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Frank Howard In DC? The Nationals 29th In Keith Law's Organizational Rankings? A Forfeit In The DWL Championship Series???

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BRING BACK HONDO!!!

"It was an organization -- with all due respect to the players I played with -- that didn't have enough depth of talent to compete with good ballclubs."

You'd be forgiven for thinking that's Tim Redding or some other recently departed Washington player remarking on their time in DC with the Nationals, but it's former Washington Senator Frank Howard in the quote above, which is pulled from MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Q&A with Frank Howard", (which is just that, a chat with the DC baseball legend, who recounts his time playing in the nation's capital - like the time he hit 10 HR's in 20 AB's - and humbly accepts his place in the city's baseball history with some prompting from Mr. Ladson, who has a hard time hiding his admiration for Frank Howard, the man himself, and his accomplishments), but in talking about the Senators' struggles, Mr. Howard is inadvertently highlighting the long history of futility Washington franchises have suffered through, which has somehow never dampened Mr. Howard's enthusiasm for the District and its fans...

(ed. note - "Admittedly, everything I know about Frank Howard i've learned since my first day in RFK, when I saw the white seats in the outfield and wondered...? But Howard's story was my first introduction to DC baseball history, and along with Walter "Big Train" Johnson's, it remains one of my favorites."

Hendo, also known as Mike Henderson, who writes Hendo's Hutch for Nationals Pride.com, has been championing the cause of Frank Howard's return to DC in the blogosphere, while Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin has done the same in print. Sign a petition to show your support for FRANK HOWARD'S RETURN TO DC HERE...")

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Top Prospects...

As a follow-up to Dave from the Nationals News Network's post here yesterday entitled, "Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects: Nats Conspicuously Absent", which noted the inclusion of one DC prospect on the Top 100 list, and examined the release of the ESPN.com writers' 2009 rankings of the Nationals' Top 5 Prospects, I decided to take a look back at Mr. Law's '08 list as well to see how it compared to Baseball America's Aaron Fitt's last two lists of the "Top 10 Prospects: Washington Nationals"...

ESPN.com's Keith Law's 2008 List...

1. Ross Detwiler, lhp

2. Chris Marrero, 1b

3. Jordan Zimmermann, rhp

4. Josh Smoker, lhp

5. Michael Burgess, rf

Baseball America's Aaron Fitt's 2008 List...

1. Chris Marrero, of/1b

2. Ross Detwiler, lhp

3. Collin Balester, rhp

4. Michael Burgess, of

5. Jack McGeary, lhp

After agreeing on the first two picks, (though in reverse order), Aaron Fitt's choice of Collin Balester as the 3rd best prospect seems better in retrospect, since Balester did debut in '08, but Jordan Zimmermann's not far behind, and is in fact expected to compete for a spot in the Nationals' 09 rotation. Along with Michael Burgess, who also makes both lists, each writer chose one of the Nationals' left-handed starters, Mr. Law, Josh Smoker, and Mr. Fitt, Jack McGeary, (who appears at #6 on Mr. Fitt's list, as I imagine Smoker would on Mr. Law's, were it expanded to include the Nationals' top ten prospects as well), so there's not much difference here.

ESPN.com's Keith Law's 2009 List...

1. Jordan Zimmermann, RHP

2. Michael Burgess, RF

3. Esmailyn Gonzalez, SS

4. Ross Detwiler, LHP

5. Chris Marrero, LF

Baseball America's Aaron Fitt's 2009 List...

1. Jordan Zimmermann, rhp

2. Ross Detwiler, lhp

3. Chris Marrero, 1b

4. Michael Burgess, of

5. Jack McGeary, lhp

Jordan Zimmermann's #1, that much both writers agree. Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez, Washington's 19-year-old shortstop is included in Baseball America's Aaron Fitt's list, but not nearly as high up as on Mr. Law's, landing 10th in Mr. Fitt's estimation, after having won the Gulf Coast League's '08 batting title by hitting .343 in 51 games and 181 at bats in which he collected 62 hits, 12 doubles, 3 triples, 2 HR's, 33 RBI's, 29 walks, 19 K's, a .431 OBP, .475 SLG and a .906 OPS. Does that warrant a leap ahead of Detwiler and Marrero even if both had disappointing seasons? Outside of "Smiley's" ranking, the only difference in the two lists (other than the order) is Mr. Fitt's inclusion of Jack McGeary, (who hasn't made either of Mr. Law's lists), in his own Top 5 for the second straight year.

So how, if both writers basically included the same players on their lists in each of the last two seasons, did Baseball America decide that the Nationals' Organization was 9th best in the Majors last season while Mr. Law has the DC system at #29 overall in his latest Organizational Rankings, which were published earlier this week? Is it possible that Baseball America is going to drop the Nationals anywhere close to 20 spots when they publish their own list?

Dominican Winter League Championship Series - Game Three...FORFEITED???

Game Three of the Dominican Winter League's Championship series was...

Forfeited by the Gigantes del Cibao? What the heck? An LA Angels blog, Three Days of Cryin', has the only report I could find, in a post entitled, "Game 3 - Continued", and the forfeit is apparently the result of the Gigantes del Cibao protesting the suspension of one of their players. I'll have more on this situation when it becomes available...

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