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Washington Nationals Top 20 Prospects

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2004 first-round pick Bill Bray (AP photo)

Washington Nationals

  1. Mike Hinckley, LHP, A-
  2. Bill Bray, LHP, B
  3. Larry Broadway, 1B, B
  4. Brendan Harris, 3B-2B, B
  5. Ryan Church, OF, B-
  6. Tony Blanco, OF, C
  7. Darrell Rasner, RHP, C
  8. Daryl Thompson, RHP, C
  9. Colin Balester, RHP, C
  10. Clint Everts, RHP, C
  11. Kory Casto, 3B, C
  12. Danny Rueckel, RHP, C
  13. Rogearvin Bernadina, OF, C
  14. Josh Karp, RHP, C
  15. Ben Cox, RHP, C
  16. Josh Whitesell, 1B, C
  17. Ian Desmond, SS, C
  18. Brandon Watson, OF, C
  19. Marvin Lowrance, OF, C
  20. Josh Labandeira, SS, C
There is not much you can say about this farm system; it is obviously quite weak. I do like the two lefties at the top. Hinckley is often ignored when top pitching prospects are discussed, but I rank him fourth among minor league lefty prospects, behind only Kazmir, Francis, and Meyer. Hinckley is a textbook case of how a "projectable" high school southpaw is supposed to develop.

2004 draftee Bill Bray (pictured above) is also a solid talent. After that you have three position players that I like, Broadway, Harris, and Church. I don't see any of them as stars, but rather solid contributors. Rule 5 guy Tony Blanco has enormous power but will be lucky to hit .240 in the Majors unless he makes substantial improvements in his plate discipline.

The big mass of Grade C guys includes future bench/role players like Brandon Watson and Josh Labandeira, some talented but very young/raw guys like Daryl Thompson, Colin Balester, Marvin Lowrance, and Rogearvin Bernadina, a Tommy John rehab (Everts), and a smattering of others who would probably not appear in a top 20 list for most teams.

I hold out little hope for Josh Karp, although a conversion to relief could help him. Darrell Rasner has a good sinker, but his numbers even in the low minors are not that impressive, and it remains to be seen (at least for me) if he will develop into a useful pitcher.