BP, the baseball bible, released today their top 11 prospects for the Washington Nationals. While this list is similar to Baseball America's, the order is certainly different and it gives a good altering opinion of the teams talent.
The main difference between Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America is that Baseball America ranks their players based on scouts opinions and Baseball Prospectus takes a more mathematical/statistical approach to evaluating talent. Personally I lay my faith in the people at BP more. Year after year they have successfully broken down baseball into an almost predictable science (they are also very funny).
Some people may call them geeks, but I call them geniuses. The list is on a subscription website, so I wont quote everything they say but I will give you an idea of their feelings about all the players. So without further delay, here is BP's top 11 prospects:
1. Jordan Zimmerman- Prospectus lists Zimmerman as a 4 star prospect (out of 5). They say that 'he does nearly everything well,' and ' has a strong durable frame.' BP projects Zimmerman at best to be a number 3 starter and at worst to be a 4. They agree that he's a pretty safe bet to be a Major League starter but they aren't impressed with any of his stuff. 'All of his pitches are good, but he lacks that one knock out offering to project as upper-tier talent.' BP thinks his path to the Majors is relatively clear because 'Washingtons big league rotations elicits little more than giggles.'
Fun Fact: Zimmerman was selected with the compensation pick the Nationals recieved from the Cubs for the signing of Alfonso Soriano.
2. Michael Burgess-BP is pretty high on Burgess. They say that while he is nowhere near the pure hitter that fellow Hillsboro High alumni Gary Sheffield is, he does project to have the same power and outfield arm. '..his bat speed is off the charts and his wrists are almost supernaturally strong.' They also say he has a plus-plus arm with incredible accuracy. At best BP thinks he could be a right fielder who hits 30+ homers yearly, but they also warn he could end up striking out too much to make his power valuable to any team.
3. Ross Detwiler-BP is very high on Detwiler's talent and say that he in fact has a higher ceiling than Zimmerman and could be a staff ace if he puts it together. They say that, 'When he's on, (he) has the ability to dominate.' However even BP cant look past his miserable performance last season. 'Detwiler was absolutely lost at times during 2008 while constantly struggling with his mechanics....if you caught him on the wrong day, you'd never believe he was a first-round talent.'
Fun Fact: Shares the same hometown as rock'n roll legend Chuck Berry.
4. Derek Norris: BP is very high on Norris's tools, saying he has all-star potential behind the plate. 'He has the kind of plate discipline you cannot teach; the game almost seems to slow down for him when he's at the plate, and he never swings at a bad pitch.' They say that his frame will project to solid power and he already has an arm to shut down the run game. The only downside BP sees on Norris is that his long stroke does not project to a high batting average. They think that if he can shorten it he will be a star catcher, but even if not he should be a big league one.
5.Jack McGeary- BP is high on McGeary's polish and stuff but low on his lack of commitment to the game. Even though he doesn't have overpowering stuff, they think he has a good 'knack for getting hitters out.' The main problem is McGeary's commitment to Stanford vs. his commitment to the Nationals. The kid is both a stud on the mound and in the classroom, but he's only getting half the experience he should be because of it. 'Two more seasons of half-year availability will slow his development, leaving him well behind the curve.'
Fun fact: McGeary has carried up to 20 units per quarter at Stanford with a 3.5 GPA.
6. Chris Marrero- Their main knock on Marrero is his basic waste of his 2008 season. Marrero gained weight which took him from 'being a below-average runner to a full-fledged base clogger, while also slowing his speed.' BP agrees that he still has the hitting skills and plate patience to be a big league hitter if he just gets it together in 2009. They project him to be ' your classic big-league first basemen' in a perfect world.
7. Destin Hood-BP thinks that drafting Hood was the Nationals attempt to fill the void of high-ceiling athletes in the organization. 'His power is above average, and he's a plus-plus runner with silky smooth action both at the plate as well as in the field.' They say scouts love his make up and say you hardly ever see a 'max effort, max tools combination.' Unfortunately they see Hood as a major project who has a very long way to go before he can be considered MLB ready. Right now he's a great athlete learning to play baseball.
8. J.P Ramirez- BP basically said the same thing that The Nats Blog reported earlier this week. Ramirez is an incredible line drive hitter but has few other secondary skills. 'Ramirez can flat-out hit...He has no weakness, regardless of pitch type or location, and is extremely confident in his abilities.' While at the plate he's likely to be a high batting average hitter with not a lot of projectable power do to his size. BP thinks at best he can be a starting outfielder with a high batting average and at worst he'll be a bench player who stays on a roster due to his ability to pick up a hit here and there.
9. Esmailyn Gonzalez-BP is lower on Esmailyn than I am. They say that while he has good plate patience and makes solid contact his lack of lower half strength will limit his power potential. They also think that he isn't much of a shortstop and at the next level is likely to move over to second at the next level. They think that at best he can be a replacement level shortstop with a better bat than glove or a pretty solid all around second baseman.
10. Roger Bernadina-BP sees Bernandina as a toolsy outfielder who is a late bloomer. 'His raw tools have impressed scouts for the past seven years now. He's a plus-plus runner and a threat to steal every time he reaches base, as well as an outstanding center fielder with a plus arm.' They think that while he finally put it together now he isn't likely to become a star he could be a starter for a second-division team.
11. Adrian Nieto-BP thinks Nieto is a great talent but right now not much more. They think his hitting and catching potential are high but he really doesn't have much development as of yet. They believe in a perfect world he could be a very good Major League catcher but he has a lot of development to do first.