In summing up the state of the Washington Nationals' system in the lastest edition of Baseball America's Aaron Fitt's Top 10 Prospects list, Mr. Fitt writes that outside of, "Catcher Derek Norris and shortstops Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa...there were few other bright spots in the minor leagues," and that's reflected in the fact that the top three picks in this year's draft are immediately ranked amongst the top ten prospects in the DC system. Mr. Fitt's colleague at Baseball America, John Manuel, published an article entitled, "MLB's best and worst farm systems", today at SI.com, which revealed the five teams at the top and five at the bottom of the list, where you'll find the Washington Nationals, who finished 26th overall in the majors in terms of minor league talent, with Mr. Manuel explaining:
"Nationals: They have the best prospect in the game in No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg, plus solid talents in catcher Derek Norris, right-hander Drew Storen and shortstop Danny Espinosa. Beyond that, though, the Nats have very little help, especially at the upper levels, which is a pity considering the state of the big-league roster."
Judging by his actions so far this fall, it would appear that DC GM Mike Rizzo agrees with this assessment of the Nationals' system...
...considering he's made a total seventeen additions to the front office, with names like Roy Clark, the former Atlanta Braves' Scouting Director, former Mets' and Team USA Manager Davey Johnson, Colorado Rockies' Asst. GM Kasey McKeon and the Boston Red Sox' Latin America coordinator Johnny DiPuglia and thirteen others moving to Washington. Mr. Rizzo told Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell in an 11/19/09 article on the restructuring of the Nationals' FO entitled, "This National intelligence estimate is decidedly favorable", that he believes the Nationals have, "...caused a buzz in the sport," and people want in, because, in his own words, as quoted by Mr. Boswell, "They know this is a baseball shop."
• Make That 18 Additions...
The Nationals today decided to make one last edition to the front office before they head into the Rule 5 Draft on December 10th, adding the original Mr. Rizzo, DC GM Mike Rizzo's father Phil Rizzo, who's been a scout for more than 40 years. LINK: Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin says the elder Rizzo will be a senior advisor to the GM in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Rizzo hires his pops".
• ESPN The Mag...
In case you somehow missed it, the 1st and 3rd names on Baseball America's Aaron Fitt's list of the Nationals' prospects, Stephen Strasburg and his fellow '09 1st Round pick, pitcher Drew Storen, are featured in the latest newsstand edition of ESPN the Magazine, in an article by Ryan McGee entitled, "Next No. 4: Stephen Strasburg", which focuses on the relationship between the two pitchers Mr. McGee labels the "Ace and the Closer" responsible for saving baseball in the nation's capital, though Strasburg's having none of the savior talk:
"'If people think that I, or we, the two of us, are going to save the Washington Nationals by ourselves -- we just aren't. I'm not planning on pitching 162 games, and I don't think Drew is planning on saving 162 games. Every fifth game, I'm going to do what I can. And every other game, Drew is going to do what he can. But whenever we get to the big leagues, it can't just be us.'"
(ed. note - "Well worth a read, the link is for INSIDERS only, but the mag is on the newsstand tomorrow...Here's a video of the photoshoot for the article which somehow made it's way onto the YouTube..."):