Nationals Arm Race

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

BA Handbook Nats top 30 Reaction


Hassell is a top prospect and a major part of our future outfield. Photo via nbcsports

One of the big 4 of prospect rankings (BA, MLBpipeline, Fangraphs, and Keith Law) published their rankings this week, by way of their annual Handbook. Thanks to Luke Erickson who posted a 2-part post listing the names (part1 and part2). He also had his own reactions and thoughts.

Here’s the list from 1-30 for reference.

Last NameFirst NamePositionAcquisitionBonusBA Handbook rank
WoodJamesOF (Corner)2021 2nd26000001
Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)2020 1st43000002
GreenElijahOF (CF)2022 1st65000003
CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)2020 1st30270004
HouseBradySS/3B2021 1st50000005
VaqueroCristianOF (CF)2022 IFA49000006
SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)2022 IFA17000007
De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)2018 IFA3000008
RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)2019 1st34500009
WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)2021 5th40000010
BennettJakeLHP (Starter)2022 2nd173480011
CruzArmandoSS2021 IFA390000012
HenryColeRHP (Starter)2020 2nd200000013
ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)2020 5th10000014
LaraAndryRHP (Starter)2019 IFA125000015
WardThadRHP (Starter)2018 5th27500016
QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)2019 IFA82000017
CroninMattLHP (Reliever)2019 4th46450018
PinedaIsraelC2016 IFA45000019
FerrerJoseLHP (Reliever)2017 IFA?20
BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)2020 NDFA2000021
IrvinJakeRHP (Starter)2018 4th55000022
LeeEvanLHP (Starter)2018 15th12500023
LipscombTrey3B2022 3rd75850024
MillasDrewC2019 7th17000025
CarrilloGerardoRHP (Reliever)2016 IFA7500026
LileDaylenOF (CF)2021 2nd175000027
CateTimLHP (Starter)2018 2nd98620028
RamirezAldoRHP (Starter)2018 IFA45000029
FrizzellWill1B2021 8th17980030

And here’s my reactions. Note: the BA top 10 was previously published on 12/1/22 and nothing in the top 10 has changed. So, comments on the top 10 will sound familiar.

  • the top 8 are basically the same as anyone else’s top 8 for the system.
  • Hassell over Green, otherwise consistent with the last few rankings.
  • Rutledge at #9. I won’t go into it again. Relevant stats: 4th pro season, 4.90 ERA and 1.39 WHIP as a 25yr old in Low-A. $3.45M draft bonus, 1st rounder in 2019, and now on the 40-man.
  • As Prospects1500 did, T.J. White bumped up all the way to #10.
  • Cole Henry down at #13. Fangraphs had him at #2 in July.
  • Mitchell Parker at #14, as compared to Prospects1500, which had him buried at #27, or MLBpipeline, which had him similarly buried in the off-season. I like the respect here.
  • Rule 5 pickup Thad Ward at #16 now in the system. An indictment for sure, as Erickson noted.
  • Matt Cronin at #18, when others have had him well below. Is a lefty reliever specialist a good prospect, or a fungible replacement level player?
  • Israel Pineda, at #19 in the system. After years of underperforming, he hit well at AA this year, moved to AAA briefly and was added to the 40-man. Is this the real deal?
  • Jake Irvin. #22 here, #35 at Prospects1500, and outside the top 30 at the last MLB ranking. I mean, I guess if you’re scouting the score line his AA line this year wasn’t great (4.79 ERA), but his WHIP was decent, his K/BB good, and after years away thanks to injury and Covid it was a promising season. Now he’s on the 40-man and he’s gonna get MLB starts this year. Is this a #22 prospect?
  • Evan Lee at #23, when he was outside the top 50 on prospect1500. I think this is a decent ranking for now until we see how his injury shakes out.
  • Trey Lipscomb at #24; well below the lofty #15 spot Prospcts1500 had him.
  • Tim Cate, still hanging in there at #28. Just can’t let him go can you?

outside the top 30:

  • Any of our 2023 IFA signings; i guess BA doesn’t start considering them until they start playing.
  • Jared McKenzie: mid 20s in other shops, outside our top 30. we’ll see how he does in 2023.
  • Brenner Cox: #11 on Prospects1500, outside BA’s top 30? This seems like a miss.
  • Samuel Infante: Our 2nd rounder just three years ago is nowhere to be found. Our sordid history of sh*tty 2nd round picks continues. Stop me when you hear a name you like: Bennett, Lile, Infante, Forfeited for Corbin, Cate, Crowe, Neuse, Stevenson & Perkins, Suarez who didn’t sign, Johansen, Renda, Forfeited for Werth signing, Solis, Koburnus, Hood, Smolinksi & Zimmermann. OK, that’s frigging going back to 2007 before we find a for-real impact 2nd rounder. That’s ridiculous!!!
  • Jake Alu: ok so we can rank Cate in the top 30, a guy who has basically ZERO chance of playing in the majors at this point, versus Alu, who we can almost guarantee is going to break camp with the MLB roster in 2023.
  • Hey, at least they didn’t rank Yasel Antuna.

Written by Todd Boss

January 27th, 2023 at 9:52 pm

Posted in Nats in General

4 Responses to 'BA Handbook Nats top 30 Reaction'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'BA Handbook Nats top 30 Reaction'.

  1. As I noted on Luke’s site, this ranking list seems somewhat lazy. Todd points out most of the curiosities.

    I do like/agree with a few things:

    — Hassell over Green. Prospect sites love to focus on ceiling, but you have to divide that by risk. Hassell is going to be a major-leaguer, possibly this summer. If he can develop 20-25 homer power, he’s going to be a really good major-leaguer. Even if Green does make it, and completely lives up to his potential, it’s not going to be without bumps in the road. His swing/miss issues guarantee some ups and downs. That’s why I compare him to Buxton. Green isn’t going to shoot through the system like Harper or Soto. Their contact was much superior.

    — Parker ranked higher. I know there are very divided opinions on him. He doesn’t throw very hard, but a huge amount of funk in his delivery makes him difficult to hit. He still has significant control issues and is an extreme fly-ball guy. This will be a key year for him as we see whether bringing the funk will keep working at AA.

    — I honestly have no idea how Henry “should” be ranked. Will he even pitch this year? If so, will he be able to return to being as good as he was? Right now, the chances of Ward succeeding are better than Henry’s.

    — 2d round issues: I didn’t understand at the time why the Nats drafted Bennett over Prielipp and Tidwell last summer. We’ll see if it works out, but it seemed like another of their “we’re smarter” picks that have such a poor track record. In 2021, Lile was a contact-over-power corner OF, with a premium price as a high schooler. Not saying that he won’t make it (and they’ve already lost a year due to TJ surgery), just that they’re counting on the narrow path of significant power development.


    28 Jan 23 at 9:31 am

  2. OK Todd, since you follow college and regional high school baseball, what’s your take on this development?

    Va. Tech has gotten commitments from five eighth graders from the same travel team.

    Of course since college programs only have 11.5 scholarships, one has to wonder what they have “verbally” committed to. They certainly weren’t offered full scholarships.


    4 Feb 23 at 8:54 am

  3. These early commitments are, as the article says, non-binding and verbal only. The school can back out at any time, and the kids cannot sign National Letters of Intent until November of their senior year.

    So basically these things are worthless. Well, not worthless, in that both sides get some benefit:
    – the Kids get to brag for years that they’ve been recruited by VaTech
    – the School gets their loyalty early, but can still decide later on whether to cut ties with no penalties and no loss of scholarships.

    Todd Boss

    7 Feb 23 at 9:31 am

  4. As silly as these things are, it’s more frightening when you think that this is also the age when MLB teams start making evaluations of Latino kids to whom they may give millions of dollars at age 16. We all knew kids who were big for their age in middle school who stopped growing. Then there were others whose growth spurts came late. Some looked like budding stars in 9th or 10th and didn’t even end up getting recruited.

    On the flip side, Stras was a slightly pudgy high school senior who didn’t even get drafted. As a reliever his first year in college, he likely wasn’t even on scholarship. Two years later, he was widely proclaimed as a generational talent.


    7 Feb 23 at 10:46 am

Leave a Reply