Yesterday, I unveiled friend of the blog Konnor Fulk's top 20 list. Please make sure to give him a follow on twitter @coolnovelbro. Today, it's my turn; as you'll see, the list is relatively similar. As I said yesterday, there are two clear tiers: the top 4 (Giolito, Goodwin, Meyer and Rendon) and then everyone else. I will also put Nats rookies (Harper, Lombardozzi, Moore and Solano) where they would go in italics just for fun.
1 - OF Bryce Harper - duh
1 - 3B Anthony Rendon - Even if he's always injured, he's basically Ryan Zimmerman part 2. Until he hurts his ankles/shoulder again, I still don't believe his injuries will be long-term issues.
2 - RHP Lucas Giolito - True ace potential and pretty polished for a high school guy. I'm not all that worried about his UCL issues; if they were a problem, I don't think the Nats would have drafted him and essentially punted the rest of the draft.
3 - RHP Alex Meyer - His numbers are very encouraging so far, but it will take a few seasons of being able to show he can repeat his delivery and be consistent on the mound before I can really see him being a stud starter.
4 - OF Brian Goodwin - I love the guy. Don't know that the power sticks as he gets older (I expect 40 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR types of seasons in his prime) but he's a legit offensive center fielder with the potential to have a hell of an all-around game.
5 - 1B/OF Tyler Moore - In the past, I haven't been a believer due to his poor BB/K rates. It takes about 200 PA to be able to judge improvements/declines in such rates. Moore is right around 200 at all levels this year, so I can say that I'm more of a believer with his BB% over 10% right now.
6 - IF Steve Lombardozzi - In the same way that Moore has boosted his stock by getting on base more, Lombardozzi's stock has dropped a little to me. For whatever reason, I ignored his huge drop in BB% last year (career averages over 10%, last year around 6.4%), and it's gotten worse in his big league stints (4.9%). When you don't have a lot of power, you need to get on base to have value, and Lombardozzi is at the point where he has to hit .285 or so to be decent enough with the bat if his patience doesn't improve. I love all other parts of Lombardozzi's game (the utility factor, solid fielding, switch hitting, etc.), just want to see improvement with the bat.
5 - LHP Matt Purke - His injuries scare me much more than Rendon or Giolito. If healthy, could be a very good starting pitcher. If not, could be Sean Burnett. My faith in him is floundering, though, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him 10th or lower in my end of the season rankings.
6 - OF Corey Brown - When healthy, he has always been a good hitter. 20/20 potential at the big league level, walks a great share and keeps K's relatively low. May not be able to hack it full-time in CF, but bat can play in the corners. I've never put him this high before, but he's got a great combination of being close to the majors and having the ability to be pretty good when he gets there.
7 - 1B/3B Matt Skole - Until he stops hitting, he'll keep moving up lists. The K's are scary and he's not a great defender, but if he keeps looking this way he could end up being a Youkilis type.
8 - OF Michael Taylor - Rough start to the year, but improving walk rate and steals are still there. Still only 21 years old with a lot of room to grow.
9 - IF Zach Walters - Always a favorite of mine, and is killing AA pitching since his promotion. Minor league numbers are all over the place (is he going to hit for power? get on base? both? neither?) but lefty hitting middle infielders are fun.
10 - 2B Tony Renda - has a good chance of turning into a Lombardozzi-type player albeit with a little bit more power potential. Love the quick hands.
11 - C Jhonatan Solano - Took enough of a step forward with the bat last year that we can at least dream that he'll be a starting catcher at some point. Receiving skills are excellent, and at worst we'll have a solid backup catcher.
11 - OF Eury Perez - Will hit for average and steal bases, but nothing else. I don't think he'll be a good defender in CF and his bat won't play in a corner.
12 - LHP Brett Mooneyham - Not as good of a starter as Solis, but Solis may not be the same pitcher after his surgery. I could see Mooneyham being similar to Detwiler.
13 - LHP Sammy Solis - Has #2 potential and could shoot through the system once he gets healthy, but lost a key year of development to Tommy John surgery and isn't super young, either.
14 - LHP Robbie Ray - Furthest away of the LHP types, so minor league numbers are inconsistent. Has room to add velocity, and if he does, could raise his ceiling.
15 - OF Destin Hood - Move to AA was disappointing, but still only 22. Needs to show 2011 power levels again for me to believe.
16 - IF Jeff Kobernus - Could be a serviceable utility guy. Plenty of guys who can play good defense with a .300 OBP...can his bat develop into anything better?
17 - IF Rick Hague - The glove is pretty bad, so the bat will have to carry him. Right now, it's not.
18 - C David Freitas - Bat has looked good at all levels, glove is iffy. If he can hit AA pitching, I'll become more of a believer. Moving forward, I would expect more years like 2010 and 2012 rather than 2011.
19 - 1B Chris Marrero - Didn't just disappear, and close to the majors, but profiles as a below average hitting 1B. But he'll make the majors at least.
20 - RHP Nathan Karns - Looks fantastic this season, but very old for his level and still struggling with control to some degree. Past injuries will force him to stay in the minors a few more years to stretch his arm out unless he's bumped to higher levels as a reliever.
Next ten (no particular order): C Sandy Leon, LHP Danny Rosenbaum, IF Jason Martinson, LHP Kylin Turnbull, LHP Josh Smoker, OF Billy Burns, OF Wander Ramos, OF Caleb Ramsey, RHP Taylor Hill, RHP Christian Meza
Summary: The Nats have plenty of guys with some upside and plenty of guys who are close to the majors, but not a whole lot of guys that are close to the majors with much upside. I can dream that some of these guys evolve past role player status, but I'm honestly not that convinced. Losing 2/3 of your top 15 to injuries, promotions and trades is a tough problem, but the Nats are far from the worst minor league organization in baseball. It will be interesting to see who other teams will be interested in as the trade deadline approaches over the next week and a half.