Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats 2019 Draft Class Wrap-Up

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Rutledge is signed up and ready to go. Photo via BA

Jackson Rutledge is signed up and ready to go. Photo via BA

The 7/15/19 deadline has passed, and the Nats have their official Draft class.

The last two top-10 round players signed (CWS participants Drew Mendoza and Matt Cronin) signed with little fan-fare and suddenly we had Mendoza showing up in Hagerstown.  We learned later he signed an over-slot deal for $800k, about $181k over slot and using up basically every last penny of our 2019 bonus pool and the 5% cushion.   (nearly every penny; see below for what the Nats did with the leftover dollars): Here’s a summary of the top-10 picks and the over-slot guys counting against the cap:

RoundOverallNamePositionCol/HSCollege or CmtmStateBonus AmtSlot ValueSavings off of Slot?
117Rutledge, JacksonRHP (Starter)Col J2San Jacinto College North (TXTX34500003609700159700
394Mendoza, Drew3BCol JrFlorida State UFL800000618200-181800
4123Cronin, MattLHP (Reliever)Col JrArkansasAR4645004645000
5153Dyson, TylerRHP (Starter)Col JrFloridaFL500000346800-153200
6183Cluff, JacksonSSCol SoBYUUT20000026600066000
7213Peterson, ToddRHP (Reliever)Col JrLSULA220000208200-11800
8243Ydens, JeremyOF (CF)Col JrUCLACA1695001695000
9273McMahon, HunterRHP (Starter)Col JrTexas StateTX1526001526000
10303Pratt, AndrewCCol SrLubbock ChristianTX10000144100134100
11333Arruda, J.T.SSCol JrFresno StateCA250000125000-125000
13393Randa, JakeOF (corner)Col J2NW Florida StateFL300000125000-175000
14423Knowles, LucasLHP (Starter)Col J3Central Arizona CollegeAZ136980125000-11980

The Nats gave over-slot deals to:

  • 3rd rounder Mendoza
  • 5th rounder Tyler Dyson
  • 7th rounder Todd Peterson
  • 11th rounder J.T. Arruda
  • 13th rounder Jake Randa.
  • 14th rounder Lucas Knowles, who gets the $11,980 exactly left over after the Nats signed Mendoza.  It seems like they signed Mendoza, calculated their remaining dollars with the 5% cushion, and gave Knowles that number and he took it.

I especially like the 11th and 13th round deals: Arruda got 6th round money and Randa got 5th round money, so that gives our draft class some extra talent.

Meanwhile, under-slot deals given to 1st rounder Jackson Rutledge, 6th rounder  Jackson Cluff, and 10th rounder Andrew Pratt enabled these moves.  I’m especially surprised that Rutledge signed for under slot, after having fallen on most draft boards.  This usually indicates that a player will demand over-slot money, not accept under-slot money.  The team made just one Senior Sign/blatant bonus money move, the 10th round catcher Pratt.

Bonus Pool Accounting for 2019:

  • Original Bonus amount for top 10 rounds: $5,979,600
  • Bonus amount plus 5% cushion: $6,278,580
  • Total Bonuses given counting against the cap: $6,216,600
  • Total savings/space left: 0$ exactly.  As noted above, the final $11,980 went to Knowles.
  • Total known Bonus money paid, all rounds: $7,536,600

the Nats paid a slew of $125k deals in the 11th-20th rounds to secure all these Juco guys.

Biggest surprise signings:

  • 23rd rounder HS pick Michael Cuevas, who took the $125k to forgoe a Juco commitment and come on board out of HS
  • 13th rounder Randa, who got bought out of a SEC Mississippi State transfer commitment.
  • 14th rounder Knowles, who seemed like he was bailing until offered slightly more than $125k and signed.
  • 32nd rounder Dylan Beasley, a college Junior who took $50k to turn pro.

Biggest surprise non-signings:

  • none really: our 26th rounder college Senior Dupree Hart has yet to sign as of 7/9/19, and his twitter says he’s a “financial Advisor” with Northwestern Mutual, so he may be declining a pro baseball career.

All told, 29 of their 39 picks got signed.

Assignments for the class:

  • 12 to GCL, including several college seniors who are going to be way too old for the level
  • 5 who spent a few days in GCL then went to Short-A
  • 9 Straight to Short-A
  • 3 straight to Low-A: Mendoza, Cronin and Cluff; havn’t seen a draft pick straight to such a high level since Stephen Strasburg, unless i’m not remembering someone in particular

 

 

 

 

Minor League Pitching Staffs: July check-in

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Braymer has earned his way to AAA. Photo via Auburn tigers

Braymer has earned his way to AAA. Photo via Auburn tigers

Now that our short-season domestic staffs have now had one full “turn” through the rotation, I thought i’d be a good time to do another rotation check-in.

We’ve done two previously, which we’ll leverage throughout here:

Note: I wrote much of this prior to the 7/2/19 games, so a few roster moves and observations may be missing.  Also, feel free to add in more detailed commentary for those who have studied the players more closely in a particular level; i did not do “just last month” splits on every single player so some players who have significantly improved upon slow starts (or the reverse) may be missed.


 

AAA/Fresno 2019

  • Rotation Now: Fedde, JRoss, McGowin, Hoover, Braymer
  • Rotation Mid-May: Voth, McGowin, Copeland, Espino, MSanchez.
  • Rotation to Start: McGowin, Copeland, Voth, Espino, Alvarez

Changes in the rotation since last post: Voth has earned his promotion, and then earned more starts over Fedde at the MLB level.  It looks like the “hey lets use Joe Ross as a reliever” experiment is finally over; he’s been returned to Fresno to officially get stretched out and return to the rotation.  Espino is on the DL, replaced by Hoover (who suddenly at 31 is a starter after years of pitching in relief?).  Sanchez got demoted and replaced by Braymer, who just arrived.  Lastly Copeland has been returned to the long-man/spot starter role.  The sole holdover from 6 weeks ago is McGowin … but what this doesn’t show is his own up-and-back movement.  Lots of shuffle in the Fresno rotation.

I’d like to highlight Ben Braymer though, because his being in AAA is pretty amazing.  He was an 18th round pick in 2016, signed for just $100k out of Auburn, and now sits in the AAA rotation at the edge of the majors.  I don’t think the Nats have seen such a low-round pick make it this far since perhaps Stephen Lombardozzi, a 19th rounder in 2008.

  • Bullpen Now: Self, Bacus, Blazek,  Kontos, Bourque, Baez with Alvarez, Copeland as long-men/spot starters
  • Bullpen mid-may:  Rainey, Hoover, Self, Bacus, Nuno, JMills*, Blazek with Alvarez as long-man/spot starter.
  • Bullpen to start: AAdams, Rainey, Hoover, Nuno, Self, Cordero and Bacus  with Dragmire as a spot-starter

Changes in the bullpen since last post: Rainey promoted … and immediately became Nats bullpen savior of the week.  Hoover now in the rotation.  Nunu cut loose after posting a 7.25 ERA in 22 innings.  Mills sent back down.  Bourque was promoted to the majors from AA, then optioned back to AAA.  Baez promoted from AA.  Kontos signed.  Copeland dumped to bullpen.  Rodney signed and quickly promoted.   Lastly Cordero, who was in DFA limbo last post, was claimed by Toronto and is gone.  Phew; that’s 10 different moves for the team, just 3 guys in the same place they were 6 weeks ago, and just two stable names from day one.

Who’s hot:  Dakota Bacus continues to be the most impressive reliever in AAA, maintaining a seasonal ERA of 2.36 and a whip of 1.19.   Ross’ numbers as a starter in Fresno are respectable; 3.68 ERA in 5 starts with just 4 walks.

Who’s not?  Kontos has not been good so far, but a lot of his ERA is one bad outing in Salt Lake.  Howell has gotten shelled in basically each of his last 6-7 outings and looks toast from the stat sheets.

Who’s next guy to get the call?   I think Bacus deserves the next call-up, perhaps over Bourque even though he’s not on the 40-man.  I’d like to see Ross get the next spot start, on regular rest.

Who’s next to get the Axe?   I think the team may be reaching the end of the line with over-30 MLFA guys like Kontos and Hoover, now that they’ve got a slew of new draft picks in.

How are we doing with these mini-predictions so far?

  • April: Adams and Voth to get the call, Dragmire to get the Axe.  Results?  Adams released (?), Voth now in Majors, Dragmire now demoted.
  • May: Voth, Rainey to get the call.  Hoover, Mills, Sanchez, Dragmire to get the Axe.  Results:  Voth, Rainey now in Majors.  Mills, Sanchez, Dragmire demoted.  Hoover still hanging in there.

AA/Harrisburg 2019

  • Rotation Now: Mapes, Fuentes, MSanchez, Tetreault, Crowe with ALee just called up
  • Rotation Mid-May: Crowe, Tetreault, Sharp, Mapes, Braymer
  • Rotation to Start: Crowe, Fedde, Sharp, Mapes, Braymer*

Changes since last post: Sharp to the D/L, replaced by Fuentes.  Braymer got bumped up, replaced by MSanchez coming back down.  Lastly Lee just got promoted and may be taking someone’s spot.

  • Bullpen now: Condra-Bogan, RPena, Guilbeau*,  JMills*, ABarrett, Bonnell with Dragmire spot starts.
  • Bullpen Mid-May: Bourque, Condra-Bogan, RPena, Guilbeau*, ABarrett with Baez, Ondrusek, Fuentes as swingmen/spot starters
  • Bullpen to start: Bourque,  Brinley, Condra-Bogan, JMills*, RPena,  Guilbeau*, ABarrett with  swingman/spot starts by Baez and MSanchez

Changes since last post: Bourque up, Baez up.  Fuentes moved from swingman to rotation.  Ondrusek bounced around, he’s currently on the AAA D/L.  Mills was up and is now back.  Bonnell was signed after being dropped by Tampa and has been pretty solid.   Venters was signed, appeared briefly and was called up for bullpen reinforcement duty.  Lastly Dragmire is dumped here after posting a double digit ERA in Fresno.

Who’s hot: Steven Fuentes has continued right where he left off in High-A, and holds a 1.80 ERA in 11 appearances/7 starts in AA.  He’s only 22.  I’m guessing we’re going to start seeing more of him on Nats top10 farm lists if he keeps this up.

Who’s not? Nobody is pitching egregiously bad honestly; Mapes and Tetreault are both posting worse than you’d like to see numbers but Tetreault is just 23 and is in AA for the first time.  Mapes is a bit more concerning; he’s now 27, in his 6th pro season, was a 30th round pick probably given a 4-figure bonus, and the team has almost nothing invested in him.

Who’s next guy to get the call?   Barrett?  I wonder what else he has to prove in AA at this point.   I’d say its a bit too early to promote Fuentes, and the rest of the rotation needs more time in AA.

Who’s next to get the Axe?  Mapes may be at the end of the line, given his draft pedigree.

How are we doing with these mini-predictions so far?

  • April: Crowe, Fedde to get the call.  Sharp, Gilbeau to get the Axe.  Results?  Fedde up, the rest still hanging in there
  • May: Crowe, Bourque to get the call.  Pena to get the Axe.  Results?  Bourque up, Crowe and Pena still hanging in AA.

 


High-A/Potomac 2019

  • Rotation Now: Johnston, Raquet*, Cate*, ?, MPena (the question mark is because Lee got promoted the day we were writing this)
  • Rotation Mid-May: Johnston, Borne*, Raquet*, ALee, MPena.
  • Rotation to Start: Johnston, Borne*, Tetreault, Raquet*, MPena, LReyes

Changes since last post: Borne to the D/L, Lee promoted.  To replace them we got Cate from Low-A and a question mark the be filled (if it were me) by Teel.   Otherwise a very steady rotation here: 3 of the 5 havn’t changed since opening day.

  • Bullpen now: Bartow, German, Istler, Fletcher* with Howard*, LReyes, Pantoja, Teel*, McKinney as swingmen.
  • Bullpen Mid-May: Bogucki,  McKinney,  Bartow, JRomero, LReyes, German with Howard*,  Teel* as swingmen
  • Bullpen to start: Acevedo, Bogucki, Fuentes,   McKinney,  Bartow with swingman/spot starts by Howard*,  ALee,

Changes from last time:  Istler returns from XST/witness protection.  Fletcher promoted from low-A, along with Pantoja (and Teel, and Cate: we’ve seen 5 promotions so far).  Bogucki released.

Who’s hot:  I like what I see out of Teel and Fletcher so far, both mid-season promotions.  Fletcher has a 24/5 K/BB ratio since being promoted a few weeks back, and Teel has now made it to his 4th pro level since being drafted last June.   Amazingly, Reyes seems to have found his calling, going 10 straight outings without giving up a run.

Who’s not? Raquet has the worst WHIP of the rotation, and Pena the worst ERA.  Yet both remain mainstays in the Potomac bullpen.  Raquet is putting up almost identical numbers to last year, but as a high-bonus 3rd rounder probably gets more rope than a similarly producing 15th rounder.  Pena is just 22 but may be working towards another year in Potomac.

Who’s next guy to get the call?  Istler really should be in AA; he’s given up zero runs in 10 High-A innings, which shouldn’t be a surprise since he spent most of last year in AA posting a 2.53 ERA.  Why exactly is he in Potomac?

Who’s next to get the Axe?  Unclear; McKinney’s season numbers are poor but he’s pitched a number of clean outings since his return from the D/L.  Cate’s first two starts havn’t been stellar.  I don’t have a great case for anyone to get demoted or cut.

How are we doing with these mini-predictions so far?

  • April: Tetreault and Fuentes up.  Reyes and Bourne to get the axe..  Results?  Both Tetreault and Fuentes since promoted.  Reyes dumped from the rotation finally, Borne on the D/L.
  • May: Nobody to get the call.  Bogucki and Reyes to get the Axe.  Results?  Bogucki indeed released, Reyes demoted to the pen but succeeding in new role.

Low-A/Hagerstown 2019

  • Rotation Now: Alastre, Schaller, Irvin, Adon, Stoeckinger*
  • Rotation Mid-May: Alastre, Adon, Cate*, Irvin, FPeguero.
  • Rotation to Start: Alastre/Day, Adon, Cate*/Tapani, Irvin/Teel*, FPeguero/AGuillen, Strom/Stoeckinger*

Changes since last post: Cate Promoted, Peguero to the D/L.  To replace them we’ve seen Schaller promoted up from XST/GCL and Stoeckinger pulled from the tandem starter ranks.  Like with Potomac, 3 of the 5 starters the same since opening day.

  • Bullpen now: Brasher, Tapani, Day, Howell, RWilliamson*, AGuillen as tandem starters/swingmen, TTurner, Vann* as conventional relievers.
  • Bullpen Mid-May: Stoeckinger*, AGuillen, RWilliamson*, Tapani, Fletcher*, Day as tandem starters, Brasher, TTurner in the pen as more conventional relievers.
  • Bullpen to start:  Day, Tapani, Teel, AGullen, Stoeckinger as tandem starters, German,  Fletcher* as conventional relievers.

changes since last post: Howell returns to the fold after missing all of 2018 with injury.  Fletcher promoted.  Vann (a 2018 draftee) promoted up from XST/GCL.

Who’s hot: Stoeckinger has earned his spot in the rotation (if, indeed he stays there).  2.54 ERA, 1.19 whip in 39 IP as a tandem starter this year.

Who’s not?  Alastre continues to struggle in the rotation; hes now ballooned to a 6.11 ERA and 1.71 whip on the year while repeating the level.   He’s only 21 though, so he’s got plenty of time.  Howell has struggled since his reinstatement, and he does not have a ton of time, being a lower round pick coming off injury.

Who’s next guy to get the call?  Turner has had a nifty time in the Low-A bullpen; 28 Ks in 17 innings.  I’d also say Peguero, who has the best stats of any starter, but he’s on teh D/L currently.

Who’s next to get the Axe?  Alastre.  Howell.

How are we doing with these mini-predictions so far?

  • April: Peguero and Fletcher up.  Alastre to get the Axe.  Results?  Peguero hurt, Fletcher up, Alastre still in the rotation.
  • May: Cate, Fletcher, Peguero up.  Brasher to get the demotion.  Results?  Peguero hurt, Fletcher and Cate up.  Brasher still holding on, having gone an entire month w/o giving up a run.

Short-A/Auburn 2019

  • rotation: NGomez, PGonzalez, CRomero, RGomez, Strom, Troop*
  • tandem starters: Chu*, Galindez*/AMartinez, AHernandez*, Segura
  • bullpen: JPeguero*, Willingham, Yankowsky,  Milacki, FPerez, ELee*, McMahan, McMahon, Moore, 

Its a little early to pass judgement on the starts out of Auburn, but we’ll do it anyway.   I will note though that with recent 2019 draftee assignments, there’s now TWENTY (20) arms on the squad.  So you have to wonder if we’re about to see some shedding.

Who’s hot:  Niomar Gomez has had 3 solid starts to begin the season, picking up where he left off last year.  Troop, in his 3rd pro season, has yet to give up a run while posting a 12/0 K/BB ratio in two starts and needs to be moved up.  Strom looks solid, after struggling in Low-A, and may be stuck between levels.

Who’s not?   18yr old Pedro Gonzalez has had 3 starts; in those 3 starts he’s pitched a grand total of 4 innings, given up 13 hits 5 walks and 18 total runs.  Those are Trevor Rosenthal numbers.  He had a 9.60 ERA in the GCL last  year; why exactly is he in Short-A going against college draftees 4 years his senior?

Who’s next guy to get the call?   Troop

Who’s next to get the Axe?  Gonzalez.

 


 

Rookie/GCL 2019

  • rotation: Denaburg, Alvarado/Seijas, Yean, Pozo, Rutledge, Peterson
  • tandem starters: Hiraldo, BPena*, Beasley
  • bullpen: Jameson, WSeverino, Amoroso, Dyson, Ferrer*, Cuevas, Ribalta

We’re basically one “turn” through the GCL rotation, and now we have 1st round pick Jackson Rutledge in Florida for (presumably) a short stay.  Surprise 2019 signees Michael Cuevas and  Orlando Ribalta are also here and may themselves be in the rotation (they were just assigned yesterday or today).

The Big News here is Mason Denaburg of course.  He’s finally on a team and pitching professionally.  Through two starts, he’s given up a couple runs in 7 innings, with a few too many walks.

Who’s hot:  too early

Who’s not?   too early.

Who’s next guy to get the call?  Rutledge really shouldn’t be here long.  Neither should Tyler Dyson, 5th round 2019 pick from Florida.  And neither should Todd Peterson, 7th round pick out of LSU.  Generally speaking, SEC starters are Short-A talents at worst, and should be fast tracked to Low-A

Who’s next to get the Axe? nobody.

 


 

XST names of interest

  • Why hasn’t Nick Wells been assigned to a level yet??  He was traded for weeks ago.
  • Robbie Dickey has not pitched since 2016,  yet still remains in XST.
  • 4th rounder Matt Cronin has yet to be assigned to a team; i’m really curious to see if he can move fast.

 

Nats at the Halfway point: amazingly, they’re at .500

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Can Zimmerman be effective upon his return? Photo team official

Can Zimmerman be effective upon his return? Photo team official

Two arbitrary (well, not really arbitrary) endpoints for the Nats season so far:

  • Nats from opening day to the end of the 4-game sweep in NY on 5/23/19: 19-31
  • Nats from that series  until Friday 6/28/19 (the halfway point exactly on the season: 22-9

I wrote the team off in this space at the end of May.  I’m honestly amazed the same team that went 19-31 suddenly was capable of going 22-9.  Did I speak too soon?  Maybe.  Fangraphs has drastically improved their playoff https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds oddsprojections for this team, from the 20% range back then to nearly 60% now.  Primarily this seems to be due to their simultaneously being bearish on the primary wild card competitors Philly, Colorado and Milwaukee.

Cynic’s view: they’ve gotten healthy thanks to lots of games against awful teams (Miami, Detroit) and mediocre-to-bad teams (Chicago WS, Cincinnati).  They also swept a divisional rival in a funk (Philly) and treaded water against  San Diego and Arizona.  Their toughest games in this entire stretch were 5 against Atlanta (going 3-2), so you have to acknowledge that.

They also get 6 straight games this week against the dregs of the league, and may very well go 5-1 or 6-0 in those games.   Which will really  make their first half suddenly look amazing.

The question is this: even if this team goes 6-0 and gets to the all star break at 48-41 … likely in the lead for or close to the WC lead … we need to remember to withhold judgement until the end of July.  Why?  Because this Nats season is hinging on the brutal 3-city post-all star trip they will be playing:

  • 3 in Philly
  • 2 in Baltimore
  • 4 in Atlanta.
  • 4 home to Colorado
  • 3 home to LA
  • 3 home to Atlanta

Those are some difficult series.   Yes Philly has been struggling but they’re still a division rival that just swept 4 games from the Mets.   Yes the Orioles are in last place, but they’re still an AL team that we’ve historically struggled to beat in interleague play year over year.  And then the big one: 4 straight in Atlanta.  That series takes us to basically the trade deadline.   After that the team returns home … for three of the toughest opponents they’ll face all year, and 10 games that they’ll be lucky to go .500 in.

Here’s my concern; I am skeptical the team can keep this pace up, for obvious reasons.  I’m also worried about them getting shellacked once they play good teams.  What happens if this team gets waxed in early August and is suddenly back below .500, after the trade deadline has passed?  An opportunity will be lost to flip our trade-able assets for prospects, with little chance of getting to the post season.

Of course … its worth saying that even if the team “only” gets a Wild Card … i like our odds throwing Max Scherzer in a winner-take-all game, even if it makes it that much harder to win the divisional series.

So what does the group think?  Are you back on the bandwagon now?  We’ve never seen this team go through so much turmoil in a season.

Written by Todd Boss

July 2nd, 2019 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Nats in General

Nats All-Star review: 2019 and years past

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1200px-2019-MLB-ASG.svg

 

Here’s my annual Nationals All Star selection post.

Nats All Star Game Trivia:

  • All-time leader in Nats all-star appearances: Harper with 6 appearances.  Scherzer has been named 7 times but some pre-dated his time here (he has 5 with the Nats now)
  • All-time leader in All-Star Game starts: Harper, who had 5 starts.
  • Total number of Starters in the history of the Franchise: Now is 10; Harper 5 times, Scherzer twice, and one each for Soriano, Murphy, Zimmerman.
  • Most all-star players named in a single year: 5 in both 2016 and 2017.
  • Least all-star game players named in a single year: 1 in multiple years during the “dark years” of 2006 through 2011.

(* == All-Star game starter)


2019

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Max Scherzer, Anthony Rendon
  • Possible Snubs: Juan Soto, Stephen Strasburg, Howie Kendrick, Trevor Rosenthal (just kidding)
  • Narrative: Rendon finally is named to an all-star team, having played in the shadows of other more well-known NL third basemen for  years.  Arbitrary Endpoints: Rendon is 7th in baseball among hitters in total fWAR since 2014.  7th.  In the entire league.  And this is his first ASG.  Meanwhile Scherzer is the obvious pick, though i’m not sure he gets the start this year.  Scherzer leads the NL in bWAR … but Hyun-Jin Ryu is having an amazing season and could get the nod (indeed, he has).  Soto’s numbers are solid, as good as his rookie campaign, but he started slow and the story-line surrounding the Nats this season has overshadowed his production.  Strasburg actually has more bWAR than Rendon … but his numbers are solid, not all-star good.  Kendrick would never have gotten a nod, but he should be a shoe-in for comeback player of the year for the season he’s having.  Others of note: Sean Doolittle was amazing for most of the first half but has tired and his numbers slipped.  Patrick Corbin‘s debut season has been solid, not flashy, and he has the same issues as Strasburg had.

Post publishing update: neither of our two representatives are actually going to Cleveland.  Rendon staying home to rehab a nagging quad injury, and Scherzer is traveling but will not pitch b/c he threw a start just ahead of the game.  Both players were replaced by non-Nats … which was a shame b/c a like-for-like with Strasburg for Scherzer seemed like the right thing to do.


 

2018

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Max Scherzer*, Sean Doolittle
  • Possible Snubs: Juan Soto, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon
  • Narrative: For the home-town All Star Game, Harper gets the starting nod from the fans despite his abhorrent season at the plate (his slash line on 7/8/18: .219/.371/.475).  However, by making the ASG, Harper now keeps his promise to participate in the Home Run Derby one last time before hitting free agency.   There’s no real “snubs” on this Nationals team; The #2 player on the team in terms of seasonal bWAR is Trea Turner but he’s not exactly having a head-turning season.  He was named to the “last 5 ballot” but was a huge long-shot to make it (update; he didn’t: the very deserving Jesus Aguilar did).  Anthony Rendon is having his typical under-rated season and got no love from the voters over the more famous Nolan Arenado (a common refrain when it comes to Gold Gloves/Silver Sluggers too).  None of our starters besides Scherzer are really deserving; Stephen Strasburg was having a decent but not spectacular season but missed a month and is on the D/L.  Nor is any of the bullpen past Doolittle.  Its an odd-season where a team-wide malaise is contributing to the team hovering at .500 at the All Star Break.  Only Juan Soto really is deserving … but he was never going to make the ASG (not when recent more spectacular rookies failed to make it) and thanks to his missing all of April and most of May he wasn’t on any ballots and may struggle to win the RoY over guys who have played longer this season.  Scherzer is named to the team on 7/8/18 was named the  NL starter for the 2nd year running on 7/16/18.

2017

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Daniel Murphy*, Ryan Zimmerman*, Max Scherzer*, Stephen Strasburg
  • Snubs: Anthony Rendon, Gio Gonzalez
  • Narrative: For the second  year in a row, the Nats are well and properly represented in the All Star Game.  We have three starters named in the field, including Zimmerman who beats out a slew of 1B sluggers in the NL to not only make the team but get his first start.  Its also likely i’ll be editing this post and adding in Scherzer as an additional starter; he is the obvious choice to start the game for the NL given his first half production (7/10/17 update: yes indeed we did).  Rendon is having a very quiet solid season and is in the “last 5” popular vote, but he seems unlikely to win given that last year’s MVP Kris Bryant is also in the voting (Update: neither guy got in).  Gonzalez misses out despite having a better first half than Strasburg by nearly any statistic; he’s having a career year but seems unlikely to get rewarded with his 3rd ASG appearance.  There’s no other real snub from our 2017 team; certainly there’s nobody in the bullpen meriting a spot, and Trea Turner‘s torrid 2016 2nd half did not translate into the 2017 season (not to mention, he’s had two separate D/L trips).  Once again i’m slightly perturbed that Harper continues to refuse to participate in the HR derby; why the reticence?  Its a fun event that is quickly becoming better than the actual game itself and practically every other slugger is participating.  Is he afraid to lose?  On a larger scale, i’m really happy to see (finally) that deserving rookies are named: Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger are both named and are both on the inside track for ROY awards; too many times in the past we see deserving rookies unnamed.  On July 10th, the fourth Nat starter was named: Scherzer got the starting pitcher nod, a first for the Nats.  August Update: Rendon’s omission is looking even more ridiculous; he’s top 5 in the league in bWAR.

2016

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Stephen Strasburg, Daniel Murphy, Wilson Ramos, Max Scherzer (named as replacement for Strasburg on 7/8/16),
  • Possible Snubs: Danny EspinosaTanner Roark
  • Narrative: The four obvious candidates from the Nats this year were all initially correctly selected, though voting shenanigans out of Chicago elected Ben Zobrist over Daniel Murphy by a scant 500 votes.   I thought perhaps Strasburg would have a chance to start the game, given his 12-0 record, but it seems the team pre-empted any such thought when Scherzer’s naming occurred.  For the first time writing this post, I can’t really name any “snubs” and the team has (finally?) earned the proper respect it deserves in terms of naming its players properly.  Espinosa had a week for the ages just prior to the end of voting but really stood little chance of selection in the grand scheme of things.  He’s not really a “snub” but is worthy of mention based on his resurgent year.  At the break, Espinosa ranked 3rd in NL fWAR but 7th or 8th in bWAR thanks to differing defensive value metrics, so maybe/maybe not on him being a “snub.”  As pointed out in the comments, even I missed the sneaky good season Roark is having; he’s 12th in the NL in bWAR at the break and 9th in fWAR but was left off in favor of any number of starters that stand below him in value rankings.  Unfortunately for fans (and for Harper’s “Make Baseball Fun again” campaign, he opted to skip the Home Run Derby again.  I guess its kind of like the NBA superstars skipping the dunk contest; the Union should really do a better job of helping out in this regard.  The new format is fantastic and makes the event watchable again; is it ego keeping him from getting beat by someone like Giancarlo Stanton?

2015

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Max Scherzer
  • Possible Snubs: Yunel Escobar, Drew Storen
  • Narrative: Harper not only made it in as a starter for the 2nd time, he led the NL in votes, setting a MLB record for total votes received.  This is no surprise; Harper’s easily in the MVP lead for the NL thanks to his amazing first half (his split at the half-way point of the season: .347/.474/.722 with 25 homers and an astounding 225 OPS+).  I guess he won’t be earning the “Most overrated player” award next year.  That Harper is electing to skip the Home run derby in a disappointment; his father is nursing an arm injury can cannot throw to him in the event.  In a weird year for the Nats, the only other regular worth mentioning is newly acquired Escobar, who is hitting above .300 and filling in ably at multiple positions that, prior to this year, he had never played.  Storen is having another excellent regular season … but at a time when mandatory members from each team often leads to other closers being selected (there are 5 NL closers and 7 AL relievers), the odds of him making the All-Star team were always going to be slim.  Scherzer deservedly makes the team and probably would have been the NL starter; he’s got sub 2.00 ERA and FIP and leads all NL pitchers in WAR at the mid-way point of the season.  But his turn came up in the final game of the first half, making him ineligible for the game and forcing his replacement on the roster.

As a side note, the 2015 All-Star game will go down as the “Ballot-Gate” game thanks to MLB’s short-sighted plan to allow 30+ online ballots per email address.  This led to severe “ballot stuffing” by the Kansas City Royals fans, led to MLB  having to eliminate 60 million+ fraudulent ballots, but still led to several Royals being elected starters over more deserving candidates.


2014

  • Nationals All-Star representative: Jordan Zimmermann (Update post-publishing: Zimmermann strained a bicep, and had to withdraw from the ASG.  For a bit it looked like the Nats wouldn’t even have a representative, until Tyler Clippard was named on 7/13/14).
  • Possible Snubs: Adam LaRoche, Anthony Rendon, Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen
  • Narrative: Zimmermann’s been the best SP on the best pitching staff in the majors this year, and thus earns his spot.  I find it somewhat odd that a first place team (or near to it) gets just one representative on the team (as discussed above).  Rendon tried to make the team via the “last man in” voting, but historically Nationals have not fared well in this competition (especially when better known players from large markets are in the competition, aka Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs), and indeed Rendon finished 4th in the last-man voting.  LaRoche is having a very good season, almost single handedly carrying the Nats offense while major parts were out injured, but he’s never going to beat out the slew of great NL first basemen (Joey Votto couldn’t even get into this game).  Soriano has quietly put together one of the best seasons of any closer in the game; at the time of this writing he has a 1.03 ERA and a .829 whip; those are Dennis Eckersley numbers.  But, the farce that is the all-star game selection criteria (having to select one player from each team) means that teams need a representative, and deserving guys like Soriano get squeezed.  Then, Soriano indignantly said he wouldn’t even go if named as a replacement … likely leading to Clippard’s replacement selection.  The same goes for non-closer Storen, who sports a sub 2.00 ERA on the year.  Advanced stats columnists (Keith Law) also think that Stephen Strasburg is a snub but I’m not entirely sure: he may lead the NL in K’s right now and have far better advanced numbers than “traditional,” but its hard to make an argument that a guy with a 7-6 record and a 3.50+ ERA is all-star worthy.

2013

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Jordan Zimmermann
  • Snubs: Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond
  • Narrative: Harper comes in 3rd in the NL outfielder voting, ahead of some big-time names, to become only the second Nationals position player elected as an All-Star starter.  He was 4th in the final pre-selection vote, so a big last minute push got him the starter spot.   Harper also becomes the first National to participate in the Home Run Derby.   Zimmermann was 12-3 heading into the game and was on mid-season Cy Young short lists in July in a breakout season.  Strasburg’s advanced stats are all better than Zimmermann’s, but his W/L record (4-6 as the ASG) means he’s not an all-star.  It also probably doesn’t help that he missed a few weeks.  Desmond loses out to Troy TulowitzkiEverth Cabrera and Jean Segura.  Tulowitzki was having a very solid year and was a deserving elected starter, while Cabrera and Segura are both having breakout seasons.  Desmond was on the “Final vote” roster, but my vote (and most others’ I’m guessing) would be for Yasiel Puig there ([Editor Update: Desmond and Puig lost out to Freddie Freeman: I still wished that Puig finds a way onto the roster but ultimately he did not and I believe the ASG was diminished because of it).   Gio GonzalezRyan Zimmerman, and Rafael Soriano are all having solid but unspectacular years and miss out behind those having great seasons.

2012

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Stephen StrasburgGio GonzalezIan Desmond, Bryce Harper
  • Possible Snubs: Adam LaRocheCraig Stammen
  • Narrative: The two SPs Strasburg and Gonzalez were the obvious candidates, and my personal prediction was that they’d be the only two candidates selected.  Gonzalez’ first half was a prelude to his 21-win, 3rd place Cy Young season.  The inclusion of Desmond is a surprise, but also a testament to how far he’s come as a player in 2012.  Harper was a last-minute injury replacement, but had earned his spot by virtue of his fast start as one of the youngest players in the league.  Of the “snubs,” LaRoche has had a fantastic come back season in 2012 but fared little shot against better, more well-known NL first basemen.  Stammen was our best bullpen arm, but like LaRoche fared little chance of getting selected during a year when the Nats had two deserving pitchers selected.

2011

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Tyler Clippard
  • Possible Snubs: Danny EspinosaMichael MorseDrew StorenJordan Zimmermann
  • Narrative: While Clippard was (arguably) the Nats best and most important reliever, I think Zimmermann was a more rightful choice.  He was 10th in the league in ERA at the time of the selections and has put in a series of dominant performances.  Meanwhile Espinosa was on pace for a 28-homer season and almost a certain Rookie-of-the-Year award (though a precipitous fall-off in the 2nd half cost him any realistic shot at the ROY), and perhaps both players are just too young to be known around the league.  Lastly Morse is certainly known and he merited a spot in the “last man in” vote sponsored by MLB (though he fared little chance against popular players in this last-man-in voting).

2010

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Matt Capps
  • Possible Snubs: Adam DunnJosh WillinghamRyan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg
  • Narrative: Capps was clearly deserving, having a breakout season as a closer after his off-season non-tender from the Pirates.  The 3-4-5 hitters Zimmerman-Dunn-Willingham all had dominant offensive seasons as the team improved markedly from its 103-loss season.  But perhaps the surprise non-inclusion was Strasburg, who despite only having a few starts as of the all-star break was already the talk of baseball.  I think MLB missed a great PR opportunity to name him to the team to give him the exposure that the rest of the national media expected.  But in the end, Capps was a deserving candidate and I can’t argue that our hitters did anything special enough to merit inclusion.

2009

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Ryan Zimmerman
  • Possible Snubs: Adam Dunn
  • Narrative: The addition of Dunn and Willingham to the lineup gave Zimmerman the protection he never had, and he produced with his career-best season.  His first and deserved all-star appearance en-route to a 33 homer season.  Dunn continued his monster homer totals with little all-star recognition.

2008

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Cristian Guzman
  • Possible Snubs: Jon Rauch
  • Narrative: The first of two “hitting rock-bottom” seasons for the team; no one really merited selection.  Zimmerman was coming off of hamate-bone surgery in November 2007 and the team was more or less awful across the board.  Rauch performed ably after Cordero went down with season-ending (and basically career-ending) shoulder surgery.   Guzman’s selection a great example of why one-per-team rules don’t make any sense.  Guzman ended up playing far longer than he deserved in the game itself by virtue of the 15-inning affair.

2007

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Dmitri Young
  • Possible Snubs: Ryan Zimmerman, Shawn Hill (though I wouldn’t argue for either)
  • Narrative: Young gets a deserved all-star appearance en route to comeback player of the year.  Zimmerman played a full season but didn’t dominate.  Our 2007 staff gave starts to 13 different players, most of whom were out of the league within the next year or two.  Not a good team.

2006

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Alfonso Soriano*
  • Possible Snubs: Nick JohnsonRyan Zimmerman, Chad Cordero
  • Narrative: Soriano made the team as an elected starter, the first time the Nats have had such an honor.  Our pitching staff took massive steps backwards and no starter came even close to meriting a spot.  Cordero was good but not lights out as he had been in 2005.  Soriano’s 40-40 season is a poster child for “contract year” production and he has failed to come close to such production since.  The team was poor and getting worse.  Johnson had a career year but got overshadowed by bigger, better first basemen in the league (a recurring theme for our first basemen over the years).

2005

  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Livan HernandezChad Cordero
  • Possible Snubs: Nick JohnsonJohn Patterson.
  • Narrative: The Nats went into the All Star break surprisingly in first place, having run to a 50-31 record by the halfway point.  Should a first place team have gotten more than just two representatives?  Perhaps.  But the team was filled with non-stars and played far over its head to go 50-31 (as evidenced by the reverse 31-50 record the rest of the way).

CWS Finals: Vanderbilt wins!

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:


Here’s how the finals played out.

  • Game 1 6/24/19: Michigan stud starter Tommy Murray held Vanderbilt to 3 runs on 6 innings while the Michigan offense continued to chug along, beating Vandy’s ace Drake Fellows 7-4 to take game 1.
  • Game 2 6/25/19: Vanderbilt’s super freshman Kumar Rocker saved their day again, giving up 1 run on 3 hits with 11 punchouts in 6 1/3 innings against the best offensive team in the post season to force game 3.
  • Game 3 6/26/19: Vanderbilt got to Michigan’s ace Karl Kaufmann and held on for the 8-2 win and the come-back title.

Your 2019 College World Series Champion: Vanderbilt

Commentary: The final played out like I thought it would, with Michigan stealing a win behind their lefty stud, but then Vandy coming back to win.  Its still a pretty amazing accomplishment for Michigan to have gotten this far, but in the end the better, stronger team won.


This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2018.  I’ll post one more post that covers draftees and signing status for all local-connected players (prep and college).  I don’t really cover the summer collegiate wood bat leagues: for that I’d suggest NovaBaseball.com, which is really coming into its own in terms of local coverage for all players with local ties.

 

College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 27th, 2019 at 10:01 am

2019 CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:


Lets review the CWS group play.  The CWS plays just one or two games a day; a far cry from the first weekend, where 64 teams played hundreds of games over the course of a long weekend.  So this post has been written in one or two sentence increments for a week and a half…

Predictions for the Group stages: Vanderbilt and Texas Tech.


In the Top Bracket (Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, Florida State)

  • In the opening games, we got two upsets right out of the box.  Michigan beat TTU 5-3 behind a solid outing from 2nd rounder Karl Kaufmann, while Florida State topped Arkansas in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel.  Nats picks Drew Mendoza went 0-4 for FSU, while Arkansas closer Matt Cronin pitched a scoreless 9th inning.
  • In the first elimination game, Texas Tech beat Arkanasas 5-4 to eliminate the #5 seed.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, 2nd round pick Tommy Henry pitched the game of his life, throwing a 100-pitch 3-hit shutout to blank FSU 2-0 and put Michigan in the driver’s seat.  FSU’s Mendoza went 0-4 with two punchouts against the tough lefty, and badly threw away an easy grounder in the field.    This sets up Michigan and their 2-Ace staff nicely; they don’t play again until Friday, giving their #1 starter Kaufmann 5 full days of rest for that regional final.  And if they have to go to the next game … Murray would have four full days of rest.  Michigan is going to be hard to beat.
  • In the play-in game, Texas Tech eliminated Florida State and sent their legendary manager Mike Martin into retirement without having ever won the CWS, despite dozens of appearances.  The final collegiate game for Mendoza did include a hit (on a questionable scoring call), and his 1B bailed him out of another easy throwing error early.  But FSU is done and Mendoza should be cleared to start negotiating.
  • In the group final, Michigan scored early and often to blitz Texas Tech and advance loss-less to the final.  just an amazing story.

Final Group standings: Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, Florida State, #5 Arkansas


In the Bottom Bracket (Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt)

  • In the opening games, Vanderbilt held serve and topped Louisville 3-1, while Mississippi State scored 4 in the 9th to beat Auburn 5-4.
  • In the first elimination game, Louisville took out Auburn across two rain-delayed days to eliminate Auburn.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, Vanderbilt got another stellar start from freshman sensation Kumar Rocker, this time throwing “only” 95 pitches and giving up 1 run in 6 complete, to down #6 Mississippi State and take control of the group.
  • In the play-in game, another walk-off win as Louisville spoils a gem of a start from Mississippi State’s J.T. Ginn by scoring 2 in the 7th and 2 in the 9th to win 4-3 and eliminate Mississippi State.
  • In the group final, Karm police took hold of Louisville starter Luke Smith, who pitched 8 stellar innings … and profanely let the Vandy dugout know it, only to lose in the 9th as Vanderbilt walked off for the win.

Final Group standings: #2 Vanderbilt, #7 Louisville,  #6 Mississippi State, Auburn


CWS finals discussion: Games 1,2,3 set for Mon-Wed 6/24/19 to 6/26/19.

Pitching Match-ups:

  • Game 1: Monday 6/24/19: Vanderbilt’s #1 Drake Fellows (7 days rest) vs Michigan’s #2 Tommy Henry (6 days rest)
  • Game 2: Tuesday 6/25/19: Vanderbilty #2 Kumar Rocker (5 days rest) vs Michigan’s #3 Jeff Criswell (3 days rest from a relief appearance)
  • Game 3: Wednesday 6/26/19: Vanderbilt’s #3 Mason Hickman (4 days rest) vs Michigan’s #1 Karl Kaufmann (4 days rest)

Thoughts: Michigan is the cinderella … but Cinderella had to burn a second CWS start from their ace Kaufmann to get there.  Meanwhile, Vanderbilt advanced to the title without interrupting its rotation whatsoever and has its staff lined up exactly as they want.  Michigan gets the ball to their stud lefty Henry, who shut down FSU and should be pretty effective against Vanderbilt’s lefty-heavy middle of the order.  I’m predicting that Michigan sneaks a win from Henry, but then (as in the super regional) Vanderbilt will explode against the rest of the Michigan staff and runs away with it in three.

Prediction: Vanderbilt in 3


College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 24th, 2019 at 10:17 am

Prep Baseball Coverage 2019; DC, MD, VA Regional and State Champs

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Welcome to my DC Area Prep Baseball Tourney coverage for 2019.   We kind of got pressed for time this year, so we’re summarizing at the finish of all the area regional and state championships this year all in one post instead of spreading it among 3-4 different posts like we’ve done in the past.

This post summarizes the State championships for DC, MD and VA, highlighting the regional champs, and reports on the winners of the various big-time private school conferences.

 


Virginia

All state brackets available from this link at VHSL, and the regional brackets are here.  In 2019, The state semis/finals got pushed a week across the board due to weather.  This gave pitching-weak teams a distinct advantage versus having to win a 3-games-in-5 days format.  All finals were on Friday 6/14/19.


Class 6 State Finals:  thanks to NovaBaseballmagazine.com’s coverage of Class 6 Regionals.  State Class 6 Bracket.  Records entering the state tourney.

  • Region 6A: #1 Ocean Lakes (17-6), #2 Cox (18-5).  Ocean Lakes wins the region as 5th seed, #1 seed Grandby upset first round.
  • Region 6B: #1 James River (19-3), #2 Colonial Forge (16-8).  Top seeds Cosby and Thomas Dale both upset first round.
  • Region 6C: #1 Lake Braddock (23-3), #2 West Springfield (14-11).   Region final a rematch of the district final; a very weak Region this year (only 7 teams even with winning records).
  • Region 6D: #1 Westfield (22-3), #2 Centreville (18-8); Region final a rematch of the district final.

Class 6 State Quarters results:  All four regional champs advanced in close games on 6/4/19. Westfield ended West Springfield’s attempts to repeat as State Champs 5-4 in walk-off fashion.  Ocean Lakes took out Colonial Forge 2-0.  Lake Braddock held off Centreville 5-4, scoring 5 in the first and making them stick, and James River beat Cox 4-3.

Class 6 State Semis: Both Northern Virginia teams advanced to the final; Lake Braddock taking out James River 9-6, and Westfield taking out Ocean Lakes 9-7.

Class 6 State Final: Lake Braddock wins its first State title since 2012 6-2 over Westfield behind a huge day from All Met POTY Lyle Miller-Green‘s massive day at the plate.


Class 5 State Finals:  thanks to NovaBaseballmagazine.com’s coverage of Class 5 RegionalsClass 5 State Bracket.  Records entering the state tourney.

  • Region 5A: #1 Hickory (22-1), #2 Menchville (19-4).  #2 seed one-loss Hampton upset early, but dominant Hickory holds serve as one of the best teams in the state.
  • Region 5B: #1 Mills Godwin (19-3), #2 Prince George (19-3):  Regional final cancelled; #1 Mills Godwin given title.
  • Region 5C: #1 Stone Bridge (16-9), #2 Broad Run (16-9): Stone Bridge upset both its higher-seeded district rivals to win Region.
  • Region 5D: #1 Stafford (21-3), #2 Halifax (22-3).   Huge upset of #1 seed Potomac clears path for Stafford to take regional title.

Class 5 State Quarters results: One upset in the State Quarters.  Halifax destroyed Stone Bridge 11-0 to advance.  The other regional champs all went through: Stafford blanked Broad Run 5-0.  Hickory squeaked by Prince George 3-1 to end their chances to repeat as State champs.  And Mills Godwin blanked Menchville 5-0.

Class 5 State Semis Results: Stafford walked-off Hickory in a crazy 11-10 game, while Mills Godwin walked-off Halifax in the other 5-4 to advance to the state title game.

Class 5 State Final: Stafford held on to beat Mills Godwin 4-3.


Class 4 State Finals: thanks to NovaBaseballmagazine.com’s coverage of Class 4 Regionals.  Class 4 State Bracket.  Records entering the state tourney.

  • Region 4A: #1 Lafayette (16-7), #2 Great Bridge (18-6); Lafayette beat top seed and defending regional champ Grafton en route to the upset title.
  • Region 4B: #1 Hanover (19-2), #2 Midlothian (15-7); Hanover cruised to title as #1 seed, looking to get back to the state final for the 3rd time in 4 years.  Midlothian makes the state tourney for the 1st time since 2005.
  • Region 4C: #1 Riverside (16-7), #2 Kettle Run (15-9): There’s only 4 teams in Region 4C: Riverside Beat the 19-3 Sherando en route to the title.
  • Region 4D: #1 Liberty Christian Academy (24-1), #2 Salem (18-5); LCA does not slip up this year, cruising to title as #1 seed.

Class 4 State Quarters results:  Just one upset in the quarters, with Great Bridge downing Hanover 7-4 in a rematch of the 2014 AAA state championship.  Liberty Christian destroyed Kettle Run 11-0.    Lafayette blanked Midlothian 8-0.  Riverside beat Salem easily 9-3.

Class 4 State Semis Results: Lafayette continued its upsetting ways, taking out one of the top teams in the state in Liberty Christian 8-2, while Riverside blanked Great Bridge 3-0 to advance to the state title game for the 2nd time in 3 years.

Class 4 State Final: Riverside literally “threw away” the game, losing on a 2-run error to Lafayette, completing an improable run for the Williamsburg-based school.


Class 3 State Finals: thanks to NovaBaseballmagazine.com’s coverage of Class 3 Regionals.  Class 3 State Bracket.  Records entering the state tourney.

  • Region 3A: #1 Tabb (19-3), #2 Park View-South Hill (22-2): #1/#2 seeds of the regi0n advance.
  • Region 3B: #1 Brentsville District (20-3), #2 Warren County (16-6): Region goes chalk, #1 over #2 in final.
  • Region 3C: #1 Fluvanna County (20-3), #2 Brookville (18-8): #1 seed Fluvanna County holds serve.
  • Region 3D: #1 Lord Botetourt (15-8), #2 Abingdon (22-3); Lord Botetourt wins region as #6 seed over top-seeded Abingdon.

Class 3 State Quarters results:  Just one upset in the quarters, with Brookville beating Lord Botetourt 6-2.  Tabb beat Warren County 7-5, Fluvanna eased past Abington 1-0, and Brentsville squeaked past Park View 5-4.

Class 3 State Semis Results: Tabb over Brookeville 4-3, Fluvanna over Prince William County’s Brentsville 5-4.

Class 3 State Final: Fluvanna County out-slugged Tabb 16-10 for the title.


Smaller ClassificationsClass 2 State Bracket and Class 1 State Bracket

  • Class 2 State Quarter finalists: King William, Stuarts Draft, Chatham, Lebanon as region winners, Nandua, Page County (defending state champ), Appomattox County and John Battle as regional runners-up.
  • Class 2 State Semi finalists: Lebanon over Page County, Chatham over Stuarts Draft.
  • Class 2 State Final: Chatham beats Lebanon 23-5.
  • Class 1 State Quarter finalists: Lancaster, Riverheads (defending state champ), Auburn (2017 state champ), Patrick Henry-Glade spring region winners, Colonial Beach, William Campbell (2015 state champ), Galax, Chilhowie as regional runners-up.
  • Class 1 State Semi finalists:  Lancaster over Patrick Henry , Auburn over Riverheads (all four regional champs won in the quarters)
  • Class 1 State Final: Auburn defeats Lancaster 9-0 for the title.

Recent Virginia HS champs:  Virginia has Class 1-A through Class 6-A  Before 2014, we just AAA, AA and A.

2018: See this post for the 2018 state tourney wrap-up

  • In 6-A, West Springfield blew open the game late to defeat Western Branch 12-2 to take their first title since 2010.  Thomas Dale, Lake Braddock semis.
  • In 5-A, Prince George beats Potomac 8-0.  Freedom-South Riding, Deep Run semis.
  • In 4-A, Salem walked-off against Jamestown to win their first state title 2-1.  Grafton, Fauquier semis.
  • In the smaller classifications, Spotsylvania won 3-A, Page County won 2-A and Riverheads won 1-A.

2017: See this post for 2017’s state tournament wrap-up for all 6 divisions

  • In 6-A, Western Branch d Cox 6-4.  Oakton, Patriot semis.
  • In 5-A, Briar Woods d Halifax 5-4 in 14 innings.  Menchville and Prince George semi-finalists.
  • In 4-A, Liberty Christian Academy d Hanover 8-5.  Harrisonburg, Great Bridge semi-finalists.
  • In the smaller classifications, Turner Ashby won 3-A, Dan River won 2-A and Auburn won 1-A.

2016: See this post for 2016’s state tournament wrap-up for all 6 divisions

  • In 6-A, Chantilly d Battlefield 3-2.  Hylton & Cosby state semis.
  • In 5-A, Nansemond River defeated Mountain View 5-3.  Potomac, Mills Godwin semi finalists.
  • In 4-A, Hanover d Liberty Christian Academy 13-12.  Jamestown, Kettle Run semi finalists.
  • In the smaller classifications, Rustberg repeated 3-A, Maggie Walker won in 2-A and Rappahannock won 1-A.

2015: See this post for 2015’s state tournament wrapup for all 6 divisions:

  • In 6-A, Madison d Chantilly 6-5.  First Colonial & defending champ Western Branch were state semifinalists.
  • In 5-A, Stone Bridge d Marshall 9-4.  2014 finalists Hickory & Freeman were state semifinalists.
  • In 4-A, Glen Allen d Jefferson Forrest 9-3.  Fauquier & Hanover were state semifinalists.
  • In the smaller classifications, Lafayette won 3-A, Virginia High repeated in 2-A and William Campbell won 1-A.

2014: see this post for 2014’s state tournament wrap up for all 6 divisions.

  • In 6-A, Western Branch d Chantilly 6-4.  McLean and Cosby were state semifinalists.
  • In 5-A, Hickory d Freeman 6-4.  Stone Bridge and the surprising Freedom-South Riding semi finalists.
  • In 4-A, Hanover d Millbrook 7-1.
  • In the smaller classifications, Loudoun Valley won 3-A, Virginia High won 2-A and Northumberland won 1-A.

2013: AAA: Hanover d Great Bridge. Hanover’s super-junior Derek Casey (committed to UVA) outlasts Great Bridge and their 1st round talent Connor Jones (now attending UVA after spurning a likely late 1st round draft position).  Lake Braddock and Oakton beaten in the semis.

2012: AAA: Lake Braddock d Kellam 4-0. Lake Braddock lost to West Springfield in the regional title game but then blitzed to a state championship.

2011: AAA: Great Bridge d South County in the state final, giving the powerful South County its first and only loss on the season after starting the season 28-0.  Lake Braddock was the regional finalist and lost to Great Bridge in the state quarters.

2010: AAA: West Springfield d Woodbridge in the final, giving Woodbridge its only loss on the year. WT Woodson regional finalist.

Complete history of Virginia HS Champions: from VHSL’s website.  Covers all sports and has results for a century.  Lots of fun to dig through.  Note: if this link fails, its because VHSL has moved it yet again; I have an updated copy of the history books in PDF format if you’re interested.

 


Maryland

Full Brackets here at the MPSAA website and direct links to the four State-wide brackets are linked directly below.  Here’s your 2019 champs.

  • Maryland 4-A: Regional champs Eleanor Roosevelt (undefeated entering playoffs), Sherwood, Old Mill and Walt Whitman are regional champs.  Sherwood and Old Mill in the final, and Old Mill wins the state title in 9 innings, giving Sherwood only its 2nd loss of the year.
  • Maryland 3-A: Regional champs Northern, Milton Wright, J.M. Bennett, and defending state champ Thomas Johnson are regional champs.    J.M. Bennett beats C. Milton Wright in the final.
  • Maryland 2-A: Regional champs La Plata, Hereford (both defending regional champs), Fallston, Middletown.  LaPlata beats Middletown in its 3rd state final in four years.
  • Maryland 1-A: Regional champs McDonough, Randallstown, Col. Richardson and Boonsboro (McDonough and Boonsboro repeat as regional champs).  In the final, Col. Richardson beats McDonough in 9 innings.

A quick list of past Maryland State champions by division:

 


DC

Past DC Winners:

  • 2018: DCIAA = Wilson.  DCSAA = Wilson.
  • 2017: DCIAA = Wilson.  DCSAA = Gonzaga
  • 2016: DCIAA = Wilson.  DCSAA = St. Albans
  • 2015: DCIAA = Wilson.  DCSAA = Gonzaga
  • 2014: DCIAA = Wilson.  DCSAA = St. Johns
  • 2013 and prior: Wilson hasn’t lost in the DCIAA in 20 years … finding DCSAA tourney winners on google is tough.

Private Leagues: WCAC/MAC/IAC and VISAA/Maryland Private

State-level Private School tourneys 2019 results.

  • MIAA: All 2019 regular season standings here, and all playoff brackets here.
    • Division A: Calvert Hall regular season champ.   Calvert Hall over Gilman for the Division A playoff title.
    • Division B: Glenelg Country regular season champ.  Gerstell over Boy’s Latin for the Division B  playoff title, coming back from the loser’s bracket to win it.
    • Division C: Concordia Prep regular season champ.   Concordia Prep over Indian Creek in 12 innings for the Division C playoff title.
    • This link at MIAA has the 2019 playoff brackets AND a historical list of all MIAA champs by division dating to 1995.  I’ve got a screen shot just in case it disappears in the future.
  • VISAA:
    • Division I:  Local teams participating included #9 Paul VI, #4 O’Connell, #6 Episcopal, and #7 Flint Hill.  None advanced, as the VISAA Division I tournament was dominated by Richmond teams.  In the end, nationally ranked and #1 seed Benedictine won the Division I title over  #2. St. Christophers.
    • Division II: #1 seed The Miller School runs away with the title.
    • Division III:  #1 seed Walsingham Academy wins the state title.
  • Maryland Private School Tournament; (unsure this event happens any more)

DC-area Private School Leagues results for 2019:

A side-note: DC private school baseball power house Riverdale Baptist did not field a Varsity team in 2019 after its coach took a college job, it lost a ton of senior talent and the rest of the remaining seniors all transferred to play for more competitive teams.  For a team that was nationally ranked in 2018, its kind of jarring not to be talking about them in a DC-area prep story.  Lets hope the new coach can get the program back on track.

 


Local and National High School Baseball Ranking Lists: highlighting where local teams ended up.

  • Washington Post All Met Sports Area top-10 ranking (5/20/19): St. Johns the clear #1 team in the area, winning WCAC, DCSAA titles.
  • NovaBaseballMagazine.com Rankings: (5/28/19): NoVa Class 6 regional champs Westfields and Lake Braddock 1-2 in the rankings.
  • VISAA maintains Private school polls/rankings (5/6/19): The two Division 1 finalists are 1-2 in the Division 1 poll.  The two teams who won Division II and III also #1 in their respective polls.
  • PrepBaseballReport maintains a VA State-Wide Power25 Rankings (5/20/19): St. Johns, LCA and Benedictine are top 3 teams.
  • Baltimore Sun Top-10 Poll Archives: (April 2019): looks like they weren’t very well kept up, but MIAA Division 1 power Calvert Hall listed as #1 Baltimore area team.
  • The Virginian Pilot Top-10 for Hampton Roads area: (3/18/19): Hickory named as top team in area.
  • Richmond times-Dispatch”804 Varsity” used to have rankings.
  • Baseball America’s National High School Rankings: (5/21/19): Benedictine #17 in the nation.
  • USA Today High School Experts top 25: (5/26/19) Benedictine #9 in the nation, St. Johns #13.
  • MaxPreps “Excellent 50” ranking: Benedictine #24.

These National rankings are dominated by teams in Texas, Florida and California, as you might expect.  These teams can play nearly 40 games and usually have at least 15-20 under their belts before DC/MD/VA teams even get going.  So its somewhat of an accomplishment just to have a local team get some recognition.  In fact, any cold-weather state team appearing in these lists is pretty special.


Major Newspaper Links/Resources for following prep baseball around the state

  • Washington Post’s AllMetSports section with standings and schedule results.
  • The Baltimore Sun’s high school page has information on some of the programs outside the DC area mentioned in the Maryland section
  • InsideNova.com‘s coverage of high school sports, but has put limits on the number of stories you can read.
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch has a HS scoreboard.
  • Hampton Roads Pilot (Hampton Roads) has scores for teams in the Chesapeake/Norfolk/Va Beach area.
  • NovaBaseballMagazine: great coverage of Prep baseball in NorthernVirginia (thanks to Joe Antonellis for the heads up on this great new resource).

Local Newspaper Coverage, including links to many local papers covering smaller jurisdictions.

Non-newspaper Links for Local and National Prep Baseball Coverage

Good Twitter accounts to follow:

  • https://twitter.com/toddeboss/lists/prepbaseball: I maintain an open list at my twitter account via this link, which contains direct links to dozens of local resources (including all the below).  Way too many retweets from the travel team accounts especially, but its a good way to keep up with local ball.
  • https://twitter.com/PBRVirginiaDC: Prep Baseball Report VA/DC coverage
  • https://twitter.com/NVBaseballMag: NoVa Baseball Magazine
  • https://twitter.com/NoVAHSBB
  • https://twitter.com/DynamicBaseball

Written by Todd Boss

June 21st, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Greinke, Sabathia, Hamels, Fernandez all hit career milestones: lets talk Hall of Fame

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Sabathia hits 250 wins. Hall of Famer? Photo wiki/flickr chris.ptacek

Sabathia hits 250 wins.
Hall of Famer? Photo wiki/flickr chris.ptacek

Earlier this season, when Stephen Strasburg hit 1,500 career strikeouts I posted a thought piece speculating on his Hall of Fame chances.  That conversation kind of got derailed in a projection discussion versus a theoretical discussion on what we could reasonable expect from Strasburg going forward.  Which is fine; its awfully hard to project a guy already on his second UCL for the next decade.

So, lets talk about four guys who have now hit much more impressive career mile-stones and talk about them individually.

Before we do, you may wonder why I care or why I think this is worth discussing.  And here it is: Starting Pitching usage in our sport has drastically changed in the last decade.  The odds of ever seeing a 300-win pitcher again seem remote, given 5-man rotations, openers, and the general downgrading of the “Win” statistic.  Meanwhile, Strikeouts are skyrocketing, as teams no longer care if a guy strikes out 180 times as long as he hits 45 bombs.  As we speak, Seven of the top 10 pitchers in the history of the sport in terms of K/9 are active starters as we speak.

So my overarching question basically is this: do we need to drastically change the way we evaluate the careers of (especially) starting pitchers given where the game has gone as of late?

And pitchers like Strasburg, Hamels, Sabathia, and Greinke are pretty good test cases.  Here’s why.

Historically, 3,000 career strikeouts was nearly a lock to get a guy to Cooperstown.   As we speak, there’d just 17 guys in the history of the sport who have hit that threshold.  Of those 17 starters, 14 are in the hall, 1 is still active (Sabathia), and two are named Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling (who have externalities unrelated to their performance on the field that are holding them out of the hall).  But going forward, it really seems like we’re going to start seeing a glut of guys hit that 3,000 threshold, and I wonder if we’re going to have to re-think what it means to be a Hall of Fame starter.

With respect to Wins … we’re also seeing a drastic change in expectations for career totals.  Sabathia just hit 250 wins, which now seems like the “new 300” given pitcher usage.  Heck, it now seems like even hitting 200 career wins may be a pretty significant accomplishment, which is amazing considering the lofty career totals achieved by Clemens, Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson just a half a generation ago.

We’re kind of already seeing the effects of this change in evaluation; thanks to evolving usage starting in the 1980s and then the PED effects lengthening careers and thus inflating numbers in the 90s, there’s a severe lack of starting pitchers from the 1980s enshrined in the hall, guys with the kind of career numbers that, if they were pitching today, we’d be having a different conversation.  I wrote about this back in 2013 and did a ton of research at the time, and there’s a slew of starters from the 1980s who really deserved a better consideration than they received from the voters at the time.

Are we going to see something similar with pitchers from today?

Anyway, lets talk about these three guys who hit career milestones within the past few weeks:

  1. CC Sabathia: this year has hit both 3,000 career Ks and just got his 250th win.  He has a Cy Young, had a 5-year stretch where he was a top-5 vote-getter, but is slightly below the average HoFamer in terms of JAWS and the Hall metrics available at his baseball-reference.com page.  He’s already announced that he’s retiring after 2019.  Is he a Hall of Famer?
  2. Zack Greinke: just hit 2,500 career Ks, is just 5 wins away from 200 career wins.  He’s signed through 2021, is in his age 35 season and has shown pretty good durability throughout his career (I mention this to try to project how long he can stay effective).  He’s having an excellent 2019 despite pitching in Arizona’s hitter’s park and should be an All Star.  He’s averaged 16 wins a season after his age 30 season, meaning he could possibly be in position to challenge 250 career wins himself.  Just one Cy Young award (in an amazing Kansas City season), and came in 2nd in a year when he had a 1.66 ERA in a full season in 2015.   Statistically, his JAWs looks a lot better than Sabathia’s, and he seems to have several more years to tack on WAR and put himself in the upper echelon of SPs historically.  Is he a Hall of Famer?
  3. Cole Hamels: just hit 2,500 career Ks himself.  But he’s no where near the 200 win totals that Sabathia and Greinke have already hit (he’s 162-116 as of this writing) while also being in his age 35 season.   He’s been almost exactly averaging 9 K/9 for the past few years.  He’s in his contract year this year, and he’s been amazingly durable (missing just a few weeks in 2017 in the last decade).  I think he’s a shoe-in to get a 3 year contract, which should give him a shot at at least 600 more innings and probably 600 more strikeouts on top of what ever he ends up with this year.  He’s never really come close to a Cy Young, and his JAWS/black ink figures are wanting.  Is he a Hall of Famer?
  4. Felix Hernandez also just hit 2,500 career Ks in his last start.  His 5-year peak from 2009-2014 included one Cy Young, two 2nd place finishes and a perfect game in 2012.   Through his age 30 season he sat at 154 wins, 2264 Ks and had people thinking perhaps he had a shot at 300 wins and 4,000 Ks.  But like a light switch, he fell apart upon hitting 31, to the point now at age 33 that the team is considering removing him from the rotation.  Furthermore, he’s falling apart at the end of a long, expensive contract and (as we’ve now seen in the FA market for starters > 30) he may be in trouble of even getting a guaranteed contract for 2020 and beyond.   As of today, he’s got just 15 combined wins in the last three seasons (including this one) and seems influx going forward.    His peak helps him from a JAWs/WAR perspective, but he still sits well behind what a typical Hall of famer sits.  Right now, is he projecting as a Hall of Famer?

There’s other interesting use cases out there in terms of active pitchers.  I don’t think there’s any doubt at this point that the likes of Clayton Kershaw (3 Cy Youngs already), Justin Verlander  (who probably hits 3,000 Ks this season) or Max Scherzer (also 3 career Cy Youngs already) are headed for enshrinement.  But what do you do with someone like Felix Hernandez, who was dominant early and has fallen off a cliff?  What about John Lester?  At age 35 (same as Grienke and Hamels) he’s 4th actively in Wins and led the league in them last year with 18.  What if Lester hits 200 wins and gets close to 3,000 Ks.

So, i’ve thrown these names out there.   If I was a voter, what would I say?

  • Sabathia: yes
  • Greinke: projecting to Yes
  • Hamels; projecting to No, even if he hits 3,000 strikeouts career
  • Hernandez: projecting to No
  • Lester: projecting to No

What do you guys think?  Is it time to re-think career milestones for Starters?

 

Ask Collier 6/12/19

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Victor Robles ... under performing expectations in 2019? Photo via nbcsports

Victor Robles … under performing expectations in 2019? Photo via nbcsports

Hey team.  A surprise mailbag from MLB Nats beat reporter Jamal Collier, dated  6/12/19.  A good time for a mailbag, we’re post draft, post subtle winning streak, and now the Nats are kind of in seasonal limbo.

Here’s the questions he took and how i’d have answered them.

Q: Feeling good here — this stretch will at least make the season respectable. Question 1: How are you feeling after this run? Some on Nats Twitter want a fire sale of the team, saying everyone must go (for good return). Your thoughts?

A: This has been a good stretch.   The Nats bottomed out after the 4-game sweep in NY, sitting at 19-31.  From there the team has gone 12-4 against Miami, Atlanta, Cincinnati, San Diego and the Chicago White Sox to now sit exactly at 31-36.   Not to sound cynical, but really only two of those games were impressive (the two game mini-sweep at division-leading Atlanta).  Miami is awful, Cincinnati is 6 games under .500, and San Diego/Chicago WS are basically treading water at .500.  But, good teams beat mediocre to bad teams, so 12-4 is a good sign.

Their next Eleven games are against better teams, all with winning records but all at home.  A massive 11-game home-stand against Arizona, Philadelphia and Atlanta.   Right out of the gate the Nats are getting Arizona’s 1-2 starters in Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray (who, lest we forget, was a Nats draft pick many years ago).  After that the Diamondbacks throw one Taylor Clarke, who just happened to grow up in the DC area and went to Broad Run HS in Ashburn.  So an interesting weekend series for sure.  From there, we’ll have two pretty important show-me series against the two divisional leaders, and we know the way the rotations line up that they’ll get Jake Arrieta in the opener.  Which means they’ll then get Zack Eflin, another former Nats hand in Nick Pivetta, and then Aaron Nola if the expected rotation holds.   That’s tough: Eflin has been good all season, Nola has shown some life lately, and Pivetta has been awesome since his return from the minors.

You tell me; this smells like a 6-5 home-stand; a split with Arizona, a split with Philly and then a series win against Atlanta.  Maybe worse if the Nats run into hot Philly pitchers and/or Keuchel with Atlanta.

BUT, but, after that, their next 12 games taking them to the all-star break are against three of the worst teams in the league: Miami, Detroit and Kansas City.  I think this team can and should go 9-3 or 10-2 in those games.

So, assuming the team goes 6-5 in the homestand against quality teams and then 9-3 heading into the all star break, that’d have them sitting at 46-44.   That’s probably a good enough record to convince management to hang in there to compete in 2019 and not have a sell-off … at least not yet.    If the team was sitting a 2 games over .500 right now, they’d still be several games behind in the WC standings, but certainly not out of it.

But that doens’t mean the team won’t eventually do a sell-off.  Their schedule post-all star games goes like this: At Philly, at Baltimore, at Atlanta, home to Colorado, home to LA Dodgers, and then home to Atlanta, taking us up to the trade deadline of 7/31/19.  There’s your season.  If the Nats come out of the ASG break and fall flat in those first 9 away games, mostly against tough divisional opponents, that could be it.

So my new stance is this: Its nice that they went 12-4.  Yay!  Call me in mid July b/c that’s when we’ll really now if its go time or sell time.

Collier mentions the weakness of our recent competition, and says he’s positive about the team … but thinks they may have dug themselves too much of a hole.  He also notes that Atlanta just added a former Cy Young winner in Dallas Keuchel, which significantly improves their rotation and makes them even harder to catch.

Q: What is going on with Patrick Corbin? After that complete game, he’s been struggling. Is he overworked? Injured?

A: I wonder if this isn’t just what we get with Corbin.  Here’s his 2018 game log: check out the end of May/early June.  Inside of four starts, he saw his seasonal ERA jump from 2.47 to 3.48.  A full point in four starts.  Now look at his 2019 game log:  he’s jumped from 2.85 to 4.11 in his last three starts.

Its notable that his last three mediocre starts followed … a 9-inning complete game 116-pitch outing.  Was that a factor?  Doesn’t seem like it; if you notice he got an additional day of rest after 116 pitches, which wasn’t even his season high.

He mentioned in interviews perhaps a slight mechanical issue was at hand; I suspect he’s just run into a rough patch that a couple starts against crummy opponents may very well fix up.

Collins says no injury, just missing locations.  We’ll see what happens next.

Q: Is it fair to say that Victor Robles is underperforming expectations?

A: Yes.   So far he’s slashing .236/.310/.413.   That’s 50 points of a BA below last year’s sample and more than 100 slugging points.   And compare to his career ML slash line of .300/.392/.457.

I dunno; he is trending to a 20/20 season (currently sitting at 9 homers, 9 SBs).  And so far in 2019 he’s showing *really* bad range stats in CF (-17.4 UZR/150 so far after positive figures last year) to go along with a slightly positive DRS figure and negative arm values.   but, as Collier notes, he’s in the 89th percentile for a Stat-cast centric defensive measure.  So who knows (defensive stats are tough).

This for a prospect rated well ahead of compatriot Juan Soto, who has slightly cooled off from last year’s debut numbers, but is still rock-solid in the 128 OPS+ range right now for 2019.

Collier says he started hot, has cooled off significantly and perhaps we were all expecting too much from him.  All true.

Q: What is a realistic timetable for Ryan Zimmerman’s return?

A: Great question.  Planter Fasciitis (speaking as someone who once had it) can be a pretty bedeviling injury to overcome.  You can’t really “rest” a foot.  You kind of have to run on it.  So you’re constantly re-injuring it.  My cynical feeling is that, if  Ryan Zimmerman had been hitting .290 instead of .213 he’d still be starting, with shots of cortisone in his foot to help.

Collier says he traveled with the team to Chicago and is hitting in cages … just not running.  He’s guessing its still weeks away, and will have to include some rehab appearances in the minors.  Certainly his 2020 option decision is not looking good for the team.

Q: What is Koda Glover’s status? Haven’t heard anything about him in a long time.

A: wow, doesn’t this kind of feel like Christian Garcia redux?  What is Koda Glover doing?   Officially the injury is “Strained forearm” and the date was 2/24/19.  So we’re now nearly at 4 months onwards for a forearm injury for a former TJ guy.  Not good; if I had to guess (since that’s all we have) i’d say he probably re-tore the UCL and the team is rehabbing in lieu of a second TJ.

Side note: also with zero updates is Austen Williams, who struggled through one appearance, hit the D/L with a “Sprained shoulder” (notice the slightly more dangerous diagnosis sprain versus strain) … and yet still sits on the 10-day DL (now approaching two months), when clearly to me he could have also gone to the 60-day DL and the team could have then kept Austin Adams or maybe Jimmy Cordero …both of whom immediately got claimed by other teams and/or have had some success this year.

Collier says he’s playing catch and doing long toss.  That’s … not much for 4-months onward.  No pitching from flat ground, no mound work, no sim games, no XST competition.  

Q: What is your favorite HR celebration right now — Eaton/Kendrick going for a drive, Suzuki catching some waves, or a DJ Parra dance party?

A: I have no opinion here :-)

Collier says its the dance party.  You have to hand it to Gerardo Parra, he has definitely brought some intangibles to this team.  Its Narrative bs … but you can see it with your eyes.

2019 CWS Super Regional Recaps, CWS Omaha field and performance of Nats draft picks

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175px-Cws_logo_new_ncaa2016

Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:


CWS Super Regionals were played this past weekend.

Super Regional Recaps:  I’ve got these ordered by they way they’ll be playing into the CWS field (i.e. by bracket, with former National seeds 1,8,5,4 in the top and 6,3,7,2 in the bottom).  And this is the order they’re listed on d1baseball’s Tourney Central, the quickest way to find results.

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan: In the opener, Michigan shocked UCLA to win game 1 3-2.  Nats 8th rounder Jeremy Ydens went 0-3 playing RF and batting 7th.   UCLA scored one late to take game 2 and force the decider (Ydens batted 8th and went 2-3 with a walk).    Michigan proved game 1 was no upset by going and sweeping UCLA to advance to its first CWS since 1984.   A huge upset, not only having the tournament lose the #1 seed (a team that had basically been #1 the entire season), but an upset by a regional 3rd seed.  Nats pick Ydens did his part in the 2nd, going 3-4, batting 6th and playing RF in likely his final collegiate game.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State; TTU held serve in the opener, winning 8-6.  OSU returned the favor, winning game two 6-5 to force the Sunday decider.  In the final, an amazing back-and-forth game featuring these two very powerful lineups ended up with the host Texas Tech coming out on top to advance.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: Arkansas held serve in the opener winning easily 11-2.  Nats draftee Matt Cronin did not see action, as Arkansas’ starter Isaiah Campbell nearly pitched a CG.  In game 2, Ole Miss reversed the score, trouncing Arkansas 13-5 to force the Monday decider (again, no Cronin appearance).  In the decider, Ole Miss scored in the first…then didn’t score again as Arkansas ran up the score to win 14-1.  Cronin pitched the 9th in the win.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU; Florida State got to Lynchburg’s Zach Hess in the 8th to seal a come-from-behind victory in game 1.  Nats draftee Todd Peterson went 4 1/3rd middle relief innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits.  Nats 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza batted 3rd for FSU and went 0-2 with 3 walks.  In a scintillating Game 2, FSU held off an LSU come-back and Mendoza got a walk-off RBI-single in the 12th to complete the sweep and send Florida State back to the CWS.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC; Auburn surprised UNC 11-7 in game one, and then UNC blanked Auburn 2-0 in game two to force the Monday decider.  In that decider, Auburn scored 13 runs (!!) in the first inning to end it before it started, eventually winning 13-7 to advance to its first CWS trip since 1997.
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford; In Game 1, Mississippi State got to Stanford’s starter early and held on for the upset win in game 1.  Game two wasn’t close, and Mississippi State punched a ticket to Omaha.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: In Game 1, Louisville got to Jake Agnos in the 4th for 4 runs … so ECU pulled him and the bullpen melted, with Louisville winning 14-1.  It wasn’t any prettier in game 2, with Louisville blanking ECU 12-0 to become the first team to punch their ticket.   A pretty amazing performance, winning two games over a top-10 team like ECU by the combined score of 26-1.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke: In the opener, Duke got a flabbergasting win, destroying Vanderbilt 18-5.  In game 2, Kumar Rocker, who was one of the top prep arms in the 2018 draft before falling out of the 1st round and heading to Vanderbilt, threw a 131-pitch, 19 strikeout no-hitter to win game 2 and force the decider.  In the final, Vanderbilt ran away with the win 13-2 and advanced to Omaha, where they’re likely the favorite.

My CWS Predictions vs Actuals:

Predicted: #1 UCLA, #8 Texas Tech, #12 Ole Miss, #13 LSU, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt

Actuals: Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, Florida State, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt

I got the entire bottom bracket right, including the Auburn upset of host UNC.  Didn’t get much else right.

 


CWS Field and Profiles

Top Bracket: (records through Super-Regionals)

  • Michigan: 46-20, 16-7 Big 10.  2nd place Big-10 reg season, semis of Big-10 tourney, #3 regional seed.
  • #8 Texas Tech: 44-18, 16-8 Big-12.  Regular season champs, semis of Big-12 tourney
  • #5 Arkansas 46-18, 20-10 SEC.  SEC West division regular season co-champ, lost in qtrs of SEC tourney.
  • Florida State: 41-21, 17-13 ACC.  3rd Place, ACC Atlantic Division regular season, eliminated in pool play in tourney.

Bottom Bracket

  • Auburn: 38-26, 14-16 SEC.  6th in SEC West division regular season, eliminated in 2nd round of SEC tourney.
  • #6 Mississippi State: 51-13, 20-10 SEC.  SEC West division regular season co-champ, lost in qtrs of SEC tourney
  • #7 Louisville: 49-16, 21-9 ACC.  ACC Atlantic division regular season champ, eliminated in pool play in tourney.
  • #2 Vanderbilt: SEC East division regular season champ.  SEC tournament champ.

CWS field review by the numbers

  • SEC: 4
  • Pac12: 0
  • ACC: 2
  • Big12: 1
  • Big10: 1
  • National top 8 Seeds: 5
  • Regional Hosts (i.e. top 16 seeds): 6
  • First time programs: none

CWS Field thoughts

Lots of big time baseball programs here: Vanderbilt, Louisville, Florida State.  Half the field is SEC teams, fitting b/c 10 of them made the field of 64.

The field looks bottom heavy, with three National seeds advancing and three SEC teams competing with a tough ACC team.  in Regular season play, Mississippi State beat Auburn 2 of 3 and Auburn got swept by Vanderbilt (in addition to getting pounded 11-1 in the SEC tourney), so i’d guess Auburn is finishing last in this bracket.   Mississippi State and Vandy only played once; a 1-0 win by Vandy en route to their SEC tournament title.   The wildcard seems to be Louisville, who powered up to advance to the CWS but struggled when it had to play quality opponents (losing 2 of 3 versus UConn, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and UVA).  I think the bottom bracket goes Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Louisville, Auburn.

Meanwhile, the top features a couple of rather stunning upsets, with two regional #3 seeds advancing to the CWS.  Both the remaining seeded teams were stretched to three games in the Super Regional … though to me Texas Tech (despite being the lower seeded team) looked like the superior team.  Interestingly, Arkansas and Texas Tech also made last year’s CWS … and also faced each other in the group stage.  They also get the weakest team in Omaha first (Michigan).  I think the top bracket goes Texas Tech, Arkansas, Florida State and Michigan.

Quick predictions:

Final: Vanderbilt over Texas Tech.

Player Star power in this CWS: By team, here’s the top-end draft talents still playing.

  • Michigan: three picks in the first 3 rounds: two of their starters in Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann, plus CF Jordan Brewer in the 3rd.
  • #8 Texas Tech: 1st rounder and 8th overall Josh Jung, who was a monster in the Super Regional is the main draft talent.  TTU had 6 other players drafted in rounds 7 onward.
  • #5 Arkansas has two Comp-B round picks in OF Dominic Fletcher and senior starter Isaiah Campbell, in addition to the Nats 4th rounder Cronin.
  • Florida State: Nats 3rd rounder Mendoza, plus 4th rounder OF/closer J.C. Flowers along with an 8th and 9th rounder.

Bottom Bracket

  • Auburn: 5th rounder SS Will Holland, 7th rounder RHP Davis Daniel, and 3 lower round picks.
  • #6 Mississippi State: 1st rounder (28th overall) Ethan Small, 4th rounder Jake Mangum.
  • #7 Louisville: 5 guys in the top 7 rounds, including 2nd rounder 1B Logan Wyatt.
  • #2 Vanderbilt: no less than 13 drafted players, led by 4th overall pick J.J. Bleday.

 

Nats 2019 Draftees still playing in the CWS:

  • 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza will have his signing delayed a few more weeks; he’s the key slugger for FSU and will keep slugging in Omaha.
  • 4th rounder Matt Cronin got just 1 inning in the Super Regional.

College CWS tournament references: