Nationals Arm Race

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

2016 Season Statistical review of the 2015 Draft Class

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Years from now we may be saying Tyler Watson is the class of this draft. Photo via auburnpub.com

Years from now we may be saying Tyler Watson is the class of this draft. Photo via auburnpub.com

Second in our set of Draft class Reviews.  First was the 2016 class.

Web links to use while reading:

With out further ado…


 

Round 1: forfeited by virtue of the Max Scherzer signing.  Would have been the 26th pick overall, which ended up being Taylor Ward, a C from Fresno State.  Ward stepped back a bit in 2016, losing nearly 300 points off his OPS in High-A, but is still listed as the Angel’s #3 prospect.

Round 2: Andrew Stevenson, OF (CF).  COL jr from Louisiana State.  Slashed .276/.332/.374 across 2 levels, spending three months in Potomac and then finishing the season in Harrisburg.  95/44 K/BB ratio, 3 homers and 39SBs in 529 ABs.  He was also named an All-star for Potomac this year and was the MVP of the Carolina-California League all-star game.  Two years in the system and two multi-level promotions for Stevenson.  Clearly he profiles as a “speedy leadoff-center fielder” type, so you’d like to see his overall OBP improve.  You’d like to see fewer strikeouts too.  Otherwise, its hard to quibble.  He’s also starting to get some notice on prospect rankings; last  year he was generally in the 10-14 range for our system.  Now I’m seeing him ranked in the 6-10 range.   He’s taken his talents to the Arizona Fall League, where i’m curious to see how he fares against top-end AA/AAA competition.  Maybe our long term CF solution is in-house after all.  Post-Writing update: Stevenson lit up the AFL, hitting north of .350 and being named by MLB.com as being a breakout starTrending up.

Round 2: Blake Perkins, OF (CF) from Verrado HS, Buckeye, Ariz.  Slashed .233/.318/.281 for Auburn this year before spending the last week in Hagerstown (part of the typical 9/1 cascading minor league roster shuffle), with 39/25 K/BB in 210 ABs.  1HR, 10SB.   Another player who (like Stevenson) is a “Leadoff-CF” type (for Auburn he only played CF and only lead-off).  As we learned last year, he’s learning switch hitting and its showing in his stat line; as a righty against lefties he slashed .306/.343/.355, but as a lefty against righties he slashed only .203/.308/.250.  Ugh.   I wonder if the team, which asked him to learn switch hitting even before they drafted him, will eventually just let him focus on his strengths.  His overall batting line continues to depress his prospect value; he’s generally ranked somewhere in the 16-21 range for the system right now after being in the 10-12 range after his drafting.  I’ll say Trending steady since his RH split is so good and he may just eventually go back to it full time.

Round 3: Rhett Wiseman, OF (corner), COL jr from Vanderbilt.  Slashed .255/.325/.410  in a full season in Low-A with 104/42 K/BB in 478ABs.  13  homers, 19 SBs.  Wiseman played exclusively RF and was mostly the clean-up hitter for Hagerstown and had a solid season, but not without some red-flags.  104 Ks in 478Abs isn’t like 30% awful, but its getting up there.  He did have a nice balance of homers and Stolen Bases; if you’ve ever seen Hagerstown’s stadium you’ll know it isn’t the easiest place to hit (indeed; his away split shows an OPS figure 140 points higher than at home).   He only hit .198 against lefties, exhibiting a typical failing of a lot of lefty power hitters.  I’m going with Trending steady and would like to see how he does in more of a hitter’s park.  

Round 4: Mariano Rivera Jr, RHP (reliever) COL sr from Iona.  Went 5-1 with a 4.04 ERA in Low-A with 52/22 K/BB in 69 relief innings.  1.35whip, 4.49fip, .296 babip.  He was also 8 for 14 in Save opportunities as the Hagerstown bullpen seemed to do closer by committee (12 different relievers had a Save this year for Hagerstown).   Rivera Jr. improved his numbers across the board in the jump from Short-A to Low-A and seems permanently relegated to the bullpen at this point.  But we’re not seeing the lights-out production that you’d want to see in the low minors from a future reliever.  I think he’ll keep moving up next year of course, based on his draft pedigree and name only, but where’s the dominance that his father showed?   It may also just be a case of short sample size unluckiness; he gave up 9 runs between two consecutive outings in June; those two innings cost him more than a point on his ERA for the season.  We’d be having a different conversation if he had a 2.92 ERA in 67 innings instead of a 4.04 ERA in 69 innings.  Still want to see a K/inning.  Trending steady

Round 5: Taylor Hearn, LHP (reliever) COL jr from Oklahoma Baptist.  Was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA for Hagerstown this year when he got traded to Pittsburgh (along with Felipe Rivero) in the Mark Melancon deal.  For Pittsburgh’s low-A team he’s continued to be solid, posting a 1.99 ERA with 36Ks in 22 innings for their low-A team.  I know we had some seller’s lament about parting ways with both Rivero and Hearn, especially when a few weeks later the team had to trade a decent hitting prospect to acquire 5 weeks worth of a veteran lefty.  But you have to give up players to get players, right?   Out of the Organization.

Round 6: Matt Crownover, LHP (starter) COL jr. from Clemson.  Posted a 9-5 record with a 3.36 ERA across two levels this year  110/42 K/BB in 128 2/3 IP combined.  For Potomac specifically; 4-4, 4.28 ERA, 1.45 whip, 4.48 fip, .317 babip.  Crownover quickly showed he was too good for Low-A (1.17 ERA his first two months there) and then settled into Potomac’s rotation for the rest of the year.  He wasn’t as lights out in Potomac but was solid.  He nearly led Potomac in starts and was part of their post-season rotation (where he pitched into the seventh and gave up just one earned run but took the loss in the season finale).  I could see him starting next year in Potomac with an eye towards jumping up to AA similarly to the way he split time this year.  Trending Up.

Round 7: Grant Borne, LHP (starter/reliever) COL jr from Nicholls State.  Went 5-2 with a 3.34 ERA in a full season at Hagerstown.  46/11 K/BB in 59 1/3 innings of mostly long relief.  1.20 whip, 3.15 fip, .307 babip.  Borne didn’t make the rotation in Hagerstown but seemed to stay on somewhat of a starter’s schedule, throwing every 4th or 5th day for 2-3 innings at a clip.  All his numbers improved over what they were in Short-A last year, which is great for a guy jumping to full season ball.  A couple of bad outings in August spoiled his numbers; otherwise his month by month splits all were pretty solid.  I see no reason for him not to serve as a spot-starter in Potomac next year.  Trending Up.

Round 8: Koda Glover, RHP (reliever) COL sr from Oklahoma State.  Was 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA combined across three minor league levels, resulting with a call-up to the Majors on 7/20/16.  In DC he posted a 5.03 ERA in 19 innings and was left off the post-season roster in favor of a third lefty (due to who the Nats were playing most-likely), but that did nothing to diminish what an amazing rise he had in 2016.  To go from High-A to pitching 7th and 8th innings in high-leverage games inside of 5 months is amazing.  His outlook for 2017 is repeating as a 7th inning RHP in the MLB bullpen with a future eye perhaps on closing for this team if he can prove himself reliable enough.  Matriculated to the Majors.

Round 9: David Kerian, 1b COL sr from Illinois.  Slashed just .144/.186/.226 while repeating Short A.  31/7 K/BB with 1 homer.  Kerian failed to make the Hagerstown squad out of spring training and then struggled mightily while repeating Short-A.  I’m surprised he hasn’t been released already.  He was a long-shot to contribute after being a senior sign/low bonus guy and he seems destined for a release soon.  Trending Down.  Post publishing update: Kerian was released on 12/15/16, fulfilling my guesses on his disposition unfortunately.

Round 10: Taylor Guilbeau, LHP (starter) COL sr  from Alabama. 5-2 with a 3.61 ERA in a full season in Hagerstown.  99/27 K/BB in 107 1/3 innings split between starting and relieving.  1.43 whip, 3.15 fip, .360 babip.  Guilbeau didn’t make the Hagerstown roster out of spring training, but settled into the rotation for the beginning of the 2nd half and stayed there the rest of the way.  As a starter his ERA was 3 points better than as a reliever (2.55 versus 5.36), and he looks like a very solid lefty starter.  His performance is even more impressive considering his dim draft pedigree; like Kerian above him he was a senior sign for limited dollars.  If he turns out to be successful the Nats front office should really do something nice for the area scout.  Trending up.

Round 11: Andrew Lee, RHP (starter) COL jr from Tennessee.  Was 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA in Hagerstown.  46/18 K/BB in 51 innings.  1.24 whip, 3.15 fip, .308 BABIP.  Lee was the opening day starter for Hagerstown after having finished there in 2015, had 11 solid starts and then hit the D/L on 6/7/16, remaining there for the duration of the season.  I could not find much detail on his injury.  He was trending pretty well though; solid K ratios and a good FIP.   Trending steady thanks to the unknown injury, otherwise i’d say Trending up again.

Round 12: Tommy Peterson RHP (reliever) COL jr  from South Florida.  Went 4-2 with a 2.64ERA bouncing between Hagerstown and Potomac.  56/14 K/BB in 58 relief innings, with very solid FIP and BABIP numbers in Hagerstown but not so much in Potomac.  For Hagerstown he was an effective closer; for Potomac he was used more as a setup guy.  He struggled with the jump to High-A and seems like to try it again from the on-set next year.  Trending steady.

Round 13: Max Schrock, 2B COL jr from South Carolina.  Had an OPS north of .800 for both Hagerstown and Potomac before getting flipped to Oakland in late August for Marc Rzepczynski.  Oakland quickly put him to AA where he hit well and now is in the AFL.  He’s the most polarizing Nats prospect I can think of since perhaps Brad Peacock or Billy Burns.  Schrock was paid like a 4th rounder in terms of bonus money and never failed to hit at any level, so we shouldn’t necessarily think of him as the equivalent of a 13th rounder.  The knock on him is his size; he’s just 5’8″ in a sport that calls anyone under 6′ “short.”  Nonetheless, he was a high price to pay for 5 weeks of a veteran lefty, and we’ve had no shortage of arguments here about the trade, what led to its necessity, and the price we paid for Rzepczynski.  We’ll just have to “Trust in Rizzo” again and hope we don’t get burned on Schrock.  Out of the Organization.

Round 14: Mack Lemieux LHP (starter) from Jupiter Community HS (FL): did not sign.  At the time of his drafting we thought he was heading to Florida Atlantic University (FAU).  Instead, he headed to JuCo (Palm Beach State in Florida) and was Arizona’s 6th round pick this year.  He split time between Rookie and Short-A ball in his age-19 season and performed well.

Round 15: Kevin Mooney,  RHP (reliver) COL jr from UofMaryland.  0-2 with a 3.33 ERA while repeating Short-A.  19/11 K/BB in 24 1/3 innings.  1.19 whip, 3.69 fip, .257 babip.  Despite repeating the level, he improved markedly from last year (shaving 2 points off his ERA).  He should have earned his way to a full-season reliever job in 2017.  Trending Steady.

Round 16: Ian Sagdal, SS COL sr  from Washington State U.  Slashed .303/.362/.474 in a full season with Hagerstown with 90/36 K/BB in 409 ABs.  10 homers, 6SB.  Sagdal was listed as the “DH” but played like a corner-utility guy, jumping around and playing some 1B, some LF, some 2B (he was drafted as a SS but his 6’3″ frame clearly can’t handle the position defensively).  Its hard to argue against a .300 hitter with power though, so lets see what he can do next year against better competition.  He has definitely improved his standing since last year (when he hit just .235 in Auburn).  Trending Steady.

Round 17: Dalton Dulin, 2B from Northwest Mississippi CC.  Slashed just .186/.277/.265 while repeating Short-A.  34/13 K/BB in 113 AB playing 2B, 0 homers, 7 SB.  A huge step back for the JuCo signing, who turned 22 in May.   He split time at 2B with 2016’s Jake Noll among others, and i’d be very surprised if he isn’t released next spring when he inevitably fails to make the Hagerstown squad.  Trending Down.

Round 18: Melvin Rodriguez 2B COL sr from Jackson State U. (MS).  Released 4/2/16, presumably after not making the Hagerstown squad and likely being “behind” others at the position (others like the man just mentioned Dalton Dulin).  He got picked up by the Indy league team in Joliet and played 79 games for them this year.  I’m not sure if I noticed this last year, but he was *old* coming out of college.  This is his second pro year and he turned 25 in February.

Round 19: Clayton Brandt SS COL sr from MidAmerica Nazarene U (KS).  Slashed just .179/.271/.248 in Short-A, 33/16 K/BB in 145 ABs.  0 homers, 2 SBs.  These numbers are rather similar to his numbers last year in the GCL, but it isn’t like there was another high-powered middle infield star prospect pushing him; the other two “short stops” on Auburn’s roster this year were equally inept with the bat.  Like others above with batting averages below .200, i’m saying Trending Down but I wonder if some of these guys will hang around into 2017 simply to fill roster spots.  Post publishing update: Brandt voluntarily retired on on 12/15/16.

Round 20: John Reeves C, COL sr  from Rice (TX): did not sign.  Despite being listed as a “College Senior” he really was a 4th year junior and opted to return for his 5th year.  A quick check at Rice’s 2016 stats page shows that Reeves did not play for Rice in 2016; It does not look like he was re-drafted, nor play in any independent leagues.  A curious case; if the Nats felt like it was worthy of a 20th round pick, why have we not pursued him since he’s now freely available?  Unless this was a “favor pick” to someone … but a 20th round pick seems way early for a throwaway pick.

Round 21: Matt Pirro, RHP (reliever) COL sr  from Wake Forest. 3-2, 4.43 ERA across two levels, ending in Short-A.   17/12 k/bb in 22 1/3ip, 1.30 combined whip, 6.50 fip, .217 babip in short-A.  Pirro failed to make even the Short-A team once the 2016 class was signed; he repeated both levels he played at last year with worse numbers.  He struggled last year and he struggled again this year.  Hard to see him here for the long term.  Trending Down.  Post publishing update: Pirro was released on 12/15/16, indeed a release candidate.

Round 22: Adam Boghosian RHP (reliever) COL 5s from North Greenville U. (SC).  Released 3/26/16 when he didn’t make a full-season squad.

Round 23: Alec Rash, RHP (starter) COL jr from Missouri: did not sign. Initially it seemed that Rash was returning to school to try to rebuild his value after an injury plagued collegiate career.  Word came out though in Sept of 2015 that he was quitting the team (and the sport) for good.  A tough break for Rash, who passed up 2nd round money in 2012 and now has nothing to show for it.

Round 24: Blake Smith RHP (reliever) COL jr  West Virginia: did not sign.  Returned for his “senior” year with West Virginia and was drafted by the Angels in the 29th round of the 2016 draft.  He put up decent numbers for their Low-A affiliate this year.

Round 25: Calvin Copping RHP (reliever) COL jr from Cal. State Northridge.  Released on 3/16/16 when it became clear he wouldn’t make Hagerstown.

Round 26: Russell “Rocky” Harmening. RHP (reliever) COL jr Westmont Coll (CA).  0-1, 2.57 ERA for Auburn this year.  23/8 K/BB in 28 relief innings. 1.21 whip, 3.06 fip, .294 BABIP.  A  nice 2nd pro season for Harmening, who improved his numbers across the board jumping from GCL to Short-A.  He also apparently now goes by “Rocky.”  Should make the Hagerstown pen as a middle reliever.  Trending Steady.

Round 27: Ryan Brinley, RHP (reliever) COL jr from Sam Houston State U. (TX).  Posted a 4-3 record with a 3.55 ERA across two levels.  38/9 K/BB in 50 2/3 innings.  1.07 whip combined, 2.68 fip and .243 babip in Potomac.  Brinley was a surprise performer last year and he continued his good work this year; he made the Potomac team out of spring and dominated there for two months before getting promoted to AA.  There however, he struggled, giving up 14 runs and 17 hits in 11 innings, and was back in Potomac by August 1st.  Presumably he’s going to try AA again next spring.  Trending Up.

Round 28: Mick VanVossen RHP (reliever) COL sr from Michigan State U. 4-4, 4.25 ERA across 2 levels.  50/19 K/.BB in 59 1/3 innings, mostly with Hagerstown. 1.28 whip, 4.13fip, .285 babip while in in Low-A.  He bounced around in what seemed like a bunch of procedural moves but was essentially a middle reliever for Low-A all year.  He had relatively solid numbers in Hagerstown and should get a look at moving up a level for 2017.   Trending Steady.

Round 29: Philip Diedrick OF COL sr  Western Kentucky U.  Released 4/2/16 after struggling in 2015 in the GCL.  No surprise here.

Round 30: Jorge Pantoja RHP (reliever) COL jr Alabama State U.  9-2 with a 3.20 ERA across two levels.  46/19 K/BB in 64 2/3s innings, mostly with Hagerstown.  1.15 whip, 2.67 fip, .302 babip while in Low-A.  As we noted last summer, he just needed some time to show that his 2015 numbers were better than they appeared, and the team was rewarded.  Pantoja went 9-1 with a 2.63 ERA for Hagerstown this year, earning a bump up to Potomac on August 8th.  He struggled there, walking 9 guys in 10 innings after walking just 10 in 54 innings in Hagerstown.  Nonetheless, he’s looking up and should be a solid Potomac bullpen guy (later innings or perhaps closer) in 2017. He’s playing in the Mexican Winter League this off-season.  Trending Up.

Round 31: Nick Sprengel LHP (starter) from El Dorado HS (CA): did not sign.  Honored his commitment to the U of San Diego, where he went 3-5 with a 6.17 ERA his freshman year as a mid-week starter.

Round 32: Dalton DiNatale 3B COL jr Arizona State U.   Released 6/7/16; he hung around for a bit after not making a full-season squad and then got released once the 2016 draft occurred.

Round 33: Angelo La Bruna SS COL 5S  from U. Southern California.  Slashed .246/.320/.325 between Short-A and Low-A, with 20/12 K/BB in 114 total ABs.  1hr, 2SB playing 2B and SS.  La Bruna was assigned initially to Short-A, but came out on fire going 10-21 and quickly getting bumped to Low-A.  There he was less effective, hitting just .194 with little power (5 XBH in 33 games).   If I sense a recurring theme among these reviews so far of the 2016 and 2015 classes, its relatively zero depth in the middle infield.  So I see no reason for La Bruna not to hang around another year.  Trending Steady.

Round 34: Tyler Watson LHP (starter) from Perry HS (AZ).  2-3, 2.64 ERA split between Short-A and Low-A.  64/15 K/BB in 58IP, 1.05 whip, 2.05 whip and .261 babip in Auburn.  Watson was the opening day starter for Auburn after turning 19 in late May and had an awesome season; in 9 starts facing competition that was (on average) 2.4 years older than he was, he had a 1.88 ERA and gave up just 30 hits and 9 walks in 48 innings.  His ERA jumped when he got to Hagerstown but his peripherals did not; he still struck out a guy an inning and his Hagerstown FIP was 2.87.  He looks like he could be a stud.  He has nothing left to prove in Short-A; I’d expect him to be in the Low-A rotation in 2017 but to have his season cut short as they build up pro innings on his arm.  Trending Up.

Round 35: Coco Montes SS from Coral Gables HS (FL): did not sign.  Montes honored his commitment to South Florida.  At USF Montes was a starter as a Freshman and slashed .218/.287/.264.  

Round 36: Taylor Bush SS from The Linfield School (CA): did not sign.  Bush honored his commitment to Westmont College.  As a freshman, got into 30 games and only had 15 ABs in a late-innings defensive replacement role.

Round 37: Steven DiPuglia SS from Cooper City HS (FL): did not sign.  DiPuglia  honored his commitment to Western Kentucky.  At WKU, DiPuglia started as a freshman and slashed .253/.323/.264.

Round 38: Matt Morales SS from Wellington Community HS (FL): did not sign.  Morales honored his commitment to Stetson University.  At Stenson, Morales started as a freshman and slashed .250/.324/.286.

Round 39: Jake Jefferies 2B COL jr  from Cal. State Fullerton.  Hit .208 in 24 ABs for Auburn in Short-A before being released on 7/5/16.  He just never showed enough at the plate despite being chased by this organization for years (they drafted him in 2012 as well).

Round 40: Parker Quinn 1B from The Benjamin School (FL): did not sign.  Quinn honored his commitment to Hofstra.  Quinn had no stats for Hofstra in 2016, either he didn’t make the varsity team or he was hurt.  His Twitter account still reports him as being at Hofstra and being class of 2019, so i’m not sure what his status is.

 


Trending Summary:

  • Matriculated to Majors: (1): Glover
  • Trending Up (7): Stevenson, Crownover, Borne, Guilbeau, Brinley, Pantoja, Watson
  • Trending Steady (10): Perkins, Wisemann, Rivera Jr, Lee, Peterson, Mooney, Sagdal, Harmening, Van Vossen, La Bruna
  • Trending Down (4): Kerian, Dulin, Brandt, Pirro
  • Released/Retired (6): Rodriguez, Boghosian, Copping, Diedrick, DiNatale, Jefferies
  • Did Not Sign (10): Lemieux, Reeves, Rash, Smith, Sprengel, Montes, Bush, DiPuglia, Morales, Quinn
  • No longer with the Org (2): Hearn, Schrock

Executive Summary

The 2015 class is holding its own so far, with a number of guys with promising starts and just 6 releases after two full pro seasons.  Watson looks like a stud, Glover looks like a heck of a find, and the upper round picks are at least treading water thus far if not exceeding expectations (Stevenson).

 

37 Responses to '2016 Season Statistical review of the 2015 Draft Class'

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  1. Nice summary, Todd. I’d suggest that Perkins and Sagdal are trending up, and Wiseman is trending down. Perkins was very raw when drafted, so those Numbers actually seem better than expected at full season for such a young guy, and Sagdal, as such a low round pick, looks to be outperforming expectations (plus he gets some love from a few prospect writers like the new guy on FG). Wiseman, as a college guy from a big time school, should probably be further along at this time.

    Wally

    21 Nov 16 at 10:29 am

  2. Can’t really disagree with those assertions. I think what struck me with Wisemann was the SB capability; in a better hitting park he could be a 20/20 guy. You’re right; might have been a little unoptimistic on Sagdal.

    Todd Boss

    21 Nov 16 at 11:47 am

  3. I’m guessing you started drafting this post a few weeks ago, before Stevenson destroyed the AFL to the tune of .353/.417/.518. I had been a Stevenson skeptic from the time he was drafted, when the Nats already had Turner on the hook to be the “future leadoff guy.” I’m really coming around on Stevenson, though, particularly after that AZ showing.

    More importantly in the grand scheme of things, I wonder if Stevenson’s showing is giving the front office pause in swinging a major deal for a CF. Why give up a big prospect haul for a CF when this guy may be only a half-season away from ready?

    Another associated question is whether the Nats can get by with two speedsters with limited pop in the lineup. Of course Trea, at least for half a season, now looks more like a 20 HR guy than the projected 8-10 or so. So I could see it, a Turner-Stevenson relay team at the top of the lineup.

    But what happens if Stevenson doesn’t progress, if his SSS at Harrisburg is more who he is than his SSS in AZ? Is it worth taking the risk of banking on him and not making a trade?

    KW

    21 Nov 16 at 12:36 pm

  4. — Perkins: I never liked the pick/bonus and am underwhelmed by his progress, particularly in power. I don’t mean to be harsh, but I also don’t see where he fits in the grand scheme with Stevenson, Bautista, and Robles ahead of him and Soto already showing a lot of promise at a younger age.

    — Wiseman: Loved the pick at the time, haven’t given up hope. He’s about the only hope for any power in the mid-level of the organization (other than the hope that Robles develops some). Still way too many Ks. Next year will be a big one for him. Can he move up enough in the organization to get into the sweepstakes to replace Werth in ’18, or Harper in ’19? That may be tall order.

    — Glover: Money pick. I’m sure he’s making it hard for them to think about paying big bucks for a closer when they may already have one.

    — Lee: I’ve asked several times on Nats Prospects what happened to him, but no one seems to know. He had looked like a steal of the draft, particularly as he successfully transitioned to starter. I think he had a TJ in his background, so a second one would be bad news. Of course he was also a power-hitting 1B at Tenn., so he might still have promise as a hitter if the arm news is bad.

    — Watson: Looking like a big score as well. There seems to be a big question of how hard he throws. It was said to be only 89 at Auburn, but there were reports of him being around 92 at Hagerstown. Regardless, he isn’t blowing guys away so must really be ahead of the curve in knowing how to pitch.

    — Brinley: Had a great run at Potomac to get to AA, hit a wall there, but had a good run in the AFL so should be ready for Harrisburg next year. Doesn’t have high K totals so probably projects as a middle reliever. Great return from the 27th round.

    KW

    21 Nov 16 at 12:57 pm

  5. Kw: Yes. In fact all the posts are written but are in draft/waiting to publish mode while we talked about all the stuff that went down last week. I thought about re-visiting and adding in a snipped especially about Stevenson’s AFL performance…

    Todd Boss

    21 Nov 16 at 1:01 pm

  6. Thank you Todd. Marvelous job and all well taken.

    Only a few points to add:

    Two draft picks have already been flipped to get major league ready talent – a 5th and a 13th. Melancon was a successful acquisition, and IF the Nats keep him, a very successful one. True, the Hearn-Schrock bonuses account for a cool million outlay, but to get the tools to win, that is a budget expense worth it and reflects well on the draft.

    Sagdal ended the season so dominant that one has to trend him up, even as he was old for the level. Monster is not an overstatement for the slugging he showed playing in the same lineup with better hyped hitters like Wiseman, and having to change positions.

    Among the lefty starter quartet that the Nats drafted to restock the system, I’ve got my eye on Taylor Guilbeau, who really delivered start after start as the season wound down.

    Ironically, after drafting those four, the system got a shot in the arm from McKenzie Mills, Tyler Watson, and Yonathan Ramirez as higher ceiling lefty starters. Hagerstown will have such an interesting rotation to watch next year.

    forensicane

    21 Nov 16 at 2:55 pm

  7. Always value your opinions on the kids Forensicane. You know them better than I.

    Todd Boss

    21 Nov 16 at 3:17 pm

  8. Follow-up on Stevenson: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/209321078/top-10-arizona-fall-league-breakout-prospects/

    He was named a breakout prospect in the AFL from MLB.

    Todd Boss

    21 Nov 16 at 4:57 pm

  9. Love it, Todd. Great stuff.
    On Watson, have to say the trending is way,way up. He’s been that good.
    Don’t understand the negativity on Perkins, he is very young plus they’re teaching him to switch-hit. A huge undertaking. Give him some time.

    Overall, this was a fabulously successful draft, potentially 3-4-5 impact players in a few more years. Love it.

    Mark L

    21 Nov 16 at 5:09 pm

  10. First of all, let me say of Perkins, as I say of all the prospects, I hope he proves me wrong. The second thing I’ll say is that he perhaps has some undue pressure on him because he was overdrafted. That issue is one of the big ones I have with the pick, since we’re discussing the draft overall. There were several good college bats and arms still on the board when the Nats made the reach for Perkins. (Harrison Bader is already in AAA, for example.) Perkins isn’t the same caliber at all as a number of the HS studs who went in the second round in 2016. He just isn’t, and never was.

    The round matters. If you’re a 2d-rounder, like Destin Hood, the spotlight is going to be more intense than on 5th rounders like Taylor or Souza. It just is. (Don’t get me started on 2d rounders like Johansen, Renda, Kobernus, ugh . . .)

    The other thing working against Perkins is that he’s old for his HS class. He turned 20 at the end of the summer, so he’s a year older than Robles already. He didn’t even manage to crack .600 OPS and showed no SLG whatsoever. It’s hard to say he “held his own” even though “young for the league,” because he didn’t truly hold his own.

    Taylor is no one’s idea of a superstar, just a player who has marginally made it. In his age-20 season at Hagerstown, he had 13 HRs and 23 SBs with a rail-thin body. Taylor’s age-19 slash line was similar to Perkins’s, actually slightly worse. He had the same number of HRs (1). So for Perkins to start really looking like a pick that was worth it, I want to see Taylor-like progression. (And yes, I realize that Taylor then crashed the next year and had to repeat Potomac. That’s why I say he’s a low bar of expectations to meet.)

    I’m not on an anti-Perkins crusade. I’m on an anti-bad-2d-rounder crusade . . . and Neuse didn’t have a great start, either! The Nats seem to try to out-think things in the 2d round, every year, and it just hasn’t worked.

    KW

    22 Nov 16 at 7:50 am

  11. KW has an interesting point on Nats history of 2nd rounders. Since Rizzo took over, here’s his 2nd round picks (per of course the draft tracker: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pZpAxtq3K6SxrHb6YSe3_NF6Cay0MkeYwW1Dc2_KHrE/edit?hl=en#gid=0_)
    2009: Jeff Kobernus, 2B from Cal
    2010: Sammy Solis, LHP from San Diego
    2011: no 2nd rounder; forfeited for Jayson Werth
    2012: Tony Renda, another 2B from Cal.
    2013: Jake Johansen, RHP from Dallas Baptist
    2014: Andrew Suarez, LHP from Miami who didn’t sign
    2015: Blake Perkins, OF (CF) from AZ HS
    2016: Sheldon Neuse, 3B from Oklahoma

    wow. An underwhelming collection of picks for sure.

    Todd Boss

    22 Nov 16 at 9:42 am

  12. Stevenson was technically a 2d-rounder as well, but the Nats’ first pick of the year. Of the group listed by Todd, Solis is the only cause for celebration, and it took him a LONG time to make the show.

    KW

    22 Nov 16 at 9:56 am

  13. An overall thought about the 2015 draft: it seems to be shaping up as the deepest Nat draft in years, perhaps ever. There’s not a Stras/Bryce/Rendon/Giolito in it, but it’s not ridiculous to think that it will produce five or so major-leaguers (perhaps included traded guys). Glover would seem to have the best chance to be a “star.” Stevenson is making a case that he could be an MLB regular, and Watson is advancing at an excellent pace. The three college lefties among the second five picks have made good steps forward. Sadgal is intriguing, as is Andrew Lee if his injury isn’t a serious setback. Wiseman is still in the picture but needs to start looking more like an MLB prospect, as I noted.

    KW

    22 Nov 16 at 10:06 am

  14. KW

    22 Nov 16 at 11:17 am

  15. On the 2d round point, I don’t think I share the concern (speaking conceptually). The draft has gotten pretty complicated and teams are continually using game theory to decide who to draft where, and what does that leave them for later. I think rather than look at where someone is drafted, look at the bonus pools paid and rank them that way to learn the preference that teams have for their picks.

    It may lead to the same conclusion for Perkins (I don’t remember what he was pod relative to everyone else ), so I’m not speaking about him as much as the comment that 2d round picks should have higher expectations.

    Wally

    22 Nov 16 at 11:34 am

  16. I really struggle with these projection systems. Do they really think that Ben Revere is going to produce that much more than Werth and Zimmerman combined? Bryce Harper’s comparable is Rusty Staub?? that Jared Long is going to produce more value than Blake Treinen?

    Todd Boss

    22 Nov 16 at 11:43 am

  17. Todd: TOTALLY agree that ZiPS often comes out somewhat bizarre. I’ll take the Max = Clemens comp, though.

    Wally, here’s the signing info:

    http://www.mlbdailydish.com/2015/6/9/8754729/mlb-draft-2015-draft-signings-tracker

    Perkins was somewhat underslot, but not massively. Without looking it up, the Nat 2d rounders who likely were big underslots were Renda (when signing Giolito) and Kobernus (with two 1st rounders in Stras and Storen).

    KW

    22 Nov 16 at 12:07 pm

  18. Steve Adams on MLBTR chat floated Gio for Brett Gardner. He posted a 3.4 bWAR and Gold Glove . . . but in LF. fWAR only had him at 2.4. What do you Yankee followers think? He’s 33 but signed for two years with an option year. Could he be a bridge as a CF in ’17 and then take over in LF in ’18? Does he still produce enough offense?

    It wouldn’t be a sexy addition, but it wouldn’t cost any top prospects, either.

    KW

    22 Nov 16 at 10:07 pm

  19. I’m not so enamored of Perkins, but that’s also because I am not so qualified as the Nats brass, especially their top talent evaluators. We have to recognize that he was drafted as a skinny athlete with good defensive skills and good baseball IQ and very coachable, and seen as a potential Carlos Beltran. That says a lot. Now he is two seasons in and on a normal trajectory for a high draft 18 year old. He has not shown eye-popping numbers but has not fallen on his face and will see full season next year.

    It’s a bit out of place, and I don’t mean to hijack, but since we are on the minor leagues and trade season is coming, here is my org top 50 through the AFL season: What is notable here is the representation of 2015 picks (9) and players from the international pool (21). As I have written before, the Nats system is rapidly transforming because of the quantity of Latin players signed. At this time next year I expect multiple Latino players attracting the same enthusiasm we have for Soto who are virtual unknowns to us now.

    Victor Robles
    Rey Lopez
    Koda Glover
    Luke Giolito
    Juan Soto

    Pedro Severino
    Erick Fedde
    Wilmer Difo
    Andrew Stevenson
    Drew Ward

    Rafael Bautista
    A.J. Cole
    Pedro Avila
    Brian Goodwin
    Jose Marmelos

    Austin Voth
    Tyler Mapes
    Kelvin Gutierrez
    Tyler Watson
    Anderson Franco

    Telmito Agustin
    Weston Davis
    Carter Kieboom
    Yonathan Ramirez
    John Simms

    Stephen Fuentes
    Dane Dunning
    Matt Grace
    Hector Silvestre
    Jakson Reetz

    Joan Baez
    Ian Sagdal
    McKenzie Mills
    Osvaldo Abreu
    Ryan Brinley

    Ed Lora
    Wander Suero
    Taylor Guilbeau
    Matt Skole
    Matt Crownover

    Mariano Rivera
    Austin Davidson
    Nick Lee
    Jake Johansen
    Andrew Lee

    Randy Encarnacion
    Francys Peguero
    Bryan Mejia
    Nick Banks
    Bryan Harper

    forensicane

    22 Nov 16 at 10:09 pm

  20. KW – on surface it feels like a defensible trade, but I do not see this as a trade that Rizzo would make. He acquires players he sees on an upswing, and I think he saw even Revere in that light, certainly Span, both bridge players, and tried to pry Yelich last year.

    He is good at getting value for replaceable parts. Packaging Gio with such an asset for a higher return makes more sense to me.

    forensicane

    22 Nov 16 at 10:14 pm

  21. Difo graduated, I missed that. OK, make that 20 Latinos.

    forensicane

    22 Nov 16 at 10:18 pm

  22. I follow the Yanks also and agree Gardner/Gio is a defensible trade both ways. However, I wouldn’t make that trade so quickly given how mediocre pitchers are getting big bucks this offseason. I’d certainly prefer a guy like Osuna over Gardner and think the Marlins are keen to get Gio.

    Andrew R

    22 Nov 16 at 11:09 pm

  23. Several folks at Nats Talk have been beating the drum for Ozuna for some time now, but I just don’t see it, for multiple reasons. First and foremost is that a division rival is desperate for pitching. Don’t aid and abet them in getting it. (Although Gio would be an absolute folk hero with the Marlins.)

    Second, Ozuna is streaker than Desi, just the type of player the Nats have been trying to get away from. Look at his splits for ’16 by month. He was off the charts in May, good in June, and a dumpster fire by August (.505 OPS). If we want that kind of roller coaster ride, we can just play Michael A. On top of that, Ozuna isn’t particularly good defensively in CF, and I think there were some hints of him not having the best of attitudes.

    Yes, I’m all for the concept of someone who is younger and cheaper than Gardner. I just don’t know who that player is. For now, it might just be Trea Turner, until Stevenson and/or Robles are ready.

    KW

    23 Nov 16 at 7:57 am

  24. The reasons I keep coming back to Simmons are that he’s a controlled player in his prime, great at defense and contact. The Angels desperately need pitching now, so the hope would be that a deal could be built around Gio and Cole, not the top prospects. I know people put down Gio, and he has declined some, but he’s far better than anyone on the FA market, unless you want to bank on Rich Hill. If the Nats offered something like Gio, Cole, Danny, and Marmalejos, the Angels would have to listen. It might not be enough, but they’d be crazy to reject two starters out of hand, considering their needs.

    I just haven’t come up with any OF, particularly a CF, who could be had for a deal like that, without dipping into the top prospects or the core of the team. Maybe Calhoun from the Angels could be, for a similar deal. But Eaton would cost multiple top prospects. Blackmon would take a higher price. Cutch would probably take at least one top prospect. I imagine Pollack would as well.

    We’ll see.

    KW

    23 Nov 16 at 10:23 am

  25. I’m not a huge fan of the idea of acquiring Simmons for Gio +three players, because Simmons is pretty lousy offensively. His wRC+ of 91 was his best since 2012, and even at that and with his elite defense he checked in with 3.1 fWAR. For comparison, Gio was 2.9 fWAR even with his mediocre season. Tossing a solid starting pitcher in order to replace one lousy bat with another, more expensive lousy bat (Simmons makes more contact, Espinosa has more power) isn’t my idea of helpful even though I love watching Simmons play defense.

    Gio straight up, or Gio plus one third tier prospect like Marmalejos? I’d think about that. But I wouldn’t go any higher than that.

    John C.

    23 Nov 16 at 12:56 pm

  26. I’d rather sign/trade for the best hitter available and flex Turner to SS and/or Harper to CF if needed. Simmons can’t hit, so I’d pass on him at any cost.

    Andrew R

    23 Nov 16 at 4:17 pm

  27. I like Simmons a lot and would be happy to have him, but think KW’s price a little high for my tastes. Gio and Danny have to be in it, and then maybe 1 mid level prospect to balance out the lack of comparable control. I’d do that.

    Particle cause it let’s Trea stay in CF. I think there is at least an argument that CF is less demanding than SS, and that keeps his bat fresher. He runs more distance in CF, but the bursts and mental intensity of SS are more draining. That’s my theory, anyway.

    Wally

    23 Nov 16 at 4:43 pm

  28. Particle cause = particularly because.

    Wally

    23 Nov 16 at 4:43 pm

  29. The Nats already HAVE one of the scarcest commodities int he game: a short stop that can hit. Why go out of their way to layer him? He’s a MLB quality hitter who can play short; why “waste” him in center when you have easier alternatives to man that position (aka Harper).?

    Todd Boss

    23 Nov 16 at 8:29 pm

  30. You guys are probably right that the offer for Simmons would be too much. I looked back at what the Angels gave up for him, and it wasn’t a huge haul, the forgettable Erick Aybar and a couple of prospects from an awful minor-league system.

    I completely agree that Simmons isn’t a great bat. But for the #7-8 hitter, there’s a lot to be said for at least making contact. His overall value is hard to establish since a fair amount of it is based on defense. bWAR has him as a 4-win player the last couple of years, while fWAR has him closer to 3 wins. Either way, he’s a “value” at price per win share.

    My case for Simmons is pretty simple. The Nats would fill the CF/SS hole with a world-class defender, and they would do it while keeping all of their top prospects. Would you rather have Eaton (who isn’t a bopper, either) at the expense of Robles and Lopez plus other assets? I wouldn’t.

    The Rockies likely would want at least one of the top prospects for only two years of Blackmon, on whom they’d be selling him. It would take at least one top prospect to get into the conversation for two years of Cutch, about whom several of you have expressed real reservations.

    Cespedes? He only wants to play LF. Can you imagine Werth going back to RF? Neither can I. Cespedes would also tie up so much cash that even the faint hope of extending Harper would go out he window. A Cespedes signing would send the same signal to Bryce that JZimm got when they signed Max.

    Although I’m not a big Fowler fan, I’d prefer him over Cespedes, but it’s hard to get excited about giving Fowler 4/60-72M with Stevenson and Robles just a year or two away.

    So . . . we come back to guys like Simmons or Gardner who likely can be had without dipping into the top prospects.

    Let us all ponder these things deeply as we digest our turkey! Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    KW

    24 Nov 16 at 8:28 am

  31. Err, “Blackmon, on whom they’d be selling HIGH.”

    KW

    24 Nov 16 at 8:30 am

  32. Hey, hey, Taijuan Walker FINALLY got traded! Over the last three or four years, has there been a player who has been involved more often in trade rumors than him? He certainly has to be in the top five of most-rumored players. MLBTR should keep track of these things . ..

    KW

    24 Nov 16 at 8:37 am

  33. I’m rooting for Stevenson if for no other reason than his last name!

    ckstevenson

    1 Dec 16 at 12:09 pm

  34. +1 :-)

    Todd Boss

    1 Dec 16 at 12:16 pm

  35. […] our set of Draft class Reviews for the 2016 season.  First was the 2016 class, then the 2015 class then the 2014 […]

  36. […] in our set of Draft class Reviews for the 2016 season.  First was the 2016 class, then the 2015 class then the 2014 class, then the 2013 […]

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