Sorry about the hiatus, but we'll jump back on the horse with one of the more exciting organizations in baseball right now. People don't always list Washington when they think about teams that could really be building towards something special, but few teams can offer up as many legitimate franchise cornerstones.
Not only do the Nationals boast arguably the best pitcher of this generation and a top-level third basemen, they also have a prospect with upside so tantalizing that he was dubbed "Baseball's LeBron" by some media outlets. If you can name me a trio in baseball as exciting as Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper, please, come forward.
Obviously, when you have a 25-man roster, you're going to need to find a lot of help even if you have three legitimate superstars. It's something that Omar Minaya has really had to learn the hard way. But let's see what Mike Rizzo and company could build by 2013, and who could be surrounding Washington's new Big Three in a couple years.
As a healthy reminder, I'd just like to mention that these lineups DO NOT include any sort of speculated free agent, trade or draft acquisitions that could happen before the 2013 season, and one could almost be guaranteed that by the time that 2013 comes, each team will have acquired some new players through free agency, trades and/or the draft. That being said, these are still exceptionally useful looks at how the teams will look by 2013, so we can have a better idea of what kind of players each organization is lacking in, and which players they'll be more likely to target through free agency. Like, as commenter backtocali noted on Baltimore's post, the Orioles could possibly look to sign a Prince Fielder-type to make the 1B/DH situation a bit easier to deal with, as he'd be an obvious upgrade on Snyder/Reimold and with so many young players presumably there should be a good amount of payroll flexibility, too. But for this exercise, we're sticking purely with players that are either in the organization already or have been drafted this year with a reasonable likeliness of signing (so yeah, there's no Zach Lee for the Dodgers. Sorry). Additionally, after the trade deadline I'll probably do a few posts covering how trades changed these outlooks, particularly on teams where impact prospects could be dealt or acquired.
Here are links to the previous installments on the 2013 Orioles, the 2013 Pirates, the 2013 Astros, the 2013 Indians, and the 2013 Mariners, if you missed 'em. And thanks for reading, comments and questions are always welcomed in the section below.
The Starting Lineup.
Catcher: Derek Norris, Opening Day 2013 Age: 24, Current level: Advanced Single-A
If you don't buy into Norris' presence here, it's probably because of concerns about his receiving and footwork behind the plate. Because if Norris can stay at catcher, he projects to have one of the best bats among backstops in all of baseball.
Norris broke into the top prospect discussion last season by putting up a .286/.419/.519 line with 30 doubles, 23 home runs and 89 walks in 543 plate appearances for Single-A Hagerstown. The performance was good enough to be ranked No. 31 on Keith Law's preseason Top 100, where Law praised Norris for his raw power, arm strength and advanced approach as a hitter.