Nationals Arm Race

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Prospects361 Nats top 15 list dropped


Robert Hassell III is our new #1 overall prospect. Photo via NBC Sports Washington

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Yesterday we got our first Prospect list of the new season. Prospects361 is always an “early list,” and came out right around this time last year.

I capture every prospect list, and have for years, and keep them in an XLS i periodically upload to the Big Board. Once we get rolling on this season’s lists i’ll do the same.

For now, here’s the top 15 on Prospects361 list with some commentary:

rankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
3GreenElijahOF (CF)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
5SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
7AntunaYaselSS/OF (Corner)
8VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
9De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
10LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
12HenryColeRHP (Starter)
13BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
14CoxBrennerOF (CF)
15ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)

Here’s some thoughts.

  • Seven of these 15 players were acquired in 2022. Hassell, Green, Wood, Vaquero, Susana, Bennett, and Cox. It’d look even better if Abrams and Ruiz and Grey were still in here, but it does give you an idea of the huge talent influx over the past couple of seasons.
  • Robert Hassell seems like he’s going to be our new “#1 prospect on every list until he gets to the majors” going forward: in every list I’ve seen since his acquisition, he’s been #1 (or #2 to C.J. Abrams #1, who just needed a few ABs to lose his rookie eligibility).
  • I have to say … an OF comprised of our top 3 prospects on this list (James Wood in LF, Hassell in CF, and Elijah Greene in RF) sounds … pretty damn good. In 2023 they’ll be 21, 22, and 19 in order, and probably are starting in AA, High-A, and Low-A respectively … but man we can dream on a MLB outfield with all three positions manned by home grown top-end prospects.
  • Our top prospects heading into 2022, guys like Cavalli, and House, are pushed down a bit to 4 and 5. Cavalli probably won’t be on this list for long, having matriculated to the majors and projecting to be in the opening day rotation. House missed a huge chunk of 2022 with a Back issue (not something you generally attribute injury-wise to an 18yr old), which presumably explains his curious lack of power in Low-A this year.
  • Yasel Antuna, listed at #7. Come. On. Here’s the direct quote summarizing his 2022 season: ‘He showed an improved approach at the plate with plus speed and enough power to be a full-time regular at the highest level.” Really?? Lets break down this nonsense point by point:

“Improved approach at the plate?” Really? He hit a combined .215 this year. Ok, so he walked more. Congratulations; he had a combined .352 OBP this year, which was HIGHER than his slugging percentage.

“plus Speed?” He had 27 SBs this year, more than his career combined. Ok i’ll give him that.

“Enough power to be a Full time regular at the highest level?” He hit 10 homers in 99 High-A games in 2022. By way of comparison, he hit 12 homers in 106 High-A games in 2021. Both of those figures were good for Slugging percentages below .400.

So, what is he? A 6.0″ corner OF with some speed, a crap batting average, and some power. He can’t play CF, he no longer can play the infield. He’s undersized. Why does anyone think this is a major prospect at this point? Hassell, by way of comparison, had an OPS of more than 100 points higher in High-A this year, matched him for both homers and SBs in fewer games, had a BA 70 points higher, plays CF, and is two years younger. Now THATS an of prospect. Maybe that’s not fair, comparing Antuna to the #1 guy in our system … fine. Lets compare him to Jeremy De La Rosa, who was also an OF in Wilmington this year and who is ranked LOWER than Antuna: DLR had a higher combined BA, better OBP, better slugging, just as many homers, just as many SBs … plays CF instead of a corner, and is 3 years younger.

I just don’t get it. Why anyone ranks Antuna at this point is beyond me. Ok, enough on Antuna, moving forward.

  • Cole Henry dropped to #12: understandable. He may not ever pitch again.
  • Jake Bennett pops in here; he was an interesting one; he was left completely out of BA’s mid-season post-trade/post-draft rankings for this team, despite being our 2nd round pick in 2022. I’m super curious to see what he does in 2022, presumably in Low-A.
  • Brenner Cox was a polarizing draft pick last year … we have not had good success overpaying Prep kids in these areas of the draft before. We’ll see how he starts his pro career and hope for some positive figures in early 2022.
  • Mitchell Parker gets the last #15 spot. Why isn’t this guy higher? All he did was give the team 24 starts at High-A with 117/67 K/BB ratio in 100 innings and a 2.88 ERA. Perhaps the WHIP is too high (1.43). He’s still a lefty who misses a ton of bats.

Notable names missing out of this top 15:

  • Rutledge; Shocker. Our newest “guy who’s now inexplicably on the 40-man too early” doesn’t even make this top 15 list.
  • Carillo: man what has happened to this guy? He was ranked as high as 6th in our system upon his acquisition. Now he’s relegated to the bullpen and he can’t find the plate.
  • Ferrer and Cronin: new 40-man additions aren’t really top-level prospects, but valuable bullpen arms that typically get plucked in Rule-5.
  • Irvin: another who has lost the prospect luster (was once a top 10 guy for us pre-injury).

Written by Todd Boss

November 26th, 2022 at 8:31 am

Posted in Prospects

4 Responses to 'Prospects361 Nats top 15 list dropped'

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  1. I was just thinking that it’s about time for Top Arms and Top Bats on Luke’s site. It will be the first time in years that we’re not grasping for straws with hitters after #4 or #5. Conversely, the pitching depth in the organization seems to have crashed.

    Are we headed for a Robles (tools) vs. Soto (power) debate between Hassell and Wood? That’s probably not fair to Hassell, as I think he already has better plate discipline and contact skills than Robles, the missing pieces that have waylaid Victor. I guess the hope with Hassell is that his gap-power hit tool is like Rendon’s, that it will be so good that it will carry him until he grows into a little more HR power.

    The Nats have three guys in Wood, Green, and House who have the potential — potential — to have massive HR power. Green and House still have a lot to prove on the contact front. It will be interesting to see where House falls on various prospect list after a short, injury-plagued season. There were some who thought he was the highest-potential-ceiling hitter in the 2021 draft, but apparently you can be forgotten quickly.

    Cruz and Vaquero haven’t done much yet and are ranked almost exclusively on signing bonus . . . as is Antuna (what a joke). What about Alu, Pineda, T.J. White? Cox is certainly someone to watch, but right now, he wouldn’t be in a top 15. I’d have McKenzie ahead of him, and probably Lipscomb as well, just from the draft picks. That said, I’d bet on Cox right now more than I would on de la Rosa, who really struggled at A+ and has yet to show much power.

    Susana looks like he may have an unlimited ceiling if he can harness his stuff. I share the concern about Henry’s future and wouldn’t have him ranked at all. I’m skeptical of Bennett, all the more since he didn’t even tow the rubber after being drafted. They say that they think he can advance quickly, but they took him ahead of Priellip and Tidwell, and all signed for around the same amount. Most had a lower grade on Bennett. So we’ll see.

    Mitchell Parker is an interesting cat. He consistently has had big K numbers despite lacking upper 90s velo. Walks remain a problem, but he’s been pretty good at pitching around them.


    26 Nov 22 at 1:09 pm

  2. Great stuff Todd.
    I can’t say anymore than you did about Cole Henry and Yasel Antuna. Neither should have been on this list.

    KW, your skepticism on Bennett means you were not paying attention. He had pitched past his limit before he was drafted and a lot of high leverage games in the playoffs. He looked good in the instrux.

    Brenner Cox has received some good press since being drafted, look forward to seeing him in Fredericksburg next year.

    Mark L

    27 Nov 22 at 7:08 am

  3. My skepticism about Bennett is mostly based on him being taken ahead of two pitchers who were more highly rated, one of whom went to the Mets (Tidwell). I certainly hope he works out well. I’m glad to hear that he’s not injured, but I also don’t set great store in rumors from Instrux, where Antuna supposedly was a feared power hitter. Cavalli and Henry were both able to start at A+ and move up rapidly. Hope Bennett can do the same.

    Speaking of highly touted pitching prospects, I honestly don’t know how Rutledge should be ranked. His raw stuff apparently is still very good, but obviously it’s very concerning that he was demoted to low A and couldn’t escape it. Having looked through the Rule 5 unprotected guys from other teams, though, Rutledge would have ranked behind 20+ pitchers. There was no earthly way that he was going to be drafted.

    In looking at the list above, I honestly don’t know who my #3 arm in the system would be, behind Cavalli and Susana. Well, I guess it would be Cronin, but I don’t know the #3 starter. As we’ve noted, Henry isn’t worth considering right now. Bennett hasn’t pitched. Lara “played up” but struggled. Denaburg struggled but at least was on the mound. They added Irvin to the 40-man, but his numbers certainly weren’t special.


    27 Nov 22 at 8:17 am

  4. If Bennett starts in Wilmington that would be a great sign.

    Lara was so young for his level he gets a pass from me.

    Mark L

    27 Nov 22 at 9:36 am

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