In July of that year, for example, amateur scouting director Dana Brown told general manager Jim Bowden to trade reliever Gary Majewski to the Reds, because he thought Zinicola would be part of the Nationals' bullpen by 2007.
Zinicola didn't make it to the big leagues last season because he didn't pitch well for Double-A Harrisburg. He went 0-4 with a 5.46 ERA and six saves. Zinicola said he spent too much time looking ahead to life in the bigs instead of concentrating on what he was doing in the Minor Leagues.
"I didn't perform the way I should have. I took it as a learning experience," Zinicola said. "My fastball location was the main reason I struggled. I was getting behind in the count."
Zinicola vows that he will have a different attitude in the Minor Leagues this year.
"I'm trying to get better -- pitching-wise -- at learning the hitters and the game," Zinicola said. "I'm not going to worry about the other stuff like moving up and down. It will take care of itself."
They're No. 1: Drafted as a third baseman in 2006, Chris Marrero had to find another position to play because Ryan Zimmerman is firmly entrenched at the hot corner.
The Nationals experimented with Marrero in the outfield, but he was adequate at best. Now it looks like first base is his best position.
"Playing first base is like playing third base," Marrero said. "I have been catching ground balls my whole life. It's something I know how to do."
No one questions Marrero's bat -- a reason why he's the Nationals' top prospect. Last season, he hit .275 with 23 home runs and 88 RBIs, which led the entire organization.
Class of '07: Right-hander Jordan Zimmerman was taken in the second round, and he made his presence felt right away. Zimmerman was sent to Class A Vermont and went 5-2 with a 2.38 ERA. The righty struck out 71 batters over 53 innings. Now he hopes to go to Class A Potomac and pick up where he left off.
Stat machine: Shortstop Ian Desmond ranked fifth in the Nationals organization last season in stolen bases with 27.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.