As we all know, the Nationals minor league system is not the greatest. Picking later in the draft as well as trades have really diminished the farm. However, I want to highlight some guys that you need to keep on your radar. You should know about the first one. The other two might not be on your radar but they might need to be.
Luis Garcia (AA) – Nationals Preseason #3
I am absolutely in love with how aggressive the Nationals are with the guys they know are good. Take Garcia for example: He began his 2019 campaign in AA. That’s right…AA! Keep in mind his is only 18 years old and easily the youngest in the Eastern league. In fact, per Baseball Reference, he is about 5 years younger than the average AA player!
The aggressive assignment has not slowed him in the slightest. As of this post, Garcia is hitting .239/.255/.239 with a 16% K% and 2% BB%. Keep in mind, most parks in the Eastern league tend to lean more pitcher friendly so do not be scared off by the lack of power from Garcia.
The one thing I need to see from Garcia before I REALLY buy in is his hitting against lefties. He is currently hitting .083/.083/.083 with two strikeouts in 12 ABs. Last year, he hit .247 and .222 off southpaws in low and high A respectively.
Another thing that I am watching is where Garcia is playing defensively. Before this year, he played short and third. I was unsure if the arm could stick at third and also unsure of his range at second. This year, he is splitting his time between short and second. So far, he has no made any errors which is great to see. I think Garcia will probably stick at second, which makes things difficult with Carter Kieboom and Trea Turner currently manning the keystone and short.
Wil Crowe (AA) – Nationals Preseason #5
Wil Crowe is having a great start to his 2019 campaign. In 16 innings in AA Potomac, Crowe has 14 strikeouts, 3 walks, and a nice 1.69 ERA . He is generating a bunch of soft contact. Whatever is hit has been on the ground: his ground ball percentage is up to 61%. This is Crowe’s second stint at AA, having made a couple of starts at the end of last season. During that time, he was hit pretty hard.
The combination of the hard contact and increase in walks lead to his downfall. Crowe’s profile is not the typical profile that fantasy players enjoy. However, I think he tops out as a #4 and will give you a bunch of innings, which will give you a bunch of strikeouts at the end of the day. He will also help you in your WHIP category, which is a category most players ‘forget’ about.
Tim Cate (A) – Nationals Preseason #6
Tim Cate is another pitcher in the organization having a great start to the season. He is playing in Hagerstown, the A ball affiliate for the Nationals. As of the post, Cate is sporting a 1.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP with a 30 K% and 10 BB%. Cate was a second round draft pick in last year’s draft. He only made it to the second round due to forearm tightness, and it scared teams off. Keep in mind that Cate had Tommy John surgery in high school and pitched out of the bullpen after returning from the injury. Cate has a nasty curve and decent fastball. He will probably not move as quickly as most college arms due to the missed injury time which caused him to miss those important reps.
Shelly Verougstraete is the Nationals writer here at Prospects1500. Even as a diehard Red Sox fan, and author of sabermetric based Red Sox blog greenmonsterbb.wordpress.com, the goal here is to keep you up to date with all the happenings down on the Nats farm. Shelly lives in Virginia and has many minor league parks (A to AA) close by. Let's Go Nats!