Rendon, Giolito head up Baseball America’s list of Nats’ top 10 prospects

There’s no doubt that the Nationals’ minor league system has been thinned out by recent trades that brought in Gio Gonzalez and Denard Span.

But there are still a few prospects within the Nats’ system with a pretty high ceiling, even after guys like Brad Peacock, A.J. Cole, Derek Norris, Tommy Milone and Alex Meyer were dealt in order for the Nationals to bring in proven major league players.

Baseball America has released its list of the top 10 prospects in the Nationals’ organization for 2013, and while the list doesn’t compare to the one we saw last year at this time (one which included four of the top five prospects listed above, Bryce Harper and Steve Lombardozzi), this year’s list holds plenty of talent, as well.

Infielder Anthony Rendon, the Nats’ 2011 top pick, and right-hander Lucas Giolito, their 2012 top selection, are atop the list, which is made up of players who haven’t exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time).

Despite having played in just 43 pro games to this point, Rendon is not considered far from major league-ready. After suffering a fractured ankle early this season, Rendon came back to show his potent bat in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .338 with a .436 on-base percentage and .494 slugging percentage.

Giolito won’t be seen in game action for quite a while after the 18-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery this summer, but for him to still check in as the No. 2 prospect in the organization speaks to his natural ability and ceiling. The young righty throws in the upper-90s with a power curveball.

Brian Goodwin will likely be boxed out of the Nationals’ lineup for a couple years with the addition of Span, but the center field prospect still is very highly thought of within the organization. Span’s presence at the major league level will allow Goodwin to continue to progress at a steady pace in the minors.

Goodwin is followed on the list by the Nationals’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, in Matthew Skole and Nathan Karns.

Other interesting names on the list are Christian Garcia, who seemingly came out of nowhere to become a factor in the Nationals’ bullpen late in the season after having two Tommy John surgeries previously in his career, and Matt Purke, the 2011 draft pick who barely was seen at all during his first pro season due to injuries.

Here is the full list:

1. 3B Anthony Rendon
2. RHP Lucas Giolito
3. CF Brian Goodwin
4. 3B Matthew Skole
5. RHP Nathan Karns
6. RHP Christian Garcia
7. CF Eury Perez
8. LHP Sammy Solis
9. LHP Matt Purke
10. SS Zach Walters

For more on the Nationals’ minor league system, check out this interview I did with Baseball America’s Jim Callis back at the Winter Meetings earlier this month.

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