Lets be honest. We all know that Victor Robles is coming. If he does not break camp with the left field starting job, he will be up by April. However, this is a group of four interesting prospects that are an injury away from contributing.
Austin Voth – After being one of the Nationals top prospects going into the 2017 season, Voth is now on the outside of my top 20. He went from a 3.15 ERA with 20.2 K% in 2016 to a 5.94 ERA with 17.6 K% in 2017. The 2017 season was a season to forget for sure. However, digging more into the stats, batters had a BABIP of .279 in 2016 but had a BABIP of .329 in 2017. That screams bad luck to me. Also, the Nationals kept him in the starters role the entire season which shows they have confidence in his abilities. Jeff Zimmerman at Fangraphs reported Voth’s velocity on his fastball sat 91-93, which is up from the upper 80s he was sitting at in 2016. Currently, Erick Fedde and A.J. Cole are ahead of him in the pecking order for starts if someone gets hurt but if he can pick back up where he left off in 2016, I think he might contribute in 2018.
Jose Marmolejos – He started the 2017 season late due to an elbow injury suffered in the offseason and held his own with a .819 OPS+ in AA. He had a 20.5 K% in 2016 and decreased it to 17.4% in 2017. He also increased his BB% from 9.2% 2016 to 9.7% in 2017. He should start the year in AAA and maybe a September call up is in his future. He played a bunch of LF but 1B is his future. I have always loved the power potential in Marmolejos and feel he will rise on prospect lists this year.
Andrew Stevenson – At the start of 2017, Stevenson was killing AA with a OBP of .429 and OPS+ of .866. Once he got the call to AAA, production fell, OBP was .289, and walk rate tumbled from 12.1% in AA to 5.7% in AAA. Injuries in Washington forced the organization’s hand and he made his major league debut in late July. He played great defense but was nothing with the bat. However, I see big things for Stevenson this year. Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reported that Stevenson worked with Kevin Long, of Daniel Murphy fame, and revamped his swing. He is using his legs more which is allowing him to get more lift to the ball. He will start the season in AAA and continue to refine his new swing but should injuries crop up in Washington, I am sure we will see him again.
Austin Adams – After being designated for assignment by the Angels last year, Austin Adams came to Syracuse and pitched well out of the pen. Adams has always been a strikeout guy and had a career high 34.3 K%. So why has he never made the bigs? Walks. However, he was able to have a career low last year at 14%. I think we will see Adams up this year especially if Glover is forever hurt.
Article featured image of Andrew Stevenson – courtesy masnsports.com