Nationals MLB News

Major league and minor league news on the newest MLB franchise written and maintained by professional newspaper journalists.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Top 15 position players (Part 3 of 3)

Here is the final installment of the Nationals’ Top 15 position players, which wraps up the look at the Nationals top minor league players. In March, Nationals MLB News will take a look at each of the team's four full-season minor league affiliates and project the rosters for each.

11. Josh Labandeira, SS, 26
2005 destination: triple-A

At 5’7’’ Labandeira will never be projected as a starting player, although he could have a Frank Menechino-type career. His feisty, sparkplug attitude makes him a favorite of not only managers, but fans as well. Labandeira has a strong arm and some pop in his bat, although he does not hit for a great average. He also has patience at the plate and knows what he is doing on the base paths. At worst, Lanbandeira figures to be a solid triple-A player and injury fill-in.

12. Ian Desmond, SS, 19
2005 destination: short season ball

Desmond is young and athletic but possesses very raw skills, which could result in him starting 2005 in short season ball so he can concentrate on fundamentals. He has flashed the potential to have all five tools, although he needs to concentrate on making solid contact at this point. His power is likely to be the last tool to develop. In the field, Desmond has an above-average arm that is inaccurate and he must learn to repeat his release point on throws across the diamond.

13. Marvin Lowrance, OF, 20
2005 destination: low-A ball

Lowrance possesses limited power at this point. Once he fills out a little more, though, he could hit with more authority. He also strikes out too much but will take a walk. Currently he projects as a fourth outfielder but he has lots of time to develop his game and fill out physically.

14. Luke Montz, C/1B, 21
2005 destination:

If Montz can become competent enough behind the plate to be a second or third string catcher he could greatly improve his chances of playing in the major leagues. He could be destined for a Matt LeCroy-type career. His best tool at this point is his bat and the power it generates. Montz has also shown that he could develop into a patient hitter who isn't afraid to take a walk.

15. Brandon Watson, OF, 23
2005 destination: triple-A

Watson was once considered a top prospect but his inability to get onbase to utilize his speed has hurt him. If he could become a more patient hitter, he could project to be a starting centerfielder. As is, however, Watson projects as a fourth or fifth outfielder with plus speed and Gold Glove defensive skills. He is also an accomplished bunter.


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