The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLB.com's Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo, who compiles input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, closeness to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2013.
Rendon, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is ranked No. 28 on the list and is considered the Nats' third baseman of the future, but he will play all around the infield during Spring Training. In his first full season in professional baseball, Rendon missed a lot of time because of an ankle injury. He played only 43 games and hit .233 with six home runs and 12 RBIs across four levels that culminated at Double-A Harrisburg.
Goodwin, ranked No. 52, is considered the club's center fielder of the future. In his first full professional season, Goodwin hit a combined .280 with 14 home runs, 52 RBIs and 18 stolen bases for Class A Hagerstown and Harrisburg.
Giolito, Washington's first pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft and ranked No. 74, managed to pitch two innings for the Gulf Coast Nationals before having Tommy John surgery. Giolito's fastball has been clocked as high as 100 mph, and he has a power curveball, but he endured right elbow problems early in '12, spraining his ulnar collateral ligament. Giolito would have been a higher pick if not for the injury.
During general manager Mike Rizzo's tenure, the Nationals have had their share of pitchers -- Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, to name two -- who have had Tommy John surgery and come back to be successful.
The Nats were able to reacquire Cole, ranked No. 91, from the Athletics for outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse earlier this month. A fourth-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Cole was a combined 6-10 with a 3.70 ERA with Class A Burlington and Stockton in 2012. It was at Stockton where he struggled the most, going 0-7 with a 7.82 ERA. Rizzo said Cole replaces right-hander Alex Meyer, who was traded to the Twins for outfielder Denard Span late last year.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.