It was another successful year for the Washington Nationals in 2017 as the club finished with a 97-65 record to secure its second consecutive National League East title. However, the club's fourth trip to the postseason since 2012 ended as the previous ones did -- with a loss in the
It was another successful year for the Washington Nationals in 2017 as the club finished with a 97-65 record to secure its second consecutive National League East title. However, the club's fourth trip to the postseason since 2012 ended as the previous ones did -- with a loss in the Division Series.
• Nats' Top 30 Prospects list
The same core group of position players and pitchers that have helped fuel the club's success in recent years will be back in 2018, leaving few opportunities for the organization's top prospects, save for a select few.
:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::
Top-ranked prospect Victor Robles, No. 6 on MLB Pipeline's preseason Top 100 prospects list, appears poised to make significant contributions regardless of where he begins the season. Featuring five tools that grade as 55 or better -- including three that grade out at 70 or higher -- Robles showed impact potential in all facets of the game last season as a 20-year-old September callup by hitting .250/.308/.458 to earn a spot on the Nationals' postseason roster.
Along with Robles, right-hander Erick Fedde, a first-rounder in 2014, and catcher Raudy Read, as well as outfielders Andrew Stevenson and Rafael Bautista, all received their first tastes of the Major Leagues last year and should continue to help plug holes in Washington's roster in 2018. Bat-first prospect Jose Marmolejos and breakout reliever Wander Suero, both members of the Nationals' 40-man roster, could join them.
Meanwhile, the Nationals used their 2017 Draft to replenish a farm system that had become thin on impact arms due to trades and graduations. Targeting high-upside college arms, the club took hard-throwing left-hander Seth Romero in the first round (15th overall) and followed with righty Wil Crowe in the second. In subsequent rounds, the club added Nick Raquet, Jackson Tetreault and Brigham Hill.
At lower levels, outfielders Daniel Johnson and Blake Perkins took enormous strides in their respective developments and put up impressive numbers, as did Juan Soto despite being beset by injuries. And keep an eye on Luis Garcia, Yasel Antuna and Jose Sanchez, a teenage shortstop trio that represents the future of the Nationals' system.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.
Jump: Yasel Antuna, SS (2017: 22 | 2018: 7)
Fall: Anderson Franco, 3B (2017: 15 | 2018: 30)
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 60 -- Victor Robles
Power: 55 -- Daniel Johnson (Victor Robles, Juan Soto, Raudy Read)
Run: 75 -- Victor Robles
Arm: 70 -- Victor Robles
Defense: 70 -- Victor Robles
Fastball: 60 -- Jefry Rodriguez (Erick Fedde, Seth Romero, Wil Crowe, Jackson Tetreault, Nick Raquet, Gabe Klobosits)
Curveball: 60 -- Luis Reyes
Slider: 60 -- Seth Romero (Erick Fedde)
Changeup: 60 -- Brigham Hill
Control: 55 -- Erick Fedde
How they were built
Breakdown by ETA
Breakdown by position
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.