A Minor Review of 2015: Nationals by Marc Hulet September 14, 2015 Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 2015.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the ’15 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2016 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues. Previous Reviews: Baltimore Orioles Atlanta Braves Boston Red Sox A Minor Review of 2015: Nationals The Graduate: Joe Ross, RHP: The Nationals absolutely cleaned up in the December 2014 trade of Steve Souza (which was a three-team deal involving Tampa Bay and San Diego) with the acquisitions of Ross and Trea Turner (see below). The right-handed hurler wore down in September but he looked like a future rotation stud throughout the summer — while trying to outshine his brother, Tyson Ross. With some movement expected in the Nationals’ starting rotation over the next two years, the younger Ross should be a critical contributor to this playoff hungry team. The Riser: Reynaldo Lopez, RHP: Lopez, 21, showed glimpses of his potential in 2014 and continued his breakout in ’15 while pitching in High-A ball. He’s not an overly physical pitcher, standing just 6-foot, but the Dominican native has nasty stuff and above-average control for his age. If he can hold up as a starter (and there is no reason to think he won’t) he has No. 2-3 starter potential but likely will not be ready until 2017. The Tumbler: Jake Johansen, RHP: The Nationals — once known for having the worst minor league system in baseball — has enjoyed a solid development season for most of their better prospects. Johansen, though, whom I ranked as the 12th best player in the system at the beginning of the year, has seen his value plummet. He’s been unable to turn his raw stuff into positive results and even a move to the bullpen could not help him in 2015. Johansen, 24, allowed 60 hits in 48 innings at the High-A ball level. The ’15 Draft Pick: Andrew Stevenson, OF: The Nationals’ first pick in the 2015 draft (in the second round), Stevenson showed the ability to make consistent contact and hit more than .300 while showing good wheels with 23 steals (in 30 tries) in 55 games. He showed an overly-aggressive approach in his debut. His best skill is his center-field defence, which is plus. Stevenson, 21, may head to High-A ball for his first full pro season in 2016. The New Addition: Trea Turner, SS: The 13th overall pick of the 2014 draft by the Padres, a later ’14 trade brought Turner to the Nationals and he could be set to take over the shortstop position from incumbent Ian Desmond in 2016. The rookie played for three minor league teams in 2015, showing 20-30 stolen base potential, decent pop and the ability to hit for a high average. He’s also played solid defence. Turner, 22, earned a late-season promotion to the Majors. The Lottery Ticket: Victor Robles, OF: Just 18, Robles had a lot of success during his first pro season in North America — after beginning his career in 2014 in the Dominican Summer League. The speedy outfielder spent 2015 in short season ball — a significant distance from the Majors — but displayed immense skill in 61 games. He produced a .952 OPS with a .352 batting average and 24 steals in 29 attempts. He also struck out just 33 times, but showed an aggressive approach with just 18 walks. His game isn’t built around power but he displays flashes of developing more pop.