Any Nationals fan examining the team’s minor league system would probably be able to tell you it’s not as robust as it once was. Still, it’s jarring to see an organization that has so successfully identified talent both internationally and domestically fall all the way to 30th - dead last in Major League Baseball, according to MLB.com.
The Nationals have dipped into their farm system plenty in recent years, giving them an excellent young core with Major League experience while pillaging their own minor league depth.
Former first-round pick Carter Kieboom is the only remaining player on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list, coming in highly at 23rd overall. But Kieboom began the 2020 season on the Opening Day roster and is growing closer to graduating off prospect lists.
When that happens, the team will be one of the only ones in baseball without a Top 100 prospect. In fact, Washington has had at least two Top 100 prospects in each of the last nine seasons, and a Top 25 prospect in six straight.
The fall from grace comes while recent top prospects Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Trea Turner are excelling for the big league club, so the future is not all bleak in the nation’s capital. Luis Garcia has also made an early impact. But their longtime stable of young, exciting players on the farm is finally running dry.
It’s possible a few recent draft picks wind up making an appearance on future lists, as MLP Pipeline notes “right-handers Jackson Rutledge and Cade Cavalli, Washington’s first-round picks in 2019 and ‘20, both are future Top 100 candidates.”
Those arms developing would go a long way for the Nats, especially with the core of their Major League rotation getting up there in age. Still, this group is a far cry from where it once was.