Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats top prospects; where to see them in 2015


Inspired by a’s similar data for their top 100 players, here’s a look at the Nats top 30 prospects, where they’re starting the 2015 season, and where we expect to see them by year’s end.  I’ve also thrown in where they were last year and a prediction of where they’ll be at year’s end.  (Along the same theme,  here’s where all 300 named players from Keith Law‘s per-system top 10s are starting as well).

For my top list of prospects, I’m using’s list and rankings … and have thrown in Trea Turner in his approximate MLB ranking (around 4th-5th in our system).

Rank Name 2014 Location(s) 2015 Opening Day Location 2015 Eventual Primary Location 2015 Projected Ending Location
1 Lucas Giolito Low-A XST High-A High-A/AA if he excels
2 Michael Taylor AAA to MLB debut MLB AAA/MLB injury dependent MLB bench
3 A.J. Cole AA to AAA AAA AAA primarily/MLB 9/1 callup MLB debut
4 Reynaldo Lopez Short-A to Low-A XST High-A High-A/AA if he excels
4.5 Trea Turner Low-A Fort Wayne (SD) AA (SD) High-A /AA ? AA, especially if he’s starting there for SD
5 Joe Ross High-A to AA AA AA AAA with good AA performance
6 Erick Fedde College/HS (UNLV) XST (DL) GCL Short-A
7 Jakson Reetz GCL XST Short-A Short-A
8 Wilmer Difo Low-A High-A High-A High-A
9 Drew Ward Low-A High-A High-A High-A
10 Austin Voth Low-A to AA AA AA AAA with good AA performance
11 Pedro Severino High-A AA AA AA
12 Nick Pivetta Low-A High-A High-A High-A
13 Jefry Rodriguez Short-A to Low-A XST Low-A Low-A
14 Brian Goodwin AAA to MLB debut XST (DL) AAA MLB depth if he can rebound
15 Victor Robles DSL XST GCL GCL
16 Felipe Rivero AA AAA AAA full-time AAA
17 Drew Vettleson AA AA AA AAA since he’s repeating AA
18 Rafael Bautista Low-A High-A High-A High-A
19 Jake Johansen Low-A High-A High-A High-A
20 Spencer Kieboom Low-A High-A High-A High-A
21 Robbie Dickey Short-A to Low-A XST Low-A Low-A
22 Matt Skole AA AA AAA AAA , MLB bench if he regains his power
23 Tony Renda High-A AA AA AA
24 Anderson Franco DSL XST GCL GCL
25 Taylor Hill AAA to MLB debut AAA AAA as starter depth MLB depth as needed
26 Raudy Read Short-A Low-A Low-A Low-A
27 Chris Bostick High-A Myrtle Beach High-A High-A AA
28 Sammy Solis High-A/Injury rehab XST AA AA
29 Matt Purke AA AA AA AA/AAA if he can successfully convert to relief
30 Abel De Los Santos High-A Myrtle Beach AA AA AA

I’ve uploaded the XLS that I used to create this spreadsheet to google here.   You can sort the spreadsheet online by any of the columns (in fact, i’ve added a pseudo-rank column for each category for intelligent sorting from high level to low) to see where these guys will be by team.  To summarize:

  • 6 of them should be in Syracuse most of the year
  • 8-9 in Harrisburg
  • 10-11 in Potomac
  • 3 in Hagerstown
  • likely 4 in short season ball.

So, lots of talent close by in Potomac …. as we all already knew.

Fyi; i’m going to re-publish my spreadsheets of prospect and farm system rankings soon after a bunch more rankings came in and I did some historical research. I filled in a bunch of previous rankings (lots and lots of google research) and have links to every ranking that I could find.  For those of you with old Baseball America handbooks, I could use the rankings out of there to complete these xls.  More later.

19 Responses to 'Nats top prospects; where to see them in 2015'

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  1. Cole was a bit shaky last night, while Voth and Pivetta were excellent. The latter two are a bit under the radar with most folks, but Voth in particular made a huge leap last year. With a solid 2015, he would have a chance to get into the 2016 starter competition for the big club.

    In relief, Rivero and Johansen both struggled last night. Johansen in particular is starting to look like a questionable pick. Along similar lines, I did see on Luke’s site that Mooneyham has been added to the DL for Hagerstown, so apparently he hasn’t been released.

    I was surprised at the news that Trea Turner is starting at AA. He went 0-3 last night, along with nearly every other hitter in the Nats’ organization, even that Werth “kid.”


    10 Apr 15 at 4:23 pm

  2. Very happy to see Voth’s strong AA start. Would love to see him at AAA half way through (supplanting one of the veteran FAs we signed to eat innings up there) and pushing for a rotation spot in the majors. I just have a feeling he could be that underrated Tim Hudson/Kris Medlen type to gets by on command instead of heat.

    Johansen; he’s already out as a starter. What the heck is going on?

    Todd Boss

    10 Apr 15 at 4:36 pm

  3. Severino threw out the first five attempts to steal. Holy Moley!


    10 Apr 15 at 10:13 pm

  4. Nats have scored 7 runs this year and Taylor has driven in 3 or them with XBHs–so we can imagine how much worse it would look had Span started the season.

    Also sad to see that Tyler Moore is “hitting” his way right off the team.

    Karl Kolchack

    10 Apr 15 at 10:41 pm

  5. fore– Great pickup on Severino. I had missed it. There was some worry that he might not be ready for AA,
    I worked with a guy who played pro for 4 years (made it to high A)and when he went to the PFitz last year at my prodding he was totally blown away by Severino. All he could talk about was the perfect throws to second whenever someone tried to steal.
    The 2nd baseman never had to move his glove!

    Speaking of catchers, if Reetz is as hot of a prospect as I’ve been reading, he should at least get a taste of Hagerstown this year.

    Mark L

    11 Apr 15 at 7:47 am

  6. Although he’s no longer on the “prospect” list, Taylor Jordan was terrific last night. He could be in a lot of MLB rotations right now.

    Skole has a walk-off HR.


    11 Apr 15 at 7:40 pm

  7. Trea Turner remains hitless in AA, but thus far he is perfect in the field, unlike our current MLB incumbent.

    Taylor Hill had a strong start last night for Syracuse. Joe Ross was pretty pedestrian Friday at AA.

    Might as well keep talking about the minor-leaguers since the big club is pretty infuriating at the moment. Even though we got a run out of it, Danny’s LH double was decidedly a mixed blessing, as I’m sure it means the end of his RH-only experiment, which clearly he never bought. Ugh.


    12 Apr 15 at 7:48 am

  8. Because of the sickening performance at the big league level, it’s worth noting some very positive early signs from the system:

    Even with most of the “top prospects’ in the organization shelved in XST or “DL”, the starting pitching up and down the organization has been altogether outstanding. The Nats are STACKED with SP. Voth, Espino and Hill may not have been a surprise, but Jordan has carried a spring of promise forward and added forgotten depth. Brian Rauh may be repeating a level, and may be keeping a spot warm for the more heralded types, but one cannot argue with his five scoreless innings. Luis Reyes served notice that he deserves the promotion he was given, and Austen Williams did as well.

    Pedro Severino may be hitless, but he has erased all six attempted basestealers. Matt Skole may be striking out too often, but the guy hits clutch and that will be why fans love him and he earns his shot. And Tony Renda keeps on hitting, one level up.

    Want to know what the Nats really think of Chris Bostick? He’s hitting cleanup on a team with Wooten in the lineup.

    Jason Martinson is being developed as a Ben Zobrist type, already having played LF, 3B, even as SS is his best position. And he is, hold your breath, actually hitting.

    Trouble in the pen? Rafael Martin will not be denied. Nor will Matt Grace.

    Promising early starts for Jeff Gardner shows that the 2014 draft yield will come into clearer focus this year.


    12 Apr 15 at 11:13 am

  9. Severino threw out another runner today, and is still batting .000. Does he get a hit or let up a SB first?

    McGregor, Lively, and Fornataro pitched for Syracuse. Wow. There’s gotta be something better for AAA.

    Andrew R

    13 Apr 15 at 12:47 am

  10. Honestly, I thought AAA’s rotation would be Cole, Jordan, Hill, Treinen and Rivero. But McGregor re-signed to continue to be the swingman, probably knowing there’d be an opportunity. And sure enough there is; not sure why the team would be “demoting” Rivero at this point, and Treinen has to cover in the mlb bullpen (perhaps all season?)

    I think both McGregor and Lively serve as placeholders until Treinen returns and/or someone like Voth/Ross earns a promotion up the chain.

    Todd Boss

    13 Apr 15 at 9:34 am

  11. Placeholders are all over the upper levels of the system. Let’s see how things look in mid-May when the many prospects and XSTs settle in.

    Espino will be in AAA soon enough as well.Remember that he resigned as a MLFA after a dominant last part of year. He is no filler.

    Lively will be the first to go. McGregor is higher thought of.

    Rivero may well be headed to the AAA rotation, but just in the bullpen for the mental leap of consistency and mechanics. No way have they given up on him as a starter.


    13 Apr 15 at 10:06 am

  12. Taylor I may be headed to Syracuse soon, but he is outperforming Souza early. What happens if he catches fire in the next two weeks? No way he sits…


    13 Apr 15 at 11:20 am

  13. I was a little surprised that the Nats optioned den Dekker today, as they now have no one besides Taylor who can play CF (unless you counter Harper). Taylor seems to be doing enough to warrant strong consideration to stay with the big club upon Span’s return, all the more so if McOut isn’t on the horizon. If it’s Taylor vs. Reed Johnson for the RH outfield reserve, I’d go with Taylor based on early returns.

    Clint Robinson is looking like a revelation. As things stand currently (recognizing that it’s early), he’s looking like a significant LH bat upgrade on what McLouth provided last season. Meanwhile, T-Mo seems to be blowing his last, best chance. I thought the bell might toll for him today.

    As for the other out-of-options guy, how many more chances will Cedeno get before Grace gets his call? I’m thinking they may be keeping Rivero in relief at AAA to keep him in that competition, but he wasn’t good in his first outing.


    13 Apr 15 at 12:37 pm

  14. Good point on den Dekker. I’ve always thought Harper could play center … maybe he’s the backup for now if Taylor gets whacked for some reason. Or maybe McLouth is clsoer than we think?

    Great point on Rivero in relief in AAA; same reasoning as Treinen.

    Todd Boss

    13 Apr 15 at 1:12 pm

  15. Den Dekker had options, and he is rotting on the bench. No risk by sending him down. Doesn’t bode well for Tony Gwynn, though.

    Taylor will not do well off the bench. Unless he tears it up, he will go back. If he does tear it up, and that is certainly possible, perhaps he will force his way into a three outfielder rotation, at least while Span and Werth work their way back.

    Assuming Rendon is the next one back, Uggla has to be on the bubble (not Espinosa).

    As for Moore, I think they cut him loose only if Reed Johnson continues to hit off the bench and Moore does not. Sad to see that he had a brief window that is closing; perhaps he can get a start in LF with Werth at DH in Boston.

    But what do I know? I panned Escobar and he looks like a Rizzo buy low special.


    13 Apr 15 at 1:17 pm

  16. I think McLouth is away on administrative leave. Is he really even hurt? I think he is less likely to play for the Nats this year than Hamilton is to play for the Angels.

    Sad about MdD – it should have been Reed. denDekker has many more assets the team needs (CF defense, speed, lefty) than Reed (gritty, experienced).

    I’m on the Escobar bandwagon. I like the way he plays and love the versatility.

    Andrew R

    13 Apr 15 at 1:22 pm

  17. One other heads up for us all. Keep an eye on Manny Rodriguez at Potomac. The guy is looking like The Truth.


    13 Apr 15 at 1:38 pm

  18. Totally agree about Escobar so far; he plays with a flair, he’s got swagger and confidence. He does not look “scared” at the plate; he looks dangerous. Has taken to not just one but two new positions without any complaint this season, showing his flexibility to the team? I like what I see so far too.

    Todd Boss

    13 Apr 15 at 2:10 pm

  19. […] (2015’s version of this post) […]

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