Nationals Arm Race

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Archive for July, 2021

Nats 2021 Firesale


Well, hand it to Mike Rizzo; when he gets the go-ahead to dismantle … you don’t have to tell him twice.

The Nats GM traded almost every single player not nailed down on an expiring contract in the three days leading up to the 7/30/21 deadline, even moving guys who were ineffective, hurt, or with Covid.

Quick analysis/opinion: this was a required tear down, one that became painfully obvious with the sequence of events over the past two weeks (sweep in Baltimore, Strasburg TOS surgery, Covid breakdown, etc). So, kudos for the moves. Every player sent out was no surprise to get traded … with the exceptions of Scherzer and Turner. So lets give a couple moments on that trade.

Scherzer could not have a QO applied to him, so he was set to leave w/o compensation after 2021 anyway. Could he re-sign with us? Sure. But man he really wanted to be on the West Coast, as he made abundantly clear during the trade negotiations. I’m not sure why: he listed his McLean house for sale in 2020 and bought in Jupiter, Fla, both he and his wife are from Missouri, and I see no obvious ties to California. Nonetheless, I suppose he could re-up with the Nats but it seems more likely he’d sign with a competitive team in 2022 since the Nats will be rebuilding.

What do I think of Turner moving? I’m ok with it. We’ve heard a couple rumblings in the past about his rebuffing extension offers, and at this point he’s gotta be valued on a par with Francisco Lindor. Lindor got north of $300M from the Mets. Could Turner command that? I’m not sure, but would the Nats commit $300M to a 30-yr old SS whose primary skills are defensive and speed, two skills that quickly erode in your early 30s? Probably not; I think the Nats made this move when they were presented with the prospect package knowing they’d be saying good bye to him anyway at the trade deadline next year, so why not get what turned out to be a pretty darn good prospect haul.

Here’s a quick list of the players sent out:

  • Brad Hand lhp 7/29/21: traded to Toronto for Riley Adams
  • Kyle Schwarber LF 7/29/21: Traded to Boston for Aldo Ramirez
  • Daniel Hudson rhp 7/29/21: Traded to San Diego for Mason Thompson, Jordy Barley
  • Max Scherzer rhp 7/29/21: Traded to Los Angeles Dodgers for Gray, Carrillo, Ruiz, Casey
  • Trea Turner ss 7/29/21: Traded to Los Angeles Dodgers for Gray, Carrillo, Ruiz, Casey
  • Yan Gomes C 7/30/21: Traded to Oakland for Millas/Shuman/Guasch
  • Josh Harrison Utl 7/30/21: Traded to Oakland for Millas/Shuman/Guasch
  • Jon Lester LHP 7/30/21: Traded to St. Louis for Lane Thomas

And here’s the players acquired with their likely initial assignment:

  • Riley Adams C 7/29/21: acquired from Toronto for Hand: AAA
  • Aldo Ramirez RHP 7/29/21: acquired from Boston for Schwarber. FCL assignment but was in Low-A
  • Mason Thompson RHP 7/29/21: acquired from San Diego for Hudson. AAA
  • Jordy Barley SS 7/29/21: acquired from San Diego for Hudson. Low-A
  • Josiah Gray rhp 7/29/21: acquired from Los Angeles Dodgers for Scherzer/Turner MLB/AAA maybe
  • Gerardo Carrillo rhp 7/29/21: acquired from Los Angeles Dodgers for Scherzer/Turner. AA
  • Keibert Ruiz C 7/29/21: acquired from Los Angeles Dodgers for Scherzer/Turner. AAA
  • Donovan Casey OF 7/29/21: acquired from Los Angeles Dodgers for Scherzer/Turner. AA
  • Drew Millas C 7/30/21: acquired from Oakland for Gomes/Harrison. High-A
  • Seth Shuman RHP 7/30/21: acquired from Oakland for Gomes/Harrison High-A
  • Richard Guasch RHP 7/30/21: acquired from Oakland for Gomes/Harrison. High-A
  • Lane Thomas OF 7/30/21: acquired from St. Louis for Lester. AAA

Who on an expiring was NOT moved? Well, the list is small.

  • Alex Avila; injured and Covid-infected backup catcher who is hitting a stout .167 this year. Probably not surprising.
  • Joe Ross, who has actually been halfway effective this season and is owed around $5 the rest of the way. Surprising he didn’t go somewhere for a low-A prospect.
  • Alcedis Escobar: i’m assuming he’s a MLFA/regular FA at the end of the season. Perhaps teams think his production is a mirage.
  • Jordy Mercer: the currently injured aging 2B/utility guy, probably not a lot of takers.
  • Gerardo Parra: can’t get rid of the Shark!
  • Ryan Zimmerman: well, he wasn’t going to go anywhere regardless.
  • Rene Rivera; well, somebody’s gotta catch tonight.
  • Luis Avilan: not a big market for mid-30s relievers recovering from Tommy John surgery

Man, we still had some moves in us! Just kidding.

Ok. So, like a kid on Christmas morning, lets take a look at what we got back in return. By quick analysis of dynamic Fangraphs and MLBpipeline prospect lists, these trades netted the team the following:

  • its new #1 and #2 prospects in Josiah Grey and Keibert Ruiz. A starter who is MLB ready and a C who is probably also MLB ready right now. Grey should slot right into the Nats rotation, Ruiz probably as well. Both are already on the 40-man.
  • Two other top-10 prospects in Gerardo Carrillo and Aldo Ramirez. Carrillo is a big-arm, young (22), already at AA, lots of Ks per 9, could probably race to the majors as a 100-mph reliever. Ramirez is in Low-A, is also a starter and has immaculate numbers so far for his minor league career.
  • Four more mid-teens prospects in Riley Adams, Mason Thompson, Drew Millas, and Jordy Barley. Adams is a AAA-capable Catcher, one of three we acquired this week, two of which could go straight to the majors and end the MLFA parade going on there. Thompson is a AAA setup guy who could be useful going forward. Millas is a lower-level catching prospect, a High-A guy who will cover for the lack of progress out of Pineda. Lastly Barley is a very young SS IFA prospect who should slot in at LowA.
  • Three non-top30 prospects who give us some depth in Donovan Casey, Seth Shuman, and Richard Guasch. Casey is a AA OF prospect we got from LAD, while Shuman+Guasch were 2/5ths of Oakland’s High-A rotation. Wilmington now has 9-10 starter arms for just 5 spots.
  • The last deal of the day didn’t give us a prospect but a 4th OF type in Lane Thomas, who may go straight to DC or may go to AAA.

I mean, you can’t help but like the fact that we just augmented 7 guys into our farm that rank in teh top 30, pushing out the bottom 7 guys on that ranking previously. Both the two major prospects from the Dodgers are consensus top-50 guys in the industry, certainly better than our top 2 before (Cavalli and Rutledge).

So mission accomplished; we got a lot of prospects for a lost season.

Coincidentally, i’ve got up-to-date all my artifacts:

  • Big Board: . By my count we’re down to 37/40 with all these moves on the 40-man but will certainly need 26-man reinforcements stat.
  • Big Board’s 2021 releases populated and all acquisitions put into their approximate places/assignments. May have to edit as they actually get assigned, since the Nats have a habit of taking a guy who was in AA, acquire him, then stick him in High-A.
  • My private roster machinations file and Trade history files.
  • My private Natioanls Prospect XLS, which takes the most time since it was updated with both MLBpipeline and Fangraphs dynamic additions of new prospects. I need to put this artifact online.
  • Oh btw finished off the 2021 draft class data at the Draft Tracker too: . Busy day.

Still need to clean up options tab; there’s been so many moves since I last updated it in mar 2021.

Written by Todd Boss

July 30th, 2021 at 5:14 pm

Posted in Nats in General

Nats Trade Candidates


As we get closer to the trade deadline, and it becomes increasingly clear that the 2021 version of the Nats just don’t have what it’s going to take to make a playoff run, GM Mike Rizzo should start working the phones, looking to trade every and all assets.

Starting with pending FAs.

Who are our pending free agent trade candidates?

Per the above Cots link, here’s our total FAs after 2021: Scherzer, Hand, Castro, Gomes, Hudson, Avila, Joe Ross (amazingly), Mercer, Avilan (who had TJ), Harrison, Zimmerman. Furthermore, Guys with 2022 options that can be declined include: Schwarber, Lester.

So, that’s a TON of expiring guys who could fetch prospects at the trade deadline if the team bails. Here’s quick categorization of each type of FA and their trade value:

  • Pending FAs who absolutely will fetch solid prospects: Scherzer, Hand, Hudson, Harrison.

Discussion: Parting ways with Scherzer should come with a discussion with him that basically says “go forth and attempt to pitch in the post season and we’ll be calling on Nov 5th.” He’s a 10-and-5 guy, The team should absolutely attempt to get him back for the remainder of his career, since I think he’s still got gas in the tank and I think he becomes the first Curly-W in Cooperstown. Hand = obvious: you don’t need a closer on a 4th place team. Same with Hudson, who just came back from the DL and has been throwing bullets. I love Harrison, I love the energy he brings, and perhaps a reunion after the off-season could be had, but for now, he can give us some prospects.

  • Pending FAs who are useful pieces who can fetch something of value: Lester

Discussion: Well, this list was a lot longer before a slate of injuries (and off-the-field issues) whittled it to just Lester. Lets be honest; all those who criticized the signing in the off-season at the expense of others … well you’re right. He has not been good. A 5.00 ERA in the NL is just bad. Does he actually have any value in trade? Maybe not. Maybe he belongs in the next group.

  • Pending FAs who have been awful or hurt and will barely fetch anything, if at all: Avila, Gomes, Ross, Mercer, Avilan, Schwarber, Castro.

Discussion: of course, given the Nats bad luck, it works out that most of our expiring contracts are sitting on the DL at the trade deadline and are likely worthless in trade. Avilan had TJ and is done. Ross has an oblique and was not quite league average this year. Mercer a replaceable veteran 2B/SS guy who would have to be healthy. Gomes would have been a useful trade piece; hurt. Castro may never play again for obvious reasons. That leaves Schwarber, who may be out for another month and who the team may be looking to re-up anyway.

Pending FAs who won’t be moved for obvious reasons: Zimmerman

Mr National can’t possibly go elsewhere can he?

So, maybe we can net a few assets, especially for Scherzer, who we’d obviously give a qualifying offer to and thus would be expecting a 1st-round calibre prospect in return.

Written by Todd Boss

July 24th, 2021 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Nats in General

Nats 2021 top 10 picks with ranks and thoughts


Yes I know, this is the same picture i used yesterday. Might as well; it seems like the team has blown most of its draft pool on him.

Note: I have updated the Draft Tracker for the 2021 draft, both the master board and the 2021 draft notes boards).

I have more details about signing bonus calculus and player notes/twitter accounts on the 2021 worksheet, in case you’re wondering why I separate them.

By now, you’ve probably heard about our picks and read a ton of responses in the commentary. Nonetheless, here’s some thought and insight into our 2021 picks.

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

  • 1st Round/#11 overall: Brady House, SS/3B Winder Barrow HS (GA).   Law=11.  MLBPipeline=8.  BA=7.  Fangraphs=9.  ESPN=5. Prospects1500: 6

Thoughts: Discussed in a separate post here. Short version: great pick, great value for a guy who many pundits thought would go top 3-5. Based on where the pundits generally had House ranked, the Nats definitely seemed to get solid value even at the #11 spot in the draft.

  • 2nd round/#47 overall: Daylen Lile, OF Trinity HS (KY). Louisville commit. Law > 100.  MLBPipeline=80.  BA=62.  Fangraphs ~80.  ESPN=47. Prospects1500: 70.

Thoughts: MLB’s scouting reports describe him as a gap hitter, but his size (6’0″) makes you wonder if he can develop power. Despite his understated stature, he’s apparently limited to LF because of a lack of arm strength? A curious pick, especially since he was projected more like a 3rd rounder. Is this a value pick to save on bonus money? I can’t imagine so; a HS player in the 2nd round isn’t taking a discount. Also, not for nothing … another prep player. Is Mike Rizzo gearing up for a possible rebuild by going young in the draft? A completely typical Nats pick (Brendan Beck, rhp from Stanford) went just a few picks later, a famous guy who you would have thought was a shoe-in for the Nats. Based on the scouting ratings, it seems across the board that the Nats overpaid for this pick. I thought one scouting report in BA was especially prescient: “Lile’s profile has been one that teams prefer to send to college where he will have a chance to prove his hitting ability.”

  • 3rd Round/#82 overall: Branden Boissiere, an OF/1B from University of Arizona. Law > 100.  MLBPipeline=159.  BA=143.  Fangraphs >100 .  ESPN > 100. Prospects1500: 181

Thoughts: Seems like a slot-saver once again. Boissiere is 1B limited (listed as an OF but that was limited LF exposure early in his career). He can definitely hit though: slash line on the year: .369/.451/.506 but only 5 homers. Sweet swing, not a ton of power, Mark Grace comp. Another odd pick though in the grand scheme of things.

  • 4th round/#112 overall: Dustin Saenz, a LHP from Texas A&M. MLBPipeline=189.  BA=143.  Prospects1500: 136.

Thoughts: The scouting reports list him as TAMU’s swing man for most of his career but was a weekend starter this year. He had decent numbers on the season; in 14 starts a 4.27 ERA, 1.26 whip, 104/23 in 84ip. I like those K/IP numbers a lot, especially since he’s pitching in the SEC. He had a couple of rough outings this season against top SEC teams (Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Arkansas all got to him), but he finished his SEC slate by pitching 8 innings of 2-hit ball against LSU. Scouting reports have him sitting low 90s and being undersized (5’11”). Seems like a bit of a slot saver yet again, but likely a decent lefty matchup reliever arm at the next level with deception. I’m beginning to wonder if the Nats promised Brady House … well, the house.

  • 5th Round/#143 overall: TJ White, a prep OF from Dorman HS (SC). MLBPipeline= n/r.  BA=360.  Prospects1500: 346

Thoughts: Is Mike Rizzo sick today? he’s taken three high school players in his first 5 rounds after taking just a handful of prep players in the top 10 rounds in the last decade. White is somewhat unknown, but is listed as having 70 power at BA, a switch hitter, and is an Indiana recruit. Corner OF limited apparently, making him the third positionally challenged player the team has taken. Is he underslot? Maybe; if he’s ranked in the mid 300s at best, that’s a 10th round player projection. If they offered him anywhere close to slot he may take it.

  • 6th round/#173 overall: Michael Kirian, LHP from Louisville. BA=274.  Prospects1500: 262

Thoughts: Rizzo’s second college arm … and likely his second lefty reliever. He was a reliever for most of his Louisville career, transitioned to the rotation this year and struggled. His 2021 stat line: 4.80 ERA, 1.41 whip, 75/28 K/BB in 69 IP. He seemed to be doing fine in the rotation, but then had 4 straight starts against UVA, Clemson, Duke and UNC where he got shelled each week, then got dumped from the rotation for the rest of the season. He’s huge though: 6’6″ and the scouting reports say he creates deception and odd angles. Great; a loogy. More and more i’m thinking these are all underslot guys to pay House.

  • 7th Round/#203 overall: Jacob Young, OF/2B from UFlorida. BA=354, Prospects1500: 200

Thoughts: A more slight guy (6’0″ and just 175) who played LF this year (to make way for the more “famous” Jud Fabian, but who is clearly a CF and also can play 2B. Listed as a speed guy with a solid hit tool, he started all 60 games for Florida this year and slashed .315/.385/.461 with 5 homers and 13/14 SBs. Not too bad; I mean, at least he had 5 homers. Per BA, he led the Gators in hits (80), doubles (16), runs (56) and stolen bases (13) this spring. Not a bad pick in the 7th round.

  • 8th round/#233 overall: Will Frizzell, 1B from Texas. BA=418, Prospects1500=211.

Thoughts: Well, Frizzell absolutely destroyed at the plate this year; his slash line was .343/.451/.686 with 19 homers in 56 games. Lefty hitting 1B who BA says is a poor defender and may have to DH in pro ball. Well, lets let him hit his way up before we worry about where he’s playing. Despite his power, he’s listed as a plus hitter as well, so maybe the team has someone to push Drew Mendoza now. An excellent senior sign in the 8th round.

  • 9th round/#264 overall: Cole Quintanilla, RHP from Texas. BA=300.

Thoughts: College reliever for Texas, led their staff in ERA on the year with an excellent 1.35 era/0.83 whip. 42/11 K/BB in 40 innings (26 appearances). So he projects as a middle reliever. BA notes “Quintanilla is the typical fastball-slider reliever with a 91-95 mph average fastball and a plus low-80s slider.” TJ surgery in 2018 (wouldn’t be a Nats draft if we didn’t draft someone who had TJ), but no issues reported. Decent senior pick at this juncture, can’t complain especially since he likely signs for a fraction of slot.

  • 10th round/#274 overall: Darren Baker 2B from Cal Berkely. BA=187, Prospect1500=326

Thoughts: well, we drafted him in 2017, likely as a favor to Dusty Baker (who we summarily fired), and now we got him again in 2021. In the interim, he’s moved from SS to 2B. Lets see if its “third time’s a charm” about drafting a second baseman from UC Berkeley; we tried it in 2009 (2nd rounder Jeff Kobernus) and in 2012 (2nd rounder Tony Renda). Baker has almost no power (just 1 homer in 4 years in college) but has a ton of speed (top 10 in the nation in SBs) and is a plus defender at 2B. BA thinks he could play OF, but his arm is limited. Solid hitter (slashed .327/.402/.354). I suppose a 10th round senior sign who fills a spot of need (have you guys seen the 2B depth chart in the minors right now? Its MLFAs, NDFAs and 20th rounders).

top 10 picks Draft summary:

  • 7 hitters, 3 Arms (wow)
  • 3 prep, 7 college (wow)
  • Of the 3 arms, all three likely projecting as relievers
  • Of the 7 bats, two likely 1B, one CF, one 2B, two likely corner OF and House, who likely moves to 3B.

Conjecture on over/under slot needs in top 10 rounds

  • Players who are likely commanding over-slot: House
  • Players who are likely signing for slot: Lile, White, Young
  • Players who are likely under slot: Boissiere, Saenz, Kirian, Frizzell, Quintanilla, Baker.

Draft Board Rankings

Written by Todd Boss

July 13th, 2021 at 12:46 pm

2021 Draft coverage: Local draft-prospects to keep an eye on


First draft of this post?  5/31/2018 when all-region posts started coming out and some Freshmen got noticed.

The College players are mostly drawn from my 2018 Local High School draft coverage, listing guys who were HS seniors in 2018 who went to 3-year programs and who are now draft eligible.

Major Local College Draft Prospects for 2021

  • Andrew Abbott, LHP UVA (via Halifax Co).  2019 Collegiate National team extended-roster selection.  Went undrafted in 2020 despite being ranked #116 by MLBpipeline.  2021 Friday starter for UVA, over Vasil and Savino.  Great start to 2021 season, rising fast.  Now projecting late 2nd round.
  • Sean Burke, RHP UMaryland; TJ in 2019, good start to 2020.  Two-pitch guy, analytics driven analysis.  2021 friday starter, tons of Ks but ERA inflated.  Per Law, hitting 97 this spring plus a 55-grade changeup, pushing him into top 50 ranks and mid-2nd rounder.
  • Zack Gelof, 3B, UVA by way of Rehoboth Beach, DE.  2nd team All American pre-2020 season.  2018 Delaware Gatorate POTY.  Ranked in the 30s, projecting as 2nd rounder by BA draft prep 2021.
  • Mike Vasil, RHP UVA via Mass HS.  Was projected 1st rounder, declined to be drafted to go to Virginia in 2018.  Backed up velocity in college, more command/control guy, falling on charts.  Saturday starter in 2021, still projecting 2nd/3rd rounder.

Lesser Local College draft eligibles w/ Local Ties

  • Nic Kent, 2B/SS UVA; solid hitter, not as much power, good SB.  Fringe SS, likely 2B professionally.
  • Wes Clarke, C South Carolina (via LCA/Forest va): former Evoshield top-team player, moved to 1B at South Carolina, projecting 4th-5th round.
  • Max Costes, 1B UMaryland; 2021 preseason 1st team All American, huge 2020 stats.
  • Stephen Schoch, RHP (closer) UVA.  3rd team pre-season AA.

Top DC/MD/VA Local Prep players for 2021

  • Jackson Merrill, SS Severna Park HS, MD.  Fast riser 2021 spring, rocketing into 3rd round discussion.  Kentucky commit.  Ends up going 27th overall!
  • James Wood, OF IMG Academy (FL) by way of Olney, MD.  6’7″ committed to Mississippi State, could be top 15 guy.  2021 near a BA top 10 guy.  But struggling in 2021 spring, hitting near .200 and likely sending him to college.
  • James Triantos, RHP/SS Madison HS: great 2-way player, 92 on the mound, power bat showed at WWBA.  Undersized, commit to UNC. Not getting much scouting love b/c of size and lack of high end single tool.  Reclassified from 2022 to 2021, Madison’s Ace 2021.  PBR top recruit 2021, now getting 2nd round buzz in BA’s top 500.
  • Peter Heubeck, RHP from Gilman HS in Baltimore.  Wake Forest commit, getting top-100 buzz late in the spring 2021.
  • Brandon Clarke, LHP from Rock Ridge HS.  PBR Virginia top 10 for 2021 class mid 2019.  Dirtbags summer team.  had TJ to miss most of 2020.  Alabama commit, up to 96-97 spring 2021 and in BA top 50.  Big-time riser, possibly 1st rounder.  PBR top recruit 2021.  BA rankings dropping badly June 2021
  • Kyle Robinson, RHP from Marshall.  Texas Tech commit.  PBR top recruit 2021.  Likely ranked too low to go in top few rounds, seems bound for college.

Other DC/MD/VA Local Prep players for 2021

  • Elijah Lambrose, OF from Stafford,  All 5D region as a sophomore in 2019.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore.  1st team VHSL All-5A in 2019 as sophomore.  PBR 2019 Futures game invitee.  South Carolina commit, PBR top recruit 2021.
  • Casey Cook, SS/RHP from Freedom-South Riding.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore, early commit to  UNC.  PBR Virginia top 10 for 2021 class mid 2019.  Mariucci Starts summer team.  PBR top recruit 2021.
  • Wyatt Shenkman, RHP Riverside HS.  Early commit to ECU, PBR top recruit 2021.
  • Colin Tuft, Madison C, early commit to UVA.  PBR top  recruit 2021.
  • Nick Lottchea, OF Westfield; full time starter as a freshman.  All 6D region as a sophomore.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore.  2nd team VHSL All-6A in 2019 as sophomore.
  • Josh Goodrich, C TC Williams.  2nd team all Class 6 Occoquon Region in 2018 as a freshman.  Team Aces summer team.
  • Danny Salisbury, 1B Annandale.   2nd team all Class 6 Occoquon Region in 2018 as a freshman.  2nd team All 6C as sophomore in 2019.
  • Jacob Orr, MIF Thomas Johnson (Frederick).  At 2018 PG Junior Nationals.  Team Elite summer team, early commit to Maryland.
  • Nathan Knowles, RHP Yorktown.   All 6D region as a sophomore.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore.  PBR 2019 Futures game invitee
  • Nick Guerra, 2B from Justice (formerly JEB Stuart): all 6C region as sophomore in 2019.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore
  • Dean Kampschror, OF from Justice.  all 6C region as sophomore in 2019.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore
  • Nathan Williams, RHP from Forest Park.    all 6C region as sophomore in 2019.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore
  • Evan Smith, 2B from Briar Woods.  All 5C region as sophomore in 2019.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore.  2nd team VHSL All-5A in 2019 as sophomore
  • Devon Zavacky, OF from Paul VI.  VISAA Division I all-state in 2019 as sophomore.
  • Caleb McAlister, OF from Stafford,  All 5D region as a sophomore in 2019.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore
  • Mike Shanahan, DH from Massaponax.  All 5D region as a sophomore in 2019.
  • Kevin Mackmin, 2B from Westfield.  NovaNine top 100 for 2019 as sophomore.
  • Ryan Cuadros, OF from Lake Braddock.  PBR 2019 Futures game invitee
  • J.T. Carter, C from Fredericksburg Christian.  PBR 2019 Futures game invitee

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

  •  T.R. (Timothy) Williams, RHP from Page County (the State Class 2 champs) is the State 2-A POTY as a *freshman*.  2nd team USA Today all-state as a Freshman in 2018.  Member of the US U15 National team that competed in Panama in 2018.  Early commit to Virginia Tech (despite interest from Vanderbilt, Auburn, UVA).  Region 2B POTY in 2019 as sophomore.  1st team VHSL all-2A in 2019 as sophomore
  • Jay Woolfolk, RHP/C, SS from Benedictine HS (Midlothian).  VISAA Division I all-state in 2019 as sophomore.  PBR Virginia class of 2021 #1 ranked player mid 2019.  BA #36 for 2021 class nationwide in Sept 2019
  • Griffin O’Ferrall, SS from St. Christophers (Richmond): VISAA Division I all-state in 2019 as sophomore
  • Ethan Ott, RHP/util from Greenbriar Christian (Chesapeake).  VISAA Division II all-state in 2019 as sophomore.  2019 All-tidewater as a sophomore.
  • Bryce Post, SS from Warren County HS.  All Region 3B 1st team 2019 as sophomore.  2nd team VHSL all-3A in 2019 as sophomore
  • Hunter Powell, Util from William Monroe HS.  All Region 3B 1st team 2019 as sophomore.
  • Sam Slevin, OF from Cox HS (Virginia Beach).  1st team VHSL All-6A in 2019 as sophomore.  1st team all-Tidewater 2019 as sophomore.
  • Fenwick Trimble, Util from Cox HS (Virginia Beach).  2nd team VHSL All-6A in 2019 as sophomore.
  • Christian Martin, DH Amherst County HS.  1st team VHSL all-4A in 2019 as sophomore
  • Bryce Suters, OF Broadway HS.  1st team VHSL all-3A in 2019 as sophomore
  • Matthew Buchanan, RHP Lebanon HS.    1st team VHSL all-2A in 2019 as sophomore
  • Matt Arnold, 3B Chatham HS.    1st team VHSL all-2A in 2019 as sophomore
  • Kolby Barnes, C Galax HS.  1st team VHSL all-aA in 2019 as sophomore
  • Carter Keith, OF Auburn HS.  1st team VHSL all-aA in 2019 as sophomore

Sources used

Written by Todd Boss

July 12th, 2021 at 12:04 pm

Posted in Draft,Local Baseball

2021 Draft coverage; Overview of top Draft prospects

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This is a review of the marquee names that have been in discussion for the top-end of the 1st round for the 2021 draft.  Since (especially high schoolers) guys constantly are moving up or down draft boards, each section is divided into two areas: those 4-5 names really in talks to go 1-1 overall (“1-1” means 1st round, 1st overall) and then those who have fallen to “just” being 1st or 2nd rounders.

First draft of this post was in July of 2018, when several 1st rounders didn’t sign and thus became 2021 eligible.

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

  • Jack Leiter, RHP Vanderbilt.  Was a top 2019 prep draftee but could not be bought out of Vandy commitment (for a reported $4.5M !).  His age puts him in the 2021 draft class.  Son of Al Leiter.  Top of the 1st round pedigree.   A little undersized, but very polished, will be a fast mover to majors.  Opened 2021 college season on fire; his stuff is MLB ready right now.  20 nohit innings, clearly the Ace of Vandy’s staff over Rocker.  By mid april consensus 1-1.
  • Kumar Rocker, RHP Vanderbilt.  Lost draft stock after being projected upper 1st rounder in 2018, but quickly gained it back.  Vanderbilt weekend starter in 2019, threw 19-K no-hitter in 2019 CWS super regionals.  2019 Collegiate National team extended roster as Freshman.   Consensus 1-1 pick for much of the draft analysis season ahead of 2021 draft.  2021 season has been dominant, but Leiter’s better.  Still one of the best 1-2 pitching punches seen in the college game since Cole-Bauer at UCLA.
  • Henry Davis, C, Louisville.  Fast riser with his 2021 season and the demand for top-end college catchers.
  • College Candidates who have fallen out of  1-1 contention
  • Matt McLean: 2B/SS UCLA.  Failed to sign as 25th overall pick in 2018, all-star at Cape in 2019, was exploding out of the gate in 2020 before season cancelled.  2021 struggling, costing him draft stock badly.  Likely moving to 2B in pros, hurting his value.
  • Gunnar Hoglund, RHP Ole Miss.  Failed to sign as supp-1st rounder in 2018.  Started 2020 strong, 3-plus pitches.  2021 now might be 3rd best college starter in draft and upper 1st round pedigree.  TJ surgery, out of top 5 consideration.
  • Jud Fabian, OF Florida.  Was Prep class of 2019, enrolled early and started for Florida in his age 18 season.  Crushed in 2019 Cape despite youth.  True CF with power, could be a big time prospect.  Some slight issues with swing and results in 2021, dropping him slightly.
  • Adrian del Castillo, C Miami. Fantastic pure  hitter with power and more walks than Ks in college Was not projecting to stay at C because of defensive concerns, but significant off-season work with Salvador Perez has improved the perception of his long-term viability behind the plate and vaulted him into the top-5 consideration.
  • Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest.  Huge velocity 100mph, fast riser with 2021 performance.
  • Nander de Sedas, SS, Florida State.  Lost 2018 draft stock, went to school.  Two-way player for FSU, starter at 2B/SS and also closer on the mound.  2021 struggling, not in 1st round conversation.
  • Max Ferguson, 2B Tennessee.  rapid riser after great fall season.
  • Colton Cowser, OF Sam Houston State.  2019 Collegiate National team extended roster as Freshman.
  • Alex Binelas, 3B, Louisville.  14  homers as a freshman.
  • Jadan Hill, RHP LSU.  Big hard thrower, was in LSU’s bullpen early 2020.  Best stuff of class, upper 90s, four plus pitches.  Lots will be driven by 2021 season.  April 2021 blew out elbow against Vandy, TJ surgery, dropping him in the 1st round likely.
  • Rodney Boone, RHP UCSB.  3rd team NCWBA AA as freshman after going 8-0.
  • Doug Nikhazy, LHP/OF Ole Miss.  2019 Collegiate National team extended roster as Freshman.
  • Mason Pelio, RHP Boston College.  2019 Collegiate National team extended roster as Freshman.
  • Steven Hajjar, LHP Michigan.  Missed 2019 with ACL injury, significant upside.
  • Kier Meredith, OF Clemson.
  • Adam Hackenberg, C Clemson by way of VA HS.  Best ranked VA player in 2018 prep class, went to school.  Awful 2021, likely not a draft candidate.

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

  • Jordan Lawlar, SS Jesuit Prep College (TX).  Polished complete player.  Vanderbilt commit.  Jan 2021 has jumped to the head of the line of prep prospects, nearly to 1-1 potential.  Might not go 1-1, but may end up being best prospect in draft.  Older HS kid, turns 19 before draft.
  • Marcelo Mayer, SS Eastlake, Chula Vista (CA); USC commit.  Lefty at the plate, will stay at SS.  Always solid defensively, has really improved his stock and jumped the two presumed top-end SS in the class (House and Watson) and is now considered top 5 potential as of Jan 2021.
  • Kahlil Watson, SS Wake Forest HS (NC).  helium guy late 2020, great bat speed,  high ceiling.  NC State commit.
  • Brady House 3B/SS Winder-Barrow HS (GA).   Big guy, OBP machine.  #1 ranked player in prep class mid 2020.  Tennessee commit.  Only 2nd team preseason AA.  Falling?  2021 rising up again.

High School guys whose stock has fallen:

  • Braylon Bishop, OF Arkansas (AR) HS.  5-tool player, long-known prospect.  Arkansas commit.
  • Jackson Jobe, RHP, Oklahoma City OK: Law calls him best prep pitcher in draft.
  • Christian Little, RHP Christian Brothers HS (St. Louis MO).  Vanderbilt commit.
  • Luke Leto, SS/RHP Portage (MI) Central.  2-way player, LSU commit.
  • Tyree Reed, OF (corner) American Canyon (CA) HS.   Oregon State commit.
  • Maddux Bruns, LHP UMS-Wright Prep, Mobile (AL).  Helium guy summer 2020, Mississippi State commit.
  • Noah Smith, SS Marist HS (IL).  Louisville commit
  • Benny Montgomery, OF Red Land HS (PA).  UVA commit
  • Cody Schrier, OF JSierra, San Clemente (CA).  UCLA commit
  • Izaac Pacheco SS/3B Friendswood (TX).  Texas A&M commit

Sources used to create this list

Written by Todd Boss

July 12th, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Draft

Nats land House in the 1st!


House surprisingly falls to Nats at #11

Every year I meticulously follow mock drafts, collect them, analyze them. And then every year the mocks seem to get thrown out the window once the draft starts, resulting in some shocking results. The Nats have been the beneficiaries of this in the past (see the Anthony Rendon draft), but for the past number of years they’ve mostly stayed true to form and picked a player that they were well known to be interested in. This is partly because Mike Rizzo has a very specific draft strategy/player development strategy in the draft (heavily focusing on college pitchers), partly because the Nats are not afraid to deal with players who are tied to Scott Boras as an advisor, and partly because the Nats seem to like “famous” players that suddenly start falling in the draft.

So, 2021 was no different. There were several shocks above the Nats, with players curiously rising (Frank Mozzicato and Sam Bachman) and players curiously falling (Khalil Watson and Ty Madden). And at #11, bucking practically every prediction made this spring, the Nats did NOT draft a pitcher and went with Brady House.

House was, in the early parts of 2020, an early prediction to go 1-1 in the 2021 draft class thanks to his standout performances on the showcase circuit. He’s a Georgia prep kid, an early commit to Tennessee, and he was a nationally known prospect well before he got to his senior season. As often happens with the more “famous” prospects, the shine wore off on House as he had some hiccups in the 2020 summer wood-bat circuits. However, he performed more than adequately in the spring 2021 season.

We saw this “prospect fatigue” with Kumar Rocker as well; how does he slip from also being a 1-1 candidate all the way to #10? People look for flaws in these famous prospects, not strengths, and when Rocker (for example) wasn’t as dominant as he normally can be in the CWS (pitching on short rest, mind you), suddenly there’s “concerns” and scouting departments end up outsmarting themselves. This is precisely how the Nats got Rendon in 2011 … and now its how we got House in 2021.

House was projected in multiple final mock drafts to go as high as #3. He’s a big kid 6’3″ with incredible power, the defensive chops to start at SS (even if we think he moves to 3B), and can also hit 96 on the mound. A great comp for him might very well be a Nolan Arenado; a guy with an amazing arm, a former SS who has become a perennial gold glover at 3B, and who has prodigious power.

Suffice it to say; I like this pick. Yes he’s a prep kid, meaning he’s of no real immediate help, but based on our 2021 team and the turnover we likely face this coming off-season, we may be entering a rebuilding phase anyway, and House could be part of a crew that helps kick-start the franchise in a few years.

Yes, we drafted a projected 3B when our current #1 prospect (Carter Kieboom) is also a 3B; it does not matter. You do not draft for need in MLB; you draft best player available and deal with positional flexibility later on. If we are somehow faced with the prospect of having both Kieboom and House pushing to product at the MLB level in a few years? We deal with it then, through a position change (3B to 2B, or keep House at SS, or move someone to a corner OF) or a trade.

Verdict: great pick, happy to have nabbed a great talent in the 1st round.

Written by Todd Boss

July 12th, 2021 at 10:19 am

2021 Draft Coverage: Final Mock Draft Wrap-up and Nats Prediction


Here’s this year’s Mock Draft collection.  We usually see the first crazy-early mock just after the 2020 drafts, then again after the end of the 2020 season when the draft order is more or less determined, then it really starts to heat up in May.

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

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

  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) Way too Early 2021 Mock, 6/12/20: Kumar Rocker, Jack Leiter, Brady House, Adrian Del Castillo, Matt McLain
  • BA (Collazo) v1.0 Draft 1/4/21: (missed it)
  • BA (Collazo) v2.0 draft 3/29/21Jordan Lawlar, Rocker, Leiter, Marcello Mayer, Del Castillo.  Nats take House.
  • Prospects365 (Mason McRae) 2021 Mock draft v1.0 6/25/20: Rocker, Leiter, Jud FabianLuke Leto, McLain
  • Prospects365 (Mason McRae) 2021 Mock draft v2.0 9/4/20: Rocker, Fabian, Leiter, Del Castillo, Jaden Hill
  • Prospects365 (Ian Smith) 2021 Mock Draft 1.0 11/9/20: Rocker, Leiter, Jordan Lawlar, Hill, Fabian.  Nats take James Wood, prep OF from IMG Academy in Fla. Not sure this is really credible.
  • MLBPipeline (Callis/Mayo) Apr 2021 mock draft 4/26/21: Leiter, Lawlar, Rocker, Mayer, House.  Nats take Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Okla.).
  • BA (Collazo) v3.0 Mock draft 4/28/21: Leiter, Lawlar, Mayer, Rocker, House.  Nats also take Jobe.
  • MLBpipeline (Callis): May 2021 mock 5/6/21: Lawlar, Leiter, Mayer, Rocker, House.  Nats at 11 take Jobe.
  • ESPN (Kiley McDaniel) May 11 2021 Mock 1.0: Lawlar, Leiter, Mayer, Rocker, Davis. Nats at 11 take Jobe.
  • CollegeBaseballDaily May 2021 mock 5/12/21: Rocker, Leiter, Lawlar, Kahlil Wilson, Mayer. (only a top 5)
  • MLBpipeline (Mayo) May 2021 mock 5/20/21: Mayer, Lawlar, Davis, House, Leiter.  Nats take Ty Madden, RHP Friday night starter from UTexas.
  • BA (Collazo): v4.0 Mock Draft 5/24/21: Lawlar, Mayer, House, Leiter, Davis.  Nats take Jobe.
  • ESPN/McDaniel Mock 1.0 5/25/21: Lawlar, Leiter, Mayer, Rocker, Davis.  Nats take Jobe.
  • Athletic (Keith Law) Mock draft v1.0 5/27/21: Davis, Lawlar, Mayer, Rocker, Harry Ford prep C from GA (cost savings move). Nats take Bachman.
  • MLBpipeline (Callis) 6/10/21 mock: Mayer, Leiter, Jobe (!), Davis,
    Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College (in a cost-saving move). Nats at #11 take Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
  • ProspectsLive 6/8/21 mock draft: Davis, Watson, Mayer, Leiter,
    Harry Ford, C/2B/OF, North Cobb HS (cost saving move). Has Rocker falling to Nats at #11 … not a credible mock.
  • CBSsports (Mike Axisa) 6/11/21 mock: Davis, Lawlar, Mayer, Leiter,
    Frelick. Nats get Jobe.
  • Fangraphs (Longenhagen & Goldstein) 6/14/21 mock: Mayer, Lawlar, House, Leiter, Davis. Nats get Frelick, though mention that this is likely Rocker’s floor if he slips, and don’t count out Gunnar Hogeland (a top 10 guy who had TJ and has slipped).
  • MLBpipeline (Mayo) 6/16/21 mock draft: Mayer, Watson, Jobe, Leiter, Lawlar. Nats get Bachman.
  • CalltothePen (David Mullen): top 5 mock 6/17/21: Rocker, Leiter, Davis, Lawlar, Mayer. This mock is ridiculous; most pundits have Rocker closer to the Nats at #11 than #1 overall.
  • ESPN (McDaniel) Mock 2.0 6/18/21: Mayer, Davis, House, Leiter, Watson. Nats get Madden, who they take over Bachman, who he doesn’t have in the 1st round. Interesting.
  • MLBpipeline (Callis) 6/23/21 mock: Mayer, Leiter, Jobe, Lawlar, Davis. Nats get Bachman.
  • Athletic (Law): 6/24/21 mock draft v2.0: Mayer, Lawlar, Leiter, Davis, Colton Cowser, OF from Sam Houston State (on a discount). Nats take Jobe.
  • Baseball America (Collazzo): Mock draft v5.0 6/25/21: Mayer, Lawlar, Jobe, Leiter, Watson. Nats take Madden (over Bachman).
  • CBSsports (Axisa) 6/25/21 mock: Mayer, Lawlar, Jobe, Leiter, Davis. Nats take Bachman (though he mentions Hogeland)
  • BleacherReport (Joel Reuter) 6/25/21 mock draft: Lawlar, Mayer, Leiter, Davis, McLain (cost saving move). Nats take Madden over Bachman.
  • MLBPipeline (Mayo) 7/1/21 mock draft: Mayer, Leiter, Jobe, Davis, Watson. Nats take Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State. This is a pure reaction to Bednar’s admittedly great CWS performance, but is a massive over-draft based on where Bednar was ranked just a week ago on most boards (early 2nd rounder). Mayo notes that he thinks really they’ll take Bachman, b/c in this scenario Madden already off the board.
  • ProspectsLive Staff Mock draft v6.0: Mayer, Leiter, Jobe, Davis, Watson. Nats take Madden, over Bachman or Bednar.
  • Fangraphs (Longenhagen/Goldstein) Mock draft v2.0 7/6/21: Mayer, Leiter, House, Davis, Cowser (deal-cutting move). Nats take Bachman over Madden/Bednar, also noting this is Rocker’s floor.
  • Atlantic (Keith Law) Mock 3.0 7/9/21: Mayer, Rocker, Leiter, Davis, Watson. Nats land Jobe, likely because of the mock of Rocker so high. Oddly, no Bachman in the 1st round.
  • CBSsports (Axisa) Mock 7/9/21: Mayer, Lawlar, House, Leiter, Davis. Nats take Jobe, and then Bachman goes 2 picks later … and then no Madden in the entire 1st round.
  • Baseball America (Collazzo): Mock draft v6.0 7/9/21: Mayer, Lawlar, Jobe, Leiter, Watson. Nats take Madden over Bachman.
  • MLBPipeline (Callis) Dueling/Final Mock draft 7/10/21: Mayer, Leiter, Jobe, Davis, Watson. Nats take Bednar.
  • MLBPipeline (Mayo) Dueling/Final Mock draft 7/10/21: Mayer, Leiter, House, Davis, Watson. Nats take Madden.
  • Baseball America v7.0 day of: Mayer, Watson, Jobe, Leiter, Lawlar. Nats take Madden, Bachman slides to #18, Bednar to #19.
  • Bleacher Report (Joel Reuter) day of mock draft 7/11/21: Meyer, Lawlar, Jobe, Leiter, Cowser. Nats take Madden. Bednar goes #14, Bachman goes #21.
  • Fangraphs day-of Mock 3.0: Mayer, Leiter, Jobe, DAvis, Lawlar. Nats go Madden. Bednar goes 21, Bachman goes 29 (wow).

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

Todd Boss’ Mock draft top-5 prediction?

My top 5 prediction: Mayer, Leiter, House, Davis, Watson.

Who are the Nats going to take in the 1st round?

Ty Madden. More and More we’re seeing Bachman falling and Madden staying put. If Madden is not there for some reason, I see the Nats taking either Bachman or Bednar. Draft Tracker

ACTUAL TOP 5 DRAFT Results (added after the draft): Davis, Leiter, Jobe, Mayer, Cowser.

Pirates go way off script and pick the college Catcher Davis 1-1. Its probably the safest possible pick for Pittsburgh, which has picked 1-1 in the past and… well their track record is not great. Leiter goes #2 as frequently predicted, and the Tigers indeed take Jobe. Mayer, who is pretty much considered the #1 player in the draft, drops to an ecstatic Boston team at #4, while the Baltimore Orioles indeed go for the “draft deal” with Cowser, meaning they’ll pursue overslot prep players in the supplimental first and early second round.

It also means that there will be talent available that perhaps wouldn’t have been there later on.

Actual Nats 1st round Pick (added after the draft): Brady House!

Written by Todd Boss

July 11th, 2021 at 7:57 am

Posted in Nats in General

Nats All-Star review: 2021 and years past


Here’s my annual Nationals All Star selection post. I realized today as I went to write this that … i forgot to do it in 2020. Perhaps its because the league cancelled the game because of Covid-19. However, they still named an “unofficial” all-star team, so I’ll fill in the details for 2020 just below the 2021 writing.

Nats All Star Game Trivia:

  • All-time leader in Nats all-star appearances: Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer, both with 6 appearances with the Nats.  Scherzer has been named 8 times but some pre-dated his time here.
  • All-time leader in All-Star Game starts: Harper, who had 5 starts.
  • Total number of Starters in the history of the Franchise: Now is 11; Harper 5 times, Scherzer 3x, and one each for Soriano, Murphy, Zimmerman.
  • Most all-star players named in a single year: 5 in both 2016 and 2017.
  • Least all-star game players named in a single year: 1 in multiple years during the “dark years” of 2006 through 2011.
  • Most unlikely All-Star: Probably Dmitry Young or Cristian Guzman, both being the “someone has to make the all star team” nominations in our 100 loss period in the late 2000s.

(* == All-Star game starter)


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Trea Turner, Juan Soto, Kyle Schwarber, Max Scherzer* (substitute addition)
  • Possible Snubs: none
  • Narrative: The Nats scuffle into the all-star week on fumes thanks to losing 7 of 9 against NL West teams and suffering perhaps one too many injuries. Scherzer was not initially named, which I immediately listed as a huge snub. But then not only was he added as a replacement player … he was then named the damn starter. How is that possible? Anyway, among our other named players Schwarber’s injury prevents him from playing, but Soto gets into the HR derby, where he upsets #1 seed Shohei Ohtani before losing in the next round.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: None
  • Possible Snubs: Juan Soto
  • Narrative: Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the ASG and the shortening of the season from 162 to 60 games. Nonetheless, the season that Juan Soto put up should have been recognized, even un-officially. He hit .351/.490/.695 in 47 games for an astounding 221 OPS+ figure, the 33rd best ever season posted by this figure. But, since Soto got hit with Covid and had to miss the first two weeks … he did not qualify for batting titles and was left out of the ASG and MVP conversations.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Max Scherzer, Anthony Rendon
  • Possible Snubs: Juan Soto, Stephen Strasburg, Howie Kendrick, Trevor Rosenthal (just kidding)
  • Narrative: Rendon finally is named to an all-star team, having played in the shadows of other more well-known NL third basemen for  years.  Arbitrary Endpoints: Rendon is 7th in baseball among hitters in total fWAR since 2014.  7th.  In the entire league.  And this is his first ASG.  Meanwhile Scherzer is the obvious pick, though i’m not sure he gets the start this year.  Scherzer leads the NL in bWAR … but Hyun-Jin Ryu is having an amazing season and could get the nod (indeed, he has).  Soto’s numbers are solid, as good as his rookie campaign, but he started slow and the story-line surrounding the Nats this season has overshadowed his production.  Strasburg actually has more bWAR than Rendon … but his numbers are solid, not all-star good.  Kendrick would never have gotten a nod, but he should be a shoe-in for comeback player of the year for the season he’s having.  Others of note: Sean Doolittle was amazing for most of the first half but has tired and his numbers slipped.  Patrick Corbin‘s debut season has been solid, not flashy, and he has the same issues as Strasburg had.

Post publishing update: neither of our two representatives are actually going to Cleveland.  Rendon staying home to rehab a nagging quad injury, and Scherzer is traveling but will not pitch b/c he threw a start just ahead of the game.  Both players were replaced by non-Nats … which was a shame b/c a like-for-like with Strasburg for Scherzer seemed like the right thing to do.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Max Scherzer*, Sean Doolittle
  • Possible Snubs: Juan Soto, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon
  • Narrative: For the home-town All Star Game, Harper gets the starting nod from the fans despite his abhorrent season at the plate (his slash line on 7/8/18: .219/.371/.475).  However, by making the ASG, Harper now keeps his promise to participate in the Home Run Derby one last time before hitting free agency.   There’s no real “snubs” on this Nationals team; The #2 player on the team in terms of seasonal bWAR is Trea Turner but he’s not exactly having a head-turning season.  He was named to the “last 5 ballot” but was a huge long-shot to make it (update; he didn’t: the very deserving Jesus Aguilar did).  Anthony Rendon is having his typical under-rated season and got no love from the voters over the more famous Nolan Arenado (a common refrain when it comes to Gold Gloves/Silver Sluggers too).  None of our starters besides Scherzer are really deserving; Stephen Strasburg was having a decent but not spectacular season but missed a month and is on the D/L.  Nor is any of the bullpen past Doolittle.  Its an odd-season where a team-wide malaise is contributing to the team hovering at .500 at the All Star Break.  Only Juan Soto really is deserving … but he was never going to make the ASG (not when recent more spectacular rookies failed to make it) and thanks to his missing all of April and most of May he wasn’t on any ballots and may struggle to win the RoY over guys who have played longer this season.  Scherzer is named to the team on 7/8/18 was named the  NL starter for the 2nd year running on 7/16/18.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Daniel Murphy*, Ryan Zimmerman*, Max Scherzer*, Stephen Strasburg
  • Snubs: Anthony Rendon, Gio Gonzalez
  • Narrative: For the second  year in a row, the Nats are well and properly represented in the All Star Game.  We have three starters named in the field, including Zimmerman who beats out a slew of 1B sluggers in the NL to not only make the team but get his first start.  Its also likely i’ll be editing this post and adding in Scherzer as an additional starter; he is the obvious choice to start the game for the NL given his first half production (7/10/17 update: yes indeed we did).  Rendon is having a very quiet solid season and is in the “last 5” popular vote, but he seems unlikely to win given that last year’s MVP Kris Bryant is also in the voting (Update: neither guy got in).  Gonzalez misses out despite having a better first half than Strasburg by nearly any statistic; he’s having a career year but seems unlikely to get rewarded with his 3rd ASG appearance.  There’s no other real snub from our 2017 team; certainly there’s nobody in the bullpen meriting a spot, and Trea Turner‘s torrid 2016 2nd half did not translate into the 2017 season (not to mention, he’s had two separate D/L trips).  Once again i’m slightly perturbed that Harper continues to refuse to participate in the HR derby; why the reticence?  Its a fun event that is quickly becoming better than the actual game itself and practically every other slugger is participating.  Is he afraid to lose?  On a larger scale, i’m really happy to see (finally) that deserving rookies are named: Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger are both named and are both on the inside track for ROY awards; too many times in the past we see deserving rookies unnamed.  On July 10th, the fourth Nat starter was named: Scherzer got the starting pitcher nod, a first for the Nats.  August Update: Rendon’s omission is looking even more ridiculous; he’s top 5 in the league in bWAR.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Stephen Strasburg, Daniel Murphy, Wilson Ramos, Max Scherzer (named as replacement for Strasburg on 7/8/16),
  • Possible Snubs: Danny EspinosaTanner Roark
  • Narrative: The four obvious candidates from the Nats this year were all initially correctly selected, though voting shenanigans out of Chicago elected Ben Zobrist over Daniel Murphy by a scant 500 votes.   I thought perhaps Strasburg would have a chance to start the game, given his 12-0 record, but it seems the team pre-empted any such thought when Scherzer’s naming occurred.  For the first time writing this post, I can’t really name any “snubs” and the team has (finally?) earned the proper respect it deserves in terms of naming its players properly.  Espinosa had a week for the ages just prior to the end of voting but really stood little chance of selection in the grand scheme of things.  He’s not really a “snub” but is worthy of mention based on his resurgent year.  At the break, Espinosa ranked 3rd in NL fWAR but 7th or 8th in bWAR thanks to differing defensive value metrics, so maybe/maybe not on him being a “snub.”  As pointed out in the comments, even I missed the sneaky good season Roark is having; he’s 12th in the NL in bWAR at the break and 9th in fWAR but was left off in favor of any number of starters that stand below him in value rankings.  Unfortunately for fans (and for Harper’s “Make Baseball Fun again” campaign, he opted to skip the Home Run Derby again.  I guess its kind of like the NBA superstars skipping the dunk contest; the Union should really do a better job of helping out in this regard.  The new format is fantastic and makes the event watchable again; is it ego keeping him from getting beat by someone like Giancarlo Stanton?


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Max Scherzer
  • Possible Snubs: Yunel Escobar, Drew Storen
  • Narrative: Harper not only made it in as a starter for the 2nd time, he led the NL in votes, setting a MLB record for total votes received.  This is no surprise; Harper’s easily in the MVP lead for the NL thanks to his amazing first half (his split at the half-way point of the season: .347/.474/.722 with 25 homers and an astounding 225 OPS+).  I guess he won’t be earning the “Most overrated player” award next year.  That Harper is electing to skip the Home run derby in a disappointment; his father is nursing an arm injury can cannot throw to him in the event.  In a weird year for the Nats, the only other regular worth mentioning is newly acquired Escobar, who is hitting above .300 and filling in ably at multiple positions that, prior to this year, he had never played.  Storen is having another excellent regular season … but at a time when mandatory members from each team often leads to other closers being selected (there are 5 NL closers and 7 AL relievers), the odds of him making the All-Star team were always going to be slim.  Scherzer deservedly makes the team and probably would have been the NL starter; he’s got sub 2.00 ERA and FIP and leads all NL pitchers in WAR at the mid-way point of the season.  But his turn came up in the final game of the first half, making him ineligible for the game and forcing his replacement on the roster.

As a side note, the 2015 All-Star game will go down as the “Ballot-Gate” game thanks to MLB’s short-sighted plan to allow 30+ online ballots per email address.  This led to severe “ballot stuffing” by the Kansas City Royals fans, led to MLB  having to eliminate 60 million+ fraudulent ballots, but still led to several Royals being elected starters over more deserving candidates.


  • Nationals All-Star representative: Jordan Zimmermann (Update post-publishing: Zimmermann strained a bicep, and had to withdraw from the ASG.  For a bit it looked like the Nats wouldn’t even have a representative, until Tyler Clippard was named on 7/13/14).
  • Possible Snubs: Adam LaRoche, Anthony Rendon, Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen
  • Narrative: Zimmermann’s been the best SP on the best pitching staff in the majors this year, and thus earns his spot.  I find it somewhat odd that a first place team (or near to it) gets just one representative on the team (as discussed above).  Rendon tried to make the team via the “last man in” voting, but historically Nationals have not fared well in this competition (especially when better known players from large markets are in the competition, aka Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs), and indeed Rendon finished 4th in the last-man voting.  LaRoche is having a very good season, almost single handedly carrying the Nats offense while major parts were out injured, but he’s never going to beat out the slew of great NL first basemen (Joey Votto couldn’t even get into this game).  Soriano has quietly put together one of the best seasons of any closer in the game; at the time of this writing he has a 1.03 ERA and a .829 whip; those are Dennis Eckersley numbers.  But, the farce that is the all-star game selection criteria (having to select one player from each team) means that teams need a representative, and deserving guys like Soriano get squeezed.  Then, Soriano indignantly said he wouldn’t even go if named as a replacement … likely leading to Clippard’s replacement selection.  The same goes for non-closer Storen, who sports a sub 2.00 ERA on the year.  Advanced stats columnists (Keith Law) also think that Stephen Strasburg is a snub but I’m not entirely sure: he may lead the NL in K’s right now and have far better advanced numbers than “traditional,” but its hard to make an argument that a guy with a 7-6 record and a 3.50+ ERA is all-star worthy.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Bryce Harper*, Jordan Zimmermann
  • Snubs: Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond
  • Narrative: Harper comes in 3rd in the NL outfielder voting, ahead of some big-time names, to become only the second Nationals position player elected as an All-Star starter.  He was 4th in the final pre-selection vote, so a big last minute push got him the starter spot.   Harper also becomes the first National to participate in the Home Run Derby.   Zimmermann was 12-3 heading into the game and was on mid-season Cy Young short lists in July in a breakout season.  Strasburg’s advanced stats are all better than Zimmermann’s, but his W/L record (4-6 as the ASG) means he’s not an all-star.  It also probably doesn’t help that he missed a few weeks.  Desmond loses out to Troy TulowitzkiEverth Cabrera and Jean Segura.  Tulowitzki was having a very solid year and was a deserving elected starter, while Cabrera and Segura are both having breakout seasons.  Desmond was on the “Final vote” roster, but my vote (and most others’ I’m guessing) would be for Yasiel Puig there ([Editor Update: Desmond and Puig lost out to Freddie Freeman: I still wished that Puig finds a way onto the roster but ultimately he did not and I believe the ASG was diminished because of it).   Gio GonzalezRyan Zimmerman, and Rafael Soriano are all having solid but unspectacular years and miss out behind those having great seasons.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper
  • Possible Snubs: Adam LaRocheCraig Stammen
  • Narrative: The two SPs Strasburg and Gonzalez were the obvious candidates, and my personal prediction was that they’d be the only two candidates selected.  Gonzalez’ first half was a prelude to his 21-win, 3rd place Cy Young season.  The inclusion of Desmond is a surprise, but also a testament to how far he’s come as a player in 2012.  Harper was a last-minute injury replacement, but had earned his spot by virtue of his fast start as one of the youngest players in the league.  Of the “snubs,” LaRoche has had a fantastic come back season in 2012 but fared little shot against better, more well-known NL first basemen.  Stammen was our best bullpen arm, but like LaRoche fared little chance of getting selected during a year when the Nats had two deserving pitchers selected.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Tyler Clippard
  • Possible Snubs: Danny EspinosaMichael MorseDrew StorenJordan Zimmermann
  • Narrative: While Clippard was (arguably) the Nats best and most important reliever, I think Zimmermann was a more rightful choice.  He was 10th in the league in ERA at the time of the selections and has put in a series of dominant performances.  Meanwhile Espinosa was on pace for a 28-homer season and almost a certain Rookie-of-the-Year award (though a precipitous fall-off in the 2nd half cost him any realistic shot at the ROY), and perhaps both players are just too young to be known around the league.  Lastly Morse is certainly known and he merited a spot in the “last man in” vote sponsored by MLB (though he fared little chance against popular players in this last-man-in voting).


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Matt Capps
  • Possible Snubs: Adam DunnJosh WillinghamRyan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg
  • Narrative: Capps was clearly deserving, having a breakout season as a closer after his off-season non-tender from the Pirates.  The 3-4-5 hitters Zimmerman-Dunn-Willingham all had dominant offensive seasons as the team improved markedly from its 103-loss season.  But perhaps the surprise non-inclusion was Strasburg, who despite only having a few starts as of the all-star break was already the talk of baseball.  I think MLB missed a great PR opportunity to name him to the team to give him the exposure that the rest of the national media expected.  But in the end, Capps was a deserving candidate and I can’t argue that our hitters did anything special enough to merit inclusion.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Ryan Zimmerman
  • Possible Snubs: Adam Dunn
  • Narrative: The addition of Dunn and Willingham to the lineup gave Zimmerman the protection he never had, and he produced with his career-best season.  His first and deserved all-star appearance en-route to a 33 homer season.  Dunn continued his monster homer totals with little all-star recognition.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Cristian Guzman
  • Possible Snubs: Jon Rauch
  • Narrative: The first of two “hitting rock-bottom” seasons for the team; no one really merited selection.  Zimmerman was coming off of hamate-bone surgery in November 2007 and the team was more or less awful across the board.  Rauch performed ably after Cordero went down with season-ending (and basically career-ending) shoulder surgery.   Guzman’s selection a great example of why one-per-team rules don’t make any sense.  Guzman ended up playing far longer than he deserved in the game itself by virtue of the 15-inning affair.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Dmitri Young
  • Possible Snubs: Ryan Zimmerman, Shawn Hill (though I wouldn’t argue for either)
  • Narrative: Young gets a deserved all-star appearance en route to comeback player of the year.  Zimmerman played a full season but didn’t dominate.  Our 2007 staff gave starts to 13 different players, most of whom were out of the league within the next year or two.  Not a good team.


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Alfonso Soriano*
  • Possible Snubs: Nick JohnsonRyan Zimmerman, Chad Cordero
  • Narrative: Soriano made the team as an elected starter, the first time the Nats have had such an honor.  Our pitching staff took massive steps backwards and no starter came even close to meriting a spot.  Cordero was good but not lights out as he had been in 2005.  Soriano’s 40-40 season is a poster child for “contract year” production and he has failed to come close to such production since.  The team was poor and getting worse.  Johnson had a career year but got overshadowed by bigger, better first basemen in the league (a recurring theme for our first basemen over the years).


  • Nationals All-Star representatives: Livan HernandezChad Cordero
  • Possible Snubs: Nick JohnsonJohn Patterson.
  • Narrative: The Nats went into the All Star break surprisingly in first place, having run to a 50-31 record by the halfway point.  Should a first place team have gotten more than just two representatives?  Perhaps.  But the team was filled with non-stars and played far over its head to go 50-31 (as evidenced by the reverse 31-50 record the rest of the way).

Written by Todd Boss

July 10th, 2021 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Nats in General

2021 Home Run Derby w/ Soto!


Soto just the 3rd ever Nat in the HR derby. Source NYPost

So, it isn’t too often a member of the Nationals is in the Home Run Derby.

In fact, it has happened only twice before, in the history of the event.

  • in 2013, Bryce Harper made the finals before losing to home-town hero Yoenis Cespedes.
  • in 2018, Harper won the event on home-soil in a 19-18 memorable slugfest against now-Nat Kyle Schwarber

But 2021 we get our star slugger Juan Soto in the derby, representing the franchise for just the 3rd time ever.

Only Eight players are selected, then they’re seeded. Here’s how the seedings are for this event:

  • #1 Shohei Ohtani
  • #8 Juan Soto
  • #5 Pete Alonso
  • #4 Salvador Perez
  • #3 Matt Olson
  • #6 Trey Mancini
  • #7 Trevor Story
  • #2 Joey Gallo

So, Unfortunately Soto heads against the #1 seed in Ohtani in the first round, so he may be one and done. But its a derby so who knows: the winner of these competitions is often the Batting-Practice god, not necessarily the guy who can translate BP power to the game. My initial guess as to who wins this is Gallo over Alonso in the final, but who knows if Ohtani can overcome.

My bigger point in this is to list just how deficient this field is. There’s just so many sluggers in the league who are not here who i’d rather see than (with all due respect) someone like Salvador Perez or even home-town hero Story.

So, Who would I have rather seen in this derby? Lets look at it two ways.

  1. Here’s the list of current HR leaders in the league: Ohtani, Fernando Tatis, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Kyle Schwarber, Ronald Acuna, Gallo, Jared Walsh, Adolis Garcia, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez, Rafael Devers, and Olson. So just three of your current top 10 HR leaders are in the field.
  2. If you sort the 2021 hitters by ISO or by HR/FB percentage in fangraphs, you get almost an identical list to the above list of HR leaders. You also add in a couple of additional names like Max Muncy, Brandon Crawford, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton to the mix. Bryce Harper even shows up in the 20-25 range in both figures, along with a few other three-true-outcome types.
  3. then, based on a custom Fangraphs dashboard over the past few seasons, here’s a few more guys who are among the league leaders in HR per PA: Mike Trout (a prolific HR hitter who people often forget has significant power), Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, Gary Sanchez, and JD Martinez.

So, out of ALL of these names … who are the top 8 sluggers I’d really want to see in a HR derby? We’ll leave out both Trout and Schwarber (since they’re hurt) for the purposes of this and rank the sluggers in order of my perfect case HR derby.

  • #1 Giancarlo Stanton: I just don’t see how there’s anyone else out there who isn’t the prototype for a HR hitter. he’s my #1 seed. 59 Homers in 2017. Sells out for power every swing.
  • #2 Aaron Judge: 52 homers as a rookie but hasn’t been healthy since. No matter; all I need is for him to be healthy for a couple hours next sunday.
  • #3 Shohei Ohtani: the next coming of Babe Ruth, on pace for 60 homers this season and leading the league. A deserving #1 seed in the real event.
  • #4 Pete Alonso: Broke Judge’s rookie record with 53 homers in his rookie season, the defending champ. Maybe he should be #1 seed both this year and in my fake derby as the defending champ.
  • #5 Joey Gallo: the second coming of Dave Kingman: 40 homer power and a Mendoza-line BA. The perfect guy for my home run derby.
  • #6 Bryce Harper: 80-grade power by the time he was a junior high player, his 502-foot homer as a 16yr old is still amazing. Past champion of the event.
  • #7 Vladimir Guerrero Jr; after a slow pro career start, he’s now posting MVP numbers (.341/.439/.679 so far in 2021 and on pace for 55 homers; i mean, that’s a better slash line than Willie Mays ever put up, and is right in line with the best season Mickey Mantle ever had).
  • #8 Fernando Tatis; Leads the NL right now in both Homers and Stolen Bases, on track for a 50/40 season, which is something that no one has ever even come close to doing.

Imagine this field. Did I forget anyone obvious?

Anyway; love the HR derby, its my favorite thing to watch during the AS break. This year, we’ll get the draft though, so that’ll be fun too.

Written by Todd Boss

July 9th, 2021 at 12:34 pm

2021 CWS Winner Crowned: Mississippi State wins!


2021 CWS coverage:

Here’s how the finals played out.

  • Game 1 6/28/21: Vanderbilt jumps all over Miss State starter Christian MacLeod, who gave up 6 runs in the first on 2 walks, 2 HBPs and 2 hits. Vandy co-ace Jack Leiter had all the run support he’d need, going 6 comfortable innings and handing off the lead to one of Vandy’s solid closers for the easy win.
  • Game 2 6/29/21: In a battle of #3 starters, Mississippi State jumped on Vandy’s starter while their staff controlled the Commodores to force a ddcider.
  • Game 3 6/30/21: In his final collegiate start, Kumar Rocker left a sour taste in scout’s collective mouths by dripping runs throughout his start, leaving in the 5th. But the story was Vandy’s Will Bednar, who pitched 6 no-hit innings on three days rest to make a heck of a statement in a decider.

Your 2021 College World Series Champion: Mississippi State, their first ever baseball title after 12 trips to Omaha … and the first NCAA championship EVER for the school in a team sport (a pretty amazing fact).

Commentary: well, I thought getting two starts from Rocker/Leiter would guarantee the title … but I discounted the offensive woes of Vandy, which most pundits pounced on in their predictions. Congrats to a long-suffering team.

This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2021.  I’ll post one more post that covers draftees and signing status for all local-connected players (prep and college) once the draft happens in mid July.

Written by Todd Boss

July 1st, 2021 at 9:09 am