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Archive for May, 2016

Prep Baseball Update #2 2016: Private, DC, Maryland State Champs, Northern VA District Champs crowned

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This is post #2 of High School Tourney coverage for 2016.  Here’s the schedule:

  • #1: DC/MD/VA District High School Tournament Report: post-season kickoff.  Covers: MD regional kickoffs, VA district brackets, Private school tourney updates.  Usually publishes the week before Memorial day tournament finals.
  • #2: Maryland State Champs, Northern VA District Champs crowned (this post).  Covers: MD state finals, VA district tourneys, VA regional brackets, DC regular season results.  Usually publishes after the Memorial Day weekend tournaments finish up.
  • #3: Virginia Regional Results, DC Tourneys.  Covers: VA regional results, State brackets, DC tourney results.  Usually publishes the first week of June.
  • #4: Final Prep Baseball Update: Virginia State Champions crowned.  Covers: VA state tourneys, recaps MD, DC, Private School results.  Publishes mid-June once the Va state tourney wraps up.

Lets see where we stand now after the Memorial Day weekend and a slew of tournament results.

Text in Red are pending results, which we’ll pick up in the next post in this series.


Virginia

Here are the Virginia Conference champions, regular season and tournament.  All these playoff brackets, if they exist, are at this link at VHSL.  I won’t re-link all the playoff brackets per district/region below.

6-A North Region

  • 6-A Conference 5/Concorde: Regular season champ Chantilly won two close games to also take the District title.  Centreville scored the minor #3 over #2 upset to take the 2nd seed from this district.
  • 6-A Conference 6/Liberty: Regular season champ Madison won a 1-0 squeaker over #2 seed McLean in the district final.
  • 6-A Conference 7/Potomac: Lake Braddock routed #1 seed West Springfield and #3 seed Annandale en route to the district title. 
  • 6-A Conference 8/Cedar Run: Regular season champ Battlefield won both its playoff games 2-1 to take the District title.

6-A North Regional Qualifiers (in seed order).  Here’s the 6-A North bracket.  Play begins 5/25/16.

  • Conference 5/Concorde: Chantilly, Centreville, Westfield, Robinson
  • Conference 6/Liberty: Madison, McLean, Washington & Lee, South Lakes.
  • Conference 7/Potomac: Lake Braddock, West Springfield, West Potomac
  • Conference 8/Cedar Run: Battlefield, Patriot, Osborne Park, Osbourne.

Quick predictions for 6-A North regional tourney: In an unlucky break for both teams, Madison and Battlefield are set to meet in the Regional semis on 5/31/16 by virtue of being on the same side of the draw.  Defending regional champ Chantilly has a tough 2nd round matchup with McLean, while the powerful Lake Braddock team has a seemingly easier path to the Regional semis.  Its hard not to predict all four #1 seeds from advancing at this point; we’re marking our calendars for a potentially great Madison-Battlefield matchup (presumably with their ace Jake Agnos going) on 5/31.

6-A North Regional Tournament Results: As of this posting: Only one small upset by seeding in the first round of the 6-A North playoffs (#3 seed Centreville over #2 seed Annandale); otherwise most of the teams played close, one- or two-run games.   In the 5/27/16 quarters, the recent dominance of the Liberty district was exposed as both Madison and McLean were defeated handily.  The Regional semis are now Battlefield vs Centreville (who blanked Madison 3-0) and Chantilly versus Patriot (who upset #1 seed Lake Braddock).  A good showing for the Cedar Run conference in 2016.

Semis on 5/31/16 and Finals (set for 6/3/16) pending.


6-A South Region: which is mostly big-time schools in Richmond, Roanoke and Virginia Beach area.  But there are just enough schools in Woodbridge proper to form a 6-A conference closer to DC with teams that are typically considered for All-Met rankings.   Unlike 6A-North, just the top two teams from each district make the Regional tournament.  Thus, the district tournaments here are lagging the district tournaments for the North region, which finished before theirs even began.

In an interesting configuration, the winners of 6A Conference 1 and 5A conference 9 will play a championship game, so on the VHSL site they’re in the same bracket.

Direct link to Tide-water area tourney schedules at Pilot Online.    Direct link to Richmond area tourney schedules at the Times-Dispatch.

  • 6-A Conference 1/Coastal: First Colonial and Kellam (two perennial power houses) are the top seeds, but the tourney is at host Kellam so we’ll see who wins out.  In the tourney though, Kellam was upset with First Colonial and #3 seed Ocean Lakes facing off.  There, Ocean Lakes upset perhaps the state’s best team in a 9-inning affair (but First Colonial is still the #1 seed).
  • 6-A Conference 2/Monitor Merrimac: As with last year, Western Branch and Grassfield are the top seeds and advanced to the title game, but Grassfield came out on top 6-1.
  • 6-A Conference 3: Manchester and Cosby 1/2 seeds.  In the regional final seeds held and Manchester took the District title 6-5.
  • 6-A Conference 4: Colonial Forge is the regular season champ.  Seeds hold in the district tourney with Colonial Forge beating Hylton in the tourney final 3-0.

6-A South Regional Qualifiers: Games set for 5/30-6/3.

  • 6-A Conference 1/Coastal: First Colonial, Ocean Lakes
  • 6-A Conference 2/Monitor Merrimac: Grassfield, Western Branch
  • 6-A Conference 3: Manchester, Cosby.
  • 6-A Conference 4: Colonial Forge, Hylton

Quick predictions for 6-A South regional tourney: to come in the next update once we know who has qualified.  Early thoughts are on Colonial Forge, First Colonial and the conference 2 powerhouses Western Branch and Grassfield.  Grassfield’s chances may depend on the timing of their Ace Grant Garrett Stallings and which game he throws.


5-A North Region:

  • 5-A Conference 13/Capitol: Regular season champ Marshall squeaked through the district tournament, winning the final over #3 seed Edison.
  • 5-A Conference 14: Regular Season champ (and defending State champ) Stone Bridge was upset in the District final by Briar Woods (though Briar Woods probably was the better team by overall record).  Tuscarora easily handled Broad Run to capture the final regional slot.
  • 5-A Conference 15: Regular Season champ Mountain View won two close games to capture the District title.
  • 5-A Conference 16: Regular Season champ Halifax beat 2nd place Atlee in the district title game, with #4 seed Orange capturing the 3rd regional spot.

5-A North Regional Qualifiers (in seed order): 5-A North regional bracket here.  Play begins on 5/24/16.  In a change from last year, the top 3 from each conference qualify for Regionals.

  • Conference 13/Capitol: Marshall, Edison, Lee
  • Conference 14: Briar Woods, Stone Bridge, Tuscarora
  • Conference 15: Mountain View, Potomac, Stafford
  • Conference 16: Halifax, Atlee, Orange

Quick predictions for 5-A North regional tourney: I sense that Marshall isn’t nearly as good as its inflated record and that Briar Woods is vulnerable.  We regularly have no idea how good or bad the Southwestern Conference 16 teams are, and this benefits Mountain View (who plays into Halifax if the seeds  hold).  I’ll predict a Mountain View-Marshall regional final with Mountain View prevailing.

5-A North Regional tournament Results: (5-A North Bracket Here) In the #2/#3 seed play-in battles, only Edison was exposed and lost easily to Tuscarora.  In the quarters, only Briar Woods was upset (by Potomac), setting up two intriguing regional semis matches on 6/1/16.   Semis and Finals (set for 6/3/16) pending.


5-A South Region

  • 5-A Conference 9/Atlantic: Hickory and Indian River are the top 2 seeds; see above for the weird Conference 1/9 bracket.  Hickory seems to have moved from Conference 10 to 9 for some reason this year; they’re a recent VA state champ and are one to look out for.  The top 2 seeds advanced to the title game, where Indian River prevailed.
  • 5-A Conference 10/PenSouth: Menchville/Nansemond River are the 1/2 seeds.
  • 5-A Conference 11: Mills Godwin and Deep Run are the 1/2 seeds, but #3 seed Glen Allen upset both of them en route to a district title, destroying Mills Godwin in the final 16-3.
  • 5-A Conference 12: Prince George and Matoaca are the 1/2 seeds, and seeds held form in the tourney with Prince George winning out.

5-A South Regional Qualifiers (in seed order): 5-A South Bracket here: I don’t like the bracket configuration, where the two teams from the same region have to meet before the final; if (say) Indian River and Hickory are the two best 5-A teams … they shouldn’t have to play until the finals.  Games set for 5/30-6/3.

  • Conference 9/Atlantic: Hickory, Indian River.
  • Conference 10/PenSouth: Menchville, Nansemond River
  • Conference 11: Glen Allen, Mills Godwin.
  • Conference 12: Prince George, Matoaca

Quick predictions for 5-A south regional tourney: I like Hickory and Glen Allen’s chances, but we’re a ways from knowing how the regional sets up.


Smaller Virginia Classifications with Northern Virginia ties.  The local teams in 3-A Conference 27 have all moved/graduated to 4-A, so we’ll just cover 3-A Conference 28.

4-A North:

  • 4-A Conference 21 East/A: Conference 21 split into east and west this year, presumably for travel purposes.  In the Conference tournament, seeds held to form and #1 seed Millbrook beat #2 seed Woodgrove in the final.  Both teams advance to regionals.
  • 4-A Conference 21 West/B: Loudoun Valley’s reign over the conference was ended with a shock district tourney upset at the hands of Heritage (just 8-14 on the year).  In the district final Loudoun County faced off with Heritage and defeated them for the district title and regional berth.
  • 4-A Conference 22: Local powerhouse Kettle Run (17-1 in the regular season) faced John Champe (Aldie) in the district final.  Both teams are moving up in the world, having both been in 3-A last  year.

4-A South

  • 4-A Conference 17 now has perennial power Great Bridge, dropped down due to size.  They’ll be a force to reckon with in the state tourney along with Richmond’s Hanover.  In the district tournament, Great Bridge and Wilson met in the final where Great Bridge prevailed.

3-A East Region

  • 3-A Conference 28: District Champ William Monroe and #2 seed Brentsville District.  In the District Final, Seends held to form with #1 William Monroe taking both the regular season and district tourney title.

2-A East Region

  • 2-A Conference 35: District Champ Strasburg, local team George Mason is #3 seed and faces a tough drive to Madison County in the district semis, where they got beat badly 14-1.  in the District Final, Madison County upset #1 Seed Strasburg in an all-hitting affair 18-11.

Maryland

Here’s the state finals results in Maryland, played the week of 5/18/15.  Brackets here at the MPSAA website.

  • 4-A States: State Semis were 4-A East champs Leonardtown from St. Mary’s county (who beat Severna Park in a battle of the district #1 seeds), Quince Orchard (who beat favorite Gaithersburg in an all-Gaithersburg grudge match early and then outlasted surprise Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the 4-A West final), Bel Air (North of Baltimore) in 4-A North (outlasting Howard in an upset-filled tourney), and #1 Bowie (outside of Annapolis) outlasting Laurel in the 4-A south.  In the State Semis on 5/24/16, Quince Orchard took out Leonardtown 2-1 and Bel Air flattened Bowie 8-0.   In the State Final, Bel Air easily beat Quince Orchard 8-1 for the state title. 
  • 3-A States: State semis were 3-A East champ Chesapeake (Anne Arundel county), who defeated last year’s runner-up Mt. Hebron in the regional final, 3-A West champ Damascus, 3-A North Aberdeen and 3-A south Huntingtown (who beat Rockville in the regional final).  In the State Semis, Huntingtown defeated Aberdeen in extra innings while Chesapeake walked-off against Damascus in 8 innings.  In the state final on 5/30/16, Huntingtown rallied to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the 7th inning to win 4-3.
  • 2-A States: State semi finalists: Queen Anne’s, Williamsport, Eastern Tech and La Plata, who beat two time defending state champ Southern in the 2-A South regional final.  In the State Semis, La Plata destroyed Eastern Tech 18-1 and Williamsport took out Queen Anne’s.  In the state final, La Plata eased by Williamsport to take the title.
  • 1-A States: State semi finalists: St. Michaels, Brunswick, Patterson Mill (who defeated state finalist McDonough in their regional final) and Pikesville.  Brunswick keeps the repeat dreams alive while St. Michaels returns to try to claim a 3rd title in 6 years.  Brunswick and Patterson Mill advanced to the state final on 5/25/16.  In the state final, Brunswick repeated with a 4-0 victory.

A quick list of past Maryland State champions by division:

The Maryland public high school seasons are now complete.


DC Public Schools/DCIAA:

  • DCIAA: Wilson presumably kept its 20+ year winning streak in tact and took the regular season title in the District.  Rain delayed the playoffs, but per the bracket the Seeds held to the final with Wilson battling the School Without Walls (SWW). In that final, Wilson took its24th consecutive DCIAA title with an 11-1 win.  The gap in talent between even the best and 2nd best DCIAA team could be seen in the game report: all the Wilson seniors left after the 2nd inning so they could make the Prom … leaving all the underclassmen to win the game.
  • DCSAAThe DCSAA tournament started on 5/18/16 (Bracket Here), and Wilson once again has fallen short in winning the one title they’ve never won.  As the #2 seed they fell to #3 seeded St. Albans in the semis.  #4 seed Maret upset #1 seeded Gonzaga in the other semis, leaving a 5/27/16 final of Maret vs St. Albans.  There, St. Albans eased out a 2-1 victory to claim the DCSAA title.

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

Of note, Maryland baseball factory Riverdale Baptist has rolled of 30-straight victories and won the NACA national championship.

All Area private schools’ seasons are now complete.


Individual Player Accolades Announced

In addition to being playoff-baseball time, this is also the time of the year that we start to see player awards.

Gatorade announced their player of the year awards on 5/24/16:

  • Maryland: Spalding’s Tyler Blohm won the Maryland award.  Committed to Maryland.
  • Washington DC: St. John’s Cam Remalia (by way of Waldorf, MD) won the DC award.  Committed (per PG) to Coastal Carolina.
  • Virginia: Flint Hill’s Khalil Lee won the Virginia award.  Committed to Liberty but likely to get drafted early.

Pending Awards to be announced/expected later this spring:

  • Louisville Slugger All-Americans
  • Washington Post All-Met teams; have been named (seen some announcements on twitter), but have not been released.
  • The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro Team
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch All-Richmond team (if exists)
  • Virginian Pilot All-tidewater team (if exists)
  • Virginia All 6-A North Regional team: Jake Agnos, LHP Battlefield is the Pitcher of the year, Jared DiCesare, Chantilly is the Player of the year.
  • Other Virginia All-Regional teams: pending
  • VHSL All-State Teams
  • VISAA’s All-State teams, Division I, II and III
  • Maryland MIAA All-State teams (if exists)

 


My master list of links used to cover HS Baseball:

Local and National High School Baseball Ranking Lists: Updated for 5/23/16 in most cases.

  • Washington Post All Met Sports Area top-10 ranking: Madison has maintained #1 ranking all year.
  • NovaBaseballMagazine.com Rankings: Madison and Chantilly have dominated the rankings all year, Battlefield & Marshall there too.
  • PrepBaseballReport maintains a VA State-Wide Power25 Rankings: Greenbrier Christian, Hanover, Liberty Christian leading the way.
  • Baltimore Sun Top-10 Poll Archives: Perennial power Spalding has been at the top for a good chunk of the season.  Chesapeake, Severna Park.
  • The Virginian Pilot Top-10 for Hampton Roads area: Private school powerhouse Greenbrier Christian, Grassfield and one-loss First Colonial have led the way most of the year.
  • Richmond times-Dispatch Richmond-Area top-10: perennial 4-A power Hanover leads the way.
  • UsaToday’s National High School “Expert” Rankings 5/25/16: Hanover comes in at #16, Spalding at #21.
  • USAtoday’s National “Computer” Rankings 5/25/16: Just Hanover at #21.
  • Baseball America Top 25: No local teams ranked.  Madison was in the pre-season list but quickly dropped out with its early season tourney losses.
  • MaxPreps “Excellent 25” ranking: No local teams listed. Madison started #11
  • MaxPreps “Excellent 50” rankings: No local teams listed.
  • MaxPreps All-Virginia Rankings: Hanover, Grassfield 1-2, then 4-A Jamestown (maybe a bit high), then the two big private schools Greenbrier Christian and Liberty Christian.  Highest ranked 5-A team is Mountain View, so there’s your 6A/5A/4A favorites.

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

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

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

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

Non-newspaper Links for Local and National Prep Baseball Coverage

Good Twitter accounts to follow:

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

 

Written by Todd Boss

May 31st, 2016 at 7:09 am

Mets vs Nats: first big showdown of the year

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Will Harvey show up for his marquee matchup on thursday? Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Will Harvey show up for his marquee matchup on thursday? Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The first 6 weeks of the season have just been warm-up for this series.  Its time for the rubber to hit the road.  Time to see what’s what.

That’s right; its Mets and Nationals to see who takes round 1 in the battle for the 2016 NL East title.

(yes I know the Phillies are somehow in 2nd place, and the Marlins are frisky.  I don’t buy it; they’re not going to outlast their two divisional rivals that are built for 2016 playoff runs.  Because neither of those teams will spend a dime mid-season to improve and their kids will wilt in August).

Here’s the pitching match-ups (probables here for the week)

  • Tuesday 5/17/16: Max Scherzer versus Noah Snydergaard.  Wow; power versus power.  Scherzer fresh off a 20-k performance; Thor with his slider that he’s run up to 94 (!!) and his 101 peak fastball.  Washington’s hitters havn’t exactly been knocking the cover off the ball lately and Citi Field (I almost said Shea Stadium) will be rocking  Advantage Mets.
  • Wednesday 5/18/16: Gio Gonzalez versus (presumably) Bartolo Colon: The Mets lefties can’t hit Gio and he’s been solid … but he’s also prone to meltdowns under stress.  Washington only saw Colon once last year and it was on opening day; he’s 43 and still slinging the ball in there.  Advantage: even.
  • Thursday 5/19/16: Stephen Strasburg versus Matt Harvey: The Nats are 8-0 in Strasburg’s 8 starts so far and he’s earning his new pay-day.  Harvey is showing the signs of too many innings last year, has an ERA of nearly 5.00 and is 3-5 in his starts.  But Harvey is a big-game guy and will get up for this one.  Nonetheless, I give advantage to Nats.

Prediction/Hopes: you always hope and expect winning just 1 of 3 against a top rival on the road; if the Nats steal an extra game i’d be ecstatic.

 

Written by Todd Boss

May 17th, 2016 at 11:36 am

DC/MD/VA District High School Tournament Report: 2016 post-season underway

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It has been a rainy spring season for local baseball teams, but the district tournament season is upon us.  Here’s the first of four posts we’ll do covering the High School baseball tournaments in the DC/MD/VA area.  Here’s the rough schedule of posting and what we’ll cover:

  • #1: DC/MD/VA District High School Tournament Report: post-season kickoff (this post).  Covers: MD regional kickoffs, VA district brackets, Private school tourney updates.  Usually publishes the week before Memorial day tournament finals.
  • #2: Maryland State Champs, Northern VA District Champs crowned.  Covers: MD state finals, VA district tourneys, VA regional brackets, DC regular season results.  Usually publishes after the Memorial Day weekend tournaments finish up.
    #3: Virginia Regional Results, DC Tourneys.  Covers: VA regional results, State brackets, DC tourney results.  Usually publishes the first week of June.
    #4: Final Prep Baseball Update: Virginia State Champions crowned.  Covers: VA state tourneys, recaps MD, DC, Private School results.  Publishes mid-June once the Va state tourney wraps up.

Northern Virginia

Virginal district tournaments get started last weekend and most are scheduled to finish this week.  The VHSL site has some district brackets already published.  NovaBaseballMagazine has done a great job keeping up conference results and has links to the conference tournaments under its “Standings” links.  Here’s a preview of the district tournaments for local conferences with the leading contenders.

The top four teams from each district tourney form the 16-team regional brackets, to be published later on once all the divisions are finalized.

  • 6-A Conference 5/Concorde: Chantilly and Westfield are the 1/2 seeds; the other four teams in the district all are hovering around .500 for the year, including Oakton despite having a nationally-known recruit in Joe Rizzo.
  • 6-A Conference 6/Liberty: Madison and McLean are the 1/2 seeds as they were last year; Madison lost only one game locally this year and should cruise to the district title.
  • 6-A Conference 7/Potomac: West Springfield and Lake Braddock are the 1/2 seeds, with Annandale hovering.
  • 6-A Conference 8/ Cedar Run: Battlefield the clear dominant team in this small district and is the #1 seed in the tournament.

Previews: Its hard not to squint and predict a regional semi finals of Chantilly, Madison, West Springfield and Battlefield at this point; the question becomes when does Battlefield throw its unbeatable ace Jake Agnos.  If Battlefield can get to a regional final with Agnos on the hill, watch out.

In the 5-A division:

  • 5-A Conference 13/Capitol: Marshall is the clear #1 and the clear 5-A regional favorite, with just one loss all year.
  • 5-A Conference 14: Tuscarora, Stone Bridge and Briar Woods all stand at 5-2 in the district with one game remaining to play to jockey for seedings.
  • 5-A Conference 15: Mountain View and Potomac seem like the teams to beat again.
  • 5-A Conference 16: Halifax, Patrick Henry-Ashland are perennial favorites but this conference is not well covered by DC-area outlets.

Previews: Marshall seems like the team to beat; perennial power Stone Bridge lost its coach Sam Plank and some of its stars to rival new school Riverside, which is currently in Division 3-A while it grows into a 5-A/6-A size.

There are some DC-local teams in the 4th and smaller divisions (mostly in Loudoun County).  We’ll go through them once their brackets are made available on VHSL.  The best 4-A team out there is probably Loudoun Valley, currently in the WP top 10, and Kettle Run is also putting together a great season.


Maryland

At this point, the Maryland State tournament is underway, with the play-in/round of 32 games played on 5/14/16.   Brackets here at the MPSAA website and direct links to the four State-wide brackets are linked directly below.  Schedule: Regional quarters are on 5/16, semis 5/18 and regional finals 5/20.  State Semis are 5/24 and the state finals are 5/27.

  • Maryland 4-A: Both finalists from 2015 are  “district” #1 seeds in this year’s draw (Severna Park and Gaithersburg); they’ll meet in the State Semis this year if form holds.  2014 state-finalist Sherwood is also a “district” #1 seed and sits on the other side of the bracket with the likes of Dulaney, Parksdale and Bowie.
  • Maryland 3-A: Looks like new blood in this year’s tourney: last year’s champ did not make Regionals, and 2014’s champ Reservoir is set to take on last year’s finalist Mt. Hebron in the first round.  Chesapeake and River Hill look like early favorites.
  • Maryland 2-A: Two-time defending 2-A champ Southern has their work cut out for them to three-peat.  Newly promoted Sparrows Point, 2014 finalist Parkside and last year’s runner’s up Eastern Tech also in the field.
  • Maryland 1-A:  (mostly smaller schools outside the DC area): Last year’s champ is in the field but is not a favorite to advance even out of its own district.

We usually discount the quality of Maryland public school baseball teams versus their Virginia counter parts … but I can’t help if a team like Gaithersburg isn’t better than the likes of Madison or Chantilly this year.


DC

  • DCIAA: the regular season runs through 5/17.  The District tournament quarters are on 5/19, semis 5/23 and the finals on 5/25.   Wilson may finally have some competition, as School Without Walls (SWW) was undefeated mid-way through conference play.
  • DCSAA: the 2016 tournament, if it will occur, has yet to be scheduled.  It does not look like it has actually been held since 2013.

Remember, there’s not usually much suspense in who is winning the DCIAA; Wilson has not lost to a DCIAA opponent in more than 20  years.


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

  • MIAA: No playoff brackets yet, but Spalding looks once again like the class of the MIAA Class A.  Standings here.
  • There’s a 2016 Maryland Private School Tournament scheduled for 5/30 at UMD; it should have some of the better private schools from Maryland, including the non-affiliated but perennial powerhouse Riverdale Baptist.  Details coming later.
  • VISAA: The VISAA playoff brackets were just announced: #1 seeds by the three classes were Paul VI, Greenbriar Christian and Southampton Academy.  Other local teams playing include Flint Hill, O’Connell, and the Potomac School in McLean.  Quarters 5/16, Semis 5/10 and finals 5/21/16.
  • WCAC: The WCAC is midway through its tournament; with semis and finals being held this week.  St. Johns won the regular season but the four top teams all advanced to the semis.
  • MAC: Flint Hill once again cruised to a regular season title.
  • IAC: no news yet on this smaller private DC-area conference.
  • PVAC: no news yet on this smaller private DC-area conference.

My master list of links used to cover HS Baseball:

Local and National High School Baseball Ranking Lists:

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

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

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

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

Non-newspaper Links for Local and National Prep Baseball Coverage

Good Twitter accounts to follow:

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

Written by Todd Boss

May 16th, 2016 at 8:38 am

Strasburg Extension Shocker!

53 comments

Wow. Photo allansgraphics.com via free-extras.com

Wow. Photo allansgraphics.com via free-extras.com

Woke today to check the score from last night (we have a toddler, ergo we are sleep deprived and go to bed early).  After reading about Bryce Harper‘s mouth and ejection and Clint Robinson‘s walkoff, there was a small little link at the bottom of the article…

Stephen Strasburg signs a 7yr, $175M extension to stay with the team, as broken last night by the Washington Post’s Chelsea James.

Wow.  Did not see this coming.  I never thought this team would re-sign Strasburg frankly, because I thought there’d be a feeding frenzy when he hit free agency this coming off-season.

Strasburg’s representation (Scott Boras) is not exactly known for having his players sign extensions.  The 2016-17 free agent market for starters was so bare that Strasburg likely would have inspired a bidding war and you have to think Strasburg just left a bunch of money on the table.  The next best starter hitting free agency next off-season now might be Rich Hill.  Rich Frigging Hill, as in the guy the Nats had on a MLFA deal last summer and cut him loose so he could go re-make his career out of the Oakland bullpen.

What kind of value did the team just get?  Here’s a quick look at the other SP deals in the $150M or higher range:

  • David Price: 7yrs/$217M starting in 2016.
  • Clayton Kershaw: 7yrs, $214M starting in 2014
  • Max Scherzer: 7yrs/$210M starting in 2015 (albeit with significant deferred money that brings the net present value down to around $185M)
  • Zack Greinke: 6yrs/$206M starting in 2016
  • Felix Hernandez, 7yrs/$175M starting in 2014
  • Masahiro Tanaka: 7yrs/$155M (but with his $20M posting fee its a $175M deal all told)
  • Jon Lester: 6yrs/$155M starting in 2015.

So, this is the selection of contracts to compare this Strasburg deal to.  Other big deals signed last off-season include Johnny Cueto (6yrs/$130M) and Jordan Zimmermann (5yrs/$110M).

There’s already a bunch of hot takes; some like the deal, some think its a mistake.  On the one hand, Yes, pretty much any big long term free agent deal eventually looks like a stinker, so in that respect you can be a cynic and say that every long term FA contract is a mistake.  But that’s just not a realistic way to look at team building in this modern era.  Unless you’re willing to completely punt on your season for several years running (see Chicago Cubs, see Houston Astros, see the Atlanta Braves right now, even look at what our own Nats did for two seasons so they could acquire both Strasburg and Harper in the draft), then keeping your team consistently in the upper division requires spending on the FA market to paper over what your farm system may  not be developing.

But looking at (specifically) the Cueto and Lester deals … I can’t help but think that the Nats got a steal here.  Who would you rather have, Cueto for 6/$130M or Strasburg for 7/$175?  Same question for Lester. Strasburg, to me, is a better pitcher (a far better pitcher) and they got him for basically the same AAV as those guys.  Would you rather have Strasburg for $25M AAV or Price at $31M AAV?  Honestly?  Give me Strasburg and I can use that $6M to buy more bullpen guys.

I know Strasburg has his detractors out there, people who with a straight face don’t think he’s an “Ace” or one of the best 10-15 arms in this league;  you people are fools.  Look at nearly any metric you want over the last 3-4  years and you’ll find that Strasburg is in the top 10-15 league wide.  Here’s a helpful link to fangraphs individual pitcher stats from 2012-now; in this time frame Strasburg is (among qualified starters): 13th in fWAR, 13th in ERA, 9th in FIP, 2nd in xFIP, 9th in SIERA, 4th in K/9, 11th in K/BB, 5th in FB velocity, 20th in wFA, 7th in wCU, 6th in wCH.  That’s pretty rare air to be that high up in so many different categories spanning the various statistical ways to measure pitching these days.  He’s not Clayton Kershaw … who is?

Interesting question to ponder: is this Strasburg/Boras “payback” for “shutdown-gate” in 2012??  Their way of saying “thank you” for looking out more for the pitcher than the team in that case?   Because it seems so to me; that’s my “hot take.”

I leave you with this before debating the merits of this move: Here’s our projected rotation in 2017:

Scherzer, Strasburg, Giolito, Ross, and Gio Gonzalez or Tanner Roark.

Yeah; that could be pretty frigging good.

Yes they got swept by the Cubs but…

21 comments

Here's something Harper didn't do a lot of this past series: swing.  Photo via fansided.com

Here’s something Harper didn’t do a lot of this past series: swing. Photo via fansided.com

So, even though the team just got swept in a 4-game set, I’m not really that concerned.  Why?

Well, first, the Cubs are fantastic, and I thought one win out of four would have been a good, expected result.  The Cubs missed Strasburg, our best guy (even if he’s not the “Ace” thanks to Scherzer‘s contract) while we stood up to the Cubs’ Ace Arrieta.  The Nats scored a bunch of runs against a good team and on other days may have gotten a win or two.  Am I right?

Game by Game:

  • Thurs: Lose 5-2: Joe Ross gives up 2 in 6 but the Nats muster just 3 hits against Kyle Hendricks.  Don’t deserve to win when you only get 3 hits.
  • Fri: Lose 8-6 in a game that really wasn’t that close: Max Scherzer gives up four homers, which is just crazy unlucky for him based on his typical FB/HR averages.  Nats make the scoreline respectable by getting into the Cubs bullpen for four runs late.  Don’t deserve to win when your starter gives up 4 dingers.
  • Sat: Lose 8-5 when Gio Gonzalez can’t get through the Cubs’ 3-4-5 hitters a third time.  Nats bullpen doesn’t do its job.  I kinda question the pitching management here honestly; is Solis the right guy to go to there?  Is it a smart move to let your #5 starter attempt to go through the heart of the other team’s order in a hitter’s park?  If you want to go lefty, why not go with your veteran Oliver Perez or your fireballer Felipe Rivero instead of a guy who was in Syracuse last week?  I guess its because Rivero got blitzed thursday night.   Instead Rivero comes in during garbage time and manages to load the bases and leak yet another run.
  • Sun: Lose 4-3 in extras after chasing the best pitcher in the game and squandering a fantastic outing from Tanner Roark.  Again, a leaky bullpen, this time in the same guy Perez that I thought was a better option than Solis the day before.  But the story of this game was the astounding batting lines of Bryce Harper (7 plate appearances, 6 walks and a HBP) and Ryan Zimmerman (a major league record 14 runners left on base).  The team in total left 21 runners on base and went 1-19 with RISP on the day. One for NINETEEN!  Zimmerman hit a couple balls well on the night, but none when it counted.

Total score of the series: Cubs 25, Nats 16.  Lot of runs on the bullpen.  Zero of our lefty relievers really stepped up.  Both our 8th inning guys couldn’t shut anyone down.  And clearly nobody respects anyone else in the lineup besides Harper.

Anyway; before I get all gloom and doom, the Nats just finished their hardest road trip of the year 5-5, when prior to the season I would have been happy with them going 3-7.  Thanks to sweeps in St. Louis and surprising series win in KC, i’ve still got them projected to win 95 games right now (easy math: team goes .500 against the rest of the league and interleague, plays .600 ball in their division).

Now … if they get swept in New York….

 

Operation “First tough stretch of the season” underway…

80 comments

Loved the Robinson homer ... even it if cost me in fantasy.  Photo via minorleagueball.com

Loved the Robinson homer … even it if cost me in fantasy. Photo via minorleagueball.com

We all know the Nats had a cream-puff schedule in April.  And they delivered; despite a somewhat inexplicable sweep at home to Philadelphia, they finished 14-7 in their first 21 games against basically a collection of teams that aren’t really trying in 2016.

14-7 is a nifty 108 win pace by the way.  Just saying :-)

We all were looking at this first road trip as the first true test; they havn’t played the Mets  yet, they havn’t really had much of a struggle (outside of a couple of pretty good Philadelphia young arms).  They were going to their old nemesis St. Louis (where they’ve always struggled, year over year), then 3 games at the defending WS champs (and in an AL park with their inherent DH advantage), and then to top it off 4 games in Chicago against a team that looks more and more like its gonna win 110 games (hyperbole, if only slightly; they’re 17-6 right now and that’s a ridiculous 120 win pace).

I didn’t think the Nats would win three games this entire trip.  Imagine my surprise that they frigging SWEPT St. Louis, in St. Louis, in three games that honestly weren’t really that close?  Strasburg, Ross and Scherzer pitched like bosses (no pun intended), and gave up a combined 3 earned runs in their 20 innings.  They won a game yesterday where Harper struck out four times.  They got great clutch hitting from unlikely sources (Espinosa, Robinson, Taylor) and they got a turn-back-the-clock Saturday from Werth.

What does this mean?

Well, for one, I think this already bumps up their projected win totals on the year.  You know the adage; dominate the bad teams and break even with the good ones.  I’ve got a little spreadsheet where I have projected Win/Loss totals for the season and it goes like this:

  • The team basically breaks even with the entire rest of the league: 43-41 against the NL Central, NL West and in Interleague
  • The team goes 13-6 against Atlanta, 12-7 against Philly and 11-8 against Miami.
  • The team goes 9-10 against the Mets (they have an extra home game in NY this year) for a combined 45-31 in-division.

If the team does this, then they win 88 games.  Probably not enough to make the playoffs.  So to improve on 88 wins, they need to pick up “extra” wins here and there.  Instead of going 13-6 against Atlanta maybe they go something ridiculous like 18-1 or 17-2 (they’re already 6-0).  They picked up an “extra” win against Minnesota already, sweeping them at home.

I had them going 1-2 in St. Louis in this scenario; going 3-0 is amazing.  Lets see what they can do in KC.  I’m hoping for 1 win out of 3.  They’re giving KC their two “worst” starters and they’re not really hitting well as a team, but what it does mean is that the Cubs will get Ross and Scherzer on the weekend.  Should be fun.

Written by Todd Boss

May 2nd, 2016 at 9:12 am