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Archive for June, 2019

CWS Finals: Vanderbilt wins!

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


Here’s how the finals played out.

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

Your 2019 College World Series Champion: Vanderbilt

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


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

 

College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 27th, 2019 at 10:01 am

2019 CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview

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


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

Predictions for the Group stages: Vanderbilt and Texas Tech.


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Pitching Match-ups:

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

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

Prediction: Vanderbilt in 3


College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 24th, 2019 at 10:17 am

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

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

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

 


Virginia

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Smaller ClassificationsClass 2 State Bracket and Class 1 State Bracket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Maryland

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

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

A quick list of past Maryland State champions by division:

 


DC

Past DC Winners:

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

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

State-level Private School tourneys 2019 results.

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

DC-area Private School Leagues results for 2019:

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

 


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

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

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


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

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

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

Non-newspaper Links for Local and National Prep Baseball Coverage

Good Twitter accounts to follow:

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

Written by Todd Boss

June 21st, 2019 at 5:15 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ask Collier 6/12/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: I have no opinion here :-)

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

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

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


CWS Super Regionals were played this past weekend.

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

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

My CWS Predictions vs Actuals:

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

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

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

 


CWS Field and Profiles

Top Bracket: (records through Super-Regionals)

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

Bottom Bracket

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

CWS field review by the numbers

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

CWS Field thoughts

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

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

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

Quick predictions:

Final: Vanderbilt over Texas Tech.

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

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

Bottom Bracket

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

 

Nats 2019 Draftees still playing in the CWS:

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

College CWS tournament references:

2019 CWS Regional Results, Super Regional Pairings, Nats picks still playing

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Our CWS coverage for 2019 got a little compressed due to time this year.   We didn’t announce the full field (link to d1baseball’s 64-field announcement), and we’re combining a couple different posts this year upon the completion of Regionals.

Now we’re through the Regionals and the field has been winnowed from 64 to just 16.

 


Regional Recaps

We’ll review the 16 regionals in order of the larger bracket.  Bold is the host/seed and Bolded Red is the winner.

1. UCLA region finish: UCLA, the top seed in the tourney, survived a scare by sweeping Loyola Marymount out of the losers’ bracket to advance.  Seed finish: 1-3-2-4
16. Oregon State region finish: Michigan outlasted Creighton in this upset-filled regional.  Host Oregon State, your defending National champ, was 2-and-out, robbing a national stage for its presumed #1 overall pick Adley Rutschman.  Seed finish: 3-2-4-1

2. Vanderbilt region finish: Vanderbilt cruised to the title in this chalk regional.  Seed finish: chalk 1-2-3-4
15. West Virginia region finish: #3 seed Duke got to WVU’s top pick Alex Manoah in the winner’s bracket game and WVU couldn’t recover.  Seed finish: 3-2-1-4

3. Georgia Tech region finish: Auburn takes two close ones to beat the host and 3rd overall seed.  Seed finish: 2-1-3-4
14. UNC region finish: UNC topped all three teams en route to the title in a “familiar” regional of teams who play frequently.  Seed finish: chalk 1-2-3-4.

4. Georgia region finish: Florida State advances as a #3 regional seed, battering the field by winnings its 3 games 13-7, 12-3, 10-1.  Seed finish: 3-1-2-4.
13. LSU region finish: LSU held serve and advances.  Seed finish: 1-3-2-4

5. Arkansas region finish: Arkansas cruises undefeated to the win.  Last-team-in TCU makes the regional final to prove critics wrong.   Seed finish: 1-3-4-2
12. Ole Miss region finish: Ole Miss fends off the feisty 4th seeded Jacksonville State to advance.   Overseeded Illinois goes 2-and-out.  Seed finish: 1-4-3-2.

6. Mississippi State region finish: Mississippi State takes out Miami, who came out of the loser’s bracket to challenge.  Seed finish chalk 1-2-3-4.
11. Stanford region finish: Stanford  came out of the losers bracket to outlast upstart Fresno State in a monday finish.  Seed finish: 1-3-4-2

7. Louisville region finish: Louisville  came through the loser’s bracket to advance.  This regional marred by a ridiculous “ump show” where the Louisville closer got ejected for saying “that’s horrible” after a close call.  4-game suspension.  For saying two words, basically to himself.  Seed finish: 1-3-2-4.
10. ECU region finish: ECU survived an embarrassing opening loss to minnow Quinnipiac to advance past the surprising Campbell, who helped give ACC power NC State an equally embarrassing 2 and out.  Seed finish: 1-3-4-2

8. Texas Tech region finish: Texas Tech won a straightforward regional, where Dallas Baptist beat Florida twice.  Seed finish: chalk 1-2-3-4.
9. Oklahoma State region finish: Oklahoma State was extended an extra game by UConn but advanced.  Seed fish: chalk 1-2-3-4 but not straight-forward way to get there.


Predictions versus Actuals: no prediction piece this year for the Regionals.


DC/MD/VA team performance at Regionals

Here’s how teams of note either from the DC/MD/VA or with known players who hail from the region performed at Regionals.

  • Coastal Carolina (which has several VA-tied players) finished 3rd in a tough regional.
  • Liberty got a win, then got crushed by eventual regional champ UNC.
  • Tennessee lost the 1st round behind VA based Garrett Stallings on the mound, but rallied to make the regional final.  they also feature 1B 3rd-4th rounder Andre Lipicus, who hails from Williamsburg and got drafted in the 3rd round.
  • UNC Wilmington (which has several VA-tied players) was 2-and-out in the UNC regional.
  • ECU was a top-10 team all year and the #10th seed here.  NoVa product Jake Agnos (4th round pick) pitched a great winner’s bracket game and gets another start in the Super Regional.
  • West Virginia: has a few MD/VA based freshman this  year.
  • Clemson has some VA-based depth that didn’t appear in the regional.

 


Summary of Regionals statistically:

  • 12 of 16  hosts advanced.  A very chalk-y CWS so far.  Falling Seeds/Hosts: #3 Georgia Tech, #4 Georgia, #16 Oregon State, #15 West Virginia, 
  • 2 of the 8 national seeds fell: Georgia and Georgia Tech.
  • 2 of the 9-16 seeds fell: WVU and OSU.
  • 12 number one seeds, 1 number two seeds, 3 number three seeds, and 0 number four seeds advance to the super regionals.  
  • 5 number of #4 seeds who didn’t finish 4th in their regional; Cincinnati, Central Connecticut, Jacksonville State, Sacramento State. Quinnipiac.
  • 2: number of #4 seeds to get opening wins.  Cincinnati beat Oregon State, Quinnipaic beat ECU.
  • Most surprising regional winner: Michigan.
  • # of “extended” regionals: 5.

Conference Breakdowns of the teams in the Super Regionals:

  • SEC: Arkansas, Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt
  • ACC: FSU, UNC, Louisville, Duke
  • Big12: Texas Tech, Oklahoma State
  • Pac12: UCLA, Stanford
  • Big 10: Michigan
  • Others: ECU (AAC)

Very top heavy; SEC gets 6 of the 16 super regionalists and has a good shot of sending 5 teams to Omaha.


Super Regional Matchups:  the higher ranked team is the host unless otherwise noted (official hosts and start times here)

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke:

Super Regional Thoughts/Predictions

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan: Michigan advanced by beating a top 25  team in Creighton … but should be no match for UCLA.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State: a Big12 showdown; they met in late april, a 3-game sweep at Texas Tech, where this will be hosted.  I see a similar beat down this weekend.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: SEC showdown: despite the seeding and despite home field advantage, Ole Miss took 2 of 3 in Arkansas at the end of March.  The two teams then split games at the SEC tourney, with Ole Miss eliminating the Razorbacks.  I like Ole Miss’ chances here.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU; a great match-up of traditional college baseball powers.  LSU should advance, especially as the host seed even given Florida State’s pedigree.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC: I like Auburn here, who just beat a better ACC team than UNC to advance, despite UNC getting surprise super regional hosting duties.
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford: While I like the Pac12 baseball this year, and at one point Stanford was much higher ranked, I don’t think they can hang with SEC royalty like Mississippi State.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: I don’t think ECU can hang with Louisville, especially after struggling with a relatively weak regional.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke:  a brain-y match-up of two great academic schools that have good baseball pedigree.  But Vanderbilt should trounce Duke here as one of the best teams in the country.

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


Super Regional Star Power

Lots of top-end draft picks will be playing this weekend, just ahead of the MLB draft which starts on 6/12/17.  (note: I wrote most of the below before the draft and have not updated it with exact picks)  By Super Regional:

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan; 1st rounder Michael Toglia and 2nd rounder Chase Strumpf pace UCLA’s offense.   Two Michigan starters (Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann) were comp-b picks.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State: Mid-1st rounder Josh Jung is TTU’s 3B, and likely 3rd rounder Gabe  Holt is on OF/2B.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: Arkansas’ #1 starter is Isaiah Campbell, likely a 2nd rounder.  Matt Cronin is a LHP likely 3rd rounder, OF Dominic Fletcher likely a 4th rounder.   Ole Miss’ catcher duo of Thomas Diller and Cooper Johnson both project as 3rd rounders.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU:  FSU’s Drew Mendoza was the Nats 3rd round pick..  LSU has three guys projecting in the late 2nd/3rd round: SS Josh Smith, RHP Zach Hess (who hails from Lynchburg VA), and OF Zach Watson.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC: UNC’s 1st baseman Michael Busch is a likely back-of-the-1st rounder.  UNC stater Tyler Baum projects as a 3rd rounder. Auburn SS Will Holland projects as a late 2nd rounder.  Auburn RHP David Daniel likely a 5th-6th rounder.
  • #6 Mississippi State vs #11 Stanford: Mississippi State’s rotation is led by Ethan Small, a LHP likely going in the 2nd round.  Stanford’s CF Kyle Stower was a 2nd round Baltimore pick.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: Louisville’s top bat is 1b Logan Wyatt went early in the 2nd   ECU has several players projected to go in rounds 3-5, including local product Zach Agnos.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke: Vanderbilt’s J.J. Bleday is projecting as a top-5 pick and is probably the highest-ranked collegiate player whose team advanced to the super regionals.  Vandy has a couple other guys projecting as 5th/6th rounders: Drake Fellows RHP and C Philip Clarke.  Duke’s LHP Graeme Stinson projects as a 3rd rounder.

Nats 2019 Draft Picks in the Super Regionals

  • 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza from FSU
  • 4th rounder Matt Cronin is in Arkansas’ bullpenn.
  • 7th Rounder Todd Peterson is in LSU’s bullpen as a setup/closer.
  • 8th Rounder Jeremy Ydens is starting in #1 UCLA’s outfield after missing most of the season with injury.

 


CWS Predictions:

Early CWS final prediction:  I like #1 vs #2: UCLA vs Vanderbilt right now, with Vandy coming out on top.


College CWS tournament references:

Nats 2019 Draft Class; Highlights of picks 11-40 and overall class breakdowns

8 comments

Arruda is the first pick on day three. Photo via Fresno State Athletics department

Arruda is the first pick on day three. Photo via Fresno State Athletics department

Another  year in the books, and another 40 guys now potentially part of the Nats organization.

We reviewed the top 10 more in-depth in the previous post. Lets zip through the rest of the draft and do some quick commentary as needed.  I’m basically depending on BA’s scouting reports for observations (hey, I finally subscribed, so might as well use them).

  • Round 11: J.T. Arruda, Fresno State’s starting SS.  Redshirt Sophomore, with no Baseball America scouting profile (which is odd, because they have hundreds and hundreds of them).  Stat line at Fresno State looks good, but so does everyone else’s on that solid team.  But he does have a good combo of power and speed.  Undersized (5’10”) and clearly a 2B/SS type guy.  An interesting selection with #11, which is generally where  you try to find guys who slipped out of the top 5-6 rounds who may sign.  I’d like to see something like a Max Schrock or Steven Lombardozzi career out of him; good hit tool, utility infielder who can stick around and help.
  • Round 12: Orlando Ribaltra, Miami Dade Juco RHP.  Graduated HS in 2016 so he’s basically a College Jr.  Already a reliever, hit 97 and scouts think he can go higher.  Secondary pitches lacking (hence already being a reliever, even in Juco).  I’m guessing he’s straight tot he closer role in Short-A and stays there all the way up.  BA lists no xfer commitment and I think its safe to say he’ll sign for the $125k or close to it.
  • Round 13: Jake Randa, NW Florida State Juco Corner OF.  BA says he’s one of the best JuCo hitters in the country; he slashed .412/.507/.753 as a freshman before cooling a bit in 2019.   He also impressed this past summer in the Wood bat Northwoods league.  He was projected to go in the 6th-7th round or so this year and slipped.  Has committed to transfer to Mississippi State and I think he’s a tough sign here; if he was projected 6th round and has an SEC xfer commitment, why would he sign for $125k when he could do one more year of school on the big stage and really make himself some money?
  • Round 14: Lucas Knowles, Central Arizona Juco LHP.  Interesting story; he was a weekend starter as a RS freshman for U-Washington, then left when they didn’t pony up a scholarship.  He does have an xfer commitment to Kentucky for his Junior  year, but he’s already got three college years (he redshirted with TJ surgery, so this Juco year was his 3rd college season).  He profiles like a Tom Glavine type: 88-91, control lefty with four pitches.   I think he signs in lieu of xferring to his 3rd program in four years and gets started.  I’d like to think he’s a 2019 Short-A/2020 Low-A rotation guy for us.
  • Round 15: Davis Moore, Fresno State weekend RHP starter.  Numbers don’t look great (3.91 ERA) but its also a hitter’s league (the Mountain West Conference has teams in Vegas, Reno, Colorado Springs, Albequerque and Fresno, all altitude/dry air places.  Even San Jose, despite being on the Pacific coast, is in a dryer climate that far inland).  He really pitched well against Stanford in the regional too, perhaps impressing scouts to bump him a bit.  Sinkerballer, not a ton of velocity but scouts think his sinker will really play against wood bats.  I like his profile especially against lower-level wood bats.
  • Round 16: Junior Martina, Western OK State Juco SS.  BA doesn’t have a scouting report on him, and Western Oklahoma State’s stat page doesn’t have him on the roster, at least not by the name “Junior Martina.”   If he goes by “Junior Osebo” instead, then he was a middle reliever with decent stuff and decent stats.  I don’t know if he’s got a 4yr transfer commitment.  An enigma.
  • Round 17: Amos Willingham, RHP starter from Georgia Tech.  No BA scouting report, but he ended the season as the #1/Friday night starter for one of the best collegiate teams in the country this year and pitched for them in the opener of their CWS regional (getting a 6ip 2-run quality start win).   His stat line on the season is poor: 5.19 ERA, but he came on strong at the end.   Some internet research showed that he was a Juco xfer to Georgia Tech, and sometimes suffers from a strength-sapping stomach ailment that may explain some bouts of ineffectiveness.   I wonder if he’s signable, given that he’s at a big-time program, finally started to shine in Ga Tech’s rotation towards the end of the year, and may want another shot at improving upon his ERA as a senior.
  • Round 18: Mason Doolittle, C from Palm Beach Juco in Fl.  No BA scouting report, but does have an xfer commitment to Appalachian State.
  • Round 19: Tyler Yankowsky, RHP reliever from Division II Millersville U.  He’s already been dumped from the rotation to the bullpen in a Div-II school, but BA says he’s mid-90s with a good cutter and a fringe curve.  BA’s scouting report also has this weird quote: “An excellent golfer in high school, Yankowsky’s command and delivery explain why he’s a reliever.”   I’m not sure what his command and delivery have to do with the fact that he was a good golfer in  high school; frankly, most every top baseball hitter I know is also a good golfer.  Why?  because golf requires the exact same hand-eye coordination that hitting a baseball requires.  Anyway; he’s 6’6″ with a two-pitch mix; sounds like a good pro reliever for the time being.
  • Round 20: Jack Dunn, Senior SS from baseball hot-bed Northwestern.   1st team all big-10 his senior year.  Not much else out there about him; no BA scouting report.  He’s from Georgia and was decently regarded out of HS.  Looks like a lead-off hitter for Northwestern, decent stats, decent OBP.   Maybe he’s the 2B half of a double play combo in Short-A with Arruda.

Past Round 20, I’ll just note interesting guys; see the table above for the next 20 picks fully.

  • Seven of the Ten picks in the Rounds 21-30 are college seniors, mostly position players, likely filling out Short-season squads with $5k-$10k players.
  • Round 22: Allan Berrios, a Juco 3rd year Catcher from the same Western Oklahoma State team as 16th rounder Martina.  Perfect game has absolutely nothing on the guy, not even ranked coming out of Florida as a prep.  BA has nothing.  An interesting pick.    But here’s the guy’s slash line this year: .427/.484/.729.  In 53 games he had 12 homers, a 20/17 K/BB ratio and even had 17 SBs.  Holy cow.   He was batting above .500 for more than half the season.  I get that this is Juco and not as competitive as 4-year conferences, but this is also not exactly slow-pitch softball, and to hit this well against guys trying to get you out is pretty impressive.
  • Round 23; Michael Cuevas, the first Prep/HS player taken by the Nats in the 2019 draft.  Drafted as a RHP, committed to a JuCo program, so this seems like an odd pick here.
  • Round 25: Quinn Parker, a 1b from Hofstra.  Notable b/c the Nats also drafted him in 2015 out of HS, in the 40th round.
  • Round 29: Brandon Gonzales is the 2nd Prep/HS player taken; he may be a legacy pick as the Nats central region cross checker is Jimmy Gonzales.  He’s committed to a texas Juco.
  • Round 33: Cutter Clawson is a prep LHP with a BYU commit (which usually means Morman, which usually is a tough commitment to buy out), so this seems like a throw-away pick.
  • Round 35: Bryce Osmond was a top 50 prospect heading into the draft, and when he fell out of the top two rounds he basically guaranteed his attendance to college (in his case, top program Oklahoma State).
  • Round 37: Tei Cruz, notable b/c he’s a third generation baseball player (grand father Jose Cruz, father Jose Cruz Jr.).  He’s at Rice, seems like a good bet now to stay there.
  • Round 39: Jake Bennett is a LHP committed to Oklahoma.

 

Summary of the Draft class:

  • 19 Arms, 20 bats.
  • 14 College Juniors (or draft-eligible Sophomores)
  • 9 College Seniors with no leverage
  • 8 Juco guys (!)
  • 8 High Schoolers, 7 of which are basically throw-away picks in later rounds or legacy picks.

No less than 8 Juco guys, most of which were in the 11-20 range.  This is an interesting strategy.

Of the 23 4-year college guys:

  • 3 from SEC teams: Arkansas, Florida, LSU
  • 1 from Pac-12 teams: UCLA
  • 3 from ACC teams: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Boston College
  • 1 from Big10 teams: Northwestern
  • 0 from Big12 teams
  • 2 from MWC teams: Fresno State (2)
  • 1 from C-USA teams; Rice
  • 7 from smaller Div 1 programs: BYU, Texas State (2), Tennessee Tech, Hofstra, College of Charleston, UC Irvine
  • 5 from non division 1 programs: Lubbock Christian, Millersville, Biola, South Dakota State,  Berry,

Not one team from the typical feeding ground of Big-12 Texas/Oklahoma programs this year.  Instead, a lot of geographic diversity from a ton of different programs.

Geographic Locations of picks:

  • 9 from Texas Schools
  • 6 from California schools
  • 5 from Florida schools
  • 4 from Oklahoma schools

that’s 24 of 39 picks just from four states.  And the Texas/Oklahoma area again is well represented in our draft class.

Signability:  my quick glance at this class, assuming there’s no signing issues with anyone in our top 10,  I think we end up signing somewhere around 28 of these draftees.   Here’s my predictions:

  • 6 of the 8 JuCo guys sign, missing out on #13 Randa and #34 Battles
  • all 9 College Srs sign
  • Just 1 of the 8 HS guys sign (#23 Cuevas)
  • 12 of the 14 College So/Jrs sign, missing out on #17 Amos and #37 Cruz.

Here’s a table with all our picks picks.

RoundOverallNamePositionCol/HSCollege or CmtmStateSlot Value
117Rutledge, JacksonRHP (Starter)Col J2San Jacinto College North (TXTX3609700
257forfeitedforfeited
394Mendoza, Drew3BCol JrFlorida State UFL618200
4123Cronin, MattLHP (Reliever)Col JrArkansasAR464500
4-comp139forfeitedforfeited
5153Dyson, TylerRHP (Starter)Col JrFloridaFL346800
6183Cluff, JacksonSSCol SoBYUUT266000
7213Peterson, ToddRHP (Reliever)Col JrLSULA208200
8243Ydens, JeremyOF (CF)Col JrUCLACA169500
9273McMahon, HunterRHP (Starter)Col JrTexas StateTX152600
10303Pratt, AndrewCCol SrLubbock ChristianTX144100
11333Arruda, J.T.SSCol JrFresno StateCA
12363Ribalta, OrlandoRHP (Reliever)Col J2Miami DadeFL
13393Randa, JakeOF (corner)Col J2NW Florida StateFL
14423Knowles, LucasLHP (Starter)Col J3Central Arizona CollegeAZ
15453Moore, DavisRHP (Starter)Col JrFresno StateCA
16483Martina, JuniorSSCol J2Western Oklahoma StateOK
17513Willingham, AmosRHP (Starter)Col JrGeorgia TechGA
18543Doolittle, MasonCCol J2Palm Beach CCFL
19573Yankosky, TylerRHP (Reliever)Col JrMillersville UniversityPA
20603Dunn, JackSSCol SrNorthwesternIL
21633Strohschein, Kevin1BCol SrTennessee TechTN
22663Berrios, AllanCCol J3Western Oklahoma StateOK
23693Cuevas, MichaelRHP (Starter)HSTexas Rio Grande ValleyTX
24723Alu, Jake3BCol SrBoston CollegeMA
25753Quinn, Parker1BCol SrHofstraNY
26783Hart, Dupree2BCol SrCollege of CharlestonSC
27813Hubbard, Jaylen3BCol 5SrTexas StateTX
28843Bocko, JordanRHPCol SrUC IrvineCA
29873Gonzales, BrandonSSHSGreyson County CollegeTX
30903Stainbrook, TroyLHPCol SrBiola UniversityCA
31933Stover, BradyLHPCol JrSouth Dakota StateSD
32963Beasley, DylanRHPCol JrBerry CollegeGA
33993Clawson, CutterLHP (Starter)HSBYUCA
341023Battles, JalenSSCol J1McLennan CCTX
351053Osmond, BryceRHP (Starter)HSOklahoma StateOK
361083Wibbels, SamRHP (Starter)HSKentuckyNE
371113Cruz, TreiSSCol SoRiceTX
381143LaRue, TylerCHSUncommittedTX
391173Bennett, JakeRHP (Starter)HSOklahomaOK
401203Brown, JadenSSHSKentuckyCAN

 

Nats 2019 Draft: 1st and 2nd Day Reactions of top 10 picks

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Mendoza is our 2nd highest 2019 pick out of FSU. Photo via the Daily Nole

Mendoza is our 2nd highest 2019 pick out of FSU. Photo via the Daily Nole

Here’s a first look at our top 10 rounds worth of draft picks, or where we stand after day 2 of the MLB Draft.

Overall, the mock draft pundits really nailed the top of this draft, perfectly predicting the first 7 picks.  Starting around pick 8 though, we started to see enough surprises/reaches that allowed the Nats to end up with a guy ranked as  high as #12 on most pre-draft boards at the #17 pick, pretty good value all things considered.  They also got pretty good “value” with their 3rd and 4th rounders.

How about the Nats picks?

RoundOverallNamePositionCol/HSCollege or CmtmStateSlot Value
117Rutledge, JacksonRHP (Starter)Col J2San Jacinto College North (TXTX3609700
257forfeitedforfeited
394Mendoza, Drew3BCol JrFlorida State UFL618200
4124Cronin, MattLHP (reliever)Col JrArkansasAR464500
4comp139forfeitedforfeited
5155Dyson, TylerRHP (starter)Col JrFloridaFL346800
6184Cluff, JacksonSSCol SoBYUUT266000
7214Peterson, ToddRHP (reliever)Col JrLSULA208200
8244Ydens, JeremyOF (corner)Col JrUCLACA169500
9274McMahon, HunterRHP (starter)Col Jr.Texas StateTX152600
10304Pratt, AndrewCCol SrLubbock ChristianTX144100

Pick by Pick:  I’ve included draft board rankings if they’re ranked on the main prospect ranking sites I like (see links at bottom for the sources);

  • 1st Round/#17 overall: Jackson Rutledge, RHP from Texas Juco.  See stand-alone post on Rutledge for more.  Pre-draft Ranks: #15th by Keith Law, 12th by MLB, 14th by Baseball America, 13th by 20/80, 21st by Fangraphs.
  • (2nd Round/#57 overall): forfeited in the Patrick Corbin signing.   #57 pick ended up being Matt Gorski, a College Jr CF from Indiana U as selected by Pittsburgh.
  • 3rd Round/#94 overall: Drew Mendoza, 3B from Florida State.  Ranks: #55 on MLBpipeline, #84 on 20/80, #52 on Fangraphs, #75 on BA.  Was a 1st-2nd round prospect coming out of HS, is a huge guy (6’5″).  Left-handed hitting, big power guy.  67/65 K/BB ratio in 60 college games for a gaudy slash line of .320/.482/.631 with 16 homers.  Of concern: 15 errors in 60 games at the hot corner.  Seems like he’s headed to 1B.  Hey, as long as he hits.  I like the general rankings of Mendoza (50s to 70s) versus his draft spot (94), that’s almost a round worth of value.
  • 4th Round/#123 overall: Matt Cronin, LHP (reliever) from Arkansas.  Ranks: #74 Keith Law, #73 MLB, #99 fangraphs, #71 BA, #72 20/80.  Arkansas’ closer, posted 40/14 K/BB in 27 innings.  .163 BAA and a WHIP just above 1.00.  Reportedly hits 98 with little in the way of secondary pitches, so sounds like a lefty reliever all the way.  The Nats also drafted some reliever-only guys high up in 2018 (Reid Schaller was exclusively in the bullpen in college, but then did nothing but start in short season in 2018), so it remains to be seen how he’d be used.  As with Mendoza, lots of value here.  He’s ranked generally in the mid 70s by nearly every pundit but lasts until #123 in the draft.
  • (4th round comp/138 overall): also forfeited in the Corbin singing.  Actual pick at #138 was Darrell Hernatz, prep HS SS from Texas.
  • 5th round/#154 overall: Tyler Dyson, RHP (starter/reliever) from Florida.  Ranks: #123 BA, #142 MLB.  Hard throwing but wild starter who was a pre-season All American selection .. but ended up kicked out of U-Florida’s rotation.  It sounds to me like he’s a project; a two pitch guy who’s lost faith in one of them and thus gotten whacked around.  With refinement of a 2nd pitch, he’s a useful bullpen guy.  With the reclamation of a third pitch, he’s back to being an effective starter.  He’s a 1st round talent without the 1st round consistency.  An interesting risk pick here.
  • 6th round/184 overall: Jackson Cluff, SS draft-eligible Soph. from BYU.  He’s a bit older (he missed 2 years with a Mission), hence why he’s draft eligible sophomore.   BA reports him has being basically a utility infielder type, able to play 2B, SS, 3B, with decent hitting and good speed (12-for-12 SBs on the  year).   He is unranked by any service, making me think perhaps this is a slot-savings pick.
  • 7th round/214 overall: Todd Peterson, RHP reliever from LSU.  #218 on BA.  Reliever-only guy for LSU, sharing closer duties this year.  BA scouting report says he’s a 2-pitch guy with some inconsistencies.
  • 8th round/244 overall: Jeremy Ydens, corner OF for UCLA, college Jr.  BA scouting report says he made the All Star team in the Cape Cod league last summer, broke a finger early this season and barely played.  I wonder if he’s even signable here; slot value is $169k: I wonder if he’d roll the dice and return to school.  That being said, basically every player taken in the top 10 rounds has a pre-selection deal verbally agreed to, so there shouldn’t be any surprises.
  • 9th round: 274 overall: Hunter McMahon, a RHP starter for Texas State.  He’s a RS sophomore, so this isn’t a senior slot savings pick.  He was a weekend starter for Texas State with crummy numbers on the season, but some flashes of brilliance (a complete game with 11 Ks and 0 walks against Louisiana-Lafayatte for example).  BA has little to no scouting on the guy.
  • 10th round/304 overall: Andrew Pratt, college Sr C from Lubbock Christian.  This seems like the sole “senior slot” guy the Nats are taking and its a classic; senior from a small school with no scouting reports on any major service.  PG notes that he was committed to New Mexico out of high school; perhaps he transferred to the smaller school to maintain eligibility.  Kudos to saving bonus money and getting a college catcher.

First 10 rounds worth of picks breakdown:

  • 5 arms, 4 position players
  • 9 college (1 juco), 0 high schoolers.
  • Of the 5 arms: 2 starters, 2 relievers, and one starter-dumped-to-relief arm.
  • Just 1 slot-saving senior draftee; 10th round Pratt pick.
  • Heavy influence from major college programs: Florida, two from Vanderbilt, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Florida State.

Conclusion: I liked the Rutledge pick, based on the run on college bats ahead of it and the selection of Rutledge over other college arms that went just after him.  I like Mendoza, even if it seems like he’s destined for 1B.   Cronin & Dyson seem like relievers now, but with professional coaching perhaps can make a return to the rotation (much like last year’s Reid Schaller).   Ydens could be a good value pick, a guy who slid several rounds from his true talent thanks to hand injury this year.  Peterson, like the other two relievers, maybe uses some coaching to improve.  Cluff and Pratt seem like short-A utility guys.  I’m curious to see how McMahon fares against better competition than C-USA.  All in all, not a bad collection of picks given the lack of a 2nd rounder.

What do you guys think of it?


Draft Links of Use

  1. Mlbpipeline’s Draft Tracker for 2019
  2. All 10 rounds of slot bonus figures for 2019
  3. BA’s draft database with search options by team, state, etc. (behind a paywall)
  4. Perfect Game to get profiles on more obscure draftees.

Draft Rankings referred to within here:

Nats 2019 Draft: Reaction to Day 1/1st round pick Jackson Rutledge

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Nats throw everyone a curveball with Rutledge pick. photo via 3rdmanin.com

Nats throw everyone a curveball with Rutledge pick. photo via 3rdmanin.com

Well, nobody saw this coming.

After reviewing dozens of mock drafts, most of which (in the last couple of weeks or so) had the Nats clearly focusing on Florida prep RHP Matthew Allan as their pick … ended up selecting a guy that not one Mock draft I read had the Nats picking.  The Nats with the 17th pick take Jackson Rutledge, a huge RHP from San Jacinto College in Texas, having transferred out of Arkansas after one season in 2018.

So, how did Rutledge get to the Nats?  And, how did the Nats take him over their presumed pick?

I went back and looked at all the later mock drafts; Most had Rutledge going in the 11-14 range.  Toronto and Philadelphia both were presumed to be taking college arms, and Rutledge was a common name falling to them.  MLBPipeline had him going 9th to the Braves.  So what happened?

  • the Braves took Shea Langeliers at #9 probably earlier than many thought.
  • Toronto at 11 indeed took a college arm; they grabbed WVA starter Alex Manoah.
  • Then, at 14 Philadelphia found possible top 10 guy Bryson Stott available and grabbed him.

So that left Rutledge available at 17 for the Nats.  Who did they pass up on at this point?  In the picks right after, we saw guys that the Nats had been associated with go in fast order: Quinn Priester (prep RHP), Zack Thompson  (lefty college starter from U-Kentucky), and George Kirby (RHP from Elon).

Matthew Allan went unsigned, despite being (by far) the BPA on MLBpipeline’s draft boards (he was ranked #13).  In fact, on the broadcast for the draft I noticed that once the draft reached the back part of the 1st round … they summarily removed Allan from the top of the BPA list, presumably because they realized that if he didn’t go in the upper part of the 1st round, then it was almost guaranteed that he was going to go to college and not get his $4M bonus demand.

As for Rutledge, he was very highly ranked pre-draft: 15th by Keith Law, 12th by MLB, 14th by Baseball America, 13th by 20/80, 21st by Fangraphs.

So, what do we have?  We have a massive guy: 6’8″ 250.  He throws over the top, is up to 98-99 on the fastball with a mid 80s cutter, a wipe out slider, a 12-6 curve and some deception due to what’s described as “unusual short arm” mechanics.  I’m hoping we’re getting something closer to Randy Johnson and not a rehashing of Jake Johansen.

Quick Verdict: I think, (like a lot of Nats fans), that i’m happy the team with with a college arm and not another prep guy.  It does seem like they got decent value; they got a guy at 17 who most pundits thought was ranked higher in this class and was going higher.  I like Rutledge more than Kirby and Thompson (the two next best college guys) for various reasons (health and pedigree mostly).  So I’m happy with this pick.