More prospect rankings ahead of spring training

As the offseason dwindles down and pitchers and catchers prepare to report to spring training in 10 days, the last few bits of offseason content are getting pushed out.

Among them continues to be the latest prospect and minor league farm system rankings.

Baseball America has come out with their updated lists two weeks ago. Dylan Crews came in as the No. 6 overall prospect in the sport, with James Wood at No. 11 and Brady House at No. 55. Cade Cavalli, Yohandy Morales, Jackson Rutledge, Robert Hassell III, Cristhian Vaquero, Elijah Green and Jarlin Susana round out the top 10 in Baseball America’s new top 30 Nats prospects rankings.

Over the past week, some new rankings dropped.

A little over a week ago MLB Pipeline released its new top 100 prospects list to conclude their series of ranking the top 10 at each position.

House (No. 6) and Morales (No. 10) make the cut at third base. They were both in a five-way tie for best fielding tool (50), with House listed as the best defender on the list. With the two of them, the Nats were one of two teams with multiple players in top 10, along with the Rays.

It was no surprise Crews (No. 4) and Wood (No. 7) landed in the top 10 for outfielders. The Nats were once again one of two teams with two players in the top 10, this time with the Rangers.

But when it came time for MLB Pipeline to release its latest top 100 rankings, only three of those four prospects were to be found: Crews at No. 7, Wood at No. 14 and House at No. 48. While it was nice to see three Nats prospects crack the top 50, all three dropped from their previous rankings by MLB Pipeline: Crews fell from No. 4 in their previous rankings, Wood from No. 7 and House from No. 40.


ESPN dropped two new rankings this week per MLB insider Kiley McDaniel: A top 100 prospect rankings and farm system rankings.

Once again, Crews, Wood and House made up the Nats’ consensus top three prospects to make the list.

While comparing Crews to Xander Bogaerts, McDaniel said the former No. 2 overall pick’s type is “above average at everything, but might not be truly elite at any one thing.”

Wood landed just outside the top 10 at No. 11. McDaniel said the tall prospect reminds him of “a combination of Elly De La Cruz, Cody Bellinger, Kyle Tucker and Fernando Tatis Jr.” with a type of “a 6-foot-6 plus runner with 30-plus homer upside.”

House came in outside the top 50 at No. 55 on McDaniel’s list with the type as “tools galore could be an MVP-level talent if he cleans up his pitch selection.”

ESPN also released its farm system rankings on Friday, an area where the Nats have improved over the past couple of years after having one of the worst minor league systems in the sport as a result of depleting it to help win a World Series in 2019.

The Nationals were ranked with the No. 13 farm system by McDaniel last year, but now enters 2024 in the lower half of the league at No. 16.

“General manager Mike Rizzo got a contract extension this year, which is a vote of confidence from ownership that he can complete making this rebuild into a contender like he did previously by reaching the playoffs five times in his first 10 years, punctuated by winning a World Series in 2019,” McDaniel wrote. “Washington is just turning the corner now, with about a half-dozen solid young players on the big league team and a top-heavy farm system with many of the system's best prospects now in the upper minors.

“This farm system is starting to look like it did when Rizzo was building that 2019 championship core if you squint, so 2024 is a key year for this group to come into focus.”

Baseball America also released its farm system rankings on Friday, with the Nats landing in a similar spot.

After ranking the highest its been in a long time at No. 7 by the end of 2023, the Nationals being 2024 as Baseball America’s No. 15 minor league system: “A system led by outfielders Dylan Crews and James Wood is going to be in better shape than a lot of organizations, and third baseman Brady House had an encouragingly healthy 2023. Now, the Nationals need Elijah Green and/or Robert Hassell III to have bounce-back seasons in 2024, like House had in 2023.”

Although the dropoff from last year may be disappointing, it’s still a major improvement from No. 26 in 2022, No. 30 in 2021 and No. 23 in 2020.

Some more prospect rankings to keep an eye out for: ESPN is releasing its team-by-team prospect lists this week and MLB Pipeline should have new team-by-team top 30 rankings soon.

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