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[September 7th] -- For more than a year, Jim Bowden has been telling us that he was going to rebuild the Nationals from the ground up, and that the farm system is now in far better shape than in was when he took over.

He's right. Want some proof?

Last year, the Vermont Lake Monsters won just 23 games and featured a rotation that included Aaron Jackson, Terrence Engles, Zach Baldwin and ErikArnesen.

Who? My point exactly.

Though the Lake Monsters' season is not quite over, I thought it might be fun to take a look at this year's rotation and see if there has been any improvement.


The rotation this season features Hasan Pena, Cole Kimball (who returned this year), Glen Gibson, Colton Willems, Jordan Zimmermann and Adrian Alaniz. Up until a few weeks ago, all six were pitching like Roger Clemens. Though Pena and Gibson haven't faired as well of late, all of them have done a superb job this year.

To be sure, some of their individual stats are quite pedestrian, but there are a few spectacular efforts as well. For instance, none of the six allowed more hits than innings pitched. That's unheard of. The worst batting-average-against belongs to Pena at .256, still very impressive for a rookie league pitcher.

Overall, Adrian Alaniz has the most impressive stats. He's allowed just 35 hits in 55 innings while striking out 9.5 batters per 9 innings while walking 1.1 per 9. He was an 8th round pick this year out of the University of Texas.

Of course, there is no chance that all of these guys are going to make it to the new stadium in a few years. That said, a few of them will have the talent to make it, but will probably be traded for veterans to help solidify holes in the major league roster.

For the first time, the Nats have enough young arms 1) for themselves and 2) to use as trade bait.

I knew it would happen, but never thought it would happen this quickly. It's amazing how picking good players in the draft helps. It sounds easy, but just look at the last six or seven Nationals' drafts.

Again, thank you Major League Baseball.

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