When baseballamerica.com's writer Aaron Fitt published the list of the Washington Nationals Top 10 Prospects last January 12th, right-handed starter Collin Balester was ranked no.1 overall in the Nationals system. When Mr. Fitt again produced the list of the top prospects on November 7th of this year, Balester had fallen slightly in Baseball America's assessment, to no.3 overall, replaced by outfielder Chris Marrero and the Nationals #1 overall pick in the '07 Draft, left-handed starter Ross Detwiler.
Collin Balester, Montreal's 4th Round pick in 2004, was coming off a (5-5) season between Class-A Potomac and Double-AA Harrisburg, where he had thrown 137.1 innings with a 5.20 ERA in 22 starts at Potomac, and put up a 1.83 ERA in 8 starts at Harrisburg, as a twenty-year old, in his second full pro season, when he was ranked the number one prospect in the organization by Baseball America.
In 2007, Balester was (2-7) with a 3.74 ERA over 98.2 IP at Harrisburg, and the right-hander finished the season with Triple-AAA Columbus where he went (2-3) and posted a 4.18 ERA in 10 starts and 51.2 innings, allowing 49 hits and 27 runs and striking out 40 while walking 23 for the Clippers.
Chris Marrero had moved ahead of Balester as a result of the Washington Nationals 1st Round pick in '05 having hit .280 with 23 HR's and 104 RBI's in 147 games over two seasons in the Nationals' system. 34 doubles, 3 triples, 156 hits in 558 at bats, for a 6'3'' 210 lb outfielder who won't turn nineteen until July of '08.
Ross Detwiler started the 2007 season as a twenty-one year old, third-year, left-handed starter at Southwest Missouri State University where Detwiler went (4-5) with a 2.22 ERA in 14 starts during which he allowed just 22 runs in 89.0 innings while striking out 110 and walking 38.
That was enough to convince the Nationals to select Detwiler with the 6th overall pick in the 1st Round of the '07 Amateur draft and what the lefty did at two stops in the Nationals' Minor League system...
...(0-0) in 4 starts with a 2.25 ERA for the Gulf Coast Nationals in Rookie ball, and (2-2) with a 4.22 ERA in 4 starts with Class-A Potomac, with 28 K's in 33.1 IP...Convinced the Nationals to give the rookie a crash course in the Majors, where Detwiler pitched one inning of relief and recorded his first Major League K, just three months after the Nationals had taken the 6'5'' 185 lefty with their top pick.
...and in fact...four of Washington's Draft picks after Detwiler in the '07 Draft, 18-year old pitcher Josh Smoker, 18-year old outfielder Michael Burgess, 21-year old pitcher Jordan Zimmerman, and the Nationals' 6th Round pick, 18-year old Jack McGeary, all find themselves listed in the Nationals' Top Ten already, so at least Baseball America agrees with DC's recent drafting decisions.
*Links and Links and...*
baseballamerica.com's Aaron Fitt's list of the Washington Nationals Top 10 prospects for 2007:
baseballamerica.com's Aaron Fitt's list of Nationals Prospects before the '07 season:
Collin Balester's profile at MiLB.com:
Collin Balesters stats at thebaseballcube.com:
Chris Marrero's stats at thebaseballcube.com:
Ross Detwiler's stats at thebaseballcube.com: