At the conclusion of the 2011 season, the Washington Nationals boasted one of the top farm systems in the game. Since then, however, they’ve traded away a majority of their highly regarded prospects for big league talent—which paid immediate dividends.

Prior to the 2012 season, their trade with the A’s for Gio Gonzalez severely depleted their system, as they parted with catcher Derek Norris, as well as pitchers Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole. Well, they basically lent the A’s Cole for a season, as he was traded back to the Nats this offseason as part of a three-team trade for Michael Morse. 

The Nats also traded their top pitching prospect this offseason, 6’9” right-hander Alex Meyer, to the Twins in exchange for a much-needed leadoff hitter in Denard Span.

Their farm system took a major hit with the graduation of Bryce Harper to the major leagues last season, which was expected given the phenom’s ceiling of a once-in-a-generation player.

While they still house several top-100 prospects in Anthony Rendon, Brian Goodwin, Lucas Giolito and A.J. Cole, the Nats’ system is a shell of what it was a few years ago. However, with a big league roster that’s absolutely loaded with talent, does it really matter?

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