Sunday, December 7, 2008

Top Prospects not in our System

Jonathan Mayo at has his list of top 50 prospects out. Not a single National on the list. Not Jordan Zimmermann, not Mike Burgess, not Chris Marrero. In a separate column analyzing the list, we also get his numbers 51-60. No Nationals there either. Only the Nationals and the Astros have no prospects at all on these lists. Ouch. Let's hope the other propects lists due to come out soon like us more.

On the flip side, some of you might have noticed this list published last month at Baseball America ranking the top 100 prospects available in the 2009 draft. Right there at the top is our friend Stephen Strasburg. But also making the list at number 5 is Aaron Crow. And not to be missed down at 93... Sean Black, the Nationals second round pick from 2006 whom we failed to sign who is now pitching at that renowned baseball powerhouse Seton Hall.

Re: Crow, I'm sticking to the prediction I made at the time that unless he has an injury Crow will in the end sign for at least one million more than the Nationals offered, enough to financially justify his decision to walk away from the Nationals. If he's a top 5 pick, that'll surely be true.

Re: Black, being the #93 prospect in a pre-draft list is a long way from being in the Hall of Fame, but as I've said over and over, the way to develop pitching is to stockpile live arms with potential. It's not right to say "there's no such thing as a pitching prospect" as some people say (even those people mostly don't mean it exactly like that), but between injuries and the rest it is true that there's no such thing as a sure-fire prospect. But that's why every time we ship off or fail to sign a great young arm--whether that's Black or Crow or Jhonny Nunez or Armando Galarraga or Daryl Thompson or Darrell Rasner or Bill Bray or Seung Song--it's a step back from getting where we want to be.


Steve Shoup said...

This was a bit of a surprising list to me. Didn't think Adam Miller was still such a hot prospect. I would have said Jordan Zimmermann has a better future going forward than he does. A number of the other rankings I question some as well (no way Brett Anderson is more valuable than Posey). Overall though I'm not that surprised that the Nats are lacking in the top prospect department. They have drafted high schoolers these last few years and they just haven't hit for them (though they appear to for everyone else, Snider, Heyward, Tillman ect.)

Steven you are dead on about missing out on talent b/c they haven't opened the check book. Look at the O's they spent $10 million the last 2 years on Wieters, Arrieta, and Matusz. Now I will say the O's held the line on those negotiations, didn't give Wieters a ML deal, got Matusz for less than half of what Crow wanted ect. The point remains though if the Nats would have paid the money at least Aaron Crow would have been on this list and Black would be in our system giving the Nats another asset.

John said...

Completely unrelated to this post: I'm slightly concerned about the rumors that keep popping up that the Nationals are interested in Willy Taveras (from Rosenthal's column earlier today). Didn't we already try the one-tool centerfielder twice now (Brandon Watson, Nook Logan) with no success? Although I might be willing to trade Wily Mo straight up for Taveras, so long as Taveras didn't take any time away from Milledge or Dukes.

Steven said...

There's another report from Ken Rosenthal that we aren't actually that interested in Taveras after all.

But we shouldn't be that surprised when stories like this pop up. Here's part of what you get with Bowden: constant reshuffling without any particular rhyme or reason to it. He's always been this way for a decade and a half, and no one should expect any different.

For a while it seemed like we'd committed to a plan prioritizing infield defense, which makes sense for a team breaking in young pitching, and maybe you can grab some undervalued commodities. Now that seems like it's out the window.

Jim's just too impulsive, too much wanting to keep his name in the paper rather than sticking to a plan, or better yet having a plan in the first place.

Sorry if that seems unfairly critical, but I think the evidence is there after a long tenure in two jobs to back it up.

traderkirk said...

So Willy Tavares' agent calls up Rosenthal and says "hey my guy is hot. The Nationals are all over him!" and suddenly JimBo's got no direction?

Believe me, if they announced that they traded a decroded W pretzel for Willy Tavares I'd buy a shirt!

But they haven't.

And for the last time people, which team went over slot in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th round last year????? Which team was top 5 in draft spending the previous year? Spending on the draft is not a problem.

Kill them for not spending on international players, they haven't since Smiley and its the one way they could build the farm system fast.

Maybe doing nothing is the right move right now. The Tribune Company is going Chapter 11, think the Cubs are leverage for big money contracts now? How many other franchises aren't going to go overboard on salary. Adam Dunn might come pretty cheap now (and he won't cost a 2nd round pick now!)

And are you telling me you don't have confidence in Rizzo and Brown now?

Steven said...

@Kirk--who peed in your oatmeal this morning? I said that the Tavaras thing was retracted by the reporter who reported it.

But Jim's incessant and strategy-less roster-tinkering has been a criticism of him made by lots of people not just me going back to the mid-90s. It's a central reason why he's a bad chioce not just as a GM for any team, but especially for a team that is in need of a drastic roster overhaul and long-term rebuilding.

I'm just saying that if you're thinking, "what the hell is the point of doing THAT" re: any move that Jim makes, that it fits in a pattern going back a long long time.