Nationals Arm Race

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

Prospects 1500 top 50 for 2024


He’s gonna look good in this uniform and soon. Photo via Crews’ instagram page.

I always look forward to Prospects1500 and their team’s rankings each year, because they go deeper than anyone else. Some places only rank our top 10; that’s not really that hard, especially when the first four are basically the same in every publication and there’s not a ton of argument mostly about the rest of our top 10 right now. Most major shops stop at 30 (then may throw in a few “honorable mentions” or “just misseds”), which is much more difficult. Prospects 1500 go 50 deep. So its great to see who they’re throwing into the 40s. Even if I disagree with them.

Here’s the 2024 Prospects 1500 list:

Prospects1500 RankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1CrewsDylanOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
6LileDaylenOF (CF)
7VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
8GreenElijahOF (CF)
9Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
10SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
11HerzDJLHP (Starter)
12BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
13SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
15HenryColeRHP (Starter)
16PinckneyAndrewOF (Corner)
17RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
19De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
21YoungJacobOF (CF)
22WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
23LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
24ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
26QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
29McKenzieJaredOF (CF)
30CroninMattLHP (Reliever)
31LuckhamKyleRHP (Starter)
32FerrerJoseLHP (Reliever)
33RamirezAldoRHP (Starter)
34CoxBrennerOF (CF)
35SchoffTylerRHP (Reliever)
36YoungLukeRHP (Starter)
43CuevasMichaelRHP (Starter)
46AldonisPabloLHP (Starter)
49SullivanLiamLHP (?)

Now, here’s some commentary.

  • Same 1-4 as everyone else, in the same order. Nothing crazy about having Morales at #5 either.
  • Daylen Lile at #6. That’s too high. Yes, Lile’s numbers fell off when he got to the big stadium in Wilmington, but his profile already means he’s not going to hit for power. He’s 5’11”, 195, a lefty hitting outfielder who BA thinks is going to struggle to stay in CF. Uh, if he’s not in CF, where you can make up for a lack of offense with dazzling defensive skills, then he’s gotta mash to occupy a corner OF spot. He’s listed as a 50 runner and a 50 fielder, and he had 21 SBs in 66 low-A games (but curiously just 2 SBs in 40 High-A games). So, he’s an undersized lefty hitting CF who won’t be ahead of at least 6 other CFs in the system (Crews, Wood, Young, Green, Hassell, Vaquero). Why is he #6? I’m surprised he’s in the top 15. I hope i’m wrong and he turns into Jacoby Ellisbury.
  • They’re low on Hassell, putting him at #9. See, this is problematic to me. Hassell was the #2 prospect entering our system when he got traded, broke his hamate bone after finishing 2022 in AA at the same age where Lile is now. He’s got better tools across the board, can play CF, but didn’t even debut in 2023 until May, so basically you have to caveat a big chunk of his 2023 season at the plate. Yet he’s 9th and Lile is 6th? Doesn’t make sense.
  • Susana at #10, which is in line with other shops but high for me. What’s he done except his 103 on the radar gun? Can’t teach velocity, but so far the risk on this guy seems to outweigh the rewards, and the value of a 9th inning guy with massive walk rats and a 103 mph isn’t that high.
  • Cole Henry at #15. Huge variation on this guy so far: Ghost had him at #30, BA at #23, MLBPIpeline at #18 last December, which seemingly took into account his awful post-TOS surgery 2023 performance. Still, having this guy at #15 laughably puts him ahead of Rutledge, who’s a) healthy, b) has done well in AAA, and c) has made his MLB debut. If Henry had had TJ, that’s one thing. TOS is another, and this is too high.
  • Speaking of, Rutledge at #17 is too low. I’m just not sure why you’d ding a guy like Rutledge after what he did in 2023. If i told you we had a pitcher who missed a year of development and in his age 24 season put up a AA line of 6-1, 3.16 ERA, 1.10 whip with 62/25 k/bb in 68IP you’d be like, wow that’s awesome. Well, that’s what Rutledge did before doing 11 so-so starts in AAA and getting roughed up in the MLB. That’s better than #17 prospect, and there’s no way he should be behind any of the 5 arms immediately above him (Henry, Herz, Sykora, Bennett, or Susana). Remember; the entire point of being a prospect is … what? To get to the major leagues. Rutledge has.
  • Kevin Made at #18. Way too high. We know he’s glove-first, defined by BA as a “double plus defender.” That’s great; he’s also go grade 40 hit and power tools. That’s … that’s not good, Bob. After we acquired him he slashed just .137/.232/.192. I guess someone has to bat 9th. But is his defense good enough to account? I don’t think so, not right now, and he shouldn’t be in the top 20. We no longer live in the 1970s when “good field no hit” short stops were accepted. Today, SSs have to hit.
  • I’m way lower on De La Rosa than they are at #19, but it’s a little splitting hairs when you get to the 20-30 range. At least the Nats didn’t put him on the 40-man this off-season.
  • Young at #21. I get it: prospect ranking is some potential, some actual. Young is entirely actual right now. As in, he ACTUALLY might be our starting CF in 2024. At age 24. So … why would you have him ranked below someone like Andrew Pinckney, who’s a year younger and who basically only got to High-A this year? Is Pinckney more likely to blow up and rise 3 levels like Young did this year? I think, like with Rutledge, you have to balance what they’ve accomplished versus what they could accomplish properly.
  • Pineda comes in at #27 … and they don’t even rank Millas in the top 50. I wonder if that’s a cut and past error, and they actually mean to rank Millas #27 and not rank Pineda. Just after this list came out, Pineda got DFA’d, cleared waivers, and was outrighted to AAA. So he’s still around, likely going back to AA. Either way, I think (as explained in other posts) that Millas is the more polished, MLB-ready catcher right now even if Pineda is 3 years younger.
  • Cronin at #30. Way too high. A reliever who’s already been outrighted off 40-man and who had a 5 ERA in 2023? He’s not even in my top 50. Relievers aren’t prospects unless they’re a-ma-zing.
  • They list Ferrer at #32 despite his exhausting rookie eligibility by the end of 2023. I made the same mistake earlier this off-season until i did some schedule arithmetic.

So, now we’re in the 30-40 range, which really is a deep dive into the marginal prospects in our system. By and large, nearly everyone they have from 33-40 I also have in my list, but I gnerally have them 10 spots lower into the 40s. A couple of comments though:

  • Aldo Ramirez: First time we’ve mentioned his name this off season. Talk about a mess of a career: missed 2020 with Covid, then missed the second half of 2021 with elbow tendinitis. Then he couldn’t answer the bell for 2022 so the sat in XST, and when it came time in June to get assigned to the complex league it turned out he had a blown UCL. TJ surgery, all of 2022 out, not even thinking about playing until mid 2023 … and he never made it onto the field. So out of the last FIVE seasons, he’s pitched for exactly 1.5 of them. When we acquired him (July 2021) he was back half of our top 10; this was a significant prospect. Now? who knows.
  • Tyler Schoff. Ranked #35. I honestly had to look him up to see who the heck he was; he was a 8th/9th inning guy in AA who got promoted at the end of the season to AAA. Wow. #35. Maybe this is for Fantasy players looking to keep an eye on saves in the future. But then where’s Willingham? Willingham actually made it to the majors and had far better minor league numbers than Schoff despite being the same age. Make that make sense.

Now we’re into the 40-50 range, and i’ll just say this: instead of picking domestic players who have actually accomplished something, nearly their entire 40-50 is IFAs who have yet to get out of the DSL. Six of the ten guys ranked 40-50 were 2023 Jan 2nd signings last year, who mostly were awful for an awful 2023 DSL team. So, in that respect, I disagree with most of the guys in the 40-50 range and they’re just ranking them based on signing bonuses.

So, who are they missing?

  • Millas, as noted above
  • Willingham as noted above.
  • They didn’t get either of our 2023 big-money signings Hurtado or Felix … I mean, if you have a guy who got $1.3M who hit .130 then you have to rank a guy who got $2.8M but who hasn’t played yet.
  • They chose to rank a bunch of 17yr old DSL kids instead of domestic players in the high-A to AA range, guys like Frizzell, Saenz, Boissiere, or Shuman.
  • They ranked Relievers Cronin, Ferrer, and Schoff … but not Brzycky, who destroyed minor league hitters in 2022 before getting TJ and missing 2023. Ok.
  • No room in the entire top 50 for our minor league pitcher of the year Andrew Alvarez, but enough room for least three DSL kids who signed for like $5k in Marcuto, Tavarez, and Liriano.
  • Not for nothing, Lucas Knowles may not be the sexiest pitcher out there, but the guy fared really well as a swingman in AA all year.

Phew. I’ll say it again, its tough ranking 50 players. I have my list and the churn in the 40-50 range is real.

Written by Todd Boss

February 5th, 2024 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Prospects

28 Responses to 'Prospects 1500 top 50 for 2024'

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  1. I’m not seeing why Susana is getting the love and not Herz. Susana’s K% is 21.8%, (ML average), and ranked 52 in the Nats entire system (min 60 BF). You would expect someone throwing 100’s to have more swing and miss especially in A ball, but it’s not there.

    Meanwhile Herz led the entire system with a 36% K% while NOT throwing 100+.

    btw some interesting names among the Nats K% leaders:
    2. Merrill (UDFA ’21) 35.3%
    3. Liam Sullivan (13th, ’23) 34.7%
    4. Angel Pena (Dom Rep, ’23) 31.1%
    5. Tyler Schoff (UDFA, ’21) 31.1%


    6 Feb 24 at 9:59 am

  2. Susana is young (turning 20 in March), fills out a uniform quite well, and reportedly touches 200 mph, maybe 300 on a good day.

    Before we diss Susana too much, his walk rate (5.7 per 9) was nearly the same as Herz’s (5.4) in 2023. Susana was pitching in a full-season league at age 19. His results weren’t as good as hoped, but if he comes back and dominates at the same level in 2024, the narrative will change quickly.


    6 Feb 24 at 10:41 am

  3. I follow the Nats’ system fairly closely but would never attempt to make a list that runs out to 50 players. It gets silly after 20-25. FanGraphs will usually rank 20-25 players and then group others in various categories of contribution.

    Todd has protested that Lile is too high on this list and that Hassell is too low, so let’s talk about the flock of other guys not named Crews and Wood. There are some very high draft picks and big-money guys . . . and they’re all likely vying for one remaining OF slot in the Nats’ future (unless Crews and/or Wood happens to tank). Of course we need for all of them to exceed expectations so we have a bunch of trade chips.

    I’ll add a housekeeping note before I get started. White spent all of 2023 at 1B, and Quintana spent two-thirds of his time at 1B/DH, so I don’t consider either as still in the OF pool.

    So . . . (listed by level of advancement) Young, Hassell, Pinckney, de la Rosa, McKenzie, Lile, Green, Cox, Vaquero. I’m going to add Johnathon Thomas too since he stole 65 bases in only 96 games. Who ya got? Who would you pick as the one guy to be playing with Crews and Wood? That’s TEN players for one slot.

    I only included McKenzie because this list ranked him in the top 30. He really struggled at A+ so is an early cut here for me. The luster seems to be gone from de la Rosa, so I’ll eliminate him too. Thomas is a one-trick pony who hit .226. Cox got a million to sign, so they’ll give him every chance to climb back into the conversation, but he still has a long way to go.

    So we’re down to Young, Hassell, Pinckney, Lile, Green, and Vaquero. Overall projection-wise, Young is the one who doesn’t rank with the rest, yet he’s already had a cup of MLB coffee and looked like a spark plug. Longer term, we’ll place him on the MLB bench for now and consider the others.

    Hassell, Pinckney, Lile, Green, and Vaquero. Of these, Green places highest in potential power but lowest in contact. Hassell and Lile are similar players (unless they develop more), gap-power guys who may struggle to get over the 20 HR barrier at the MLB level. If that’s the case, then it’s difficult to project them as corner OF starters for a contender. There are certainly exceptions of course (Adam Eaton), but it isn’t the ideal. Vaquero hasn’t shown any power yet, but he has the body to do so, and he has great plate discipline. I’m quite optimistic about Pinckney, but his pro sample size is very small.

    Any authoritative picking right now among this quintet would just be throwing darts. It’s a big year for all of them. The good news for them is that with Crews and Wood as the marquee names, there shouldn’t be as much focus/pressure on these other guys, even a certain #5 overall draft pick.

    My wild speculation, somewhat contrary to the accepted narrative: I’m concerned about Green’s and Hassell’s struggles, so I wouldn’t bet big on either one right now, although I hope they prove me wrong. Vaquero is the age that Harper and Soto were when they ascended to the majors, so he’s not looking like that level of generational player, although he still could be very good. So by process of elimination, I’m down to my leading contenders being Lile and Pinckney. Both still struck out an average of once a game, though, which is concerning.


    6 Feb 24 at 11:45 am

  4. Some genuine unexplainable choices on this list. I doubt there are many others who’ve followed the pathetic DSL Nats as I have, and I don’t think I’d ever heard of Juan Obispo, Jermaine Maricuto and Hector Liriano. There was exactly one bat worth noting from that team: Carlos Batista. He was literally the only player on the entire team that posted a wRC+ above average and somehow I count 8(!!!) bats from that historically bad DSL Nats team. Neither Obispo, Liriano nor Maricuto received bonuses of any notable amount, and all 3 weren’t just below the DSL average, they were 50% worse than average! Just dreadful showings. At least Andy Acevedo, Elian Soto and Edwin Solano received bonuses, even though they all three were also dreadful (Solano, the worst, being 66% below average!). It makes zero sense to add any of these guys to a prospect list. Meanwhile, the pitching staff was actually mediocre, and there isn’t a single arm, like Leuris Portorreal or Angel Roman, who were both below average league age AND posted above average stats.

    It makes even less sense when perfectly reasonable prospects like Marlon Perez, Alvarez, Saenz, Lord, Atencio and Cornelio weren’t ranked despite vastly superior performances at vastly higher levels.

    On Willingham, did he not also exhaust his rookie eligibility? He bounced back and forth between AAA and DC that it would be next to impossible to count this accurately (check out the latest transactions on his MILB page:, but I think he could come close to 45 days on the major league roster.


    6 Feb 24 at 3:03 pm

  5. Willingham and rookie status. It is entirely possible he did, which could be why he’s not ranked. 130 ABs, 50IP or 45 days. He had 0 ABs, 24.1 IP … so lets try to figure out days.

    – June 26th contract purchased, July 26th: optioned; call it 31 days.
    – July 30th recalled, optioned Aug 6th: 8 days inclusive
    – aug 8th recalled, 9th optioned: 2 days inclusive
    – 9/1 recalled, 9/17 optioned; 17 days inclusive
    – 10/2 recalled … but their last game was 10/1

    so that’s 31+8+2+17 = 58 days inclusive … damn, he’s not a rookie. I have to take back my criticism and exclude him from prospect lists.

    Todd Boss

    6 Feb 24 at 4:55 pm

  6. Todd, do September days currently count in the new CBA rules? IIRC, they used to not count, then they did, and now they may not again. That could change the equation to 41 days… I googled quickly, and didn’t find anything conclusive, as a lot of the explanations pre-date the most recent CBA, where I seem to remember there being new guidance on this. But hence why I’m not sure. FWIW, B-R states that Willingham has NOT exceeded rookie status, so that may be the most definitive answer.


    6 Feb 24 at 6:06 pm

  7. It’s a very weird list. There are actual errors like including Pineda and Ferrer, who aren’t eligible, and omitting Hurtado and Feliz.

    Beyond that, I don’t see how you can include Ramirez at 33 and not list Shumman. I don’t see how you list can Luckham at 31 and not list Saenz and Alvarez. And not including Millas? In what world would you rather have Juan Obispo?

    The whole thing feels just sloppy and lazy. It makes me reluctant to give any credence to their expertise about whether Green or Hassell will solve their issues, or how Vaquero will develop, etc.

    I really don’t see the point of listing 50 if you’re going to phone it in like this. I get that going so deep is a tough exercise, and I can’t imagine doing it for all 30 teams. But no one is making them use this structure, so that isn’t much of an excuse.


    7 Feb 24 at 4:11 pm

  8. Will: Do September days count? I do not know … I never went looking for a copy of the new CBA. Now’s as good of a time as any.

    I can’t find any mention of it in the new CBA.

    Cots, which is the only place that i’ve seen that tries to calculate service … has him at 70 days. so how did I calculate 58 days but Cots has 70? I’ll bet its the “less than 20 days down” rule … if you’re down for less than 20 days, you’re supposed to get all that credit. So, revisiting his up/down schedule last year:

    – June 26th contract purchased
    – July 26th: optioned;
    – July 30th recalled (not down 20 days, clock still running from 6/26)
    – Aug 6th: optioned
    – aug 8th recalled (not down 20 days, clock still running from 6/26)
    – Aug 9th optioned.

    ok now he’s down 20 full days. So the above now runs from 6/26 to 8/9. That 4+31+8 = 43 days first stint.

    – 9/1 recalled
    – 9/17 optioned
    – 10/2 recalled, not down 20 days, clock still running from 9/1, but season ended 10/1. So call it 30.

    that now means 43+30 = 73, still doesn’t match Cots, but its close.

    I think, irrespective of what b-r says, he’s exhausted rookie status.

    Todd Boss

    7 Feb 24 at 4:47 pm

  9. SMS: i tend to agree. But, this was a useful list to see b/c it helped me do my top 50 list … by looking at who was on their list that was crazy and asking the same questions you just did. So , hopefully when i post my list, there’s less craziness.

    Todd Boss

    7 Feb 24 at 4:48 pm

  10. Great discussion on the prospect rankings. The Kevin Made rankings along with the Jacob Young rankings are all over the board by evaluators. Then you have Cole Henry trying to return from TOS.

    Keep in mind that these rankings can move. If Henry shows that he is 100% and gets back to where he was 2 years ago, then he should jump back to being a top prospect. But right now this is Matt Purke all over again. Evaluators kept him up top and his time with team control got to a point he couldn’t put it together and he moved on. Rizzo obviously believes in Henry. This has got to be his year and if it is — he should jump back up the rankings.

    10 Feb 24 at 8:35 am

  11. Steve: 100%. There’s a few guys who I just don’t know how to rank right now. Henry could be anywhere from #5 to #40.

    These guys who were “good” then we got them and they disappeared; who knows? That describes Made, Hassell to a certain point, Aldo Ramierz, Barley, etc.

    I’m pretty close to my own personal top 50 so that, after I have criticized everyone else, you can criticize mine. I want to wait for the remaining big pundits to publish (keith Law, MLBPipeline).

    Todd Boss

    12 Feb 24 at 9:50 am

  12. Kiley McDaniel has great-if-true info on Henry: “He was limited by thoracic outlet syndrome last season but has a clean bill of health for 2024.” Here is the ESPN+ link to his Nat top 20:

    He’s higher on Green than anyone else (#4) and erroneously includes Cavalli among the graduated.


    12 Feb 24 at 12:41 pm

  13. Todd, right. Aldo Ramirez and Barley are nowhere to be found. That is mind blowing but Ramirez has been dealing with injuries, and Barley who has tools still hasn’t put it back together. Years ago, Sammy Solis was that guy for me who was up and down on the rankings. A player controls that to a certain extent.

    Evaluators did that with House, but I saw his talent and wasn’t going to let that aching back issue in 2022 cause me to drop him like some did. But with TOS, that’s a different story. Few have made it back. What Henry has on his side is youth.

    12 Feb 24 at 12:47 pm

  14. Todd, I’m writing a Minor League storylines piece with input from people like yourself if you want to email me.

    12 Feb 24 at 12:50 pm

  15. “When healthy,” Henry is my favorite pitcher in the Nats’ organization. He may not be as physically dominant as Cavalli, but his results when healthy have been fantastic, both in college and the minors. His AA stat line at age 22 in 2022 was off the charts. As for 2023, I couldn’t understand why he was pitching at all. “Pitching through” TOS didn’t seem like a smart approach.

    Kevin Made REALLY struggled after the trade, but he also has age on his side, as he didn’t turn 21 until September. I know that I’m guilty of discounting the transition impact on a traded player. Maybe he’ll show more after he gets more comfortable with the organization. But there are no guarantees, as Barley never clicked. There’s a void in middle infield depth. Maybe draftee Marcus Brown will show something. He was said to be one of the best glove men in the draft.


    12 Feb 24 at 7:20 pm

  16. KW: I’m not sure how much to read into McDaniel clearing Henry for a clean bill of health in 2024, when his line immediately before that claim is “Henry also has three plus pitches, but just 40-grade command that is playable in short stints now and might still improve a bit.

    I get it, Henry has barely had a chance to show his command, but when he has, it’s been elite. Between 2021-22, he was walking 2.63 batters per 9 innings. Add to that, he was striking out 11.9 per 9IP, and it’s evident Henry has a pretty good grasp on where he’s placing his pitches. I’m not going to fact check, but I guarantee that his walk rate is better than most of the players McDaniel considers to have 50-80 grade command. Yes, Henry’s command deteriorated in 2023, but that’s completely expected as he recovers from significant surgery. You can’t read anything into that, especially from just 18 AA innings.

    I know this is nitpicky, especially because 40 grade is merely “slightly below average”, but there’s just so little evidence of command being one of Henry’s problems. That’s exclusively staying healthy.

    On Made, I just have to roll my eyes. He’s Yasel Antuna Jr. Guys who’ve been determined to have big potential despite never actually displaying it.

    MILB Career:
    Player A: .235/.310/.352; 8.8 BB%, 20.2 K%, .117 ISO, poor base running ability, poor defence
    Player B: .224/.326/.349; 12.6 BB%, 21.9 K%, .125 ISO, poor base running ability, mediocre defence

    Does it even matter noting who is A and B?


    13 Feb 24 at 6:30 am

  17. My suspicion about the McDaniel hot take on Henry’s “command” is that the only time McD saw him in person was in AZ in 2021 when Henry had a 4.3 BB/9. He then saw Henry’s struggle numbers in 2023 and wrote him off. But even with last season’s problems, Henry’s MiLB career BB/9 is 3.1, and it was 2.8 in college, better than Cavalli in both cases, with K’s equal to Cavalli. Henry’s career MiLB hits per 9 is 6.0. When he was healthy, it was off the charts at 1.9 at Harrisburg in 2022. It jumped to 11.3 at Harrisburg in 2023, so he wasn’t even close to being the same guy. IF — really big IF — he can fully recover, he’s a really, really good pitcher. He’s just never been able to stay fully arm healthy, dating back to college and high school.

    As for Made, I admit it, I was trying to come up with a reason why people keep ranking him. I look at the numbers and don’t see it either. It was the same thing with Barley. He was “said” to be something, but he never actually looked like anything.


    13 Feb 24 at 7:56 am

  18. Steve: Nice! I totally missed Kiley’s data announcement (and i’m a ESPN+ insdier subscriber …). He erroneiously dumped Cavalli out but we’ll do a review of his ranking next. thanks for the link and i’ll email you.

    Todd Boss

    13 Feb 24 at 11:49 am

  19. KW – I wonder how much these evaluators see these players. I watch and concentrate on Nats minor leaguers and McDaniel seems to want to not drop guys too far or just missed it totally. Like I’ve said, you can drop a player down and have them earn their way back. Of course Henry could be back to one of the best pitching prospects in the Nats’ system but he has a long way to go. On Kevin Made, I like Armando Cruz ahead of him and you can see where I placed Cruz way down the list.

    13 Feb 24 at 1:20 pm

  20. Keith Law gets asked this a lot (“how much does he see these guys”). He seems to travel a bit to see players, but admits he doesn’t see every single prospect for every single team, nor does he ever go to DSL to see non-domestic players. But, he talks to staff on all 30 teams off the record to get assessments. I have to think that the major pundits for the other major outlets (Fangraphs, Espn, BA, mlbpipeline) do similar travel/discussions.

    Todd Boss

    13 Feb 24 at 3:58 pm

  21. Law is based in Wilmington. So I’ll defer to him when it comes to Nats prospects, particularly those that had decent stints in A+. Other guys less so. IIRC from his FanGraphs days, I think McDaniel is based in Georgia, and Longenhagen from FG is in Arizona, so they’ll naturally be stronger (at least firsthand) on guys playing in leagues in those regions, like the Southern League or AFL.


    13 Feb 24 at 4:27 pm

  22. Both FanGraphs and McDaniel (where Kiley used to work) are enamored with Future Value (FV) over actual performance. It’s sort of a cop-out to keep guys like Green and Susana higher than actual performance indicates. But if you’re going to do that, be honest about future value. They have House ranked at 50 FV. McDaniel writes that “a low-end everyday player is a 50, which correlates to 2.0 WAR.” That’s at the top of the article. And that’s the problem: he would NEVER write that in the same sentence with House, because no one thinks his ceiling (AKA “future value”) is that low. He says in the intro that a no. 3 starter is a 60, but he ranks Bennett as a 40. What gives?

    I do think there needs to be a balance, which you rarely find on these lists: honest ceiling balanced with performance balanced with mitigating circumstances (Hassell, Henry). Green may have a 70 ceiling but a 30 performance. Do those count equally and give you a score of 100? Do you also add in a risk level? I think FanGraphs on its draft list has low/medium/high risk. Green obviously is high risk, Crews is probably low risk, with Wood and House maybe medium. Injuries also add to risk I would think.

    I’ll mitigate my criticism by noting that the guys doing this at the national level have an almost impossible task. There’s no way for them to see all of these folks, or even keep up on a regular basis with how they’re doing, as we can do on Nats Prospects nearly every day. So the rankers go by reputation (draft level, signing bonus) and whatever scuttlebutt shrills for the team have told them. It used to be hilarious to hear Scialabba over-hyping guys in interviews. He had the prospect guys loving Lara, Antuna, de la Rosa, et al.


    13 Feb 24 at 4:29 pm

  23. Here’s a link to Steve’s preseason/pre-camp look at expectations for prospects:


    13 Feb 24 at 4:35 pm

  24. Here is the FanGraphs’ extended explanation of Future Value, written in 2018 by Longenhagen and McDaniel:

    Hitters (last column is WAR):

    20 Org guy —
    30 Up & Down 7.0


    20 Org Guy –
    30 Up & Down 7.0

    (Not sure how the columns will reproduce when posted)

    This scale looks quite useful if applied accurately, but they don’t. Everyone becomes a 40-45.


    13 Feb 24 at 4:45 pm

  25. Trying again:

    Hitter WAR Mapped to 20-80 Scale

    Scouting Scale Role WAR

    20 Org guy —
    30 Up & Down 7.0


    13 Feb 24 at 4:47 pm

  26. (Sorry, it keeps cutting off everything after 30. Just follow the link. It’s a useful scale, if applied accurately and mitigated by struggles.)


    13 Feb 24 at 4:48 pm

  27. While on this topic, KW, you should read Longenhagen’s retrospective on his 2017 draft rankings, fresh off the press:

    It’s actually really interesting insight into why so few players are actually deserving of 55+ FVs.

    With that said, Longenhagen is perhaps the writer least interested in potential over results. He’s one of the only out there to have recognized Drew Millas and Darren Baker in Nats prospect ratings, and was very down on Elijah Green before it was cool to be (he ranked Green 11th in his ’22 pre-draft ratings and further went against conventional wisdom rating Brooks Lee #3). He definitely still has his favorites, but I like his balance of results vs potential.


    13 Feb 24 at 5:13 pm

  28. That’s fascinating by Longenhagen. There’s A LOT to it, and I’d like to go back and read in more detail. One of my takeaways is that he, and all of us, need to be more brutally honest. And if we’re being brutally honest, the guys who are writing that the Nats’ system is top-heavy are right: it’s Crews, Wood, House, Cavalli, and everybody else. We have some real hopes among “everybody else,” and I think we’re right that the actual possibilities among “everybody else” run deeper than they have in the organization in a long time, maybe ever. But it’s really hard to rank the long-shots. And judging by Longenhagen’s list, it’s just about as hard to rank the supposedly sure things.

    I see the Benintendi write-up and think about Crews, both high-floor guys with gap power. Several of us have written that Crews’s ceiling is (hopefully) Rendon, but there’s a fine line if you can’t get over that 20-25 HR line regularly. From where they stand now, I have the same concern for Hassell and Lile, although I think/hope that Crews’s floor is higher. You can still have value as an Adam Eaton type, but obviously it’s not nearly the same value as a Rendon type.

    Reading further, Wood could be comped to Bellinger (or Judge!) and Cavalli to Giolito, as rather positive comps, albeit all guys who have really been up and down during their careers.


    13 Feb 24 at 7:59 pm

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