MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nats hope more homegrown talent emerges this spring

Giolito, Turner headline young players looking to take the next step

Nats hope more homegrown talent emerges this spring

WASHINGTON -- During the Mike Rizzo era, the Nationals have been known for giving homegrown talent a chance to shine in the big leagues. The list of that talent ranges from Bryce Harper to Stephen Strasburg.

Entering this season, Washington's farm system remains strong. With that mind, here is a look at the Nationals' prospects to watch during Spring Training.

Comeback candidates | Newcomers

RHP Lucas Giolito: Giolito is considered the Nationals' top prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. The right-hander will have a chance to show his stuff, as he participates in his first big league Spring Training. Last season, Giolito showed he was fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, going a combined 7-7 with a 3.15 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 117 innings -- 10.1 K's per nine innings -- for Class A Advanced Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.

SS Trea Turner: Considered the second-best prospect in the organization, Turner will compete against Danny Espinosa and Stephen Drew for the starting job at short. If he doesn't win it, Turner could start the season in Triple-A. He is expected to be a solid defender, with the ability to score a lot of runs and steal bases. Turner is expected to be a top-of-the-order bat.

Top Prospects: Turner, WSH

INF Wilmer Difo: Difo has already proven he can hit in the Minor Leagues. Now, it's time to show what he can do in the Majors. Difo, who is the Nats' fourth-best prospect, was in the big leagues for lengthy periods last year, but wasn't given much of a chance to play. Difo broke his left hand running the bases against the Mets near the end of the season, but is expected to be 100 percent healthy.

LHP Nick Lee: Since the start of 2014, 42 of Lee's 51 appearances as a reliever have been for at least one inning. He tied for second in Washington's system with 10 saves in 2015, while going 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 40 games between Potomac and Harrisburg. Lee, the Nats' No. 25 prospect, surrendered just one home run, while holding opposing batters to a .216 average.

OF Victor Robles: The Nationals have proclaimed Robles as a five-tool player. Robles, who is the seventh-best prospect in the organization, is a high-contact hitter while being aggressive. He has hand quickness and strength, all the natural gifts that will give him a chance to be successful in a lot of different phases. With health and continued development, Robles can retain that high ceiling and could possibly be in the big leagues in two years.

Top Prospects: Robles, WSH

C Pedro Severino: Severino had a cup of coffee in the big leagues last season and could be the Nationals' starting catcher by 2017. He can call a game and is considered a leader when dealing with a pitching staff. Outside of his skill set behind the plate, Severino -- the No. 9 prospect in the organization -- has a dynamic personality. He exudes confidence and is not shy about having a conversation about baseball.

INF Chris Bostick: Last season, Bostick played in a combined 137 games between Potomac and Harrisburg and hit .258 with 12 home runs, 58 RBIs and 31 stolen bases. Bostick can play at least four positions, including second base, shortstop, left field and center field. He is considered the No. 23 prospect in the organization, according to MLBPipeline.com.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.