After the Nationals lost their seventh of their last eight games yesterday, it would seem now is a good time to look at some recent prospect rankings.
We’ll be doing this a lot over the coming months and even seasons, so be sure to stay tuned.
The Nationals revamped their farm system and entered a full rebuild after trading their best players at back-to-back trade deadlines and signed 19 of their 20 picks in last month’s MLB Draft.
And national publications are taking notice of the new prospects in the Nats’ minor league system.
Baseball America released their updated prospect rankings earlier this week, the top 30 for each major league club and the top 100 overall.
New faces fill the top four spots in the Nationals’ top 30, an exciting development for a team that is shifting its focus to the long-term future.
Shortstop C.J. Abrams, and outfielders Robert Hassell III, James Wood and Elijah Green are Baseball America’s newest top four prospects in the Nats system. Abrams, Hassell and Wood were included in the six-player package from the Padres in exchange for Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Green was the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft out of IMG Academy.
Rounding out the top 10 are right-hander Cade Cavalli, shortstop Brady House, outfielder Cristhian Vaquero, right-handers Jarlin Susana and Jackson Rutledge, and outfielder Jeremy De La Rosa.
Cavalli (2020), House (2021) and Rutledge (201) are the Nats’ recent first-round picks that preceded Green. Originally from Cuba, Vaquero, the top prospect in this signing period, signed for a club-record $4.925 million as a 17-year-old international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in January. At 18, Susana is the youngest and least experienced prospect the Nats received from the Padres, but he also might have the highest upside. De La Rosa wasn’t a top-ranked prospect when he signed with the Nats out of the Dominican in 2018, but the 20-year-old has steadily risen through the ranks over the past couple of years.
Altogether, the Nats’ top 10 prospects include six first-round picks, all four eligible prospects from the Padres trade and three international signings (two by the Nats).
Five Nationals also cracked Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list: Abrams (11), Hassell (25), Wood (39), Green (52) and Cavalli (55).
For comparison, the Orioles – who have one of the top farm systems in all of baseball and a great rebuilding blueprint to follow – have six prospects in the top 100. But all five of the Nats players rank higher than the O’s lower three.
This is the first time the Nationals have five players in Baseball America’s top 100 since 2016, when they had Lucas Giolito (5), Trea Turner (9), Victor Robles (33), Erick Fedde (82) and Reynaldo López (92).
The Nats have never had five players within the top 60 before now.
Other publications have released their overall farm system rankings, with the Nationals making significant jumps after the draft and trade deadline.
FanGraphs has the Nats system ranked eighth, rising 16 spots from 26th. They note that if left-hander MacKenzie Gore was still a prospect (he graduated with the Padres earlier this year), the Nats system would be ranked fifth.
ESPN has the Nats farm ranked 10th, up from 22nd, in their latest minor league system rankings.
MLB Pipeline has not updated their prospect or farm rankings since before the draft.
Note: I’m heading up to high Single-A Wilmington today to see Hassell with the Blue Rocks. Check back for my full report and interview with the new prospect.