Thanks to Luke Erickson, who pointed out this new prospect ranking shop ProspectsLive.com that I wasn’t aware of. They released their Nats top 30 prospect list last week, the bulk of it behind a paywall. Their lead evaluator for the Nats seems to be Brandon Smith, so lets take a look at their rankings as we’ve done with other shops, and discuss who they’re “high” or “low” on relative to everyone else.
I’ve never seen a list from this site before, and based on the players they’ve listed, I can only assume this site has a distinct fantasy focus in its rankings, which is a little disappointing. I say this because of the way-too-high ranking for several relievers and the astronomically high ranking for our newly signed IFA prize, things you generally only see in fantasy heavy analysis who are making recommendations to diehards who play in keeper leagues and who are looking for deep prospects to draft and bury and/or possible future closers (thus resulting in over-emphasis of relievers versus other conventional scouting analysis). That being said, this is the first service that really seems to evaluate our prospects in light of their production, and less about their bonus size, which has resulted in a pretty good ranking.
Lets get to their rankings.
Since they’re a pay-for service, i won’t print the whole list, but i will do some highlights of players who are notable. the top 10 are visible for free and are:
- Same top 3 as everyone else right now; they have Cavalli ahead of Ruiz, which I know some find arguable. Meh; i’m just glad to have a “big 3” back in the system to be excited about, and I’m not sure I care who is #1. Ruiz is going to be the opening day starter, while Cavalli is going to be in AAA, so for me that’s how the ranking should go 1-2 at the top.
- New Cuban IFA signee Cristian Vaquero comes in at #4. Wow. That’s a statement. Of those shops who have ranked him, i’ve seen him 9th on one amateur list (DistrictonDeck, which ranked him mid-last season based on the rumors of his imminent signing), and in the 14-15 range on a couple of professional sites (Prospect361, Prospects1500). But #4 is… well that’s bullish. And one of the reasons I suspect the fantasy focus in these rankings.
- A little high on last year’s IFA darling Armando Cruz, who got $3.9M and did very little in 2021 to merit that bonus figure.
- They’re super high on Mitchell Parker, coming in at #12. I like Parker and I like what he did in 2021. You may not like the ERA, but 144 Ks in 101 innings is amazing.
- They’ve got Yasel Antuna all the way down at #15. Finally, someone appropriately ranks the career .238 hitter who no longer plays a premium position and has no power.
- They still have hope for Mason Denaburg, listing him at #16. I do not have #16 ranked hope for Denaburg; I sense he’ll be lucky to get out of rookie ball at this point.
- They have two relievers ranked #18 and #19: Holden Powell and Gabriel Agostini. Powell was a closer in college, pitched a grand total of 4 2/3rds innings in 2021 before missing the rest of the season with an injury. Putting him #18 is ridiculous. Agostini is 17 and had stellar numbers in the DSL … but its the DSL. If you’re a lefty with a decent pitch, you can get guys out immediately in the DSL. 15 games, 32 innings and a great K/9 rate; he has to replicate this stateside before being listed this high.
- They’ve dumped Jeremy De La Rosa all the way to #22, when most other shops have him in the 7-10 range. I guess they were not impressed with his .209/.279/.316 line this year in Low-A as a 20-yr old. Or maybe it was his 37% K rate. That’s right: 122 strikeouts in 326 ABs in low-A this year. A better question is probably … why does every other shop still have him in their top 10?
- One of the few shops to rate Jackson Cluff after he tore up the AFL this past November. He comes in at #24.
- Our buddy Seth Romero comes in at #27; still hanging on. I’m sure he won’t be #27 for long, once the team releases him the moment the new CBA is signed.
- Two AA lefty starters round out the bottom of the top 30 in Tim Cate and Evan Lee.
Notable names not ranked. In a top 30, its hard to “miss” guys, but here’s some who are not mentioned:
- Drew Mendoza: the polish is off here.
- Jake Alu: no love for the 24th rounder despite a solid 2021 at the plate.
- Riley Adams: so, a lefty reliever in the DSL is worth of #19, but a AAA catcher with competent numbers at the plate is not worth ranking. Got it.
- Israel Pineda: man, it wasn’t that long ago he was a top 10 prospect.
- Tres Barrera: generally not a lot of love for Catchers here.
- Mason Thompson: Baseball America literally had him in our top 10 post trade deadline.