Nationals Arm Race

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

2016 CWS Finals: Coastal Carolina Wins!


CCU wins! Photo via twitter just as it happened.

CCU wins! Photo via twitter just as it happened.

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

Here’s how the Finals played out.  My predictions on the starters to be used was completely off, with each team opting to save their marquee arms for the decider.

  • In Game One on 6/27/16, Arizona’s #3 starter J.C. Cloney pitched like an All-american, throwing a CG 4-hitter to beat Coastal Carolina 3-0 in game 1.   CCU threw their mid-week starter (and Leesburg Native) Zack Hopeck, who gave up 2 runs in 6+ innings to take the loss.  CCU just couldn’t do anything with Cloney and now face a very uphill climb, having to beat Arizona’s two aces.
  • In Game Two on 6/28/16, Arizona mixed us all up by going with Kevin Ginkel on the hill instead of presumed starter Nathan Bannister (who left his last start with “arm tightness” and clearly was still injured) who pitched masterfully but his bullpen let him down.  Meanwhile, CCU’s Mike Morrison struck out 10 in 6 2/3rds and the bullpen held while CCU scored three in the 8th to get a lead that Arizona couldn’t quite get back, losing 5-4.
  • Game three was rained out, so the NCAA (inexplicably) decided to play the national title game on 6/30/16 at 1pm .. meaning that instead of a sold out stadium they had just a few hundred fans in attendance.  Nonetheless, CCU threw its post-season ace Andrew Beckwith while Arizona countered with their own Bobby Dalbec and the two arms traded zeros for 5 innings.  In the top of the 6th, a 2-out mis-play by Arizona’s 2nd basemen led to two unearned runs, followed quickly by a 2-run homer by G.K. Young for four unearned runs in a flash.  In the bottom of the frame, Arizona got two unearned runs back themselves.  CCU held on despite a furious Arizona rally where they had the winning runs on base to take game three 4-3 and win their first ever NCAA title in any sport.

CCU finishes the season 55-18, leading the nation in wins.  In case anyone thinks this is some huge massive cinderella … CCU was ranked in the top 25 pre-season and had 6 guys drafted this year.  They weren’t a huge star-power team like Florida; just a solid baseball team that came together at the right time.  Andrew Beckwith was named the “mvp” (technically the Most Outstanding Player) for the CWS 2016.

Your 2016 College World Series Champion: Coastal Carolina University

This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2016.  I’ll post one more post that covers draftees and signing status for all local-connected players (prep and college).  I don’t really cover the summer leagues: for that I’d suggest, which is really coming into its own in terms of local coverage for all players with local ties.

College CWS tournament references:


Written by Todd Boss

July 1st, 2016 at 9:08 am

15 Responses to '2016 CWS Finals: Coastal Carolina Wins!'

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  1. Great to see a small school win. Undrafted Beckwith was the tourney MVP.


    1 Jul 16 at 9:39 am

  2. Should we regard a first time national campion CWS winner as being as great sign for an MLB franchise that has never been to the World Series? 🙂

    Karl Kolchak

    2 Jul 16 at 6:32 pm

  3. Who’s that, Seattle? 🙂

    Todd Boss

    2 Jul 16 at 9:54 pm

  4. I know that wins aren’t everything, and in fact, that’s generally been a point trotted out to bolster Strasburg in recent years, but goodness, the kid from SD is sure making his case to be the all-star starter in his home town, all the more so with Kershaw on the DL.

    Good for Dusty getting him out when he did today, despite the no-no. He had a number for Stras and stuck with it.

    And I’m just shaking my head over Danny. How many years have we waited for this? He had 18 HRs two years in the minors and 21 as a rookie, then hasn’t been close since. Trea was back in CF on Fri. and Sat., so I think “Plan B” is gaining traction.

    I did NOT see the Met sweep of the Cubs coming. The Nats are just two games behind the Cubs now, the Giants just one came behind them. The Nats are now at a +100 run diff. for the year, second only to the Cubs.

    Now its time to kick the Brewers and around and keep things going.


    3 Jul 16 at 5:31 pm

  5. KW – I seem to remember the Mets stupidly blowing out Johan Santana’s arm for good back in 2012 by letting him throw 134 pitches coming back from a major injury just so he could get the first no-hitter in team history. After that game his ERA in the final ten starts of his career was 8.27, and in a delicious irony given the impending Strasburg shutdown controversy, he lost his final career game to the Nats less than two months later. The recent struggles of the their overused young guns shows that the Mets didn’t learn anything from that debacle.

    As for Espinosa, I got called out back in late May on Luke’s site after defending the decision to not yank him for Turner. In addition to his great defense, I pointed out that his BAIBP was then more than .060 below his career average and that his 7 home runs (at the time) were an indicator that he could still hit and that his .199 average was due to rise. I essentially got told I was nuts and that Espinosa would never hit again. Turns out it was Espinosa who was about to go nuts.

    No doubt he will slump again and this has almost certainly been the best few weeks he’ll ever have as a pro, but boy has it been fun to watch.

    Karl Kolchack

    3 Jul 16 at 8:32 pm

  6. I think the Nats have 4 strong All star cases right now (Strasburg, Ramos, Murphy and Harper). Maybe a 5th in Scherzer if you go by starpower and his 20k game.

    On the record; my little personal XLS tracking/projecting the season has the team on 97 wins, one game behind their current 98 win pace. Looking at the schedule remaining, they have a few tough road trips left (4 games in SF, 3 at Pitt, 2 at Cleveland being the toughest). They also have yet to play any NL West team at home.

    Todd Boss

    3 Jul 16 at 8:39 pm

  7. Espinosa is making a late bid for all-star consideration as well (something I never thought I’d say!), although the NL has a number of good and deserving shortstops.

    The thing that amazes me most about the Nat record this season is that it still doesn’t feel like the full team has hit its stride. Murphy, Ramos, and Espinosa have been off the charts, but after a hot start, Harper has sputtered along (by his standards); Rendon, Werth, and Revere aren’t where they would expect themselves to be; and of course Zimmerman is nowhere close, and Taylor hasn’t looked ready for prime time.

    The best part is that the team collectively is doing well enough that those who are pressing don’t have extra weight on their shoulders. One gets the feeling that Dusty is managing to keep things looser than Matt did.

    Now we’re looking at Ross on the DL, which may not be such a bad thing if the injury isn’t serious. He was going to hit an innings limit this year anyway, so the break will help him get closer to the postseason. Of course it will also allow for a couple of additional looks at Giolito.

    Trea was back at SS today, but Taylor had another O-fer. At some point, his free pass is going to run out, no matter how loyal Dusty is with his guys.

    Happy 4th to all!


    3 Jul 16 at 9:51 pm

  8. Todd – I totally agree on your AS selections. Scherzer’s HR problems would likely warrant him being left off the team but for his star power and Ks. Much as I’ve always rooted for Espinosa, however, I just don’t think a five week power surge, incredible as it has been, is enough to warrant him beating out the other top shortstops.

    Karl Kolchack

    3 Jul 16 at 11:15 pm

  9. If Espinosa had done this in April instead of now, yeah he’d be getting ASG votes.

    The thing that gets me is the offensive capability of this team; they’re actually under performing by two games right now. Of course, two blowouts of Cincinnati help.

    I dunno what to make of Ross; i’ve got him in fantasy and he’s been awful for a month. Now on the D/L; is it temporary? Is this a month-long ailment? If Giolito is going to burn innings of his own and eventually get sat, why not do them in the majors? And if Ross is going to “run out” of innings before the post-season, doesn’t that just make the case that Gio is the playoffs 4th starter like we always thought?

    Todd Boss

    4 Jul 16 at 7:27 am

  10. Ross threw 152.2 innings total in 2015. Of that, 120% is 183; 125% is 190. He has thrown 95.1 so far in 2016, so he has 88-95 innings left, which would be around 12-13 starts. Regular starts for half a season would be 16-17. Three or four missed starts on this DL stint would probably get him to the end of the regular season, but with nothing left for the playoffs.

    Ross is a pretty straightforward calculation. Roark isn’t. Since he wasn’t a starter last year, he’s just four innings from his 2015 total. But he’s also older, and he pitched 198.2 in 2014. Based on performance, he would seem to be a better postseason bet than Gio, but with that IP track record, you wonder whether he’s going to have much left in the tank by the postseason.

    If Giolito proves effective, it might be worth considering a six-man rotation to extend everyone a bit, although I seriously doubt they would do it.


    4 Jul 16 at 8:56 am

  11. If you look at the overall starter usage, which is very high, I think they all could use a 1-2 week respite during the season like Ross is getting. And Ross could potentially use another one. Even putting aside increased potential for injury, I’d suggest that giving them that kind of short break, especially later in the season, could reenergize their performance heading into the playoffs.

    Of course, if they are neck and neck and every game matters, they can’t do it but if they maintain a decent lead, I think they should consider it. Roark is the only one that might not need it, since his success is more dependent on command and movement, rather than velocity, which should be as affected.


    4 Jul 16 at 9:03 am

  12. Looks now like we may see Turner up again after all–but as a centerfielder. Revere, however, has played much better the past month–batting .307 with a .700 OPS and 8 SBs since June 5th. Platooning Turner the way they were doing with Taylor is not ideal for his development as a hitter, but he does make a much better leadoff man when a lefty is pitching.

    As for the pitchers, don’t sleep on Arroyo. By late July, they will have to either call him up or release him, and if he is pitching well he may end up as the number 5 starter for awhile. Giolito could move to the pen for a time to save his arm and then move back into the rotation in September.

    As for Ross, “shoulder soreness” worries me. If you’ll recall it was a huge velocity drop related to a shoulder injury that effectively ended Chad Cordero’s career back in 2008.

    Karl Kolchack

    4 Jul 16 at 3:28 pm

  13. Weirdly, Turner was back at SS yesterday and today after two days in CF. One would assume that he’ll be up sometime this week, as they likely won’t stay with a short bench. They gave Taylor every chance, WAY too many of them at leadoff, which was never going to be a good idea. Taylor’s OPS is .638; it was .640 last year. He is who he is, at least at this stage of his career.

    I agree that we shouldn’t discount Arroyo. I’m not sure I’d be thrilled by him, but I wouldn’t discount him, either. I think he’ll move up slowly, though; he’s had two GCL starts, one bad, one good. But he’s an option, and Latos may end up being another, like it or not. He’s still not yet listed on the Syracuse roster.

    No life in the game on the 4th; just two hits! Scherzer should sue for lack of support.


    4 Jul 16 at 7:03 pm

  14. KW- I’m not sure what is worse; someone who posts on July rth or the guy who looks forward to reading said posts. 🙂

    As for Michael Taylor, he still is a potential superstar who has been mismanaged badly. Last year by necessity and this year by stupidity.
    The worst part of it is his fielding was being affected by his hitting struggles.
    People forget that 3-4 years ago he was called the centerfielder who walked the earth.

    Mark L

    4 Jul 16 at 9:48 pm

  15. I’ve always been somewhat on the line between agnostic and atheist on Taylor, wanting to believe in him, but never convinced. He’s always had trouble making contact. Even in his supposed breakout year at AA in 2014, his K rate was 29.5%. He also benefited from an off-the-charts .421 BABIP that season. His MLB K rate, after more than a season’s worth of ABs, is 31.6%. You’ve got to be an Adam Dunn-like masher to make that work, and you should never, ever be allowed anywhere near the leadoff slot.

    Maybe Taylor was rushed last season, in part by the total collapse of other OFs who were supposed to be ahead him on the org depth chart (Brian Goodwin, Destin Hood) as well as the Souza trade. But Taylor is 25. He’s a year and a half older than Bryce (perhaps a precocious and unfair comparison, but he’s in his fifth MLB season). The Revere trade seemed like a pretty certain indicator that the Nats didn’t trust Taylor as a starter, no matter what they said.

    I’m not writing Taylor off. Next season is Werth’s last, and Revere isn’t a long-term solution for anything, so the Nats will need two OF starters within the next couple of years (we’re not going to contemplate Bryce’s potential departure soon thereafter). I don’t see Goodwin or Stevenson as an everyday regular, although Stevenson may be able to approximate Revere. It would be great if Taylor were able to shorten his swing, dial his Ks down 5-7%, and become a solid contributor. But the Nats can’t assume that he will.


    5 Jul 16 at 8:27 am

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