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Prospects361 Top 10 Nats Prospects for 2024


How long Before House gets to the majors? Photo via

Happy Thanksgiving!

The second early publisher of prospect top 10s is Prospects361, written by Rich Wilson, with a definite fantasy focus. I believe he ranks deeper than 10, but you can only see 10 without a premium account.

Pre-2024 Prospect Lists and Analysis:

Here’s his top 10 list for us.

peLast NameFirst NamePosition
1CrewsDylanOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
4VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
5Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
6CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
8GreenElijahOF (CF)
9SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
10SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)

Quick reaction to this top 10 list.

  • Nothing really shocking here, despite Wilson’s fantasy tint. For the most part this is a defensible list.
  • In the lead-up to the list, he does notice that a lot of our top prospects took steps back or struggled in 2023. And yes he’s right. Hassell didn’t seem right all year. Cavalli missed the entire season with TJ. Bennett GOT TJ. Green strikes out half the time he bats. Susana can’t find the plate. So yeah there’s some angst in the system.
  • His top 3 are basically the same as anyone elses right now: Crews, Wood, House.
  • Putting Vaquero 4th is ridiculous … and is one of the two really notable fantasy-tinged picks in this list. He’s doing analysis for dynasty leagues who are drafting 18 and 19yr olds, and in those leagues guys like Vaquero are getting snapped up.
  • He’s dinged Green down to 8th, whereas most have him a bit higher. He has to figure out how to not strike out.
  • 10th was Sykora, entirely on draft bonus amount and hype.

The highest players he doesn’t have ranked would include the likes of:

  • Rutledge, who still maintains rookie status. I guess when you’re a 6th starter in the majors, you’re less valuable than an 18 yr old who hasn’t thrown a pitch in pro ball.
  • Lile, who MLBpipeline is super-high on.
  • Bennett, though to no surprise since he is missing all of 2024.

Written by Todd Boss

November 24th, 2023 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Prospects

2023 MLFAs Announced


Tetreault declared a MLFA along with several other notable former prospects. Photo via

As was posted yesterday (early this morning?) by Luke over at, BA released its list of known 2023 Minor League Free Agents by team this week. The Nats had no fewer than 30 (!) players listed on BA’s list, to go along with a couple of guys who elected FA a bit earlier this off season plus one guy in Sean Doolittle who was technically declared a MLFA but who announced his retirement in September.

Nats Big Board is now updated; go to the “2024 Releases” tab to see the 30-some odd names just declared FAs.

This massive number of names to me is indicative of one main fact w/r/t our player development lately: we have been signing an inordinate number of MLFAs to one year deals to cover the upper levels of the system. By my count, 19 of these names were signed as MLFAs ahead of the 2023 season. Some of them got MLB playing time as experienced vets (Derek Hill, Anthony Banda) and some of them are still on the 40-man (Meneses, Vargas, and Weems were all MLFAs). But we’ve depended on so many of these guys lately, especially to fill the AAA rosters.

Eight of these newly declared MLFAs were home-grown, which means they’ve been in our system for a long, long time. Many were once well-regarded prospects and we’ve discussed them in this space for years. For all these players, the Draft Tracker and IFA trackers are now updated to indicate their departure. These releases officially cut ties with most of the 2016 IFA class and 2017 Draft class.

  • Jake Noll: 16D 7th rounder. Earned a 40-man spot, couldn’t hold on to it.
  • Wilmer Perez: 16IFA Catcher who has bounced around levels for years as a backup catcher.
  • Yasel Antuna: 16IFA with a massive bonus who never paid off and clogged our 40-man roster for years. A perfect example of teams ignoring simple Economic theory w/r/t Sunk Costs and continuing to treat signing bonuses as “investments” instead of the transactional cash payments they really are.
  • Jose Sanchez: another 16IFA backup SS who filled in at High-A and AA this year.
  • Alex Troop, 17D 9th rounder who became the classic lefty Long Reliever/Spot Starter rubber-armed guy who soaked up innings for both AAA and AA for this team for years. I could see him re-upping if given the opportunity; he ended up being in the AA rotation for a big chunk of 2023.
  • Pedro Gonzalez, 17IFA middle RHP multi-inning reliever who just kind of soaked up innings for Low-A this year.
  • Jackson Tetreault: 17D 7th rounder who always seemed to fly under the radar, but got a bunch of starts in AAA in 2022 and looked like he could be a find, getting promoted to the big club. But, he got hurt, missed most of 2023, and now he’s in career limbo. Like Troop, I wonder if he’ll re-up with the team.
  • Malvin Pena, a 14IFA (wow) who’s been pitching in this organization for nearly a decade. Had decent numbers as a AA middle reliever.

Other notable names declared MLFAs:

  • Gerardo Carillo: the 3rd guy out of 4 prospects in the LA Dodgers Turner/Scherzer deal. Just never seemed like he could find the plate.
  • Donovan Casey, the 4th guy out of 4 prospects in the LA Dodgers Turner/Scherzer deal. Was on the 40-man, couldn’t make it.
  • Alameo Hernandez: I liked this guy this year, solving AA as a starter at age 24 and moving up to AAA. I really hope they re-sign him.
  • Matt Adams, who stuck with AAA for the entire season despite being 37 and having made millions as a major leaguer. I wonder if he was auditioning for a coaching role.

There’s still some guys who were 16IFA classes or older who remain on the roster despite them seemingly being at the end of their 6-7 years of minor league service. The oldest such name is a 13IFA Luis Reyes, who still is listed as active. Jordy Barley was a 16IFA and remains, as does guys Niomar Gomez and Gerardi Diaz. Either they’ve been declared MLFAs and’s site isn’t updated (which happens all.the.time.) or they’ve signed multi-year deals to remain.

Fun fact: The oldest remaining originally drafted player for the team remains Stephen Strasburg, 2009 draftee. After that, the next oldest is Carter Kieboom, 1st rounder in 2016. Zero players now remain with the system for the entire 2017 draft with the MLFA declaration of guys like Troop and Tetreault (this was the Seth Romero draft).

Written by Todd Boss

November 9th, 2023 at 10:06 am

Posted in Prospects

Prospect Season kicks off with BA top 10


Nobody improved their prospect value more than Rutledge in 2023 photo via

We havn’t even returned the 60-day DL players back to the active roster, and Baseball America goes and drops its first pre-2024 analysis. They released their pre-2024 top 10, plus their list of “best tools” and their stab at a 2027 roster for the team.

Here’s the top 10 and some quick thoughts.

BA pre-2024 top 10Last NameFirst NamePosition
1CrewsDylanOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
6RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
7Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
8VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
9GreenElijahOF (CF)
10SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
  • No surprise on top 3. Wouldn’t surprise me to see all three start in AA in 2024, all three move up together, and all three debut in the majors by mid-season.
  • Cavalli at #4 isn’t terribly surprising … if he shows that he’s got pre-TJ stuff upon his return, he could/should be back up to #2.
  • Morales really had a solid debut, bumping him above some more familiar names. Its about time we had a 2nd round pick work out for us.
  • Rutledge’s 2023 season, which shocked this observer, has him now just outside the top echelon of our prospect royalty. Talk about a turnaround from his 2022 season.
  • Hassell’s season just seemed to drag him down, post hamate-bone surgery. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that he was the #2 prospect in the system. I’d really like to see him regain that luster.
  • Vaquero remains more hype than production, but at least he’s stateside now.
  • Green’s K numbers have officially taken the shine of his star. He’s dropped to #9 here, and that’s low enough that he’s no longer a sure thing.
  • Susana somehow comes in at #10, despite ending the season injured and repeating a level.

Players outside the top 10 looking in. Only one real nit:

  • I’d put Lile above Susana at this point.
  • I guess Bennett is going to be in the mid teens for the next year and a half with TJ recovery.
  • Sykora? Where do you put him?
  • DJ Herz? Who would you rather have right now? Herz or Susana? Just saying.

FYI, the Big Board now has a 2024 tab, and i’ve caught it up to today’s moves, which were to return the 60-day DL guys to the 40-man roster, which required the DFA of Matt Cronin. More moves to follow, since we’re definitely looking at some rule-5 protections in a week or so.

Written by Todd Boss

November 6th, 2023 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Prospects

Last night in Richmond…


Wood's blast was the highlight of the night for Harrisburg.  Photo via milb

(freely stealing this idea from Luke Erickson and, when Luke attends a game in person as he frequently does).

So, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve relocated to Richmond, home of the SF Giant’s AA affiliate known as the “Flying Squirrels.” I suppose its because Virginia’s capital city has a ton of squirrels flying around (no actually, it was a fan-based naming competition back in 2009). And our own Harrisburg Senators were in town this week for a 6-game series. So I got a chance to see our prospects in action last night.

Here’s my recap.

In rough lineup order from last night (here’s the box-score), a game our team lost 7-6 in a walk-off, which was great for the home town fans but pretty galling for a fan of the National’s team, as they blew multiple leads throughout the night to give away the game.

Hitters first:

  • It only took about 3 minutes for our team to grab the lead 3-0. As the adage goes in Minor League baseball … get there early because you don’t want to miss any action. We missed it of course because, well, when you’re attending a baseball game with kids, the odds of getting there for opening pitch are usually nil. After a Jacob Young leadoff single and a Robert Hassell walk, Trey Lipscomb blasted a ball to left for a quick 3-run lead while we were parking the car.
  • Lipscomb played 2B, has already earned a promotion this year to AA, and has continued to stay hot. He went 3-5 on the night, was a double short of the cycle, is batting 3rd for the AA team, and honestly looks like he could really be a find. We’ve watched Luis Garcia scuffle playing 2B (and looking like he eats big macs every night); Lipscomb is an athletic beast who can play anywhere on the dirt.
  • Young: played CF instead of Hassell, went 2-4 with a walk on the night, was a real spark plug at the top, and made a really nice ranging catch at the wall early on. I like this guy too, and talked about how he may possibly fit into the OF log jam of prospects we have.
  • James Wood has been struggling since getting to AA, but he hit an absolute blast to right field that was awe-inspiring from our 1st-baseline bleacher seats. Phew. Someone’s going home with a dented roof, because he cleared both fences in right and nailed a car in the parking lot. He was only 1-5 on the night, but he did hit the ball hard 3 times.
  • Hassell looked absolutely awful. 0-4 with a walk and three strikeouts. Honestly, not once did he take what i’d call a confident swing. This is consistent with basically his entire Nats career so far. I know he had hamate bone issues, which takes a year to recover from. I know he’s a top prospect and hit while in SD’s system. What the heck is going on here? I mean, was all his production in San Diego’s system due to hitter’s parks?
  • Brady House batted 5th and was “just” 1-4, but it was probably a bit unlucky 1-4. He had a sharp line out to 2B for one out and he blasted a ball to CF that was caught on the warning track for another out. He also looked very, very solid at 3B, making a ton of plays, including a couple of in-between hops that looked tough on the way off the bat.
  • Frankie Tostado played 1B and batted 6th: nothing striking either way.
  • Israel Pineda was free swinging at the plate, waved at a bunch of pitches, had two punchouts. I know his value is behind the plate, but the dude is only hitting .175 for AA right now.
  • Lucious Fox…. looked awful at the plate. 0-4, three strikeouts, and his body language basically screamed “I don’t want to be here.” He’s 26, batting 8th in AA, and I wonder why he’s still on the team. At least he’s DFA’d off the 40man at this point. If we had a more pressing SS prospect, i’d guess that he’d be gone. Lipscomb looks more like a 2B/3B guy, Cluff is an org guy, and high-A doesn’t really have anyone banging on the door.
  • Jackson Cluff could be starting at SS instead of Fox; tonight he DH’d and batted 9th. Ask yourself: if you are batting your DH ninth … is it safe to say you have roster issues? Normally Cluff is at SS, Trey Harris is at DH, and the team shows a bit more pop. That being said, Cluff, did an admirable job table setting, going 2-3 with a walk and easily stealing bases all night.


  • Mitchell Parker got the start on the mound. If you’ve never seen him … his mechanics scream one guy: Clayton Kershaw. He has the same arm stretch straight up to the sky to start, he has similar arm action, a funky delivery, he’s lefty, and he gets a ton of Ks. He had 8 punch-outs in 5IP on the night.
  • Parker gave up a run in the 3rd on this sequence: 10-bounce grounder, balk, Wild Pitch, and then sac fly. So, not exactly helping himself, but also not really getting pounded early.
  • But he then went this sequence in the 5th: bunt single to open (House was literally playing on the grass at 3B and by the time he got to the bunt the guy was rounding first), then another seeing-eye-single up the middle to have 2 on with nobody out, then Richmond’s best hitter blasted a homer to score three and tie the game.
  • Honestly, Parker looked pretty solid on the night. I only saw two really hard hit balls, both by the same guy Shane Matheny who seemed to have a read on him all night. But, as has been a pattern for Parker, he was profligate with his pitches, needing 92 to get through five innings. I still like him as a prospect, even though his ERA in AA is in the upper 4.s
  • After Parker came out, 2021 NDFA Tyler Schoff came in and pitched a neatly effective 6th. A NDFA advancing to AA is a pretty solid outcome; he didn’t have super awesome stuff, but he was effective. He’s looking like that classic middle reliever RHP guy who gets by on movement and who suddenly is pitching in the 6th for the big league club.
  • Malvin Pena pitched the 7th and 8th; he looked like a slightly trimmer version of Lee Smith on the mound. Pena pitched a clean 7th but then went homer-double-RBI single in the 8th to cough up a 6-4 lead and send the home crowd into a frenzy. The single went to Wood, who made a valiant attempt to throw the guy out at the plate and nearly got him. Solid defensive play.
  • So, now its tied 6-6 in the 9th and we bring in Patrick Ruotolo, a MLFA we signed out of the Mexican League in early July and who pitched for this same Richmond team in 2021 for nearly a full season. Now he’s a 28yr old reliever in AA … and he pitched like it. Walk to open the 9th (already a 50% chance of that guy scoring), then a sharply hit single for two-on, none out. Ruotolo did induce what looked like it could be a DP grounder, but it ate up Lipscomb at 2nd and an arguable force-call didn’t go his way. Bases loaded, none out, and the same guy who blasted a homer earlier in the game lofted a deep flyball to CF that easily scored the walk-off run. Not an impressive outing from Ruotolo.

So, that’s the observations from the game. Senators blow leads of 3-0 and 6-4 to lose 7-6. The post-game fireworks were cool though.

Written by Todd Boss

August 20th, 2023 at 9:59 am

MLBPipeline updated Nats top 30


Keep hitting like this and Lile will be back at Nats stadium. Photo via Lile’s twitter.

First Fangraphs, then BA, now MLBPipeline.

All three shops have taken the opportunity of draft and trade deadline acquisitions to do some tweaking of their lists, even from just a few weeks ago, to come up with new top 30s. Here’s some reaction to MLBpipeline’s list.

First, here’s the 30 now (the data is open to the public via the above link)

MLB Pipeline 8/10/23Last NameFirst NamePosition
1CrewsDylanOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
5GreenElijahOF (CF)
6LileDaylenOF (CF)
8Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
9VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
10BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
11SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
12SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
13RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
16HerzDJLHP (Starter)
18De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
19HenryColeRHP (Starter)
20PinckneyAndrewOF (Corner)
21QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
24LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
26ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
28WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
29BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
30FerrerJoseLHP (Reliever)

Now, here’s some reactions.

  • Our big 3 2023 draftees slot in at #1 (Crews), #7 (Morales), and #11 (Sykora). Almost identical to their rankings on BA’s updated list. However, there’s a surprise 2023 draftee further down.
  • Daylen Lile gets bumped up tremendously, from 15th just a week ago to #6 now. That’s a statement. That’s above Hassell. Especially for someone who’s hitting .188 in high-A right now as a 20yr old. Might be a bit bullish on Lile, who really will have to work to get ahead of the big-time OF prospects in our system to ever make an impact.
  • Hassell takes a dive in the rankings. I get it; he hasn’t hit since we traded for him. He was also 20 in AA last fall and has nursed injuries. Hamate bone breakage is like the TJ for pitchers; its a year before you can really start to pass judgement again. He broke it in last year’s AFL (Oct 13th), so I promise not to complain about him again until 2024.
  • Susana gets dropped several spots, and rightfully so. He’s someone who just is not progressing right now.
  • Like on BA’s list Lipscomb gets a big bump up. He’s showing solid BA and HR numbers this year and the ability to play anywhere on the dirt. Can’t ask for much more.
  • Nice and neat, our two newly acquired prospects in trade (Mead and Herz) slot in at #15 and #16. That’s much higher for Herz than BA’s ranking, and significantly higher for Mead (who BA didn’t even have in top 30-35). Good; I’d like to think we got some value for Candelario.
  • Finally some prospect love for Alu, bumped up 10 spots before accounting for the 5 players who layered over top of him (meaning really he increased 15 spots). Just in time for him to probably lose his rookie eligibility, as he seems to be getting a some PT for the big club.
  • Jeremy De La Rosa dropped significantly, from 8th to 18th. And rightfully so; he’s ridiculously struggling in High-A as a 21 yr old. Here’s a crazy stat: he has 126Ks in 88 games played. Putting him on the 40-man was such a ridiculous decision, and its looking even more ridiculous each day. Even if he turns it around, by the time he’s ready to make an impact he’ll be totally out of options, forcing the hand of the big club. I said this last fall, and I’ll say it again: NOBODY was going to claim this guy and carry him on their MLB roster for an entire season. Nobody. There was zero reason to add him last fall, and honestly they could have probably snuck him through Rule5 again this coming winter. Grrr.
  • Henry dropped from 12 to 19 (so only a couple spots with 5 new people above him), but still indicative of what we all feared; he just doesn’t look like the same guy post surgery. If he can’t recover as a top-end prospect, that really puts a damper on the Nats future rotation plans.
  • 2023 4th rounder Andrew Pinckney comes in 20th in his first ranking post draft. Wow. You don’t generally see under-slot draftees from the 4th-10th rounds popping up on prospect ranks.
  • Pineda actually bumped up a bunch of slots when accounting for all the new players above him, going from 23 to 22 (so really, rising at least 5 spots). I don’t really understand why; he’s barely played this year. Maybe its just because of how far others have fallen (see next).
  • Millas fast rising, from 28 to 23, so really rising 10 spots. As discussed in the comments from before, I think Millas is much more deserving catcher prospect right now than Pineda. I mean, he’s got better offensive numbers, he’s the starter in AAA. Is it just the age difference (25 vs 23 for Pineda?)
  • Lara: from 14 to 24 as he continues to dumbfound this observer as to why he’s in High-A.
  • Baker goes from 29 to 25, so really up like 9 spots. Makes sense. Still don’t get why you’d have Baker in the low 20s, which usually implies someone who probably doesn’t ever get to the majors, for a player who’s in AAA, has hit at every level, and who probably could make his debut this fall if we get bedeviled with injuries. Is it just a blind spot prospect watchers have for undersized guys who don’t hit 30 homers? Or (as commenters suggested last post) is it an empty slash line? Probably both.
  • Armando Cruz gets shredded, from 14th to 27th. I mean, yeah he’s young (19 in low-A) but he was a $3.9M signing. Its a massive indictment of the scouting department down there if he washes out.
  • TJ White goes from 10th to 28th. Ouch. I think he’s now riding the bench in High-A, where he might be overpromoted as a 20yr old. I’m not sure what you do with him. He was drafted as an OF, but has been playing primarily 1B/DH and hitting .175.
  • Two relievers in Brzycky and Ferrer round out the top 30.

So, who’s dropped out from their last ranking?

  • Roddery Munoz was 21st, now is outside top 30. Probably a little harsh; i mean, he’s a 23rd old starter in AAA, would you put him above a reliever who’s out for the year? I would.
  • Matt Cronin was 22nd, now outside top 30. Out for the season as we now know with a back issue. Hey, I have a “back issue” too, and I could barely walk for a year … i couldn’t imagine trying to work out every day and pitch.
  • Jared McKenzie was 25th, now is outside top 30. MLBpipeline is the only shop that rated him, and he’s struggled in High-A.
  • Brenner Cox, Gerardo Carrillo, and Aldo Ramirez rounded out previous MLBpipeline rankings for the system, but are now pushed well into the 30s with our new acquisitions. None of these guys has done anything to improve their stock in 2023.

Other players worth noting:

  • Jacob Young: 24th on BA, nowhere to be found here. Probably should be slightly higher.
  • Dustin Saenz: probably org guy now.
  • Andy Acevedo and Edwin Solano were our two big money signings this past January, but have not really impressed so far in the DSL. Acevedo is slashing .168/.295/.237. Solano .125/.283/.143. I mean come on.
  • Amos Willingham: so, I guess a reliever who actually makes the majors isn’t prospect worthy at all, but other relievers who are out for the year are. ??

Lastly, I’d like to make a comment about former prospect Mason Denaburg. On 8/10/23, he pitched in relief for Low-A and put up this stat line: 1/3rd of an inning, 11 batters faced, he gave up 8 hits and walked another 2 of them. First of all, why would the team leave him in for 11 batters at this point? Second of all, why is this guy even in the organization anymore? He’s 24, he has a 2.50 whip in low-A, and he’s gotten no fewer than 26 appearances this season so far. He has given up 51 runs in 34 innings this season. I hate that his career got derailed so badly, but what’s left to prove at this point? He was thrown back in a couple days later and acquitted himself … but I just have to wonder when the plug gets pulled. Maybe the system depth is just so deep that you can

Written by Todd Boss

August 14th, 2023 at 9:40 am

Posted in Prospects

Baseball America Updated Nats top 30 Reaction


How about a Grand slam in your 4th professional game? Photo screen grab from

The major shops are starting to read in the 2023 draftees (and 2023 trade deadline acquisitions) to each team’s farm system rankings. As we did ahead of the season, when a major pundit drops an updated ranking i’ll list it here. Technically Fangraphs’ “Big Board” database was the first to publish, since its essentially a running database of every player, amateur or prospect, but their rankings are wonky (as we discussed yesterday), so we just did a brief review. MLBpipeline dropped overnight, so we’ll talk about it next. Baseball America published a couple days ago behind a paywall, so lets review.

Here’s BA’s updated top 30, which includes some re-ranking, new draftees, and new trade acquisitions.

BA Rank 8/9/23Last NameFirst NamePosition
1CrewsDylanOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
4Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
5GreenElijahOF (CF)
6CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
7RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
9VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
10BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
11SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
12SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
13De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
14LileDaylenOF (CF)
16WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
17HenryColeRHP (Starter)
19LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
20FerrerJoseLHP (Reliever)
22BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
24YoungJacobOF (CF)
25HerzDJLHP (Starter)
27QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
29CroninMattLHP (Reliever)
30ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)

So, Here’s some thoughts on the new names and changes from the pre-draft BA rankings.

  • Dylan Crews comes in as our new system #1, which was hard to do because at the time of his drafting we already had a top-5 prospect in James Wood.
  • The last time the Nats had two prospects even in the top 10 of the minors was at the very edge of Bryce Harper‘s eligibility, when Anthony Rendon was also ranked highly. The best we ever did while Stephen Strasburg was still eligible seemed to be Drew Storen ranked in the 50-range. So, having a 1-2 punch of Crews and Wood both top 5 is amazing.
  • Brady House and Robert Hassell switched spots, probably because House is clearly outperforming Hassell right now. In fact, Hassell basically has stopped hitting after we acquired him; he went from a .290 hitter to a .220 hitter in our organization. I’m not sure what special sauce San Diego gave him, but we need to figure it out.
  • Yohandy Morales slots in at #8, between Rutledge and Vaquero. Crews is getting all the attention so far with his hot start in Low-A, but Morales has been there for a week and a half and has a .925 OPS.
  • Travis Sykora comes in at #11, right between Bennett and Susana. Hopefully, he’s more like Bennett (well, in as much as he gets to AA quickly, not the “where the heck has Bennett been for two months part) and less like Susana (who has a 5.14 ERA in low-A this year in his age 19 season).
  • Trey Lipscomb has been bumped up a couple of slots in the last month thanks to his promotion to AA in his age 23 season and his solid offensive line. However, he’s now bumped from his regular 3B slot by House, who is also in AA, and has been bouncing around to find playing time. He’s got starts at 1B, 2B and SS now, replacing lesser prospects in Harrisburg each time. I sense his eventual spot may end being 2B, replacing the .215 hitting JT Arruda in the lineup. Cluff is also hitting about .215 but plays a true SS, which i’m not sure Lipscomb can do long-term. The situation may work itself out if House keeps mashing his way up the system.
  • Jacob Young has been bumped up a few slots. He’s in danger of falling down the depth chart of outfielders given who we have coming up, but for now he’s holding his own and earning promotions.
  • Trade acquisition DJ Herz slots in at #25. Lets see how he fares. He got smacked around in his debut, but he’s 22 in AA as a starter, so that doesn’t suck.
  • Roismar Quintana dropped from 22 to 27. He’s only slugging .358 this year as a 1B/DH type; that’s not going to cut it.
  • Mitchell Parker‘s AA performance has dropped him several slots to just barely holding on to the top 30. I wonder when he’ll convert to relief … and then how quickly he’ll be in the majors after that as a lefty reliever who can get guys out.
  • Darren Baker up a couple slots; the guy’s nearly hitting .300 in AAA as a 24yr old, not sure what else you want from him. Most of the 2021 draft class is still in High-A, if they’re even still here.
  • Dustin Saenz, Andy Acevedo, and Edwin Solano: were ranked 28th-30th before and now have gotten bumped with the new additions.
  • Jake Irvin was ranked 16th; he now has 17 starts under his belt in the majors and has lost his rookie eligibility.

Written by Todd Boss

August 11th, 2023 at 9:48 am

Posted in Prospects

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

What are the Nats going to do with all these OFs?


Crews; does he start in High-A or AA in 2024? Photo via his twitter.

So, heading into the 2023 draft, a slew of the Nats’ top prospect talents were outfielders. Look at any prospect ranking list for our system and you’ll see top 10 players like Wood, Hassell, Green, Vaquero, etc. I was on board early pining for Skenes as our pick at 1-2 instead of Crews, thinking that, “hey we have a lot of top-end OF talent” and, also, “hey we need some starter prospects.” Alas it was not meant to be; Skenes blew up in the CWS and Pittsburgh popped him 1-1.

So we went and drafted Crews in the 1st, plus Pinckney in the 4th and Nunez in the 14th.

Where the heck are all these guys going to play?

Here’s a quick look at the OF depth chart thanks to the Big Board, with what it looks like now and what it may look like in 2024 with this influx of new talent.

Right now, listing guys in order LF/CF/RF and then backups/DHs

  • AAA: Rutherford, Hill, Alu, with Reyes and Blankenhorn as backups.

Most of these guys are MLFAs signed either in 2022 or 2023. Hill just got DFA’d off the 40-man. Alu is kind of a utility guy who’s filling in in the OF right now. Mazara just got released. Rutherford is crushing the ball this season, but I wonder if any of these guys are really in the long term plans for the team. I could see a couple of them getting call-ups post-trade deadline if we move some players and need some bodies (Alu since he’s on the 40-man, probably Rutherford too b/c he’s earned it). But for 2024, lots of room here.

  • AA: Young, Hassell, Wood, with Harris and Casey as backups.

Wood and Hassell are basically our two top prospects right now, but both are struggling in AA. Young got promoted up this year and is hitting .300 in AA so far but has no power. Casey was demoted down to AA and is a backup, and seems like he’s not long for the organization. Harris seems like an undersized backup.

  • High-A: Lile, De La Rosa, McKenzie with Shumpert, Antuna, Wilson as backups.

Antuna is hitting .176 and seems to finally have been taken out of a starting spot; this latest draft class should finally result in his release. Shumpert is a converted SS. Lile just got promoted up to High-A, otherwise nobody here is hitting well. Wilson is 27 and was demoted from AAA for some reason. Its hard to see any of these guys pushing for a promotion the rest of the way.

  • Low-A: Emiliani, Green, De La Cruz, with Quintana, Thomas as backups

Emiliani was a 1B but apparently can lumber around LF now, and just got demoted back to Low-A. Quintana may be permanently moved to 1B and may not count here. Green, for all his prospect starlight, is not hitting well at all. De La Cruz is struggling. So is Thomas. Seems like these guys will be repeating Low-A unless they blow up the rest of the way.

  • FCL: Ochoa Leyva, Vaquero, Cox with Baca and a slew of guys hitting under .200

Vaquero is the big-name here and he’s hitting .300 as an 18yr old so far in Rookie. Ochoa Leyva holding his own. Cox is not and is looking like a huge 4th round bust so far.

  • DSL: Tejada, Acevedo, Batista with Soto and three other 2023 IFAs as backups.

Batista hitting .303, the rest of them hitting like .150. I can’t see any of them getting promoted.

Here’s what we could be looking at as your starting OFs 2024. Maybe it’s not quite as hard as I thought.

  • AAA: Hassell, Wood, Rutherford, with MLFAs (Hill, Blankenhorn, Reyes released or resigned)
  • AA: Young, Harris, McKenzie, Lile (Casey relesaed)
  • High-A: Crews, Pinckney, Green, De la Rosa, Shumpert (Wilson, Antuna released)
  • Low-A: Vaquero, De La Cruz, Nunez, Ochoa Leyva (Thomas, Emiliani released)
  • FCL: Cox, Baca, Batista, Marte, Peoples (Contreras, Ramirez released)
  • DSL: Current crew plus 2024 signees forcing 2023 underperformer relases

This would mean:

  • Aggressively promote Wood in particular to AAA and hope that Hassell continues to develop. Rutherford back in AAA assuming we layer him in the MLB level, otherwise looking at more veteran MLFAs for AAA.
  • Definitely aggressive with promotions of McKenzie and Lile to AA, based on their already being promoted this season. Harris and Young treading water.
  • This would put new draftees Crews and Pinckney at High-A to start 2024. I do not buy that Crews will do the AFL->AA Strasburg path. Maybe he will and you’re seeing Lile or McKenzie back in High A instead.
  • High-A also has too many players … that’s the squeeze. So maybe that does support Crews in AA. this plan has Green promoted (even though he’s not meriting right now) but DLR staying put.
  • Nunez at Low-A. Seems right. He is joined by two guys moving up from rookie ball. But not Cox, who may be a blown 4th rounder.
  • Everyone else in Rookie ball/DSL staying put, or perhaps 1-2 DSL guys moving inland.

So, maybe the crunch isn’t as bad as we thought. Eventually though if these guys all matriculate as expected, we’re going to have some logjams in the MLB outfield, and likely some trades to acquire assets.

Written by Todd Boss

July 26th, 2023 at 11:30 am

Baseball America Nats top 30 mid-season check in


House working his way back up the rankings. Photo via

Now that we’re past CWS, but not yet to the draft, lets clear out some psots.

If a major prospect scouting shop publishes a top 30 list, you know i’m all over it. On June 15th, BA did so for our team. Here’s an analysis of the list, looking at players who rose/fell against BA’s list in January, as well as how BA’s rankings for a player may be out of whack with the general consensus by all the major shops.

Here’s the Mid-Season BA top 30 list in order:

BA Rank 6/15/23Last NameFirst NamePosition
1WoodJamesOF (Corner)
2Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
4GreenElijahOF (CF)
5CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
6RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
7VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
8BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
9SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
10De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
11LileDaylenOF (CF)
12WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
13HenryColeRHP (Starter)
15LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
16IrvinJakeRHP (Starter)
18FerrerJoseLHP (Reliever)
20BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
22QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
24ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
25CroninMattLHP (Reliever)
26SaenzDustinLHP (Starter)
27YoungJacobOF (CF)

Now, here’s some observations.

  • Same top 2 for BA as in January, and confirming that Wood may be the best player we got in the whole post-World Series dumping. He’s settled a bit since his AA promotion, but still has an OPS north of .800 in AA at age 20.
  • They’ve elevated House a couple spots, and they have him higher than anyone else had him this spring at #3. Why? Because he forced his way into High-A a couple of weeks ago and looks recovered from back and wrist issues. 2023 OPS so far: .829. not bad.
  • Big Riser: Rutledge; #9 in January, #6 now and in stark contrast to other shops, one of which has him all the way down at #17. And who can blame them? So far in 2023; 11 starts, 3.18 ERA, 1.11 whip in AA. Last year in Low-A: 20 starts, 4.90 ERA, 1.39 whip. I mean, who would have predicted that you’d take a guy who couldn’t get guys out in Low-A, bump him up two levels, and suddenly he’s a top prospect again?
  • Jake Bennett bumped up 3 spots from #11 to #8. It was probably dumb to start the guy in low-A as a 2nd round pick from a major conference with CWS experience … and rightfully so, he dominated it in April and early May. Lets hope he pushes for another promotion and ends the season in AA.
  • Daylen Lile: what is going on here? BA had him at #27 in January, basically a non-prospect, now he’s #11 in the system. A true CF with some power and a ton of speed (18 SBs in 19 attempts) and he’s hitting in low-A; he needs a promotion. But where will he go? High-A has 40-man player De La Rosa in CF, AA has Hassell, AAA has Alex Call. In this humble opinion, the Nats could (finally) cut bait on Antuna, who is hitting f*cking .151 in High-A after getting outrighted off the 40-man and it confounds me why he still plays, so as to make some room for Lile or Green, both of whom may need to be promoted soon.
  • Cole Henry treads water at #13, a bit lower than other shops. Its a “show me” season for Henry, to see if he’s recovered from a major shoulder issue. My hops are not high.
  • BA has bumped up Jake Irvin, rightfully so. He may be posting a 5.25 ERA in the majors, but at least he’s in the Majors … which, remember, is the entire point of prospects. Should Irvin be ranked higher than guys like Susana (#9) or Lara (#15), who can’t get guys out in the bus league? Yes he should.
  • Trey Lipscomb gets a bump up a few spots. He’s quietly made his way to AA a year after being drafted … think about this? Lipscomb was a 3rd rounder last year and is in AA, but Bennett was a 2nd rounder and is in High-A. Why? Lipscomb may be in AA due to positional scarcity; he’s not earning it at the plate with a sub-700 OPS figure right now, and he may very well trade spots with House in a few weeks when Brady needs to get moved up and play 3B.
  • #21 Jake Alu gets back onto the rankings after being dropped out of the top 30. #21 seems about right for a 4-A corner infielder/outfielder type.
  • Quintana dumped 5 spots, and rightfully so. He’s struggling in Low-A, and they’ve moved him to be a 1B/DH type. Not good; he’s gonna have to really hit to move forward as a 1B only guy.
  • Mitchell Parker has taken a nose-dive, from #14 in Jan to #24 today. Rightfully so; he’s finally getting hit after succeeding in Low and High-A in the last couple of years. I think this was an inevitability; scouts never favored the guy, who seemed to be getting outs mostly due to deception and a funky delivery. in AA, he’s been exposed so far. One of 2 things happens from here: he either “figures out the level” in early 2024 and keeps on moving, or he’s relegated to be “funky lefty out of the pen” guy, a role that might get him to the majors faster.
  • Matt Cronin also dumped a ton of spots, from #18 in January to #25, and rightly so; he’s getting shelled in AAA as a 25-yr old lefty bullpen arm. Word of caution; if they’re a reliever in college … they better be a really, really good reliever to count on them going forward.
  • Dustin Saenz pops onto the list at #26 after not being ranked by practically anyone for a while, on the strength of his dominating low-A and getting moved to Wilmington. Unfortunately, he was already too old for low-A, made one start in high-A and got shelled. We’ll see where he goes from here.
  • Jacob Young also resurrecting his prospect career, popping in at #27. the 2021 7th rounder without a ton of prospect cred hit .300 in high-A and got moved up to AA, where he’s sharing an OF with two of our best prospects in Hassell and Wood. He’s only 23, and he’s got some speed even if he’s undersized. Should be interesting to see where he goes.
  • Another guy without much prospect love pops in at #28: Darren Baker. I mean, the guy is now in AAA, starting at 24, hitting .300. I’m not sure why he’s not a higher-ranked prospect honestly. Maybe b/c he’s got a limited ceiling as a utility 2B guy in the majors.
  • The last two guys ranked were the top 2 prospects from the 2023 IFA class, Andy Acevedo and Edwin Solano. I call these types of prospects, “Call me in 3 years if/when they show up in Florida.”

Jan 2023 top 30 players now off the list:

  • #16 Thad Ward: probably has exhausted his rookie status at this point.
  • #23 Evan Lee: what happened to this guy? Went from AFL darling to 40-man to a lefty reliever who can’t get guys out in AA at age 26.
  • #26 Gerardo Carrillo; Maybe we over-rated this guy all along. Ok, maybe *I* overrated this guy all along. Initially he presented as a more important player in the big Scherzer/Turner trade; we got back Grey, Ruiz, Carrillo, and Casey. Clearly Ruiz and Grey were the prizes, Casey a utility throw in (who’s now 27 in AA hitting .201), and we have Carrillo, who has never really shown he can get guys out above A Ball and is on the season-ending DL list right now.
  • #28 Tim Cate: BA was one of the last hold-outs on the Tim Cate prospect bandwagon in January, now even they can’t find room.
  • #29 Aldo Ramirez: 8 good starts for Low-A in 2021, and he hasn’t pitched since. Missed all of 2022, still on the 60-day dl halfway through 2023. Will he ever come back?
  • #30 Will Frizzell, the Mr. Irrelevant of the Jan 2023 list. The team over-promoted him in the off season, quickly exposed him in AA as he hit .155, now he’s back in High-A where he should have been, hitting a healthy .889 OPS figure. Problem is … he’s been a full time DH this entire year, not even taking the field at 1B. Unless he’s posting a thousand OPS figure, its hard to be a prospect like that.

Other Notable names not ranked:

  • Brenner Cox: not every prospect shop likes him, and he couldn’t even come close to cutting it in Low-A this year. Might be a wasted prep 4th rounder.
  • Jared MacKenzie: he hit .400 in low-A last year, true CF. He’s not bad. Would you put him above a 1B only guy who’s the same age but in a lower league? Probably.
  • Seth Shuman: Looked great in High-A until a sudden season ending injury (which screams TJ); no wonder he’s not on the fringes of the top 30.
  • Samuel Infante, Brandon Boissiere, Jackson Cluff: what happened to these guys?
  • Yasel Antuna: just kidding.

Written by Todd Boss

June 28th, 2023 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Prospects

2023 CWS Regionals Recap


Its College Baseball post-season time, something we’ve followed in this space for years. Here’s a quick guide to the CWS 2023 post season.

First off, some resources for you.

Your top 8 seeds and favorites to make Omaha before play started, in order, along with their RPI and their Strength of Schedule (SoS) denoted:

  1. Wake Forest (RPI=1, SoS=33)
  2. Florida (4,17)
  3. Arkansas (3,4)
  4. Clemson (6,6)
  5. LSU (5,13)
  6. Vanderbilt (7,5)
  7. Virginia (10,57)
  8. Stanford (15,37)

Six of the top eight national seeds are also top 8 of RPI, with UVA getting dinged b/c they typically play such a poor mid-week schedule, and Stanford gets dinged despite crushing the Pac-12 because of a down year in that conference. The two missing top=8 RPI seeds?

  • Kentucky at #2 RPI based on their #1 strength of schedule. They’re the #12 overall seed, hosting a regional but set to go to LSU in the super regional, a dagger of a matchup for two good teams.
  • South Carolina at #8 RPI based on their #3 strength of schedule. They’re the #15 overall seed, meaning they project into #2 Florida for another potentially brutal all SEC super regional.

Local DC/MD/VA local teams in the tourney:

  • Virginia: a top 8 national seed, slightly over seeded. They get a somewhat easier regional with Oklahoma as their #2, and project to host Coastal Carolina in a super regional; they have a pretty clear path to Omaha.
  • George Mason makes the tourney for the first time in years, and for their troubles are a #4 seed heading to Wake Forest. Brutal draw.
  • Maryland also heading to Wake’s draw as that regional’s #2 seed; why these two teams aren’t in Charlottesville is kind of beyond me.
  • West Virginia is heading to Kentucky’s regional as that #2 seed; hard to see them getting out.

Other local teams who we thought had a chance: Virginia Tech’s rpi is 48, but they had a 12-17 ACC record. William & Mary was the next highest ranked DMV team; they were just .500 in CAA play. Liberty took a big step back this year, as did JMU when they matriculated a 1st round pick. Kind of a down year for local schools.

Quick Regional Recaps of the 16 regional action, ordered by National Seed super Regional matchup

  • #1 Wake Forest silenced any doubters, winning this regional by a combined score of 48-7, topping the surprising mid-major George Mason in the regional final.
  • #16 Alabama made it look easy, cruising to 3 straight wins to take its regional.
  • #8 Stanford saved some fact by forcing a Monday decider against TAMU, and then completed the come back to advance.
  • #9 Miami was outclassed at home by Texas twice to lose the regional in a battle between two of college baseball’s most historic programs.
  • #5 LSU held serve and moved on in a regional that basically went chalk. LSU threw Skenes in the opener for some reason and he pitched a complete game versus Tulane (who entered the tourney 19-41). 9ip, 2ER 12Ks 0 walks. not sure why they didn’t hold him for Oregon State but it doesn’t matter since they advanced and he’ll go game 1 of the super regional.
  • #12 Kentucky lost in the winner’s bracket final but came out of the loser’s bracket to force the Monday decider. In that game, they edged Indiana to advance.
  • #4 Clemson lost a stunner of a 14 inning marathon to last year’s #1 team Tennessee and it seemed to deflate them; they didn’t even get back to the regional final as Tennessee tops Charlotte to advance and knock out the ACC power.
  • #13 Auburn got beat two straight as a host and Ivy League Penn was in the driver’s seat until Southern Miss beat them twice on Sunday to advance.
  • #3 Arkansas got embarrassed by TCU, who beat them 20-5 and 12-4 to take the regional and knock out the national seed.
  • #14 Indiana State outclassed a regional with big-conference names to move on as a mid-major.
  • #6 Vanderbilt shockingly lost to Xavier in the loser’s bracket to exit before even the regional final, clearing the way for Oregon to advance.
  • #11 Oklahoma State was absolutely shocked at home, going 2-and-out. The pundits predicted that Oral Roberts (the 4th seed here) was no slouch and indeed they took out Dallas Baptist to take the regional with relative ease.
  • #7 UVA won a regional that went perfectly chalk, as Army got outscored 25-2 and UVA beat ECU twice to move on.
  • #10 Coastal Carolina took a huge upset loss on the first day but took out Duke in the regional final to force the Monday winner-take-all. In that game, Duke turned on the offense and cruised 12-3 into the super regionals.
  • #2 Florida bounced back from total embarrassment as the #2 overall seed and beat Texas Tech twice to move on.
  • #15 South Carolina battered their way to the regional title, scoring 41 runs in 3 games.

Thus, your Super Regionals are ...

  • #1 Wake Forest v #16 Alabama
  • #8 Stanford v Texas
  • #5 LSU v #12 Kentucky
  • Tennessee v Southern Miss (Shockingly Southern Miss is the host, not the more famous Tennessee)
  • TCU v #14 Indiana State (TCU = host for some surprising reason)
  • Oregon v Oral Roberts (Oregon = host)
  • #7 UVA v Duke
  • #2 Florida v #15 South Carolina

Talk about carnage of top seeds. #3 Arkansas, #4 Clemson, #6 Vanderbilt all out, and without putting up much of a fight along the way. Just nine of the sixteen hosts advanced. There’s two super regionals that feature both regional hosts eliminated (how do they determine who hosts?) Both of the under-seeded teams by RPI ended up advancing, with South Carolina making a statement.

Super Regional predictions:

  • #1 Wake over Alabama
  • Texas upsets #8 Stanford
  • #5 LSU squeaks by #12 Kentucky (they won 2 of 3 in SEC regular season)
  • Tennessee takes out Southern Miss.
  • TCU continues its upset run over #14 Indiana State
  • Oregon over the Cinderella Oral Roberts
  • Duke upsets #7 UVA (they won 2 of 3 in Charlottesville in the ACC regular season)
  • #15 South Carolina over #2 Florida (they swept Florida in SEC regular season play)

Prospect Watch. From Nats perspective all eyes are on LSU’s super regional, since the top two projected picks both play there. We’ll revisit prospect watch based on the super regionals and who’s still playing. But your top prospects still playing:

  • LSU: Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes, projected to go 1st and 2nd overall
  • Florida: Wyatt Langford, projected top 5 pick, along with another arm in Hurston Waldrep as a 1st round projection.
  • Tennessee: Chase Dollander, who was in the 1-1 mix but who has struggled, continues to build up draft sock.
  • Wake Forest: Their RHP Rhett Lowder is a possible top 10. 3B Brock Wilken end of 1st round.
  • Virginia: their Catcher Kyle Teel and 3B Jake Gelof both top 50 prospects.
  • Miami: 3B Yohandy Morales is a mid-1st rounder
  • Stanford: SS Tommy Troy is a mid-1st rounder
  • TCU 3B Brayden Taylor an end of 1st rounder
  • Texas RHP Tanner Witt a comp-1st round projection

So, lots of draft talent on display this weekend.

Written by Todd Boss

June 6th, 2023 at 8:55 am