When Minor League Ball's John Sickels released his list of the Washington Nationals' Top 20 prospects for 2014 last month, the top three names on the list were Lucas Giolito (RHP), A.J. Cole (RHP) and Brian Goodwin (OF). Giolito, 19, is the Nationals' 2012 1st Round pick who underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after he was drafted. The hard-throwing right-hander returned to the mound last summer, however, and through five starts this season with the Nationals' Low-A affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns, the 6'6'', 230 lb starter is (1-0) with a 2.95 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 11 walks (4.64 BB/9) and 24 Ks (10.13 K/9) in 21 1/3 IP.
A.J. Cole, the Nationals' 2010 4th Round pick, was traded to Oakland A's in the Gio Gonzalez deal then reacquired in the three-team Michael Morse trade with the Seattle Mariners and Athletics. Cole is back pitching at Double-A Harrisburg this season after finishing the year there in 2013 and he's off to a strong start with a (2-1) record, 3.63 ERA, 3.05 FIP, three walks (1.56 BB/9) and 11 Ks (5.71 K/9) in four starts and 17 1/3 IP.
No.3 on Minor League Ball's list of the Nationals' Top 20 prospects was 23-year-old, 2011 1st Round pick Brian Goodwin, who is playing at Triple-A Syracuse now in his third season in the organization.
Through 25 games and 102 plate appearances, the 6'0'', 190 lb left-handed hitting center fielder has a .224/.353/.318 line with four doubles, two triples and two stolen bases for the Syracuse Chiefs.
All three Nationals' prospects cracked Minor League Ball's Top 150 Prospects list when Mr. Sickels posted it today. Giolito landed at no.25 on the list. Cole checked in at no.59 on the list and Goodwin ended up at no.121.
Here's what Sickels had to say about each of the Nationals' prospects when he published his organizational list for Washington:
1) Lucas Giolito, RHP, Grade A-: Has the stuff to be a number one starter but I want to see how he holds up to a full workload coming back from Tommy John and how his changeup develops before going with a straight A. Even with a few questions to answer, he ranks among the very elite and with a good season he could be the top pitching prospect in baseball six months from now. Let's give him some time first.
2) A.J. Cole, RHP, Grade B: Borderline B+: Could wind up with B+ depending on how I want to slot him on the Top 50 pitching prospect list, so I should have a final grade here next week. Still some concerns about breaking ball consistency but he’s made a lot of progress over the last year and could develop into a number two starter.
3) Brian Goodwin, OF, Grade B: Excellent tools but baseball skills remain erratic/inconsistent, particularly with his swing mechanics. If a time traveler told me Goodwin became an All-Star, I’d believe it. I’d also believe it if they told me he became a fifth outfielder.
• Check out Minor League Ball's Top 150 Prospects list through the link below:
Top 150 Prospects for 2014. celebrate May Day with a huge prospect list and discussion thread. http://t.co/4UztjSqwJb— johnsickels (@MinorLeagueBall) May 1, 2014