Nationals’ top international signings

Here is a list of the players Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo considers to be the team’s top international signings over the past year -- straight from Rizzo and his assistant, Harolyn Cardozo:

1. Rafael Martin (Mexico, RHP, playing at Double-A Harrisburg, AA All-Star team).
2. Jean Carlos Valdez (DR, age 16, SS, DSL All-Star team)
3. Miguel Angel Navarro (DR, RHS, 16)
4. Randolf Oduber (Aruba, LF, 21)
5. Wirkin Esteves (DR, RHS, 18, DSL All-Star)
6. Dennis Samuel Lellis (DR, RHS, 17)
7. Anthony Darleys Marcelino (Venezuela, RHS, 17)
8. Edgar Francisco Gonzalez (Venezuela, CF, 17)

Rizzo talked in his weekly fblog entry about making a push for strong up-the-middle players and power arms, and this list would reflect that; Martin, the top name on the list, signed in spring training and is seen as a future setup man. Six of the next seven players are either starting pitchers or players who would fortify the team’s defense up the middle.