Nationals Arm Race

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Player Killers: what college programs are known for hurting pro prospects?

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Did TCU destroy Purke's arm?  Photo AP/Nati Harnik

Did TCU destroy Purke’s arm? Photo AP/Nati Harnik

Its always dangerous to make a blanket statement in baseball.  If I say that “CollegeX is known for killing pitcher arms” then there’ll immediately be people who cite players who are exceptions to such a rule.

Nonetheless, while reading a ton of prospect-driven content on the web over the years, some common themes pop up.  And the crux of it is this: there are some college baseball programs out there that are accused of hurting their players’ professional prospects and draft statuses by virtue of the misguided or (in some cases) outdated coaching and usage of players.

Grantland’s Michael Baumann wrote an excellent article summarizing some of the “danger programs” in 2013, citing work done by Rany Jazayerli and Baseball Prospectus.  Some of this also comes from Keith Law‘s freely offered opinions on the topic, and he offers up plenty of supporting evidence in his columns and chats.

Here’s some trouble-maker programs (and by “programs” often times by implication you’re blaming the head coach as the decision maker):

  • Stanford: Law calls it the “Stanford Swing.”  Per Law, Stanford coaches emphasize going away, altering hitters’ swings to de-emphasize pull hitting, to the point apparently where players are outright benched for pulling the ball.  Now, there’s quite a few Stanford grads in the Majors right now, and the  hitters listed aren’t exactly an honor roll of top-hitting guys.  Jed Lowrie might be the best active hitter.  The career Stanford grad homer leader is the recently retired Carlos Quentin, out of baseball at 32.  So maybe there’s something to it.
  • TCU: Jim Schlossnagle is not well known for its handling of pitchers.  The Nats are well aware of this, having drafted damaged goods in Matthew Purke, who was 15-0 as a freshman and basically hasn’t been the same since.
  • Rice’s Wayne Graham: Law has provided an exhaustive list of pitchers who he accuses the Rice coaches of blatantly over-working and has flat out suggested that pitchers considering attending Rice should go elsewhere.  In fact, the most blatant example of this was the 2004 draft: Rice had three starters drafted in the first 8 picks (Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Townsend) and ALL three of them suffered shoulder injuries soon there after.
  • UNC‘s Mike Fox so over-used a reliever a few years back that the New York Times of all papers wrote about it.  And he had Matt Harvey, don’t forget, allowing Harvey to throw an astounding 157 pitches in a 2010 outing and 5 other instances of 120+ pitches.  Is it a coincidence that Harvey blew out his UCL just a couple years later?  Or just bad luck?
  • South Carolina‘s Ray Tanner: won back to back CWS’s … on the backs of his pitching staff.
  • Texas‘ legendary coach Augie Garrido already had a reputation for overuse before the infamous Texas-Boston College regional game in June of 2009.   Texas’ Austin Wood, a reliever, came out of the bullpen to throw 13 innings and 169 pitches in the 25-inning game.  Garrido really took a lot of heat for that … but his BC counterpart might have only been slightly less culpable.  BC threw its own guy Mike Belfiore for 129 pitches and 9 2/3 innings.  In Wood’s case, it was made even worse by the fact that he had thrown two innings *the day before.*  It is no surprise to report that Wood had to undergo Shoulder Surgery the next season, nor is it a surprise that the crusty Garrido disclaimed any responsibility for the injury by Wood’s usage in that game.  Belfiore, it should be noted, has never shown any evidence of injury, was a 1st round draft pick just prior to his appearance, and looks like a 4-A pitcher who is now in the Detroit organization but who had a cup of coffee in 2013.  Perhaps its because Belfiore was a starter and basically threw a start instead of Wood, who was clearly a reliever.

Pitch count guidelines: there’s research out there that basically shows that anything above 120 pitches in an outing is an indicator of fatigue-induced regression their next time out, and 130+ pitch outings might as well be prescriptions for injury.

Times have changed: no longer are A-1 pitching prospects left in games to rack up ridiculous pitch counts.  Mark Prior had at least 6 starts the year he was drafted where he threw 120-130+ pitches.  Ben McDonald was famously started in back to back CWS games, getting clobbered in the second game … all while having *already* been drafted by the Baltimore Orioles, who must have been screaming at the television set watching what was  unfolding as legendary LSU coach Skip Bertman set about destroying the best arm in the nation.

But then again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  NC State, in a mad dash to make the post-season in 2014, let their Ace starter Carlos Rodon throw 120+ pitches seven times.  Rodon’s usage was also discussed in Baseball America.  Did that lead to Rodon’s diminished stuff and subsequent drop in the 2013 draft?  Maybe.  I’m sure the White Sox are ok with it, since he doesn’t seem to have suffered any ill effects and is in their rotation 2 years later.  Trevor Bauer, while at UCLA, *averaged* more than 120 pitches an outing the year he was drafted … but he seems like such an outlier because of his warm-up technique (which involves extreme long toss and clearly has built up his shoulder strength over the years).  Are NC State and UCLA trouble-programs?  I havn’t heard much since so i’m leaving them off for now.

Did I miss anyone?

2015 CWS Finals: Virginia wins!

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WaddellBrandon via 247sports.com

Brandon Waddell pitched the game of his life in the CWS final. Photo via 247sports.com

Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2015:

 


Here’s how the Finals played out.

  • In Game One on 6/22/15, UVA’s Connor Jones matched Vanderbilt’s ace Carson Fulmer zero for zero for the first five innings.  However, Vanderbilt got a well-timed opposite field double down the line to plate two and then scored three more, knocking Jones from the game in the 7th to win game one 5-1.  Fulmer was outstanding, holding UVA to just 2  hits through 7 2/3rds innings, leaving with a large lead in his final collegate appearance (he was drafted 8th overall by the White Sox).  Other players of note: #1 overall pick Dansby Swanson finally had a good game, going 2-4 with a run and an RBI.  Nats 3rd rounder Rhett Wiseman struggled; going 0-4 with the hat-track of three punch-outs.
  • In Game Two on 6/23/15, UVA turned to their regular outfielder Adam Haseley in somewhat of a shock, and he threw 5 shut-out innings before handing the ball to the most dominant pitcher this post-season has seen in Josh Sborz, who threw another 4 shutout innings to shore up the win 3-0 and force a game 3.  UVA’s offense was also unexpected; they were powered by their #8 and #9 hitters, the latter of which was walk-on senior Thomas Woodruff, who had a grand total of 67 ABs in his collegiate career.  It was Woodruff’s 2-run bases loaded single that provided the game winning runs.  Amazing.
  • In Game three on 6/24/15, UVA’s Brandon Waddell threw the game of his life, giving up 2 runs early but then shutting down Vanderbilt’s offense for the next six innings en route to a 4-2 win.  Vanderbilt’s Walker Buehler struggled with his control, giving up runs early and getting unceremoniously yanked in his last collegiate appearance.  Nathan Kirby came on to relieve Waddell, who threw 105 pitches on 3 days rest, and blew away Vanderbilt’s hitters in the 8th and 9th for his first (and last) career save.  3B Kenny Towns, a lowly 20th round pick by the Angels, was the game hero, with a very good diving stop to save a run early and a crucial go-ahead RBI late.   But it was freshman 1B Pavin Smith who was the offensive star of the game, clubbing a 2-run homer early to tie the game and deflate Vanderbilt.

UVA wins the first Baseball title for the ACC since 1955, an amazing stat considering the baseball-playing pedigree of the conference.  Super reliever Josh Sborz recieved the MVP award for his CWS work; final tally:  3IP on 6/13, 2IP on 6/15, and 4ip on 6/20, and 4IP on 6/23.  All Scoreless.

UVA completes a pretty amazing season all things considered; they suffered injuries to a number of their key guys, struggled in conference all season and likely only even made the field by virtue of a sweep of UNC in their final ACC season series.  But, for those who thought the final was a fluke based on the seedings of the two teams, consider this: Vanderbilt was the consensus pre-season #1 team by every poll out there, and UVA was either 2nd, 3rd or 4th in those same polls.  So these teams were expected to return to the CWS at the very least … they just to circuitous paths there.

Your 2015 College World Series Champion: The University of Virginia

This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2015.  I have some draft posts about summer leagues and summer travel teams of note for high schoolers that I may dig out again, for those interested.

 


College CWS tournament references:

Nats 2015 Draftee Signing Status

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Where do we stand on our signees?

Per the MLB draft bonus tracker, which is the best information i’ve seen on draft signings, here’s where we stand on our first 10 picks:

Round Name/Position Col/HS School Signed?
2 Stevenson, Andrew* OF COL jr LSU not yet signed; just gone done playing in CWS.
2 Perkins, Blake OF HS Verrado HS (AZ) signed for $800k, $93k under slot.
3 Wiseman, Rhett* OF COL jr Vanderbilt not yet signed; still playing in CWS.
4 Rivera, Mariano Jr. RHP COL sr Iona (NY) signed for $410k, exactly slot.
5 Hearn, Taylor LHP COL jr Oklahoma Baptist U. signed for $275k, 37k under slot
6 Crownover, Matt LHP COL jr Clemson signed for $160k, 70k under slot.
7 Borne, Grant LHP COL jr Nicholls State (LA) signed for $150k, 27k under slot.
8 Glover, Koda RHP COL sr Oklahoma State signed for $200k, 34k over slot.
9 Kerian, David# 1B COL sr Illinois signed for $25k, 130k under slot
10 Guilbeau, Taylor LHP COL sr Alabama signed for $25k, 124k under slot

Total savings from top 10 picks: $93k + $37k + $70k + 27k – 34k + $130k + $124k = $447k of savings before Stevenson/Wiseman go.

My intuition is that Stevenson signs for under slot and Wiseman for slightly over slot.

What about the rest of the draft?  What have we heard?  As I was writing this post, WP’s James Wagner reports that the Nats have signed 23 of their 40 picks.  But his post included no details  Who else do we know about?  From the MLB Draft Tracker, and per the Nats Draft Tracker XLS, here’s the rest of our draft and signing status.

If 8 of the top 10 have signed, that means another 15 from rounds 11-40 have signed.  Lets do some sleuthing.

Picks 11-30 included ten 4th or 5th year seniors; I’m going to assume they’ve all already signed at this point (they have no leverage and can either choose to sign for whatever the Nats give them or opt to go to indy ball).

Here’s the 10 senior draftees from the later rounds:

Round Name/Position Col/HS School
16 Sagdal, Ian* SS COL sr Washington State U.
18 Rodriguez, Melvin* 2B COL sr Jackson State U. (MS)
19 Brandt, Clayton SS COL sr MidAmerica Nazarene U (KS)
20 Reeves, John C COL sr Rice (TX)
21 Pirro, Matt RHP COL sr Wake Forest
22 Boghosian, Adam RHP COL 5s North Greenville U. (SC)
24 Smith, Blake RHP COL sr West Virginia
28 Van Vossen, Mick RHP COL sr Michigan State U.
29 Diedrick, Philip* OF COL sr Western Kentucky U.
33 La Bruna, Angelo SS COL 5S U. Southern California

So that leaves 3 non-senior signs that likely have signed on the dotted line.  Here’s what I’ve found:

11 Lee, Andrew RHP COL jr Tennessee
12 Peterson, Tommy RHP COL jr South Florida
17 Dulin, Dalton# 2B CC Northwest Mississippi CC

11th rounder Andrew Lee has signed per his twitter page.   12th rounder Tommy Peterson has signed per his twitter page.  and 17th rounder Dalton Dulin has signed per this link.

So that’s your 23 of 40 so far.  I’m guessing that the team doesn’t sign any of the players taken in rounds 31-40 (with the exception of 5th year senior 33rd rounder Angelo La Bruna), since they’re mostly high schoolers, so in reality their target for signing is really 31 players.  So they’ve signed 23 of the 31 they could expect to sign.

If anyone has heard anything else about potential signees, chime in.

 

 

 

CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2015:

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

My pre-CWS predictions were Florida from the top and LSU from the bottom.  Lets see how things turned out.


In the Left Bracket (UVA, Arkansas, #5 Miami and #4 Florida)

  • In the opening games, UVA took out Arkansas 5-3 behind a decent effort from Connor Jones (Great Bridge HS) but an even better effort from 2nd rounder Josh Sborz, who shut down Arkansas for the win.  Both teams’ premier hitters (Andrew Benintendi and Joe McCarthy) hit solo shots during the game.  In the other opener,  Florida destroyed Miami 15-3, knocking out Andrew Suarez after just 3 1/3 innings.
  • In the first elimination game, Miami got two hits in the bottom of the 9th to walk off and eliminate Arkansas 4-3.
  • In the winners bracket game to take control of the group, UVA’s #2 Brandon Waddell pitched perhaps the game of his career, shutting down Florida on just 2 hits for 7 scoreless innings before Sborz got the 2-inning save, giving UVA a 1-0 victory and a surprising (to me) clear path to the CWS finals for the 2nd year in a row.
  • In the play-in game to the group final, Florida jumped all over Miami’s starter, so they brought back Suarez on short rest (which I’m sure his drafting team (San Francisco) was thrilled about), but the game was over early and Florida eliminated Miami 10-2 to setup a rematch with UVA for a berth in the finals.
  • In the group final, UVA’s gambit of throwing ace Nathan Kirby after being side-lined for months backfired; he was hit hard early and UVA’s notional 3rd starters (Alec Bettinger) just couldn’t keep Florida at bay long enough to allow his offense to come back.  Florida wins 10-5 to force a winner-take-all game and wreak havoc on UVA’s pitching matchup strategy.  Luckily for UVA, they have Josh Sborz, who relieved Waddell and threw four shut-out innings, enough to give UVA’s offense time to scrape together the winning run and advance to the CWS final.

Group winner advancing to the CWS finals: UVA


In the Right Bracket (#2 LSU, #7 TCU, #11 Vanderbilt and #14 Cal State-Fullerton)

  • In the opening games, TCU stunned LSU 10-3, with TCU’s ace (and Chicago Cub 8th rounder) Preston Morrison shutting down LSU’s offense.  Nats 2nd rounder Andrew Stevenson was 1-4 with an RBI.   Meanwhile, Cal State – Fullerton got to Vanderbilt ace Carson Fulmer while their own ace (2nd round pick Thomas Eshelman) showed why he’s got 80 command, throwing 5+ scoreless, walk-less innings before weather forced the suspension of the opener.  Luckily for Vanderbilt, the rest of CSF’s staff wasn’t as effective, and Vanderbilt got a 4-3 walk-off win.
  • In the first elimination game, LSU’s Alex Lange pitched a complete game to defeat Cal State-Fullerton and eliminate them from the CWS.
  • In the winners bracket game to take control of the group, Vanderbilt’s clean-up hitter Zander Weil hit a solo homer in the 7th to provide the only offense of the night as Vanderbilt beat TCU 1-0 to take control of the group and make it seem more and more likely of a CWS rematch.
  • In the play-in game to the group final, TCU punished LSU’s bullpen and took an easy 8-4 win to eliminate the highest seed in the CWS and force a rematch with Vanderbilt for a spot in the CWS final. 
  • In the group final, Vanderbilt threw their 1st rounder Walker Buehler for the first time in 3 weeks and he was sparkling; he pitched into the 7th, allowing just 4 hits.  Meanwhile Nats 3rd round pick Rhett Wiseman, after taking a ball to the neck in the 1st, absolutely crushed a homer to put the game out of reach for Vanderbilt, who go on to win 7-1 and advance.

Group winner advancing to the CWS finals: #11 seed Vanderbilt.


CWS finals discussion: Games 1,2,3 set for 6/22-6/24/15.  Vanderbilt’s pitching staff for the CWS final looks like this:

  • Ace Fulmer threw 6 innings and 104pitches on 6/14/15.   He’ll be on 7 days rest for game 1.
  • #3 Philip Pfeifer threw 7 innings and 112 pitches on 6/16/15.  He’ll be on 6 days rest for game 2.
  • #2 Buehler, who threw 6 2/3rds innings on 6/19/15 would be on 4 days rest for a decider on 6/24/15, normal rest for a pro but a little short for a college guy.  Otherwise, some-time starter John Kilichowski, who threw 2+ in both the 2nd and 3rd games of the CWS group play, could be available depending his usage in the first two games.

Meanwhile, UVA’s pitching staff is in trouble.  Here’s where they stand:

Sborz meanwhile threw multiple innings in each group win: 3IP on 6/13, 2IP on 6/15, and 4ip on 6/20.   And all of those were very high leverage innings, with UVA either tied or clinging to a small lead.  UVA almost has to consider throwing one of its mid-week starters in Game 2.  That would give them Kirby on 4 days rest in the final, to be relieved by Waddell on 3 days rest.  You just can’t take a guy who hasn’t thrown in months and then pitch him back to back on the shortest rest of his life.

You have to like the way the CWS lines up for Vanderbilt’s staff.  Jones wasn’t exactly overpowering against Arkansas in his start (3 runs in 6ip) and Vanderbilt’s got a better offense.

I’m note quite sure how Vanderbilt slipped to an #11 seed in this tournament, given the talent and leadership on their squad.   It is worth noting they had no less than nine draftees in the 2015 draft; 3 first rounders (1st, 8th and 24th overall), 2 third rounders and a 6th of note.  That’s a ton of talent.  You have to think they’re the favorites in the final to repeat.

Prediction: Vanderbilt in 2.

 


College CWS tournament references:

Final 2015 Prep Baseball Update: Virginia State Champions crowned, Player of the Year lists

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Madison HS is your 2015 6-A state champ.

Madison HS is your 2015 Virginia 6-A state champ.

Here’s our final post on High School baseball for 2015 in the area.  We previously posted updates on:

In this post, we will cover the various Player/Teams of the year that have been released, Virginia State tournaments and re-cap MD, DC and private schools.

All the Virginia state tourneys ran the weekend of 6/12/15 to 6/13/15.  All Virginia state brackets available from this link at VHSL.org.


Player of the Year Awards

Before we get to the Virginia playoff results, some player of the year and all-area teams have been announced.

Gatorade announced their State player of the year awards:

  • Maryland: Chopticon’s Ljay Newsome, who pitched the game of his life in the Maryland 3-A championship, won the award in Maryland.  He has yet to declare for a college but was drafted (26th round by Seattle).
  • Washington DC: St. John’s A.J. Lee won the award for the 2nd consecutive year.  Committed to Maryland.
  • Virginia: The Steward School (Richmond)’s Nic Enright won the award in Virginia.   He’s committed to Virginia Tech.

Louisville Slugger All-Americans announced; Ljay Newsome and A.J. Lee were named to the first team All-American.

Locally, some local player of the year awards:

  • The Washington Post’s 2015 All-Met announcement, with mostly familiar names that we’ve discussed in this blog this spring.  A.J. Lee was your All-Met player of the year.  Cody Morris named to his third straight All-Met team despite his Tommy John surgery.
  • The Baltimore Sun’s 2015 All-Metro Baseball Team.  Player of the year is Truman Thomas of Southern (2-time defending Maryland 2-A champ).  Ironically Morris was only Baltimore 2nd team.
  • Richmond 2015 All-Metro team: pending
  • Tidewater area
  • All 2015 6-A North region teams via InsideNova.com.  6-A North player of the year was Oakton’s Joe Rizzo, a *junior* who hit over .600 for the season.  He’s an early commit to South Carolina.
  • All 2015 6-A South Region team: co-players of the year Bodie Sheehan, First Colonial, a Lefty committed to William & Mary and Nathan Eaton, Thomas Dale, a SS/RHP committed to VMI.
  • All 5-A North: Marshall HS C Mitch Blackstone (Cornell commit) named the 5-A player of the year (he was also all-Met).
  • All 5-A South: pending
  • All 4-A North and 4-A south teams: pending
  • All 3-A East: Loudoun Valley’s Jack DeGroat (Liberty) the regional player of the year.
  • VHSL All-State Teams: pending
  • VISAA’s 2015 All-State teams, Division I, II and III
  • Maryland MIAA All-State teams: pending.

6-A State Finals: held at Robinson and Lake Braddock HS in Northern Virginia (which are odd-choices; Robinson and Lake Braddock’s fields aren’t exactly the nicest available fields in the area.  Nor do they have the largest stands.  But, those are the two biggest high schools around, so perhaps that’s why they were selected.  Of course, in previous years Fairfax HS was frequently used, with its ridiculously short LF porch, so maybe Robinson’s larger field is better.  Most people believe Madison has one of the nicest HS fields in the area … but it rarely gets selected as a host for some reason when the cycle for hosting comes back to NoVa).

  • 6-A North: Winner Madison (Vienna) (22-5) , runner-up Chantilly (20-6)
  • 6-A South: Winner Western Branch (Chesapeake) (22-3), runner-up First Colonial (Virginia Beach) (21-4)

6-A State Semis Results: Madison pecked away at First Colonial and ended up breezing to a 7-2 victory in the first semi.  Madison’s senior ace Brian Eckert (Radford commit) pitched 6+ innings of one run ball in his final appearance for the Warhawks.  In the nightcap, Chantilly got revenge from last year’s state final and pounded the defending 6-A champ Western Branch 8-3 to make the 6-A state final a rematch of the regional title game and an all-northern Virginia affair.

6-A State Final: In the state final, Madison’s junior lefty Matt Favero started the game … and he finished it.  Madison jumped ahead 3-0 but Favero got knocked out in the 4th after giving up 5 hits and 5 unearned runs.  Madison clawed their way back though, tying the game in the 6th and then loading the bases in the bottom of the 7th with no outs.  There, Favero came up and got the walk-off hit (twitter link to video of the hit) to clinch Madison’s 4th state title (2015, 2002, 1971 and 1968).  Kudos to Chantilly; two straight state finals; their coach (Kevin Ford) deserves his coach of the year accolades.

Madison’s feat is all the more impressive when looking at their lineup; outside of their ace lefty Eckert and one position player, the rest of their starting lineup in the state tournament are underclassmen.  They could be quite dominant in 2016.

6-A State champ: Madison (Vienna) with a 24-5 record on the season.


5-A State Finals: held at Robinson and Lake Braddock HS in Northern Virginia

  • 5-A North: Winner Stone Bridge (Ashburn) (21-5), runner-up Marshall (McLean) (21-5)
  • 5-A South: Winner Hickory (Chesapeake) (22-3), runner-up Freeman (NW Richmond) (19-6)

Stone Bridge plays at 3pm at Lake Braddock, Marshall at 7pm.

5-A State Semis Results: As with the 6-A tournament, the 5-A final will be an all-Northern Virginia affair as both local teams won.  Stone Bridge’s Brett Kreyer threw a one-hitter as Stone Bridge beat Freeman 6-0 in one semi.  Marshall took advantage of an ill-timed error that would have ended an inning and a rally and eventually beat the defending champ’s Hickory 7-4.

5-A State Final: In the state final, Stone Bridge fulfilled its “ewing theory” credentials by getting further without J.B. Bukauskas than they ever did with him, handling Marshall 9-4 for its first state title.

5-A State champ: Stone Bridge with a 23-5 record on the season.


4-A State Finals: held at Liberty University in Lynchburg.

  • 4-A North: Winner Jefferson Forest (Forest/Lynchburg) (19-7), Fauquier (Warrenton) (19-6), runner-up (by fft after the fact)
  • 4-A South: Winner Glen Allen (N. Richmond) (21-3), runner-up Hanover (N. Richmond)  (18-5)

4-A State Semis Results: Glen Allen took out Fauquier in the first state semi final 6-4, facing the Warrenton team after they had to forfeit their 4-A north final victory and settle for second place.  In the other semi, Jefferson Forest outlasted two-time defending state champion Hanover 4-3 in extra innings.

4-A State Final: In the final, Glen Allen scored four early and was never threatened, beating Jefferson Forest 9-3.

4-A State champ: Glen Allen (N. Richmond) with a 23-3 record on the season.


3-A State Finals: held at Liberty University in Lynchburg.

  • 3-A East: Winner Loudoun Valley (Purcelville) (22-2), Runner-up Lafayette (Williamsburg) (18-6-1) (note: these teams were declared co-champs; the positions must have been determined by a coin-flip).
  • 3-A West: Winner Monticello (Charlottesville), runner-up Rustberg (outside of Lynchburg)

3-A State Semis Results: In the first semi, Loudoun Valley upended Rustberg 6-0 with Liberty commit Jack DeGroat throwing a complete game 2-hitter with 17 strikeouts.  On the other side, Lafayette destroyed Monticello 11-0 to setup the state final that should have been the regional final.

3-A State Final: In the state final, Lafayette hit a solo homer for the winning run in the top of the 7th before closing out Purcellville’s Loudoun Valley 5-4 for Lafayette’s first ever state baseball title.

3-A State champ: Lafayette (Williamsburg) with a 20-6-1 record on the season.


Smaller Classifications: held in Salem and at Radford University.

  • 2-A match-ups: Strasburg (corner of I-66 & I-81) (25-1) vs Lebanon (SW corner of Virginia), Virginia High (Bristow) (24-2) vs Maggie Walker (Downtown Richmond).  In the semis, Virginia High ended Maggie Walter’s season 8-3, and Lebanon ended Strasburg’s excellent season 8-2.  In the 2-A West rematch for the state title, Virginia High bashed their way to a 16-8 victory to repeat as Virginia 2-A champs..
  • 1-A match-ups: Honaker (SW corner of Virginia) v Lancaster (King George peninsula), William Campbell (Gladys south of Lynchburg) vs Radford.  In the semis, the two 1-A east teams advanced for a rematch, wherein William Campbell turned the tables on Lancaster, winning the 1-A title 16-4.

Recent Virginia HS champs:  Before 2014, we just covered AAA, which now is split between 4-A, 5-A and 6-A divisions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complete history of Virginia HS Champions: from VHSL’s website.  Covers all sports and has results for a century.


Maryland Recap

See previous post for MD state final wrap-ups.  Brackets here at the MPSAA website.

A quick list of past Maryland State champions by division:

The Maryland public high school seasons are now complete.

 


DC Public Schools/DCIAA/DCSAA Recaps

  • DCIAA: Wilson won its 23rd consecutive DCIAA regular season title, extending its city league winning streak in the process.  DCIAA tournament supposedly ran through 6/3/15, though I cannot find any evidence that it occurred.  Perhaps it has been replaced in total by the DCSAA tourney.
  • DCSAA:  In the DCSAA final, Gonzaga beat St. Albans 2-1 at Nats Park on a controversial interference call that turned a tag-out at the plate into the decisive run.

 


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

All local area Private schools’ seasons are now complete.


Local and National High School Baseball Ranking Lists:

  • Washington Post All Met Sports Final Baseball top 10: Updated/finalized 6/17/15 at the end of the spring prep season.  Madison 1, Gaithersburg 2.  If I had ranked them, I likely would have gone Madison 1, Gaithersburg 2, Spalding 3, Stone Bridge 4, Chopticon 5, Chantilly 6, Loudoun Valley 7, St. Johns 8, Oakton 9 and Marshall 10.  Battlefield HM.  I was pretty close.
  • Baltimore Sun Final Rankings page : dated 5/25/15: They also have Spalding #1, then Calvert Hall, St. Marys, 4-A finalist Severna Park and then 3-A finalist Mt. Hebron.  Reservoir 6th.
  • Hampton Roads Baseball top 10 page: dated 5/19/15: Western Branch #1, then Grassfield, Hickory and First Colonial.  Needs updating.
  • Baseball America’s High School top 50 (Final ranking 6/17/15): Madison #24 in final poll, Stone Bridge #42.
  • USA Today High School top 25 (most recent ranking 6/17/15): Madison at #36, Liberty Christian #43, Spalding #44 and Western Branch #49.
  • MaxPreps top 25/top 50 lists, which has a hand-picked and a computer/power ranking list.  6/15/15 rankings.  No DC/MD/VA teams in MaxPrep’s “Excellent 50.”  Highest ranked teams in the extended rankings are Liberty Christian at #71, Chopticon at #95.  Madison is in the #400s, making one question these rankings slightly.

Resources:

2015 Draft Results: local player interest draft results.

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Nathan Kirby is the highest drafted player with local ties.  Photo via collegebaseballcentral.com

Nathan Kirby is the highest drafted player with local ties. Photo via collegebaseballcentral.com

Here’s how some of the players of local interest fared in the 2015 draft.  Per section, i’ve ordered these guys by the order they were taken chronologically, not by any pre-draft rankings.

At the beginning of the season, we profiled a ton of local prep and college players.  And then we talked about the higher-profile local players in our Pre-draft coverage.  At the end of the day, almost none of the prep guys were drafted and those that were are almost certain to go to school.

College Players with local ties

  • Nathan Kirby LHP from UVA: went #40 (Supp 1st round) to Seattle, a huge drop from where he was projected.  His injury and the drop in his stuff this year really hurt his draft status.
  • Josh Sborz, RHP closer for UVA: went #74 (Supp 2nd round) to the Dodgers, who had a fantastic draft picking big-name college arms who fell due to performance.  Sborz can start (and did start both this year and last).
  • Taylor Clarke, who hails from Ashburn (Broad Run HS) went #76, first pick of the 3rd round to Arizona.
  • Mike Matuella, of Great Falls (Georgetown Prep) and Duke: went two picks later, #78, to Texas in the 3rd round.  An amazing drop for Matuella, who was rumored as a top 5 pick earlier in the season but who dropped probably 3 full rounds thanks to the surgery and questions about his medicals.  And there’s no reason for him to head back to school; thanks to the timing he isn’t even back on a mound until midway through his senior year.  Maybe he does go back to school (he’s going to Duke after all; he may want to finish his degree) and try to get himself back into the 1st round.  We’ll see.
  • Brandon Lowe: UMD infielder: 3rd round #87 overall to Tampa Bay.
  • Alex Robinson: UMD’s ace Lefty went in the 5th round (#140 overall) to Minnesota.
  • Joe McCarthy, OF for UVA: 5th round, #148 overall to Tampa Bay.  Man, Joe had a rough junior year.  He went from a back-0f-the-first rounder to a 5th rounder.  Will he hold out for above slot money as a result, possibly going back to school for his Senior year to regain value?  I would.
  • Brandon Waddell UVA Saturday/Sunday starter: 5th round (#157) to Pittsburgh.  Another guy who was supposed to be higher but who dropped.
  • Jack Wynkoop of Virginia Beach (Cape Henry Collegiate HS), LHP starter for South Carolina: went in the 6th round to Colorado.
  • Michael Boyle: Radford Ace.  13th rounder to the Dodgers, who just *cleaned up* on high-profile college arms in this draft.
  • Kevin Mooney: UMD closer: 15th rounder by the Nats!
  • Kenny Towns; 3B from UVA and the 2011 All-Met player of the year from Lake Braddock, went in the 20th to the Angels.
  • Luke Willis, OF from George Mason and Oakton HS, in the 30th round to Kansas City.

There are quite a few other college players from the many baseball-playing colleges in the area drafted past the 10th round; search the MLB draft tracker and select the state of Virginia for many more local college players.

Local Prep players of note: nobody got drafted high enough to seriously consider changing their college frankly.

Fyi: Washington Post announced their All Met teams last night.  Nearly every local kid we’ve talked about this year is mentioned, including a number of these guys below:

  • Jimmy Barnes, Deep Creek HS in Chesapeake; 11th rounder to the Angels.  Interesting selection; the 11th round is the first round where you can “get away” from the bonus structure of the first 10; Barnes hasn’t committed to a college and is a SS from the baseball hotbed of Chesapeake VA.  Signable?
  • Nic Enright of Steward HS in Richmond: 19th rounder to the Mets.  Looks like he’s going to Virginia Tech.
  • Ljay Newsome of Chopticon (south of Waldorf): 26th rounder by Seattle.  Wonder what happens here: Newsome has not declared for a college yet.  Is he signable as a 26th rounder?  Post Publishing update: per his summer team’s twitter page, Newsome signed.
  • Nathan Trevillian, RHP from small Amherst County HS; committed to Liberty.  22nd rounder to the Mets.
  • Stevie Mangrum, 3B from Western Albemarle HS in Charlottesville.  Va Tech commit, 28th round pick by Boston.
  • Cody Morris, of Reservoir with a South Carolina commit and a TJ surgery: got picked up in 32nd round by Baltimore, probably the team sending a message to a local kid.
  • Hunter Parsons of Parkside HS, picked up in the 40th round by Cleveland.  Maryland commit.

I only see one of these prep kids going signing (Barnes in the 11th).  That means, reaching back to my pre-season coverage, the following colleges are going to see their early commits come to school.  Here’s a list of all the Prep players profiled early on with verbal commits (link to allmetsports.com’s Recruit Watch) Not all of these commits are set in stone, but here’s what some local schools signing classes could look like:

  • UVA: Connor Eason, Nathan Eikhoff, Evan Sperling, Grant Donahue
  • U of Maryland: A.J. Lee, Hunter Parsons
  • Virginia Tech: Nic Enright, Stevie Mangrum, John DeFazio, Paul Hall
  • South Carolina: Cody Morris, Danny Blair
  • Wake Forest: Harvey Logan
  • Liberty: Nathan Trevillian, Jack DeGroat
  • VCU: Brody Cook
  • UNC-Asheville: Jordan Carr
  • Campbell: James Monaghan
  • Uncommitted thus far: Ljay Newsome, Jimmy Barnes, Kaleb Bowman, Hunter Byrnes

 

Nats re-draft/previously drafted Players (i’ve noted our previous draft position for each player)

  • Andrew Suarez , (2nd round pick 2014) LHP from Miami went in the 2nd round again, #61 overall this time to San Francisco.  A few picks after he went last year; did he make a mistake spurning the Nats offer?  (disclaimer: who knows what the Nats offered).
  • Skye Bolt, OF from UNC, went in the 4th round (#128 overall) to Oakland.
  • Cody Poteet, (27th rounder in 2012) went in the 4th round (#116 overall) to Miami.
  • Austin Byler, (9th rounder, 2014) OF from Nevada.  Was the first pick on day 3; 11th rounder by Arizona.  His decision to head back to school may have cost him (though, to be fair, we have no idea what he turned down from the Nats).
  • Daniel Salters (22nd rounder 2014) C from Dallas Baptist: 13th round pick to Cleveland in 2015.
  • Jake Jefferies (34th rounder in 2012): 2B from Cal State-Fullerton; Nats picked him up again, this time in the 39th round.  He’s a junior now, clearly the Nats like him and probably just wanted to send a message, setting him up for next year.

There’s a couple more guys who were HS draftees in 2012 who should be draft eligible juniors now but who were not drafted.  They may not even still be playing for all we know.

 

Pre-2015 Draft coverage; mocks and local players

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Swanson seems likely to be 1-1 pick. Photo by Joe Howell.

Swanson seems likely to be 1-1 pick. Photo by Joe Howell.

The MLB rule-4 (Amateur) draft starts on Monday 6/8/15 at 7pm.  See MLB Network for the best coverage.  Since we’re also going to be talking about prep regional results and CWS results early next week, I thought i’d get this draft coverage post out there.  This post has good links to use to see draft prospect rankings, then links to help cover the draft starting monday, then some blurbs on local players of interest, and then links to a bunch of mock drafts.

Draft Coverage so far at NAR for 2015:

Here’s a slew of Draft Prospect rankings : these are NOT the same as mock drafts; see further down for those.

Draft Links of importance

  • MLB.com Official 2015 Draft Central home page.
  • MLB’s Awesome Draft Tracker; you can slice and dice the draft 10 different ways, search by schools and home states, etc.
  • Official MLB 2015 Draft Order (Nats first pick is #58 well into the 2nd round, next #69, then #103, then #134 in the 4th round, and then 134+30 picks there-after.
  • Official Draft Bonus Pool totals.  Astros have $17M (most).  Nats have 3rd least at $4.1M.
  • MLB Draft Database
  • Fangraphs Sortable Draft Board; a great new tool Fangraphs has that lets you slice and dice their top draft board.
  • Baseball-Reference Draft Tools: links to their draft database plus some custom reports.

Now, some news about College Players with local ties

  • Nathan Kirby Lat strain Press Release: UVA’s ace Kirby, considered a mid-to-late 1st rounder, missed a huge chunk of the season with a Lat Strain.  If the cards fall right, he may be able to pitch UVA’s 3rd regional game.  MLB has him ranked #26, as does BA.
  • Mike Matuella, of Great Falls (Georgetown Prep) and Duke, remains a back-end of the 1st round draft prospect but is also rehabbing his own TJ surgery.  He has far less of a track record than other college arms, and may be a crap shoot in the draft.  MLB has him ranked #28, BA #23.
  • Taylor Clarke, who hails from Ashburn (Broad Run HS), was named the CAA pitcher of the year while putting up stellar numbers for the College of Charleston, a trendy underdog pick to reach the CWS.  MLB has him ranked #144, so that’s perhaps a 4th-5th rounder, while BA has him higher at #118.  Here’s a draft profile of him from scout.com.
  • Joe McCarthy, OF for UVA, missed most of the season with a back injury and then hit horribly after wards.  His draft stock has dropped from a supp-1st to probably the back end of the 2nd round.  MLB has him ranked #68, BA #46.
  • Josh Sborz got dumped out of UVA’s rotation but still is ranked #115 in MLB’s pre-draft rankings (projecting to a 3rd-4th rounder).
  • Brandon Waddell had a good season as UVA’s #2 starter … and MLB projects him as a 5th rounder at #163.  BA has him at #153.
  • University of Maryland’s two best draft prospects are Alex Robinson (MLB ranked #124) and Brandon Lowe (MLB ranked #148).  Robinson is #74 on BA’s top 500 list and Lowe is #98 on BA’s list.
  • Radford’s Michael Boyle has pushed his draft stock up with his team’s post-season performance; BA has him ranked #132, which puts him in the 4th-5th round.

Local Prep players of note:

  • Cody Morris, probably the best local player matriculating this year, had to undergo TJ surgery and likely scuttling his draft plans.  Luckily he had already taken a scholarship offer to South Carolina, where he will now presumably attend and rehab to get ready for the 2016 season.  BA still has him ranked #265 but the odds of a team taking him in the 8th round seem slim.
  • A.J. Lee of St. Johns earned his 2nd straight Gatorade DC player of the year award and remains committed to Maryland; I do not sense he is a significant draft prospect and will go to College.  He is not in BA’s top 500 prospects.
  • Ljay Newsome of Chopticon (south of Waldorf) made some noise with his stellar 3-A state final game; he has not picked a college and I wonder if he’s headed for the draft.  He is not in BA’s top 500 prospects.
  • Nic Enright of Steward HS in Richmond (2015 Gatorade player of the year) is signed to Va Tech but ranked #132 by MLB.  Will he sign if he gets 3rd round money?  BA’s got him ranked far lower; #230, in the range of draft rankings where it makes more sense for him to go to school.

Other players of interest to Nats fans:

  • Andrew Suarez, the Nats’ 2nd round pick of last year, had a decent if not spectacular senior season at Miami and may end up getting picked right in the same spot.  MLB has him #75, BA #73.
  • Austin Byler, the Nats’ 9th round pick of last year, is ranked #199 by MLB (but much higher at #115 by BA) putting him in the 7th round or so.  Not too much of an improvement over last year; his senior season was more of the same for him; lots of power, perhaps stuck at 1B so will really have to hit his way moving forward.
  • Skye Bolt, the Nats’ 26th round pick in 2012, had a great UNC career and is ranked #67 by MLB ahead of the draft.  BA has him a bit lower at #106.  Maybe the Nats can draft him again since this is right around where their first 2015 draft pick falls.

Mock Draft Guesses

Sometimes you just can’t help yourself.  I like mock drafts from writers I like.  Since the Nats don’t pick until midway through the 2nd round, there’s no point (like in years’ past) in trying to project the Nats pick.  So here’s some popular pundits and their mocks, with their top 5 predictions (Law = Espn, McDaniel = Fangraphs, Callis & Mayo = Mlb.com, Manual = Baseball America and Crawford = Baseball Prospectus)

  • Keith Law Mock #1: Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman, Dillon Tate, Brendan Rodgers, Kyle Tucker
  • Keith Law Mock #2: Swanson, Rodgers, Tyler Jay, Tate, Tucker
  • Keith Law Mock #3 (on ESPN podcast): Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Tate, Tucker
  • Keith Law final Mock: Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Trenton Clark, Andrew Benintendi
  • Kiley McDaniel Mock #1: Swanson, Rodgers, Tate, Kyle Funkhouser, Daz Cameron
  • Kiley McDaniel Mock #2: Swanson, Rodgers, Jay, Bregman, Tucker
  • Kiley McDaniel Mock #3: Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Tate, Tucker
  • Jim Callis Mock #1: Swanson, Rodgers, Jay, Cameron, Carson Fulmer
  • Jim Callis Mock #2: Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Cameron, Tucker
  • Jim Callis: Final Mock: Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Tate, Benintendi
  • Jonathan Mayo Mock #1: Tate, Rodgers, Swanson, Cameron, Fulmer
  • Jonathan Mayo Mock #2: Swanson, Rodgers, Jay, Cameron, Tate
  • Jonathan Mayo Final Mock: Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Cameron, Tate
  • John Manual Mock #1: Tate, Swanson, Rodgers, Jon Harris, Tucker
  • John Manual Mock #2: Fulmer, Swanson, Rodgers, Tate, Tucker
  • John Manual Mock #3: Jay, Swanson, Rodgers, Tate, Tucker
  • John Manual Mock #4: Swanson, Bregman, Jay, Rodgers, Cameron
  • Jeff Ellis/Scout.com Final Mock: Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Tate, Tucker
  • David Rawnsley/si.com final mock: Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Tate, Cameron
  • Chris Crawford Mock #1: Garrett Whitley, Swanson, Rodgers, … the rest behind a pay-wall.
  • Ryan Sullivan/NatsGM final mock: Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Tate, Tucker
  • D1baseball.com Mock #1: Swanson … and the rest behind a pay-wall.
  • Jon Sickels/MinorLeagueBall Mock #1: Swanson, Bregman, Jay, Rodgers, Tucker
  • PerfectGame.org’s mock drafts and coverage now behind a pay-wall.

Todd Boss’ Mock draft?  Based on my vast level of expertise (sarcasm) and the thousands of man hours i’ve put in scouting players in person and cultivating industry sources (also sarcasm), I’ll take this as my guess for the top 5:

  1. Swanson: I think Swanson’s post-season hitting combined with his positional flexibility and the decline of all the upper-end college arms that have been mentioned in the conversation for 1-1 (First Aiken & Matuella, then Tate, then Funkhouser and Fulmer) has cemented Swanson’s spot at 1-1.  In other years, he’d be lucky to go in the top 10.  Not this year.  Arizona goes with the least risk; proven college hitter.
  2. Bregman: practically every connected pundit now has Bregman going 2nd.  Houston gets a sure thing and goes prep with #5.
  3. Rodgers: Houston hasn’t backed away from HS players before and get the best one, a SS with power, at #2.
  4. Tate: Tate’s regional performance pushed him back into this lofty level and he’s a better bet than Jay thanks to his reliever status all year.  Colorado likes college arms this high.  He makes the most sense.  If this pick isn’t Tate, its Jay.
  5. Tucker: practically everyone has Houston’s 2nd pick on Tucker, meaning they’re taking two upper-end prep talents.  Plus the Astros know the family; Kyle’s older brother Preston was a 7th round pick by Houston in 2012 and made his debut this year.  Makes too much sense.

So, just so you know, this guess matches the final mocks of Law, McDaniel and Ellis, and is nearly identical to the final mocks of a couple others.

This top 5 means some big time names are available 6-10.  Cameron, Jay, Fulmer, Clark and Harris could very well be in the next 4-5 guys picked.  Funkhouser seems to be slipping.  Also throw the likes of Andrew Benintendi, Tyler Stephenson, and Walker Buehler into the top 10 possible mix.

ACTUAL DRAFT Results added on 6/7/15: Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Tate, Tucker.  A number of the experts above had the top 5 pegged.  Yours truly … changed his prediction last minute to match the consensus and “got it right” too :-)

Brady Aiken has TJ surgery, shakes up draft boards

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Tough break for Aiken.  Photo via whotalking.com

Tough break for Aiken. Photo via whotalking.com

We got word today that 2014’s #1 overall pick Brady Aiken did indeed suffer an UCL injury in his first 2015 start and underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday.

Awful break for Aiken, and a  huge shake-up for the top of the 2015 Rule-4/Amateur draft.

Quick oral history of the Aiken situation: Houston made him last  year’s #1 overall pick, then rescinded/altered their $6.5M bonus offer after having “concerns” about Aiken’s UCL when viewing his medicals.  Aiken’s representatives rejected the lowered offer (wanting Houston to honor their original offer), and in the end declined to sign the lower amount (reportedly $5M at the deadline), and Aiken became just the third #1 overall pick to fail to sign in the draft’s history.  Thanks to baseball’s convoluted draft bonus rules, the failure to sign Aiken led to a cascading effect, costing them enough “pool dollars” to have to also rescind offers to 5th round pick Jacob Nix and 21st round pick Mac Marshall (now at LSU).  Nix (rightly so) filed a grievance against the Astros for the situation and was awarded his full $1.5M promised bonus (which, in my opinion, should absolutely be coming out of the Astros’ bonus pool for what they did).  Nix and Aiken eventually enrolled at the IMG academy in Florida, a post-graduate prep school designed to be a place for budding athletes to play who may have lost their HS eligibility.  Both had planned on re-entering the 2015 draft.

My thoughts on this whole mess?

  • I have to re-evaluate my opinion of the Astros organization’s behavior; previously I thought they were just being penny pinchers and were screwing with the careers of multiple amateur players (both Nix and Aiken lost UCLA scholarships over the mess).  Clearly they were right to be concerned about Aiken’s elbow, given that it tore within about 20 pitches of last being on the mound.  And now they get two top-5 picks out of a draft that does have some talent in it … and should have the money to sign them.
  • That being said … what was the real difference between their initial $6.5M offer and the $5M final offer?  Think about it: why are teams so ridiculously obsessed with figures in the $1-$2M range during amateur signings, when teams are *routinely* giving out 8-figure deals to mediocre veterans?  The Astros gave Luke Gregerson 3yrs/$18.5M and Pat Neshek 2yrs/$12.5M deals this off-season; that’s a combined $30M for two middle relief right handers.  They’ve been the lowest payroll team despite a massive RSN deal and play in the nation’s 4th largest market.  You mean to tell me they couldn’t still pony up the $1.5M difference for the #1 overall pick in the draft?  They couldn’t have just gotten an insurance policy to cover their risk of moving forward with Aiken?
  • If you were the Astros today, wouldn’t you rather have Aiken (with insurance policy), Nix and Marshall in the fold?  Do you think maybe your professional staff could have managed/mitigated this injury?
  • Did Aiken cut off his nose to spite his face by rejecting $5M?  Even before this injury, he was already dropping on draft boards, no sure guarantee to go 1st overall in 2015.  And with Houston holding the #2 and #5 overall picks there was already a real possibility of Aiken dropping outside the top 5 (since clearly Aiken would have refused “re-draft” possibilities), which means he’d have a heck of a time getting anywhere close to even the $5M he turned down. At some point his adviser should have just accepted the deal, in my opinion.  The new rules just make it impossible to get anything close to the bonus he turned down unless you’re #1 overall.
  • The situation kind of reminds me of the Matt Harrington situation, who turned down multiple bonus offers (one as high as $4M) and kept seeing his draft stock fall until he finally signed as a run-of-the-mill 13th rounder and quickly flamed out of pro ball.  His wiki page details the whole mess of a story.

There does exist a possibility of a team picking Aiken despite this injury.  Both Jeff Hoffman and our own Erick Fedde were picked in the mid-to-upper 1st round despite being rehabbing TJ arms.  And Aiken was more heralded than either guy.  I could see a team with a longer term view taking a chance on Aiken in the top 10.  A quick look at the 2015 draft order reveals some “gambler” type teams/GMs in the top 10 who could make a deal.  Assuming that your top-end names under consideration include the likes of Mike Matuella, Brendan Rodgers, Kolby Allard, Dillon Tate and maybe even someone like UVA’s Nathan Kirby , that could put teams in the 6-10 spot right in line to pick Aiken.  And that 6-10 range includes both Chicago teams and Boston, rich teams that could afford to wait him out.

One thing for sure; the odds of the Nationals getting another shot to pick a TJ case are slim; we gave up our 1st rounder to sign Max Scherzer and won’t pick until the 58th overall spot (compensation for not signing Miami’s Andrew Suarez last year).  I don’t think Aiken lasts til the 10th pick; certainly he won’t be there in the mid 2nd round.

Tough break for Aiken; hope he can salvage some bonus money and start his career.

Other opinions/hot takes I’ve read of use:

  • Jeff Ellis at Scout.com predicts the same that I do for Aiken’s draft status; top-10.
  • David Schoenfield at ESPN talks about Aiken and the “inequalities” between being born in the USA and elsewhere in the draft/signing markets (and the discrepancies are ridiculous).
  • Dave Cameron at fangraphs has some quotes from Aiken’s social media posting announcing his surgery and some critical analysis.

Post-posting update: presumed top-5 draft talent Kolby Allard is also out for the season with a back injury, further thinning the list of names in consideration for the #1 overall pick so far.

Another post-posting update: on 4/1/15, Duke ace (and NoVa native) Mike Matuella announced the he too has to have Tommy John surgery.  That’s three presumed top-5 picks in the upcoming draft now out with season-ending injuries.  Wow.

Local draft-prospects to keep an eye in for the 2015 draft

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Duke RHP and Great Falls resident Mike Matuella has rocketed up the draft boards for 2015.  Photo via dukechronicle.com

Duke RHP and Great Falls resident Mike Matuella has rocketed up the draft boards for 2015. Photo via dukechronicle.com

For the third year running (here’s 2013’s wrap-up and here’s 2014’s wrap-up of drafted local players) we’re going to keep an eye on “local” draft prospects leading up to the 2015 amateur draft.  By “local” I essentially mean anyone who hails from the DC/MD/VA areas plus anyone who is playing their college ball here.

To compile this list, I looked at rising college juniors and rising prep seniors who made impacts in 2014 or who  have made a name for themselves with summer league performances in 2014.  Here’s a link to the WP’s 2014 all-Met team, which had more than a few juniors, all of whom are mentioned here.  Here’s the roster for Perfect Game’s big summer 2014 showcase, which is the first place a lot of rising prep seniors get scouted.  Here’s a link to Louisville’s 2014 All-American selections, looking for junior all-american nominees.  Here’s a link to the EvoShield Canes 17U Roster, the leading travel team in the area and where a number of these upper-end prospects played this past summer.  Here’s the BaseballDraftReport blog that has been doing some tracking of prep players ahead of the 2015 draft.  Here’s Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel “way too early” draft rankings from Oct 2014.  Here’s BaseballAmerica’s first 2015 draft ranking from Mid Oct 2014.  Here’s minorleagueball.com’s “early 2015 draft” prospect list.  Here’s USAToday’s pre-season HS all-american list (though there are no local first teamers).

Local Prep Names to keep an eye on for 2015’s draft:

  • Cody Morris, RHP for 2014 3-A state champion Reservoir HS (Fulton, just south of Columbia).  2014 All-Met, 2014 Louisville All-American, Maryland Gatorade player of the year.  He’s committed to South Carolina but a repeat of his 2014 season could have him rising up draft boards.  Played for EvoShield this summer and was at the PG National showcase event.
  • A.J. Lee, a SS/RHP for 2014 WCAC/DCSAA champion and Washington Post final 2014 #1 team St. Johns (DC) who hails from Millersville.  He was also named to the 2014 all-Met team and was a 2nd team Louisville All-American.  Lastly he was the DC Gatorade player of the year in 2014.  He’s committed to Maryland.
  • Connor Eason, LHP for 2014 Virginia 5-A state champs Hickory (Chesapeake).   Also played for for EvoShield this summer and is a UVA commit.
  • John DeFazio, OF/RHP for Madison HS (Vienna).  2014 All-Met, committed to Virginia Tech.
  • Brody Cook, INF for Riverdale Baptist.  2014 All-Met, committed to VCU.  Played for Demarini Stars this summer.  On BaseballDraftReport’s pre-2015 season watch list.
  • Nathan Eikhoff, who plays for Patriot and was a 2014 All-Met after hitting an astounding .541 in the spring season.  UVA commit.  Played for Demarini Stars this past summer.
  • Harvey Logan, C for 5-A state runner up Douglas Freeman (Richmond).  He was at the PG showcase, played for EvoShield and is an early commit to Wake Forest.
  • Jordan Carr, P for Archbishop Spalding (Severn, between Annapolis and Baltimore).  2nd team all-met in 2014.
  • Ljay Newsome, P for Chopticon (south of Waldorf), 2nd team all-Met in 2014.
  • Stevie Mangrum, 3B for Western Albermarle HS (Charlottesville), was at the PG Showcase.  Committed to Va Tech and played for EvoShield this summer.
  • Kaleb Bowman, RHP for Woodgrove (Purcellville), honorable mention All Met for 2014, played for EvoShield this summer and verbally committed to South Carolina.
  • Danny Blair, CF for Gilman (Baltimore), committed to South Carolina, played for EvoShield and was at the PG National showcase.
  • Evan Sperling, RHP for Grafton (Yorktown/Newport News), committed to UVA and played for EvoShield.
  • Nathan Trevillian, RHP for Amherst County HS (near Lynchburg), committed to Liberty and was at the PG National showcase.
  • Grant Donahue, RHP for Decatur HS in Berlin (outside Ocean City).  At the PG National showcase, played for EvoShield, committed to UVA.
  • Hunter Parsons, RHP for Parkside HS in Salisbury, committed to Maryland, at the PG National showcase and played for EvoShield.   Up to 93 on the gun at showcases.  Could show up on draft boards with a couple more ticks on the gun.
  • Paul Hall, LHP for Maury HS in Norfolk.  Committed to Virginia Tech, up to 90 on the gun, played for EvoShield.
  • James Monaghan, 1B for LaPlata HS.  Committed to Campbell, played for Evoshield’s regional 17U team.
  • Hunter Byrnes, 2B for GW-Danville.  Same HS as last year’s 4th round pick Blake Bivens.  Good athlete (also a star QB) who may not get drafted but could be a good Div-1 player for someone.

I give a lot of weight to playing on the Evoshield Canes, as you can see.  If a guy is on that team, odds are he’s playing Div 1 somewhere.

Local College draft-eligible players to keep an eye on for 2015:  (2014 pre-season Baseball America all-american team link here, 2014 Baseball America post-season All American team here, 2014 Golden Spikes semifinalist announcement here, 2014 Rawlings/ABCA All-American list link here.  2014 All-ACC College Baseball team.  2014 All-CAA College Baseball team.  2014 All Atlantic-10 College Baseball team. All Big South, All Conference USA teams.

  • Mike Matuella, RHP from Duke (via Georgetown Prep HS and Great Falls, VA).  Burst onto the scene in 2014 and is in the mix for 1-1 overall already.  Huge guy (6’6″) with a huge arm (sits mid-90s).  Upper 1st round projection ahead of 2015 season.  Baseball America had this feature on him ahead of the season in mid January.  Here’s a scout.com report from 2/19/15.  He missed a start with a minor injury early on (thanks to persistent 30-degree weather in the area), but has come back and as of the time of this posting has a 0.44 ERA through 20 innings/5 starts for Duke.
  • Nathan Kirby, LHP from UVA (via James River HS in Midlothian) who was a first team all-ACC, 2014 Golden Spikes semi-finalist, a BA All-American, ABCA All-American.  Projected top 10 first round pick pre-2015 season.  So far into the college season, Kirby has lived up to his billing, holding a 3-1 record with a 1.16 ERA as UVA’s friday starter.
  • Joe McCarthy, OF from UVA who hit in the middle of UVA’s order in 2014 and was named All-ACC.  Projected mid 2nd round pick by BA ahead of 2015 season.  McCarthy suffered a back injury prior to the season’s beginning and will miss the first 12 weeks of the season; he’ll have precious few looks to get his draft stock up prior to the Rule 4 draft.
  • Brandon Waddell, LHP from  UVA.  UVA’s #2/Saturday starter was 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA on the year in 2014.  2nd-team All-ACC.  So far in 2015 he’s gotten hit though, holding just a 3.48 ERA through 6 starts.
  • Taylor Clarke, College of Charleston’s Friday starter and breakout 2014 player, hailing from Ashburn and featured previously in the Washington Post.   So far in 2015, he’s only improving his stock, holding a 55/8 K/BB ratio through his first 39 2/3 innings.
  • Josh Sborz, RHP from UVA (by way of McLean HS).  UVA’s #3/Sunday starter in 2014 but has been re-assigned as UVA’s closer in 2015 in favor of former Virginia prep standout Connor Jones entering the rotation.  Thus far at the time of this posting, Sborz has 5 saves but just a 3.00 ERA through 18 innings across 11 appearances.
  • John La Prise, inf from UVA who hit .358 in 2014, but who has only played in 4 games thus far in 2015.  He is on Minorleagueball’s preliminary 2015 draft list, but he was fighting injuries prior to the season and may still be doing so.
  • 3 sophomore All-CAA players from William & Mary: Catcher Ryan Hissey, DH Charlie Gould and RHP Joseph Gaouette.  Thus far in 2015, Hissey and Gould have picked up right where they left off, but Gaouette has yet to appear for the Tribe.
  • Some draft eligible players from U-Maryland: Alex Robinson, LHP, Jake Drossner LHP, Lamonte Wade LHP/OF.  With Maryland’s rising national ranking (#11 in the 3/23/15 d1baseball.com rankings), these guys will continue to see their stock rise.
  • Smaller college guys like Kyri Washington, OF at Longwood and Dylan Nelson, RHP from Radford.

Did I miss anyone?  I’m all ears.

Nationals Prospect Ranks historically

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Giolito is currently ranked #1 Nats prospect.  Photo Eric Dearborn via win for teddy blog

Giolito is currently ranked #1 Nats prospect. Photo Eric Dearborn via win for teddy blog

For years I’ve collected links and lists of Nationals top 10 prospect lists into a text file, just growing it chronologically year after year.  I noticed somewhat recently that in the Nats Big Board there are a few tabs with titles like “2013 Prospect Rankings”  that had some but not all the rankings data that I’ve collected.  Plus there’s no 2014 or 2015 tabs of this information.

So, I kind of became obsessed with translating all the information I had in text format to a spreadsheet.  Today I’ve uploaded this spreadsheet for your viewing pleasure.  I’ve created a “Link” along the right-hand side of this blog and also offer the below Google XLS:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ufpQabmX1XLTN9ShcgBDOLeOnfoIQLfXlk01qelJZbA/edit?usp=sharing

Some quick notes on the spreadsheet:

  • I’ve only included what I deem to be “professional pundits” rankings.  That is to say, I have not included my own, or the rankings of other Nats bloggers.    I’ve also excluded auto-generated rankings (like at Scouting Book), rankings driven by projection systems (Zips, Pecota, etc), and rankings driven by or for Fantasy purposes.
  • The default XLS in Google is sorted by the Fangraphs recent ranking, then alphabetically by last name after that.
  • The color schemes on the spreadsheet: Orange means that the player hadn’t been acquired and/or drafted yet. Red means that player has either left the organization (by release, trade, etc) or has “graduated” and is no longer a candidate for these lists.  Therefore a “white” or non-colored tab for recent lists should mean the player is still in our system, ranked or not.  Corrections welcome.
  • In the 2nd “pundits” tab you can see pundit by pundit whose lists i’ve used and (in yellow highlighting) see some of the lists I wouldn’t mind finding and including.  In particular, if anyone has the BA handbooks from previous years, I’d love a scan of the Nats top 30 pages.
  • One of the really interesting things I see in this data is the discrepant rankings from pundit to pundit by player; having all this data side by side lets you see (for example) that Keith Law really likes Joe Ross and John Sickels doesn’t rate Reynaldo Lopez nearly as highly as some of his counterparts.
  • The data is pretty solid to 2010; if anyone has older links i’ll take them and include them.  I also can carve off future time to do the google research but for now I’ve devoted enough time to this little project :-)

There are some weird discrepancies in the data as far as I can tell:

  • I have not done the “not yet signed” logic for all the IFA candidates, mostly because there’s some discrepancies in some of the IFA signing dates.  To wit; Anderson Franco is listed on the big board as a 2014 IFA signing, but he appeared in BA Handbook’s 2014 rankings for the team.  That BA Handbook is written mostly in December; how could Franco be ranked if he wasn’t even signed yet?   Do all IFAs sign on the same July time-frame?  Can a D.R. prospect sign the moment he turns 16, even if its outside the signing window?
  • Players like Aaron Barrett and Taylor Jordan ended up on pundit ranking lists after exhausting their eligibility; that’s what numbers in red blocks means.
  • mlb.com lists in particular are not published and set in stone; their system constantly adjusts the lists to account for player movement, so some of the older MLB list links may not match what’s in the xls.

The canonical history of Nats prospects ranked #1 on any list:  Lucas Giolito, Brian Goodwin, Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper (who never was NOT ranked #1 by any pundit), Stephen Strasburg (also never not ranked #1 in his brief stay on these lists in 2010), Jordan Zimmermann and lastly Chris Marrero, ranked #1 in the BA Nov 2007 ranking I somehow found.

Enjoy!