Washington Nationals 2018 Top 50 Prospects

The long-awaited Nationals Top 50 prospects list is here! The system overall has some interesting players but lacks the punch as in prior years due to the Nationals success and picking later in the draft. You will also notice the list is filled with outfielders and back-end/reliever type pitchers.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
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





Tier 1:

1. Victor Robles, OF
Opening Day Age: 20
2017 Highest Level: MLB
It should come has no surprise to see Robles at the top of the list. Top 10 prospect in baseball. An injury away from full time playing time.

Tier 2:

2. Juan Soto, OF
Opening Day Age: 19
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Hamstring injury and broken hamate bone limited his playing time in 2017. Great defender and plus speed.

Tier 3:

3. Carter Kieboom, SS
Opening Day Age: 20
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Hamstring injury limited his season in Hagerstown. Above average bat speed. Scouts have said he has swing and miss tendencies due to his aggressiveness at the plate. Decent chance to stick at short due to above average arm and average range

4. Erick Fedde, RHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Made his MLB debut after injuries to the bullpen. Was moved back to the starting rotation at the end of the season. Number 3 starter celling.

5. Luis Garcia, 2B
Opening Day Age: 17
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Big time sign from the 2016 J2 draft. Slick defender at short. Makes decent contact. Scouts have said he’s raw and needs to address his approach at the plate.

6. Yasel Antuna, 3B
Opening Day Age: 18
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Another big sign from the 2016 J2 draft. Plays short currently but scouts think he will eventually move to third. Decent power and above average speed.

7. Seth Romero, LHP
Opening Day Age: 21
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
First round pick in the 2017 draft. Plus fastball and slider combo. In college, he had a 15.72 K/9, which lead the nation, before being dismissed from the team. Was hit around in his 22 innings after the draft but still a huge upside.

8. Daniel Johnson, OF
Opening Day Age: 22
2017 Highest Level: High-A
Johnson had a great year in 2017 by hitting .298/.356/.505 over two levels, A and A+ ball. Super aggressive at the plate. Should be able to stick at center due to athleticism and arm strength.

9. Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: High-A
Suffered an ankle injury in June that limited him to 68 games for the year. Scouts have said he shows good power in BP but it has yet to translate in game.

10. Andrew Stevenson, OF
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Outstanding defender in center. Made it to the pros in 2017 after injuries limited the Nationals. Killed AA but had some struggles after the promotion to AAA. However, his plate control and ability to get on base, easy to see him with an everyday role in 2018.

11. Rafael Bautista, OF
Opening Day Age: 24
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Only played 42 games in AAA this year due to a torn hamstring. Super speedy OF and will most likely max out at fourth OF level due to below average hit tool.

12. Raudy Read, C
Opening Day Age: 24
2017 Highest Level: MLB
According to scouts, he made huge strides defensively by becoming a better blocker and receiver. Slightly above average arm so he could control the running game. Hit .272/.335/.465 after the All-Star Break.

13. Jackson Tetreault, RHP
Opening Day Age: 21
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
6 foot 5 righty the Nats picked in the seventh round in 2017. Reaches 95 with the fastball and scouts have his curveball as above average. Limited batters to .213 AVG in 40.1 innings in the New York Penn league. One of the pitchers I am most excited to see this year.

14. Wil Crowe, RHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Signed in the second round in 2017, Crowe with a great fastball that sits around 94 mph and a curveball that has shown great movement. Had TJ in 2015 while in college. Held batters to a .236 average of 24.1 innings after being draft. Scouts see him number 3 starter type.

15. Brigham Hill, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Signed in the fifth round in 2017, Hill struggled in his pro debut. In 29.2 innings, A league batters were hitting .318 off of him. Average fastball, that sits in the low 90s, that scouts say has little movement. His bread and butter pitch is his curveball that scouts have put a 60 grade on. Scouts fear he will be unable to stay in the rotation due to the lack of movement on pitches and size, as he is 6 feet. He also had TJ as a sophomore in high school.

16. Jose Marmolejos, 1B
Opening Day Age: 25
2017 Highest Level: AA
My personal favorite “off the radar” player in the system. He has an above average hit tool. Scouts have said it is a clean, easy, repeatable swing. He also has great power and hit 14 homeruns in 107 games in AA in 2017. Was the Nationals Minor League Player of the year in 2015 and 2016.

17. Pedro Severino, C
Opening Day Age: 24
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Plus defender behind the plate. Club officials have praised his game calling skills. Not much power to see here but decent ball to bat skills. Above average second catcher material.

18. Taylor Gushue, C
Opening Day Age: 24
2017 Highest Level: AA
Drafted by the Pirates in 2014 and came to the Nationals system in 2016. Scouts have liked his quick, compact swing from both sides of the plate. He is average defensively with an average arm. Needs to improve on blocking and pitch framing but club officials have said they were impressed with his gains in those areas in 2017.





Tier 4:

19. Blake Perkins, OF
Opening Day Age: 21
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Another interesting OF in the Nationals system. Scouts love his bat speed and can drive to ball to all fields, as he is a switch hitter. Scouts also love his play in the field as he gets great reads, excellent jumps, and an above average arm.

20. Nick Raquet, LHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Drafted in the third round of the 2017 draft. Scouts have him at low 90’s fastball but has reached 98 mph. Holds velocity throughout the game. Most scouts seem him in bullpen role as he has trouble repeating his delivery.

21. Kyle Johnston, RHP
Opening Day Age: 21
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Signed in the sixth round in 2017. His fastball and cutter are both above average pitches. He has a decent changeup that is not often used but it is still below average. With only two plus pitches, he is most likely headed to the bullpen.

22. Austin Voth, RHP
Opening Day Age: 25
2017 Highest Level: AAA
2017 was a season Voth and the Nationals would like to forget. Regressed terribly and was demoted from AAA to AA in June due to ineffectiveness. Always had above average control and command. In prior years he would attack the zone but spent much of the year nibbling the corners.

23. Jake Noll, 2B
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: High-A
Signed in the seventh round in 2016, Noll is a second baseman with plus bat speed and foot speed. In college, he played multiple positions (2B, SS, and CF). Decent power output in A ball this year with 16 home runs and 19 doubles. I seem him as a great bench player due to bat skills and ability to play multiple positions.

24. Joan Baez, RHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: High-A
6’3″ righty with a killer fastball that has hit triple digits but normally sits in the low 90’s due to inability to repeat delivery. Scouts love his curveball due to shape and depth of the pitch. Bullpen arm for sure.

25. Telmito Agustin, OF
Opening Day Age: 21
2017 Highest Level: High-A
Another speedy OF in the Nationals system. (surprise, surprise) Slap hitter with not much power but can get down the line quickly due to above average speed. Nationals officials have said he has improved greatly defensively in 2017.

26. Anderson Franco, 3B
Opening Day Age: 20
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Scouts have loved Franco’s bat speed and power potential. Has been limited due to back injuries. Stock took a tumble in 2017 has he finally played over 100 games but hit .201/.272/.348 in A ball. Scouts say he has trouble recognizing spin, which could because of lack of playing time during the development years. 2018 is a make or break year for Franco.

27. Tyler Mapes, RHP
Opening Day Age: 26
2017 Highest Level: AA
30th round pick in 2014 and missed the 2017 due to injury. Command has been his calling card. Prior to the injury he was sitting around 90 with the fastball. Above average slider with great sinking action. Maybe a fifth starter/spot starter at best. However, baseball seems to be heading to leaning more on relief pitchers that can pitch 2-3 innings so he might find a role there.

28. Matthew Derosier, RHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
DeRosier, a 24th round pick back in 2013, pitched in two levels, Short Season A and Low-A, in 2017. Highest number of innings pitched at 88 as he had TJ surgery in 2014. Control pitcher that might be a back end starter type.

29. Tres Barrera, C
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Picked in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, Barrera played all season in A ball. Hit .278/.354/.464 with eight home runs. Decent defender with a plus bat. Backup catcher in bigs.

30. Justin Connell, OF
Opening Day Age: 18
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
An eleventh round pick in 2017, he walked more (12.4% BB/9) than he struck out (8.8% K/9) in 30 games in rookie level ball. Drafted out of high school. Super speedy OF. Very interested to see what he can do in 2018.

31. Grant Borne, LHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: High-A
In 10 starts in High-A last year, he had a 2.50 ERA 7.5 K/9 and 2.38 BB/9, also had a 3.01 FIP so the low ERA might not be flukey. 6’5″ lefty picked in the 7th round in 2015. However was placed on the 7-day DL on July 21st did not appear in a game after that. Should be promoted to AA in 2018 and is on my watch list for sure.

32. Jefry Rodriguez, RHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2017 Highest Level: High-A
Was having a great season before being popped with a PED suspension in 2017. Held batters to a .238 AVG with a strikeout ratio of 4:1. Did not put up the same numbers after returning in August. Surprising add to the 40-man roster at the end of the season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

33. Matthew Crownover, LHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2017 Highest Level: AA
Small lefty at 5’11”, Crownover was drafted in the sixth round in 2015. Struggled when he was promoted to AA ball. No strikeouts to see here. (4.82 K/9) Minor league roster filler.

34. Austin Adams, RHP
Opening Day Age: 26
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Acquired by the Nationals in the Danny Espinosa trade with the Angels. Adams posted a 2.14 ERA and 13.88 K/9 in 59 innings. Has a shot to make the bullpen in 2018.

35. Sterling Sharp, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2017 Highest Level: High-A
Control, control, control is the name of Sharp’s game. Was pitching pretty well in Low-A and then turned it on when promoted to High-A ball. In 92 innings, he lowered the BB/9 to 1.36 and HR/9 to .78. Throws in the low 90’s. Interesting pitcher for sure, if he can keep the walks under control

36. Jakson Reetz, C
Opening Day Age: 22
2017 Highest Level: High-A
Scouts have loved Reetz’s bat speed in the past. The Nationals have worked on his lower half stance to get him to reach his power. Was promoted to High-A, even with so-so numbers in Low-A, which goes to show you the Nationals are still high on him. However, in my eyes, Barrera has moved above him in my rankings due to the lack of offense from Reetz.

37. Wander Suero, RHP
Opening Day Age: 26
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Pitched in AA and AAA with great K/9 (9 and 8.93 respectively) and low BB/9 (1.96 and 2.98). Added to the 40-man this off season. Has a shot to make the bullpen in 2018.

38. Gabe Klobosits, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Picked up in the 36th round in 2017, Klobosits had a great start to his professional career. In 30.2 innings, he had a 1.47 ERA/1.00 WHIP with a 11.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. He is 6’7″ and 270 lbs. Pure reliever as he served as Auburn’s closer during college. Great find for the Nationals in the 36th round.

Tier 5:

39. Oliver Ortiz, 1B
Opening Day Age: 21
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Struggled when promoted to high A after hitting well in low A ball. A low power 1B/LF is not interesting. Minor league roster filler.

40. Jorge Tillero, C
Opening Day Age: 24
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Zero (almost) power backup minor league catcher. He has hit 2 home runs since coming on the scene in 2011. Sorry to say but not much to see here.

41. Luis Reyes, RHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: High-A
Pitched all year in High-A, 143.1 innings and 26 starts and was in the top 5 in strikeouts in the Carolina league. Improved both K/9 and BB/9 but HR/9 remains an issue. Should be promoted the AA in 2018. Has two pitches, a two seamer and a curveball. Said to be tinkering with a changeup during the 2017 season.

42. Alec Keller, OF
Opening Day Age: 25
2017 Highest Level: AA
Drafted in the 17th round in 2014, Keller is an OF that make decent contact and decent defense. Doubtful to reach the majors as offense stats have dropped each year and the Nats have a plethora of OF depth.

43. Nick Banks, OF
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Drafted in the 4th round in 2016, Banks’ professional career has not been what he or the Nationals had in mind. In 122 games in A ball he batted .252/.303/.373 with average. Scouts have commented that there is a lack of bat speed and power. 2018 is a make or break year and unfortunately I am not sure he will put it together.

44. Edwin Lora, SS
Opening Day Age: 22
2017 Highest Level: High-A
Defense only profile at SS. Offensive numbers have decreased each season since he was signed in 2013. Tops out as a minor league IF.

45. Armond Upshaw, OF
Opening Day Age: 21
2017 Highest Level: Short Season A
Scouts have put an 80 on his speed but he is 21 in low A ball. Hit .179/.347/.236 in 60 games. Minor league depth.

46. Drew Ward, 3B
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: AA
Possible bench depth at 1B. Currently playing 3B but he is 6’3″/215 and scouts think a move to 1B is in his future. Decent eye as he has posted double digit BB% since 2015.

47. Ryan Brinley, RHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2017 Highest Level: AA
Another relief prospect. Drafted in the 27th round in 2015. Pitched 45 innings in AA ball this year. 4.60 ERA but 2.96 FIP. 8 K/9 and 2.60 BB/9. Great to have in case someone in the bullpen gets hurt.

48. Jake Barnett, LHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Another relief prospect with good control but lack of strikeouts. Not a bad return on a 20th round pick though.

49. Osvaldo Abreu, SS
Opening Day Age: 23
2017 Highest Level: AA
Abreu had a down season in 2017. Offensive numbers have dropped every year since 2015. Not shocking to see the SBs go down to 1 last year as he only had a 38% success rate in 2016. Doubtful to reach majors at this point.

50. A.J. Bogucki, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2017 Highest Level: Low-A
Posted decent numbers in 55.2 innings in A ball in 2017. Fly ball pitcher (36.1 GB%) could pose a problem as he moves up.

Others of Note: (Name/Position/Age/Highest Level)

Dakota Bacus (RHP/26/AA), Alfonso Hernandez (LHP/18/DSL), Ricardo Mendez (OF/17/DSL), Wilmer Perez (C/19/DSL), Derek Self (RHP/27/AAA), Eric Senior (OF/20/Rookie), John Simms (RHP/25/AAA), Jackson Stoeckinger (LHP/21/Rookie)

About Shelly Verougstraete 17 Articles
Shelly Verougstraete is the Nationals writer here at Prospects1500. Even as a diehard Red Sox fan, and author of sabermetric based Red Sox blog greenmonsterbb.wordpress.com, the goal here is to keep you up to date with all the happenings down on the Nats farm. Shelly lives in Virginia and has many minor league parks (A to AA) close by. Let's Go Nats!

8 Comments

  1. 2. Juan Soto, OF
    Opening Day Age: 19
    2017 Highest Level: Low-A
    Hamstring injury and broken hamate bone limited his playing time in 2017. Great defender and plus speed.

    I’m not saying he’s not a great defender or has plus speed, but when people talk about Juan Soto, neither of those two qualities come up first when his skill set and scouting report are being discussed. Those two qualities are better suited for Victor Robles.

  2. Hi Shelly,
    I just joined a 16-team dynasty league. My team is awful but we can have up to 50 minor leaguers so I’m starting on a rebuild. Am talking to another owner about a trade and Daniel Johnson is among the guys who are available. What do you think is ETA and ceiling are? I also own Bautista and Perkins, and have gotten mixed advice on whether to keep them. What you think? In a deep league like ours, pretty much the top dozen or so prospects are already taken. Any under-the-radar guys you might suggest?
    thanks,
    Jeff

    • Hey Jeff! I think if Johnson is able to keep the gains he made last year, his ETA would be late 2019 at the earliest and most likely 2020. As for Bautista and Perkins, I would not keep them. They are probably bench bats at best. In the Nats system I would look to pick up Luis Garcia or Yasel Antuna if they are available. As for interesting prospects in other systems, I would look at Josh Lowe (TB), Malique Ziegler (SF), and Daulton Varsho(AZ) if you are looking for a bat. Some interesting pitchers I like so far, Zac Lowther (BAL), Trevor Stephan (NYY) and Ryan Borucki (TOR). Hope this helps!

  3. Shelly,
    Forgot to ask about Brian Goodwin. I inherited him on a 4-year rookie deal. Any chance he gets ABs this year or next, with Nats or someone else? If I drop him (at year-end), I am only on the hook for half his salary going forward, though I like his skill set in the small sample size we have.
    thanks,
    jeff

    • I think Goodwin is going to be the fourth outfielder this year and next. He will probably get a decent amount of ABs due to lack of health in the OF, i.e. Eaton and Robles. I like him as a backup in a 16 team league, decent amount of power upside. He also might give you a feel steals as Washington is a team that actually runs.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Wednesday January 3, 2018 - Fantasy Baseball Links - FantasyRundown.com
  2. Nationals minor league rosters and players you should be looking at | Prospects1500
  3. 2018 MLB Draft Link Round-Up | Prospects1500

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