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Washington Nationals 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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Washington Nationals 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

I am reviewing my PRE-SEASON list of Top 20 prospects for 2011 for each organization, continuing today with the Washington Nationals. This list was originally published November 27, 2010. We will look at the San Diego Padres on Thursday, the New York Yankees on Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, and the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

This is a review of the 2011 Pre-Season Top 20 list. IT IS NOT A NEW LIST.

The 2012 list and new grades won't be ready until the season is over and I start writing the book.

1) Bryce Harper, OF, Grade A: Hit .318/.423/.554 with 14 homers, 19 steals, 44 walks and 61 strikeouts for Low-A Hagerstown at age 18. Promoted to Double-A, struggled at first but hot lately, hitting .238/.303/.325 with eight walks, 16 strikeouts in 80 at-bats.  .297/.357/.486 in last 10 games. Amazing talent.

2) Derek Norris, C, Grade B+:  Hitting .207/.365/.423 with 55 walks, 75 strikeouts, 13 homers for Double-A Harrisburg. Hitting for power with high walk rate, as expected, but batting average is too low to be acceptable. Has thrown out 40% of runners but passed ball rate has more than doubled from last year.

3) Danny Espinosa, INF, Grade B:  Hitting .226/.314/.421 with 17 homers, 12 steals, 36 walks, 107 strikeouts in 390 at-bats for Washington. I think he'll get better.

4) Sammy Solis, LHP, Grade B:  3.69 ERA with 68/21 K/BB in 71 innings for Hagerstown and High-A Potomac, 73 hits. Throwing strikes as expected, picking up some grounders, doing OK.

5) A.J. Cole, RHP, Grade B:   3.47 ERA with 67/13 K/BB in 57 innings for Hagerstown, 53 hits. Very solid performance, no complaints, command has been sharp.

6) Wilson Ramos, C, Grade B-: Hitting .248/.324/.415 with nine  homers, 29 walks, 49 strikeouts in 258 at-bats for the Nationals. I bet the Twins would like to have him back.

7) Robbie Ray, LHP, Grade B-:  1.91 ERA with a 76/30 K/BB in 71 innings, 48 hits for Hagerstown. Could stand to lower the walk rate but otherwise very impressive.

8) Michael Burgess, OF, Grade C+: Traded to Cubs in Tom Gorzellany deal. Hitting .223/.324/.412 with 14 homers, 51 walks, 91 strikeouts in 345 at-bats for High-A Daytona. Still has the power and patience, but other skills have not developed as hoped.

9) Eury Perez, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .271/.306/.312 with 16 walks, 45 strikeouts, 32 steals in 317 at-bats for High-A Potomac. Good speed, but lack of walks and zero power suppress his stock.

10) Rich Hague, SS, Grade C+: Season ended after four games for Potomac with a shoulder injury.

11) Cole Kimball, RHP, Grade C+: Threw 14 shutout innings for Triple-A Syracuse, then 14 innings for the Nationals with three runs but an 11/11 K/BB. Out with rotator cuff surgery.

12) J.P. Ramirez, OF, Grade C+: Very disappointing, hitting .225/.277/.3445 with 21 walks, 57 strikeouts in 307 at-bats for Potomac.

13) Chris Marrero, 1B, Grade C+:  Hitting .309/.381/.449 with 11 homers, 47 walks, 81 strikeouts in 408 at-bats for Syracuse. A good year, but questions still remains: will he hit for enough power to play first base?

14) Steve Lombardozzi, 2B, Grade C+: Hitting a combined .310/.360/.437 with seven homers, 28 walks, 63 strikeouts, 22 steals in 435 at-bats for Harrisburg and Syracuse. Extremely reliable, has made just two errors this year. Deserves a major league trial.

15) Brad Meyers, RHP, Grade C+: 3.46 ERA with 93/11 K/BB in 107 innings combined at three levels, 115 hits. K/BB in Triple-A is 51/11 in 64 innings. Outstanding control.

16) Brad Peacock, RHP, Grade C+: Breakthrough guy, 2.01 ERA with 129/23 K/BB in 99 innings for Harrisburg, 62 hits. Command has slipped some since promotion to Triple-A, 19/12 K/BB in 20 innings, 4.43 ERA but just 12 hits. Always had strong stuff, just needed to refine it. Stock way up.

17) A.J. Morris, RHP, Grade C+: Traded to Cubs. Injured all year.

18) Tyler Moore, 1B, Grade C:  .274/.313/.538 with 24 homers, 20 walks, 108 strikeouts in 409 at-bats for Harrisburg. You have to like the power, but I remain suspicious about his plate discipline.

19) Tom Milone, LHP, Grade C:  Amazing command, 120/10 K/BB in 117 innings, 110 hits for Syracuse with a 3.62 ERA. Just went on DL with "bicep tiredness." Unfortunate since rumors from Washington indicated he was about to be promoted.

20) Daniel Rosenbaum, LHP, Grade C: 2.59 ERA with 108/41 K/BB in 132 innings for Potomac, 113 hits, 1.62 GO/AO. No complaints here. Just promoted to Harrisburg.

A couple of disappointments, but for the most part things look quite good here. Harper is a monster, Peacock broke through, Cole and Ray have performed quite well, and Ramos and Espinosa have provided major league value.