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Washington Nationals Top 10 Prospects for 2014

Written By on 17th December, 2013


The Nationals system has seemed to fall into a pattern over the last few years of featuring one or two elite, impact talents and then a bunch of projects. The depth has considerably improved, but the system remains top heavy. – AS

Washington Nationals Top 10 Prospects for 2014

1Lucas GiolitoRHPThe big right-hander returned to health and dominance at the end of the year. With all the talent in the World and a full Winter to prepare Giolito could emerge as one of the best prospect arms in the game in 2014. - AS VIDEO
2A.J. ColeRHPCole returned to the Nats and tried to return to what worked for him after a disappointing 2012. Cole has arm strength and throws stikes. While his secondaries are inconsistent he releases everthing from the same arm slot. He may not be far from helping the middle of a rotation. - AS VIDEO
3Brian GoodwinOFGoodwin is the classic example of a 5 tool player without any all-star level tools. He's still a good player with a well rounded skill set that should make him a solid MLB regular. - AS VIDEO
4Jake JohansenRHPJake Johansen has never lacked pure stuff. His lively low to mid 90s fastball was the primary weapon at Dallas Baptist, but he flashed interesting secondaries there as well. The curve had nice tight spin but lacked depth; the slider was firm with late horizontal break, bordering on cutter movement; and the change - least developed - showed some slight downward action. The problem was highly inconsistent command and quality of the secondaries.

The early returns in pro ball have been encouraging. The off speeds have taken a step forward, and he dominated NYPL competition. -JR
5Nate KarnsRHPKarns throws a power sinker that he pairs with a strong curve and a developing changeup. He's a labrum surgery survivor with below average command and control. That likely translate to a mid to back end starter or pen arm. - AS
6Steve SouzaOFSouza's bat continues to improve, but swing and miss issues remain a big question mark. He's entering his age 25 season, has only played a half season at Double-A and has missed time with injuries and a PED suspension. The tools are enough to keep him interesting, though. - AS
7Matt Skole3B/1BMatt Skole has significant raw power and should make enough contact for it shine through. The bat will need to reach its potential heights as third base is stretch due to his limited range and physical size.

He missed all but a handful of games in 2013 with Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm. He should pick up where he left off; the AA test looms. -JR VIDEO
8Sammy SolisLHPFrom the herniated disc that wiped out his 2009 season at San Diego State to Tommy John surgery in March of last year, injuries have long been the story with Sammy Solis. When he's healthy, Solis has the stuff to profile in the middle of a rotation with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, along with a solid curve and change. A strong campaign in the AFL has revitalized his prospect stock. -JR
9Michael TaylorOFA good athlete with a long swing, Taylor probably fits best as a 4th outfielder but could surprise. - AS
10Taylor JordanRHPA Florida JC product, Jordan fell off the prospect radar a bit with Tommy John surgery. He came back strong this season and showed exciting stuff for Double-A Harrisburg before making his big league debut. - AS

Other Nats Prospects of Note

Drew Ward3BAn interesting case, Ward skipped his senior year of high school to enter pro ball. His debut in the GCL was a success except for power... and that's his best tool. Ward is still growing into his body and tools. - AS VIDEO
Tony Renda2BRenda plays the game hard and makes the most of his tools. Unfortunately those tools aren't very loud. He's likely a second division starter or utility guy, but it's hard to bet against him. - AS VIDEO VIDEO
Brett MooneyhamLHPBrett Mooneyham has seemingly been around forever, and he's only thrown 11 innings above single A. As a prep and underclassman at Stanford, Mooneyham showed absolutely electric stuff but hardly any ability to throw it for strikes. By his RS Junior year, his stuff was no longer as electric, but he showed much better feel for pitching. That has continued in pro ball; he has a solid repertoire with an 89-91 MPH two-seamer to go with a decent change and curve ball. Mooneyham still has command issues, but there's enough here to make him an interesting arm. -JR VIDEO

Washington Nationals Notable 2013 Draft Picks

268Jake JohansenRHPDallas Baptist`
3105Drew Ward3BLeedey HS (OK)
4136Nic PivettaRHPNew Mexico JC
5166Austin VothRHPWashington
6196Cody Gunter3BGrayson County CC (TX)
7226Jimmy Yezzo1BDelaware
11346John SimmsRHPRice

Draft Recap:┬áThe past few years have seen the Nationals grab elite level draft prospects, falling into lap at unexpected positions (Anthony Rendon & Lucas Giolito). This comes after years where they added Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. It’s defensible – although far from definitive – to argue the Nationals drafted the best player in each class from 2009 to 2012. 2013 cannot make such a statement. The Nationals lost their first pick to the New York Yankees as compensation for Rafael Soriano, so did not pick until 68th overall. Johansen gives the Nationals nice upside for a college pitcher, but command issues could relegate him to the bullpen. Drew Ward graduated early and showcases massive left-handed power; the rest of the toolset is less impressive. The rest of the draft class draws almost exclusively from the college ranks. -JR

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5 Comments on "Washington Nationals Top 10 Prospects for 2014"

  1. Profile Photo
    Todd Boss December 18, 2013 at 8:15 am -

    Errors in this post:
    - Johansen has been clocked multiple times at 99-100.  He doesn’t have just a “low to mid 90s fastball.”
    - Souza isn’t a right-handed pitcher.
    - Solis is left handed.
    And lastly a comment: how is Taylor Jordan even eligible for this list, given that he threw 50+ MLB innings this year?  And even if he’s eligible, how do you possibly have a guy who made 9 better-than-league average starts in the majors as just your 10th best prospect?  He absolutely outperformed Nathan Karns at the MLB level this year but he’s your #5 prospect.  And, if your ranking criteria allows Jordan to be listed then why isn’t Tanner Roark listed as a prospect here? He did double the WAR that Jordan did inside of 6 weeks and had a 1.51 ERA in 53 innings this year.

    • Profile Photo
      Al Skorupa December 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm -

      Thanks for the corrections.

      -Haven’t seen Johansen, so couldn’t comment. Didn’t see Auburn this year and he wasn’t in the ASG. Jeff did see Auburn, but I’m not sure if he was Johansen. I would caution that often guys with reputations as hard throwers don’t bring it on a certain day in the low minors. It happens a lot with guys I see. Jonathan Crawford was 91-93 one day and hitting 98 the next time I saw him. That’s the nature of the low minors and short season. Equally possible that Jeff misspoke I suppose.

      -The other stuff all comes down to formatting mistakes. We create a template from previous articles and it seems every year a few times I don’t notice the position was messed up on these. RHP was in there as a placeholder. Thanks for pointing it out. The Jordan thing is sort of the same deal. When we started doing our homework he was eligible and no one noticed he went just over. For me, Karns has the better stuff and the better future. Jordan performed well in a SSS in the majors, yes, but despite good stuff he didn’t miss bats and I prefer Karns.

    • Profile Photo
      Jeff Reese December 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm -

      Johansen: I didn’t have the opportunity to watch him pitch with Auburn. Notice that my description of his stuff is contained under the Dallas Baptist umbrella. I could have included the “touching higher” addendum, and I see how the wording could be misconstrued.

  2. Profile Photo
    Robert Hill January 14, 2014 at 11:54 am -

    Mooneyham has seemingly been around forever?  What does that even mean.  He was drafted in 2012.