Baseball Prospectus released their top 11 (15) Washington Nationals prospects today. Baseball Prospectus handles their prospects list a little bit differently than the rest of the pack. Instead of listing a canned number 10 prospects, they look at the situation more realistically and list the top prospects in the orginization that deserve mention. BP also breaks down these prospects into 5 star (creme of the crop), four star (could be very good MLB players), three star (MLB potential), and two star (have a chance to be productive) prospects.
Overall the Nationals had two five star prospects, three four star, five three star, and one two star. BP is a subscription site so I will be conservative in what I share for each player, but I'll list highlihgts.
1. Stephen Strasburg, 5 Stars:
"The Good: Strasburg's talent is historic. His fastball sits at 95-98 mph, touches triple digits regularly, and features the pinpoint accuracy of a top-notch finesse pitcher. His power breaking ball is a plus-plus offering that can be an absolute wipeout offering when it's on, and even his changeup is above average with excellent depth and fade. He's a big, physical pitcher who maintains his velocity all night...."
Perfect World Projection: He has absolute ace potential and could be a perennial Cy Young contender. He could be the best pitcher in baseball for many years if everything breaks right."
Path to the Big Leagues: He's the best pitcher in the entire Washington organization right now."
2. Derek Norris, 5 Stars:
"The Bad: A converted catcher, Norris' receiving skills are still quite raw. He gets his feet tangled often, needs to learn how to frame pitches better, and also needs to develop pitch-calling skills. Like most backstops, he's a below-average runner."
Timetable: Norris will begin the year at High-A Potomac, but if he keeps mashing, he could reach Double-A Harrisburg by the end of the year."
3. Drew Storen, 4 Stars:
"The Good: Storen has outstanding command and control of a 92-95 mph fastball that can touch 97. He adds a plus slider as his primary secondary offering, but he’ll also show a decent curve and changeup. He earns high marks for his makeup, and has yet to seem overwhelmed by any aspect of pro ball.
The Bad: Storen's stuff is impressive, but for some scouts, it falls more into the range of a second-division closer/good set-up man for a winner. He doesn't have the wipeout breaking ball normally associated with one who pitches in the ninth, and he tends to work up in the strike zone."
4. Danny Espinosa, 4 Stars:
"Perfect World Projection: Espinosa will be a good starting shortstop who might hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases, but hit .250 while doing it."
5. Ian Desmond, 4 Stars:
"The Good: The Nationals have predicted a breakout for Desmond for years, and he finally showed why in 2009. He fits the mold of the modern big, athletic shortstop with gap power, a tick above average speed, plus range and a rocket for an arm."
6. Michael Burgess, 3 Stars:
"The Bad: "If he's Gary Sheffield, he's the 36-year-old version," joked one scout. Burgess is bulky and slow, which costs him some range. His swing gets long and he's prone to over-swinging, while the profound uppercut in his also leads to big strikeout totals."
7. Eury Perez, 3 Stars:
"The Good: Perez's tools are awfully impressive. He has a smooth, quick swing and makes consistent contact with gap power. He has the ability to his 10-15 home runs annually, and he's also a 65-70 runner on the 20-to-80 scouting scale, with good instincts in the outfield and a very good arm. "
8. Jeff Kobernus, 3 Stars:
"The Bad: While it looks like he should hit for power, Kobernus' line-drive swing doesn't give him much projection in that department. He's always been an aggressive hitter, rarely drawing walks, even in college, with many scouts worried that upper-level pitching could exploit his big strike zone."
9 Chris Marrero, 3 Stars:
The Good: Marrero still impresses with his hitting ability. He has a sound approach, makes a decent amount of contact, and has well above-average raw power. He earned high praise for the work he put it after breaking both his leg and ankle in 2008, and scouts saw significant progress in his overall game last year.
10. Juan Jamiem 3 Stars:
The Good: After Strasburg, Jaime has one of the liveliest arms in the system, sitting at 93-95 mph and touching 98. The pitch also features heavy boring action, and Jaime is an aggressive pitcher who tries to blow away every hitter.
11. Paul Demny, 2 Stars:
Ephemera: You want inconsistent? Demny allowed one or zero runs in nearly 40 percent of his starts, and four or more in an equal amount of outings.
Four More: Destin Hood, Justin Maxwell, Brad Meyers, J.R. Higley
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