Baseball America’s latest top 100 prospect list features three of the Nationals’ hottest youngsters. Third baseman Anthony Rendon, right-hander Lucas Giolito and center fielder Brian Goodwin all rank in the top 70.
Rendon is rated No. 30. The 2011 first-rounder has made big strides since last April’s ankle injury. With his consistent play in the Arizona Fall League adding to the at-bats he lost early on, he will be ready to go to start 2013 for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
Showing what Giolito meant to baseball gurus, the 2012 top Nationals’ choice, who underwent Tommy John surgery last summer, is rated at No. 67. National writer Aaron Fitt told me the Giolito selection was a “bold” move by the Nats, and he predicted that if Giolito had moved on to UCLA, he could have easily been a No. 1 overall selection. The Nationals were able to grab the powerful hurler early, before others could get a shot.
At No. 70 is Goodwin, who also had a very impressive 2012 campaign, which included a two-level jump to Harrisburg and accolades from his appearance in the Rising Stars game in the Arizona Fall League. The Nationals are so high on Goodwin that they are focusing on his bunting skills to third and first. They want him on base as much as possible so they can take advantage of his speed. He has improved on the basepaths so much that he is now doing what the coaches want him to do without direction while on base. That is the sign of a player that is closer to major league ready and closer to having the “green light” when he wants to go.