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Washington Nationals: Top 10 Dynasty Prospects

The Washington Nationals will be our next stop on the farm to evaluate the best prospects on each MLB team. Once the 2020 MLB season begins, it may turn out that Minor League systems will be more important than usual. Franchises are losing money during the pandemic layoff, so many teams will be looking for sources of cheap production. It might also take older players longer to rebound from a long layoff meaning we could see more injuries and more roster moves. We will also see expanded rosters, at least in the early going.

One important question to ask is: How will a long layoff affect prospects? One has to assume the more advanced prospects prior to the work stoppage will be at an advantage, while the more “toolsy but raw” type could be hurt with the lack of repetition and in-game action; throwing or hitting in simulated environments just doesn’t match up to the real thing. Many prospects will have to work jobs during the pandemic just to make ends meet, while players who signed for large bonuses will have an advantage. Other prospects that lack strong discipline and commitment to their craft could struggle to stay in shape.

We won’t really know what the layoff impact will have on baseball in general until things start ramping up. But we do know that a strong prospect pool will continue to be an important element for a successful baseball franchise. We're looking at the Top 10 (or more) dynasty prospects in each organization with an eye to discovering which organizations are best positioned to succeed with their player development when games resume. Make sure to check out all of our prospect content, including Top 50 for 2020 and Top 250 for Dynasty Leagues.

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Quick Synopsis

The Nationals system clearly favors quality over quantity as it continues to hit on high-ceiling prospects like Juan Soto despite very limited depth.

 

1. Carter Kieboom, 3B/2B

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 17
2020 Prospect Rank: 4
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

Kieboom is an MLB-ready prospect with a high ceiling. Now the Nationals just have to find a spot for him to play. The young hitter has shown the ability to hit for average, power, and he will also take a walk, which gives him additional value in on-base leagues. He didn’t show overly well in his first taste of the Majors when he spent too much time swinging for the fences but he should settle in as an above-average regular for the Nationals as early as this season.

2. Jackson Rutledge, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank:  119
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2022

Rutledge is a huge pitcher with upper-90s heat and a potentially-plus slider. But he needs to further develop his other secondary offerings. And, like a lot of tall pitchers, he needs time to get his delivery under control, which will improve his command/control. Rutledge has the makings of a frontline starter who can miss bats and induce a high number of ground balls.

3. Luis Garcia, 2B/SS

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 153
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2021

Like many of the club’s top prospects, Garcia has been moved along quite aggressively and he played in Double-A as a teenager in 2019. He produced modest results, although he improved significantly in the second half of the year. Garcia has a chance to develop into a strong hitter with 15+ home run pop and the potential for double-digit steals. He’s better than his numbers suggest because he’s consistently been one of the youngest hitters in the league.

4. Mason Denaburg, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank:  167
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2023

The Nationals’ first-round selection in 2018, injuries have kept him to just 20 innings in pro ball to date. When he’s healthy, Denaburg shows two potentially-plus offerings in his fastball and curveball but he needs to get back on the mound to polish his third offering. He has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter.

5. Wil Crowe, RHP

2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

A strong college pitcher who battled injuries as an amateur, Crowe has seen some success in pro ball but has a modest ceiling as a potential No. 4/5 starter. He has a chance to develop into an innings-eater but he lacks a true swing-and-miss offering and needs to find a more reliable breaking ball.

6. Andry Lara, RHP

2020 LEVEL: Rookie
MLB ETA: 2024

One of the better arms available on the 2019 international free agent market, Lara has an excellent pitcher’s frame and a fastball that can already sit in the low-90s. He’s just 17 years old and has a long road ahead of him.

7. Eddy Yean, RHP

2020 LEVEL: SS-A
MLB ETA: 2023

Yean isn’t the biggest pitcher but he has shown explosive stuff with a fastball that can hit 95-97 mph. He backs that up with a good slider and developing changeup. Like most hard-throwing, teenaged prospects, Yean needs to improve his command/control.

8. Tim Cate, LHP

2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

Cate is a smallish left-hander with a big-time curveball. Unfortunately, the rest of his repertoire is average-to-fringe-average. Despite his lack of premium height, Cate also induces a well-above-average number of ground-ball outs. If he can continue to do that against better hitters, Cate could stick as a No. 4/5 starter. More likely, he’ll end up as more of a middle reliever.

9. Drew Mendoza, 1B

2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2023

A solid college player, Mendoza has lots of raw power but he doesn’t tap into it consistently. He also has significant swing-and-miss to his game. But he takes a significant number of walks almost to a detriment as he can become too passive and find himself in too many pitcher's counts.

10. Yasel Antuna, 3B/SS

2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2021

Given almost $4 million to sign, Antuna has struggled with consistency as a pro perhaps because he’s been pushed too aggressively. He also missed most of 2019 due to injuries. The untapped, raw talent nonetheless remains intriguing.

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