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  1. Surprising that Peacock (guy that has proven it at AAA and looked solid in a SSS in the big show) would be ranked below two guys (Purke, Meyer) so far away who have SERIOUS questions of reaching an upside that is not that much better than Peacock’s.

    Comment by riverboatgambit — November 1, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  2. Go to lots of Potomac Nationals games every year, so really looking forward to seeing Rendon, Meyer and Ray there this year. Watched Destin Hood last year- definitely improved as the year went along. Hood needs to work on body language, though, as he just never exhibited much energy and always seemed angry or uncomfortable with fans and even teammates.

    Comment by Bruce — November 1, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  3. Isn’t the difference between a #2 and #3 starter something like the difference between Jaime Garcia and Trevor Cahill? So you have someone with a 30%? chance at being Trevor Cahill and someone else who has a 10% chance at being Jaime Garcia. Obviously the percentages are made up and most probably wrong but I think you could make an argument either way.

    Comment by IvanGrushenko — November 1, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  4. What a 2011 draft, eh? #2, #4, #5 and #6 prospects all acquired on day 1 of this year’s draft. And this wasn’t the worst farm system to begin with.

    I wonder why there’s no ranking love for Tyler Moore, he of two consecutive 30-homer seasons in successive levels.

    Comment by Todd Boss — November 1, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

  5. It’s the product of a stronger system that you don’t see Moore. His walk rate has dropped each of the past two seasons and his strikeout increased in 2011… He’s a guy that offers power but not much else at this point. He received some consideration for the 13-15 range.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 1, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  6. I know that there are questions about his strike zone discipline and hit tool, and that he’s a bit on the older side, but isn’t Tyler Moore a better prospect than the last three or four guys on this list? He’s put up 30 homers at high A and AA–which seems like the most important thing a first base prospect can do.

    Comment by jcj5y — November 1, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  7. Guess I posted too late. Maybe I’m just down on Marrero after seeing him in Washington this September, but I’d rather have the 30-homer guy as the token first base prospect.

    Comment by jcj5y — November 1, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

  8. I picked Cole over Odorizzi in a keeper league last year due to his higher upside. I was pretty nervous when Odorizzi start the year on fire but man, Cole pitched a hell of a 1st season in the pro.

    I can’t wait to see him in High-A/AA this year, all I read about him is “future no.1 or 2 starter”. Keep going A.J.!!

    Comment by Expos67 — November 1, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  9. Who was that guy that signed immediately after the draft so he could start playing?

    Comment by Joe — November 1, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  10. What are the rough baseline FIPs for “1 starter”, “2 starter”, etc? It’s clearly not an exact science but the terms have been around so much in prospect-land that I’m just curious as to what the qualifications are.

    Comment by riverboatgambit — November 1, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  11. Very healthy organization.

    The Werth signing was incredibly dumb and everybody knew it at the time.

    Imagine the organizational health if they didn’t have the Werth albatross!

    Comment by riverboatgambit — November 1, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

  12. Do you think that the Nats would move Espinosa to SS to make room for Rendon at 2B?

    Comment by SeanP — November 1, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  13. It seems to me that the questions about Harper’s maturity stem from the fact that he’s an 18-year-old (19 as of two weeks ago) who sometimes acts like an 18-year-old. That’s to be expected, especially when you consider that he just freakin’ turned 19! Guys like Keith Law who have spoken to him don’t think he’s too immature. It’s just that every little thing he does gets overly-scrutinized, and him having an 18-year-old moment makes the media freak out over whether he’s mature enough to be a star. It’s a non-issue.

    Comment by Josh — November 1, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  14. Agree with virtually everything but Stephen Lombardozzi. I don’t know if his bat will be “average” as you suggest; minor league numbers suggest a .275 batting average with good on-base percentage and 25+ steals.

    His defense, however, is not average. He won the Minor League Gold Glove for ALL second baseman at all levels. That’s, what, 10 leagues and close to 100 teams in all of minor league baseball and he was named the best.

    Not sure about where his bat will end up, but his defense is every bit as good as Danny Espinosa’s today. In fact. I’d prefer Espinosa to move back to short and give Lombardozzi second and just let him play.

    I don’t think a ball would get through the infield all season :)

    Comment by Farid — November 1, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  15. Espinosa is a shortstop. This was his first-ever year at 2B.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — November 1, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  16. Which by the way just tells you how amazing this guy is at defense.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — November 1, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  17. You could say there were approximately 30 #1 starters in the league, 30 #2, etc. Not the best pitcher on each team, as Philly clearly has more than their share of top pitchers. And if 30 and 33 aren’t substantially different, there’s no reason to draw an arbitrary line through them.

    29 qualified starting pitchers in 2011 had a FIP of 3.42 or lower, and then there’s a (smallish) jump to 3.52. Then another 30 are below 4.00, but there’s not substantial separation after that to draw a clear line.

    Looking at FIP-, 34 pitchers were below 90 and another 31 were below 104. These are just examples, probably want to tweak the number of pitchers you’re looking for in each category.

    Comment by byron — November 1, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

  18. No Milone at all? Or am I missing something?

    Also agree that Peacock and Lombardozzi are too low.

    Comment by Nathaniel Stoltz — November 1, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  19. Werth didn’t cost the organization anything but money, and even though it’s an obscene amount of money it hasn’t impacted the “organizational health” in any significant way. In a world where someone will trade for Vernon Wells and Alex Rios the Nationals will always be able to shed Werth’s contract if they absolutely must.

    Comment by NTPNate — November 1, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

  20. Lombardozzi and Peacock are lower because of the underlying questions about their ultimate roles: It’s still not 100% certain for both of them that they’ll be starters. Peacock could end up in the pen, while Lombardozzi could be a bench/platoon guy.

    Milone is a middle reliever type with a below-average heater. Not Top 15 material in this organization.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 1, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

  21. I disagree with you Marc on Milone. How many guys with weak stuff lead AAA in K’s? Not many. Maybe Milone’s FB isn’t high enough, but he can definitely K 7/9IP at the big league level with great walk rates. The guy did have a 10 K:BB ratio and improved at every level. In his 26 IP at the big leagues he did have a 3.75 K:BB ratio and an incredible 3.6 BB% which is the equivalent of Vernon Wells K rate. I don’t see why he can’t be a better version of John Lannan who has posted an above average ERA+ in 4 of his 5 seasons. He walks and K’s more batters than Lannan.

    If I had to bet on Milone vs. Kobernus or Marrero, I would take Milone who has a track record of minor league success (and some big league) compared to the other guys.

    Comment by pm — November 1, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  22. Bruce-

    that’s the first I’ve heard of anyone having problems with Destin Hood and his makeup/on field presence. Everytime I’ve seen him play he looks like he enjoys being out there and has been a good team guy?

    Comment by Roger — November 1, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  23. Bruce-

    that’s the first I’ve heard of anyone having problems with Destin Hood and his makeup/on field presence. Everytime I’ve seen him play he looks like he enjoys being out there and has been a good team guy?

    Comment by Roger — November 1, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  24. Two quick examples… J.P. Howell led the International League in strikeouts in 07 and he has a below average fastball. John Stephens was another soft tosser that racked
    up strike outs in triple-A. It happens fairly often, actually.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 1, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  25. So, what is the order for rankings to be released? Reverse Alphabetical?

    Comment by Matty Brown — November 1, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

  26. The rankings are… random. I’m going to probably rank the organzations when all is said and done right before the Top 100 prospects list.

    I thought about different orders of publishing but chose random… but it will alternate between AL and NL teams. It also gives me a little wiggle room in case contacts don’t get back to me in time – I can switch clubs if need be since I tend to work on 2-3 organizations at a time.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 1, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  27. Any insight into players besides Moore that were considered for the 13-15 range, but didn’t make the cut?

    Perhaps Keyes, Komatsu, Freitas or Rosenbaum?

    Thanks again for doing all this work!

    Comment by Will — November 1, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  28. I have to agree with missing on Milone. Marc, I’m not sure why you feel like he’s a middle reliever. He’s a lefty with a solid 4 pitch mix (nothing that stands out or sucks), very good control, and some mound smarts. He should be able to post K/9 around 6.0 and BB/9 around 2.0 and has a homer friendly home park. That works in the Phillies or Giants rotation let alone the Nationals.

    The big thing is he’s ready, more so than any other Nats prospect. If the Nats are willing to give 180 IP to John Lannan AND pay him, there’s no reason not to do the same with Milone.

    Ultimately, a number of these pitching prospects will probably be in new homes soon as the Nats aim to exchange prospects for a couple superstars.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — November 1, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

  29. I don’t get the distaste for Norris and the season he had. As a prognosticator, it sounds as if you would prefer an empty .310 batting average than a FULL .210 batting average. Yes, on the back of a baseball card .210 looks horrific, but when you keep sliding your finger along the season stats, you come across a .373 wOBA, good for third in all of MLB among catchers with at least 300 at bats (random number). His OPS would be 7th in MLB in that very same category and with the same threshold.

    The batting average looks terrible. He strikes out too much. His performance at his defensive position is weak. None of this has changed from 2010 when he rated as the #2 prospect in the system.

    Comment by Brandon H — November 1, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  30. I know I just posted on the topic, but is proximity not being considered at all? I mean look at #8 Robbie Ray who’s projected as maybe a #3 or middle reliever if things work out. Is a #3 upside pitcher really better than a #5 (at least) pitcher now?

    Put another way, let’s say Ray has 3 win upside (with normal historical attrition rates) and Milone IS a 1 win player right now. In a vacuum, which do you prefer?

    Comment by Brad Johnson — November 1, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

  31. I see. Your prospect rankings are like an extended Christmas for me. I sorta hope my Jays are near the end though. (aren’t you Canadian as well?0

    Comment by Matty Brown — November 1, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

  32. If you increase the level of talent Norris would be facing at the MLB level, you could be looking at a sub-.200 batting average and +30% strikeout rate… there aren’t many big league catchers that will play everyday with those kind of numbers – even if they produce a +.200 ISO rate.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 1, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

  33. I’d love to see how many of Norris’s K’s were looking as opposed to swinging. It’s been documented that he fancies his own strike zone recognition better than the average minor league umpire’s. I don’t think it’s crazy to project a .350+ OBP from Norris even without any substantial improvement in his skills, which is still very possible considering his age. He hasn’t been catching his whole life, either; I think he shifted to catcher from third base only in the year he was drafted. He seems to be steadily improving on defense. I’d say a MLB backup catcher is his floor at this point.

    Comment by Nats804 — November 1, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

  34. Names in the 16-30 range: Eury Perez, Cole Kimball, Michael Taylor, Rick Hague, Matt Skole, Tom Milone, Adrian Sanchez, Danny Rosenbaum, Kylin Turnbull, Tyler Moore, Estarlin Martinez, Jason Martinson, Erik Komatsu…

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 1, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  35. The Jays are in the Christmas to New Year’s time frame. And yes, I am Canadian.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — November 1, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  36. Does that account for his ~.250 BABIP in the Eastern League? He seemed to run pretty well for a catcher when I saw him play in person, and his SB/CS backs it up.

    Comment by Nats804 — November 1, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  37. That contract shedding sure worked out great with the Giants and Barry Zito.

    Comment by Andre — November 1, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

  38. That’s ridiculous… We don’t know the impact yet, but it can be very significant.

    Comment by baty — November 1, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

  39. Where do you put a guy like Mark Antonelli? Former #1 (17 overall) pick who looked to be on a fast track to MLB (BA had him as MiLB’s #50 prospect entering 2008) until getting derailed by wrist pain that was finally diagnosed as a broken hamate in 2009. After surgery Rizzo picks him up for a song, and all he does is lead AAA Syracuse in OPS, looking a lot like the low strikeout player that had been rising through the Padres system.

    I’d love to see the Nats hang onto him, but given their logjam in the middle infield it’s hard to see that unless someone else gets moved, possibly in a trade for a pitcher or OF/leadoff type.

    Comment by John C. — November 1, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

  40. I can’t so how much I am looking forward to your Jays’ prospect rankings, Marc. Exciting season the organization had.

    Comment by Albert Lyu — November 2, 2011 @ 12:17 am

  41. It’s MATT Antonelli, by the way.

    I don’t know what the Nats will decide with Lombardozzi, but if they aren’t committed to using him as a utility guy (or even the starting 2B) next year, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see Antonelli serve the role Alex Cora did this year- basically a utility infielder/late-inning defensive substitution. His numbers in AAA were good (nothing exceptional though), but he is a cheap option. However, he’s going to be 27 and he is a free agent, so if he finds a better deal elsewhere he can take it.

    Comment by Will — November 2, 2011 @ 8:37 am

  42. Two years ago, Storen received a lot of publicity for signing immediately. I don’t know anything about this year’s draft though.

    Comment by Scott — November 2, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  43. Well, the Giants managed to win a title with that albatross, and Rowand providing an eight-figure fifth OF as well.

    Comment by mockcarr — November 2, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  44. Howell doesn’t have anywhere close to Milone’s command, it’s that motion of his that garners the strikeouts. Milone gets four pitches over, and even if he only throws 88, his change-up and curve are different enough in velocity to get some misses. I hope he’ll eventually be more of a ground ball pitcher than he showed in the five late starts, it seemed like he worked up and in an awful lot, got a few pop-ups and foul balls that way, but 88 isn’t going to scare batters too much. Still, it was encouraging to see a guy without the big heater coming inside to batters and challenging them.

    Comment by mockcarr — November 2, 2011 @ 10:05 am

  45. I can’t disagree with the Tom Milone comments more. While I believe there is some certain truth to the upside argument, there also has to be room for players who perform. Milone is that exact exception having gone 36-16 in his last three years in the minors, really not stumbling at all during his advancement. Then when making his September call-up, he pitched exceptionally well for someone who apparently lacks the stuff to be SP in the big leagues, still showing a 3.75 K/BB ratio.

    There is almost zero risk with this guy, he is a MLB pitcher, which isn’t a lock for any of these pitchers mentioned, especially Alex Meyer who had a 7+ Era in his sophomore season at UK, or any of these highschool products. I’d also argue that he is far better than Marrero, who is basically the same product as Milone, in terms of avg. stuff with some advanced skills (Marrero hits for average, while Milone has great command and is a lefty), the only difference is that Milone is not out of position (or even HAS a position) nor taken at the top of the draft.

    I feel like we are going back to the old scouts days if all we worry about is Milone’s average “heater.” If any of these other guys had Milone’s MiLB career they’d be unfortunately heralded as the guaranteed lock for All-Stars 2013.

    Comment by Sully — November 2, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  46. I agree. Tommy Milone is John Lannan with near-perfect control. Lannan, who lets way too many men on base, had a 3.70 ERA this year and a career average at 4.00.

    Milone’s lack of walks should make him a half-run better than Lannan, the kind of guy who wins 11-12 games with an era in the 3.35-3.45 range.

    And that’s a keeper!

    Comment by Farid — November 2, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  47. Except that for whatever reason Lannan has been above average for four years while making over 30 starts each year beating his peripherals 3 of the 4 years by quite a bit. He’s worth what they are going to pay him, easily. We don’t know how Milone’s stuff will translate yet, every pitcher is a little different. Lannan has pretty much an average fastball, by the way, at 90/91. Milone is below that, they really aren’t too comparable except in the broadest sense of being lefties that don’t rely on velocity.

    Comment by mockcarr — November 2, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  48. See Furbush, Charlie for an example of a weak stuff-guy leading AAA in K’s.

    Comment by Slacker George — November 2, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  49. Quite right – I was posting late at night and misremembered the name. Mea culpa :)

    I was swapping posts with John Sickels of about Matt Antonelli. I think that the Nationals were in fact considering him for the Jerry Hairston Jr. type role (Antonelli played some OF as well as a variety of IF positions at Syracuse). Sickels thought (and I agree) that for any team with a lack of depth in the middle infield Antonelli would be worth a spot on the 40 man roster. At the very least he’s solid AAA depth, with a decent shot at being a major league utility guy and he’s still young enough that there is some possibility that he turns into the player that he was tracking to be prior to the injury.

    Without having seen him play, I love his K/BB rate (consistently about 1/1) and his BB rate (consistently 14%). But unless a trade is made I doubt he gets that shot with the Nationals. If he doesn’t get a MLB deal, though, I’d love to see the Nats sign him to a minor league contract and invite him to spring training as depth/insurance.

    Comment by John C. — November 2, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  50. Hey Marc are you doing a top 15 list like this for every team? or will you be going back to the evaluation like you did last year?

    Comment by FenixL — November 2, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  51. It’s not saying that you can’t overcome, a big mistake, but they need to keep generating as much money as possible to retain and purchase talent for the ’14-’16+ stretch run. You can’t afford to run out a team with Jason Werth and 2 dozen 25 year olds. They do have several small contracts coming off the books this offseason and only a few players (I think) expected to be averaging more than 3M a year, but they also have lots of holes to fill, and lots of trust being placed in the hands of inexperience and uncertainty. They’ll also have to make at least another significant free agent signing within the next year or two, if they don’t want to loose a few core of prospects.

    If the Werth contract continues to prove to be the big mistake, they can’t afford another, otherwise you can kiss Zimmerman good-bye (unless he’s still feeling generous), in addition to 2-3 significant prospects via trade to acquire talent that compensates for that loss of talent and the $20M a year hole they dug. The Nationals payroll has potentially a ton of room to grow the next 6-7 years as young talent matures through arb cases, rookie contracts, and extensions, in addition to any FA signings… there’s really no way of knowing how much money they’ll need to keep the transition smooth.

    I know it’s thinking way far down the line, but you can’t assume that Strasburg, Harper, and crew will turn this team into a “major market” payroll for long if the team isn’t winning as early and as much as hoped.

    Comment by baty — November 2, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  52. Peacock is way too low. Your rating a guy with serious durability concerns, and in my opinon was never that great in the first place ahead of a guy with a 1.91 SIERA in AA, a mid 90s fastball and a hammer curve.

    Note: I got the SIERA numbers from great site

    Comment by Thomas — November 2, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  53. I think the name of his fan club should be “Harper’s F-Bombs”, with the logo being the B-52 Stratofortress.

    Comment by Slacker George — November 3, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

  54. Marc I just have one question. How much is Scott Boras paying you? You have his clients rated at #’s 1,2,4,5, and 6 in the system when most of them have yet to produce much of anything. That isn’t to say that they don’t have the talent, but it smacks of favouritism.

    With that aside though, can you imagine the Nationals AA batting order next year?
    and a Center Fielder

    That looks like a murderers row for AA pitching next year.

    Comment by Curtiss — November 3, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  55. Moore strikes out a lot, isn’t that good defensively, and can’t take a walk. Additionally he is ‘old’ and has been overheard telling those damn neighborhood kids to get off his lawn. With that said, his power is very intriguing.

    Comment by Paul — November 4, 2011 @ 11:07 am

  56. 5th round pick 3B out of Georgia Tech, Matt Skole. Went to short-league ball and hit pretty well, defensively…not so well.

    Comment by TheYellowSlant — November 4, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  57. Why are you focusing solely on his batting average? What about his .350+ OBP?
    Also, could the reason why there aren’t many catchers that stick with a sub .200 batting average is because those catchers also have a sub .250 OBP?

    Comment by Brandon Heikoop — November 4, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

  58. Moore is almost certainly going to be in Syracuse next year; he has nothing more to prove at AA. He will either be at 1b (if Marrero is in DC or included as part of a trade) or in the OF (reports had the Nationals working on him as an OF in the instructs and liking his development).

    Norris, FWIW, is tearing up the Arizona Fall League, slashing .277/.417/.681, good for third in the league in both OPS and slugging. This may move him up a bit.

    Comment by John C. — November 14, 2011 @ 10:46 am

  59. Your point about Moore is taken, but I will bet that Norris will start the season at AA. Regardless though, even without those two, that is still a lineup that will absolutely slaughter AA pitching. All I am saying is that it will be very interesting to see how things shake out at AA this upcoming season, because honestly that lineup reads like a MLB lineup in a few years.

    Comment by Curtiss — November 14, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  60. So, they traded #s 3, 7, 9, and Tom Milone for Gonzalez. Who would the three replacements have been if this list were done now?

    Comment by Person — April 4, 2012 @ 11:38 am

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