Four of the Nationals' minor league affiliates are headed to the postseason thanks to very competitive seasons with some talented prospects.
The rookie level Gulf Coast League Nationals are already in the postseason. Low Single-A Hagerstown, high Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg also are headed to the playoffs.
Minor leagues are all about development of prospects, team personnel will always tell you.
But manager Davey Johnson said winning is a good thing, regardless of the level. He said the Nationals are getting closer to having organization-wide talent to be able to feed the big league club with quality in every transaction.
"I always say a byproduct of good development process leads to winning," Johnson said. "I still say our organization was about a year behind having all the depth at high levels to supply the big leagues and we are not quite there yet. I think we will be after this year, or close to couple of months into next year."
Nationals director of player development Doug Harris agreed with Johnson. He believes the example rests in coming from the opposite direction: If you have the talent, good coaching and proper development, the players will succeed on the field.
"Absolutely, and where you can really gauge that is a lot of the success we have had in wins and losses," Harris said. "Obviously, it takes talent to win ballgames, but with the nature of the minor leagues and the movement that is involved, having depth that is one of the fringe benefits that you can see right now with the success in the minor leagues."
But for Johnson to say the Nationals are just one year away from depth at the higher levels of the organization is a good sign considering all the trades and prospect losses (Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock, Derek Norris, Michael Burgess, Alex Meyer, etc.) the team has made to become an upper division club.