Nov 8, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT
Baseball America has rolled out its offseason lists of the top prospects in each organization and their choices for the Nationals reflect the recent development of young starting pitchers. The Nats had seen their system depleted either by trades or injuries, but now they have a restocked stable of power arms.
Lucas Giolito tops the list with A.J. Cole right behind him. Then places Brian Goodwin and Matt Skole, the franchise’s top position player prospects.
1. Lucas Giolito – RHP
2. A.J. Cole – RHP
3. Brian Goodwin – OF
4. Matt Skole – 1B/3B
5. Robbie Ray – LHP
6. Sammy Solis – LHP
7. Michael Taylor – OF
8. Jake Johansen – RHP
9. Nate Karns – RHP
10. Steven Souza – OF
Giolito stands out as the top prospect for the Nationals because he returned from Tommy John surgery just this past season. He was the team’s first round selection in 2012 and was drafted with injury concerns. To see him bounce back so quickly and still maintain the respect as a top prospect has to be encouraging for the Nats.
Cole ranking number two is also a big sign of respect. The 21-year-old has long been touted as a high ceiling player, but up until this season had never really produced consistently on the field.
Cole even struggled early this past season at Single-A Potomac with a 4.25 ERA through 18 starts. But Baseball America must have put a lot of stock into how he finished the year, going 4-2 with a 2.18 ERA at Double-A Harrisburg. Maybe Cole is finally realizing his potential as the prospect that the organization has long said he could be.
The two lefty pitchers for the Nats on the list, Robby Ray at fifth and Sammy Solis at sixth, could represent the next closest to be ready for the majors. Giolito still has a long ways to go and Cole will likely need to show some more in Double-A before getting the call, but both Ray and Solis could realistically be knocking on the door by midseason.
Ray is 22 and will start next year at least as high as Harrisburg, and could find his way to Syracuse shortly. Solis, on the other hand, has only reached high-A before – largely due to injury – but he’s 25 and a former second round pick. The Nats may want to see what they have in him sooner than later.
Also rounding out the list for the Nats’ top ten is 2013 first round pick Jake Johansen, as well as Steven Souza who was just added to the 40-man roster.
For Baseball America’s full breakdown of their list, as well as they rankings for the best individual skills in the organization, click here.
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