I'm working on a story about how the Nationals were built and what trends it reflects, but I need a little help framing the idea. Here's my question: How do you define a "homegrown" player?
For example, do the Nationals currently have five homegrown players on their roster (Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Roger Bernadina, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman) because they were all drafted by the team, or do you count Luis Atilano, who spent three seasons in the minors with the Nationals and made his major league debut with them?
Let me know what you think.
Update: It's been very interesting to see some of the responses on this. I'll throw out a follow-up question: Do you take more pride in a player like Stephen Strasburg, who was picked by the team, or a player like Atilano or Jesus Flores, who was essentially picked off another team's scrap heap? To me, it seems a little silly to say Strasburg is homegrown and Atilano isn't, since the Nationals' minor-league people put far more time into developing Atilano than they did Strasburg, who someone keenly suggested was "already ripe" when he got to the Nationals. Same goes for Ryan Zimmerman.
Which player in the organization - major or minor leagues - best embodies the entire scouting and development process? I heard Desmond from a couple people, and Bernadina is another good suggestion. Any other thoughts - or perhaps a player like Jordan Zimmermann, who came from an obscure place and wound up here via a second-round pick? Mike Rizzo said in his blog a couple weeks ago that he fought to push Zimmermann up the draft board. What's the biggest success story of "the Plan?"