Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Pre-2015 Draft coverage; mocks and local players


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

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

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

Draft Coverage so far at NAR for 2015:

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

Draft Links of importance

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

Now, some news about College Players with local ties

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

Local Prep players of note:

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

Other players of interest to Nats fans:

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

Mock Draft Guesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

41 Responses to 'Pre-2015 Draft coverage; mocks and local players'

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  1. Can we print some “Bats for Nats” T-shirts? Man, they really need some hitters. In a year where three shortstops may go in the top five, though, we don’t have to feel like we’re missing out, as the Nats have two already raking at AA in addition to a somewhat revitalized Espinosa.

    It seems as if Turner and Difo are the ONLY minor-leaguers the Nats have who are hitting, though. The organization seems particularly devoid of corner power talent, both OF and INF. Matt Skole is hitting a crisp .188, with Brian Goodwin at .224 after his demotion to AA. Who leads the Syracuse Chiefs in SLG? Manny Burriss, who has one (1) HR in 801 MLB plate appearances. The bats are a wasteland. (And yes, I know I’m not supposed to give up hope for Drew Ward, since he’s only 20. He’s at a promising .340 OBP at A+ but showing no power thus far.)

    It’s a crap shoot beyond the top picks, though, as everyone knows, which I think is why the Nats have felt safer picking arms than bats. (And please don’t get me started on why they thought Renda was a second rounders.) I’d be glad to see them take another shot at Byler, who significantly improved his OBP and walk rate this year (although striking out more as well). Geez, the big club has two immobile 1Bs waddling around in the OF now, so why not another?

    As for Bolt, here’s a look at him from someone who has apparently seen him play a fair amount:

    Doesn’t excite me that much. Looks like a ceiling of den Dekker to me.

    Todd, any thoughts on bats who might be there when the Nats are picking? You’ve looked at this exponentially more than I have.


    5 Jun 15 at 1:39 pm

  2. Kris Kline has, thankfully, said the draft priority is position players and left handed power.

    Sounds good to me! Catcher is the deepest position. Everything else is awful to meh, even middle infield. The prospect promise, after Gio-Turner-Difo-Ross-Lopez-Cole-Jordan pretty much has nosedived (until the Dominicans and Reetz start to play). That mystery is a huge story — it looks like someone in the organization with responsibility is out of position and a shuffle is in order. Minnitti and Ladnier’s departure could not be responsible, but the shuffle of jobs that followed may be.

    Let’s get everyone health by the trading deadline and then start to cash in some chips and sell high. But keep Span.

    I may be way off to say this, but if there are teams willing to absorb the 100% penalty to sign Moncada, why not sign the HS draft picks from draft picks 25-40 out of slot and just pay the 100% penalty if it means getting a potential first round talent into the system? Seems a lot cheaper than the Cuban price tags.


    5 Jun 15 at 2:12 pm

  3. I’d be on board if it were just paying the penalties, but you also lose your first rounders in the next TWO drafts:

    Ouch. Presumably, they’ll soon bring a similar penalty level to international signings, or subject the international players to the draft, or something.

    As for the Nats, they’ve got Ramos for two more years, so some of those young catchers need to start hitting. Heck, Ramos needs to start hitting!


    5 Jun 15 at 2:42 pm

  4. Holey moley! I suppose that only Max Scherzer is worth that.

    Ramos will get his.


    5 Jun 15 at 3:10 pm

  5. Its so hard to predict the draft after the first 5 picks, that it’s impossible to look at pick 58 and have any idea what might be there. Heck, Brady Aiken might be there and the Nats could give him $4M and just draft college seniors the rest of the top 10. Who knows.

    You can try to squint at the various ranking lists to see who’s right around 58. For example, BA has Luken Baker at #58, a name i’ve heard a bit about. He’s a two-way player (pitcher and OF) with talents on both sides. Big power. U-18 national team, committed to home state TCU. Would the Nats take a guy like him? Maybe so.

    You don’t draft for positions … BPA always. But yeah the team does need to find some bats. Don’t disagree on Bolt prognosis: really i threw him in there since we drafted him before.

    Todd Boss

    5 Jun 15 at 3:41 pm

  6. OK, you called me too easily on that one. Yes, I would give up the Big Bats dream and throw the whole wad at Aiken if by some miracle he fell to #58. Actually, there might even be some outside possibility to it, as Kiley says he could go anywhere from 10 to 60:

    Make that 10 to 58. Rizzo would be beside himself.

    Actually, it might take more to sign Baker (who is a BIG hoss), who has the college lever, than Aiken, who likely doesn’t. Would I throw that much at a 2d round HS hitter? Probably not.

    I’ll rarely cite the Redskins as an example, but I liked what the new GM did when he filled out the lower picks with guys who had been solid starters for major-conference teams, particularly the SEC. With baseball, just look at the tourney results and go SEC and ACC. Get the Moneyball guys who get on base and don’t strike out that much. I’d love to get Byler again somewhere between rounds 5 and 10.


    5 Jun 15 at 7:57 pm

  7. Wasn’t Sborz only starting due to ASAP injuries for UVA? I thought he was a full time closer this year (despite destroying MD in the Super Regionals last year).

    Did you watch the MD/UVA game yesterday? Does MD have a shot today?


    6 Jun 15 at 8:28 am

  8. I did watch the last part of yesterday’s game: Maryland was in control of that game and their 8th inning guy totally melted down. Every pundit I read or listened to (d1baseball, collegebaseballdaily and Baseball America) thought Maryland would win this regional easily. UVA stole one yesterday and that may be the difference….

    Sborz got pushed to the bullpen b/c Connor Jones looked so good in spring; the rotation was supposed to be Kirby, Waddell and Jones; that’s two projected 1st-2nd rounders plus Jones, who was a back-of-the-first round talent before telling everyone he wanted to go to school; that’s a heck of a rotation. Even with Kirby’s injuries, they mostly gave starts to their younger guys (all featured here in years past: Derek Casey, Alec Bettinger, Tommy Doyle) but eventually yeah Sborz got a few starts.

    Now? I dunno; i would hope that UVA’s coach knows that a starter is more important than a closer.

    Todd Boss

    6 Jun 15 at 8:51 am

  9. Well, I am having some coffee and a slow morning, so pardon my dump of some observations that have building up over the last few weeks.

    Watching some of the young arms that the Nats have trotted out this year, I’d say Ross looks like he has the most upside, which surprises me since I wasn’t too high on him give his profile. Cole might be the one that I’m lowest on, relative to expectations. Ross could very well be a rotation guy next year. At this point, losing JZ and Fister, I’d say Roark and Treinen would still be my first two choices, followed by Ross, Jordan, Cole.

    Looking out the next few years, I think:
    – Gio’s last year and a half have to be troubling for Rizzo and gang. He is expected to be a solid 2/3, but he is looking more and more like he is sliding towards a back end guy. I assume having a quality Gio was at least part of the calculus to let JZ and Stras walk.
    – spending this year in the bullpen, including some high leverage failures, and learning how to deal with righties and lefties, may turn out to help Treinen in the long run. The guy could be a late blooming above average SP.
    – where did this velocity spike for Roark come from? This could alter his ceiling, if it holds up
    – I am still a fan of Jordan but the guy has to start producing when he gets a chance or he finds another team soon. I don’t think he gets many more chances
    – I am not sure Mark Grace is going to stick. His stuff often just looks hittable to me.
    – Rivero, however, does look like a big league reliever. What trade did we get him in, Karns? I question whether his command will ever allow him to be a high end reliever, but his stuff can definitely get out big league hitters and he reminds me of a young Gio.
    – Nats really need to get a high end guy for the pen this year. I don’t trust many of them right now, other than Storen. Say what you want about his post season, but the guy has been really, really good this year.

    For position players, at what point do we start to ask if this is the new Espy? I am not there yet, but I think it’s been long enough where I at least am wondering/hoping. If this is him, he’s my SS for the few next years. Difo and Turner can wait, this player is a quality, above average SS.
    – Span is important to this team, and I think of all the departing FAs, Rizzo has to give serious thought to re upping him. If he would sign a 3/$40m deal with a vesting option, I’d jump. I think that probably doesn’t get it done tho, making it a much harder decision. I am not giving up on MAT at all, but he looks to me like he may be one of these guys that takes a few years to reach his true performance level, and that level may only be where Span is right now.
    – Ramos is another guy that should merit serious extension consideration, since I think a 4/$20m with an option or two gets it done. Our young catchers look promising, but they are a ways off and, similar to Span, they may only get to where Ramos is now, when all is said and done.
    – RZim looks awful at the plate, and I can’t figure out why. He is still in his prime, so I can’t believe he has started his slide yet, and he appears as healthy as he’s been in years. He may be the single biggest reason behind the offense’s lackluster performance.


    7 Jun 15 at 8:18 am

  10. Wally raises some good points, particularly about the pitching moving forward, that I hope we can discuss at some point. I spent a few minutes browsing about draft prospects, though, so I stick to that for now.

    I’ve concentrated on college hitters, guys who could conceivably fall to the Nats at picks 58, 69, and 103. Opinion on so many of these players ranges so widely that it’s difficult to get a read on their availability. For example, the first ranking I saw of David Thompson had him at #45, while the second had him at #127.

    I only see one “five-tool” guy potentially available this low, Donnie Dewees, an OF from North Florida, ranked lower by several because of the level of competition. He hit for average, power, and stole 23 bases. The A’s are said to be on him as a potential first-rounder, though (not surprising).

    We dismissed the wonderfully named Skye Bolt above, and I’ll put Joe McCarthy in the same category. Playing a full year last year, he only slugged .449 when healthy. I just don’t think they will hit for enough power to really make it. I might be tempted by these guys at #103, but not earlier. I’d put Casey Hughston of ALA in the same category. Which leaves us with . . .

    Christin Stewart, OF, TN
    David Thompson, OF, Mia
    Chris Shaw, 1B, BC
    Harrison Bader, OF, Fla
    Rhett Wiseman, OF, VAN

    That’s my target list for picks 58 and 69. Shaw seems to have the most potential power, and also the most positional limitation.

    My sleeper Sr. pick from a non-major program is OF Drew Ferguson from Belmont. I’d also give a mid-round shot to OF Kevin Kaczmarski of Evansville, who posted a 1.289 OPS, albeit with most of the SLG built on doubles. Send him to Auburn and see if he can hit. What could it hurt? I’d also draft Byler again as there just aren’t a lot of potential power guys out there.


    7 Jun 15 at 9:46 pm

  11. I don’t know anything about the prospects in HS or college, and so I was reluctant to comment until I saw the good read of KW and Wally posts above to stir up discussion.

    Nats bats drafting has already demonstrated a precedent with picks like Miller, Skole, Page, Byler, and Gardner. The returns have been meh. The system has not produced a credible hitting prospect via a non-top first round draft in a long, long time. Without studying carefully enough, it’s like Danny Espinosa, Stephen Souza and Michael Taylor, and more recently Spencer Kieboom and Drew Ward. Everyone else is trade and Dominican. No one has emerged from a later round, though folks had hopes for Ballou for awhile.

    The organization has a great eye for tools in its Dominican Academy, and trades very well, too (Walters, Turner). Difo is a great template for the organizational recruit of the future. Power, speed, athleticism. The crop of Dominicans we will see this year at GCL and Auburn will have a few to offer a lot of promise.

    The key is for the organization to apply that perspective in projecting athletes from HS and even college (like Taylor). This demonstrates how there is no substitute for your own scouting talent, and they should be paying for scouts like an arms race. In a billion dollar industry, I cannot understand why this has not yet happened.

    Be that as it may, it is worth rereading the fascinating Barry Svrluga piece (The Scout) in the WashPost last year, in which the Nats had a strong interest in AJ Reed (taking Fedde instead). Reed is indeed showing power promise that the Nats could use. You read a piece like that, read about Joc Pederson, and I wonder whether the answers lie in who was hitting the longest home runs in college baseball this year. Can’t teach 425 plus moonshots.

    Were the organization to be last year, seeing what we see now, I wonder whether Fedde would have been the pick, top-5 accolades or not. They are no longer in “best available athlete” territory.

    But van Orden does look good, doesn’t he?


    8 Jun 15 at 1:55 am

  12. HS power is almost impossible to project and arrives at least five years away from the majors. College power is a bit more projectable and perhaps only two to three years from the bigs, if it clicks. For high schoolers, look at Drew Ward, who has the ideal power build but only has three HRs thus far this year (admittedly, playing above his age level). Or look at Michael Taylor. In 2012 at age 21, the equivalent to his college junior (draft) year, he hit three HRs and got ticketed to repeat A+. Two years later, the light went on and he hit 23, almost doubling his career best. He looks like he could have 25 HR potential in the majors, but he’s in his sixth pro season, and the read on that still isn’t clear.

    At least Taylor is close to making it. For the flip side, see the more powerfully built Destin Hood, the Nats’ #2 in 2008. In his eighth professional season, he has a career total of 44 dingers and has been kicked back down to AA. After taking Hood in the second round, the Nats went for a college kid in the third, Danny Espinosa, who has been in the majors forever.

    Things don’t always work out that way, of course. But the Nats need an immediate power infusion, and you get more immediate results from college players.


    8 Jun 15 at 7:24 am

  13. The problem, I think, is that college hitters in the second round are usually low ceiling guys, or as much development risk as a HS. I think the Nats approach of college hitters in the 2+ rounds is as much the issue as their development process. Souza, Taylor, Norris were all HS guys.

    If they go hitters in the 2d round, I’d look for some high school kids like Alonzo Jones, josh Naylor, Jamai Jones, Chad Smith,Bryce Denton


    8 Jun 15 at 7:37 am

  14. I’ve no problem in agreeing that none of the college prospects I listed are five-star studs. Most are short a tool or two. But all the high-school uber studs will be gone by then as well.

    All the college guys I listed have proven that they can hit at an exceptional level in the two top conferences in the country, probably comparable to A+ minor leagues. That gives them a decent shot at being major-league hitters. The high school guys are a complete an utter roll of the dice. For every Trout you can cite a truckload of Bubba Starlings. Think the Royals now might prefer that college hitter the Nats picked right after Starling? (The name’s Rendon.)

    My bigger Nats-specific issue right now is that the Nats have NO power in the system. They can’t wait for five years for a high schooler to try to make it. They need at least one college big bat with #58 or #69. If they want to roll the dice on a HS hitter with one of those, fine, but let’s get a college bat as well.

    But who are we kidding, we’ll probably be getting two rehabbing hurlers!


    8 Jun 15 at 9:52 am

  15. Jakson Reetz fell to the Nats in the third round because of questions of signability. He was thought of as one the top prep catchers, and he is thus far the gem of the 2014 draft.

    Philosophically, and Josh Bell fit this profile as well, there are players who will fall based on such concerns and the Nats have the picks to grab some premium talent then.

    I agree with KW that a college talent is better for the organization for those reasons and more: the bottom of the minors is developing quantity with the Dominicans, who are shaping up as the high school feeder program for the organization.

    Since I have been beating the drum of pessimism about the system for many weeks now, let me also say that as the weather warms, some players do much better. We may feel significantly better by mid of July about some of the position players who are exasperating us right now.


    8 Jun 15 at 11:39 am

  16. Nats were linked to a good bat in the July 2 signings. No speed but highly rated arm. I forget his name. Read it in one of Kiley M’s reports


    8 Jun 15 at 3:45 pm

  17. Well, Wally and I each got our wishes, sort of. He got his HS five-tool guy. I got an SEC OF . . . albeit one with no power. Sigh.

    Stevenson is supposed to be the best collegiate defensive OF and should be able to progress rapidly through the system if he can make contact, as they won’t have to wait for his power to develop. He seems a curious pick if they see Taylor as the CF of the future, though. With Stevenson in the mix, you wonder whether they think Taylor has developed enough power to be a corner OF . . . or are starting to question whether Taylor is going to make enough contact to be a regular. Either way, if Stevenson makes it, he should be ticketed to arrive right about the time Werth’s contract is up. Are they starting to think about re-signing Span as a bridge?

    I do like the pick of Stevenson over someone like Bolt or McCarthy, who are similar hitters but don’t have nearly the defensive upside. (Neither of those went in the top 75.)

    Of my wish list, Shaw (31) and Stewart (34), the big power guys, went early, as did Dewees (41). Thompson, Bader, and Wiseman are still available. I would still love to get one of those at #103. Why do I have this hunch that Rizzo will take Matuella with that pick?

    Also, kudos to Todd for nailing the top five, including the SS rush. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with where the Nats are at SS with Turner and Difo, though.


    9 Jun 15 at 7:58 am

  18. I turned it on at 11, and was hoping Dewees fell. After I switched to some of the high profile pitchers: not. matuella, but Everett or Nix. I’d love either of them in the third round still, or if not, maybe an Alonzo Jones, Trey Cabbage or Carl Wise. A couple of other names that are intriguing : Orimoloye, David athomoson, Chad Smith, Kep Brown and our boy Bylar.


    9 Jun 15 at 8:16 am

  19. I think the two picks are expected to be below slot so that they can get an “unsignable” that falls to a lower round. Both Stevenson and Perkins have to be surprised to have been drafted that high. Both have their own motivation to go pro now.

    With less of a significant spread between tiers of talent, that is a tactical risk one can take — if the negotiations go their way. If they don’t, they get the pick next year.

    With the top two pick, you save far more bonus pool money that you can with lower selections.

    Last year, they lost Suarez and Byler by having no more than slot money to offer. They signed Reetz over slot last year, but it took everything they had to get both him and Fedde.


    9 Jun 15 at 12:25 pm

  20. On my getting the first 5 right: I was following the pundits; i think Law, McDaniel, Ryan sullivan and a couple others all called the top 5 correctly. Can’t take credit there 🙂

    I’ll post on the draftees once we get to the 10th round. First thougths: Stevenson doesn’t impress me, the HS kid may. Some interesting names still on the board (Matuella in particular). He smells like a Nats pick.

    Todd Boss

    9 Jun 15 at 12:28 pm

  21. Don’t make me come fight you Todd for dissing a Stevenson…


    9 Jun 15 at 12:29 pm

  22. The Nats are better off drafting position players after position players and letting competition sort out the system. The position players up and down the minors need a big flush.

    I think the injured pitcher idea is not going to happen. It hasn’t backfired, but we are still waiting for Matt Purke, Erick Fedde, and even Giolito to make it.

    Strasburg came back, but not all of the way back. He is not the same pitcher.

    It’s one thing if there is a bargain to be had relative to other value. But that’s a REAL bargain. Matuella will be costly even at this level. Someone with a larger bonus pool, perhaps? I’ll be surprised if the Nats go the higher profile rehabbing route. Perhaps a #4 talent that slips, like a Nathan Karns-type, but that is a different $$ stratosphere.


    9 Jun 15 at 12:37 pm

  23. Matuella & Nix are gone. Donnie Everett is hanging out there like low hanging fruit. Alonzo Jones too


    9 Jun 15 at 1:37 pm

  24. Rhett Wiseman – found this on him ‘solid tools across the board but approach still holds him back’


    9 Jun 15 at 1:53 pm

  25. Good. College, advanced competition, shines on the big stage (2014 CWS). Great call, KW.


    9 Jun 15 at 2:13 pm

  26. Bunch of guys I liked are gone in the 4th : Cabbage, Thompson, Orimoloye, Wise.

    Seriously, what’s going on with Everett?


    9 Jun 15 at 2:30 pm

  27. Mariano Rivera, senior sign from Iona


    9 Jun 15 at 2:31 pm

  28. Wiseman! Can’t believe I actually ID’d someone whom the Nats actually picked. LH bat with 14 HRs and 16 doubles this year in the SEC. He had a HUGE power surge this year (0 HRs last season). He’s also not that big. Here are his stats:

    And here are the stats for Mario Jr.:

    He turned in a solid season as a starter, but at a very small program. I can’t find much on Taylor Hearn other than that this is the fourth year in a row he has been drafted and is listed on his NAIA college page as 6’6″, 215.


    9 Jun 15 at 3:17 pm

  29. Byler is still available.


    9 Jun 15 at 3:21 pm

  30. Can’t say that I know anyone to love them, but getting a guy with Kerian’s profile in ROund 9 makes me happy, happy. All these college folk, shaking out to get left handed arms (that don’t grow in the Dominican) now finally giving way to thunder. Bring on the thunder.


    9 Jun 15 at 6:34 pm

  31. Kerian looks like another guy who had a huge power surge this year, from 2 HRs in ’14 to 16 in ’15:

    Hmm, the Nats also drafted Kerian in 2011.

    Six college arms in the top 10, three college bats, and one high schooler. Sure looks like they’re trying to give a quick infusion to the mid-minors. This is a pretty “Moneyball” draft, all in all.

    Byler still available after round 10. One of my sleepers, Kaczmarski, went in round 9 to the Mets. My other, Drew Ferguson of Belmont, is still available–26 doubles and SBs to go with 11 HRs.


    9 Jun 15 at 8:50 pm

  32. Wally, your guy Everett is still on the board as well. Folks must think he’s firm with Vandy. So he and Hooper, two of the top HS arms, have fallen through the top 10, presumably because of signability issues.


    9 Jun 15 at 9:11 pm

  33. Alonzo Jones still out there too, presumably for the same signability reasons. He is an intriguing injury play guy.

    the high school kid is getting some good press. Stevenson just seems like den Dekker to me.


    9 Jun 15 at 11:09 pm

  34. I’m not that excited about Stevenson, either, although I do think he has better defense and speed upside than den Dekker. I would bet that part of his appeal was as an under-slot guy, since the pool is so tight for the Nats this year. In general, that issue probably contributed to the Nats going after very few HS guys, as they didn’t have the bucks to buy them off.

    In general, I still feel like the minors need more of an infusion of bats, so I would have preferred the 60/40 split thus far to be in favor of bats, not arms.


    10 Jun 15 at 5:09 am

  35. I wasn’t wowed by this draft, but in hindsight it’s probably in line with what to expect in a year with no 1st rounder, a small pool and a weak class. But this feels as close to a ‘needs ‘ draft as any that I have seen the Nats do – college OFs that could start out above the international signings at the lower levels and create some org depth at a position of need, and some LHPs. It just feels like they drafted a bunch of Mooneyhams when they could have snagged an intriguing HS position player or two. I will make a guess that Crownover turns out the best of the bunch as a reliever.

    But it is good to see them linked to a big Int’l signing this year, and hopefully they snag a Cuban guy. I wouldn’t rule out that CF prospect that will cost big bucks. Plus, I think they expect to have at least two supp picks next year, which is being talked about as a very good class (which can change ). That will give them a big pool, and maybe they make an Astro kind of play.

    Lastly I don’t know if anyone saw the excerpt from Svuluga’s new book, which says that Rizzo had to threaten to quit before the Lerners approved the Fister deal. I hope that isn’t true, it would be kind of nuts to make Rizzo work under those conditions.


    10 Jun 15 at 8:20 am

  36. Here’s a list of the 15 kids from the MLB top 100 still available, all high schoolers:

    Did the Nats draft enough below-slot guys to save enough bucks to go after any of these? I’m not holding my breath.


    10 Jun 15 at 9:53 am

  37. Fister proved you can be successful with location, location, and the team seems to have evolved from its philosophy of drafting gas (Johanssen) and big frames, and teaching someone how to channel it. All of the early pitchers are already successful (except perhaps #10), even if they need development.

    We also can see that the team places high value in athletic ability. Taylor’s move to CF-OF has been important to the organization. Turner can play SS or could move to 2B or even CF because of his ability. The #9 pick was a high school SS who has multiple position ability. You combine that with power and speed and an upward trajectory, and from a major conference, and that’s intriguing. Byler, last year’s 39, had neither the speed nor the positional flexibility (though still on the board – and now at round 11 or lower and a senior, has just lost his financial gamble).

    The Stevenson thing hit me like Den Dekker, EXACTLY. The problem with denDekker is, however, that he is not playing like the denDekker that they traded for, of last September in the major leagues. If he were, he would be playing LF every day in DC and Taylor would be learning in AAA as he ought to be. I wonder if denDekker is one of those athletes who sours after changing organizations and then loses a year and sometimes more.

    If Stevenson plays like the denDekker they thought they were getting, he will get through the system right around the end of Span’s next contract — if they have the wisdom to sign him.

    I have no problme with their not signing HS talent; other than first-second rounders, it really feels like that much more of a risk to project, especially with their Latin program emphasizing high volume at low cost and perhaps, comparable talent from a whole continent. The draft, for the Nats, has become a college draft for really substantive reasons.


    10 Jun 15 at 10:15 am

  38. College players let you know who you are getting faster. You can flush out a player that is not going to pan out faster and get him into your upper levels faster. What’s not to like, if you have the scouting to find that junior or senior player?

    There’s too much inventory now to clog up GCL and Viero with 18 yo high schoolers who are ripening for three years and may never cut it. The DSL is doing that now with 16 and 17 year olds who are not college-bound and are cheaper bonuses. When the floodgates of Cuba open and when the leagues have an international draft, that will be more apparent.


    10 Jun 15 at 10:21 am

  39. That’s not really been the Nats development philosophy, though. We a few notable exceptions like Stras and Rendon, the Nats seem to start their college players pretty low and make them work their way up. Maybe they are going to change that now, but while I do agree that the Nats have had a preference for college guys in th draft, I do t think it has worked out tremendously well, and they may want to revisit that.


    10 Jun 15 at 12:05 pm

  40. Byler was the first player taken today, by AZ. The Nats took another SEC arm. They’re killing me by not investing more in bats. (Just got 2B Max Schrock from SC before I finished. Buying heavy stock in the SEC!)

    I hope Todd will do a draft roll-up as he has in past years. It should be remembered at the beginning that the overall talent level in this draft isn’t high, and that the Nats had no bankroll.

    The college picks have made a lot of sense on several levels. They’re in desperate need of guys who can start above Viera or Auburn. The college picks also should be much more signable, and, as noted by someone above, we’ll get a good read on them sooner rather than later.

    Don’t sleep on Son of Sandman. I saw something that said he throws 97. I suspect he has a good source on learning a wicked cutter if he doesn’t have one already.

    Wiseman’s K’s concern me; Kerian may actually be a better hitter. We’ll see. Stevenson’s peak potential would be Span, but I have a hard time seeing that. The worse case would probably be the OF version of Renda, if he shows absolutely no pop as a pro.


    10 Jun 15 at 12:52 pm

  41. Just posted first 10. Like others, not “wow’d” by the take. Only one guy (the sole prep player) who made any sort of noise pre-draft. Stevenson did not impress me at all on TV.

    Todd Boss

    10 Jun 15 at 3:27 pm

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