Rookies on the Playoff Teams: Washington Nationals
Here is a look at rookies and prospects who played for the Washington Nationals in 2012.
Corey Brown, OF: Age 26, former hot prospect in Oakland Athletics system who got injured at the wrong times and had problems adapting to Triple-A. Hit .285/.365/.523 with 25 homers, 18 steals, 59 walks, 139 strikeouts in 484 at-bats for Syracuse, is 5-for-25 with a homer in the majors. Old for a prospect, but his power and speed would make him useful for many teams, if he makes sufficient contact. Drafted in the supplemental first round in 2007 from Oklahoma State.
Christian Garcia, RHP: Age 27, posted amazing 0.86 ERA with 66/17 K/BB and 2.72 GO/AO in 52 innings in Double-A and Triple-A this y ear, with 21 saves. In the majors, has a 15/2 K/BB in just 11 innings with a 2.45 ERA. He has very good stuff, throws strikes, and has always been effective when healthy. Drafted by the Yankees in the third round in 2004 from high school in Miami. He was cut by New York after persistent injury troubles but the Nationals have made a terrific reliever out of him.
Bryce Harper, OF: Age 19, hitting .269/.339/.476 with 22 homers, 55 walks, 120 strikeouts in 527 at-bats, has also stolen 17 bases in 23 attempts. He's had a few rough patches but overall he's been very productive, especially with a hot September stretch run. Did I mention that he's just 19? Mike Trout is better at this point, but that's praise for Trout, not a knock on Harper, who has been everything that could be reasonably expected. Don't nitpick him. WAR 4.7. That's amazing at his age. Drafted in the first round, first overall, in 2010 from the Junior College of Southern Nevada.
Sandy Leon, C: Age 23, hit combined .322/.396/.460 with 24 walks, 30 strikeouts in 202 at-bats at three minor league levels. 7-for-20 in the majors with two doubles and 10 strikeouts. Had never hit this well before, but draws raves for his defensive ability and should have a long career as a reserve even if his bat fizzles out. Signed out of Venezuela by the Nationals in 2007.
Steve Lombardozzi, UT: Age 24, hitting .275/.320/.357 with 19 walks, 46 strikeouts in 378 at-bats. Excellent glove at second base, can also play the outfield, should have a very long career as a utility guy and could be good enough to start for some teams. I think his bat could improve more than people think. Drafted in the 19th round in 2008 from St. Petersburg Junior College.
Tyler Moore, OF-1B: Age 25, hit .307/.374/.653 in 101 at-bats in Triple-A, then .264/.331/.500 with nine homers, 14 walks, 42 strikeouts in 148 major league at-bats. His power has always been obvious but concerns about contact/strikeouts and defensive limitations hurt his stock in the minors. Drafted in the 16th round in 2008 from Mississippi State University.
Eury Perez, OF: Age 22, speed demon, hit .314/.344/.361 with 16 walks, 79 strikeouts, 51-for-66 in steals in 532 at-bats at three levels this year. 1-for-3 in the majors in 12 games but has stolen three bases. Big positive here is excellent speed, but he lacks power and patience and is very dependent on maintaining a high batting average/ BABIP. Signed from the Dominican Republic in 2007.
Jhonatan Solano, C: Age 27, minor league vet, saw some action in July, went 11-for-35 (.3140 with a pair of homers. In the minors this year he hit .229/.260/.302 and has a poor overall offensive track record. Good glove but bat makes him very fringy. Signed out of Colombia in 2005.
The Nationals got 4.7 WAR out of rookie Harper (second-best on the team) plus contributions from Lombardozzi and Moore. Christian Garcia should be a valuable relief asset going forward.