Nationals Arm Race

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

Archive for the ‘Draft’ Category

Race to the Bottom: 2021 Draft outlook

25 comments

For the first time in quite a while, the Nats are projected to be drafting in the top 10. The last time the team was projected to be drafting this high was in 2011, when they picked 6th overall and somehow nabbed Anthony Rendon in the process.

Here’s where the “standings” for the #1 pick sit as of 9/14/20, with the Nats exactly 75% of the way done with their season (better link at tankathon.com)

  1. Pittsburgh: 14-30. entered the season in real “tanking” mode and have successfully executed their plan. The last time they drafted #1 overall they managed to snag Gerrit Cole, but their history of drafting in the 1st round is basically abhorrent since. The best 1st rounder they’ve managed since is Austin Meadows, who the team traded away to acquire Chris Archer. Archer has pitched awfully for Pittsburgh and is missing 2020 due to shoulder surgery. Its no wonder Pittsburgh remains mired in the second division.
  2. Boston at 17-31: wow the Boston fans must just be ecstatic with the management of their team. One of the wealthiest franchises in the world, which cleared north of $500M in revenues in 2019, is the 2nd worst team in baseball after crying poor and trading away a generational talent last off-season in Mookie Betts. At least their “plan” is now going to net them a top pick in what should be a stacked draft.
  3. Arizona (17-31) certainly didn’t expect themselves to be this bad, not after buying an ace in the off-season in Madison Bumgarner and making a bunch more moves. They also face one of the easiest remaining schedules, so if they play a bit better they might drop down a bit on this list.
  4. Texas at 17-30 is shocking; i thought they had one of the best rotations in the game heading into 2020. That rotation has collapsed; they lost ace Corey Kluber after one start, and three of their rotation members have regressed horribly.
  5. Washington at 17-28: the team has a 1.5 game “lead” over #6 Kansas City, and we’re coming into a stretch where we have to play a slew of doubleheaders coming up, meaning a slew of 4-A starters and an already-taxed bullpen getting shredded.

What do I think is going to happen here on out? I sense the Nats continuing their trend and staying roughly at the #4 or #5 range. They’d need to win three straight games just to get into the #6 slot right now … something they haven’t managed to do since the first week of the season.

The 2021 draft, coincidentally, is stacked. Tons of solid collegiate arms at the top, right in the Nat’s wheel house. The last mock I saw had this as a top 5: Kumar Rocker, Jack Leiter, Jud Fabian, Adrian Del Castillo, and Jaden Hill as the top 5, all of whom are solid college players who could move fast.

Draft in 2021 to be pushed back

38 comments

Finally, a change involving the draft, amateur signings and what not that I agree with and believe makes sense. Today, as reported by Kiley McDaniel and repeated by Steve Adams at mlbtraderumors, MLB announced that the 2021 draft is not going to be held the first week of June (as it always has) but instead will be pushed back to the all Star break in the middle of July.

Brilliant.

Immediate benefits that I can see:

  • No more draft and distractions right in the midst of the CWS playoffs, which has been happening for years with more and more attention brought as the draft has become more and more important to teams. I felt like it was just a matter of time before the CWS saw a player get drafted then immediately quit the team (as we’ve started to see with collegiate football players who quit on their teams instead of playing some meaningless bowl game where all they can do is get hurt).
  • Same (to a lesser extent) for High School players: most are done with their seasons by early June but some have slight lingering end of season playoffs.
  • As noted in the article, the gap this opens up several weeks after the end of the CWS (June 26th in 2019) to host any number of pre-draft activities that make sense. The articles mention two interesting ideas: draft showcases and pre-draft Medical combines. Other pro sports have these kinds of things and they’d be great to incorporate into MLB. Teams desperately want pre-draft medical information on players but have had zero way to get it done in a nation-wide, coordination fashion. Perhaps this gap would allow the teams to coordinate on a national event where all the top prospects get flown in (not sure who pays though) to participate.
  • These kinds of events, rolled into the All Star weekend, would do nothing but add more attention to the future of the sport. MLB has long failed to really work on its burgeoning pipeline of players, for years almost not even recognizing the fact they were drafting players. Now they have a national draft night, they have a futures game, and more events will bring more attention to the next generation of players.

Still no word on the # of rounds in 2021 draft; it has to be at least 20 per the agreement so I’d bet on 20. I think (based on the elimination of the short-season) it should be closer to 25 but losing the 21st-25th rounds probably means pretty little.

thoughts?

Post publishing update: Keith Law published his own reactions to the draft pushback.

Written by Todd Boss

September 2nd, 2020 at 11:09 am

Posted in Draft

Tagged with ,

MLBPipeline updated Nats top 30 post 2020 draft

6 comments

Samuel Infante has some pretty wide variety of initial rankings in the various prospect lists.  Photo via BaseballFactory.com

Samuel Infante has some pretty wide variety of initial rankings in the various prospect lists. Photo via BaseballFactory.com

Just a couple days after Fangraphs announced their mid-season updates, MLBPipeline did as well.

No changes from their Mar 2020 list other than to include three of our 2020 draft picks.  Lets talk about where they got inserted:

  • 2020 1st rounder Cade Cavalli slots in at #4 in the system, which is exactly where BA and Fangraphs put him, and behind the exact top 3 that everyone has for the system (Kieboom, Garcia, Rutledge).  Consistent.
  • 2020 2nd rounder Cole Henry slots in at #6 in our system per MLB, about where BA has him but ahead of where Fangraphs put him.  I think i’m ok with this ranking, given that he’s behind Wil Crowe but ahead of two very young starter prospects in Eddy Yean and Andry Lara.
  • 2020 supp 2nd rounder Samuel Infante comes in at #26, well down the list and well below either BA or fangraphs.  #26 in a system is nearly non-prospect territory, and puts him below Jackson Cluff.  Who would you rather have?  Infante or Cluff?

The addition of these three guys bumps the following players off the back end of hte top 30:   Jakson Reetz, Jhonatan German and … Nick Raquet.

 

Written by Todd Boss

August 11th, 2020 at 10:17 am

2020 draft coverage: Local draft-prospects to keep an eye on

99 comments

Thanks to uncertain times, the 2020 draft class from a “local” perspective has been … well gutted.

Not one player that I can find with ties to Maryland or Washington DC was drafted.  Just two players with ties to Virginia were drafted in the 5 round 2020 draft (who i’ve listed in the section below), both Virginia Tech players.  Not one UVA player selected, meaning they retain a huge chunk of their class heading into next season, not the least of which is Nate Savino, who reclassified to skip his senior  year of HS, go to school … only to have the season cancelled.

how many of these players are NDFA candidates?  Hard to say; but some will be looking at pressure/competition for their partial scholarships, which means we’ll see some movement.

First draft of this post?  6/9/17, when a freshman (!) was named 2nd team all-Met.  A few years on-wards we know that freshman in particular (Jack Bulger) has become a significant national prospect, one of the best prep prospects to come out of the DC area since the 2016 class (which saw two upper round picks in Joe Rizzo and Khalil Lee)  plus state POTY Jake Agnos, an eventual collegiate all American.

The College players are mostly drawn from my 2017 Local High School draft coverage, listing guys who were HS seniors in 2015 who went to 3-year programs and who are now draft eligible.

Major Local College Draft Prospects for 2020

  • Ian Seymour, LHP from Virginia Tech (via Westborough MA): 2nd round, #57 overall pick
  • Taylor Carson, C/1B from Virginia Tech (via Duluth, GA): 4th round, #130 overall pick.
  • Andrew Abbott, LHP UVA (via Halifax Co).  2019 Collegiate National team extended-roster selection.  Went undrafted in 2020 despite being ranked #116 by MLBpipeline.

Lesser Local College draft eligibles w/ Local Ties

  • See https://www.mlb.com/draft/tracker/2020/all/state/virginia for full Virginia listing
  • see https://www.mlb.com/draft/tracker/2020/all/state/maryland for full Maryland draft prospect listings
  • Nats 2016 Draftee Matt Mervis just signed as an NDFA with the Cubs.

DC/MD/VA Local Prep players for 2020

  • Nate Savino, LHP from Potomac Falls.  Potomac District POTY in 2018 as a sophomore.  UVA commit.  Diamond Elite summer team.  Showing 92 from the left-hand side as a sophomore in HS games; wow.  NovaNine as a sophomore.  PG Junior Nationals 2018.  1st team all state VHSL Class 5 2018 as sophomore.  Player of the Year Class 5 Region D in 2018 as a sophomore.  1st team USA Today all-state 2018 as Soph.  Gatorade POTY for Virginia in 2019 as a Junior.  All Region 5C as Junior in 2019.  U18 National Team.  #4 on BA’s 2020 prep list, a legitimate upper-first round talent.  Nov 2019 update: Savino has decided to graduate early and will enroll at UVA.  By most accounts he was projected possibly as a 1st round, top 10 pick in the 2020 draft; this move means he’s passing up at least $4M in signing bonus dollars to go to a school in UVA which, frankly, does not have a great history of developing top-end starters.
  • Jack Bulger, C from DeMatha.  2nd team All-Met as a *freshman* in 2017.   Early commit to Vanderbilt.  Team Elite Prime.  At 2018 PG Junior Nationals.  Also at the Cary, NC PDP 2018 event despite only being a rising Junior and was named in the highlights article.  HM All-Met 2018 as a sophomore, 2nd team USA Today all-state 2018 as Soph.  Gatorade POTY for Maryland in 2019 as Junior.  1st Team USA Today HS AA in 2019 as junior.  Wow.  U18 National Team.
  • Collin Bosley-Smith, RHP Wilson HS.  2nd team All-Met 2018 as a sophomore.  USA Today DC POTY in 2018 as a sophomore.  Gatorade POTY in DC in 2019 as a junior.  Early commit to Duke.  Mid-Atlantic Red Sox summer team.
  • Eddie Eisert, SS O’Connell HS.  1st team all WCAC as sophomore in 2018.  1st team all VISAA Division I as a junior.  Early NC State commit.
  • Ryley Johnson, OF from Colgan (Manassas).  1st team all Class 6 Occoquan region as a sophomore in 2018.   Richmond braves summer team.   2nd team VHSL class 6 all-state in 2018 as sophomore.   All Region 6C as junior.  1st team VHSL All-6A 2019 as junior.   ECU commit.
  • Ryan Calvert, RHP/1B from LaPlata HS.  Prepbaseballreport Maryland POTY in 2019 as junior.  Evoshield Canes summer team.
  • Riley Eikhoff, RHP from Patriot HS (brother of former Patriot and UVA player Nathan Eikhoff); All Region 6D in 2019 as junior.  Evoshield Canes National summer team.  UVA commit.
  • Jordan Peyton, SS from Riverdale Baptist via Colonial Beach VA.  PG Junior Nationals 2018, early commit to Radford.
  • Alex Greene, OF from DeMatha as well.  written up at 2018 PG Junior Nationals, ranked 12th in the entire class, early UVA commit.  Richmond Braves summer team.  2nd team All-Met 2018 as a sophomore.  USAtoday all-state in 2018 as Sophomore.
  • Josh Moylan, 1B/3B from Spalding HS.   2019 Area code games, early commit to ECU.
  • Thomas Trinca, OF from Centreville.  2nd team All 6A-North region as a freshman in 2017.  Stars Baseball summer team.  All Region 6D in 2019 as junior.  1st team VHSL All-6A 2019 as junior.  George Mason commit.
  • Shane Saunders, OF from Osborne Park.  All 6-A North Region 2018 as Sophomore.  Stars Baseball summer team.  All Region 6D in 2019 as junior.  Canes Gold summer team.
  • Matt Frye, Util Lee HS.   2nd team Class 5 Region D all-region 2018 as a sophomore.
  • Jake Maske, OF DeMatha.  USAtoday all-state in 2018 as Sophomore.
  • Nathan Cmeyla, C from Briar Woods HS.  PG Junior Nationals 2018.  1st team Class 5 Region D all-region 2018 as a sophomore.  1st team All 5C as junior in 2019.
  • Teddy Merritt, RHP from McLean.  2nd Team All 6-A North Region 2018 as Sophomore.
  • Cameron Mozingo-Morales, 1B/RHP from Osborne Park.   2nd Team All 6-A North Region 2018 as Sophomore.   Stars Baseball summer team.
  • Robert Kelley, RHP from Marshall.   2nd Team All 6-A North Region 2018 as Sophomore.  All Region 6D in 2019 as junior.
  • Malik Kabra, OF from Robinson.  1st team all Class 6 Occoquan region as a sophomore in 2018.
  • Joe Vogatsky, RHP/3B from Kettle Run HS POTY.   VA Class 4C POTY in 2019 as junior.  Early commit to JMU.  1st team VHSL All-4A 2019 as junior.
  • Julian Heitman, SS Oakton HS.  Stars Red summer team.
  • Jacob Cassady, RHP from Lake Braddock; All Region 6C as junior in 2019.
  • Braden Mack, C from Potomac.  All Region 5D as a junior in 2019.
  • Ben Thomas, OF from Potomac.  All Region 5D as a junior in 2019.
  • Ethan Snyder, DH from Broad Run.  1st team VHSL All-5A 2019 as junior.

Extended DC/MD/VA Prep players (outside DC Area) on the radar.

  • Quade Tomlin, 2B from Liberty Christian Academy.  1st team All 4-A region as a freshman in 2017.  1st team all-state VHSL as a freshman in 2017.  2nd team all state VHSL Class 4 2018 as a sophomore.  Evoshield Canes National summer team.  2019 Area code games.  Liberty commit.
  • Jeremy Wagner, OF/RHP from the Miller School (Albemarle) POTY as Junior.  Early Austin Peay commit.  VISAA divisoin II POTY 2019 as a junior.
  • Nic Britt, SS from Greenbriar Christian (Chesapeake).   Evoshield Canes summer team, early commit to UVA.   PG Junior Nationals 2018.
  • Rylan Brown, OF from Greenbriar Christian (Chesapeake).   Evoshield Canes summer team.  PG Junior Nationals 2018.  1st team VISAA Division II all-state 2018 as a sophomore.
  • Tanner Schobel, SS Waslingham Academy (Williamsburg). PG Junior Nationals 2018,  2nd Team USA Today all-state 2018 as soph.  VISAA Division III POTY as Junior in 2019.  Early Virginia Tech commit.
  • Harrison Clifton, LHP Steward HS Richmond.  Early commit to Clemson.
  • Garrett Payne, RHP Miller School in Charlottesville,  early commit to NC State.  All VISAA Division II all-state 2019 as junior.
  • Nick Noonan, OF from Deep Run HS.  2nd team all-state VHSL 5A as a freshman in 2017.  2nd team all Richmond Metro in 2017 as a freshman.
  • Tristan Gordan OF from Page County HS.  1st team all VHSL 2A in 2017 as a freshman.  Again 1st team all VHSL Class 2 as sophomore as his team wins the state title.
  • Drew Stanley, RHP from Hickory HS (Chesapeake): Class 5 Region A POTY as a sophomore in 2018 (!).  Canes Mid-Atlantic summer team.  2nd team VHSL all-state Class 5 2018 as sophomore.  1st team all-Tidewater 2019 as junior.
  • Zian Honaker, RHP from Salem HS (Salem).   Winning pitcher in the Class 4 state final in 2018 as as sophomore; 12-0 in his career at this point.
  • Elijah Dunlap, RHP from Riverheads.  All State VHSL Class 2 as a sophomore in 2018.
  • Trey Carter, OF from Carlisle HS in Martinville.  PG Junior Nationals 2018.
  • Alex LaRou, RHP from Cosby HS. PG Junior Nationals 2018.
  • Carter Trice, SS from Lee Davis HS in Mechanicsville.  PG Junior Nationals 2018.
  • Jackson Cherry, OF Jefferson Forest HS.  2nd team all state VHSL Class 4 2018 as a sophomore.  Canes mid-atlantic summer team.  1st team VHSL All-4A 2019 as junior.  Mercer commit.
  • Philip Forbes V, 2B Menchville.   2nd team VHSL all-state Class 5 2018 as sophomore.  1st team VHSL All-5A 2019 as junior.
  • Lucas Carmichael, util Matoaca.   2nd team VHSL all-state Class 5 2018 as sophomore.
  • Andrew Ward, OF Fluvana County.  1st team VHSL all-state Class 3 2018 as a sophomore.
  • Blake Fisher, ? Highland School.  1st team VISAA Division II all-state 2018 as a sophomore.
  • Jon Sawyers, ? Atlantic Shores HS.  1st team VISAA Division II all-state 2018 as a sophomore.
  • Michael Stewart, RHP/1B from Collegiate (Richmond).  1st team VISAA Division I in 2019 as junior.  Early commit to JMU.
  • Nigel Williams, 2B/SS from Collegiate (Richmond).  1st team VISAA Division I in 2019 as junior.
  • Ethan Chenault, RHP from The Miller School (via Forest, VA).  1st team VISAA Division II in 2019 as junior, early commit to UNC-Wilmington.
  • Ethan Firoved, LHP First Colonial HS (Virginia Beach).  1st team VHSL All-6A 2019 as junior.  1st Team all-tidewater 2019 as Junior.  Class 6 Region A Co-Player of the Year 2019 as junior.
  • Aiden Tierney, C/OF Colonial Forge HS (Fredericksburg).  1st team VHSL All-6A 2019 as junior.
  • Zach Dzarnowski, C Hickory HS.  1st team VHSL All-5A 2019 as junior.
  • Tyler Warren, OF Atlee HS.  1st team VHSL All-5A 2019 as junior.
  • Bailey Reynolds, 1B from Libery Christian Academy.  1st team VHSL All-4A 2019 as junior.  Dirtbags summer team,  uncommitted.

Sources used

 

Nats 2020 Draft class by the Ranks

31 comments

Cade Cavalli is your 2020 1st round pick. Photo via Lookout Landing blog

Cade Cavalli is your 2020 1st round pick. Photo via Lookout Landing blog

(note: i have updated the Draft Tracker for the 2020 draft, both the master board and the 2020 draft notes boards).

  • Master Draft Board: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Qd5DS9GlmkQOEh_zGhOvlhHK0EegqY1uJB4mLGmRBaY/#gid=0
  • 2020 Draft worksehhet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Qd5DS9GlmkQOEh_zGhOvlhHK0EegqY1uJB4mLGmRBaY/#gid=25540806

(I have more details about signing bonus calculus and player notes/twitter accounts on the 2020 worksheet, in case you’re wondering why i separate them).

By now, you’ve probably heard about our picks and read a ton of responses in the commentary.

Using various pundit draft board rankings (listed at the bottom for reference), here’s how our picks were thought of before the draft.  Along with some commentary from me.

  • 1st Round/#22 overall: Cade Cavalli, RHP Oklahoma.   Law=13.  MLBPipeline=22.  BA=22.  Fangraphs=17.  ESPN=24.  CBS=16.  D1Baseball=9.  20/80=23.  PerfectGame=8.

So, picking 22nd the Nats generally seem to have gotten value per the pundits.  Certainly this wasn’t a reach.  And, by some pundits (Law in particular, Perfect Game as well) this was a steal.

My thoughts: well, we know the Nats like college arms, velocity, big guys and players from Texas/Oklahoma.  Cavalli hits all those markers.  I was sure they’d go Cole Wilcox or perhaps J.T. Ginn but the team passed to go with Cavalli.  ironically, Wilcox didn’t go until the 3rd round, so the Nats passed on  him multiple times, while Ginn went just before their 2nd round pick to the Mets, a like-minded drafting org.  Cavalli is a speculative, scouting-first pick; he has little track record to go on, and this is the kind of pick that you can regret later on if he doesn’t work out.  He was mostly a hitter his freshman year before converting to the mound.  Maybe the team tries him as a two-way player?  He’s a big dude; he looks more like a football player physically.  Nonetheless, he’s got easy velocity and his mechanics look clean.  Some concerns about hit-ability; wonder if he has some spin rate issues.  A professional pitching development shop can do wonders with him.

  • 2nd round/#55 overall: Cole Henry, RHP LSU.  Law=65.  MLBPipeline=45.  BA=44.  Fangraphs=70.  ESPN=72.  CBS > 50..  D1Baseball=16.  20/80=55.

So, a couple of the ranking boards like Henry at 55, while a couple others (Law, Fangraphs, Espn) think its a bit of a reach.  Draft eligible sophomore, so I wonder if this is a potential over-slot bonus guy.  He was LSU’s friday starter from the moment he walked onto campus, quite a statement for a top-line baseball program.  He has an electric arm, four plus pitches (4-seamer, 2-seamer, a 12-6 hammer curve, change).  I’ve watched the video of him; scouting claims that he had such a violent head snap that he “had difficulties keeping his hat on” seem quite overblown; I didn’t see anywhere near that in the video clips of him available online.  I like this pick as a sneaky good starter for this team.  Interesting player comp mentioned by MLBpipeline during the draft: Mike Mussina

  • 2nd-Supp round/#71 overall: Samuel Infante, SS from Monsignor Edward Pace HS, Miami, FL.   MLBPipeline=149.  BA=154.  ESPN=122, Fangraphs=173.

This is an interesting pick for the Nats.  Clearly an overdraft by every ranking pundit, the scouting reports on Infante all say the same thing; lots of loud power in showcases, questions as to whether he can stay at short (he’s played both SS and 3B in showcases), but super fast and with a great arm.  Listed as 6’1″ 185, he’s still in the SS range and with plus arm strength he could very well feature as a top of the line 3B defensive player.  A UMiami commit from a Miami high school; i wonder if that factors into their thinking.  Did the Nats cut a deal here with Infante based on his projection to get slot savings?   One other factor here; he’s already 19, so he’s old for the HS class (a negative in scouting world) but also means he’d be a draft eligible sophomore if he goes to Miami (which might make his signing tougher).  Curious pick.  MLBPipeline guys comped him to Maikel Franco, an interesting comp.

  • 3rd Round/#94 overall: Holden Powell, RHP from UCLA.  MLBpipeline=134.  BA=126.  ESPN=144.  D1Baseball=77.  20/80=HM.

Powell is UCLA’s closer; stopper of the year last year.  He’s got no chance to start but still got ranked in the mid 100s by several shops.  The Nats havn’t picked a reliever-first this high in quite a while (Drew Storen maybe?) , and I suspect we’ll get some bonus savings here to help pay others here.  He projects as a two-pitch guy  with a FB hitting 97 and a wipeout slider who probably moves pretty quickly through the minors if he’s as good as reported.  20 Ks’ in 9 innings this season; he’s just got tough stuff to hit facing him in the late-game.  Can go multiple innings, undersized guy on the mound with kind of whippy arm action.  I don’t hate the pick, if its meant to be cost savings for other picks.

  • 4th round/#123 overall: Brady Lindsly, C from Oklahoma.  unranked by any service

With all due respect, Lindsly is clearly a “senior sign” by the team to save slot money for others.  I’m suspecting that both this and the Powell pick are money savers to pay Infante and Henry a bit more than slot (both those players being higher leverage guys to go to/return to school).  What little we know about Lindsly; known for good defense, didn’t have a great average in college,  hit for a bit of power.  Lefty bat.  As others noted, maybe the team liked him while scouting Cavalli.   Its also notable that he’s already calling himself a member of the Nats organization on his twitter account.

  • 5th round/#153 overall: Mitchell Parker, LHP from San Jacinto College North JuCo in Texas.   BA=179.

16.6 K/9 this year in 30 innings this year.  Last year 1.43 ERA with similar K/9 numbers.  In case you’re wondering … yes this is the same Juco they got Jackson Rutledge out of last year; one has to wonder if the scouts stuck around for a double header or something while scouting Rutledge and liked Parker.  Oddly, despite great numbers last year he was only a 27th rounder and thus has been pursuing D1 scholarships: he’s committed to U of Kentucky for next season if he doesn’t sign.  Big guy (6’4″), lefty who throws over the top.  He’s known for fastball up to 94 with a big curve.  His mechanics are a little concerning; he lands very stiff legged and almost hyper extends his knee as he stops his upper torso’s momentum.  I feel like this needs to be adjusted to prevent over-dependence on his arm.  Might be a tougher sign; i wonder if some of the 3rd and 4th round savings are for Parker too.

Draft summary:

  • 3 college starters
  • 1 college reliever
  • 1 Prep SS/3B
  • 1 Prep C

Conjecture on over/under slot needs:

  • Players who are likely signing for slot: Cavalli, perhaps Henry
  • Players who are likely under slot: Powell, Lindsly
  • Players who are likely commanding over-slot: Infante, Parker, maybe Henry

I have no doubt they’ll sign all six based on the limited draft.  Mike Rizzo has also said they’ll be “aggressive” with NDFA signings … as aggressive as a $20k bonus can take you of course.

I like our first two picks as future prospects.  I like the prep SS.  I could see our 5th rounder as a project but he has potential.  I like the class.

 

Draft Board Rankings

2020 Draft coverage; Overview of top Draft prospects

110 comments

Welcome to Draft day 2020!

This is a review of the marquee names that have been in discussion for the top-end of the 1st round for the 2020 draft.  Since (especially high schoolers) guys constantly are moving up or down draft boards, each section is divided into two areas: those 4-5 names really in talks to go 1-1 overall (“1-1” means 1st round, 1st overall) and then those who have fallen to “just” being 1st or 2nd rounders.

First draft of this post was in June of 2018, when a freshman made All American status and got put here for tracking.

By this point, we’re almost at “prospect fatigue” talking about the top guys and who might get to the Nats.  But incase you’re not aware of who is likely going in the first 10 picks; read on.

College Upper 1st round names in the mix for 1-1

Note; as we’ve moved closer to the 2020 draft, the same 5 names keep appearing in the top 5 of most every mock draft.

  • Spencer Torkelson, 1B/LF Arizona State.   3rd team AA PG/Rawlings 2018 as a freshman.   2nd team d1baseball AA 2018.  2018 Collegiate USA team as freshman.  Hit 25 homers as a freshman, 22 homers as sophomore.  2nd team d1baseball.com AA as sophomore.  2nd team NCBWA AA as sophomore.   2nd team BA AA 2019 as sophomore.  2019 Collegiate National team
  • Austin Martin, 3B/CF Vanderbilt.  Slashed .410/.502/.603 as a sophomore w/ speed.  1st team d1baseball.com AA 2019 as sophomore.  Plays 6 positions, should be primary SS in 2020.  1st team BA AA 2019 as sophomore.  2019 Collegiate National team
  • Asa Lacy, LHP Texas A&M.  130 Ks in 88 IP as a sophomore.  2019 Collegiate National team
  • Nick Gonzales, 2B/SS New Mexico State.  1st team  d1baseball.com AA 2019 as sophomore, slashed .432/.532/.773 with power.  2nd team BA AA 2019 as sophomore
  • Emerson Hancock, RHP Georgia.  High-90s fastball, 3-pitch guy, great sophomore numbers for #3 team in the land.  2nd team d1baseball.com AA 2019 as sophomore.  2nd team NCBWA AA as sophomore.  2nd team BA AA 2019 as sophomore

College Candidates who have fallen out of  1-1 contention

  • J.T. Ginn, RHP Mississippi State.  1st rounder in 2018 who didn’t sign, draft eligible sophomore.  103/18 K/BB in 80 innings as a freshman in SEC, wow.  Spring 2020 shoulder soreness, bad sign, then blew out elbow and will miss all of 2020 with elbow surgery.  Also lots of buzz in mocks linking to Nats.
  • Max Meyer, RHP Minnesota.   3rd team d1baseball AA 2018.  2018 Collegiate USA team alternative as freshman.  2019 Collegiate National team.  2020 fast riser.
  • Reid Detmers, RHP ECU.  1st team d1baseball.com AA 2019 as sophomore.  1st team NCBWA AA as sophomore.  2nd in nation in Ks; 162 Ks in 107 ip.  2019 Collegiate National team
  • Casey Martin, SS Arkansas.  power hitting SS who can stay at the position and is a 20/20 threat.
  • Patrick Bailey; C;  NC State.  2018 Collegiate USA team alternative as freshman.  switch-hitting C improving as sophomore.  2019 Collegiate National team.
  • Cole Wilcox, RHP Georgia; 1st round talent out of HS, pitched mostly in Relief freshman year with decent numbers.  Lots of buzz to the Nats.
  • Carmen Mlodszinski: RHP from South Carolina.  Helium guy fall of 2019.
  • Ryan Ward, OF Bryant.  2nd team AA PG/Rawlings 2018 as a freshman hitting .409.
  • Chris Mauloni, RHP Jacksonville.  3rd team AA PG/Rawlings 2018 as a freshman.
  • Patrick Frederickson, RHP Minnesota.  3rd team d1baseball AA 2018.
  • Tanner Burns; RHP; Auburn.  2018 Collegiate USA team alternative as freshman
  • Kevin Abel, RHP Oregon State.  Star of the 2018 CWS, getting 4 wins plus pitching a 2-hit shutout in the championship game.
  • Alec Burleson, Util ECU.  1st team d1baseball.com AA 2019 as sophomore, slashed .370/.399/.573 and was 6-2 in 60IP on the mound as a two-way player.  1st team NCBWA AA as sophomore.
  • Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State.  2nd team  d1baseball.com AA 2019 as sophomore
  • Holden Powell, RHP UCLA closer, 2nd team  d1baseball.com AA as sophomore.  1st team NCBWA AA as sophomore.  2nd team BA AA 2019 as sophomore
  • Chris Lanzilli, OF Wake Forest.  2nd team NCBWA AA as sophomore
  • Tyler Brown, RHP Vanderbilt closer.  2nd team NCBWA AA as sophomore.  2019 Collegiate National team
  • C.J. Van Eyk; RHP; Florida State.  2018 Collegiate USA team alternative as freshman.  Great CWS super Regional outing on national TV 2019.
  • Casey Optiz, C Arkansas.  2019 Collegiate National team

High School Upper 1st round names in the mix for 1-1

  • Zac Veen, OF (CF) Florida HS.  Florida commit.  Law says best HS player in class
  • Austin Hendrick, OF West Allegheny HS (Pa.).  Mississippi State commit.  Big power kid.
  • Mick Abel, RHP Jesuit HS (Ore.).  Oregon State commit.
  • Robert Hassell, LHP/OF Independence HS (Tn.).  2nd team Rawlings AA 2019 as jr.  3rd team USA Today AA in 2019 as junior.  MaxPreps 1st team AA as junior.  Tennessee Gatorade POTY in 2019 as junior.  CF
  • Dylan Crews, OF Lake Mary HS (Fla).  LSU commit.  PG has him as #2 prep player in class, long-time member of US national teams.
  • Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF (CF) Harvard-Westlake HS, CA.  top all-around prep position player in draft.   Vanderbilt commit.  3rd team Baseball america AA in 2019 as junior.  Maxpreps 2nd team AA as junior.  Might be more famous than good (parents both hollywood actors) but still 1st rounder.
  • Nick Bitsko, RHP/corner guy Doylestown, PA.  UVA commit, helium guy.
  • Ed Howard, SS Mount Carmel (Ill) HS.  Helium guy in 2019, Oklahoma commit.
  • Jared Kelly, RHP Refugio HS (Tex.).  was LSU commit, now Texas commit.  Mid-90s since sophomore.   2nd team USA Today AA in 2019 as junior.  2nd team Baseball america AA in 2019 as junior

High School guys whose stock has fallen:

  • Nick Savino, LHP Potomac Falls HS, Sterling Va.  UVA commit.  This is the highest i’ve ever seen a DC-area prep player ranked; he’s legitimately in the running for a top 10 overall pick in 2020.  Decided in Dec 2019 to graduate early, skip his Sr season and enroll in UVA.  Shocking decision for a player who was looking like a top 10 overall pick and a $4M bonus.
  • Blaze Jordan, 1B/3B DeSoto Central High School (Southaven, Mississippi).  Re-classified/graduating early.   Mississippi State commit
  • Tyler Soderstrom, C Turlock (Calif.) HS.  UCLA commit.
  • Jared Jones, RHP/OF Miranda HS (Cal).  USC commit.  top 2-way player in the class.   1st team Rawlings AA 2019 as jr.  2nd team USA Today AA in 2019 as junior.  3rd team Baseball america AA in 2019 as junior.  MaxPreps 1st team AA as junior.
  • Timmy Manning, LHP Cardinal Gibbons HS, Fort Lauderdale (Fla).  UFlorida commit.  Underclassman on USA 18U team in 2018.
  • Drew Romo, C Woodlands HS (Houston TX).  LSU commit, switch hitting catcher starter on USA 18U team as a junior.
  • Yohandy Morales, SS Braddock HS, Miami.  UMiami commit.
  • Jace Bohrofen, 1B Westmoore Hs (Ok.)  1st team Rawlings AA 2019 as jr.
  • Jack Bulger, C from DeMatha.  3-time 1st or 2nd team USA Today AA, best local prospect in years.  Maxpreps 2nd team AA as junior.
  • Colten Keith, inf/RHP from Biloxi (Ms.).  1st team Usa today AA in 2019 as junior.  Maxpreps 2nd team AA as junior.  Mississippi Gatorade POTY as junior.
  • Bryce Madron, OF Blanchard (Ok.).   2nd team USA Today AA in 2019 as junior.
  • Masyn Winn, inf/RHP Kingwood (Tx.).   2nd team USA Today AA in 2019 as junior.  USA 17-U stand-out.
  • Bryce Ballard, rhp/3b (Ga.).  3rd team USA Today AA in 2019 as junior.
  • Aaron Nixon, inf/RHP Mcallen HS (Tx.).  3rd team USA Today AA in 2019 as junior.
  • Dylan Ray, OF Madison, AL.  Maxpreps 2nd team AA as junior.
  • Kyle Harrison, MIF/RHP De La Salle HS, Concord CA..  Maxpreps 2nd team AA as junior.

Sources used to create this list

2020 Draft Coverage: Mock Draft Mania and Nats Prediction

105 comments

I collect Mock Drafts in baseball.  The first of these I found this year was the day after the 2019 draft, then the next was in early Oct right after the final 2020 draft order was finalized.  These early ones are pretty crazy; so much can change (especially with prep players) in a year’s time that the early projections are mostly useless.  But, they’re also interesting to see how player rise and fall on draft boards over the course of a year.

I’ll keep adding to this list as Mocks come in; they’re generated all the way up to the day of the draft by the major pundits.  If i’m missing a ranking here, please let me know.

 


Here’s the Mock draft collection.  I’ve generally listed their top-5 and then who they project the Nats to take at #22 (if they project out that far).  this year i’m ordering them Chronologically as rec’d instead of grouping by pundit…. this should let us see kind of an evolution of the top of the draft.  Players are bolded the first time they’re mentioned, not again afterwards.

  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo/Teddy Cahill): July 2019 Way-too-Early Mock DraftEmerson Hancock, Spencer Torkelson, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Austin Martin, Patrick Bailey
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) Oct 2019 Draft Order finalization Mock: Austin Martin, Torkelson, Hancock, Nick Gonzales, Asa Lacy.
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) Jan 2020 Mock: Martin, Hancock, Torkelson, Gonzales, Lacy.  Nats take Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas corner OF.
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) Feb 2020 Mock v2.0: Martin, Torkelson, Lacy, Gonzales, Hancock.  Nats take Ed Howard, prep OF from Illinois.
  • CBSSports (Mike Axisa): apr 2020 mock: Martin, Gonzales, Torkelson, Hancock, Lacy.  Nats take J.T. Ginn, who blew out arm one start into 2020.
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) April 2020 Mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Gonzales, Hancock.  Nats take Ginn.
  • ESPN (Kiley McDaniel) 5/13/20 Mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Hancock, Zack Veen,  Nats take Cole Wilcox.
  • The Athletic (Keith Law) 5/13/20 Mock Draft 1.0: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.   Nats also taking Wilcox
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) 5/13/20 Mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Gonzales, Hancock.  Nats taking Slade Cecconi, a RHP from uMiami
  • MLB.com (Jim Callis): 5/13/20 Mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Hancock, Veen.  Nats taking Cecconi
  • CBSSports (Mike Axisa): 5/29/20 Mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Hancock, Meyer.  Nats still on Ginn
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo5/27/20 Mock Draft v5.0: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Gonzales.  Nats taking Jared Kelley, a prep RHP from Texas HS.
  • ESPN (Kiley McDaniel5/26/20 Mock 2.0: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, VeenMax Meyer.  Nats still on Wilcox.
  • Fangraphs (Eric Longenhagen) 5/27/20 Mock 1.0: Torkelson, Lacy, Martin, Gonzales, Meyer.  Nats on Wilcox.
  • MLB.com (Jim Callis): 5/27/20 Mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Gonzales, Veen.  Nats taking Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech
  • Athletic (Keith Law) 5/28/20 Mock 2.0: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.  Nats on Wilcox
  • Radio.com (Tim Kelly) 6/1/20 Mock Draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Meyer.  Nats on Justin Foscue, 2B Mississippi State
  • CBSSports (Mike Axisa): 6/1/20 mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.  Nats still on Ginn
  • Athletic (Keith Law) 6/3/20 Mock 3.0: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.  Nats on Wilcox again (Garrett Crochet if Wilcox goes early)
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) 6/3/20 Mock Draft v6.0 ; Torkelson, Veen, Lacy, Martin, Hancock.  Nats on Foscue.
  • MLB.com (Jonathan Mayo) 6/4/20 mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Gonzales, Meyer.  Nats on Cecconi (with a Wilcox caveat)
  • BA Staff Mock Draft 6/4/20: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Hancock, Veen.  Nats take Dillon Dingler, C from Ohio State.
  • Bleacher Report (Joe Tansy) 6/4/20 mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.  Nats taking Wilcox
  • Prospect365 (Ian Smith) 6/6/20 Mock Draft 2.0:  Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.  Nats on Dingler
  • Fangraphs (Eric Longenhagen) Mock 2.0 6/8/20: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Meyer.  Nats take Wilcox but he says this is Crochet’s floor
  • CBSSports (Mike Axisa): 6/8/20 mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.   Nats still taking Ginn (4th straight Axisa mock with them taking Ginn)
  • Prospect365 (Mason McCrae) 6/8/20 Mock Draft v9.0: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.  Nats on Wilcox
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) 6/8/20 Mock Draft v7.0 ; Torkelson, Martin, Lacy,  Veen, Meyer.  Nats on Wilcox.
  • Radio.com (Tim Kelly6/8/20  final Mock Draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Meyer.  Nats on Foscue.
  • Yahoo Sports (Matt Weyrich) 6/9/20 Mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Meyer.  Nats take Wilcox
  • DraftSite.com Mock Drafting site latest Mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Gonzales.  Nats take Wilcox
  • RotoBaller.com (Marc Hulet) 6/9/20 mock: Veen, Martin, Lacy, Torkelson, Meyer.  Nats take Ed Howard, SS, Illinois HS (this mock really is hard to take seriously)
  • D1Baseball staff 6/9/20 Final Mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Gonzales, Veen.  Nats take Ginn.
  • 20/80 Baseball (Nick Faleras/Burke Granger) 6/9/20 mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Gonzales, Meyer.  Nats take Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina
  • FanSided 6/10/20  Simulated Draft: Torkelson, Lacy, Martin, Gonzales, Veen.  Nats take Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock High School (CA) (mock draft done by bloggers representing teams)
  • BleacherReport (Joel Reuter) 6/10/20 final mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy,  Veen, Meyer.  Nats on Wilcox
  • TSN (Scott Mitchell) 6/10/20 final mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Gonzales, Veen.  Nats taking Casey Martin, SS Arkansas
  • 20/80 Baseball (Nick Faleras/Burke Granger6/10/20 final mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Meyer.  Nats on Wilcox

Final Mocks per major pundit

  • The Athletic (Keith Law6/10/20 Final Mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Meyer.  Nats on Wilcox again (but picking Mick Abel if he’s available)
  • CBSSports (Mike Axisa): 6/9/20 final mock: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.   Nats still taking Ginn (no last minute changes from  his 6/8/20 mock)
  • MLBpipeline (Jonathan Mayo) 6/10/20 final mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Meyer.  Nats on Bobby Miller, RHP Louisville as a fall-back if preferred arms don’t fall.
  • MLBpipeline (Jim Callis6/10/20 final mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Meyer.  Nats on Bryce Jarvis, RHP Duke as a fall-back if the likes of Wilcox, Beeter unavailable.
  • ESPN (Kiley McDaniel) 6/10/20 final mock draft: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Hancock, Meyer,  Nats take Austin Hendrick, prep OF from PA HS.
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo6/10/20 final Mock Draft v8.0 ; Torkelson, Martin, Lacy,  Veen, Meyer.  Nats on Wilcox.
  • Fangraphs (Eric LongenhagenMock 3.0 6/10/20: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Meyer.  Nats take Wilcox but he says other Boras guys make sense too.

 

Mock draft posters from past years who didn’t seem to do one this year.:

  • D1Baseball (Frankie Piliere); took a job with Seattle, no longer at d1baseball.
  • HeroSports.com (Christopher Crawford); moved to nbcsports/roto world, now focused only on fantasy impact.
  • MinorleagueBall.com (John Sickels); moved to TheAthletic, site dead.
  • SI.com (Jay Jaffe), now with Fangraphs, so probably not doing prospect work anymore.
  • Baseball America (John Manuel): seems to have passed the torch at BA to Collazo
  • Baseball Draft Report (Rob Ozga); Last post was Sept 2018; out of business?
  • Seedlings to the Stars/Calltothepen.com: main writer left to form Video Baseball Scout.
  • Prospect Digest (Joseph Werner); hasn’t covered the draft since 2018
  • Video Baseball Scout; no mocks in 2020 after a bunch in 2019
  • SportingNews.com (Joe Rivera): didn’t do his own mock; cut and pasted mocks from Law, Callis, Axisa

Draft Rankings: these are prospect ranking lists, NOT mock drafts.

Past prospect rankers that are not doing ranks this year

  • Baseball Draft Report (Rob Ozga); stopped writing sept 2018, one cryptic post in July 2019, seems like he was working for a team but no new content.
  • Video Baseball Scout; no rankings for 2020; site may have died
  • MinorLeagueBall.com site dead, John Sickels now at the Athletic

 

Todd Boss’ Mock draft top-5 prediction?

My top 5 prediction: Torkelson, Martin, Lacy, Veen, Hancock.  I think Veen sneaks in and Gonzales falls out of the top 5, making someone in the 6-7 range very happy.

Who are the Nats going to take at #22?

We’ve talked about this a lot in the comments, but i’ll summarize my thoughts.  Here’s what the Nats like to take in the 1st round:

  • College
  • College Arm
  • College Arm from either Texas/Oklahoma area or a SEC arm
  • College Arm who was higher ranked earlier in the process but has fallen for some reason (injury, discipline) so they think they can get “value”
  • College arm who is advised by Scott Boras or who is similarly “famous” for some reason or another.

All of these things point to one guy; J.T. Ginn.  Only now it seems like Ginn is falling entirely out of the 1st round and may be had later on.  Kinda like how a few years back the Nats were attached with Alex Meyer at the 6th overall pick at one point … then were able to take him later on in the 1st.

So i’m going to predict the team skips Ginn, sees if they can sign him in the 2nd for 1st round money, and will take Cole Wilcox in the 1st.  Wilcox is also the Nats’ kinda guy; SEC school, big arm, big numbers, and a player who they’ve already tipped their hand on (picking him in the 2018 draft with one of their late 30th round throw-away picks).

Signability in this weird season is a factor of course.  The Nats have $6.6M to sign players this year; why wouldn’t they throw $3M at two players then punt the rest on college seniors?  Kinda like what the Mets did last year.

My prediction: Wilcox.


MLB.com Draft Tracker

ACTUAL TOP 5 DRAFT Results (added after the draft); Torkelson, Kjerstad, Meyer, Lacy, Martin.

What happened?

Actual Nats #22 Pick (added after the draft): Cade Cavalli, RHP from Oklahoma.  Not one mock draft ever had him going to the Nats.  None.  The team passes on a number of college arms that they had been linked to that are still on the board (Wilcox, Cecconi, Ginn, etc) to go with the big arm from Oklahoma.


MLB 2020 Draft to be just 5 rounds

125 comments

Amateur players who have already lost an entire year of playing time got another huge punch in the gut late friday, when MLB took their option to have the shortest possible draft in 2020 (5 rounds), to drastically reduce the max bonus for anyone not drafted in those 5 rounds (just $20k, as compared to $125k last year), and to basically screw hundreds of players who were set to matriculate into the pros this season.  They’ve even negotiated to delay bonus payments!

All in the name of saving a few bucks (estimated to be $1M each at best likely a lot less)  for franchises whose values are generally measured in the billions.

MLB officially shortens 2020 draft to five rounds

I agree with Scott Boras here, who blasted this move.  https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2883387-scott-boras-slams-mlbs-2020-coronavirus-draft-plan-says-it-hurts-young-players

I just can’t get over how, year after year, in the name of minor savings figures, the owners continually attack the draft, the international signing period, over and over, putting in limits and regressive taxes that while saving a few dollars ends up driving away players from the game.   This comes on the back of the highly opportunisitc plan to eliminate entire  *leagues* of minor league players, again in the name of saving money on the backs of players who are non-unionized.

I mean, is the goal to eliminate the entirety of the minor leagues too?  To somehow improve the major league product by doing what the NFL does; throwing rookies right onto the active roster of the NFL and have them basically sit until they learn?

As for the current crop of players, hundreds of them now face a brutal choice:  sign for a pittance to then earn a pittance and try to make it, or go back to college, where their partial scholarship may not even be guaranteed anymore, or … give up.  I wonder how many players are just going to give up.  How is this a good solution for anyone involved?

 

Written by Todd Boss

May 9th, 2020 at 1:01 pm

Posted in Draft

Tagged with ,

Nationals Best player drafted but Not signed

8 comments

Stromah from Sept 2015 with Toronto. Photo via wikipedia

Stromah from Sept 2015 with Toronto. Photo via wikipedia

I saw an article this morning on Prospect Insider titled “Every MLB’s best Unsigned Draft pick.”

Being that i’m a big draft guy and hyper-follow our draft picks, I was excited to see who they picked.  And, to my chagrin, they chose to combine the Expos history with the Nationals and ended up picking Mark McGwire, who the Expos drafted in 1981 but didn’t sign out of high school.  In fact, most of their honorable mentions were also Expos picks.

Well, with all due respect to the franchises time in Montreal, I wanted to do this analysis and bound it by the time of the franchise here.

So, here’s some analysis of the National’s best unsigned draft picks since 2005.  For the below, up until the 2012 draft year only players who appeared in the majors are listed; from 2013 onwards we’ll also mention prospects who are highly regarded and/or who seem close to the majors.  And, frankly, there’s nobody worth identifying past the 2016 draft since they’re all still in college and we won’t know if they get drafted until we figure out the 2020 draft.

Using the Draft Tracker as a guide, here’s the candidates (from earliest to latest):

  • Scott Barnes; 2005 43rd round pick out of Cathedral HS in Mass, went to St. Johns instead and was an 8th rounder in 2008 by San Francisco.  He was flipped to Cleveland, appeared in parts of two seasons 2012-2013 then played out the string in the minors.
  • Khris Davis, a 2006 29th round pick out of Deer Valley HS in AZ, went to Cal State Fullerton and was a 7th rounder in 2009 by Milwaukee.  He was traded to Oakland in 2016 and  has blossomed into one of the premier power hitters in the league (leading the AL in homers in 2008 despite playing in Oakland’s hitter’s park).
  • Aaron Crow, our 2008 1st round pick (9th overall) who failed to sign out of Missouri, went back to school then became the 1st round (12th overall pick) by Kansas City the next year.  Crow put in four solid years as an 8th inning reliever, blew out his elbow and had TJ surgery in 2015.  He barely pitched in 2016, then missed all of 2017 before getting cut loose and moving to the Mexican league.  Not signing Crow was a pretty embarrassing situation for Jim Bowden and the franchise at the time, one more additional data point proving the incompetence of the organization.  The Nats recouped the pick in 2009 of course, picking Drew Storen in his place.  Even given Storen’s challenges, most would not argue that the Nats (on the field anyway) got the best out of this pick in the end.
  • Louis Coleman, a 2008 14th rounder from LSU who went back for his senior year and became the 5th round pick of Kansas City in 2009 (I guess KC just picked up all our rejects in the 2009 draft).  Coleman became a middle RH relief pitcher in the KC bullpen for several years.
  • Cory Mazzoni was a 2008 26th rounder out of a PA HS, went to NC State and became a 2nd round pick in 2011 by the Mets.  He eventually got moved to the bullpen, traded and had a grand total of 22 appearances over 3 seasons.
  • Chris Heston was a 2008 29th round pick out of Seminole Juco in FL, then was drafted and signed as a 12th rounder the next year in 2009 by San Francisco.  He matriculated to the majors with San Francisco, had one solid season in the Giants rotation in 2015, then struggled to stay on the field ever since.
  • Robert Brantly, a 2008 46th round pick out of an AZ HS, went to UC Riverside and became a 3rd round pick by Detroit in 2010.  He’s bounced around as an “org-guy” catcher since, and is currently with San Francisco.
  • Alex Dickerson, a 2008 48th round pick out of Poway HS in California.  Went to Indiana and became a 3rd rounder by Pittsburgh in 2011.  He’s bounced around a bit as a lefty corner outfielder type and is currently with San Francisco.
  • Marcus Stroman, a 2009 18th rounder from a NY HS, went to Duke and became a 1st round pick (22nd overall) by Toronto.  Interestingly, he was listed as a SS out of high school but became (and was drafted as) a starter in college.  He’s most people’s immediate answer for this question, but there are more than a few possible alternatives.
  • Kyle Martin, a 2009 39th round pick out of a TX HS, went to Texas A&M, was drafted again after his Junior season and again after his senior season, when he signed with Boston.  His entire MLB career was two games in 2017.
  • Hoby Milner, a 2009 44th rounder out of a TX HS, he went to Texas, became a 7th rounder by Philadelphia in 2012, has bounced around a bit and signed as a FA with the Angels for 2020.  He’s a lefty starter converted to reliever and was a closer for Durham in Tampa’s system last season.
  • Ryan Sherrif was a 2010 33rd rounder out of a Los Angeles Juco, then signed as a 28th rounder in 2011 with St. Louis.  He appeared in their bullpen for parts of two seasons.
  • Skye Bolt, a 2012 26th rounder from a GA HS, went to UNC and starred there, became a 4th rounder by Oakland in 2015.  He debuted in 2019 and is profiling as a switch-hitting center fielder with some decent power, but looks like perhaps a 5th OF for the Oakland team in 2020.
  • Garrett Hampson, a 2013 26th rounder out of Reno, went to Long Beach State, became a 3rd rounder in 2016 by Colorado and debuted in 2018 for the Rockies.  He currently projects as a utility guy for the Rockies, with the ability to play inf and of.
  • Shaun Anderson was our 2013 40th round pick out of American Heritage HS in FL, he went to the U of Florida and was Boston’s 3rd rounder in 2016, he got flipped to San Francisco in 2017 and had matriculated to the majors by 2019, appearing as a swingman/spot starter last season.  He isn’t projecting to the Giants rotation in 2020 with their off-season veteran acquisitions.
  • Austin Byler was our 2014 9th rounder out of Nevada; he declined to sign and was drafted in the 11th round the next year by Arizona.  Byler struggled to produce as a 1b-only player, never got out of A-ball and was released out of affiliated ball after 2017.  I mention him less as a candidate here, but more as a post-mortem on one of the few top-10 round signing failures we’ve had.
  • Stuart Fairchild was our 38th round pick in 2014 out of a Washington HS, went to Wake Forest, then was the 2nd round pick of Cincinnati in 2017.  He is listed as as the 13th best prospect by one pundit in the Cincinnati organization and is projected for AA.
  • Andrew Suarez was our 2nd round pick in 2014 out of U of Miami, declined to sign, then became San Francisco’s 2nd rounder the next  year.  He debuted in the SF rotation in 2018 making 29 starts, then got dropped to the rotation for 2019 and struggled.   He is projecting as the 5th starter in 2020.

So, who is the “best” player we drafted but didn’t sign?  probably Stroman, then Davis, then Suarez.

Who of these was our “worst” non-sign?   for me its the only three top-10 picks on this list: Crowe, Suarez and Byler.  I think Crowe was the worst just for the reputational damage it did to the front office here (even if, in hindsight, we got the better player).  Suarez #2; I think he could still feature in this league.

 

 

 

MILB reportedly agrees to contraction plan

43 comments

1200px-MiLB_logo.svg

A couple of news items hit today that confirm what a lot of us have been fearing; the make-up of the Minor Leagues is set to change drastically, starting next year.

https://www.mlbdailydish.com/2020/4/21/21229598/mlb-reduce-number-of-teams-milb-teams-coronavirus

and

https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/sources-milb-ready-to-agree-to-significant-reduction-in-teams/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email

both confirm the plan to reduce then number of minor league teams by more than 40.  The plan would be to contract entire leagues (both the Short Season leagues like the NY Penn league and the Northwest league) and the non-complex Rookie leagues (like the Appalachian league and the Pioneer league).  Each team would be left with four full-season affiliates plus its complex rookie league.   Even though the conversations about this plan started last fall, the Covid19 situation has drastically affected the finances of nearly every minor league team, and its likely that a number of them are already insolvent (or close to it).

The impact for the Nats would likely be three fold:

  • We’d lose our short-A team in Auburn
  • We’d seemingly lose our Hagerstown affiliate and have it replaced in Low-A by a new city.
  • We’d probably have to find a new AAA team.

The entire concept of Short-A is set to be eliminated.  So that’s our Auburn affiliate.

Hagerstown has been specifically singled out by MLB sources (as reported by Keith Law here: https://theathletic.com/1718395/2020/04/03/law-even-with-baseball-shut-down-specter-of-minor-league-contraction-looms/?article_source=search&search_query=hagerstown) as being a substandard facility and seems like its on the chopping block.

Lastly, Fresno is reportedly going to get moved out of AAA to become a California league team in High-A, which means the Nats would need a new AAA affilliate.  More to the point … some team not currently in AAA would need to get promoted.  This could be great for us … especially if a crown-jewel AA team is suddenly available to use to use as an affilliate.

———–

A side effect of losing 40 or so teams is the obvious: we’re not going to need to draft as many players.  There’s already been Covid-19 driven talks about modifying the 2020 draft down from 40 rounds to as few as 5.  But without a short-season team to draft for (and without advanced complex leagues for other franchises), there’s just not as much need to draft players.

Many observers already thought the draft was too long.  A quick glance at the nats draft tracker: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Qd5DS9GlmkQOEh_zGhOvlhHK0EegqY1uJB4mLGmRBaY/ depicts this pretty clearly; Since the draft went to 40 rounds, the Nats have never signed much more than 75% of its draftees.  Often times their last 8-10 picks were throw away picks on relatives or friends of Nats staff, or on HS players with strong div-1 committments who they had zero chance to sign for the $100k-$125k slot figure.  Here’s some details on the last few years in particular:

  • 2019: 11 of 39 players drafted went unsigned, including the last 6 rounds.  Draftees included the son of a Nats scout
  • 2018: 11 of 40 players drafted went unsigned, 7 of the last 8 picked didn’t sign, most of whom were HS picks.  Three of these draftees were sons of Nats staff members.
  • 2017: 7 of 40 players drafted went unsigned, including 4 of final 5 picks.  Draftees included Dusty Baker‘s son, a cousin of a Nats scout and the grandson of Bob Boone.
  • 2016: 11 of 41 players drafted went unsigned, including last 9 picks.  Draftees included two nephews of a nats scout, the son of a Nats front office executive and a Bethesda player who was unrecruited by any collegiate team.
  • 2015: 10 of 40 players drafted went unsigned, including 5 of last 6 picks.

Its pretty clear that the Nats would be a-ok with a 30 round draft to start with.

Now, how many players are assigned straight from the draft to Short-A every year?  Based on my “initial assignment” notes over the past few years…

  • 2019: 9 straight to Short-A, another 4 who were in the GCL for like a week before heading to Short-A
  • 2018: 7 straight to Short-A, another 4 GCL/Short-A
  • 2017: At least 5 straight to Short-A, another 8 GCL/Short-A combos
  • 2016: 5 straight to Short-A, another 5 GCL/Short-A

So, if there was no Auburn, that’s at least 10-13 players per year that the team … wouldn’t need to draft.  This is consistent with dropping the draft down to 20 rounds, possibly even just 15.

———-

Now, am i a proponent of this?  Of course not.  I think MLB is forcing a lot of cities to forgo long-held minor league baseball teams for the purposes of … saving a few dollars?  I mean, lets be honest; short-A squads are generally filled with lower-round draft picks paid $1,200-$1,500 a week for half a summer.  I feel like this is yet another effort by MLB to cut minor amounts of amateur player acquisition spending because they can, not because it benefits the sport or its fans in general.

But, I also get their general point that fewer minor league teams may be better.  The odds of a 25th rounder turning into a major leaguer are low, so why bother drafting them?  As i’ve demonstrated, the last 10 rounds of the draft now are generally throw away picks, and the next 10-15 rounds generally exist so as to populate short-A teams.  No short-A team … no need to draft them.  If you focus your efforts on the full season teams, improve facilities, maybe even increase their pay (what a novel idea!) maybe the guys you do draft are better served.

MLB’s transition plan doesn’t really hold water; they’re suggesting the 40-some odd teams that do get cut form yet another wood bat league?  I suppose there will be some appetite for this from the huge number of players who will no longer get drafted.  But will people pay to watch?  Maybe so: the Northwoods wood bat leagues draw, so maybe others will draw if the competition is known to be better.

Either way, get ready for some significant changes.

Written by Todd Boss

April 21st, 2020 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Draft

Tagged with , , ,