I’ll start off the Nationals by stating that I do heed my own recommendations for the benefit of my fantasy teams, especially for my NL-only Keeper League. I spend a lot time tracking, for you the readers…so why not give myself some personal benefit as well. Its a tough task come draft day though, if your league-mates are also your followers, and you end-up getting into an end-game bidding war for prospects. Case-in-point with Reynaldo Lopez. I was able to acquire him during the 2015 draft, after he had appeared as a 2014 post-season Organizational All-Star. I was early to the party, because a year later I labeled him with the “Solid Stash” , this after I paid $17 for him. But according to our league rules, prior to the 2016 season, his value drops to zero dollars if he stays below a minimum IP at the MLB level. After Lopez was named to the 2015 UTR-OAS roster, I was sitting nicely to add a top-notch arm to my staff, very cheap….possibly in 2017. All that went out the window, as the National’s traded Lopez to the Chicago White Sox for Adam Eaton. We was shipped along with 2014/2015 OAS and top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito back in early December. Prior to that heist for the White Sox, the Phillies pulled another two-time UTR OAS from the Nats at the 2015 trade deadline…Nick Pivetta for Jonathan Papelbon. Who’s left within the system is chock full of pitchers that have graced the pages of UTRMinors.
From those listed as a 2014 OAS that remain within the Nationals system are Dakota Bacus, who came from the Athletics in 2013 and Austin Voth. Bacus ranked #5 that year and I wrote that he would have a long leash, but might be better serving from the bullpen. That experiment occurred in 2015 and 2016 where the resulted have been mixed. Voth drop-off my scope in 2015 when he began and remained all season with Double-A Harrisburg and had a very solid year. He took the next step toward becoming a top prospect with an outstanding season at Triple-A Syracuse and could be an injury away from DC. Nick Lee was my 2014 “One to Watch” and UTR-OAS in 2015 from the relief role. The 26 year-old lefty needs seasoning at the Triple-A level before thoughts of helping the big club in 2017.
Jumping to 2015, the OAS roster saw a couple more pitchers traded away. Connor Bach was sent to Miami, along with my choice to be high-touted in Pedro Avila (2016 “One to Watch”), who was exported to San Diego for Derek Norris in December 2016. Phillips Valdez is another kid that I liked, but just hasn’t had the stuff to miss bats (6.8 K9 in 7 seasons). Austen Williams was also high on my list but needs to step-up his development to crack the Nationals Top 10 prospect list. The system is now very thin of pitching prospects with Erick Fedde being the only upper echelon type and appears below.
On the International side of things, Steve Fuentes appeared as a 2014 UTR-OAS as a reliever. The 19 year-old just finished a solid season with Short-Season Auburn. Angher Cespedes joined Fuentes on that list coming from the DSL. He came state-side the following season to the GCL and Auburn in 2016, but has only seen 26 appearances over that time, not enough to gauge nor to earn another OAS mention.
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – (Factor Score) / TPS
1. RHP Jefry Rodriguez – 18 / .121
22 years old – (LoA Hagerstown)
International Free Agent – 2012
Rodriguez has a projectable frame (6’5″ 195 lbs) to go along with an electric arm that can reach the upper 90’s. He was assigned at LoA Hagerstown to start the 2015 season where he made 9 starts. After posting a 7.45 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 22 walks, he was demoted to Short-Season Auburn. He got his first full season returning to Hagerstown in 2016 and showed improvement.
Pitchers making the OAS rosters out of the DSL have been rare this year. Guillen just finished his third DSL season, but got the opportunity as a starter. He finished with a 1.67 ERA over 11 starts (54 IP), striking out 50 with 12 walks. He should jump North in 2017.