Nationals Arm Race

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CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview for 2016


Andrew Beckwith's side-winding action leads Coastal Carolina into the CWS final. Picture via

Andrew Beckwith’s side-winding action leads Coastal Carolina into the CWS final. Picture via

Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2016:

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

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

In the Top Bracket (#Florida, Coastal Carolina, #5 Texas Tech, #13 TCU)

  • In the opening games, TCU’s all-american freshman Luken Baker crushed a 3-run homer in the top of the 9th to beat Texas Tech 5-3 in the opener.  In the other opener, Coastal Carolina shocked #1 overall seed Florida  2-1 behind a dominant effort from their Ace Andrew Beckwith (a college junior who went undrafted this year).  CCU got two runs against Florida’s ace Logan Shore, who then gave way to Nats 1st rounder Dane Dunning, who threw 2 2/3rds shutout in relief to hold the fort down for the offense, which never came through.  Huge upset to start the bracket.  Beckwith’s sidewinding and unorthodox delivery carried him to a 12-1 record on the season but left  him completely off the draft boards of all 30 teams, highlighting an interesting anachronism of college baseball.  There are “college pitchers” who get recruited thanks to such an unorthodox style who are never going to be pro prospects.
  • In the first elimination game, Florida faced Texas Tech in a battle of upset losers.  Florida threw their sophomore fireballer Alex Faedo, who leaked a couple of runs early.  Florida couldn’t get to Texas Tech’s starter, who gave way to closer and Nats draft pick Hayden Howard.  Florida rallied for 2 runs with their season on the line but it wasn’t enough; Florida goes two and out, shocking me and the rest of the college baseball world.
  • In the winners bracket game to take control of the group, TCU kept pecking away at Coastal’s pitchers, eventually winning easily 6-1.  Baker was again a stud, hitting another homer and going 3-3 with a walk.  2018 upper 1st rounder in the making already.
  • In the play-in game to the group final, Texas Tech faced of with Coastal Carolina, who outlasted the last remaining national seed 7-5 to eliminate Texas Tech.
  • In the group final, Coastal Carolina got a complete game gem from its sidewinder Beckwith to win 4-1 and force a winner-take-all game.  In that game, Coastal Carolina jumped ahead early and never looked back, taking a 7-1 lead in the 4th and making it stick 7-5.

Final Group standings: Coastal Carolina, #13 TCU, #5 Texas Tech, #1 Florida

Group winner advancing to the CWS finals: Coastal Carolina.


In the Bottom Bracket (Arizona, #3 Miami, Oklahoma State, UC Santa Barbara)

  • In the opening games, Oklahoma State stole a run early and made it stick behind a 5-hitter from Thomas Hatch (3rd round pick to Chicago Cubs) to beat UCSB 1-0 in the tourney opener, spoiling Shane Bieber‘s gem (4th round pick of Cleveland).  In the night cap, Arizona’s senior-heavy offense stuck 3 early on Miami sophomore starter Michael Mediavilla while their starter Nathan Bannister (28th round pick to Seattle) struck out 11 through 7 to cruise to a 5-1 upset victory.
  • In the first elimination game, bracket favorite Miami faced upstart UCSB, and promptly went 2-and-out on the game’s biggest stage.  UCSB got to Miami starter Danny Garcia (15th round pick by Seattle) and despite their star 1st rounder Zack Collins reaching base all four times up, Miami couldn’t tie the game late.  They lose 5-3 and are out.
  • In the winners bracket game to take control of the group, Oklahoma State beat Arizona’s stud Bobby Dalbec (4th round pick, as a 3B, by Boston) by the same 1-0 score they got by UCSB in the first game.  OK State’s Tyler Buffett (7th round pick by Houston) went 8IP giving up just 3 hits in the win.  We’re starting to see why the pundits like OK State.
  • In the play-in game to the group final, UCSB faced off against Arizona in a meeting of the two remaining West Coast representatives.  UCSB’s luck ran out with a 3-0 loss to Arizona, eliminating the Gauchos.
  • In the group final, Arizona’s closer Cameron Ming threw 5 innings to seal a victory after its starter Bannister went down with arm tightness, and Arizona forced a winner-take-all game.  In that game, Arizona’s Dalbec got his revenge, shutting down OK State’s ace Hatch and Arizona shocked them to advance.

Final Group standings: Arizona, Oklahoma State, UC Santa Barbara, #3 Miami

Group winner advancing to the CWS finals: Arizona, the 4th place team from the Pac-12.


CWS finals discussion: Games 1,2,3 set for June 27th, 28th and 29th.

Well, my predictions were to go chalk with #1 Florida facing #3 Miami.  Instead, those two teams were the first two eliminated in CWS pool play and we get perhaps the most unlikely CWS final matchup we’ve seen since Fresno State.  Coastal Carolina comes from a one-bid league that had never previously sent a team to Omaha … yet they’re no cinderella.  CCU is a major baseball program in a major baseball state.  They’re an experienced team that ran away with their conference and played games against the big boys when they could.  Arizona comes with a great pedigree, a national title in the last 5 years, and no expectations; they have a first year coach and are coming from a conference that clearly had a “down” year.

Both teams’  ideal rotation match-ups are out of order thanks to both having advanced out of the loser’s bracket.  Arizona’s rotation has been pretty consistent; they’ll go 3-1-2 in the CWS final.  All three of their starters have sub 3.00 ERAs and mostly gaudy W/L records.  CCU’s ace is Beckwith; he threw a CG 137 pitch game on Friday 6/24; he’d be on 3-days rest for the 6/27 opener so he’d be more likely to start Game 2.   Long reliever Mike Morrison is available to be “tandem” with CCU’s 4th starter Bilous (CCU’s missing one of their normal weekend starters Tyler Poole to injury).   So here’s my guess as to the pitching match-ups:

Game 1: CCU’s Alex Cunningham (9-3, 3.58 ERA) versus JC Cloney (6-4, 2.86 ERA)

Game 2: CCU’s Andrew Beckwith (12-1, 2.72 ERA) versus Nathan Bannister (11-2, 2.71 ERA)

Game 3: CCU’s Jason Bilous (3-1, 4.04 ERA) versus  Bobby Dalbec (10-4, 2.93 ERA)

Prediction: CCU in three.

Of note: CCU has two “local” guys on the roster:  Zack Hopeck so (Heritage HS in Leesburg) and Keiton Rivers Fr (Nansemond River in Suffolk).  Hopeck looked like he was a mid-week starter and hasn’t seen much action in the post-season, and Rivers got just 13 ABs all year as a freshman backup.

College CWS tournament references:


10 Responses to 'CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview for 2016'

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  1. You mean everyone passed on the next Chad Bradford? As you mentioned at draft time, does that make Beckwith a free agent? Or does he also have to go undrafted again as a senior for that to kick in?

    Great to see a team from a non-“power” conference making a run. Personally, I’m also glad that Dunning got spared more high-stress innings. Now to get him actually signed . . .

    Lots of buzz out there about who the Nats might bring up, but nothing confirmed thus far.


    27 Jun 16 at 11:17 am

  2. Interesting to note that yesterday’s heroes for the Nats (Roark and Robinson) were both originally 25th round draft picks. I mention that because it seems like in the last two drafts in particular the Nats did some very extensive scouting to find good talent in unexpected places.

    Kudos in particular to whomever it was that advised the front office that a promising Arizona high school lefty named Tyler Watson could possibly be signed for a relatively low bonus. All Watson has done as a professional so far is throw 23 innings without giving up an earned run while striking out 28 batters.

    Karl Kolchack

    27 Jun 16 at 12:51 pm

  3. Rafael Martin? Gotta say, my first reaction was wtf. Feels like they are trying to ‘get by’ without making a 49 man move, whether it’s service time or what.

    It’s the Mets. I think they have to go Giolito here.


    27 Jun 16 at 1:50 pm

  4. Ok, the TalkNats guys say it’s Martin for today and then he gets demoted for tomorrow, with Voth or Giolito coming up.

    Ok that I can live with.


    27 Jun 16 at 1:52 pm

  5. Nothing official on the Martin shuttle back tomorrow; Chelsea Janes just has it as a “could be.” Giolito is still listed as the probable on the Harrisburg site for tonight.

    No big 40-man move would be required, as they’ve yet to move Taylor Jordan to the 60-day DL, which would easily free a spot. The only downside I could see to adding Voth to the 40-man would be if he’s a trade chip next month and teams might prefer not to have to make 40-man space for him.

    Well that, or if the Nats plan to fill the Jordan slot with a trade return to come . . . or Arroyo (ugh, gave up 10 hits and 5 runs in a GCL start yesterday).


    27 Jun 16 at 3:13 pm

  6. Just got the notification on my MLB app. The savior is on his way.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jun 16 at 3:35 pm

  7. Holy cow its moving day in the nats organization; there’s 3 or 4 promotions per team announced today. Might have to make a post to summarize (actually; Luke will do it so I’ll not duplicate his work).

    Todd Boss

    27 Jun 16 at 4:21 pm

  8. Woo hoo. I have tickets for tonight’s game but I’d trade them for tomorrow


    27 Jun 16 at 4:22 pm

  9. new posted.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jun 16 at 4:57 pm

  10. The ascension of the chosen one warrants a post all by itself, don’t you think? But does he have to strike out at least 15 to settle the debate with Marty?

    The caution, as I noted yesterday, is that Giolito really labored in his last start. The hot hand right now is really Lopez (promoted to AAA).

    The Giolito start is interesting in the short term by itself but also in the medium term because of Gio’s struggles. The Nats didn’t hesitate to shelve Fister last season when Ross showed he was ready. Giolito has 70-75 innings left for the season (Lopez only around 50), based on an increase of no more than 20-25%. If Arroyo can right himself, you figure he’ll be in the calculus as well, like it or not. Slot him between the flames of Max and Stras and screw up the swings of opposing teams for weeks afterward.


    27 Jun 16 at 5:16 pm

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