Breaking down the Nats' Top 30 Prospects

After parting with premium pitchers, Washington's system still flush with hurlers

Breaking down the Nats' Top 30 Prospects

The Nationals spent 179 days atop the National League East last season en route to their third division title in five years. But as was the case in their previous two trips to the postseason, the team failed to advance beyond the NL Division Series, losing to the Dodgers in five games.

Perhaps no player influenced the Nationals' 2016 success more than Trea Turner, who batted a robust .342/.370/.567 with 35 extra-base hits and 33 stolen bases, all while making a smooth transition to center field from shortstop, en route to a runner-up finish in the NL Rookie of the Year Award voting. The Nats also received contributions on the mound from 2012 first-rounder Lucas Giolito, the club's top-ranked prospect at the time, and Reynaldo Lopez, albeit with mixed results.

Nats' Top 30 Prospects list

Top 30 Prospects lists
Division Release date
AL East BAL, BOS, NYYTB, TOR
NL East ATLMIA, NYM, PHI, WSH
AL Central CLE, CWSDET, KC, MIN
NL Central CHCCINMILPITSTL
AL West HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX
NL West ARICOLLADSDSF

But both hurlers' had a short-lived career with Washington, as the Nationals packaged Giolito, Lopez and 2016 first-rounder Dane Dunn to the White Sox to land outfielder Adam Eaton during the Winter Meetings. But even after parting with their three best pitching prospects, the Nats still have plenty of pitching depth left on the farm in right-handers Erick Fedde, Austin Voth and A.J. Cole, all of whom could see time in the big leagues in 2017.

Top prospect Victor Robles' five-tool potential makes him the undisputed gem of the Nationals' system, while fellow outfielder Juan Soto, last year's Rookie Gulf Coast League MVP, may be one of the best hitters yet to reach full-season ball.

What's more, the Nationals added a slew of young, high-ceiling prospects to their system in 2016, drafting shortstop Carter Kieboom and left-hander Jesus Luzardo with two of their first three picks, and then going well beyond their international bonus pool to sign a trio of 16-year-old shortstops in Luis Garcia, Yasel Antuna and Jose Sanchez.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2016 preseason list to the 2017 preseason list.

Jump: Tyler Watson, LHP (2016: NR | 2017: 19)

Fall: Joan Baez, RHP (2016: 18 | 2017: 24)

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.

Hit: Victor Robles (60)
Power: Juan Soto (55)
Run: Armond Upshaw (80)
Arm: Victor Robles (65)
Defense: Andrew Stevenson (65)
Fastball: Koda Glover (70)
Curveball: Joan Baez (60)
Slider: Erick Fedde (60)
Changeup: Jesus Luzardo (60)
Control: Austin Voth (55)

How they were built
Draft: 16
International: 14

Breakdown by ETA
2017: 6
2018: 7
2019: 10
2020: 3
2021: 4

Breakdown by position
C: 3
1B: 1
2B: 0
3B: 4
SS: 5
OF: 10
RHP: 5
LHP: 2

Here's a look at the Nats' preseason Top 10 prospects from each of the past seven years (click here to see a larger image):

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.