Nationals Arm Race

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

Kiley McDaniel/ESPN Nats 2022 Prospect lists


We’re a bit deep into the season to do prospect list reviews … but somehow I missed the ESPN Insider Kiley McDaniel‘s prospect list release. That’s directly do to the fact that eliminated their RSS feeds for their writers and make it nearly impossible to keep up with their new content unless (of course) you go to their website daily. Which of course I don’t have time to do.

So, I noticed I was missing a near-annual list from this leading pundit, and went and found it. Released March 23rd, 2022. I’m pretty sure its behind ESPN insider’s paywall, so apologies if you cannot see the above.

McDaniel is definitely an international expert, and he’s definitely heavier on the ceiling than the floor, especially with younger players. So keep that in mind when you see 19yr olds perhaps a bit higher than other, more “sure thing” players.

Here’s his full list:

Kiley RankLast NameFirst NamePosition
3CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
4HenryColeRHP (Starter)
5LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
6RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
7AdonJoanRHP (Starter)
8LileDaylenOF (CF)
9VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
11AntunaYaselSS/OF (Corner)
12CarrilloGerardoRHP (Starter)
13CroninMattLHP (Reliever)
14CateTimLHP (Starter)
15RamirezAldoRHP (Starter)
16ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
17WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
18De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
20RomeroSethLHP (Starter)
21SaenzDustinLHP (Starter)
22DenaburgMasonRHP (Starter)
23BoissiereBrandenOF (Corner)
24QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
25BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
28LeeEvanLHP (Starter)
30CaseyDonovanOF (Corner)

Lets talk about the players one by one who are notable for where he had them ranked:

  • Ruiz is “eligible” on his list so he’s #1.
  • McDaniel is one of the few pundits to put House over Cavalli.
  • He remains very high on Rutledge, having him #6 in our system.
  • He’s easily the high man on Daylen Lile, loved him as a prospect last year as one of the best “pure hitters” in the draft. We didn’t see that in last year’s FCL though, so this is definitely a ranking based on faith of the scouting report.
  • He’s dinged Antuna down to #11, which I think is fair. This is the same Antuna who is STILL not hitting (current high-A slash line for 2022: .216/.382/.715. He now has hit 1,000 career pro at bats and has a career slash line of .236/.324/.364. At some point, pundits and front office execs are going to have to acknowledge the facts on him.
  • He’s lower on Carrillo than most, but only a few slots.
  • He’s quite high on T.J. White as compared to other shops, some of whom didn’t even rank him in their top 30 (Baseball America). So far in 2022, as an 18yr old he’s slashing .250/.333/.422 in a league where the pitchers are on average 3.5 years older than him. Wow.
  • He remains somewhat hopeful on Seth Romero, having him ranked 20th.
  • He’s one of the few to rank Dustin Saenz, having him 21st and describing him as “a better-than-the-sum-of-his-parts squatty lefty with an above-average heater and good feel who could travel the Parker path to a backend rotation outcome.
  • He also is one of the few to rate Boissiere, having him ranked 23rd.
  • He’s quite low in comparison on players like Cluff and Casey, perhaps because he views them as org pieces and not stars.

Notable players not in his top 32

  • No Holden Powell … but nobody has him ranked this year with his injuries.
  • no Daniel Marte; most other shops at least had him in their 20s.
  • No Riley Adams, who would have been eligible here if Ruiz was.
  • No Tres Barrera or any other veteran minor league catcher.

conclusion: I like this ranking, a lot. He has House over Cavalli, he has Henry #4 and of Henry says, “Henry is the consensus fourth prospect in this system with a lot of differing opinions beyond that. After an up-and-down time with raw stuff in college, he’s now back to sitting 94-96 mph with an above average-to-plus hook, improving changeup and starter traits. He should be in Double-A this year and is a safer bet for rotation value than Cavalli, but with a little less upside.

Written by Todd Boss

May 26th, 2022 at 8:27 am

Posted in Prospects

5 Responses to 'Kiley McDaniel/ESPN Nats 2022 Prospect lists'

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  1. I’d have to find a way to sneak Jose Sanchez onto this list. and of course, I’ve already indicated I may like Connell too much.


    26 May 22 at 10:16 am

  2. That’s a good write-up, and by someone well-connected in the industry, not just doing it in his garage. But if anyone in the industry still has any interest in Seth Romero, please take him! What a disaster he has been. I saw Mark calling him out at the end of the last post. As some may remember, I was adamant BEFORE the draft that they shouldn’t take him. I mean, when your college teammates beat you up but YOU get suspended, um, how big of a prick must you be? Also, where’s the actual talent? He showed up in the majors barely breaking 90 and not fooling anyone. Now he’s suffering from the world’s longest calf strain.

    I hope his enthusiasm for Lile pans out. White got off to a great start, got injured, and has barely made contact since coming back. (See Will’s note on him today at Nats Prospects.) McDaniel’s note on Boissiere reflects the concern I’ve had since the draft. There’s just not much room in the game today for 1B with only gap power.

    I’ve weighed in before on House vs. Cavalli. I think House’s ceiling is higher, but of course he has much farther to go that Cavalli to reach it.

    Rutledge has not looked good this season. Denaburg finally debuted last night and struggled. Of course it’s possible to cut him some slack after not being in game action for three years.

    At the top of the list, Ruiz isn’t disappointing. He’s a catcher who is going to hit close to .300 on a regular basis, which is pure gold. I think the power will come, but even if it doesn’t, he’ll still be solid. He also has look better than advertised behind the plate.


    26 May 22 at 2:21 pm

  3. This being from March is slmost a historical artifact since we now have 2 months of games to pour over.

    Let’s just list the ones who have proven to be much better.

    Sammy Infante
    Jeremy De La Rosa
    Zach Brzykcy
    Mitchell Parker

    The one I’m most surprised about is Sammy Infamte. He is much better than last year, he’s developed in to a true prospect.

    Mark L

    26 May 22 at 2:27 pm

  4. Infante had a massive April with 7 HRs and 20 RBIs . . . and 23 K’s. His average in May is decent (.271), but his production has disappeared — 2 HRs (in one game) and 4 RBIs. Fburg as a team has been terrible with RISP. He has posted five of his seven doubles during June.

    All in all, yes, he looks a lot more legit this season than last. He turns 21 next month. K rate of 28.9% is concerning, following 30.1 last season. He’s only taken two walks in May.

    Of course there’s also the question of what’s his position. He was drafted as a SS. He’s already been moved off of short to 3B so House can play short . . . even though it’s almost universally thought that House will end up at third. They paid Cruz a fortune to be the SS of the future, although his bat was a wet noodle last year. They don’t seem to trust Garcia’s defense at short, so he’s probably ticketed for 2B. (That said, when they stop manipulating his service time and actually call him up this year, it likely will be at SS, at least until they trade Cesar Hernandez.)

    De la Rosa is a year and half younger than Infante, and his emergence looks more sustainable than Infante’s, despite an inflated .425 BABIP. He had a solid April and has followed it up with an en fuego May (albeit still with 19 K’s). He seems a strong candidate for promotion soon. There’s certainly no one in the OF at the next level standing in his way. It’s very good to see him becoming something, as his stats the previous two seasons hadn’t indicated “prospect,” despite the hype.


    27 May 22 at 9:29 am

  5. The positional deal is also a question as the Nats consider draft picks at #5. It’s widely agreed that there probably isn’t a pitcher in the top 10. Nearly all the top college hitters are infielders, nearly all of them of questionable position (likely not SS) — Jung, Berry, Lee, Collier. The exception is Parada, the GA Tech catcher with an insane 26 homers so far this season. The Nats have NO need for a catcher, although Callis in his mock draft this week writes that “The Nationals’ primary target appears to be Parada, who has a good chance to get to No. 5 as long as Holliday doesn’t go 1-1.” He has Elijah Green as their Plan B. (FWIW, FanGraphs has Parada way down at #32 on their board, although they don’t seem to have accounted for his spring performance.)

    Among the college bats, I think Jung is probably the safest bet. Green certainly is a toolsy temptation, although if the draft were to play out as Callis has it, would they pass on the safer bat of Termarr Johnson to gamble on the potential ceiling of Green? Jackson Holliday might also be in the mix, although he is rocketing up boards (all the way to #1 for Callis).

    Callis 5/25 mock:


    27 May 22 at 11:55 am

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