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Washington Nationals’ prospect Mason Denaburg: Coming to a Top 100 prospect list near you in 2020...

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Mason Denaburg, the top pick in the Washington Nationals’ 2018 Draft class, is already the top pitching prospect in the organization...

Photo screencap via @Nationals on the Twitter.

Washington’s Nationals landed three prospects on Baseball America’s Top 100 when the list was released earlier this week, but all three (Victor Robles, Carter Kieboom, and Luis Garcia) were position players. It’s the second straight year that BA’s list didn’t include any pitchers from the Nationals’ organization.

There is talent with potential on the pitching side, however, with the Nats’ 2018 1st Round pick Mason Denaburg considered the top pitching prospect in the system on most of the available prospect lists for 2019, with Baseball America (No. 4), Baseball Prospectus ( No. 4), and MLB Pipeline’s scouts (No. 4, again) all ranking the right-hander as the top pitcher in the system before he’s thrown a professional pitch (outside of the instructional league).

In a chat discussing his list of the Top 10 prospects in the Nationals’ organization, Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo wrote that Denaburg, “... is a guy who could crack the back end of the [top] 100 at some point next year if he is fully healthy and performs,” and Collazo told MASN’s Byron Kerr this winter that he was impressed with the 19-year-old’s raw talent when he scouted him in the lead-up to the draft.

“Denaburg was one of the most athletic players overall in the 2018 draft,” Collazo told Kerr in a story this winter. “I think that’s going to bode well for him moving forward as he learns how to repeat his delivery more consistently and throw strikes.”

“Mason is really a gifted athlete,” his agent, Scott Boras, told reporters after securing a $3M bonus for the righty, which was above his slot’s recommended value of $2,472,700 for the 27th overall pick.

“[He] has the velocity,” Boras added, “but the real thing is he has a feel to pitch, and he has a very repeatable delivery, very durable, and has been kind of hidden in the baseball markets.

“Didn’t do a lot of the showcases and things, but the scouting industry kind of caught on to him late in his junior year.”

In his senior year at Merritt Island High School in Florida, Denaburg went (5-1) with a 1.27 ERA in eight starts and 35 13 innings, walking 10 and striking out 73 batters while dealing with biceps tendonitis.

“Very, very good makeup kid, tremendous competitor, good delivery, clean action, has that starter look about him,” Nationals’ Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Kris Kline told reporters on the night of the Draft last June.

“Big fastball,” Kline continued when asked for a scouting report.

“He’ll show you an above average breaking ball and an above average changeup and he’s a good-looking kid, one of the guys that we ID’d early and I think we’re very fortunate that he slid as far as he did.”

Denaburg was available to take with the 27th pick, where the Nationals made him their top selection, in spite of the injury concerns, which Kline brushed off.

“It’s not an injury that for us was going to scare us off,” Kline said. “Mason missed some time with some bicep tendonitis. I ended up going there and seeing him, well actually Alan Marr, our area scout there, saw a three-inning simulated game after he came back and it was really good, he didn’t show any signs of fatigue or any signs of an injury and then I ran in there in a playoff game and he looked really good.”

“The last few months were good,” Denaburg said after signing in July.

“I got back on the mound after the injury and I pitched in the last three games of the year and then I kind of chilled out for a little bit, but I’m feeling good now.”

He also said the injury issues were behind him at that point, though he didn’t end up going out to one of the Nationals’ affiliates last summer.

“I got back on the mound after the injury and I pitched in the last three games of the year and then I kind of chilled out for a little bit, but I’m feeling good now.”

Asked to describe himself as a pitcher, Denaburg said, “I like to attack with my fastball and I guess just put people away with my offspeed stuff. I’m not scared of anybody.”

“He’s been up to 97 mph in the past with his fastball, sitting around 94, throwing it with good life down in the zone,” MLB Pipeline’s scouts wrote in their report on the Nats’ top pitching prospect.

“When Denaburg stays on top of it, his power breaking ball has nasty break and finish to it, and he shows feel for a solid changeup as well.”

Denaburg got his first taste of pro ball in the Instructional League after the minor league season came to an end.

Paul Menhart, the Nationals’ organizational pitching coordinator, told MASN’s Kerr he liked what he saw from Denaburg in the Instructional League:

“I was very pleased because we started him all over in the summer through an off-season throwing program, just to give him that time to properly progress and strengthen his arm like we do with our guys during the offseason.

“So the timing was perfect for him to pitch in a couple of games down here. I expect him to take this time off now and get some normal rest - he doesn’t know (this time) as normal rest, but to us it’s normal rest - and come into spring training competing for a job.”

Here’s what 2080 Baseball (and FBB’s) Adam McInturff saw from Denaburg in Florida:

“A first-round pick in this past June’s MLB Draft, Denaburg has the chance to be the top pitching prospect in the system by this time next year with a strong 2019. He didn’t pitch in the GCL this summer after signing, taking the hill in game action for the first time as a pro during Instructional League. Denaburg was shaking off the rust when I saw him, though the chance for two above-average pitches showed through. Read my full scouting spotlight here.”

He’s already considered the top pitching prospect in the organization. Where will Denaburg end up pitching this season? Where will the right-hander land on the various top prospects lists next winter?