Nationals Arm Race

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

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

10 Responses to 'MLBPipeline updated Nats top 30'

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  1. Good list. While I could quibble with a few rankings, this is the closest approximation to my top 30. A good balance of “potential” and “what have you done for me lately”.


    14 Aug 23 at 6:07 pm

  2. Another list with Crews ranked ahead of Wood. Interesting. Perhaps Wood’s 33% K rate at AA is giving some a little pause.

    Hassell and Lile profile a good bit alike, with gap power but not much HR power yet. But the slot open for them at the MLB level likely is going to be a corner OF one . . . which will require HR power. It will be interesting to see if/how they develop. The bar to beat out likely will be Lane Thomas, who is controlled for two more years and likely wouldn’t be too expensive to extend. And then of course how do Green and Vaquero fit into that mix? It’s a good “problem” to have, but it also seems like they’ll end up trading a few of the OF prospects.

    Of course there was a time when the Nats had Goodwin, Taylor, Hood, and Souza in the system, along with Harper, and there were concerns of where all of them might play. Survival of the fittest suggests that not all of the current crop will make it, at least at starter level.


    15 Aug 23 at 9:08 am

  3. I hope that from among Lipscomb, Alu, and Garcia (who is still younger than the other two) that the Nats can find a 2B of the future capable of 15-20 homers and 30+ doubles a year. Garcia just doesn’t get on base enough, despite cutting his K’s this year. His SLG has taken a significant dip, too. I’m glad that they’ve brought him in for a pit stop and are looking at other options.

    Downs hasn’t convinced anyone that he’s a real option yet. Baker would need to steal 30+ bases a year to become semi-viable as an MLB-starter since he has almost no pop. He does get on base, though. I suppose they’ll still be looking for a place for Kieboom to play as well.

    Lipscomb’s power surge at AA really is intriguing, though. He was said to have looked competent at SS, at least enough to be thought of as “SS-capable” if he ends up in a utility role. It would be a low bar for some of these guys to be utility upgrades on Vargas (0.1 WAR) and Chavis (0.2).


    15 Aug 23 at 1:28 pm

  4. On Wednesday night, Gore looked like he could be a #1 starter, or close to it. Stone Garrett looked like a guy who won’t give up his OF slot to any prospects without a fight (or at least be a competent 4th OF/bench bat when they do arrive). And this week Ruiz, is starting to look like what I’ve predicted for him: a catcher who can hit 20+ homers. He may do it this year. He’s still got some work to get to my prediction of hitting .300, though. He’s getting killed by a .249 BABIP.

    And the amazing thing is that this team is playing .500 ball with half a lineup of stiffs.

    We’re getting there, slowly. And Davey and his staff deserve a lot of credit for keeping this team playing hard.


    17 Aug 23 at 3:34 pm

  5. I didn’t think much of Herz at the time of the trade, and the word was that he was bound for the bullpen. He’s been lights out in his last two starts, though. As I said today on Nats Prospects, it seems like that Nats saw something in him that they thought they could fix. If he truly has become the guy of the last two starts, he’s going to be found gold.


    17 Aug 23 at 3:56 pm

  6. Embarrassing the Phils and their awful fans on a Friday night in Nats Park: SWEET. The guys who are The Future have delivered this week, with big 3-run homers from both Ruiz and Abrams. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about giving Abrams the same extension deal that Ruiz got.

    Adon keeps proving that he’s not part of the future, despite filling out a uniform so well. Some interesting guys getting longer looks right now in Alu, Rutherford, and Garrett. Those three combined for eight hits last night, with five runs scored and four RBIs.

    I had hopes that Meneses might be a part of the future, but it’s really not looking like it. And Dom Smith is downright feeble at 1B.


    19 Aug 23 at 9:50 am

  7. I’m not saying that Joey Meneses is going to be part of the next Nats contending team, but I will note that over the last month or so he’s hitting .282/.339/.495/.834, with 5 HRs and 7 doubles.

    I’m pretty sure that the Nats are already thinking about signing Abrams to an extension. But since they cannot compel him to sign an extension, if they do not sign him to an extension I will not assume that they didn’t try. Abrams may well (quite reasonably) assume that as a SS with his upside a Ruiz-style extension (or even one more generous) would not be in his best interests.

    John C.

    19 Aug 23 at 10:56 am

  8. It’s hard to know from either side of the table whether an extension is worth the gamble. In 2019, the Robles camp would have laughed if he had been offered the Ruiz deal. In 2023, they would kill for it. The Abrams camp (Roc Nation) may think they have the next Trea Turner. I do agree that it would take more than Ruiz’s number to extend Abrams. How high would I be willing to go at this point? I don’t know. There’s still a good bit of uncertainty about how good/consistent he’s going to be.

    Of course the Nats didn’t have a great experience with the Zim extension, and had a disaster with the Stras one. (But the flag will fly forever.) I’m looking at Elvis Andrus’s salary numbers, to name a SS extension early in a career that is thought of as a disaster. But his salary peak was only $15.25M. I know that was a bigger number relative to the industry than it is now. If the Nats basically offered Abrams now the same numbers that Andrus got at the time — 8/$120M — that could lead to some serious conversation. And $15M a year in sunk costs later in the contract if he ends up cratering doesn’t seem like that big of a risk, particularly in comparison to the sunk costs they’re currently carrying. Not saying that number could get the deal done, but it would be interesting to float it.


    19 Aug 23 at 12:30 pm

  9. The Nats had a great experience with the Gio extension, I would argue an OK experience with the Zim extension, and the first Strasburg extension was an unqualified success. The three years covered by the extension resulted in two top five CYA finishes and of course the WS MVP. It is the SECOND

    John C.

    20 Aug 23 at 1:34 pm

  10. Not sure why that got posted while I was typing – clearly I hit the wrong key. Anyway, it is Stras’s second extension, after he exercised the opt out clause, that is a burden for the Nationals.

    I hope that the Ruiz extension is another success story (obviously).

    John C.

    20 Aug 23 at 1:36 pm

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