The Washington Nationals under the direction of Mike Rizzo made an offseason trade for Adam Eaton that significantly weakened the Nationals farm system. Gone are the likes of Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez as the Nationals are trying to make a push in 2017. Dusty Baker, in my opinion, is a great coach but doesn’t like to play rookies. Here is my Nationals Top 50. The only question that needs to be asked is how many over-paying trades will Rizzo make to try and save his job. As you can see I’m not really a fan of the Eaton trade.
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster.
1. Victor Robles, OF
Robles is the Nats top prospect by far. His contact and his speed are the strengths to his game. He is just 19 years old. Robles should be a top five prospect in 2018. ETA to the majors is 2018. Fantasy rating is a 9/10. In dynasty leagues he is a guy to own. Robles will be the center fielder for the Nats by 2019. If Harper leaves, Eaton probably moves over to left or right field.
2. Erick Fedde, RHP
Fedde has put Tommy John surgery behind him. Fedde has a good FB in the 55 range. Major league ETA should be 2018. Fantasy rating 6/10. A guy to watch but not to buy unless you are in a 50 ML fantasy team.
3. Carter Kieboom, SS
Kieboom was the Nats’ 1st round pick in the 2016 Draft. He is a better hitter than his brother (Spencer). The strength of his game right now is contact – in the 50-55 range. ETA is 2021. Fantasy rating 4/10.
4. Koda Glover, RHP
Glover came up and pitched 19 innings for the Nats in 2016. He has a very good FB and needs to work on his 3 pitch as he develops into a major league pitcher. Has the arm should make it to the MLB roster in 2017. Fantasy rating 5/10. Probably starts out as a bullpen arm. Possibly a future closer.
5. Wilmer Difo, SS/2B
Difo may make the Nats in 2017 as a back up infielder. He had 58 AB for the Nats in 2016 and batted .276. Fantasy impact 5/10.
6. Nick Banks, OF
Banks has good contact and can be an OBP-type guy with decent power. Major league ETA could be 2018. Fantasy impact 5/10.
7. Juan Soto, OF
I like Soto’s contact rate and his future power should be worth watching. He batted .361 in the Gulf Coast League. Fantasy impact 5/10. A guy to watch to see if his power develops.
8. Jesus Luzardo, LHP
Luzardo was the Nats 3rd round pick in 2016. Decent FB and control of his all his pitches. Young and needs some time to develop. Don’t think he comes up until 2019 at the earliest. Fantasy impact 4/10.
9. Sheldon Neuse, 3B
Neuse was the Nats 2nd round pick, 58th overall, in the 2016 draft. Nice swing for average power. Don’t think he comes up until 2019-2020. Fantasy impact 3/10.
10. Anderson Franco, 3B
A corner guy because of his speed. He has below average contact and decent power. Fantasy impact 3/10. ETA 2020.
11. Luis Garcia, SS
Garcia joined the Nationals system in 2016 as one of the top international prospects. He is just 16 years old. Garcia and Yasel Antuna should be fun to watch as the ascend in the farm system. Fantasy impact 3/10.
12. Drew Ward, 3B
Contact and run are below average. May see some MLB time in 2017. Has decent power. Fantasy impact 3/10.
13. Yasel Antuna, SS
Definitely a kid to watch. Has all the tools. Good speed with decent hit and decent power. Won’t be up until 2021 so his fantasy impact is low. 3/10
14. Austin Voth, RHP
The trade of Giolito and Lopez may help Voth. Put up some decent stats in the Arizona Fall League. He has good control of all his pitches but will likely get hit in the majors. ETA 2017. Fantasy impact 3/10.
15. Andrew Stevenson, OF
Many are going to say he should be ranked higher. Was a 2nd round selection in the 2015 draft. He has good speed but little power. Had a good 2016 AFL. ETA 2017. Fantasy impact due to lack of power is 3/10.
16. Jose Marmolejos-Diaz, 1B
A very good bat. 2016 Player of the Year for the Nats. A kid I will be watching in 2017. He may come up in 2017. Fantasy impact 3/10 but it may improve in 2017. Robles, Soto and Marmolejos are the three Nats I want to own for fantasy purposes if I had to pick three.
17. A.J.Cole, RHP
Cole had some MLB time in 2015 and 2016 for the Nats. 38 IP for the Nats in 2016. Decent FB in the 50-55 range. Fantasy impact 3/10.
18. Osvaldo Abreu, 2B
A player who has good contact and good speed, with limited power. ETA 2019. Fantasy impact 2/10.
19. Joan Baez, RHP
Joan can be a bullpen arm with a 65-70 FB. ETA 2019. Fantasy impact 2/10.
20. Tres Barrera, C
50 power for a Catcher is good but he may be turned into a Corner Infielder. ETA 2019. Fantasy impact 2/10.
21. Jimmy Cordero, RHP
Obtained from the Phillies, Cordero can hit 100 MPH. ETA 2017. Fantasy impact 2/10. Possible bullpen arm. A guy I will be watching in Spring Training.
22. Rafael Bautista, OF
All speed. Limited hit and no power. ETA 2018. Fantasy impact 1/10.
23. Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B
Gutierrez has decent hit and below average power and speed. ETA 2019. Fantasy impact 1/10.
24. Rhett Wiseman, OF
Wiseman was a 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft. Decent power and speed, below average hit. He’s a kid that might move up the rankings in 2017. ETA 2018-2019. Fantasy impact 1/10.
25. Blake Perkins, OF
Perkins was a 2nd round pick in the 2015 draft. A speed guy with below average power. Decent hit tools. ETA 2018. Fantasy impact 1/10.
26. Tyler Watson, LHP
Decent fastball, 64K in 58 IP between Auburn (short season) and Hagerstown (Low A) in 2016. ETA 2020. Fantasy impact 1/10.
27. Tommy Peterson, SP/RP
58 IP, 2.64 ERA between Hagerstown (Low A) and Potomac (High A) in 2016. ETA 2020. Fantasy impact 1/10.
28. Joey Harris, C
Decent average (.301) in Gulf Coast (Rookie) League in 2016, his first year in the minors. ETA 2021 . Fantasy impact 1/10.
29. Pedro Severino, C
Defensive catcher but not much hit or power. Has spent some time in majors with 32 AB in 2015-2016. Fantasy impact 1/10.
30. Raudy Read, C
Read may be moved to a corner position as he comes up through the minors. He has a decent bat but needs time down on the farm to develop. ETA 2019. Fantasy value 1/10.
31. Jakson Reetz, C
Reetz and Barrera are the future Catchers for the Nats on this list. Reetz needs some time in the minors. ETA 2020. Fantasy value 1/10.
32. Conner Simonetti, 1B
Simonetti had a nice start to his minor league career hitting 6 HR with .280 BA in 157 AB in GCL (Rookie) in 2016. Will be nice to see what he can do in 2017. ETA 2020. Fantasy value 1/10.
33. Daniel Johnson, OF
Johnson was the Nats 5th round pick in the 2016 draft. On the 20-80 scale he has 80 speed. You just don’t see too many guys with 80 speed. In 2016 in Auburn (short season) he had 13 SB and hit .265 in 245 AB. ETA 2020. Fantasy value 1/10.
34. Taylor Guilbeau, SP
Mid 3’s ERA in 2015-2016 with a little less than a K/IP. He’ll be 24 this spring and will be interesting to see if he pitches at a level above Hagerstown (Low A). ETA 2019. Fantasy value 1/10.
35. Nick Lee, LHP
4.32 ERA at Harrisburg (AA) in 2016. Running out of time to make any impact in the majors. He’ll be 26 at the start of the 2017 season. ETA 2018. Fantasy value 1/10.
36. Robbie Dickey, RHP
Dickey is likely a bullpen guy. 26 K, 3.48 ERA in 20.2 IP in 2016 between Auburn and Hagerstown. ETA 2019. Fantasy value 1/10.
37. Telmito Agustin, OF
Agustin hit .260 with 5 HR and 14 SB in 2016 in Rookie league and A ball. Still young. ETA 2020. Fantasy value 1/10.
38. Matt Skole, 1B
24 HR last season at Syracuse (AAA) but only .244 BA. His age (27) is a factor. ETA 2017 (if that). Fantasy impact 1/10.
39. Andrew Lee, RHP
Likely another RP. Lee had 47 K and 3.71 ERA in 51 IP in 2016 at Hagerstown (A). ETA 2020. Fantasy impact 1/10.
40. Jefry Rodriguez, RHP
97 K in 126 IP with 97 K and a 4.96 ERA (which was a slight improvement from 2015) . ETA 2019. Fantasy impact 1/10.
41. Ryan Williamson, LHP
Rookie class. ETA 2021. Fantasy impact 1/10.
42. Matthew Crownover, LHP
Decent K rate (110 K in 128.2 IP in 2016). ETA 2020. Fantasy impact 1/10.
43. Branden Boggetto, 2B
Nice start to rookie ball in 2016. Hit .280 in 107 AB with 3 HR, 16 RBI. ETA 2021. Fantasy impact 1/10.
44. Jeremy McDonald, LHP
Appears to be about a K per IP guy. ETA 2019. Fantasy impact 1/10.
45. Michael Rishwain, RHP
14 K in 17.1 IP with a 3.63 ERA in 2016 (GCL). ETA 2020. Fantasy impact 1/10.
46. Brian Goodwin, OF
14 HR/15 SB with a .280 BA at Syracuse (AAA) in 2016, but age is becoming a factor at 26. Did have 22 games (42 AB) in the majors in 2016. ETA 2017 or could be a career MiLB’er. Fantasy impact 1/10.
47. Ian Sagdal, DH
10 HR/.303 at Hagerstown (A) in 2016. Drafted in the 16th round of the 2015 draft. ETA 2019. Fantasy impact 1/10.
48. Alec Keller, OF
Drafted in 17th round of the 2014 draft. 3 HR and 14 SB at High A Potomac in 2016. ETA 2019. Fantasy impact 1/10.
49. Austin Davidson, DH
9 HR/43 RBI in 96 games between Hagerstown and Potomac in 2016. Fantasy value 1/10.
50. Jake Noll, 2B
Hit .323 in the Arizona Fall League. ETA 2019. Fantasy impact 1/10