Everyone and their brother has a top 10 prospects list these days, so while I was going to NOT do one in protest, my fondness for scouting and development got the best of me and I gave in. Well that, and Christmas is this weekend, so this was an easy one to write giving me more time to focus on holiday preparedness. I'm sure no one wants to hear about shopping, wrapping, and travel logistics though, so lets get to the meat and potatoes.
Nationals 2012 Top 10 Prospects:
1. Bryce Harper -RF: Duh. I mean if you don't know who this guy is, the rest of this blog isn't going to make much sense. He's got a strong arm, he's young (just turned 19 in October), already in AA and oh yeah, has the power for 500+ feet HR. Ladies and gentleman, the number one prospect in all of baseball.
2. Anthony Rendon - 3B: Yep, you read that right, 3B. The consensus was that WAS would move him to 2B to get him ready for a quick assent and playing in the same infield as team cornerstone, and all-star Ryan Zimmerman. However, this offseason the team announced it would play him at 3B for now and handle the problem when it arises. Reading between the lines it sounds like it plans on moving either Zimmerman or Rendon before he would get to the big-leagues, but that could just be speculation. Rendon has a strong arm, and good footwork over at 3B, enough where he could also be a great defensive 3B. His bat was the best in college and isn't far off from being ready. He's got the fastest wrists I've ever seen, and generates a lot of power from there. He will probably start in high-A, but a promotion to AA shouldn't be far behind.
AJ Cole - SP: Traded
Brad Peacock - SP: Traded
3. Brian Goodwin - OF: He's a bit of a tweener for me that got bumped up do to the trade. Not a pure speedster, but can run ok. Has some power potential, but probably not a masher. Pretty good defensively, but there are questions of if he has the speed and range to play CF or if he has to settle into a corner spot, seems like more of a LF to me. Still fairly raw and has some ceiling left to reach. If things click, he could be a solid LF, if they don't he's a borderline 4th OF/AAAA player.
4. Alex Meyer - SP: Was rumored to go in the top 10 for a good chunk of the season, but slipped to WAS at #23. Has a plus FB that sits around 95mph and a nasty power slider. Also has a changeup that is still a work in progress, but he throws it around 79mph and the near 15mph difference makes it more effective. Has some command issues, so that could be the decision maker of how effective Meyer will be, but there's some real potential there.
5. Matt Purke - SP: He is the big wild card here, a guy that was projected to be in the top 5 draft picks for a long time, if not #1 overall. Concerns with his mechanics, followed by injury led to him dropping like a rock and the Nats scooping him in the mid rounds. He came back healthy and then was rocked in the AFL , but just hoping that was rust, and he'll be fine in the spring. If he gets back to what he should be, he will be a top prospect in no time.
Derek Norris - C: Traded
6. Sammy Solis - SP: A teammate of Brian Matusz in college, he reminds me a bit of him as well. A low-90s FB, with a knuckle-curve, cutter, and a plus changeup with good movement it's easy to make the comparison.
Tom Milone - SP: Traded
7. Steve Lambardozzi - 2B: Solid gamer, reminds of Brian Roberts. Doesn't have super speed but steals a lot of bases due to good technique and base running skills. Has a little bit of pop, low-mid teens power and should hit a good amount of doubles. Good eye for contact, will hit near .300. Got a cup of coffee in the ML last year, but should be given a shot to compete with Espinosa in the spring, at worst looks to be a very solid backup.
8. Destin Hood - OF: Has been in the organization for a few years now, and although loaded with raw talent, it hadn't broken through...until this year. Hitting 13 HR and stealing 21 bases is a great start, but more encouragingly he dropped his K-rate by 5% last year. AA looks like the next stop, and it being the make or break stage for most prospects, it will be a telling year.
9. Eury Perez - OF: A pure speedster, every team has one. If he can increase his contact at the plate and get on base a little more he could be a weapon. Big difference between being Kimera Bartee or Michael Bourn though.
10. Matt Skole - 3B: I am higher on Skole than most, with concerns about his ability to make contact at higher levels, but I'm a believer in the power, and he reminds me a bit of Chris Davis in BAL. Dozens of prospects like this in the minors, and most don't make it, but since 4 players were knocked off the list, and I needed someone to fill in here, I'll just go with him and hope he makes the adjustments he needs this year to put it all together.
Prospects to watch:
Rick Hague - INF
Chris Marrero - 1B
Cole Kimball - RP