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Weekly Prospect Update: Washington Nationals

At 61-39, the Washington Nationals are one of the best teams in baseball. They’re  dominating the National League East with a 13-game lead over the Atlanta Braves. Offense? Check. Defense? Check. Pitching? Check. All in all, the Nationals are firing on all cylinders at the Major League level.

Their success does not indicate that they’ve depleted their farm system by any means. In fact, the Nationals’ farm system is filled with young talent, including two players in’s Top 100. Here’s what the Nationals’ top 10 prospects have been up to thus far.

10. Daniel Johnson, OF

The Nationals took Johnson in the fifth-round of the 2016 Draft after he led the Western Athletic Conference in average (.382), home runs (12), and stolen bases (29) with New Mexico State. He continued to impress in his first professional season and hasn’t slowed up since. Johnson has plenty of raw talent that he’s working to put all together. His elite speed pairs nicely with his contact ability and raw power, along with superb bat speed.

2017 stats (Single-A Hagerstown): 88 games, .300/.361/.529, 17 HR, 52 RBI, 61 R, 12 SB, 22  BB, 70 K. (High-A Potomac): 3 games, .333/.333/.600, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 3 K.     

Johnson showed off all his tools at Single-A Hagerstown before being promoted to High-A Potomac. He batted .300 on the nose, hit 17 homers and stole 12 bases in 88 games. In the three games since being promoted, Johnson is 5-for-15 with a double, homer and two RBI. Finishing the season at this pace would do wonders for his chances at starting next season at a higher level, as he creeps closer toward an MLB debut.

9. Luis Garcia, SS/2B

Garcia was signed as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic and ranked as the No. 9 international prospect by MLBPipeline last period. The Nationals liked what they saw in Garcia’s athletic and projectable body at such a young age. The 17-year-old has plenty of refining to do but has shown a consistent ability to make hard contact. He’s an above-average runner and has great defensive abilities at the middle infield positions.

2017 stats (RK-GCL Nationals): 21 games, .224/.264/.271, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 10 R, 2 SB, 5 BB, 13 K.

In 21 games, Garcia hasn’t done too much with the Gulf Coast League Nationals. He’s played 21 games and is batting just .224 with a homer and eight RBI. He started off the month of July hot but has cooled down over the past week. In his last five games, he’s collected just one hit and has struck out four times.

8. Yasel Antuna, SS/3B

Just like Luis Garcia, Antuna was a 16-year-old international free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic. Atuna was regarded as the best shortstop in the class but has also shown he is more than capable of playing the hot corner. He can drive the ball into the gaps from both side of the fence and should grow into his power as he ages.

2017 stats (RK-GCL Nationals): 23 games, .305/.396/.366, 5 RBI, 10 R, 4 SB, 13 BB, 13 K.

Antuna has had better success than his teammate in 2017. He hasn’t put one over the fence yet but is sitting at a nice .305 batting average through 23 games. He’s walked the same number of times he’s struck out, 13, and has shown instinct on the base paths with four stolen bases. Antuna just put together his best game of the season on July 25, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.

7. Andrew Stevenson, OF

Stevenson was a second-round Draft pick by the Nationals in 2015. In just his first full season, he advanced all the way to Double-A Harrisburg. Now in his second full season, Stevenson quickly advanced to Triple-A and made his MLB debut on July 23. The 23-year-old is a contact-oriented hitter and a superb defender in center field. He lacks power but makes up for it with on-base skills and above-average speed.

2017 stats (Double-A Harrisburg): 20 games, .350/.429/.438, 12 RBI, 14 R, 11 BB, 19 K. (Triple-A Syracuse): 73 games, .246/.293/.319, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 37 R, 9 SB, 18 BB, 67 K. (MLB-Washington): 3 games, 1 K. 

Stevenson capped off his quick rise through the Nationals system with an MLB debut in July. Before that, he showed off all his tools at the Triple-A level. He batted just .246 but collected four triples, two homers, and stole nine bases. Stevenson has yet to pick up his first Major League hit, but he should provide useful as a utility man off the Nationals’ bench.

6. Wil Crowe, RHP

It’s been a long road to professional baseball for Crowe. He was drafted out of high school in 2013 but went to college instead. He missed the 2016 season after Tommy John surgery and was drafted the same year but turned it down once again. Finally, he was taken in the second-round by the Nationals in this year’s Draft. His fastball has topped out at 97, while his curveball, slider and even changeup all have above-average potential.

2017 stats (RK-GCL Nationals): 3.2 IP, 4.91 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 1 BB, 2 K.

Crowe has appeared in just two games this season for the GCL Nationals. He’s given up three hits, two runs, has walked a batter and has struck out two in 3.2 innings. At 22, Crowe is a bit older than much of his competition, but he projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

 5. Seth Romero, LHP

[the_ad id=”384″]Despite off-the-field issues that caused Romero to be suspended and ultimately kicked off his college team, the Nationals took him in the first-round of the 2017 Draft. His fastball sits in the high-90s and is complemented by a wipeout slider that was nearly unhittable in his time in college. Before being kicked off the team, Romero held a 15.7 K/9. There’s no doubt that the talent is there for Romero, but he’ll need to mature and show that he can take the game seriously if he wants to reach his full potential.

2017 stats: Has not played.

4. Carter Kieboom, SS

Kieboom was drafted in the first-round of the 2016 Draft and was assigned to Single-A Hagerstown in his first full season. Despite missing time with a hamstring injury early last season, Kieboom was still able to show off some of his tools at the professional level. He has great bat speed and instinct at the plate, as well as great contact ability.

2017 stats: (Single-A Hagerstown): 29 games, .333/.398/.586, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 21 R, 10 BB, 25 K.

The 19-year-old has been performing well at Single-A this year. In 29 games he’s yet to slow down, maintaining a .333 average with six homers and 20 RBI. Unfortunately, he hit the DL in mid-May and hasn’t played in a game since.

3. Erick Fedde, RHP

The Nationals made Fedde yet another first-round Draft pick in 2014. After undergoing Tommy John surgery the same year, he’s climbed the ladder and was recently called up to the Nationals. Fedde doesn’t overpower hitters but mixes his pitches nicely and can generate plenty of swings-and-misses.

2017 stats: (Double-A Harrisburg): 56.1 IP, 3-3, 3.04 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 18 BB, 54 K. (Triple-A Syracuse): 21 IP, 1-1, 5.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 3 BB, 15 K.

Fedde performed well in Double-A in 56.1 innings. He posted a 3.04 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, earning him a promotion to Triple-A in mid-June. He’s appeared as both a starter and a reliever this season, but it was his performance as a starter that earned him an MLB call-up. With Stephen Strasburg hitting the DL, Fedde is scheduled to make his debut later this week.

2. Juan Soto, OF lists: Top 100 Prospects (#42)

The Nationals; No. 2 overall prospect was one of the best offensive players in the 2015 international Draft class. In 2016 at just 17 years old, he was awarded Gulf Coast League MVP honors and was rewarded with a promotion to Single-A Hagerstown. Soto is a natural hitter from the left side with great contact ability and above-average raw power. Both should continue to improve as he ages and progresses through the system.

2017 stats: (RK-GCL Nationals): 5 games, 1 H, 1 R, 1 K. (Single-A Hagerstown): 23 games, .360/.427/.523, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 15 R, 10 BB, 8 K.

Soto spent time at Single-A Hagerstown before hitting the disabled list in May. Before the injury, he was batting .360 with three homers and had walked more times than he struck out.’s No. 42 prospect has missed over two months but has begun rehabbing with the Gulf Coast League Nationals.

1. Victor Robles lists: Top 100 Prospects (#5), Top 10 OF Prospects (#1)

Robles has been a highly regarded prospect since signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 as a 16-year-old. He’s been younger than his competition in pretty much every year he’s played, but it hasn’t stopped him from dominating. He’s earned multiple All-Star selections and represented the World Team in this year’s Futures Game. He’s a five-tool player and it’s hard to find a flaw in his game. At 20 years old, he lacks serious power but has plenty of time to grow into it.

2017 stats: (High-A Potomac): 77 games, .289/.377/.495, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 49 R, 16 SB, 25 BB, 62 K. (Double-A Harrisburg): 3 games, .231/.286/.385, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 K.

Robles’ 77 games at High-A Potomac earned him a promotion to Double-A earlier this month. He’s showed off all his tools at High-A and has continued to produce at Double-A. Despite being just 20 years old, Robles doesn’t seem far off from the Majors. He’s a future superstar and should already be owned in all dynasty formats.

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