Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about highly-regarded shortstop prospect Luis Garcia in a recent SiriusXM MLB Network Radio interview, in which the GM of the defending World Series champs said the 19-going-on-20-year-old was one of the nice surprises for him this Spring.
While Spring Training didn’t last long, Garcia, ranked the No. 2 overall prospect in the Nats’ organization by MLB.com’s Pipeline scouts, made a strong impression in the short time he was playing in front of the Nationals’ brass and coaches.
“Garcia really showed that he’s getting closer to being major league-ready,” Rizzo told the MLBNR hosts, Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette.
“A few nuances of his game need to come together for him to have the full package.”
Garcia’s play wasn’t the only thing that stood out for Rizzo from Spring Training 1.0, however.
[ed. note - “Rizzo has taken to calling the attempts to start things up again ‘Spring Training 2.0’ in recent interviews, thus Spring Training 1.0 is now going to refer to the period which ended when MLB shut it all down on March 12th.”]
Rizzo said he was impressed not only with Garcia, but with the pitchers assembled in West Palm Beach, FL this Spring, and not just in big league camp, but also the depth that exists within the organization.
“I think that the thing that really pleased me the most, was — on the back fields, when you look at our pitching depth, we have ourselves a really good group of 10-12-13 pitchers that aren’t really on the radar in a Baseball America-type of sense, an ESPN.com-type of sense, that we feel are going to be, at minimum, good contributors to our franchise in the future.”
“We’re really excited,” Rizzo added. “[Senior Advisor, Player Development] Spin Williams is really excited about where we’re at as far as our pitching depth in the minor leagues, and I think that was a really great sign for us early on in Spring Training.”
Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office have assembled a strong big league rotation with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Aníbal Sánchez giving them a solid 1--through-4, and Joe Ross, Austin Voth, and Erick Fedde lined up to fill out the back end in 2020, and they’ve gone pitching-heavy in recent drafts, but are you as confident as Rizzo in the Nats’ organizational depth, in terms of pitching?
Jackson Rutledge, 21, and the top pick by the Nationals in last year’s draft, is the top-ranked pitching prospect in the organization on MLB Pipeline’s list (No. 3 overall) after the right-hander was selected 17th overall overall last June.
Wil Crowe, 25, and a 2017 2nd Round pick, is ranked No. 4 overall in the system.
Andry Lara and Eddy Yean, 17- and 18-year-old right-handers, respectively, are ranked 5th and 6th, respectively on MLB Pipeline’s list.
Mason Denaburg, ranked No. 7 on the Top 10, is the 20-year-old right-hander selected by the Nats out of high school in Florida with their top pick in 2018.
Tim Cate, the top-ranked lefty, and No. 8 overall prospect in the organization on MLB’s list, was the Nationals’ 2nd Round pick in 2018, and Seth Romero, the club’s 2017 1st Round pick (who underwent Tommy John surgery which cost him all of 2019), with lefty Matt Cronin (No. 10) rounding out the Top 10.
Not one Nationals’ pitcher, however, cracked MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospect list for 2020, with Carter Kieboom - No. 21; and Garcia - No. 97; the only players from the organization to end up ranked.
Kieboom and Garcia were the only prospects on ESPN’s Top 100 list this winter as well.
Baseball America’s Lacy Lusk seemed high on some of the Nationals’ pitching prospects in a chat with readers this winter, though Kieboom and Garcia were the only two that made BA’s top 100 list for this year.
Are you comfortable with the Nationals’ pitching depth at the major league level right now?
Are you comfortable with the in-house options after the top 4 in the big league rotation?
What do you think about Rizzo’s assessment of the organizational depth?
Any pitching prospects in particular in the organization you’re excited about watching develop this year?