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Three Nats prospects in MLB.com's top 100

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Three Nats prospects in MLB.com's top 100

MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has updated his list of the game's 100 best prospects and each of the Nationals' first three draft picks in 2011 were included. Infielder Anthony Rendon, pitcher Alex Meyer, and outfielder Brian Goodwin were ranked with Lucas Giolito, regarded by Mayo as the team's fourth best prospect, left as the odd man out.

Rendon comes in at 37, likely because of his injury-plagued 2012 season. Rendon's stock was much higher a year ago when he was considered the best bat in the 2011 draft.

Mayo acknowledges the injury problems and then gives praise.

"When healthy, Rendon is a plus defender at third. At the plate, he has the kind of advanced approach that should allow him to move quickly while hitting for average and power," he said.

Rendon was promoted to Double-A Harrisburg in August and should start next season at one of the system's higher levels. He could be a good candidate for a call-up next season as well, possibly as early as June or July.

Meyer was ranked 57th by Mayo after having a sort of surprise season in the minors. He began at Hagerstown and dominated at the Low-A level with a 3.10 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 18 starts. He was then promoted to Potomac and pitched even better with a 2.31 ERA in seven outings. Across both levels of Single-A Meyer went 10-6 with a 2.86 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 129.0 innings.

Here is part of his take on Meyer:

"Very tall and lanky, Meyer still has plenty of room to add weight and strength to his 6-foot-9 frame. He has two plus pitches, a fastball up to 97 mph and a power slider (86-88 mph). He also added a changeup, and although its not as good as the two plus pitches, it has the chance to be an average pitch."

It should be noted Mayo has Meyer ahead of Kevin Gausman (63rd overall) who was picked fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2012 draft.

Goodwin made the top 100 with an overall ranking of 74th. The 2011 pick is described by Mayo as a five-tool player who "could be a very good center fielder in time, and he also has the arm, as well as the bat, to move to a corner if need be." Goodwin hit .280 in 100 total games across Low-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg last season.

Mayo ranked a former Nationals prospect, A.J. Cole, at 98th. Cole was traded to the Oakland Athletics in a multi-player deal that landed Gio Gonzalez in Washington.

For Mayo's full list and his top 20 Nats prospects right here.

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Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

The Nationals played their first game of spring training today against the Mets. They won, but that's not nearly the biggest story of the day. It was Bryce Harper's first at-bat that stole the show. 

On just the second pitch he saw of spring training, from lefty Sean Gilmartin, Harper mashed a ginormous home run to right center field. MLB.com shared video of the bomb. 

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Harper smacked the ball at least 400 feet. In his second at-bat, he hit a line-drive single on the first pitch. 

Let's just say it was an exciting start to the year for Harper, who won the 2015 NL MVP only to endure a let-down last season. As Castillo points out, the slugger hit .226 against left-handed pitchers in 2016. 

Harper enters spring training at 230 pounds, up 15 pounds of muscle from last year. 

“I just felt going into the offseason you want to get as strong as you can, try to maintain your weight the best you can and just do everything the right way,” he told the Post. 

MORE NATIONALS: Baker thinks DC sports teams can win a championship this year

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Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals manager Dusty Baker is back for a second year and feeling optimistic for his Washington team. Spring training has begun in Florida and it has Baker thinking about how the Nats can create some excitement for local sports fans.

In an interview with American University’s WAMU radio station, Baker said D.C. wants to be a "city of champions.” Furthermore, he thinks it can be pulled off before the year ends.

"I came here to win a championship and you know I would love nothing more than to bring one to Washington. Washington, I didn’t know it before I got there, but it’s had a tough time getting out of the first round in a number of sports."

He projected the Nationals to bring home the next championship for the District, but he knows they have competition of late. 

"Washington Wizards are looking pretty good. I’m pulling for them first because their season ends before ours, so I’ve been really following them. The Capitals have a good thing going. I started watching the Redskins more this year.

"You know once it gets contagious in a city and you get a positive attitude throughout the city, then it transfers to the sports teams. So we want to be known as a city of champions, before the end of the year hopefully."

Baker has a reputation for bringing out the best in his teams, especially managing star players. He managed the San Francisco Giants for ten seasons before moving on to the Chicago Cubs, a team he managed for four seasons.

He's never won a World Series, but has taken a team to Game 7. He also finished third for the 2016 National League Manager of the Year award.

So, what are Baker’s steps for the Nationals to get that ultimate prize? A simple formula, really.

"I think that we’ve got to stay healthy, number one. We’re trying to fill the holes that we need to fill, and we’ve got to play," he said. "You know last year we were very close, we were one hit away or one play away or one pitch away from going to the next round against the Cubs."

While he says he came to win Washington a championship, he's also enjoying his time in the city. 

"I love D.C. Before that, San Francisco was my favorite town; that’s my home. But I tell you, D.C. is definitely in the running," he said. "I thought San Francisco had the best seafood, but man, you guys have the best seafood I think in the world."

Thanks, Dusty!

The Nationals play their first spring training game against the New York mets on Saturday.

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