It is certainly not a bad time to be a Washington Nationals fan. You have a beautiful new stadium and a young organization with A LOT of talent. The organization has locked up a star in Ryan Zimmerman and has shown willing to spend (if, ill-advised) to get the free agents they want.
What is more important than all of this is that the Nationals have drafted the top player in each draft for the past three seasons. Strasburg, Harper and Rendon. The first two are as well know as any draft pick in the history of the draft.
This is how you form a baseball team. From the bottom up. It starts with the draft and the long (well, short for Strasburg) road throughout the minor leagues. You spend on young players now so you do not have to spend more on them when they are less valuable. Imagine, for a second if Strasburg was on the open market. Do you think for one second that the Yankees would have let anyone else get their hand on the greatest pitching prospect of all time? No. Strasburg would have fetched no less than $50 million in free agency. We have seen in previous drafts where players considered to be less talented earn much more on the market as opposed to being taken No 1 overall.
Currently Strasburg is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in the Carolina League, throwing the way one would expect the best pitching prospect ever to throw. Bryce Harper is in AA, after having dominated is assignment in Hagerstown, when he should have been finishing his senior year of high school.
Anthony Rendon is not as recognizable as the other two names, but is nearly as talented. Rendon was considered by many, including one of our writers, to be the top prospect in the incredibly talented 2011 draft. He fell to the Nationals due to injury concerns. These problems are not likely to be long term issues and though there was some disappointment in not getting Manny Machado, getting Rendon at #6 is certainly something to smile about. Time will tell if he will end up at 3b, as Ryan Zimmerman will likely have that position as long as he wants in DC.
The Nationals are likely to see incredible success from the draft decisions they have made in recent years. They have found the template for how building a winning organization is done. They learned it from Andrew Friedman and others who understand the value of looking to your system first for talent. It is, in a word, efficient.
That is why we are here. As there is a greater demand for information on minor league, college, high school, and independent baseball, we will be here giving you the information and analysis you are looking for. If you are looking for some positives about the future of your organization, look no further.
While the Cubs appear content with wasting away one of the highest payrolls in baseball for a fifth place team, others have been able to do much more with much less. They do it with strong minor league systems as evidenced by the Rays most recently. While the Nationals fans may be disappointed Strasburg is not currently dominating in the majors and that Harper is still only 18, they best know the future is bright and we will be here to tell you all about it.
Welcome to Minor League Rundown.