Nationals' Top 50 Prospects: #41-45

CapitolDugout.com continues its unveiling of the 2006 Off-Season Top 50 Nationals' Prospects list with a look at prospects #41-45. This is part two of our ten part series that will take us from prospect #50 all the way to #1. Now, let's take a closer look at prospects 41-45.

45. Marco Estrada - The 23-year-old right-hander has battled through injuries, but will have a chance to up his prospect status in the Hawaiian Winter League this off-season. Washington has high hopes for their former 6th round pick despite a career ERA of 4.40. He ended the season on a strong note with Savannah, compiling a 2.36 ERA in his final three starts. The former Long Beach State standout will have to get moving and a strong showing the Hawaiian League will be critical to his future. When he's on his game, he'll be inducing groundball after groundball. If all goes well, we should expect to see the righty begin the season with Potomac, but he also may wind up back in Hagerstown to begin the season.

44. Ofilio Castro - Hailed by the Washington player development department as one of the best pure hitting prospects in the organization, Castro is still awaiting that breakout season that catapults him to bigger things as a prospect. His fielding has been more than up to par and their appears to be little doubt that he could play a big league second base. The 23-year-old infielder had a solid season with Savannah, batting .253 with 5 long balls and 57 RBI. One of his main problems will be hitting against lefties, an odd problem for a righty hitter to have. He batted just .213 against them in 2006. At his age, 2007 could be a make or break season for the Nicaragua native. He should break camp with Potomac but he will still need to earn his playing time.

43. Francisco Guzman - There are few players in the organization who possess the pure power potential of Francisco Guzman. At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, Guzman has a power hitter's body and he is now beginning to fill out that massive frame. In 2006 with Vermont, he began transferring his majestic batting practice power into game production, slugging 5 home runs and 11 doubles. He still struggles to make consistent contact, but when he does he has a "special sound" and the ball jumps off of his bat. But, he will turn 23-years-old in December and needs to get his career moving. Look for him to spend the entire season in Hagerstown in 2007; it will be a key season for him.

42. Jack Spradlin - The typical crafty left-hander, Jack Spradlin may not have velocity on his side, but he certainly has a lot of other things going for him. His quirky, delayed leg kick and funky motion helped him to a solid collegiate career with USC and his success continued in his first pro season with Vermont. He was one of the New York-Penn League's top hurlers, going 2-3 with a fabulous 1.69 ERA in 48 innings of work. He also struck out 39 while walking just 10. Using a fastball that sits in the 85-88 MPH range, the 22-year-old southpaw depends highly on his slider and changeup, two pitches that figure to be average big league pitches. At 170 pounds, Spradlin has a very slight frame so stamina may be an issue in 2007. But, if all goes according to plan, he should be a big part of the Hagerstown rotation next spring.

41. Jhonatan Solano - One of the surprise standouts of the 2006 GCL Nationals, backstop Jhonatan Solano quickly made a name for himself. The 21-year-old Colombia native had his season ended prematurely for minor knee surgery, but he still left a lasting impression on his coaches and teammates. Pitchers raved of his ability behind the dish and he was no slouch at the plate either. For the season, Solano hit .256 with 3 doubles and 11 RBI. He doesn't figure to be much of a power threat, but with his abilities behind the plate and contact hitting approach, it's possible that he the upside of Blue Jays' catcher, Benjie Molina. Look for him behind the plate for Hagerstown in 2007.

Capitol Dugout Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n45. Marco Estrada - The 23-year-old right-hander has battled through injuries, but will have a chance to up his prospect status in the Hawaiian Winter League this off-season. Washington has high hopes for their former 6th round pick despite a career ERA of 4.40. He ended the season on a strong note with Savannah, compiling a 2.36 ERA in his final three starts. The former Long Beach State standout will have to get moving and a strong showing the Hawaiian League will be critical to his future. When he's on his game, he'll be inducing groundball after groundball. If all goes well, we should expect to see the righty begin the season with Potomac, but he also may wind up back in Hagerstown to begin the season.\r\n

\r\n44. Ofilio Castro - Hailed by the Washington player development department as one of the best pure hitting prospects in the organization, Castro is still awaiting that breakout season that catapults him to bigger things as a prospect. His fielding has been more than up to par and their appears to be little doubt that he could play a big league second base. The 23-year-old infielder had a solid season with Savannah, batting .253 with 5 long balls and 57 RBI. One of his main problems will be hitting against lefties, an odd problem for a righty hitter to have. He batted just .213 against them in 2006. At his age, 2007 could be a make or break season for the Nicaragua native. He should break camp with Potomac but he will still need to earn his playing time.\r\n

\r\n43. Francisco Guzman - There are few players in the organization who possess the pure power potential of Francisco Guzman. At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, Guzman has a power hitter's body and he is now beginning to fill out that massive frame. In 2006 with Vermont, he began transferring his majestic batting practice power into game production, slugging 5 home runs and 11 doubles. He still struggles to make consistent contact, but when he does he has a \"special sound\" and the ball jumps off of his bat. But, he will turn 23-years-old in December and needs to get his career moving. Look for him to spend the entire season in Hagerstown in 2007; it will be a key season for him.\r\n

\r\n42. Jack Spradlin - The typical crafty left-hander, Jack Spradlin may not have velocity on his side, but he certainly has a lot of other things going for him. His quirky, delayed leg kick and funky motion helped him to a solid collegiate career with USC and his success continued in his first pro season with Vermont. He was one of the New York-Penn League's top hurlers, going 2-3 with a fabulous 1.69 ERA in 48 innings of work. He also struck out 39 while walking just 10. Using a fastball that sits in the 85-88 MPH range, the 22-year-old southpaw depends highly on his slider and changeup, two pitches that figure to be average big league pitches. At 170 pounds, Spradlin has a very slight frame so stamina may be an issue in 2007. But, if all goes according to plan, he should be a big part of the Hagerstown rotation next spring.\r\n

\r\n41. Jhonatan Solano - One of the surprise standouts of the 2006 GCL Nationals, backstop Jhonatan Solano quickly made a name for himself. The 21-year-old Colombia native had his season ended prematurely for minor knee surgery, but he still left a lasting impression on his coaches and teammates. Pitchers raved of his ability behind the dish and he was no slouch at the plate either. For the season, Solano hit .256 with 3 doubles and 11 RBI. He doesn't figure to be much of a power threat, but with his abilities behind the plate and contact hitting approach, it's possible that he the upside of Blue Jays' catcher, Benjie Molina. Look for him behind the plate for Hagerstown in 2007.\r\n","mobileBody":" \r\n45. Marco Estrada - The 23-year-old right-hander has battled through injuries, but will have a chance to up his prospect status in the Hawaiian Winter League this off-season. Washington has high hopes for their former 6th round pick despite a career ERA of 4.40. He ended the season on a strong note with Savannah, compiling a 2.36 ERA in his final three starts. The former Long Beach State standout will have to get moving and a strong showing the Hawaiian League will be critical to his future. When he's on his game, he'll be inducing groundball after groundball. If all goes well, we should expect to see the righty begin the season with Potomac, but he also may wind up back in Hagerstown to begin the season.\r\n

\r\n44. Ofilio Castro - Hailed by the Washington player development department as one of the best pure hitting prospects in the organization, Castro is still awaiting that breakout season that catapults him to bigger things as a prospect. His fielding has been more than up to par and their appears to be little doubt that he could play a big league second base. The 23-year-old infielder had a solid season with Savannah, batting .253 with 5 long balls and 57 RBI. One of his main problems will be hitting against lefties, an odd problem for a righty hitter to have. He batted just .213 against them in 2006. At his age, 2007 could be a make or break season for the Nicaragua native. He should break camp with Potomac but he will still need to earn his playing time.\r\n

\r\n43. Francisco Guzman - There are few players in the organization who possess the pure power potential of Francisco Guzman. At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, Guzman has a power hitter's body and he is now beginning to fill out that massive frame. In 2006 with Vermont, he began transferring his majestic batting practice power into game production, slugging 5 home runs and 11 doubles. He still struggles to make consistent contact, but when he does he has a \"special sound\" and the ball jumps off of his bat. But, he will turn 23-years-old in December and needs to get his career moving. Look for him to spend the entire season in Hagerstown in 2007; it will be a key season for him.\r\n

\r\n42. Jack Spradlin - The typical crafty left-hander, Jack Spradlin may not have velocity on his side, but he certainly has a lot of other things going for him. His quirky, delayed leg kick and funky motion helped him to a solid collegiate career with USC and his success continued in his first pro season with Vermont. He was one of the New York-Penn League's top hurlers, going 2-3 with a fabulous 1.69 ERA in 48 innings of work. He also struck out 39 while walking just 10. Using a fastball that sits in the 85-88 MPH range, the 22-year-old southpaw depends highly on his slider and changeup, two pitches that figure to be average big league pitches. At 170 pounds, Spradlin has a very slight frame so stamina may be an issue in 2007. But, if all goes according to plan, he should be a big part of the Hagerstown rotation next spring.\r\n

\r\n41. Jhonatan Solano - One of the surprise standouts of the 2006 GCL Nationals, backstop Jhonatan Solano quickly made a name for himself. The 21-year-old Colombia native had his season ended prematurely for minor knee surgery, but he still left a lasting impression on his coaches and teammates. Pitchers raved of his ability behind the dish and he was no slouch at the plate either. For the season, Solano hit .256 with 3 doubles and 11 RBI. He doesn't figure to be much of a power threat, but with his abilities behind the plate and contact hitting approach, it's possible that he the upside of Blue Jays' catcher, Benjie Molina. 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