ESPN Insider has been running a series the past week in which they list the “MLB Future Power Rankings.” This list is designed to measure how well each team is set up to succeed over the next five years. The Washington Nationals finished fourth overall on their list:
The rankings were compiled by averaging scores given on a 0-30 scale from Buster Olney, Keith Law, and Jim Bowden in five categories; Majors, Minors, Finances, Management, and Mobility. Hardly the most scientific projection to say the least, but it’s interesting to see what these three “baseball experts” think of the franchise, one of whom worked for the Nats in the past five years.
The Nationals ranked as the top team in the NL East, and trailed only the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, and St. Louis Cardinals on the list. Last year the Nats ranked 11th with an overall score of 58.9.
According to the panel, the Nationals are “the best team in baseball right now,” however the analysts question their minor league depth. ESPN does however acknowledge that the reduced depth is a result of several key trades to acquire top-of-the-line Major League Talent.
The Nationals also only scored a 22 in “Management.” The club was likely dinged here because this will be Davey Johnson’s final season, meaning the Skipper situation in Washington is unknown and unstable over the five year period they were looking at.
The one major flaw in this exercise by ESPN is that they fail to look at the age of the team’s major league talent. For example, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler, and Drew Storen are all in the majors but also all very young. So while there isn’t a ton of depth behind them in the minors, that’s not necessarily relevant because they will not need to be replaced in some time.