Washington Nationals 2020 Top-25 Prospects
The last image of baseball we have is Daniel Hudson striking out Michael Brantley to secure the World Series title for the Nationals. The Nationals’ championship came on the back of elite home grown talent. World Series MVP and former 1st overall pick in 2009 Stephen Strasburg led the Nationals to secure the title, a road he started a decade ago as one of the most hyped prospects of this generation. Ryan Zimmerman, the club’s 1st selection after transitioning from Montreal, endured all the ups and downs since 2005 to be on top of the baseball world. And young sensations Juan Soto and Victor Robles will be lineup mainstays for the foreseeable future.
The Nationals Top-25 Prospects group, on the other hand, is currently a bottom five system across baseball. Though Carter Kieboom is the successor to the hole left in free agency by Anthony Rendon, the system has very few clear contributors to keep the Nationals winning ways going. After Kieboom graduates, there may not be a Top 100 overall prospect represented from the Nationals system. The 2020 MLB Draft and International class should bolster this list though. While there may not be the “next Juan Soto” in this group (because how can there be a duplicate of a generational-type talent), there are plenty of interesting athletes to consider for your dynasty team.
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Fresno (Pacific Coast League)
Double-A: Harrisburg (Eastern League)
Advanced Single-A: Potomac (Carolina League)
Full Season Single-A: Hagerstown (South Atlantic League)
Short Season Single-A: Auburn (New York-Penn League)
Rookie: One team each in the Gulf Coast League and Dominican Summer League.
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
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New Top-25 Washington Nationals Prospects
1. Carter Kieboom, IF, Bats: R, Age: 22, ETA Debuted in 2019
2019 Stats (AAA): .303/.409/.493/.902, 24 2B, 3 3B, 16 HR, 5/7 SB, 13.8 BB%, 20.2 K%, 412 AB
2019 Stats (MLB): .128/.209/.282/.491, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 0/0 SB, 9.3 BB%, 37.2 K%, 39 AB
Kieboom is the clear choice for the top spot in the Nationals Top-25 Prospects list. He brings an appealing hitting profile for dynasty in both AVG and OBP leagues. Kieboom will contribute strong hitting performances year in and year out. There’s some variance where he’s ranked overall in the game as a top 15 or top 50 type of dynasty prospect. This depends ultimately on how much power people think he gets to while chipping in single-digit SB totals. Keiboom’s defensive versatility and ability to play three infield positions will help maximize the number of at-bats he receives especially in the early going. He would be especially valuable if he’s able to maintain multiple positional eligibility.
There’s a bit more ceiling than he’s given credit, especially due to a rough 2019 debut in the MLB. After all, not every prospect lights the major leagues on fire out of the gate like Juan Soto. Kieboom is the type of youthful impact player the Nationals need to infuse their championship-caliber team. Surrounded with some of the game’s brightest young stars in Soto and Victor Robles, Kieboom has a bright future on a winning ball club.
2. Luis Garcia, 2B/SS, Bats: L, Age: 20, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (AA): .257/.280/.337/.617, 22 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 11/16 SB, 3.1 BB%, 15.6 K%, 525 AB
When you have an up-the-middle prospect that is 19 years old at Double-A, there’s a unique talent here in the Nationals Top-25 Prospects. Garcia’s contact ability makes him a tough out even at such a young age. He can hang in there against advanced pitching and foul off borderline offerings. At 6’2″, there’s more power in Garcia’s frame than currently shows up in games. The contact is presently geared towards more ground ball (50%) and line drive (18.4%) hitting. He shows a knack for using the whole field (36.4% pull and 38% opposite field). Garcia also improved over the course of the season. He posting a .312 AVG in June and a .758 OPS with 14 extra-base hits in August. Garcia is a great candidate as a buy-low option in dynasty so reach out to that manager for a trade offer.
3. Jackson Rutledge, RHP, Age: 21, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (RK, A-, A): 37.1 IP, 3.13 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 9.4 K/9
The Nationals selected Rutledge with the 17th overall selection in the 2018 draft. The 6’8″ Rutledge is an athletic, dynamic pitching prospect and the clear top arm in the Nationals Top-25 Prospects. He has upper 90’s heat with a wipeout slider to lead the arsenal. Rutledge is also developing more consistency with the curveball and changeup to round out a starter’s profile. Rutledge pitches smaller than his listed size due to a compact delivery (short stride and arm action) that is designed to be repeatable. With a history of a healthy arm, Rutledge has the makings of a very good starting pitcher who can miss bats and limit traffic on the bases.
4. Drew Mendoza, 3B/1B, Bats: L, Age: 20, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (A): .264/.377/.383/.760, 12 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 3/3 SB, 14.2 BB%, 23.8 K%, 201 AB
Mendoza is a powerfully built corner infield masher. He has a smooth swing from the left side and generates easy power. Mendoza is more than a 3 outcome slugger, as he has strong all-fields hitting skills (40% opposite field). There’s a non-zero chance that Mendoza becomes the top hitter in the Nationals Top-25 Prospects over the next year for dynasty.
5. Jeremy De La Rosa, OF, Bats: L, Age: 18, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (RK): .232/.343/.366/.709, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 3/5 SB, 12.1 BB%, 29.2 K%, 82 AB
The top outfielder in the Nationals Top-25 Prospects, De La Rosa carries some intriguing upside. De La Rosa has natural hitting mechanics with both bat speed and pitch selection skills. He’s an athletic player who could grow into more speed and power as he physically develops. De La Rosa is one of my favorite targets in this system and has the potential to be a riser in the coming years.
6. Mason Denaburg, RHP, Age: 20, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (RK): 20.1 IP, 7.52 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 6.2 BB/9, 8.4 K/9
Denaburg debuted as a professional this past year after he was selected 27th overall in the 2018 draft class. A former high school pitcher, Denaburg primarily features a low to mid 90’s fastball with arm-side run and backed up by a good bending curveball. Denaburg has a driving delivery and uses his strong lower half effectively. With some health caution and reps needed to develop the changeup, Denaburg should be brought along conservatively. That said, there’s a pretty good chance he can wind up as an athletic number 2 or 3 starter type.
7. Yasel Antuna, SS, Bats: S, Age: 20, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (RK): .167/.375/.167/.542, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0/0 SB, 25.0 BB%, 12.5 K%, 6 AB
2019 was mostly a lost year for Antuna between recovering from Tommy John surgery and battling lower-body injuries. Before the injuries, Antuna was playing in full-season A-ball as an 18-year-old. Though he struggled there a bit with a long swing, Antuna still presents a good all-around toolset. The hit tool will dictate his ultimate potential, but there’s at least average speed and game power with the chance for more. Even though Antuna has lost some key development time, he joins Luis Garcia as another buy-low candidate in dynasty among the Nationals Top-25 Prospects.
8. Jake Irvin, RHP, Age: 21, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (A): 128.1 IP, 3.79 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 7.9 K/9
Jake Irvin is a tall 6’6″ and a good athlete on the mound. He’ll remind you of Justin Masterson with the very long arm action and similar athleticism. Irvin gets some sink and arm-side run on his low to mid 90’s fastball. Irvin also has a developing curveball that already shows he can generate weak contact. I like Irvin to stick in the rotation, especially as his changeup comes along and provides an additional out pitch against lefties.
9. Roismar Quintana, OF, Age: 17, ETA 2024
2019 Stats (RK): Did Not Play
Quintana was the top offensive signing from the past International class for the Nationals. In Quintana, they have a corner outfield power bat with the current speed and range to play in center. Quintana has the reported tool package that presents plenty of intrigue for dynasty managers. We’re highly anticipating the professional debut.
10. Tim Cate, LHP, Age: 22, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (A, A+): 143.2 IP, 3.07 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
Cate unleashes some of the nastiest curveballs in the minors. The offering has the chance to be double-plus. He’s a groundball specialist who also limits traffic on the bases. He’s 6’0″ so the fastball likely will peak at a low 90’s velocity. As he develops his changeup or looks for a variation on his fastball, Cate will next have to prove he can get upper minors hitters out. In a certain way, Cate has a Patrick Corbin lite profile with the exceptional breaking ball leading the arsenal. Here’s hoping the Nationals can maximize the outcome like their current rotation stalwart.
11. Eddy Yean, RHP, Age: 18, ETA 2024
2019 Stats (RK, A-): 143.2 IP, 3.07 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
Yean has made it to Auburn as an 18-year-old with some pretty loud stuff. He has an athletic frame and deep enough arsenal that helps many think he could stick in the rotation. Yean both limits contact and generates plenty of swing and miss. The changeup and slider all flash and he also features a four-seam fastball and a two-seam fastball with two-plane movement. Along with Rutledge and Denaburg, Yean has worked his way into the upside arms group in the Nationals Top-25 Prospects.
12. Andry Lara, RHP, Age: 17, ETA 2024
2019 Stats (RK): Did Not Play
Lara is a hot pitching name coming out of this past International signing class. It’s easy to see why. He’s physically mature with a loose, athletic delivery. He uses his strong lower half exceptionally well with a big stride and gets max extension. Lara has a three-pitch mix already that profiles as swing and miss nastiness at peak. The power curveball has late bite and plays off his already impressive fastball. Pitching prospects with this much lead time have plenty of inherent risk and it could go a multitude of different ways physically. But Lara has the type of upside worth chasing in dynasty.
13. Wil Crowe, RHP, Age: 25, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (AA, AAA): 149.1 IP, 4.70 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
Crowe is a durable righty with four average or better pitches. Crowe operates from a pretty high arm slot, helping his plus changeup play off his fastball. While the stuff isn’t overpowering, he generates swing and miss with high spin rates. Crowe is a safe, back of the rotation profile on a winning team.
14. Junior Martina, IF, Bats: R, Age: 22, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (RK, A-): .320/.438/.477/.915, 6 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 4/7 SB, 11.4 BB%, 17.8 K%, 153 AB
Martina was the Nationals 16th round selection in 2019 as a very solid JUCO talent. He obliterated the GCL, earning both All-Star and Player of the Month honors for his outstanding performance. Martina earned a 4 G promotion to Auburn to end the season. Martina is an athletic athlete at 5’11” and can potentially bring an all-around toolset offensively.
15. Jackson Cluff, SS/2B, Bats: L, Age: 23, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (A): .229/.320/.367/.687, 8 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 11/16 SB, 9.3 BB%, 22.5 K%, 240 AB
While the Nationals Top-25 Prospects is stronger on pitching depth, Cluff finds his way onto the list as a dynasty bat. While he may not have the highest ceiling, Cluff has shown the ability to lift the ball (51.1% FB) and drive the ball the other way. There’s good bat speed here and athleticism to play in the middle of the field. Cluff moves well on the bases and features a plus throwing arm, which presents as at least a super-utility type floor who can produce when he’s in the lineup.
16. Leandro Emiliani, 1B/OF, Bats: L, Age: 20, ETA 2024
2019 Stats (RK): .299/.467/.480/.947, 11 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 0/1 SB, 19.8 BB%, 25.1 K%, 127 AB
Emiliani has the makings of a slugger with a polished approach. He is a long-limbed 6’1″ who can add mass to his already powerful frame. There’s a direct swing that generates plenty of loft. If his hit tool is able to continue to show, he’s going to get to his game power and become an intriguing dynasty name among the Nationals Top-25 Prospects.
17. Justin Connell, OF, Bats: R, Age: 20, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (A): .249/.337/.321/.658, 20 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 13/23 SB, 9.6 BB%, 14.7 K%, 433 AB
Connell is a right/right outfielder who was drafted from a strong baseball program at American Heritage High School. Connell has a medium athletic build and moves well on the field. He’s posted BB and K rates very similar to one another throughout his professional career so far. If he’s able to lift the ball more and add strength (54.3 % GB in 2019), he could transcend a 4th outfielder profile.
18. Seth Romero, LHP, Age: 24, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (A): Did Not Play
After an up and down beginning to his minor league career, Romero missed the season with Tommy John surgery. Armed with a bunch of pitching talent, Romero has made more headlines for off the field situations rather than his results on the mound. He’s capable of flashing three plus pitches on any given day, though there’s considerable risk given the track record to date.
19. Israel Pineda, C, Bats: R, Age: 20, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (A): .217/.278/.305/.583, 12 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 1/3 SB, 7.3 BB%, 24.8 K%, 374 AB
Pineda is a sturdy-built backstop who brings a good mix of offensive and defensive potential. Pineda really caught my eye in 2018 in Auburn when he was a New York Penn League All-Star. He was a middle of the order fixture and could hit it to all fields with authority. He understandably had some adjustments in his first taste of full-season ball in 2019. Defensively, he’s put up over 40% caught stealing figures in every professional stop. If you’re in a deeper 2 C dynasty league, Pineda is a solid add to your dynasty farm system.
20. Joan Adon, RHP, Age: 21, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (A): 105 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 3.8 BB/9, 7.7 K/9
Adon has the physical tools of a starter with some questions about holding his stuff through games. He throws across his body due to his stride and it creates deception for both lefties and righties. Adon gets good late diving action on his slider and it’s hard to pick up out of his hand. If Adon is able to build his durability, refine command of his secondaries, and demonstrate he can turn over the lineup in the high minors, he’s a good bet to stick in the rotation. Adon has already shown through 62% of his professional outings in the bullpen that he can be effective there too.
21. Pablo Aldonis, LHP, Age: 18, ETA 2024
2019 Stats (RK): Did Not Play
Aldonis took home a seven-figure signing bonus during the 2019 International class. Praised for his feel for three pitches and athleticism on the mound, Aldonis is an intriguing one to keep an eye on here on the Nationals Top-25 Prospects.
22. Juan Garcia, SS, Bats: R, Age: 17, ETA 2025
2019 Stats (RK): Did Not Play
Garcia is a right/right infielder that came on board as part of the Nationals 2019 International class. Reports are encouraging that he has plus speed and reportedly could project to stick at SS defensively. In a system that is relatively pitching heavy, Garcia should be one to monitor among the Nationals Top-25 prospects.
23. Cole Freeman, 2B/OF, Bats: R, Age: 25, ETA 2020
2019 Stats (A+): .311/.394/.404/.798, 27 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 31/37 SB, 9.9 BB%, 11.2 K%, 453 AB
Freeman at 5’9″ is a speedster who can offer some versatility in the field. He has a quick swing and gets his hands inside the baseball. With routinely low K rates and keen on-base ability, Freeman can be a contributor on a winning ball club. With a hit tool prospect like this, he could make an adjustment to unlock some modest game power and grow into a super-utility ceiling.
24. Matt Cronin, LHP, Age: 21, ETA 2022
2019 Stats (A): 22 IP, 0.82 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4.5 BB/9, 16.8 K/9
It’s hard to rank a relief-only prospect for dynasty, which is why Cronin is on the back half of this list. Cronin is in an organization that gives lefty relievers save opportunities though (current closer Sean Doolittle). He has a fastball that is more high spin than pure gas, with a nasty curveball to back it up. Cronin is solely a holds league play at the moment, but could find himself in the mix for saves if he builds the trust of the manager.
25. Gage Canning, OF, Bats: L, Age: 23, ETA 2023
2019 Stats (A, A+): .239/.308/.341/.650, 18 2B, 6 3B, 4 HR, 14/18 SB, 7.7 BB%, 28.0 K%, 410 AB
Canning had a decorated collegiate career at Arizona State. As a professional, Canning plays all three outfield spots and shows all around toolset to profile as at least a 4th outfielder. At the plate, he’s more of a slasher where he drops his hands to the ball with a one-handed follow-through. Think in the mold of a Brett Gardner or Johnny Damon type of swing. If Canning can turn strikeouts into more contact, especially important as a hitter who possesses below-average power, he can stick as a starting center fielder.
Next 10 Nationals Prospects: Tyler Dyson (RHP), Reid Schaller (RHP), Alex Troop (LHP), Ben Braymer (LHP), Drew Ward (3B), Raudy Read (C), James Bourque (RHP), Gilbert Lara (IF), Jackson Tetreault (RHP), Nick Banks, (OF).
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