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Washington Nationals Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects

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Washington Nationals Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

This list wasoriginally published November 21st, 2008. This is a REVIEW of the PRE-SEASON list for 2009, not a revision of that list. This is a REVIEW of the old list. I'm not doing new grades or lists until I start working on the 2010 book. 

1) Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Grade B+: 4.63 ERA with 92/29 K/BB in 91 innings for the Nationals. Decent rookie season ended early by Tommy John surgery.

2) Michael Burgess, OF, Grade B+: Hitting .232/.325/.418 with 19 homers, 12 steals, 51 walks, 125 strikeouts in 435 at-bats. Still has the power potential and very young at 20, but needs to make adjustments as he moves up. I think I rated him too highly.

3) Chris Marrero, 1B, Grade B: Hit .287/.360/.464 in the Carolina League, just promoted to Double-A and hitting .393/.452/.536 in eight games.

4) Ross Detwiler, LHP, Grade B-: 2.97 ERA with 62/24 K/BB in 67 Double-A and Triple-A innings. Overmatched in 10 major league starts (6.40 ERA, 33/22 K/BB in 52 innings, 69 hits) but will get more chances.

5) Garrett Mock, RHP, Grade B-: 2.65 ERA with 48/13 K/BB in 51 Triple-A innings, 5.23 ERA with 48/27 K/BB in 53 major league innings. Can still be a competent reliever with better control. B- was too high though.

6) Jack McGeary, LHP, Grade B-: 6.79 ERA with 44/45 K/BB in 56 innings for Hagerstown, 3.55 ERA with 37/35 K/BB in 51 innings for Vermont. Another example of how dangerous it is to base a grade on nothing but scouting reports. He supposedly had good control but it's been very poor this year. 

7) Justin Maxwell, OF, Grade C+: .248/.347/.407 with 13 homers, 33 steals for Triple-A Syracuse. Lots of strikeouts and low batting average seem consistent for him, but has power, speed, and will take a walk.

8) Esmailyn Gonzalez, SS, Grade C+: Busted in Age-Gate....was really 23 years old, not 18, and named Carlos Alvarez, not Esmailyn Gonzalez. Not a prospect, hitting .280/.423/.327 in the Dominican Summer League.

9) Destin Hood, OF, Grade C+: Hit .330/.388/.614 in the GCL, .250/.325/.344 in the NY-P. Still toolsy, still raw.

10) Shairon Martis, RHP, Grade C+: 5.80 ERA with 30/14 K/BB in 54 innings for Syracuse, 77 hits. 5.25 ERA with 34/39 K/BB in 86 innings for the Nationals. I don't like his component ratios at this point.

11) Rogerarvin Bernadina, OF, Grade C+: Out all season with ankle injury.

12) Adrian Nieto, C, Grade C+: hitting .233/.324/.295 in the Gulf Coast League. Another guy with good amateur scouting reports who is not performing in reality.

13) Derek Norris, C, Grade C+: Breakout season, hitting .290/.410/.523 with 79 walks, 23 homers for Hagerstown.

14) Colton Willems, RHP, Grade C+: Limited to 24 innings this year, 21 of them at Potomac, by injury.

15) Josh Smoker, LHP, Grade C+: 2.79 ERA with 26/9 K/BB in 39 innings for GCL Nationals.

16) Marvin Lowrance, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .237/.323/.455 with 15 homers for Double- A Harrisburg. At age 25 he needed to do better than this.

17) Paul Denny, RHP, Grade C+: 5.20 ERA with 103/39 K/BB in 97 innings for Hagerstown, 97 hits.  FIP is 3.86; he's done better than the ERA indicates.

18) J.P. Ramirez, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .245/.293/.362 for Vermont. Not impressive. Another guy rated solely on the basis of scouting reports who has disappointed.

19) Tyler Clippard, RHP, Grade C: 0.92 ERA with 42/15 K/BB in 39 innings for Syracuse, 2.50 ERA with 42/18 K/BB in 36 innings for the Nationals. I took flak for rating him this high, so I'm glad to see that he's done well.

20) Ian Desmond, SS, Grade C: Hitting .318/.391/.467 with 19 steals combined between Double-A and Triple-A. Looks like he is turning his tools into skills.

Zimmermann's injury is unfortunate, and we'll simply have to wait and see when/if he gets his stuff and command back. The egregious Esmailyn Gonzalez fiasco is one of the highest-profile cases regarding identity falsification, leading to a full-blown scandal. High school arms Smoker, Willems, and McGeary have been disappointing. On the positive side, breakthrough seasons by Clippard, Norris, and Desmond have been very helpful. Next year's list will look a lot better, headlined by 2009 draftees Strasburg and Storen.