There have been some publications that have talked about how the Nationals system is not as strong as others, but Baseball Prospectus has come out with its rankings of the best talent in the major leagues of prospects 25 and under.
The Nationals rank second behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
Of course, it helps when the top of the list comes from back-to-back years when the Nationals selected first in the amateur draft, grabbing starter Stephen Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper.
Also at the top of the list is 19-year-old Lucas Giolito and starting 23-year-old second baseman Anthony Rendon. Next comes 22-year-old starter A.J. Cole, the plus-95 mph fireballer the Nats reacquired from the Oakland A's last season.
Next up are talented multi-tool centerfielders Brian Goodwin (23) and Michael Taylor (22). Both have demonstrated outstanding defensive ability in the minors and now are working towards showing consistency as they continue to move forward in the chain.
Big and strong right-hander starter Jake Johansen (23) and young 6-foot-5 Dominican righty Jefry Rodriguez (20), both of whom are also attending the accelerated development program, demonstrate the serious concentration on pitching, where top systems build their talent base from the ground up.
Jordan Gorosh of Baseball Prospectus writes, "Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper might be the best tandem in baseball for the next 10 years, and each offers an elite ceiling. Lucas Giolito is far from reaching his massive promise, but the trio of potential 8-grade ceilings at the top of Washington's list is unmatched in baseball."
It really goes back to that amazing run in a four-year span when the Nationals selected Strasburg (2009), Harper (2010), Rendon (2011) and Giolito (2012). This proves that being in the right place at the right time and having a willingness to make bold choices for players who may appear to be unsignable or are coming off of collegiate injuries have played in a major role in setting the positive direction in building a solid core of high end talent for the Nationals' future.