Washington Nationals Top MiLB Tools

Burns, Billy

With the minor league season officially wrapped up, it’s time to look back at the each organization’s top tools. Note: only everyday players with 250+ plate appearances, starting pitchers with 80+ innings, and relievers with 40+ innings were considered. For more Top MiLB Tools click here.

Washington Nationals Top Prospects for 2013



Hit Tool: Brian Goodwin, CF

Power: Zach Walters, SS

Eye: Billy Burns, CF

Base Stealer: Billy Burns, CF

K-Ability: Robbie Ray, LHP

Control: A.J. Cole, RHP


Best Hit Tool: Perhaps a little overmatched in Double-A, Brian Goodwin still flashed five-tool potential. Goodwin hit .252/.355/.407 with 19 doubles, 11 triples, and 10 homeruns with a modest strikeout rate.

Best Power: Shortstop Zach Walters had a coming out party in 2013. The former ninth round pick out of the University of San Diego who has typically slugged plenty of doubles throughout his career, hit 66 extra-base knocks with Syracuse, 29 of which were homeruns.

Best Plate Discipline:  With an incredible base stealing prowess (see below), Billy Burns has shown an impeccable eye at the plate. Burns has walked in 12.9% of his plate appearances while posting a career 144-to-149 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 

Best Base Stealer: The most efficient thief in the minor leagues, Billy Burns has been nearly uncatchable during his three-year career. Burns, a 32nd round pick from Mercer University in 2011, has accumulated 125 stolen bases in just 142 attempts (88.0%). And the diminuitive switch-hitting center fielder had a career year, swiping 74 bags in 81 tries (91.4%).

Best Ability to Miss Bats: After an incredibly disappointing season in high Class A in 2012, southpaw Robbie Ray breezed through his second tour with Potomac before making a solid impression in the Eastern League. Ray struck out 160 batters in 142 combined innings.

Best Control: A.J. Cole, the hurler traded from Washington to Oakland and then back to Washington, posted a nearly 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio while averaging just 2.1 free passes every nine innings against much older competition. 


Photo of Billy Burns Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon/MiLB.com.



After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.