Tuesday, April 2, 2019

2019 Potomac Nationals Preview



The Nationals have been successful in acquiring and developing talent over the last decade such as Byrce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, Victor Robles, and Jordan Zimmerman.  Trea Turner was drafted by the Padres and traded to the Nats as soon as he was eligible to be traded.

The Nats seem to build their farm system around a few stars and it works for them. Juan Soto arrived with a bang in 2018. Victor Robles is a favorite for NL Rookie of the Year in 2019.  Carter Kieboom is a top 25 prospect.  Luis Garcia was successful as an 18 year in the Carolina League in 2018. There is not much else in the system, but it difficult to be critical of such a productive farm system.  The Nationals have a number of borderline pitching prospects that should be in Potomac for part of 2019 and will hope that a couple develop.

The Potomac Nationals have desperately needed a new stadium for years and they will finally open a new ballpark in Fredericksburg in 2020.

As of this writing, the Nationals have yet to announce the roster for Potomac.  



Name
Luis Garcia 
Age
5/16/00 (18) 
Height and Weight
6'0" 190 lbs 
Acquired
2016 International signing 
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
18 overall by Rotowire 
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
MLB Org Ranking
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Likely begins in Potomac but the Nats could be aggressive and assign him to Harrisburg

It is not often there is an 18 year old in the Carolina League, but Garcia more than held his own in 49 games to end the 2000 season.  Although it is debatable whether he is the best 18 year old shortstop prospect named Luis Garcia in the division.  The left handed hitting Garcia has an excellent hit tool and should develop power as he matures. Garcia has above average speed although he is still developing his base stealing skills. Garcia played 2nd, 3rd and short at Hagerstown with Yasel Antuna on the team as well, but was exclusively at shortship with Potomac. Will likely end up at 2nd especially with Kieboom and Turner in the organization.



Name
Yasel Antuna
Age
10/26/99 (19) 
Height and Weight
6'0" 170 lbs 
Acquired
International Signing in 2016
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
201 overall by Imaginary Brick Wall
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
7
MLB Org Ranking
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Depending up how quickly he returns from Tommy John surgery, Antuna could make it to Potomac at the end of year 

The Nats paid Antuna a $3.9 million bonus more than twice what they paid Luis Garcia ($1.5 million).  Antuna is an athletic, switch hitting shortstop and going into 2018 he was rated as high or higher than Antuna.  While Garcia exceled,  Antuna struggled particularly hitting right handed.  He did not play after July 19th and it was eventually disclosed that he had Tommy John surgery.   According to JJ Cooper, of Baseball America, Antuna's injury ruined his season by affecting his hitting and fielding. Antuna will be looking to prove that he better than he showed in 2018 once he is fully healthy.



Name
Tim Cate
Age
9/30/97 (21)
Height and Weight
6'0" 185 lbs 
Acquired
2nd round in 2018 draft 
Pre Season Prospect Ranking
404 overall by Imaginary Brick Wall 
Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
MLB Org Ranking
8
Chances of being in the Carolina League
May start in Hagerstown, but should make it to Potomac during the season. 

Cate is an undersized, crafty left hander who was the 65th pick in the 2018 draft.  At UCONN, Cate struck out 270 hitters in 209 innings primarily due to a very good curve ball.  He did  miss some time in 2018 with arm issues and struggled in 52 innings as a pro with Auburn in the NY Penn League and Hagerstown in the Sally League. Cate appears to be fully healthy in spring training. 



Name
 Gage Canning
Age
 4/23/97 (21)
Height and Weight
5'10" 175 lbs
Acquired
5 round of 2018 draft
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
9
MLB Org Ranking
10 
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Will likely start in Hagerstown, but could be promoted to Potomac quickly with success.

Dustin Pedroia is the most famous undersized overachieving baseball player from Arizona State. Gage Canning is looking to follow in Pedroia's footsteps.  He was a really good college player hitting .368/.426/1.074 as a Junior.   As a pro Canning had a strong initial 14 games with Auburn (.315/.373/.965), but was less successful in 31 games to end the year (.223/.294/.704). With 54 strikeouts in 166 at bats as a pro, Canning struck out too much for the type of player he is.



Name
Jackson Tetreault 
Age
6/3/96  (22)
Height and Weight
6'5" 160 lbs 
Acquired
7th round of 2017 draft 
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
11 
MLB Org Ranking
27 
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Should begin the year in Potomac 

Tetreault is a well traveled, tall, slender right hander that got better as the year went on in his first full pro season.  In 13 starts for Hagerstown from May 21st to August 9, Tetreault only allowed more than 3 runs once earning a promotion to Potomac.  Tetreault made 5 starts for Potomac and ending the year with back to back gems.  In the last two starts, he pitched 12 innings, allowing 7 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk and 13 strikeout.  Tetreault has a fastball and curveball that can be above average and he is developing an effective changeup.  He is a nice under the radar prospect. 



Name
Jake Irvin 
Age
2/16/97 (22) 
Height and Weight
6'6" 225 lbs 
Acquired
4th round of 2018 draft 
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
22
MLB Org Ranking
17 
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Should make it up to Potomac in 2019 

Irvin may not have a great deal of upside, but he should get to Potomac quickly and then it will be a matter of how well his stuff plays.  Irvin was a very good pitcher at Oklahoma especially as a Junior even though he allowed too many homers.  In fact Irvin allowed 11 homers as a Junior in 95 innings after allowing only 1 homer in 71 innings as a Sophomore.  Despite Irvin's size he is not an overpowering pitcher.




Name
Gabe Klobosits 
Age
5/16/95 (23) 
Height and Weight
6'7" 270 lbs 
Acquired
36th round of 2017 draft 
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
16 
MLB Org Ranking
23 
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Will likely be in Potomac when he returns from Tommy John surgery mid-season 


The enormous right hander reliever looked like a potential find for the Nats after a impressive start to his pro career in 2017, but after only a little more than a month into the 2018 season, Klobosits had to have Tommy John surgery which will sideline him until the middle of 2019.  Klobosits has back end of the bullpen potential if he can get back to where he was pre-injury and could move quickly up the organizational ladder in 2020. 





Name
Malvin Pena 
Age
6/24/97 (21)
Height and Weight
6'2" 200 lbs
Acquired
International signing in 2014
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking
12 
MLB Org Ranking

Chances of being in the Carolina League
May begin in Hagerstown but should make it to Potomac quickly if healthy

Despite signing with the Nats in 2014, it was not until 2018 that Pena really got his career going.  Pena missed a lot time with injuries and only threw 84 pro innings prior to 2018.  Pena is a righty with three good pitches and he only he walked 7 batters in 50 innings in 2018.   It is possible that the Nats move Pena to the bullpen if they feel he is not durable enough to be a starter, in which case he could move up quickly.



Name
Tomas Alastre
Age
6/11/98 (20)
Height and Weight
6'4" 170 lbs
Acquired
2014 international signing 
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking

MLB Org Ranking
25 
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Will begin in Hagerstown, but could be in Potomac for the 2nd half if he shows progress.

Alastre is a young projectable right hander that the Nats have been aggressive with his assignments. He will likely repeat Hagerstown at least initially in 2019.  Alastre's curveball is his best pitch. .He may have worn down at the end of 2018, his first season in full season ball. 




Name
Brigham Hill
Age
7/8/95 (23)
Height and Weight
5'11" 190 lbs 
Acquired
5th round of 2017 draft 
Pre Season Prospect Ranking

Prospectslive.com Org Ranking

MLB Org Ranking
29 
Chances of being in the Carolina League
Likely 

Hill had a very good career at Texas A &M.  After signing with the Nats after the 2017 college season in which he threw 100 innings, the Nats immediately used Hill as a full time starter rather than taking it easy with him for the remainder of the season with mixed results.  Hill missed a couple months at the beginning of 2018, but was a strong part of Hagerstown's starting rotation for several months.  Hill should begin the year in Potomac's rotation.

Future Carolina League Prospects

Mason Denaburg (P) -The Nats first round pick in 2018.  Denaburg would have likely gone in the top half of the first round if not for an arm injury.  If Denaburg is healthy he could shoot up prospect rankings.

Israel Pineda (C) - Pineda will turn 19 on April 3rd and should spend the whole year with Hagerstown. Pineda should stick at catcher and has offensive skills. He seems to be prospect that the Nats are very high on.

Reid Schaller (P) -Despite pitching at a big time college program in Vanderbilt, Schaller is very inexperienced.  The Nats 2018 3rd round draft pick had Tommy John surgery in college and only pitched 24 innings.  He is a hard throwing right hander that will likely end up pitching out of the bullpen.

Jose Sanchez (SS) -  Sanchez is a strong defensive player that at 18 needs to add strength. 

Seth Romero (P) - Will miss all of 2019 after Tommy John surgery.  Romero is a southpaw who was the Nats 1st pick in 2017.  He is extremely talented but has had numerous off the field issues which have slowed his progress. 

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