Nats Future Dimming?

Updated: September 4, 2013

Were the Nationals overrated? Was last season an aberration? Either way, the latest ESPN future power rankings show Washington ranked #14 when it comes to how a franchise is set for success over the next five years.

ESPN’s panel of experts ranks each team in five categories; Major and Minor League talent are given emphasis while finance, management and mobility also receive consideration.

Back in Spring Training, the Nats were ranked #4 overall. Where did Washington drop? The Nationals fell in a big way in management and major league talent, while mobility (young, marketable talent) also saw a drop in ratings. Overall, the Nats fell from a score of 67 in the spring all the way to 49.7.

The experts also broke down the ratings;

The Overview
This is a top-heavy roster featuring high-end talent, but there is a big drop-off after that and not a lot of solutions on the horizon. They’ll need Denard Span and Adam LaRoche to bounce back in a big way if they want to reclaim the NL East, but it’s hard to imagine that Jayson Werth will be able to duplicate the incredible season he is having. — Buster Olney

The Dilemma
With Davey Johnson set to retire this winter, the Nationals must find the right skipper to get them back into contention. They would love to get a proven winner the caliber of a Tony La Russa, Joe Torre or Bobby Cox, but none of them is coming out of retirement. Therefore, they might decide to go with a first-year type manager like Brad Ausmus or Matt Williams — Jim Bowden

The New “Guy”
Lefty Robbie Ray is starting to justify the outsize bonus he received in 2010, touching 97 mph at times and sitting mostly 90-94; he’s improved his conditioning but now has to refine his changeup or develop a splitter to help him out against right-handed hitters. — Keith Law

In case you are wondering… The St.Louis Cardinals are ranked #1 (86.9 points), the same spot they held this spring, while the Boston Red Sox are the top American League club, also #2 overall. The BoSox are up eight spots from #10 in the spring.

Tom Blaz is a co-owner of the DC Sports Report and The Recruiting Eagle, which focus on Athletics at Auburn University. You may follow Tom on twitter at #RecruitingEagle