Washington Nationals Pre-Season Top 20 Prospect Review
1) Mike Hinckley, LHP
2-4, 4.36 in 13 starts for Class A Potomac, with mediocre 51/31 K/BB in 74 innings, 89 hits allowed. All numbers worse than last year, likely due to his early-season injury problems. Stock has slipped substantially.
2) Bill Bray, LHP
27 innings of work at 3 levels, 3-1 with 6 saves, 33/9 K/BB ratio, 3.04 ERA. Sample is small but his numbers are pretty strong.
3) Larry Broadway, 1B
Injuries have limited him to just 37 games at three levels and stats are too spread out between the three teams to be meaningful.
4) Brendan Harris, 3B-2B
Hitting .269/.315/.415 at Triple-A New Orleans. Seems to be stagnating, needs a job or a change of scenery. 3-for-9 with a homer and a double during brief Major League exposure.
5) Ryan Church, OF
Hitting .313/.370/.523 in 69 games for the Nationals. Doing just fine.
6) Tony Blanco, OF
Not enough playing time here, either, just 39 games/44 at-bats in the Majors, and 8 games in Triple-A. Status remains as before: he has power but not a lot of refinement.
7) Darrell Rasner, RHP
4.10 ERA at Double-A Harrisburg, 67/19 K/BB in 108 innings, 114 hits. Good control, keeps the ball down, not overpowering and doesn't have a huge margin for error.
8) Daryl Thompson, RHP
3.35 ERA in 11 starts for Class A Savannah, 48/24 K/BB in 54 innings. K/IP improved compared to last year, still rather raw but a sleeper.
9) Colin Balester, RHP
3.21 ERA, 66/33 K/BB in 98 innings for Savannah, 17 starts. Solid though not spectacular numbers. Holding his own and just 19 years old.
10) Clint Everts, RHP
7 starts at short-season Vermont, is 0-1, 3.38 with 15/8 K/BB in 16 innings. Sample too small to draw broad conclusions, but the numbers aren't bad.
11) Kory Casto, 3B
Solid year, hitting .303/.393/.555 with 20 homers, 52 walks at Class A Potomac. That's damn good, actually, "solid" is an understatement. Moving up the list.
12) Danny Rueckel, RHP
4.55 ERA, 5 saves, 50/15 K/BB in 55 innings for Harrisburg, 62 hits allowed. Good control, decent K/IP, other numbers mediocre. Not a lot to get excited about but doing OK.
13) Rogearvin Bernadina, OF
Hitting .250/.370/.393 with 24 steals, 56 walks at Savannah. Good speed, high walk rate, nice OBP. Power still developing. An interesting guy but should not be rushed.
14) Josh Karp, RHP
Posted 5.65 ERA in 19 games of relief work at New Orleans. Demoted to Harrisburg and returned to the rotation in June, currently at 1.37 ERA in 4 starts. I have no idea what to make of him. His status is basically as before: live arm, poor command.
15) Ben Cox, RHP
3.06 ERA in 33 games for Savannah, 5 saves. 39/26 K/BB in 50 innings is not impressive. Typical Grade C pitching prospect.
16) Josh Whitesell, 1B
Hitting .269/.379/.471 with 12 homers for Potomac. Showing more power this year, but also striking out more than once per game.
17) Ian Desmond, SS
Hit .247/.291/.334 with 20 steals for Savannah in 73 games. Promoted to Potomac 3 weeks ago and has played better: .286/.333/.500 in 70 at-bats. Potomac success likely not sustainable without better plate discipline, current BB/K mark is 5/17.
18) Brendan Watson, OF
Hitting .370/.413/.438 with 24 steals for New Orleans. Power remains weakish, but he runs well and can hit for average. Fourth outfielder type.
19) Marvin Lowrance, OF
Hitting .291/.329/.405 for Savannah, but just 21 games played. Good tools, sample size too small to be meaningful either way.
20) Josh Labandeira, SS
What is the deal with these small sample sizes? Just 32 games combined between Harrisburg and New Orleans. 28-for-104 (.269) with 6 doubles, 15 walks, 24 strikeouts. Nothing to get excited about.
Injuries have taken a big toll here and made it hard to nail down adequate sample sizes for a lot of these guys. I was very high on Hinckley until he hurt his arm in spring training, and I'm not at all encouraged by his current performance. Broadway should come around. If the Nats want to contend in the long run they have a lot of rebuilding to do.