s been a few players DFA’d that I thought the Nats would have been interested in. Keston Hiura, a 1B at this point, was DFA’d by the Brewers to start the season and after not getting claimed has hit .310/.397/.553 in AAA. Former Nats prospect Wil Crowe got DFA’s by the Pirates recently, and also wasn’t claimed and got sent to AAA. Surely he’s better than the likes of Harris or Machado. But I suppose doesn’t really move the needle in a meaningful way.

    Either way, this offseason’s 40 man roster crunch is going to be very messy.


    10 Aug 23 at 5:51 am

  3. Several interesting items here.
    – Fangraphs rankings are “weird,” as Will says definitey a result of Longenhagen’s methodology that really downplays risk/reward from a ceiling perspective.
    – That being said, Green is 19. Lest we forget, most 19yr olds are not in Low-A; they’re playing summer ball after riding the pine their freshman year at Div1 schools.
    – Waiver claims; yeah, i’m kind of dumbfounded the team kept Urena as long as they did, and continue to keep Peralta, when seemingly decent 4-A guys get DFA’d constantly.
    – Crowe: wonder if the organization purposely didn’t bring him back for some personnel reason. that happens for sure.

    Todd Boss

    10 Aug 23 at 10:27 am

  4. MLB Pipeline is supposed to have theirs on Friday.

    Any ranking that has Trey Lipscomb at 26 is hopelessly outdated.

    Yoyo Morales will be Top 100 very soon.

    Mark L

    10 Aug 23 at 11:23 am

  5. Outdated to have House at #73 overall as well. He’s had a 3-level rise at age 20 and has 40-HR potential. There aren’t too many guys in the minors with legit 40-HR potential, but the Nats have two of them at AA right now.

    Honestly, beyond the top four in the Nats’ system, who knows? We hope that Morales is #5 good, but we won’t really know until he gets into next season and hits as a pro. Vaquero has been solid but hasn’t shown any power yet. The jury is still out on whether Henry can fully recover and get back to what he was. Sykora looks good in a uniform. He profiles a fair amount like Susana, who has shown that he still has a lot to learn, but that doesn’t diminish the ultimate potential of either of them.

    At the next level of the list, it’s a stretch to think that Millas, Made, or Baker will be MLB regulars. To have them with the same grade as, and ranked higher than, Lile and Green doesn’t make a lot of sense. Whether one believes in Green or not, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    They waited a while to do it, but they finally did the right thing and kicked Green down to FCL to retool his stroke. There’s no rush with him, all the more after adding Crews. Give him time to figure things out . . . and hope that he can.

    I’m a Green skeptic, but if Fangraphs is going to use something it calls “future value,” Green’s “future value” is at least all-star level (60) (which Will has also said). Risk is definitely “high,” but if he reaches his future value, it’s off the charts. On up the scale, they have House as a 50, which is “average everyday regular.” Um, that’s sure not what Keith Law thinks he is, after seeing him hit a ball halfway out of Delaware. Unless your model is useless or fundamentally flawed, House is a 60.

    They also have Cavalli as a 50 — a guy who has already proven a lot in the minors and will be in the majors whenever he comes back. There’s a lot less projecting to do for him. Yet 50 for a pitcher is “#4 starters. Approx 4.00 FIP, at times worse but then with lots of innings.” All of us will be disappointed if that’s what he ends up being.

    And yes, I’m with Mark in hyping Lipscomb. Worst case is super-utility guy with a good bat. Best case is that he may be able to get himself into the 2B conversation if they truly don’t end up believing in Garcia. I certainly think that Lipscomb’s potential ceiling is higher than it is for Baker or Made. (But here’s hoping that all of them make it and give the revived Nats wonderful depth.)


    10 Aug 23 at 2:05 pm

  6. Also, I was scratching my head at the 4.00 FIP as being a #4 starter, so I sorted the MLB leaders. You know who has a 4.02 FIP right now? The guy who’s about to be the AL MVP and get the biggest contract in MLB history. There are only 33 qualified starters in the majors with FIP under 4.00.

    Fangraphs’ FV chart says that a #3 starter will have 3.30 FIP. Um, there are only 12 guys in the majors under 3.30. Some stiff named Gerrit Cole is at 3.37.

    I believe they need a little recalibration in this all-DH world.


    10 Aug 23 at 2:27 pm

  7. I do want to add this about Baker. When the Nats re-drafted him, I literally laughed out loud. He was sure to be another in their long, long line of legacy picks who would flounder in A ball for two or three years and then disappear. Baker has been the antithesis of that. He is squeezing every ounce out of his seemingly limited talent. That’s so great to see, and frankly so rare. I just wish he had a little more talent to squeeze from. He has only 14 extra-base hits in 287 AAA plate appearances this year. For that limited level of power to work, he’d need 30+ SBs to go with it, but he has only 12. He’s also pretty much limited to 2B, although they’ve stuck him in the OF a handful of times.

    I do hope that Baker gets a cup of coffee. If Tony Renda (a fellow Cal 2B) gets to be forever known as a “major-leaguer,” Baker deserves to be as well. But with lack of power and limited positional flexibility, it’s hard to see him sticking around too long.


    10 Aug 23 at 8:24 pm

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