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Thursday, March 18, 2010

On Prospects

Zech is back, an item I just saw on a "tweet" that qualifies as today's under-the-radar news:

RHP Zech Zinicola was returned to the Nats today from Toronto per MLB Rule 5 guidelines...he will report to the Nats minor league camp.

Besides loving the name, I loved this guy because he was supposed to be a fine prospect and now I don't think he will ever play in the big leagues.

Who and where are the Nats' major prospects? Is there anyone really close besides a couple of pitchers taken with two of the top 10 picks just last year? Shouldn't our next field-player stud be really close or ready by now?

Do the Nats have a home-grown star besides the one at 3B?

Let's look around the horn: The top young catcher can't stay healthy so they signed a future Hall of Famer, albeit one who is close to 40. The SS is put together with duct tape and glue (although there does appear to be an answer there). The Nats had to sign a 30-plusser to handle 2B because no one is ready. The 1B is a converted bad OF who may not be quite as bad at 1B. The OF has a 30-year-old in LF, a pushing 30 player in CF and lord knows who in right. No sure fire stud ready to go out there. Maxwell? Bernadina? Not quite our Longorias (ability-wise, not position).

Mound matters don't seem to be any better. They had to sign closers and set-up men and starters. There's NOBODY in the system?

Am I being unreasonable? Shouldn't the Nats have another home-grown stud to go with Zimmerman, besides the two just-drafted pitchers?

I guess we can blame this on JimBow, too. How long until it gets better?


Brian said...

The 2005 draft produced a nice haul outside of Zimmerman with Lannan, Stammen & Maxwell all making the majors. Getting four major leaguers out of one draft is a solid haul.

The 2006-2009 drafts are at various stages of evaluation.

I would call the 2006 draft a disappointment to date. Out of the large number of HS guys they drafted, only Marrero still has a prospect tag on him. Englund, King & Willems are not prospects in the ideal sense of the term. All of the college arms have a ceiling of bullpen guys (VanAllen, Zinicola, Kimball, Pena, & Arnesen). Arnesen is the guy that intrigues me.

2007 gave the Nationals Detwiler and Zimmermann (to date). If they can get one of the bats (Norris and Burgess) develop along with a couple of these arms, Meyers, Smoker, McGeary, and Mandel, it's an adequate haul.

The other two drafts are TBD but not signing 'He Who Shall Not Be Named' hurts the 2008 draft's grade

MikeHarris said...

But is anyone close? I'm more concerned about field players than arms.

Brian said...

They have not been very good with the bats to date.

It's Espinosa, Norris & Marrero that we know about (excluding Desmond)

They are the most likely impact bats (though Kobernus bears watching)

The issue is that they have focused a large number of early picks on arms.

What the Nats are NOT doing is grabbing HS bats that slide to the 6th round or later based on supposed contract demands and signing them (JP Ramirez is the only guy I can think of off the top of my head). I hope to see the Nats grab AND sign some impact HS bats

MikeHarris said...

Thanks Brian. My fear is young arms will develop and most of the other spots will be barren.

Brian said...

One additional thing, the easiest place to find an impact bat is in the early part of the first round of the draft.

To date, the Nats have used two early draft picks (top 20) on bats [Zimmerman and Marrero]. The other five picks [Willems, Detwiler, Crow, Strasburg, & Storen] are all arms. That's 2 out of 7 with a 50% success rate to date.

Finding Derek Norris after the second round is what you hope your team can do regularly, but there is no secret formula to repeating it on command

Dave Nichols said...

Kasten very much believes in "Grow arms, buy bats". it's evident in any team he's had a hand in.

cass said...

And who were the three most important arms Kasten oversaw? Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine.

One of those was a huge free agency signing and another was aquired as a minor leaguer via trade. Just sayin'.

Hendo said...

Zech Zinicola's a good name. A fine name.

Atahualpa Severino is an awesome name. Enough to make me forget Zinicola completely. Oh, the arm too.

MikeHarris said...

Except I can't say that name!