WASHINGTON -- Even after unloading some of their best young talent in trades this offseason, the Nationals still boast some of the top prospects in the Majors in their farm system, with two players on MLBPipeline's Top 100 Prospects list for 2017.
Outfielder Victor Robles (No.8) and right-hander Erick Fedde (No. 60) both improved on their previous rankings in this year's list, which was revealed during an MLB Network special on Saturday night. Robles improved two spots from his place on the 2016 midseason rankings, while Fedde jumped 15 spots.
The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2017 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Robles enters this season as the second-ranked outfielder in baseball, behind top overall prospect Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox. Robles does not turn 20 until May, but he is rapidly rising as one of the elite prospects in baseball. MLBPipeline projects him as a future No.1 overall prospect, as he possess all five tools with double-plus speed that gives him range as an outstanding defender.
Robles, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic in '13, hasn't played beyond Class A Potomac. Even though his Major League debut might still be a few years away, he is starting to make waves as a future key piece in the Nats' outfield. Robles was repeatedly sought after this offseason as the Nats were involved in trade discussions for Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen and left-hander Chris Sale, who eventually landed with the Red Sox. Last season, Robles hit .280/.376/.423 between three lower levels of the Minors, with nine homers and 37 stolen bases.
Fedde, who turns 24 in February, takes over as the Nats' top pitching prospect after they traded Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton. After an impressive '16, Fedde is in position to make a big impact with the organization. He is now two seasons removed from Tommy John surgery and looked more comfortable on the mound last season than he has in the past.
He became more comfortable throwing his changeup along with his fastball and slider, which helped him advance from Class A to Double-A as he developed a reputation as a strike thrower. In 22 starts (23 games) he posted a 3.12 ERA with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Nationals are one of 24 teams with at least two prospects on the Top 100 list. The Yankees and Braves lead the way with seven players on the list.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.