The Nats added two to their minor league system. C Chris Snyder and P Jeremy Accardo were signed to minor league deals yesterday. We are tracking all roster moves in our Roster Tracker. Snyder played for Houston last year as a reserve catcher and batted .176 with 7 home runs and 24 RBI. Accardo pitched out of Cleveland's bullpen and posted a 4.82 ERA.
The Olympian released it's spring training questions for each team. Completely agree with heir big question for the Nats. The roster has no weaknesses and really no roster battles. The Nats are set for a big playoff run. How will they handle that pressure? How will they handled big expectations compared to hopes? Let's face it, it is much easier to win by surprise than to win by expectation. The pressure is simply different. Losing streaks can become mountains. How will the young Nats handle the pressure. That is the first and most likely only big spring training question.
Washington is set up to win - and win big - this season. The question is how the Nationals' mostly young players with limited experience in pennant races will handle being the clear favorite this time around. They'll need to establish the proper attitude over the next six or seven weeks in Florida and carry it into the regular season.
If there is any other question, it will revolve around the starting pitchers and how deep they will be permitted to pitch in 2013.
ESPN's Keith Law released his Top 100 prospect list. The same prospects are listed on Law's Top 100 as others prior to Law's list. 3B Anthony Rendon, OF Brian Goodwin, P Lucas Giolito, P Nathan Karns, and P AJ Cole appears in Law's Top 100.
I still feel that the one prospect in the pipeline that hasn't gotten the respect in these rankings is 3B Matthew Skole. Skole was drafted by the Nationals in the 5th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Nats and had a monster season last year between Low A Hagerstown and high A Potomac. At Hagerstown, Skole earned an All Star nod in the South Atlantic League after posting a .286 average with 18 doubles, 27 home runs, and 92 runs driven in. He had a .438 OPB and a .574 slugging percentage. He did not slow down when promoted to Potomac. In 18 games at Potomac, Skole batted .314 with 10 doubles, 12 RBi, and a .486 slugging percentage. A season prior at Auburn, Skole batted .290 with 23 doubles, 1 triple, and 5 homers. He posted a .382 OBP and a .430 slugging percentage while driving in 48 runs. He has been consistently good and powerful in the Nationals system and it is surprising he is not listed in these Top 100 lists. MLB.com had Skole ranked 11th in the Nats system.
Luke Erickson projects the 2013 Hagerstown Suns roster.
John Sickel provides a prospect smackdown between Nats prospect Brian Goodwin and Boston prospect Jackie Bradley. Go read it. Here is the verdict.
Goodwin: Goodwin should be good for 10-15 homers and 15-20 steals per year (perhaps more) as a major league regular. His batting average and OBP projections are more uncertain than Bradley's, his projection depending on how he handles left-handed pitching and how his plate discipline develops.
Comparison: I think their maximum outcomes are similar: across-the-board producers who do a lot of things well. Goodwin could hit a few more homers and steal a few more bases, but his batting average and OBP will likely be more volatile and he needs to do better against lefties to avoid being stuck in a platoon role.
I currently rate both Bradley and Goodwin as Grade B+ prospects. I have Bradley at #27 on my Top 50 hitters list, with Goodwin checking in at 39. They are very close. Bradley is six months older and more refined. While Goodwin's ultimate ceiling is perhaps a bit higher than Bradley's, Goodwin's risk is higher as well.
Here are some other news tidbits. Read about Steve Lombardozzi and the help he provides to area youth. Speaking of Lombardozzi, he and 1B Tyler Moore are looking for expanded roles in 2012. Both will be coming off the bench, given the loaded roster of the Nats, but both will be absolutely critical to the Nationals 2013 success. Given the shoulder concerns of 2B Danny Espinosa, Lombardozzi could be in line for a much larger role.
That leaves Moore and Lombardozzi as the first players off the bench and the likely fill-ins if any starters get injured. Last year Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, and Morse all missed significant time because of injuries. The year before LaRoche went down for 119 games. If anyone other than Kurt Suzuki gets hurt, Lombardozzi or Moore will probably find themselves in the starting lineup.
What makes the both of them valuable off the bench is their versatility to play multiple positions. They are both suited best for infield positions, Moore at first with Lombardozzi in the middle, but each spent time in the outfield last year and fared well. Both played exactly 41 games in the outfield in 2012 and neither committed errors while out there. They worked extensively with Bo Porter on adapting to the outfield and can be relied on to fill in moving forward.
Finally, and a big concern for Nats fans, the notion of the large tub for President William Howard Taft. Get answers here.