Baseball America has released its top 10 Nationals prospects for 2018 and, to no surprise, the No. 1 prospect is center fielder Victor Robles. Robles is also No. 8 overall in the publication’s Major League Baseball top 100 prospects list.
This is the first time that Robles has been listed as the top Nationals prospect after right-hander Lucas Giolito held the top spot for three years. Giolito was traded with two other arms for center fielder Adam Eaton in December 2016.
Baseball America noted its qualifications for the use of the term prospect: “To qualify as a prospect, a position player cannot exceed 130 big league at-bats, while a pitcher cannot exceed 50 innings or 30 relief appearances. These thresholds mirror major league rookie qualifications, albeit without regard for major league service time.”
Here is their complete ranking for the top 10 Nationals prospects:
1. CF Victor Robles
2. OF Juan Soto
3. RHP Erick Fedde
4. SS Carter Kieboom
5. LHP Seth Romero
6. 2B/SS Luis Garcia
7. RHP Wil Crowe
8. OF Daniel Johnson
9. C Raudy Read
10. SS/3B Yasel Antuna
What is impressive about this top 10 is that Robles, Fedde and Read all played games at the big league level in 2017. Robles was even on the playoff roster. Further, shortstop Wilmer Difo and outfielder Brian Goodwin exited the top prospect list for the Nats because they played significant roles for the club in 2017 and also made the postseason roster.
The one name that many fans may not be that familiar with is Antuna. The shortstop/third baseman played for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals. In 48 games, he slashed an eye-opening .301/.382/.399 with eight doubles, three triples, one homer and 17 RBIs. Antuna, 18, scored 25 runs and stole five bases. Antuna was also invited to the Nats’ instructional league squad and got further work in West Palm Beach in October.
Baseball America also projects Read, Difo, Robles, Fedde, Crowe and Romero as members of their 2021 Nats lineup. Continuing a positive prediction, they also project Bryce Harper will still be playing outfield for the Nats in three seasons, as well.