2010 Washington Nationals Top 20 Prospects in Review
Here is a review of the 2010 Nationals prospect list, originally published November 18, 2009. THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE OLD LIST AND PRE-SEASON GRADES. THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST. The 2011 list and new grades won't be ready until the season is over and I start writing the book.
1) Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Grade A: 1.30 ERA, 65/13 K/BB in 55 Double-A and Triple-A innings. 3.07 ERA in 59 major league innings, 79/17 K/BB, 49 hits. He's awesome. He just needs to stay healthy.
2) Derek Norris, C, Grade B+: .226/.409/.385 in 71 games for High-A Potomac. Still drawing tons of walks, has thrown out 52% of runners. I still believe.
3) Drew Storen, RHP, Grade B+: 1.08 ERA with 15/3 K/BB in 17 Double-A/Triple-A innings, 2.75 ERA with 29/16 K/BB in 36 major league innings. No problems here.
4) Danny Espinosa, SS, Grade B: .264/.334/.472 with 20 homers, 21 steals between Double-A and Triple-A. Not going to win batting titles, but does a lot of things well.
5) Chris Marrero, 1B, Grade B-: .291/.354/.446 for Double-A Harrisburg, 14 homers. Home run production not that hot for a first baseman, but at age 21 he has time.
6) Jeff Kobernus, 2B, Grade B-: I changed this to a Grade C+ and lowered him down to number 10 before the book went to press. Hitting .279/.316/.346 for Low-A Hagerstown, so the downgrade was the right move.
7) Michael Burgess, OF, Grade B-: .267/.349/.439 with 12 homers, 44 walks, 85 strikeouts in 97 games for High-A Potomac. Has cut his strikeout rate, still just 21. Breakout next year?
8) Justin Maxwell, OF, Grade C+: .287/.390/.439 with 16 steals in 66 games for Triple-A Syracuse, but just 6-for-47 (.128) with 19 strikeouts (and 16 walks!) for the Nationals. He's 26 now. Power/speed potential is still enormous. . .could he have an age 27 or 28 surge?
9) Ian Desmond, SS, Grade C+: .260/.295/.393 in 107 games for the Nationals, 12 steals. On-base skills are weak. WAR is 0.7. I think he can improve.
10) Bradley Meyers, RHP, Grade C+: 1.47 ERA with 35/7 K/BB in 31 innings for Harrisburg, pitching great, but went on the DL in May with foot injury.
11) Destin Hood, OF, Grade C+: .286/.330/.389 in 111 games for Hagerstown. Not exactly a good season, plate discipline is spotty and power hasn't developed, but he still has a chance to develop.
12) A.J. Morris, RHP, Grade C+: 3.21 ERA, 63/23 K/BB in 76 innings between Potomac and 14 GCL rehab innings following injury, 1.86 GO/AO. Pretty good year.
13) Eury Perez, OF, Grade C+ : .269/.320/.347 with 43 steals for Hagerstown. Love the speed, but needs to improve on-base skills to be a leadoff man at higher levels.
14) Aaron Thompson, LHP, Grade C+: 5.67 ERA, 81/43 K/BB in 121 innings, 144 hits in 23 starts between Double-A and Triple-A. Not developing.
15) Juan Jaime, RHP, Grade C: Out all year with elbow problems.
16) J.P. Ramirez, Of, Grade C: .293/.342/.479 for Hagerstown. Walk rate is low, but there's some offensive potential here.
17) J.R. Higley, OF, Grade C: .233/.303/.353 in 35 games for Hagerstown. On restricted list, suspended for PED use, taking Ritalin. It sure wasn't helping his numbers.
18) Paul Demny, RHP, Grade C: 3.93 ERA, 90/40 K/BB in 110 innings for Hagerstown, 104 hits. Not terrible, not terrific.
19) Marco Estrada, RHP, Grade C: 3.15 ERA in 40 innings for Triple-A Nashville in the Brewers system after Milwaukee claimed him on waivers, 33/11 K/BB. 13/6 K/BB in 11 major league innings, but with 14 hits and 13 runs. Has missed much of season with a sore shoulder. Not really a prospect at age 27, but for some reason I thought he could be interesting.
20) Jeff Mandel, RHP, Grade C: 4.36 ERA, 82/44 K/BB in 126 innings, 144 hits between Double-A and Triple-A. Can eat innings, but that's about it.
Strasburg and Storen make this a successful year. Desmond has shown flashes, and I still think Norris is going to be a very, very good player, although with catchers there is always the risk of stagnation. I like Espinosa a lot too. The rest of the list is pretty blah.