Nationals Arm Race

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2024 Draft Day 3 Reaction


Here’s a quick recap with some thoughts on day 3 of the 2024 MLB Draft, rounds 11-20

Reminder: Draft tracking Links

  • MLB Draft Tracker: updated for first 10 slots with all the info for our draftees plus Twitter accounts.
  • List of all Slot values for 2024
  • The Nats Draft Tracker master XLS, which I’m building out for 2024 as we go. With the trade we just made, our bonus pool is 13,895,100, but with the 5% buffer we can go up to 14,589,855 on our first 10 picks and 11th-20th rounders who get more than $150k.

11th Round, 320 Overall: Merrett Beeker, a LHP starter Coll jr from Ball State.

11th rounders are generally where you’ll find interesting over-slot deals made, since there’s a flat $150k bonus structure for each player and there’s no “slot savings” for under-slot deals like there are for the back half of day 2. The Nats have signed a couple of above-slot 11th rounders in the past (Luke Young in 2022, JT Arruda in 2019 for example) and last year grabbed a Juco guy named Gavin Austin in the same gambit but couldn’t get him to sign (he was drafted in the 8th round this year by Pittsburgh).

That being said, this year we take Beeker, a LHP starter who was Ball State’s #2/Saturday starter this year and had some pretty intriguing numbers. He went 9-3 with a 4.11 ERA, 1.22 Whip, but he had 128 Ks in 81ip! that’s a 14 K/9 rate for a starter, which was good for #6 in the nation this year. The top 5 K/9 leaders ahead of him include 2 first rounders Hagen & Smith, plus 2nd rounder Brecht and 4th rounder Langevin, so that’s heady company. An interesting pick for sure, and not really one that looks like it needs an overslot deal.

12th round, 350 overall: Alexander Meckley, RHP college Junior starter/reliever from Coastal Carolina.

BA Ranked him #421 this year. Their scouting report: He was hit around a bit in his first 43 innings as a starter and reliever but has a big arm with a fastball that sits 93-94 and touches 97 with riding life from a high release point. Meckley has a four- and two-seam variation on his fastball and will spin a low-80s slider and upper-70s curveball with more depth.

This pick is interesting. Meckley started the year as CCU’s Friday night starter, and he started the year really well. He went 7ip and gave up 2hits in march against CWS team JMU. He held his own against early season opponents like Ball State, Indiana, and Michigan. Then suddenly he fell off a cliff, ending with a 2ip/8Run embarrassment against Wake Forest. At which point, CCU took him out of the rotation entirely. He ended the season with a 7.52 ERA and a 1.44 whip. He was a Juco transfer into Coastal, and in Juco his numbers were decent, so perhaps the team had a local area scout who remembered the guy. One has to think he’s relatively signable at the $150k slot here; if you get drafted the year after you put up an ERA in the 7s, you should probably take the money and give pro ball a try.

13th round, 380 overall: Bryant Olson, LHP reliever college junior from Mercer

Olson was Mercer’s closer for a while this season, finishing with 8 saves and some ugly stat lines. 6.41 ERA, 2.25 whip. 39/29 K/BB in 26 innings. Not much info out there on him, but a lefty with big K numbers could indicate a project the team is willing to work on.

14th round: 410 overall: Yoel Tejeda Jr. a draft-eligible Sophomore RHP from Florida State.

Tejeda is a massive (6’8″) guy, who transferred out of Florida and to Florida State for 2024. He got a couple of opener-starter gigs but was mostly in the bullpen for the FSU team. He got shelled in a game on May 26th against Duke, where he walked in a run and gave up a grand slam, and didn’t appear the rest of the season. The gamer from that game was blunt; calling his use an “experiment” that continued to go badly. His season numbers: 5.95 ERA in just 19ip, and more walks than strikeouts.

Why did he never pitch after May 26th? Injury? Or banishment to the bench? Either way, I wonder if he’s more likely to enter the transfer portal than he is to end his college career on this note. He turned down mid-teen money out of HS two years ago (he was drafted 18th round by Pittsburgh) and maybe he’ll do it again.

That makes four straight day-3 college arms. They’ve done so well in the past couple of drafts with this strategy (Sthele, Sullivan, Amaral last year, Lord and Luckham the year before, Alvarez in 2021…) that you can’t blame them for this strategy. Does anyone want to bet that one of these mid-teens college juniors won’t make a fast jump?

15th round: 440 overall: Sir Jamison Jones, a HS Catcher from St. Rita HS (IL)

BA ranked 372. Their report: Jones is one of the most physical players in the 2024 prep class and has tons of strength currently with a 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame. He can generate huge fly balls and has exciting power upside because of his massive strength, though he’ll need to refine his approach significantly and make more contact to fully tap into that raw power. His pitch recognition is inconsistent and he was also late against fastballs a bit too often. Jones has a big arm behind the plate, but he’ll need to work to stick behind the plate and might fit best as a first baseman. He’s a well below-average runner. Jones is committed to Oklahoma State.

I about spit out my drink when I saw this pick. A High School catcher in the 15th round? And, after doing the BA and PerfectGame research, apparently a good one. He’s been at all the showcase events, is one of the top ranked players coming out of Illinois, and he’s got a commitment to a big-time college in Oklahoma State.

Well, if you’re saving your pennies, this is where they could go. But a 6-3 225 guy screams 1B, not C, but he also seems like a project. Is he really signable here? He’s not a top 100 ranked guy, so we’re not talking millions to buy him out of Ok State, so I wonder what the angle here is.

16th round, 470 overall: Nolan Hughes, college senior LHP from Xavier

Hughes was played the first three years of his career at Fordham, then transferred to Xavier for 2024. He was mostly a bullpen guy, who got 4 starts on the year and faced some decent competition admirably. Season stats were mediocre until you see the K line. 4.33 ERA, 1.90 whip. 65/52 K/BB in 35ip. That is an astonishing 16.7 K/9 rate. He’s a big velocity lefty, can touch 98 with off-speed stuff that includes an 81mph sweeping curve and an 87mph changeup. That must look like an eephus pitch. Clean mechanics, looks solid in the little video snippets we can find. A project, but has some tools to work with.

17th round, 500 overall: Gavin Bruni, LHP starter from Ohio State

BA #384. Their scouting report: Bruni was an arm-strength lefthander who was already touching 96 mph in high school, but also had real control questions. Three years later and he’s still largely that sort of pitcher. A 6-foot-3, 205-pound starter, Bruni sits around 90 mph with his fastball and will run it up to 95-96 with above-average carry on the pitch but below-average command. He mixes in a slider around 80 and a curveball in the mid 70s that both have solid spin. He has a low-80s changeup that he rarely throws and isn’t likely to be a big piece of his arsenal moving forward without significant improvement. Bruni has been a full-time starter for Ohio State, but likely projects as a reliever in pro ball thanks to a career walk rate around 17%.

A weekend starter for Ohio State, which isn’t really that big of a baseball program. 6.19 ERA this season with not impressive peripherals. As the writeup says, he projects as a lefty reliever in pro ball, where he can sit more in the 95-96 range for an inning.

18th round: 530 overall. Teo Banks, OF (CF) college jr from Tulane.

Banks was Tulane’s CF and #2 hitter in the post-season; not sure if that’s where he played the whole season, but that’s where he ended it. Slash line for the year: .265/.380/.543 with some power and some speed. He’s a bigger dude, (6’2 205) so he might project as a corner in pro ball. I wish he had a better hit tool this year, but for what its worth he hit .301 as a sophomore and .317 as a freshman. He started part of freshman, all of sophomore and all of junior. He seems sign-able here.

19th round: 560 overall: Ryan Minckler, college junior RHP from Niagara University

Minckler served as kind of a long-man reliever for Niagara this year, 20 games, 50+ innings, with decent numbers. Initially went to UVA but never appeared, so he transferred and was in the Niagara rotation last year. Never seems to go more than 3-4 innings an appearance. Probably immediately projects to be a pro reliever.

His twitter has a pinned post from June 30th that says he’s transferring to Arizona State. He’s listed as a college junior but he redshirted his freshman year so technically he has two years of eligibility left, so me thinks he’s going to ASU and won’t sign. It’s not often you get to move to a major baseball program, in Arizona … which is about as far away a place from a college perspective as you can get from Niagara.

20th round: 590 overall: Colby Shelton, a SS/3B college junior from Florida

BA scouting report: Shelton had a standout freshman season with Alabama in 2023, when he led the club with 25 home runs en route to a second-team All-America selection. After the season, Shelton transferred to Florida, where he continued to show a powerful lefthanded bat. His production took a slight step backward in 2024, when he hit .256/.381/.573 with 20 home runs in 61 games. A 6-foot, 200-pound lefthanded hitter, Shelton is strong with all-fields power that comes with plenty of swing-and-miss. He sets up with a slightly crouched stance that includes a high handset and small leg lift, though he can be a bit rigid and stiff at times. His career strikeout rate sits in the 24-25% range, and he has contact questions versus all pitch types and an aggressive approach that leads to too many swings out of the zone. Because of Shelton’s back-to-back 20-homer seasons in the Southeastern Conference, some scouts think he will hit for enough impact to profile as a bat-first infielder. A shortstop now, Shelton profiles better at either third base or second base thanks to just OK actions and quickness. He can throw from multiple angles nicely and has enough arm strength for the left side of the infield. He is a fringe-average runner. He fits anywhere from round two to four.

So, this is the most interesting pick of the draft for this team. 20th rounder but MLB has him ranked #133 and BA has him all the way up at #64. Why did he fall? He was a 2nd team All American after the 2023 season, then left Alabama to go to Florida. He struggled this year: .254/.374/.551 but still hit 20 homers for one of the best teams in the land. In Florida’s final game, a loss to Texas A&M in Omaha, he played SS and batted cleanup. This is a big-time player. Can the team come with 3rd round money ($1M?) to sign him? Maybe; I can’t see an obvious massive over-slot guy anywhere else here, and I suspect they’re saving at least that amount off their 1st rounder.

We’ll do a draft class recap post later this week, summarizing.

Written by Todd Boss

July 17th, 2024 at 9:24 am

Posted in Draft,Prospects

2024 Draft Day Two Analysis


Kevin Bazzell becomes our highest pick of day 2 and can play C or 3B.  Photo via Sports Illustrated

Here’s a quick recap with some thoughts on day 2 of the 2024 MLB Draft, rounds 3-10.

To recap, we picked a college SS/3B, then a college C, then a prep SS with our three day 1 picks.

Reminder: Draft tracking Links

  • MLB Draft Tracker: updated for first 10 slots with all the info for our draftees plus Twitter accounts.
  • List of all Slot values for 2024
  • The Nats Draft Tracker master XLS, which I’m building out for 2024 as we go. With the trade we just made, our bonus pool is 13,895,100, but with the 5% buffer we can go up to 14,589,855 on our first 10 picks and 11th-20th rounders who get more than $150k.

Reminder: Draft Rankings

3rd Round, 79th Overall: Nats take Kevin Bazzell, a College Jr Catcher/3B from Texas Tech.

Ranks by major shops: BA=68, ESPN=59, MLBpipeline=55, Law=35, Fangraphs=63

So, we picked a college catcher in round 2 who was actually ranked BELOW the college catcher we drafted in round 3. Interesting. A couple of the pundits (Law included) really like Bazzell, giving him a 60 hit tool. A 60 hit tool behind the plate has aspirations to Joe Mauer, and (true to Nats form lately) Bazzell also played 3B a lot this year. Despite having mononucleosis earlier this spring he still slashed .306/.401/.473.

Makes me wonder if Lomavita was underslot and Bazzell is over slot?

4th round, 108 overall: Jackson Kent, a LHP starter college Jr from University of Arizona.

Ranks by major shops: BA=138, ESPN=144, MLBpipeline=136, Law=unranked, Fangraphs=unranked, P1500=170,

Finally, we get a pitcher for our pitching starved system, but somehow Kent seems underwhelming. A lefty who posted kind of middle of the road numbers this year (4.08 era, 1.28 whip, about a hit an inning, about a K an inning, .253 BAA) as Arizona’s Friday night starter/ace. His game log from 2024 was rather interesting: his first 11 starts were pristine; almost all quality starts or close to it, a bunch of 6ip-1r type affairs, then his last four starts he got hit hard; gave up 5 in 4 2/3 against Stanford, 5 in 6ip against Utah, 5 in 3IP against Oregon State, and then 7 in 5ip against Cal.

His late season slump was bad enough that Arizona, who was a regional host/top 16 seed, didn’t even use him in the post season as they went 2-and-out. Usually such a wild turnaround indicates injury, but none was reported. Nonetheless, the Jackson Kent of the first 11 starts (2.47 ERA) is obviously the guy we want.

5th round, 141 overall: Randal Diaz, a college Jr SS from Indiana State by way of Puerto Rico.

Ranks: not ranked by anyone

Very little to go on here, other than scouting the stat line. He looked great for a CWS team this year, slashing .360/.437/.632 as a middle infielder with 18 homers. He batted leadoff and played SS and definitely contributed in the CWS regional as they made the regional final before falling to Kentucky.

Is this an under-slot signing? Probably; there’s still top prospects on the board and he’s well off. But, I like what we see here as a sneaky productive possible under-slot player. Interestingly, he had entered the transfer portal after Indiana State’s coach left just after the season ended to take the South Florida job. This likely makes him that much more signable/amenable to go pro.

6th round: 170 overall: Davian Garcia, a college junior RHP from Florida gulf Coast.

Ranks: unranked by all shops

Another unranked draftee likely also means underslot deal. Delving into his numbers this year at FGCU, he started in the bullpen and rose to be their ace starter by season’s end. He ended the year with a 3.03 ERA, 1.21 whip, and 71/20 K/BB in 59IP. 98 on the gun, with good spin and off-speed metrics apparently. I don’t love his mechanics (super inverted W with shoulder subluxation) and he’s kind of wirey/undersized, which screams a) injury and b) reliever, but you can’t teach velocity.

7th round: 200 overall: Robert Cranz, college junior RHP reliever from Oklahoma State.

Ranks: unranked

Another round, another arm, which is good to see. And we return to fertile scouting ground for this team: Oklahoma colleges. Cranz worked out of Oklahoma State’s bullpen this year with stellar results: 1.63 ERA, 0.77 whip, a .153 BAA. Great looking stats. Prior to OK State, he pitched two years at Wichita State. Not much out there on him. He came out of Keller HS in the Houston area, a baseball factory.

Is he destined for the pen in pro ball? Not necessarily; this team turned Brad Lord from a senior sign college reliever into a starter in AAA in two years. It’s not like these guys forgot how to throw 6 innings.

8th round: 230 overall: Sam Petersen, OF College Junior from Iowa

Ranks by major shops: BA=184, ESPN=205, MLBpipeline=205, P1500=209

So, in the 8th they get a guy who fell a bit (was 5th round projection perhaps) who seems to be a speedy OF type with great pace and solid SB numbers. He was hurt most of this season, so I wonder what kind of signability he has here.

9th Round: 260 Overall: Jackson Ross, a 5th year senior/grad corner 1B/OF from Ole Miss

The first obvious senior sign/$10k bonus candidate is Jackson Ross, who started every game for the team and showed some positional flexibility. He played 1B, LF, RF and DH’d this year. He was a middle of the order bat for the team, showed some power, decent OBP. He played his first few years at Florida Atlantic. Should be a $10k or $20k signer and may provide some veteran leadership not unlike what Gavin Dugas has done so far.

10th round: 290 overall: Luke Johnson, a college senior RHP starter from UMBC

Johnson was a weekend starter for traditional baseball powerhouse UMBC this year. His numbers weren’t as great this year, but last year he had a sub 3.00 ERA. Interestingly, he’s the very first player from Maryland to get picked this year (and as it turned out, the SOLE player from Maryland for the draft), with a down year from the University of Maryland and no prep prospects to speak of.

With all due respect to Johnson, this is the epitome of a slot savings pick, and should sign for $10k or so.

Draft summary so far:

6 position, 4 arms. 2 college catchers, the rest SS and guys who can slot in at multiple positions. The arms don’t look half bad.

2 Obvious slot savings picks at 9 & 10, maybe a couple others in the 5-7th range. But who are they saving money for? Is the prep SS from New Jersey going to cost that much? Maybe they have their eye on an 11th rounder that will go 7-figures.

hate to say it, but i’m not really that impressed with this class. Maybe the Seaver King pick has disappointed me from getting excited here.

Written by Todd Boss

July 15th, 2024 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Draft,Prospects

2024 Day One Draft Reaction – Seaver King!?


Here’s my quick take on Nats Day 1 picks (1st, 1st-comp, and 2nd rounders)

First: Important Draft Links

  • MLB Draft Tracker
  • List of all Slot values for 2024
  • The Nats Draft Tracker master XLS, which I’m building out for 2024 as we go. With the trade we just made, our bonus pool is 13,895,100, but with the 5% buffer we can go up to 14,589,855 on our first 10 picks and 11th-20th rounders who get more than $150k.

Also, Here’s all the main pundit Draft Ranks with Scouting Reports; here’s links to the leading pundits out there with their Draft Boards (not Mocks) which usually have click-through scouting reports.

I’ll use some of these links to show where each guy we pick landed on the various boards to indicate whether it was a reach or a steal.

1st Round, 10th Overall: Nats take Seaver King, a College Junior SS from Wake Forest.

Ranks by major shops: BA=17, ESPN=16, MLBpipeline=17, Law=17, Fangraphs=11. SportingNews=11. Others generally in the 17-19 range.

So, the Nats at #10 have Bryce Rainer AND Braden Montgomery on the board dropping to them after both being mocked as high as the top 5 all month, and they reach down past even where Yesevage was projecting to go to pick Seaver King, a D2 transfer to Wake who has been creeping up draft boards ever since he slashed .424/.479/.542 with wood on the Cape last year.

I’ll point out that Seaver King did not appear in a SINGLE MOCK draft in the top 10 that I can recall, nor was he ever associated with a Nats pick at #10. This is coming out of LF for sure. To me, this smells like an under-slot deal (slot value for 1-10 is $5.9M) so that the team, who now owns the #39 and #44, might be able to save $1.5M or so (the difference between 10th overall and 17th overall, which is probably where he was expecting to go) and throw it at one of their next two picks to make it look like a mid-1st rounder.

Back to King: he played CF, SS, 3B, and 2B in that order this year, has positional flexibility, can absolutely hit both with metal and with wood (Slash line at Wake Forest this year: .308/.377/.577), has some speed and some power. I bet the Nats like him b/c he can play a bunch of different positions.

What do I think? I would rather have taken Montgomery. Maybe they were spooked by the injury. I wasn’t really on Tibbs as much as Moore (who went a couple picks earlier), and Yesevage would have been a reach (he went 20th overall). So. Lets see who they pick in the next two rounds.

1st round Comp round, #39 overall: Caleb Lomavita, a College Junior C from Cal-Berkeley.

Ranks by major shops: BA=18, ESPN=24, MLBpipeline=33, Law=46, Fangraphs=43. SportingNews=35

Interesting range of ranks from the shops, especially BA at #18 and Law at 46 as extremes.

So, three picks before ours, MLB’s best available included Brody Becht and Tommy White, both of whom got mid-1st round buzz throughout the spring. In fact, the very first mocks we saw all had White going to Nats at #10 under the guise of “Mike Rizzo loves the famous guys.” Well, White had a crummy spring, which knocked him down to being available at #39, and Becht got popped one pick beforehand, so the Nats went with the Catcher Lomavita. We don’t have a ton of depth at the position and there’s definitely concerns about Kiebert Ruiz right now despite the contract we gave him (he’s slashing .224/.260/.333 this year). We say it over and over; you don’t draft for need, but here’s the Nationals Catching depth chart right now:

  • MLB: Ruiz & Adams, neither of whom can hit
  • AAA: Millas, Lindsley (a 10k senior sign), Gonzalez (an NDFA who spends most of his time on the Dev list).
  • AA: Pineda (already outrighted), Vega (boucning around like an org guy), Stubbs (2024 MLFA)
  • High-A: Romero (hitting .168 this year), Suggs (an NDFA hitting .202), Diaz (2024 BA: .116).
  • Low-A: Colomenares (.197), Farmer (22 NDFA hitting .186), Rombach (just promoted from FCL)
  • Rookie: three 18yr olds from the DR
  • DSL: three 17yr olds we signed in January

So, yeah, we need catching depth. Badly. The scouting reports aren’t great, he’s undersized and has some mechanical issues, but he’s definitely a college catcher and will stay there. Maybe we put him at Low-A to start, move Rombach up since nobody at Wilmington can hit, and see what happens.

2nd round #44 overall: Luke Dickerson, Prep SS from Morris Knolls HS (NJ).

Ranks by major shops: BA=56, ESPN=77, MLBpipeline=49, Law=59, Fangraphs 100+. SportingNews=36

It’s possible some bonus dollars will go to buy Dickerson out of his UVA commitment, but they probably don’t need THAT much. The slot value is $2.1M. The pundits said he was getting 1st round buzz, and he was certainly a helium prospect this year. 6′ shortstop who is offense over defense, may project more like a 2B or a CF, but has serious athleticism. Not only is he a top baseball prospect, but he also helped his HS team win the state Ice Hockey championship this year. Interesting sport combo.

An interesting pick; not sure who was exactly available at this point who might have made more sense. A slew of college arms went right after him. One thing that seems to stand out is his positional flexibility; he’s an athlete enough to move around the dirt, or play the OF with his speed.

Day 1: A solid college SS, a college C, and a prep SS. We’re a long way from drafting pitcher after pitcher.

Written by Todd Boss

July 14th, 2024 at 10:48 pm

Posted in Draft,Prospects

2024 Draft Coverage – Final Mocks and still a ton of questions


Konnor Griffen seems more and more likely to end up a Nat. Photo via Mississippi Scoreboard

We’ve published a couple of Mock draft collections so far, and as we get closer to the draft we’re starting to see some solidification at the top. We’re now past the CWS, past the draft combine, and we’re getting close. These mocks run from late June all the way to the eve of the draft … where we got some decent consolidation of predictions.

We’re starting to see some new names slipping into the 8-10 range of this draft. We’ve gone from it being a “9-man draft” to a collection of 10-12 players who seem to be fitting. Those players are (in rough order of draft rank), with some commentary on each pick based on post-season performances:

  • Charlie Condon: 3B/OF, University of Georgia: monster regional, then wasn’t that impressive in the super regionals. Mostly 1-1 on boards, but CW is that he’ll go 1-2 or 1-3 so that Cleveland can save some money at the top.
  • Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State; so-so post-season doesn’t seem to be hurting his 1-1 chances, given that he’ll sign for a lot less than Condon.
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP Florida; Just blew up at the plate all post-season, really impressed. Also solidified his lack of ability on the mound.
  • Nick Kurtz, 1B Wake Forest: almost no impact in the post-season.
  • Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M; broke his ankle in a weird running play, missing his team’s run to the final. Was top 5, now likely drops.
  • Hagen Smith, LHP starter, Arkansas: final start wasn’t great in the regionals.
  • Chase Burns, RHP starter, Wake Forest; got out-pitched by Yesevage in his last start, and now
  • J.J. Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia; poor regional but may sneak into top 5.
  • Konnor Griffin, SS/CF, Jackson Prep (Flowood, Miss.); skipped MLB draft combine.
  • Bryce Rainer, SS from Harvard Westlake HS in LA: went to MLB draft combine, showed 96 on the mound, impressed as per reports.
  • James Tibbs, OF Florida State University: a couple of monster post-season games has him sneaking into the top 10 on some boards.
  • Trey Yesevage, RHP, East Carolina: out-pitched Burns in his post-season start, now creeping into the top 10 in some mocks.

If you’d like to see some scouting reports, go to one of these main spots:

Here’s the Mocks from Late June leading up to the draft.

  • MLBpipeline team 6/20/24 mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 take Griffen over Rainey.
  • Sporting News/Edward Suetan 6/20/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 take Rainey over Griffen. quite similar mock to above MLBpipeline one; exact same top 5 in the same order.
  • MLBPipeline/Jim Callis 6/27/24 mock: Bazzana, Caglianone, Condon, Montgomery, Griffin (wow). Nats at #10 get Rainer. In this mock, Kurtz was on the board but the team still took the prep SS.
  • Baseball America/Carlos Collazo Mock v5.0 7/1/24: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats at #10 take Griffen over Kurtz and Tibbs.
  • CBSsports/Mike Axisa 7/3/24 mock: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats at #10 get Montgomery, who falls with the injury and an early pick of Yesevage in his mock. They leave Griffen, Moore, Tibbs, and Kurtz on the table.
  • MLBpipeline/Mayo 7/5/24 mock: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Montgomery, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 get Rainer.
  • ESPN Staff Mock 7/5/24: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Smith, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 take the power hitting Christian Moore 2B, Tennessee, over Rainer, which I don’t think is reasonable. I sense this “staff mock” is more about the staff guys doing a draft rankings versus the proclivities of what these teams would take. But, Moore, if the Nats take him, was a beast all year and, even though he’s 2B limited, could probably feature at 3B if he’s a 2B now. If he could hit in pros like he’s hit in college, look out.
  • Bleacherreport/Joel Reuter 7/7/24 mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 go Yesevage. In this mock, the two prep SS both go high, as does Montgomery, so Nats take Yesevage over Moore, Kurtz, Tibbs.
  • The Athletic/Keith Law’s mock 3.0 7/10/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Kurtz, Caglianone. Nats at #10 take Yesevage over Griffen.
  • Fangraphs/Longenhagen Mock draft v1.0 7/11/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Montgomery, Caglianone. Nats at #10 take Griffen and Yesevage slips to #15.
  • MLBPipeline/Jim Callis Mock 7/11/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Kurtz, Caglianone. Nats get Rainer, who isn’t taken earlier like in other mocks above us.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel mock 3.0 7/11/24: Wetherholt, Caglianone, Condon, Bazzana, Griffen. Nats take Tibbs over Kurtz or Yesevage here, in a very weird mock with different names than most anyone else.
  • Sporting News/Eduard Sutelan mock 7/11/24: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats at 10 get Rainer. In a fun one, they have 3 full rounds of mocks: they have Nats taking local guy Griff O’Ferrall, SS, Virginia in the 2nd and Sawyer Farr, SS, Boswell (TX) in the third. So that’d be 3 short stops in a row.
  • Baseball America Mock 6.0 7/11/24: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats take Kurtz as BPA after both prep SS gone, but still too early for Yesevage.
  • CBSsports/Mike Axisa 7/13/24 mock: Bazzana, Condon, Smith, Montgomery, Caglianone. Nats go Griffen after Rainer taken early, but Yesevage and Kurtz still on board. I’m not sure I agree with his order here, having Wetherholt falling out of top 5 and Montgomery going so high.
  • D1Baseball final mock 7/13/24: Wetherhold, Bazzana, Burns, Condon, Caglianone. nats take Montgomery after both prep SS are picked ahead. This does not seem credible; Condon is not falling out of the top 2.
  • BleacherReport/ Joel Reuter’s final mock 7/13/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Montgomery, Caglianone. nats at 10 take Yesevage over Griffen. I’d take this.
  • ESPN/KIley McDaniel mock 3.0 7/13/24: Wetherholt, Caglianone, Condon, Bazzana, Griffen. nats take Tibbs over Kurtz, Yesevage. Would be hard to believe this top 5 and this Nats pick happen.

I may have missed a couple, but there’s been so many in the last couple days its hard to keep up.

After all these Mocks, what do I think top 5 is?

I think the top 5 will go:

  1. Bazzana: I think Cleveland gets significant cost savings over what Condon wants by taking Bazzana here (probably $1M), which will let them buy a prep kid in the 3rd round who has slipped (similar to what we did with Sykora last year). They take Bazzana and his superior hit tool over Wetherholt and his health issues.
  2. Condon: he probably goes for near slot here ($9.7M). He won’t slip past here.
  3. Burns: Colorado can’t get FAs pitchers to come there, so they have to breed pitchers, so taking the best available arm makes sense here. Burns has slightly better stuff and less injury history than Smith.
  4. Any one of Wetherholt/Montgomery/Kurtz/Bazzana: Oakland is always a wild-card team in the draft and could pivot, but it seems like it’ll be one of these four guys depending on wh goes 1-1.
  5. Chicago: Caglianone. this seems like a lock.

So, 4 of the first 5 seem to be consensus, with only Oakland as a wildcard.

After all these Mocks, who do I think the Nats will take?

Its a draft like this where I honestly wish MLB teams could trade draft picks. Because I think the Nats might find themselves wanting a guy like Yesevage (or, ahem Tommy White) who might go later in the 1st round but if they pick him at 10 they’ll overpay. I mean, if they could trade down 3-4 picks, pick up an extra 2nd or 3rd rounder, and then pick Yesevage … in an old-school NFL-style trade, wouldn’t you be for that? We can only wish.

That being said, I hate to say it, but i think we’ll end up with a prep SS and not a college player. It will either be Rainer or Griffen. It seems like it’ll be Griffen, since Rainey seems to be getting popped a bit earlier. If Montgomery falls due to his health, i’d be ecstatic. If Kurtz falls b/c he’s 1B only and the Nats take him, i’ll be upset. If they surprise and take Tibbs or Moore, I wouldn’t hate it. If Kurtz is there, and they take him versus Yesevage… i’ll be upset. If both Rainer and Griffen are off the board at #10, it means that someone like Kurtz or Montgomery is there for the taking.

If it was me? I’m taking Yesevage. I don’t care if he’s 13-14th on the board, i don’t care that he “only” pitched for ECU. He’s polished, healthy, no mechanical issues, 3 pitches, throws strikes, performed on the big stage at CWS playoffs. However all the pundits keep talking about how 1) the Nats new player evaluation staff is more prep friendly and 2) they scouted the hell out of Griffen and Rainer this year.

Written by Todd Boss

July 13th, 2024 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Draft,Prospects

2024 Draft Coverage – Next Group of Mock Drafts


Konnor Griffen is looking like a popular pick to mock to the Nats at #10. Photo via Mississippi Scoreboard

Instead of sitting on a massive mock draft post this year, I published the first cut of mocks to show how the top 5 and our thinking at #10 have morphed from mid 2023 until about mid May 2024. This post has basically mid May to Mid June, as a slew of mocks have just come out in the last couple of days that show some crystallization of moves post D1 playoffs.

As most pundits point out, this is basically a 9-10 person draft. Those 10 players are (in rough order of draft rank):

  • Charlie Condon: 3B/OF, University of Georgia
  • Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP Florida
  • Nick Kurtz, 1B Wake Forest
  • Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M
  • Hagen Smith, LHP starter, Arkansas
  • Chase Burns, RHP starter, Wake Forest
  • J.J. Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia
  • Konnor Griffin, SS/CF, Jackson Prep (Flowood, Miss.)
  • Bryce Rainer, SS from Harvard Westlake HS in LA
  • James Tibbs, OF Florida State University (he’s now creeping into the top 10 in a lot of mocks)

If you’d like to see some scouting reports, go to one of these main spots:

Here’s some mock draft links starting from Mid May to Mid June.

  • USAToday/Jack McKessy Mock 5/22/24: no original analysis; he’s aggregating others.
  • MLBPipeline’s Odds of going #1 5/23/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Smith. This isn’t a mock as much as it is analysis of the 4-5 players who might go 1-1.
  • Kiley McDaniel/ESPN Mock Draft 1.0 5/29/24: Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone, Smith. Burns takes a big rise up here from other mocks. Nats at #10 get Rainer, as McDaniel predicted earlier in the month. Yesevage falls to #15, White at #27 to Philly, which, honestly, would make a ton of sense and he’d seemingly fit right into that clubhouse.
  • Bleacher Report/Joel Reuter Mock 3.0 5/30/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Griffen. Nats at #10 get Wetherholt who has slipped to them in this sequence of events. Wetherholt at #10 would be a steal, a guy who started the cycle in the conversation for 1-1. I’d take this outcome.
  • MLBPipeline/Jonathan Mayo 5/30/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Montgomery, Caglianone. A run on college talent at the top leaves the Nats at #10 with the last “big 9” name in Griffin, as Yesevage drops to #15.
  • Baseball America Mock Draft v3.0 5/31/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 grab Griffen over Yesavage. We’ve definitely seen a shift in the industry; nearly every major pundit now has Bazzana going 1 over Condon, probably in a cost savings move.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel Mini-Mock 5/31/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Smith. Nats at #10project to Rainer. This is turning into a common theme: Bazzana over Condon despite Condon being the higher-ranked talent, and Nats picking the prep SS. However, in this mock the Nats would be leaving both Yesevage and Wetherholt on the table, and I don’t think they leave Wetherholt on the table.
  • CBSSports/Mike Axisa mock 6/13/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Kurtz, Smith. Nats take Griffin over Yesevage and Rainer (Tibbs sneaks into top 10).
  • SBNation/Mark Schofield 6/14/24 mock: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Burns, Smith. Nats at #10 take Griffin over Rainer, Tibbs, Yesevage.
  • MLPPipeline/Jonathan Mayo Mock 6/14/24: Bazzana, Burns, Condon, Montgomery, Caglianone. Nats at #10 get Rainer, who they continue to have the nats on.
  • BA Mock Draft v4.0 6/17/24: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats at #10 get Kurtz, who’s fallen behind both prep bats.
  • Sporting News/Edward Suteland 6/15/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 take Rainer. This mock interestingly has Florida State OF slugger James Tibbs sneaking into the top 10, maybe on the huge performance he’s had in the post season.
  • CBSsports/RJ Anderson 6/18/24 odds of going #1: Bazzana, Condon, Wetherholt, Caglianone, Burns. Only did a top 5.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel 6/19/24 Mock 2.0: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Very contrarian top 5, considering many others have Bazzana nowhere else besides #1 or #2. Nats at #10 take Griffen, even though in this mock Kurtz is still on the board (who he has going 13th!). Kiley predicts into the 2nd round and has us taking a duke LHP named Santucci in the second.
  • Athletic/Keith Law 6/19/24 Mock 2.0: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Kurtz, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 get Montgomery, who falls b/c of his injury with memories of the way Rendon fell to us. They leave Griffin and Yesevage on the board.

Here’s the collection of Draft Ranking lists from Mid May leading upto the draft.

NOTE: there’s a difference between a Mock draft and a Draft board Ranking. Mocks take into account a thought process as to what a team might do, and includes the value-add of the networking and intelligence the writers have. So, keep that in mind when reading Ranks versus Mocks here. I’ll pull out all these Draft Ranks again when we do 2024 draft recaps to show where our draftees rank.

  • Kiley McDaniel/ESPN Top 100 Draft Ranks 5/8/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Smith. Nats at 10 take Bryce Rainer, a SS from Harvard Westlake.
  • Keith Law Top 100 Draft Ranks 5/22/24: Condon, Bazzana, Kurtz, Wetherholt, Montgomery. If the draft went chalk to his rankings, at #10 we’d have Caglianone. Honestly, while Caglianone is certainly famous and many think he’s going to try the Ohtani two-way route, most scouting reports put him as hitter-only, which means he’s 1B limited with huge power but also huge swing and miss concerns. I’d rather have an arm. In his ranks, Burns and Smith go ahead, but Yesavage goes right behind.
  • ProspectsLive Draft top 300 ranks 5/29/24: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Montgomery, Smith. Coming in ranked 10th is Yesevage, right above Rainer.
  • MLBpipeline top 200 Draft ranks 5/30/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Burns. #10 is Rainer, #11 is Yesevage, so they’re consistent with other ranks.
  • Baseball America top 500 Draft Ranks 5/31/24: Condon, Bazzana, Burns, Wetherholt, Montgomery. Rainer comes in ranked 10th.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel top 150+ ranks 5/31/24: Condon, Bazzana, Montgomery, Smith, Caglianone. 10th ranked is Wetherholt.
  • CBSSports/RJ Anderson 6/14/24 Draft Rankings: Condon, Bazzana, Burns, Kurtz, Caglianone. Ranked 10th is the Florida State slugger James Tibbs III, the first time we’ve heard his name in this series but certainly not the first time we’ve written about him after he dominated in the Super Regionals.

So, what do I think will happen with the Nats pick? Right now it really seems like we’ll take one of the two prep shortstops. I’d love it if one of the college guys fell down. Not sure what I think about Montgomery yet.

Written by Todd Boss

June 19th, 2024 at 8:50 am

Posted in Draft,Prospects

2024 CWS Coverage – Regional Recap and Super Regional Preview


The busiest weekend in Baseball has past; here’s a run down of the opening weekend of the College Baseball playoffs.

Resource links to help with this:

Quick Regional Recaps of the 16 regional action, ordered by National Seed super Regional matchup. that means, the pairs of regionals being reviewed (#1 Tennessee regional and #16 East Carolina regional) will determine that Super Regional. The eventual winning team is bolded.

  • #1 Tennessee Regional Recap: top overall seed Tennessee won their first two games without much fan fare to move to Sunday’s regional final. They cruised to the regional win by crushing Southern Miss in the regional final.
  • #16 East Carolina Regional Recap: this regional didn’t go anywhere close to the way people expected, with both top seeds ECU and Wake Forest losing to unheralded teams to open. This left us with Yesevage vs Burns in a loser’s bracket game unexpectedly, one where Yesevage outpitched his higher-ranked 2024 draft prospect to shockingly eliminate Wake Forest and its three-projected 1st round players 2-and-out. Meanwhile, #4 regional seed Evansville outslugged VCU to take control of the regional. ECU won twice on Sunday, including a 19-6 blitzing of Evansville to force the Monday winner-take-all game Monday, but Evansville held on to win 6-5 and move on as the rare 4th regional seed.
  • #8 Florida State Regional Recap: FSU held serve as expected, while Alabama shockingly went 2-and-out. In the final, Florida State won a winner’s bracket rematch against state-rival UCF to move on. They’ll host a super regional next weekend as a top 8 seed.
  • #9 Oklahoma Regional Recap: Host Oklahoma was shocked by #3 seed UConn and had to drop to the loser’s bracket, but they came back out and topped UConn late Sunday to force the Monday game. In that final, UConn showed up and Okla did not, winning 7-1 for the big upset.
  • #5 Arkansas Regional Recap: Arkansas was edged by unheralded Kansas State in the winner’s bracket, then went out meekly to Southwest Missouri State to become the first top=8 seed to lose. Kansas State took control and advanced to the Super Regionals without losing a game.
  • #12: Virginia Regional Recap: Virginia ground out close wins to advance to the winner’s bracket final, then dominated #2 regional seed Mississippi State to become the first team to advance to the super Regionals. They’ll have a great shot at hosting there too, thanks to Arkansas’ upset.
  • #13 Arizona Regional Recap: Host Arizona unsurprisingly went 2-and-out as the least-deserving host as West Virginia (led by 1-1 draft candidate Wetherholt) cruised into the regional final. West Virginia wasn’t really threatened the whole weekend and dumped Grand Canyon in the final to move on.
  • #4 North Carolina Regional Recap: UNC controlled red-hot LSU to get to the regional final, but the defending CWS champs would not go quietly, winning Sunday night to force the winner-take-all Monday game. In the final, in just an amazing game, UNC tied it in the 9th and won it in the 10th to oust LSU.

And, the eventual CWS Bottom Half:

  • #3 Texas A&M Regional Recap: TAMU edged its long-time rival Texas to take control of the regional, then completed a clean sweep of all three teams in the regional by finishing off Louisiana to advance.
  • #14 UC Santa Barbara Regional Recap: Oregon got a win over host UCSB to take control of the regional, then blanked them again to upset the Big West champs and move on.
  • #11 Oklahoma State Regional Recap: OSU bashed its way to the regional final, shutting down Florida 7-1 in the winner’s bracket. However, Florida came roaring back out of the loser’s bracket, toped OSU to force Monday winner-take-all. In that game, Florida, who many criticized for even being in the tourney, controlled a tight game and topped the hosts to move on.
  • #6 Clemson Regional Recap: The hosts edged Coastal Carolina in the winner’s bracket final to take control early. CCU, who had helped the shocking Vanderbilt team go 2-and-out in the post season at the hands of #4 seed High Point, fought back to the regional final but Clemson controlled them again to advance.
  • #7 Georgia Regional Recap: Host Georgia beat Army and then UNCW to take control of the regional. Georgia Tech had other things in mind though, beating UNCW to force an all-Georgia rivalry game for the super regional spot. The two teams went extras late Sunday Night but Georgia came out on top to advance to a super regional in Athens next weekend.
  • #10 NC State Regional Recap: South Carolina pulled a victory from the hands of defeat against JMU in the opener, but dropped the winner’s bracket win to host NCSU. JMU got its revenge and topped South Carolina to make the regional final, but dropped it 5-3 to the hosts. NC State moves on.
  • #15 Oregon State Regional Recap: Host OSU topped the Anteaters of UC Irvine in the winner’s bracket, and then were leading 6-4 in the 4th against the same team for the regional final when the rain came to push the final a day. On Monday when the game resumed, Oregon State pulled away from Irvine to move on.
  • #2 Kentucky Regional Recap: Kentucky won its first two games easily to move into the regional final. They finished off a neat sweep of its regional rivals and advanced to the super regionals.

Thus, your Super Regionals are ...

  • #1 Tennessee vs Evansville
  • #8 Florida State vs UConn
  • Kansas State vs #12 Virginia
  • #4 UNC vs West Virginia
  • #3 Texas A&M vs Oregon
  • #6 Clemson v Florida
  • #7 Georgia v #10 NC State
  • #2 Kentucky v #15 Oregon State

Stats/Observations of the 16 regionals.

  • 10 out of 16: Seeds/Hosts to advance, 7 of the top 8. So a rather Chalky weekend. The upsets weren’t terribly surprising: Arizona losing as the worst host was no shock, Florida moving on not a huge surprise either.
  • 4 regionals went to Monday extra game: ECU, Oklahoma, UNC, OSU,
  • Conference Breakdown of the 16 advancers: 5 from SEC (TN, TAMU, UGA, KY, Fla), 5 from ACC (FSU, UNC, Clemson, UVA, NC State), 2 from Big12 (KSU, WVA), 2 From Pac12 (Oregon and Oregon State), and 2 from elsewhere (Evansville, UConn). About what we’d expect.
  • Ten #1 seeds, Zero #2 seeds, Five #3 seeds (West Virginia, Kansas State, UConn, Oregon, Florida) and one #4 seed (Evansville) advance. That’s pretty amazing, but then again all these #3 seeds from major conferences were not exactly your typical 3-seeds.

Performance of 1st Round projected players in the Regionals:

Here’s a quick run through just the 1st round projected players who were active, using primarily MLBPipeline’s draft rankings for candidates. They’re listed in rough order of the way they’ll likely go in the 1st round in July.

  • Charlie Condon: 3B/OF, University of Georgia: Batting 2nd and playing 3B this weekend he went 3-3 with a double and a homer and 2 walks in the opener, 0-4 against UNCW in game 2, then 2-3 with 3 walks in game 3. That’s an OBP of 10-16 for the weekend.
  • Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State: from Leadoff spot, he went 2-3 with 2 walks, a solo HR, and 3 runs in game one. 1-4 but with a 2-run HR in game two, 1-4 with a walk in game 3. Not a bad weekend. Power and OBP.
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP Florida: On the mound he threw the opener: 5ip 4ER. At the plate hitting out of the #2 hole he went 1-4 with a HR in the opener, 2-4 with 2 walks, a 2b and another HR in game two, 0-4 in game three with a walk and a run, then 2-3 with a walk and a double in the decider. Not a bad series at the plate.
  • Nick Kurtz, 1B Wake Forest: 0-3 with 2Ks in the opener, 1-4 with 2RBIs in the second game. Very little impact as his team shockingly went 2-and-out.
  • Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M: Hitting 3rd and 4th and playing RF, Montgomery went 3-5 in game one, 1-4 in game 2, then 2-6 with a homer and 4RBI in the decider to earn regional MVP.
  • Hagen Smith, LHP starter, Arkansas: gave up 6 ER in 5 innings in a loss to Kansas State, then watched as his team was exited from the tournament despite being the #5 overall seed.
  • Chase Burns, RHP starter, Wake Forest: Labored through 5 innings (96 pitches) and gave up 4 runs in a no-decision in a highly anticipated matchup with Yesevage.
  • J.J. Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia: leading off and playing SS, in game 1 he went 0-2 with a walk and HBP, 0-4 in game 2, 3-6 in game 3. So, not a great regional.
  • Trey Yesevage, RHP, East Carolina: outpitched fellow 1st rounder Burns in the surprise loser’s bracket meeting between WF and ECU: 7 1/3 innings pitched, 1 hit, 1 run. 6/4 K/BB, 112 pitches. He may have made himself some cash on the weekend, and he’ll get another look next weekend as his team advanced to the Super Regionals.
  • Seaver King 3B/OF Wake Forest: 0-4 in the opener, 1-5 in the second game with a run. Not much.
  • Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State: 0-5 in the opener, 3-4 with a HR in game two, 1-2 with another HR in game 3 batting out of the #2 spot. Showed some power for sure.
  • Tommy White, 3B, LSU: Hitting either #1 or #2: 0-4 in the opener, 2-5 in game 2, 2-5 in game 3, 1-5 in game four, 1-5 in game five. Not a great series.
  • James Tibbs, OF, Florida State: 0-1 with 4BBs in the opener, 0-4 in game two, 0-4 with a walk in Game 3 batting #3 behind Smith. Not a great weekend for Tibbs, but he’ll get another shot next weekend.
  • Carson Benge, OF/RHP, Oklahoma State; as #2 hitter: 1-5 in game1, 2-4 with a HR in game2, 0-4 with three Ks in game3, 1-4 in the decider. He also got the start in game 3 (I didn’t know he was a 2-way player): giving up 5er in 5 innings against Florida.
  • Vance Honeycutt, CF, North Carolina: as leadoff hitter, 0-4 in opener, then 2-4 with HR and 4RBIs in 2nd, 0-5 with 3Ks in game3, 1-4 in the decider. Not very good.
  • Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee: 2-5 in opener, 2-4 with 2 Walks in game 2, 0-4 in game 3 but with 2 walks. Batted Leadoff and was all over the base-paths all weekend.
  • Billy Amick, 3B, Tennessee: 1-3 but with a 3-run HR in the opener, 1-3 with another big HR in game two, 0-5 in game 3. Showed power as the #3 hitter in the lineup.
  • Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State: hit a 3-run homer in the opener that essentially won the game for his team but also had a sombrero of Ks. Went 2-5 against UVA in a losing effort. Went 5-5 against St. Johns in the elimination game. Lastly went 2-4 and drove in his team’s only two runs in a 9-2 loss that eliminated them. Weekend line: 10-19 and playing a massive part in his team’s success.
  • Jurrangelo Cijntje, Switch-Pitcher, Mississippi State: had a decent start against UVA in the winner’s bracket final, going 7 and giving up 4 to keep his team in the game. Not a bad effort.
  • Kaeleen Culpepper, SS, Kansas State: 4-5 with 4R, 4RBI in the opener, 1-4 but with the decisive 3-run HR against Hagen Smith to seal his team’s win against Arkansas, then a 2-3 day with 2 walks in the regional final. 7-12 for the weekend with 5R, 7RBI batting third for his Super Regional team.
  • Jonathan Stantucci, LHP, Duke: has been on the DL for a month and made the Saturday start, but only went 2 innings. He sustained a rib injury in May.

So, Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Montgomery, Yesevage, Moore, Jordan, Culpepper impressed, while Kurtz, HSmith, Burns, King, Wetherholt, Amick, Honeycutt, Benge, and Tommy Tanks White probably cost themselves.

Super Regional predictions: Here’s what i think happens when these heavyweights meetup next weekend:

  • #1 Tennessee over Evansville. #1 overall team versus a 4-seed just happy to be there spells quick doom.
  • #8 Florida State vs UConn: UConn beat Duke handily and then Oklahoma twice, but never had to face the ace of either team by virtue of the way the regional worked out. FSU has better pitching.
  • Kansas State vs #12 Virginia: UVA likely gets the hosting duties here, which gives them a huge leg up and they move on.
  • #4 UNC vs West Virginia. Tough one to call. UNC looked a little vulnerable, but WVU wasn’t exactly challenged in this regional despite being a 3-seed. UNC to move on.
  • #3 Texas A&M vs Oregon: TAMU overpowers Pac12 opposition.
  • #6 Clemson v Florida: Florida has the #1 SoS in the country and gets the upset here.
  • #7 Georgia v #10 NC State; I like NC State’s chances.
  • #2 Kentucky v #15 Oregon State: Kentucky all the way .

Written by Todd Boss

June 4th, 2024 at 9:37 am

Posted in College/CWS,Draft

2024 Draft Coverage: Early mock Drafts


Charlie Condon looks like the 1-1 pick … unless he isn’t. Photo via UGA baseball home page

Its never too early for a mock draft, and so of course the first 2024 mock draft links started popping up basically the day after the 2023 draft ended. I thought I’d throw out the first collection of Mock drafts now, ahead of the real draft scouting season, to show where things started and where they are now.

The Nats pick 10th this coming draft, thanks to the Nats falling into a very specific use case (non-revenue sharing teams cannot have a top-6 pick two years in a row), irrespective of where they finish or where they fall in the lottery, they will pick 10th. See Jim Callis‘s excellent explanation for why this is the case here. As we later found out … the nats actually won the lottery, then got picked again in the top 5, before settling into their 10th spot.

So, with that being said, we’ll try to capture the top 5 picks plus the 10th pick projection for all mocks for 2024 draft, if they go that deep.

Here’s a collection of the early mock drafts to get a sense of who is in the early running for the 1st round next year. We’ll follow this up with another mock collection as we get closer to the July 2024 draft.

  • ProspectsLive way too early 2024 mock 7/13/23: Konnor Griffin, Travis Bazzana, Chase Burns, JJ Wetherhold, Nick Kurtz. Nats at 10 get Florida’s two-way stud Jac Caglianone, which would be an absolute steal here, as we’re going to see later on.
  • Baseball America Dec 2023 post Draft Lottery Mock 12/8/23: Wetherhold, Kurtz, Bazzana, Caglianone, and Mike Sirota. Nats at 10 take Tommy White, slugging 3B from LSU. Would I be happy with White as a pick? I think he can hit … but i don’t think he can field. At all. He’s 1B/DH in the pros.
  • MLBPipeline 12/5/23: Callis and Mayo do a guess post-draft order: Wetherhold, Kurtz, Bazzana, Burns, Caglianone. Nats at 10 take White, as BA predicted.
  • Jim Callis 12/15/23 first mock: Kurtz, Wetherhold, Charlie Condon (who has blown up early D1 season 2024), Caglianone, Bazzana. Nats at #10 get White. I’m sensing a pattern here.
  • Joel Reuter/BleacherReport 12/22/23 Mock 1.0: Wetherhold, Kurtz, Condon, Caglianone, Bazzana. Nats at #10 take Tommy White, the fourth straight mock to take White.
  • Keith Law 3/7/24 top 50 Ranks (not mock): Condon, Caglianone, Bazzana, Wetherhold, Hagen Smith (pitcher from Arkansas who had 17ks in 6ip early spring). #10 is Tommy White, again.
  • Baseball America’s first 2024 mock 3/18/14: Condon, Caglianone, Bazzana, Burns, Smith. Nats at #10 taking Seaver King, SS/OF, Wake Forest. King is a new name we havn’t seen here yet; he played two years in Div-II before jumping to Wake and has made an impression. Tommy White is pushed down 9 picks in this mock due to his 2024 struggles.
  • Joel Reuter/BleacherReport 4/25/24 mock 2.0. Condon, Caglianone, Burns, Braden Montgomery (a switch hitting OF from TAMU who’s blown up in this spring), Bazzana. Nats at #10 take Trey Yesavage, East Carolina’s Friday night starter who’s described as a polished 4-pitch college starter who could zip through the minors and project as a mid-rotation starter. Someone like this would absolutely help the Nats pitching depth.
  • ProspectsLive 2.0 Mock 4/29/24: Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Bazzana, Konnor Griffen, a prep SS/OF who is high in ProspectsLive ranks but nobody else’s. Nats at #10 take Chase Burns in their mock, which i don’t really find credible at this point in Burns’ 2024 season.
  • Jonathan Mayo/MLBpipeline 5/3/24 mock: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Montgomery, Kurtz. Nats at #10 take Burns over Yesevage. White falls to #20
  • Keith Law/the Athletic 5/15/24 Mid-May Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Smith, Kurtz, Caglianone. Law postulates that Cleveland at 1-1 could be looking to shave dollars off the slot value, and they’d thus take Bazzana and save a ton of money, or maybe even a mid-1st rounder to save $4M. At #3 He has Colorado taking best pitcher available. Nats at #10 take Konnor Griffen, the #1 prep player on the board, with a note that says the Nats have a new Scouting Group this year and may take the team in a different direction (aka, younger).
  • Jim Callis/MLBpipeline 5/17/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Montgomery. Nats take at #10 Bryce Rainer, a prep SS from Harvard Westlake (same HS as Lucas Giolito). In Callis’ mock, the top two arms (Smith and Burns) go off just before the Nats pick, but they leave ECU starter Yesavage on the table to take a prep SS. I wouldn’t like this pick, but I give homage to Law’s comment about a change in the scouting department with the Nats.

Analysis at this point:

There hasn’t been a ton of change in the top prospects from July 2023 to May 2024, with the exception of one guy; Condon. For months we’ve talked about Bazzana, Wetherhold, Caglianone, and Kurtz. They’re most of the names mentioned in these top 5s. Condon’s 2024 explosion, combined with the fact that he’s not already mired to 2B (like Wetherhold and Bazzana) gives him a leg up. Caglianone is a 2-way guy, but almost everyone views him as a pro bat. Most of the pundits are saying this is a 9-man draft (awesome, since we draft 10th).

For months, the industry all pretty much assumed at first that the Nats would get LSU’s Tommy White. Boy, I bet White wishes he was in last year’s draft, b/c he would have gone top 10. Now his struggles and his defensive issues have him dropping like a stone. As of this writing 5/4/24 his statline for 2024 doesn’t come anywhere near his 2023 line (.332/.409/.642 this year versus .374/.432/.725 last year). I’m really hoping the Nats go pitching this year, and later mocks have two college arms in Burns and Yesavage falling right into the range where the Nats might take them. Both are Friday starters from big-time teams and have had top 5 projections here and there, and would be great at #10. However, there seems to be a shift in the strategy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up with a prep player.

Written by Todd Boss

May 17th, 2024 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Draft

Final QO Free Agent signs, 2024 Draft Order finalized


Super agent Scott Boras seems to have over-played his hand with his stable of FAs this off-season, leaving them with shorter deals, less guaranteed money, and far too little spring training to get ready. Photo via LA Times.

If you had March 18th for a two-time Cy Young award-winning free agent to sign, then you won the Scott Boras 2024 off-season bingo game. Blake Snell, who had this stat line last year as a 30yr old: 14-9, 2.25 ERA, 1.189 whip, 234/99 K/BB in 180 innings/32 starts, finally signed just a couple weeks before the season starts, virtually guaranteeing that he misses time for his new club San Francisco. He gets a handsome pay day for 2024 on a short-term gig (2yrs/$62M) but fails to secure the long-term deal that he probably expected coming off a Cy Young winning age-30 season, and probably heads back into FA next off-season w/o the qualifying offer dragging him down.

This is a two-part post. One briefly about the draft, then one about the QO in general.

2024 Draft Order. With Snell’s signing, the 2024 draft order is (finally) finalized. The Giants give up a 3rd rounder to sign Snell, and with it barring any additional last minute penalties we know how things are going. Here’s a link to the 2024 Draft order worksheet (with sources and past years all in the same place), showing the original order and how the various teams picked up or lost picks. Quick summary of movement:

  • Arizona, Baltimore: got supp-1st picks for having top-performing rookies
  • Minnesota, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto, and Sandiego: picked up picks at various points for losing QO-attached FAs.
  • St Louis, San Francisco, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston: lost picks for signing the same QO-affiliated guys.

The Nats started with the #10 overall, then #48, #88, #118, #148 and so on. After all the movement, we now sit with #10, #44, #79, #108, #140, #169, #199 and so on. So we improved 4 spots in our 2nd rounder, 9 spots for our third rounder, 10 spots for the 4th rounder, and 9 spots for each round going forward.

Qualifying Offer recap for 2023 off-season

Ever since the Qualifying Offer system was introduced in 2012, i’ve hyper-tracked the players who have gotten tagged with them to gauge impact to their free agency. Here’s a Link to my Qualifying Offer Tracking xls. This past off season saw a massive drop in spending from teams, as typical big-money spenders sat out the off-season, were already maxed out and sitting at luxury tax penalties, or had serious revenue concerns with all the RSN issues we’ve been having. However, we also saw that Boras’ three QO-tagged agents sit and wait for months into the off-season before signing.

  • Cody Bellinger: didn’t sign until 2/24 for 3yrs/$80M
  • Matt Chapman: didn’t sign until 3/3 for 3yrs/$54M
  • Snell as discussed; didn’t sign until 3/18 for 2yrs/$62M

As others have pointed out, that’s less guaranteed money for those three guys than some guys got by themselves this off-season. None of them get the kind of 9-figure career-setting payday they probably wanted, but at least all three get opt-outs in case they blow up 2024 to try it again.

Snell therefore is the first QO-assigned player who I think was really hampered by the tag in years. When it first came out, several mid-level free agents took the QO confidently thinking they’d get t heir money like they always did, and got hurt by it. In fact, probably the worst example of the QO screwing a player involved one of our own, Ian Desmond, who declined a 1yr $15.8M deal but couldn’t find anything on the market and ended up taking a 1yr $8M deal three weeks into spring training that year. Now, Desmond eventually got paid by Colorado in a weird contract that turned out to be awful for the team, and of course all these guys are millionaires, so i’m not crying too much for them, but this analysis is more about players getting (or not getting) their worth.

The two sides had their chance to get rid of the QO, but bailed on it in the last CBA negotiations because the owners tied an International Draft to it, which is kind of ridiculous on both sides. QOs impact just a handful of the 1200 union members every year … and owners are just being stupidly short-sighted if they demand an international draft so that they can save a couple million dollars a year. But that’s a topic for another day.

At least these QO Boras clients can go into next off-season knowing they can’t get the offer again, which will free up their markets considerably.

Written by Todd Boss

March 19th, 2024 at 11:32 am

How often to top 10 round drafted players fail to sign, and is it ever a good idea?

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Brandon Sproat rolled the dice more than once by spurning top 10 round dollars and came out ahead. He’s a rare case.

The 2023 draft class signing bonus came and went with very little fan fare in terms of players not signing or threatening not to sign. Top 5 pick Walter Jenkins didn’t sign until the deadline day, but otherwise most significant names officially signed within a few days of being drafted. This is in pretty stark contrast to the “old days,” when players and teams would negotiate up until the midnight deadline year after year, and teams/fans were left wondering what was going on.

Why the change now? In the old days, teams/agents didn’t want deals announced until the very last second so as to prevent OTHER teams/players from using that information as leverage during negotiations on bonus figures that were, basically, unregulated. So, now its a huge shock when players don’t sign, especially high profile players.

A comment/question came up in the pre-draft comments, wondering about how frequently players don’t sign now if drafted in the top 10, so I dug up an old post, updated it for the last few years, and here it is. So, how infrequently does it happen now?

Lets take a look. Here’s a summary of the 11 years of players who were drafted but did not sign from the top 10 rounds.  This analysis goes back to 2012, since that’s the beginning of the new draft rules.

  • 2023: 1
  • 2022: 3
  • 2021: 3
  • 2020: 0 (covid 5-round draft)
  • 2019: 2
  • 2018: 4 (all 1st or supp-1st rounders)
  • 2017: 3
  • 2016: 2
  • 2015: 6
  • 2014: 6 (two of which were Nats picks: Andrew Suarez and Austin Byler in that ill-fated draft class, and one more who didn’t sign thanks to Houston’s screwing up the Brady Aiken deal and who was eventually granted free agency).
  • 2013: 8
  • 2012: 8

Just 46 total players picked in the top 10 rounds in the last 11 drafts failed to sign. That’s out of nearly 4,000 players picked in that time, a pretty small percentage.

Here’s the better question: did these players make major mistakes by NOT signing and taking the money?

Its a common refrain among pundits in the amateur baseball world (Keith Law in particular) that HS players should “take the money” if they’re drafted high enough.   Certainly any first rounder would be a fool to turn away that kind of money, and mostly any prep player offered something in the upper 6 figure range should give serious consideration.  MLB contracts generally include college tuition … so even if you sign out of HS you still have 4 years fully paid for in case you wash out.  So instead of gambling on your health, or the fickleness of the baseball draft (where one bad start can cost you 30 spots in the draft and millions of dollars), take the cash when its offered.

But, don’t take our word for it.  Lets look at the empirical evidence of every player over past drafts who has forgone the cash to see if there’s any trends.

So, why do pundits say that you should always take the money?  Well, lets ask ourselves: out of these players who didn’t sign.. who actually IMPROVED their draft status by not signing?  Lets go year by year and look at the players who failed to sign.

(a caveat here: I did not look at the dollar amounts in every case; this is basically draft round analysis.  Its possible that a 5th rounder in one year went in the 8th the next and got offered more money … but its quite rare with the new draft rules and bonus pools.  Everything changed with the new CBA that went into effect in 2012).

2023: 1: just one player out of the 314 players selected in the top 10 rounds failed to sign.

  • Caden Kendle, a Jr OF from UC-Irvine taken in the 10th round by St. Louis. He apparently agreed to a $175k bonus (around 10k over slot), but then had a change of heart and decided to go back to school for his senior season.

Verdict: While its clearly too early to tell if Kendle made a “mistake” here, the fact that he was offered $175k and he can sign for $150k in any round north of 10 and not have it count basically means he has almost no “risk” by going back to school. At worst he’ll fail to be drafted and can take a NDFA $20k deal next year after graduating. Most of this analysis is judging the opportunity cost of passing on signing bonuses in the 7-figure range.

2022: Just three players failed to sign in the 2022 draft’s top 10 rounds.

  • Nolan McLean, a draft-eligible sophomore two-way player from Oklahoma State (RHP and 3B) who was picked by the Orioles at the top of the 3rd round. Baltimore found an issue in his medicals, so McLean went back to school. Slot bonus figure: $794k. Its unclear what bonus figure they agreed upon. McLean went back to school, and was picked again in the 3rd round in 2023, dropping 10 slots and signing for $747K with the Mets.
  • Brandon Sproat, a RHP sophomore from Florida, failed to sign with the Mets as a 3rd rounder (slot value $691k) for reasons unknown. He went back to school, then (amazingly) agreed to a re-draft by the Mets in 2023, who picked him in the 2nd round and signed him for $1.47M. Sproat also appears later on in this post because he refused to sign out of HS as well.
  • Brock Rodden, a 2B junior from Wichita State, failed to sign as a 10th rounder with Oakland (slot value: $151.3k). He went back to school, got drafted as a 5th rounder in 2023 and signed for $200k.

Verdict: McLean was not penalized for not signing, but it wasn’t really his choice since the team reneged. Sproat more than doubled his bonus offer from last year, and Rodden improved his by likely 25%. So, all three guys “worked out” in the end.

2021: 3 players did not sign from the top 10 rounds:

  • Kumar Rocker, RHP Vanderbilt, in a well publicized blow-up, the Mets drafted Rocker 10th overall and made a huge splash announcing a $6M over-slot bonus .. then ran into issues with his medicals, resulting in the two sides failing to agree on anything and the Mets passing on the Vanderbilt star altogether.  Rocker’s agent (ahem, “advisor”) Scott Boras of course refused to make his medicals available ahead of time, and of course claimed that there was no injury, but the subsequent findings vindicated the Met’s decision. Rocker had shoulder surgery in the fall of 2021, then pitched in Indy ball in 2022 before shockingly getting drafted by the Rangers with the 3rd overall pick in 2022. He signed for $5.2M, well below the slot value, and well below the $6M he agreed to in 2021, but he was still an upper 1st rounder. He pitched in the fall league, then made a handful of starts in 2023 before …. tearing his UCL and having Tommy John. So, Perhaps the Mets were right all along.
  • Jud Fabian, OF Florida; saw his draft stock fall from a possible top-5 pick all the way out of the first round.  But, he apparently had a $3M deal with Baltimore in the second, but those plans were foiled when Boston selected him at the beginning of the 2nd round.  Fabian stuck to his bonus demands, and the two sides could not reach an agreement.  Fabian went back to school and was a Comp-B pick in 2022, signing for $1.03M.
  • Alex Ulloa, prep SS from Texas failed to come to terms with Houston as a 4th round pick.  Ulloa bailed out of an Oklahoma State commitment, went to Yavapai College Juco … and went undrafted in 2022 altogether. Again in 2023, but he did get a commit to U of Miami for 2024, his junior season.

Verdict: Rocker couldn’t beat $6M but still got $5.2M as damaged goods, so its hard to say he made a bad decision (not that it was entirely his to make with the Mets pulling the offer).  Fabian lost out on $2M of bonus money, but we don’t know what money he turned down from Boston (odds are he lost out on the deal). Ulloa’s slot value was $492k in 2021; we don’t know what he was offered in 2021, but we went completely undrafted in 2022, so it seems safe to say he has lost out on money. He still has time to recoup it with a solid junior season at Miami. But right now it looks like a bad move.

2020: in a shortened 5-round Covid-related draft, not one player picked in the 5 rounds failed to sign.

2019: 2 players did not sign from the top 10 rounds

  • Brandon Sproat, RHP Fla HS 7th/205 overall by Texas.  $222,100 slot value, which wasn’t enough to buy Sproat out of his commitment to Florida. As we’ve already seen, Sproat and signability was also an issue in 2022, but he did eventually sign in 2023 for a ton of money.
  • Wyatt Hendrie, C from Calif Juco 10th/312 overall by Chicago Cubs.  $142,200 slot value.  Cubs seemingly ran into slot issues with both 10th and 11th rounder, and Hendrie wouldn’t take under slot. Hendrie went undrafted in 2020’s shortened draft, but then was picked in the 7th in 2021 and signed for $177,500 out of San Diego State.

Verdict: both players ended up making money by not signing; Sproat a ton, Hendrie a little bit.

2018: 4 players did not sign

  • Carter Stewart, RHP Fla HS. 1st/8th overall. Atlanta didn’t like Physical, offered 40% of slot value ($1.9M); initially slated to Mississippi State.  Update: However, he did an about face, went to a Juco instead with the plan on re-entering the 2019 draft.  When he struggled in Juco and fell to a mid 2nd round projection … he attempted an end-around of the MLB draft rules and signed to play in japan, a situation I detailed in this space.  By 2021 he had graduated the Japan minor leagues into their majors, and his stats as of 2023 seem pretty solid (as a 23yr old he has a sub 2.00 ERA for his team Softbank).
  • Matt McLain: 2B Calif HS. 1st/25: Asked $3M, Arizona offered $2.6M didn’t budge, going to UCLA.  Update: picked 17th overall in the 2021 draft and signed for $4.63M.
  • JT Ginn: RHP Miss HS. 1st/30th: LA dodgers offered $2.4M, asking $2.9M, going to Mississippi State.  Update: drafted 2nd round/52nd overall in 2020 draft, signed for $2.9M with the Mets in a well over-slot deal.  So two years later he got his asking number.
  • Gunnar Hoglund: LHP Fla HS. 1supp/36: Pittsburgh didn’t like physical, low-balled and he declined. going to Ole Miss.  2021; was projected as a top 10 pick, hurt his arm, had TJ but still got drafted 19th overall by Toronto and signed for $3.25M.

McLean drastically improved his stock, Ginn got what he wanted, and Hoglund (despite his injury) got paid.  I already detailed why I think Stewart’s deal is smart.

Verdict: All four made the right decision.

2017: 3 players did not sign

  • Drew Rasmussen, RHP, Oregon State, 1s/31st overall. Failed to sign with Tampa, who (I guess) didn’t like his medicals.  He was coming back from TJ and only had a few weeks of action before the draft. Update: Went 6th round in 2018 to Milwaukee.
  • Jack Conlon, RHP, Clements HS (Sugar Land, Texas). 4th round/128 overall. Failed to sign with Baltimore, went to Texas A&M.  Update: left TAMU, went to San Jacinto, then enrolled in Rice and sat out 2020.  However, he wasn’t on the 2021 roster, and its unclear where he’s playing at this point. He seems to be out of baseball at this point.
  • Jo Jo Booker, RHP, Miller HS (Brewton, Ala.). 5th round/145 overall. failed to sign with LA Angels, went to South Alabama.  Ended up playing 5 full seasons for South Alabama, was never drafted, posted an ERA north of 6.00 his 5th year, and is likely out of baseball.

Two players who ended up playing themselves out of any bonus dollars.  Rasmussen didn’t turn down the Rays as much as they refused to tender him a contract … they must have tendered him something because they got a comp pick in 2018 draft.  So he turned down 40% of first round money in 2017 to sign an under-slot deal in the 6th round of 2018 ($135k, just $10k more than the non-top 10 rounds minimum).  I’d say this was a bad move by the player unless Tampa flat out refused to pay a dollar.

Verdict: 1 worsened his draft position, 2 missed out on any draft money.

2016: 2 players did not sign

  • Nick Lodolo: 1S/41st overall; LHP from Damien HS in California. failed to sign with Pittsburgh, went to TCU instead, draft eligible in 2019.  In 2021, drafted 7th overall, signed for $5.43M.
  • Tyler Buffett: 7th/217 overall; RHP, failed to sign with Houston. returned to Oklahoma State, drafted in 6th round in 2017 and signed with Cincinnati

Lodolo went to school (an arm-shredder program in TCU even) and went from 41st overall to 7th overall, with probably 3x the bonus.  Furthermore, by 2021 he was one of the best pitching prospects in the game.  Meanwhile Buffett improved his draft position one round by going back to school.

Verdict: 1 drastically improved his draft pick and money, 1 improved his draft position one round.

2015: 6 guys did not sign.

  • Kyle Funkhouser: 1st/35th overall: RHP from Louisville, failed to sign with LA Dodgers, turning down an above-slot $2M. 4th rounder in 2016, signed with Detroit.
  • Brady Singer, 2nd/56th overall: RHP Florida HS. failed to sign with Toronto, went to Florida and was 1st rounder in 2018, signed with Kansas City
  • Jonathan Hughes, 2nd/68th overall: RHP Georgia HS. failed to sign with Baltimore, went to Georgia Tech and not even drafted in 2018…
  • Kyle Cody, 2nd/73rd overall: RHP U Kentucky. failed to sign with Minnesota, drafted in 6th round in 2016 and signed with Texas
  • Nicholas Shumpert, 7th/220th overall. SS Colorado HS. failed to sign with Detroit. Went to San Jacinto CC, drafted in 28th round 2016 by Atlanta and signed.
  • Kep Brown, 10th/311 overall. RF South Carolina HS, failed to sign with LA Dodgers. went to Juco, then to UNC-Wilmington, not drafted in 2018.

Funkhouser was the biggest “whoops” here; a poor spring took him from his pre-season top 10 draft position all the way out of the first round, but he still demanded upper 1st round money.  He didn’t get it … and then fell to the 4th round the next year.  That was a big fail.  Singer clearly improved on his 2nd round status by going to college.    Cody slipped from being a 2nd rounder to a 6th rounder.  The other three guys drastically fell on draft boards; one of them going from a 10th rounder to not even being drafted.

Verdict: 1 improved, 5 hurt draft stock

2014: 6 failed to sign

  • Brady Aiken: 1/1 overall, RHP from San Diego HS. failed to sign with Houston, went to IMG Academy in FL, drafted 1/17 by Cleveland
  • Andrew Suarez: 2nd/57 overall LHP from U-Miami, failed to sign with Washington. Drafted 2nd round/61st overall in 2015 by San Francisco
  • Trevor Megill; 3rd/104th overall RHP from Loyola Marymount. failed to sign with Boston, drafted 7th/207 in 2015 draft and signed with San Diego
  • Jacob Nix: 5th/136 RHP from Los Alomitos HS; couldn’t sign when Tampa lost bonus money, sued, FA, signed with San Diego
  • Zack Zehner: 7th/204 OF from Cal Poly, failed to sign with Toronto. Drafted 18th round 2015 and signed with NYY
  • Austin Byler, 9th/274 1B from nevada-Reno. failed to sign with Washington, drafted 11th round in 2015 and signed with Arizona

Aiken became quite the rarity; the first #1 overall baseball pick to fail to sign in 30  years.    But his lack of signing cascaded and cost the Astros both their 5th rounder Nix and another player later on thanks to the new draft rules on bonus pools; Nix ended up being declared a FA in a face-saving move by MLB so as not to admit that their new bonus cap circumvention rules were BS.  Aiken had no where to go but down from 1-1 so he obviously cost himself money.  The others all fell, if only slightly in Suarez’s case.

Verdict: 1 didn’t count, 5 lowered draft stock

2013: 8 failed to sign

  • Phil Bickford: 1/10 RHP California HS. Toronto failed to sign. went to Southern Nevada juco, drafted 1/18 by SF and signed.
  • Matt Krook 1s/35 LHP calif HS. Miami failed to sign, went to Oregon State, drafted 4th round by SF in 2016
  • Ben DeLuzio 3rd/80 SS from Fla HS. Miami failed to sign. Went to Florida State, played 4 years … undrafted out of college, NDFA with Arizona
  • Ben Holmes, 5th /151 LHP Oregon State. Philly failed to sign. went 9th round in 2014
  • Jason Monda 6th/181 OF Washington State. Philly failed to sign … then accused him of NCAA violations. he wasn’t drafted again and quit to go to Med school
  • Stephen Woods 6th/188 RHP NY HS: Tampa failed to sign, went to Suny-Albany, drafted 8th round 2016 by SF and signed
  • Dustin DeMuth 8th/230 3B from Indiana, Minnesota failed to sign, became 5th rounder in 2014 and signed with Milwaukee
  • Ross Kivett 10th/291 2B from kansas State. Cleveland failed to sign, became 6th rounder in 2014 and signed with Detroit

Bickford fell 8 slots year over  year but still fell.   DeMuth and Kivett both improved their stock.  The rest fell, drastically in some cases.

Verdict: 2 improved, 6 fell

2012: 8 failed to sign

  • Mark Appel 1/8 RHP Stanford by Pittsburgh. failed to sign, was 1/1 in 2013 with Houston
  • Teddy Stankiewicz 2/75 RHP from Texas Hs. failed to sign with Mets, went Juco, 2/45 in 2013 by Boston
  • Alec Rash, 2/95 by Philadelphia from IA HS. went to Missouri, 2015 drafted in 23rd round by Washington but still didn’t sign; quit baseball and started playing NCAA basketball
  • Kyle Twomey, 3/106 LHP Calif HS Oakland. Drafted 13th round 3 yrs later out of USC by Chicago Cubs.
  • Brandon Thomas 4/136 OF from Ga Tech; didn’t sign with Pittsburgh, drafted 8th round one year later and signed with NYY
  • Colin Poche 5/162 LHP texas h s. failed to sign with Baltimore, went to Dallas Baptist, undrafted Jr year, drafted 14th round 2016 by Arizona
  • Nick Halamandaris 8/251 1B Calif HS. failed to sign with Seattle, played 4 years at cal, undrafted jr and Sr year, NDFA with Seattle, played one season
  • L.J. Mazzilli 9/280 2B from UConn. 4th rounder in 2013 signed with NY Mets

Appel managed to improve from 8th overall to 1st overall.  Stankiewicz also improved his stock about a round’s worth.  Mazzilli improved from a 9th rounder to a 4th rounder.  The others all fell.

Verdict: 3 up, 5 down.

Summary: of the 46 players who failed to sign, passing judgement even on the players where its far too early to really tell:

  • 30 hurt their draft stock by failing to sign (15 HS, 15 coll)
  • 1 didn’t really count b/c of the Houston 2014 draft bonus shenanigans (Jacob Nix, HS)
  • 15 improved their draft stock/money

So, 2 out of every 3 times a kid turns down the money they’re costing themselves in the long run. But, its also worth noting that a huge percentage of these players who declined to sign were at the very beginning of the new rules … in the last few years, the success rate of players has gone way up. I attribute it to players now understanding better the rules of the system.

Food for thought.

Written by Todd Boss

July 30th, 2023 at 3:49 pm

Posted in Draft

What are the Nats going to do with all these OFs?


Crews; does he start in High-A or AA in 2024? Photo via his twitter.

So, heading into the 2023 draft, a slew of the Nats’ top prospect talents were outfielders. Look at any prospect ranking list for our system and you’ll see top 10 players like Wood, Hassell, Green, Vaquero, etc. I was on board early pining for Skenes as our pick at 1-2 instead of Crews, thinking that, “hey we have a lot of top-end OF talent” and, also, “hey we need some starter prospects.” Alas it was not meant to be; Skenes blew up in the CWS and Pittsburgh popped him 1-1.

So we went and drafted Crews in the 1st, plus Pinckney in the 4th and Nunez in the 14th.

Where the heck are all these guys going to play?

Here’s a quick look at the OF depth chart thanks to the Big Board, with what it looks like now and what it may look like in 2024 with this influx of new talent.

Right now, listing guys in order LF/CF/RF and then backups/DHs

  • AAA: Rutherford, Hill, Alu, with Reyes and Blankenhorn as backups.

Most of these guys are MLFAs signed either in 2022 or 2023. Hill just got DFA’d off the 40-man. Alu is kind of a utility guy who’s filling in in the OF right now. Mazara just got released. Rutherford is crushing the ball this season, but I wonder if any of these guys are really in the long term plans for the team. I could see a couple of them getting call-ups post-trade deadline if we move some players and need some bodies (Alu since he’s on the 40-man, probably Rutherford too b/c he’s earned it). But for 2024, lots of room here.

  • AA: Young, Hassell, Wood, with Harris and Casey as backups.

Wood and Hassell are basically our two top prospects right now, but both are struggling in AA. Young got promoted up this year and is hitting .300 in AA so far but has no power. Casey was demoted down to AA and is a backup, and seems like he’s not long for the organization. Harris seems like an undersized backup.

  • High-A: Lile, De La Rosa, McKenzie with Shumpert, Antuna, Wilson as backups.

Antuna is hitting .176 and seems to finally have been taken out of a starting spot; this latest draft class should finally result in his release. Shumpert is a converted SS. Lile just got promoted up to High-A, otherwise nobody here is hitting well. Wilson is 27 and was demoted from AAA for some reason. Its hard to see any of these guys pushing for a promotion the rest of the way.

  • Low-A: Emiliani, Green, De La Cruz, with Quintana, Thomas as backups

Emiliani was a 1B but apparently can lumber around LF now, and just got demoted back to Low-A. Quintana may be permanently moved to 1B and may not count here. Green, for all his prospect starlight, is not hitting well at all. De La Cruz is struggling. So is Thomas. Seems like these guys will be repeating Low-A unless they blow up the rest of the way.

  • FCL: Ochoa Leyva, Vaquero, Cox with Baca and a slew of guys hitting under .200

Vaquero is the big-name here and he’s hitting .300 as an 18yr old so far in Rookie. Ochoa Leyva holding his own. Cox is not and is looking like a huge 4th round bust so far.

  • DSL: Tejada, Acevedo, Batista with Soto and three other 2023 IFAs as backups.

Batista hitting .303, the rest of them hitting like .150. I can’t see any of them getting promoted.

Here’s what we could be looking at as your starting OFs 2024. Maybe it’s not quite as hard as I thought.

  • AAA: Hassell, Wood, Rutherford, with MLFAs (Hill, Blankenhorn, Reyes released or resigned)
  • AA: Young, Harris, McKenzie, Lile (Casey relesaed)
  • High-A: Crews, Pinckney, Green, De la Rosa, Shumpert (Wilson, Antuna released)
  • Low-A: Vaquero, De La Cruz, Nunez, Ochoa Leyva (Thomas, Emiliani released)
  • FCL: Cox, Baca, Batista, Marte, Peoples (Contreras, Ramirez released)
  • DSL: Current crew plus 2024 signees forcing 2023 underperformer relases

This would mean:

  • Aggressively promote Wood in particular to AAA and hope that Hassell continues to develop. Rutherford back in AAA assuming we layer him in the MLB level, otherwise looking at more veteran MLFAs for AAA.
  • Definitely aggressive with promotions of McKenzie and Lile to AA, based on their already being promoted this season. Harris and Young treading water.
  • This would put new draftees Crews and Pinckney at High-A to start 2024. I do not buy that Crews will do the AFL->AA Strasburg path. Maybe he will and you’re seeing Lile or McKenzie back in High A instead.
  • High-A also has too many players … that’s the squeeze. So maybe that does support Crews in AA. this plan has Green promoted (even though he’s not meriting right now) but DLR staying put.
  • Nunez at Low-A. Seems right. He is joined by two guys moving up from rookie ball. But not Cox, who may be a blown 4th rounder.
  • Everyone else in Rookie ball/DSL staying put, or perhaps 1-2 DSL guys moving inland.

So, maybe the crunch isn’t as bad as we thought. Eventually though if these guys all matriculate as expected, we’re going to have some logjams in the MLB outfield, and likely some trades to acquire assets.

Written by Todd Boss

July 26th, 2023 at 11:30 am