Nationals Arm Race

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

2016 Season Statistical review of the 2013 Draft Class


Austin Voth remains the "class" of the 2013 draft class. Photo official

Austin Voth remains the “class” of the 2013 draft class. Photo official

(Coming back to this series post Winter Meetings hoopla).  Fourth in our set of Draft class Reviews for the 2016 season.  First was the 2016 class, then the 2015 class then the 2014 class.

Web links to use while reading:

This review is especially important to follow because the college-age draftees in this 2013 class are Rule-5 eligible this coming off-season.  I think its a big reason why several of these guys are in the AFL right now, and their performance may or may not influence the team’s decision to protect or leave exposed.  We’ll put a pin in this post when we eventually do Rule-5 Analysis later this month.

With out further ado…

Round 1: forfeited w/ Rafael Soriano signing, which as I noted in this June 2013 post cost the Nats a shot at one of several highly regarded pitchers drafted just behind our vacated spot (the Cardinals actually took Kaminsky, but I doubt the Nats would have; i think they would have taken Manaea).  Here’s a quick summary of 2016’s season for the guys I liked at the time in that spot (Rob Kaminsky, Sean Manaea, Ryne Stanek, Ian Clarkin):

  • Kaminsky:  11-7 with a 3.28 ERA in a full season starting for AA in his age 22 year.  Was flipped in 2015 to Cleveland from St. Louis (his drafting team) in the Brandon Moss deal.
  • Manaea: 7-9 with a 3.86 ERA in 24 starts for Oakland this year.  Was flipped in 2015 to Oakland from Kansas City (his drafting team) in the Ben Zobrist deal.
  • Stanek: split time between AA and AAA, was removed from the rotation and struggled in relief.
  • Clarkin: went 6-9 with a 3.31 ERA in High-A as a 21-yr old after losing all of 2015 to injury.

I’ve more than said my peace on how much I disagreed with the Soriano signing and its opportunity cost.  Lets move on.

Round 2Jake Johansen, Coll Sr. RHP (Starter, now a Reliever) Dallas Baptist U. 4-1 3.19 ERA across 3 levels in 2016.  29/22 K/BB in 36 2/3 mostly middle relief innings.  1.64 whip.  Johansen started the year in Potomac, walked 11 guys in 6 appearances and was dumped back to XST.  Once the GCL started he threw a few innings in Florida before joining Hagerstown for the rest of the year.   He had 11 appearances and 19 IP in Low-A with good numbers … but at this point in his career (he’ll turn 26 in a couple of months) and given where he was drafted, the fact that he can’t seem to cut it anywhere above Low-A ball seems like a pretty succinct judgement of the pick.  I’m guessing he hangs around until he hits 6-years in the system, but any hopes of him turning into even a marginal middle reliever seem shot.  If he was anything other than a big-bonus 2nd rounder he would have likely been released already.  He’s toiling in the AFL and (as of this writing) had only given up one run in 9 innings, but had a measly 3 punch-outs against the elite hitters of the minors.  With any luck, this confidence boost will carry over into 2017.   Trending Down.

Round 3Drew Ward, HS 3B.  Slashed .252/.348/.412 across 2 levels, ending the year in Harrisburg.  121/56 K/BB in 408 ABs, 14 homers.   Ward’s age 21 season went pretty well; he started the year in Potomac but posted an .868 OPS there in 53 games to force his promotion to AA.  He hit just .219 once he got there though, which means we’re likely seeing him back there in 2017.  His strikeout rate remains a problem: 121 Ks in 408 Abs is a 30% clip.  But the team clearly rates him; he’s in the AFL for the 2nd straight off-season and is hitting .327 against the best the minors has to offer.  And he was a 21 yr old in AA; lots of 21 yr olds are still in Short-A.  He’s also starting to get some prospect notice; generally getting ranked in the 12-15 range in the system.  I’m going to say Trending Up … lets hope he can put up .800 OPS figures in AA in 2017.

Round 4Nick Pivetta, Juco RHP (starter) New Mexico Juco.  Traded 7/28/15 to Philadelphia for Jonathan Papelbon.  He had a solid year starting between AA and AAA and could feature for the Phillies as a 9/1 callup next year.  For all of us that can’t stand these moves for closers (see above lost 1st rounder), this may have the jeopardy of haunting us for years if Pivetta becomes a regular rotation member of an NL East rival.  Maybe they’ll leave him off their 40-man roster this coming off-season and we can Rule5 draft him 🙂

Round 5Austin Voth, Coll Jr RHP (starter) UWashington: 7-9, 3.15 ERA in 25 starts for AAA Syracuse.  133/57 K/BB in 157 IP, 1.24 whip, 3.53 FIP, .279 BABIP.  Another year, another solid season for Voth.  I’m not sure what else there is for him to accomplish in the Minors at this point; he seems to be the pitcher that he is.  His BABIP was in-line with his career numbers, he’s slightly regressed in a K/9 rate since arriving at AAA, and his ERA seems to be in line with his career numbers.  As discussed in this space earlier this year, I’m not quite sure why the team didn’t add him at the 9/1 roster expansion date; clearly they’re going to add him ahead of Rule-5 (which they did) but instead chose to leave him on the sidelines while they had September tryouts for Mat Latos.  Clearly he’s behind several of his AAA rotation mates on the depth chart, but I feel like he could still be a valuable rotation member for the Nats or someone else.  Given our starter depth, one has to think he’s trade bait at this point (he’s behind Lopez, Giolito and Cole clearly).  He seems like the kind of guy a team like Oakland would love.  Trending Up.  Post writing update: with the firesale of Nats SP candidates, Voth suddenly is like 2nd in line for getting MLB starts, so we look forward to seeing him in a Nats uniform at some point in 2017 and seeing if he’s the 2nd coming of Tanner Roark … or if he’s more like Taylor Jordan.

Round 6Cody Gunter, Juco 3B/RHP (reliever) from Greyson College: 0-0 in 2/3rds of an IP for GCL before getting shutdown for the season.  He looked halfway decent for Auburn in 2015 while converting from his drafted position (3B) to the mound, but 2016 is a big step-back.  I don’t know what to expect in 2017; perhaps a shot at the Hagerstown pen or an outright release.  Trending Down.

Round 7Jimmy Yezzo, Coll Jr 1B from UDelaware.  Released on 7/22/15.  Played a full season with the Washington PA team in the Indy Frontier League, hitting .220.

Round 8David Napoli, Coll Sr LHP (relief) from Tulane.  Released 3/16/16 after four seasons where he never got above A ball.

Round 9Jake Joyce, Coll Sr RHP (reliever) from Va Tech.  Released in 7/7/14.

Round 10Brennan Middleton, Coll Sr SS/2B from Tulane. Released on 6/30/15.

Round 11John Simms, Coll jr RHP (starter) from Rice. 8-5, 3.30 ERA in 29 games (11 starts) for AA.  79/28 K/BB ratio in 92 2/3rds innings, 1.08 whip, 3.84 fip, .254 babip.  Simms was the opening day starter for Harrisburg in 2016, but never seemed destined for the rotation; he was mostly a long reliever/spot starter, never throwing even 90 pitches in an outing.  He did not go to the AFL this year after going last year; what is his planned usage going forward?  His numbers look good; is he destined to move up to AAA and be a 6th starter again?   He seems to be able to compete, so we’ll see how he does against more veteran/mature competition in 2017.  Trending Steady.

Round 12Andrew Cooper, Juco RH relief pitcher from Sierra College.  Released on 1/12/16, not even getting a chance to compete for a spot in the High-A bullpen.  Seems like the team let him try to earn his way up on the field and it never happened.

Round 13John Costa, Juco RH relief pitcher from Palm Beach CC.  Released 4/1/15.

Round 14David Masters, Juco SS/3B from Central Arizona College: Slashed just .174/.259/.280 with 56/23 K/BB in 236 ABs in High-A.  6HR, 1SB.  Masters seemed to play every other day in a utility role for Potomac, posting anemic batting stats but staying with the team the whole year.  I thought he was in trouble after hitting just .226 LAST year but he stuck around the whole season.   I said this last season, but it seems like Masters isn’t long for the organization.  Trending down.

Round 15Isaac Ballou, Coll Sr OF/CF from Marshall (via Germantown, MD). Slashed .255/.332/.386 mostly for AA Harrisburg.  77/42 K/BB in 373 AA at-bats, 6hr, 7SB.  Ballou split time between the corner OF spots and had a couple of stints covering for Syracuse.   Ballou didn’t stick as a starter in AAA, instead repeating AA for the most part.  Depending on how the MLB roster numbers shake out, he may have the same issue in 2017.  Trending Steady.

Round 16Willie Allen, Juco Corner OF from Oklahoma/Newtown, MA.  Did not sign; transferred to Lewis-Clark State (ID), where he played for a  year in 2015, then has apparently disappeared.  He was not on their 2016 roster, and he does not appear to still be playing.

Round 17Geoff Perrott, Coll Sr C from Rice.  Retired 1/5/2015

Round 18Cory Bafidis, Coll Sr LH relief pitcher from Texas Wesleylan.  Released 7/7/2014.

Round 19Niko Spezial, Coll Sr LH relief pitcher from Wake Forest.  Released 5/28/14.

Round 20Brenton Allen, Coll Jr Corner OF from UCLA.  Released 6/21/14.

Round 21Justin Thomas, Coll Sr LH relief pitcher from Southern Arkansas. 3-2, 4.75 ERA while repeating High-A.  36/21 K/BB in 47 1/3 relief innings, 1.37 whip, 4.50 fip, .281 babip.  Last year I liked Thomas and thought he’d easily move up to AA.  Didn’t happen; he repeated Potomac and his numbers went down.  His lefty-lefty splits aren’t especially good, which precludes his value as a lefty specialist, so I wonder what his role is going forward at this point.  I’d guess he’ll compete for AA spot but may be a release candidate.  Trending down.

Round 22Cody Dent, Coll Sr SS from UFlorida. Released 7/15/16 after getting demoted out of High-A and hitting just .195 as a 24-yr old in low-A.  Even his pedigree (he is the son of legendary Bucky Dent) couldn’t save him.

Round 23Garrett Gordon, Juco Corner OF.  Released in 3/26/15.

Round 24Matthew DeRosier, Juco RHP (starter/reliever) from Southwestern College (CA).  3-3, 4.54 ERA in 14 low-A starts before hitting the D/L on 6/30/16 for the rest of the season.  59/18 K/BB in 67 1/3 innings, 1.32 whip, 3.25 fip, .325 babip.  DeRosier was in the opening day rotation for Hagerstown and lasted there for 3 months before getting hurt.  DeRosier was a young JuCo signee; he just finished his 4th pro season but he turned 22 in July, so we’re not too worried that he’s still in Low-A.  But he needs to start making some progress before he ages out of the system.  His FIP is better than his ERA, but we have no idea what the injury was.  I’d guess he’ll compete for the Potomac rotation in 2017.  Trending Steady.

Round 25Travis Ott, HS LH starting pitcher.  Traded 12/17/14 along with Steven Souza in the Trea Turner/Joe Ross deal.  Repeated Short-A for the *third* year and was phenomenal in 2016.  Why keep him there?  I know Tampa is “conservative” when it comes to promoting pitching prospects, but keeping a talented HS pitcher in the same classification for three years running seems dumb.

Round 26Garrett Hampson, HS SS from Reno, NV.  Did not sign; honored commitment to Long Beach State.  Had a monster collegiate career and was drafted in the 3rd round by Colorado.  Signed a $750k bonus and had an .845 OPS in Short-A Boise.   Could be one that got away.

Round 27Bryce Harman, HS LH starting pitcher from Richmond, VA (Byrd HS).  Did not sign; honored commitment to East Carolina University.  Hit .242 his Junior year starting and was not drafted.

Round 28Joey Webb, Coll Sr LH relief pitcher.  Released 6/25/15.

Round 29Mike Sylvestri, Coll Sr RH relief pitcher.   Retired on 6/13/14.

Round 30Ryan Ullmann, Coll Sr RH Starting pitcher.  Released 6/25/15.

Round 31Willie Medina, Coll Sr SS.  Released in Jan 2015.

Round 32Pat Boling, Coll Jr LHP: Did not sign, chose to return to U. of Georgia for his senior season.  He posted a 4.94 ERA his senior year, was not re-drafted, and does not appear he played any independent ball.

Round 33Andrew Dunlap, HS C/RHP from Houston.  Did not sign.  Honoring a commitment to Rice University.  He has struggled to find the field for Rice, not playing in 2014 or 2015 and hitting .197 in limited PT his junior year in 2016.

Round 34Jake Walsh, Coll Sr LH relief pitcher. Released 3/16/16, before the season started.  This one I still do not get to this day.   Look at his minor league numbers: he has a career 1.65 ERA!!   All his peripherals look good.  I just don’t get this at all.  I thought he’d be at least in the AA rotation in 2016; instead he’s out of the game.

Round 35Lukas Schiraldi, Juco RHP from Texas.  Did not sign; instead transferred to U Texas.  Drafted in 2014 in the 15th round by Seattle; in 2016 he struggled with the jump to High-A (with the caveat that he’s in the California league).

Round 36Reid Humphreys, HS SS from Missouri.  Did not sign.  Honoring commitment to Mississippi State.  Drafted in the 7th round in 2016 by Colorado, signed for $227k, and threw a few games in the rookie league.  Btw, he converted to the mound in college and is now a RHP reliever.

Round 37Karsten Whitson, RH starting pitcher from Florida.  Did not sign, returned to U Florida for his senior/4th year.  Was drafted by Boston in 2014 as an 11th rounder (likely bonus; max of $100k), released on 3/9/16.  An ignominious ending to a career that started with him declining 1st round money.  As Keith Law says: “Always take the money.”

Round 38Caleb Hamilton, HS SS from Washington State.  Did not sign; honoring commitment to U of Washington.  He was drafted in the 23rd round this year by Minnesota and signed.  He  hit .207 for their rookie league team.

Round 39Robbie Tenerowicz, HS 2B/SS from California.  Did not sign; honoring commitment to UC Berkeley.  He was drafted in the 27th round this year by Tampa Bay and signed.   He hit .291 with some pop for their rookie league team.

Round 40Shaun Anderson, HS RH starting pitcher from Florida.  Did not sign; honoring commitment to U of Florida.  At Florida he was a significant part of their pre-season #1 team, serving as the closer.  He was drafted in the 3rd round by Boston, signed for $700k, and then gave up 12 hits and 9 runs in his Short-A debut.  He’ll try it again fresh in 2017.

Trending Summary:

  • Trending Up (2): Voth, Ward
  • Trending Steady (3): Simms, Ballou, DeRosier
  • Trending Down (4): Johansen, Gunter, Masters, Thomas
  • Did Not Sign in 2013 (11): Allen, Hampson, Harman, Boling, Dunlap, Schiraldi, Humphries, Whitson, Hamilton, Tenerowicz, Anderson
  • Released/Retired (17): Yezzo, Napoli, Joyce, Middleton, Cooper, Costa, Perrott, Bafidis, Spezial, Allen, Dent, Gordon, Webb, Sylvestri, Ullmann, Medina, Walsh
  • Traded (2): Pivetta, Ott

Executive Summary

Wow; this class is really looking poor.  Just two players who I still think are trending up in Voth and Ward.  And even though I rate Voth, I sense he’s perhaps he’s limited to being a 4-A/5th starter.  As noted before, no 1st rounder and a blatant fail on Johansen the 2nd rounder have made this class look pretty weak.  It’d look a bit better if Ward (3rd rounder) turned out, but the cashing in of the 4th rounder (Pivetta) for a short-term head case rental looks equally wasteful in hindsight.

On the bright side … it makes Rule 5 decisions pretty easy.  We’ll circle back to this post when we do the Rule5 analysis, but right now the only candidate here worth protecting is Voth.  (Update post-writing: we were right; the only one added was Voth and nobody here got drafted).



34 Responses to '2016 Season Statistical review of the 2013 Draft Class'

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  1. […] year’s Draft class Stat overview posts were especially  helpful too; here’s the 2013 version for College draftees and the  2012 version for high school-age draftees that are now Rule-5 […]

  2. I think that the standards for a draft class are a bit high; right now the draft shows arguably three players that are moving up (Voth, Ward, and I’d say that “trending steady” for Simms is actually a good thing since he’s an 11th round pick that has put up solid numbers) and two players (Pivetta, Ott) that had enough value to be included as part of trade packages. Whinging about the draft class and also whinging about trading members of the class seems to be having it both ways.

    I’m not saying this is a great class, but “really looking poor” seems like hyperbole to me. It’s better than some of the Bowden year draft classes, for example.

    John C.

    13 Dec 16 at 10:35 am

  3. I stand by my judgement on this. When you give up your 1st round pick, you HAVE to hit on your 2nd rounder. When you so blatantly fail on your 2nd rounder, you need to find a 3rd or 4th rounder who makes it. I see none of this in this class. I see at best a 4-A starter right now. That’s a fail in my book.

    Bowden’s drafts were 2005, 06, 07, 08.
    – In 2005 he drafted 5 future MLBers (Zimmerman, Maxwell, Estrada, Lannan and Stammen).
    – 2006: Marrero, Kris Davis (for someone else), Cole Kimball, Brad Peacock
    – 2007: Smolinski, Souza, Norris, Detwiler, Zimmermann, McCoy
    – 2008: Hood, Espinosa, Nieto, Moore, Lombardozzi, Milone plus several others like Crow and Heston who eventually made the MLB but for other teams.

    So, which of these Bowden classes are “worse” than what 2013 looks like? Each of them produced multiple MLBers. 2013 may produce one.

    don’t worry; wait til we talk about 2012’s class if you want to talk about a draft class failure.

    Todd Boss

    13 Dec 16 at 11:18 am

  4. I suppose I could add a caveat for Pivetta/Ott; i don’t think i’m “whining” about their being traded necessarily (certainly not Ott, who was more or less a throw-in in the Souza deal); they were used to obtain something of value. Well, “value” in Papelbon’s case is a relative/argumentative term. My complaints about this class are more or less about Johansen.

    Todd Boss

    13 Dec 16 at 11:35 am

  5. Early in the book version of Moneyball, Michael Lewis quoted Billy Beane saying something to the effect that in baseball, a draft where two out of (then) 50 draftees make it is considered a success. In any other business, someone with that abysmal a success rate would be fired.

    If you want your stomach to turn, look at Johansen’s college stats:

    He was AWFUL. But damn, did he fill out a uniform! Anyway, his stats as a Soph. and Jr. look pretty indicative of what he’s posted in the low minors, over and over and over again.

    — I’ve loved Voth since the draft. Does he have the stuff to succeed at the MLB level? Even if he’s “the next Tommy Milone,” as some have said over the years, he’ll still have MLB value for a few seasons.

    — Yes, considering Pap’s issues, we may one day regret dealing Pivetta (as some have from the start), but considering the price for closers over the last couple of seasons, he wasn’t a bad price to pay. Incidentally, Pivetta outpitched his Philly-system teammate, the the #1 pick in this whole stinkin’ draft, Mark Appel. (Other than Bryant, the whole 2013 draft overall isn’t showing much. And just think how different the world would be if the ‘stros had drafted Bryant . . .)

    — Ward is the perfect example of the risk/reward of drafting a high-school kid. After four full pro seasons, we’re still not quite sure what we have. The power has yet to come, and the K’s remain way too high. He does seem to have made better progress defensively at 3B, as he had long been rumored to have to end up at 1B. He’s also pretty slow afoot.

    — Simms is a good return on an 11th-rounder. I could never understand why he couldn’t break into the AA rotation, particularly after Giolito and Lopez left for greener pastures.

    — I didn’t understand the Walsh release, either. All I can do is point out that no one else has picked him up. Maybe he was injured, or had a bad attitude, or just couldn’t afford to keep pursuing the dream.


    13 Dec 16 at 11:43 am

  6. The word was “whinging” not “whining.” 🙂

    Wait, we’re giving Bowden credit for Aaron Crow and Kris Davis? He didn’t sign those guys. If that was Rizzo, you’d have called them “ones that got away.” Given that, I’d happily call this draft class as a good shot at exceeding the 2006 draft class – Marrero, Kimball and Peacock aren’t exactly a high barrier to hurdle. Bowden also managed to make less out of more, since he had very high draft picks and managed to miss on a bunch of them. Although you have a happy go at Rizzo for Johansen, the thing that has kept the Nationals humming along the past several years is Rizzo’s ability to hit on first round picks and sign them. Strasburg and Storen in 2009. Harper in 2010. Rendon and Meyer (turned into three years of DSpan) and Goodwin in 2011. Giolito (turned into Eaton) in 2012. No picks in 2013 and 2015, but Fedde is a very promising 2013 pick.

    Here were Bowden’s first round picks: Aaron Crow (did not sign) in 2008; Ross Detwiler, Josh Smoker and Michael Burgess in 2007 (blech); Chris Marrero and Colton Willems in 2006. OK, Zim in 2005. But if you’re ranking the first round picks by MLB impact, Zim is likely the only Bowden pick who ultimately cracks the top five or six – despite the fact that Bowden had more picks and generally higher ranked picks. Bowden gets some credit for JZim, sure – but even Bowden acknowledged that it was Rizzo going to the mat for the pick that led to the selection.

    The ability to pick guys who are AAAA/marginal MLB players doesn’t really help – those guys can be had elsewhere, pretty cheaply and in abundance. Rizzo is pretty clearly better than Bowden at drafting players that actually matter.

    John C.

    13 Dec 16 at 1:15 pm

  7. KW

    13 Dec 16 at 2:07 pm

  8. I didn’t mean to “give credit” to Bowden for the likes of Crow and Davis, no … just noted that he drafted them (well, at least Crow) with the intention of signing him. I tried to make it an “aside” for what it was worth.

    Bowden’s 1st rounds have been atrocious; my point of running through those drafts was to show that each one ended up with multiple major leaguers, as a contrast to the way the 2013 draft is projecting, where we’ll be lucky to have one or two.

    Todd Boss

    13 Dec 16 at 4:18 pm

  9. There is a bit of a structural problem with this kind of discussion, at least when you make it personal to the GM. Who makes the picks, GM or scouting director? I think I’ve read that, at best, the GM influences the 1st pick. Influences, not decides. And wasn’t Rizzo the scouting director (effectively) under Bowden?

    Anyway, if it is a personnel analysis, I’d argue that roy Clark appears to have been a bad hire. Drafts look poor under his watch, and have improved since he left. Just a thought.

    I also think this draft is better than the Marrero draft, and agree with John C that hitting in that 1st round pick, especially a high one, is super important.


    13 Dec 16 at 6:16 pm

  10. I think Clark was on board for drafts 2010 though this one above, 2013.

    Yeah, my general understanding has been that Rizzo has mainly been involved in the first pick, and probably other big overslots as well, such as Luzardo. By and large, the 2d-round picks have REALLY sucked for some reason (with the exceptions of JZim and Solis).


    13 Dec 16 at 7:21 pm

  11. Wally, its a good point, but how else do you do this discussion? Its kind of like blaming or crediting a sitting President for the movements of the economy under his watch. Yeah I get it; Rizzo (and Bowden) aren’t personally making the 25th round picks each year.

    But, you can’t tell me they’re not in the room making the final judgement. I mean, they’re not making the first 5 picks and then going to play golf and letting their assistants do the rest are they?

    Todd Boss

    13 Dec 16 at 8:12 pm

  12. I think the analysis of the classes are good, just saying that the discussion afterwards that analyzed Rizzo v. Bowden is impossible because we don’t know who made the decision, how to account for Rizzo in Bowden’s regime, etc., and then most importantly, what is bad (or good) scouting v. Bad (or good) player development (always enjoy talking about this last point, since which one is more important remind big mystery.). I do think it’s interesting to try to see if we can associate success with certain guys, but maybe we should see who were the top 4 organization decision makers for each class – maybe GM, scouting director and AGMs – and then compare that to how each class turned out and see if anything jumps off the page.

    But even with all of that, I think we know the big picture answer: the Nats have done well hitting on their high picks, mediocre on everything after that, and very well identifying undervalued players through trade. Not sure who gets the ‘credit’ for that, but it feels like the pro scouting staff and player development org.


    13 Dec 16 at 8:52 pm

  13. Thanks for another trip down memory lane.

    I’d really like to see Travis Ott reacquired. Let Paul ‘magic man’ Menhart work with him for awhile.

    Mark L

    13 Dec 16 at 9:09 pm

  14. Sorry for going off-topic, but I did have an out-of-the-box thought on the closer front. A guy with one of the best sliders in baseball is available, and he has a blood connection with the Nats: Tyson Ross. The word is that he’s looking for around $10M, which is what they’d have to pay someone like Holland. Ross might also be interested in the reduced workload, plus if there’s injury in the starting rotation, he’d be a heck of a replacement to have on hand. Ross might actually be better suited for relief anyway since he’s always been essentially a two-pitch pitcher.

    Just a thought.


    13 Dec 16 at 9:12 pm

  15. Mark, would the Rays want Turner in exchange for Ott, or would they settle for Joe Ross? What an amazing deal that turned out to be . . . which speaks to Wally’s point of the front office being better at trades than drafting.


    13 Dec 16 at 9:14 pm

  16. One problem I’ve always had with saying how good/bad a team is at drafting is that I don’t have a lot of points of reference with the success/failure of other teams. My feeling is that the general success rate at drafting is really low.


    13 Dec 16 at 9:17 pm

  17. KW, I’m not complaining about the trade at all.
    It’s just that the Rays have squandered him. Todd’s right, it is just moronic to have him at that level for 3 years in a row.
    They think they’ve got nothing, so it would be an opportunity to let Menhart work his magic.

    Mark L

    13 Dec 16 at 10:25 pm

  18. Mark, I agree that Ott deserves an opportunity. He had posted good numbers at a very young age before he left the Nats. It’s hard to know what’s going on in some of those situations, though. Sometimes it’s off-the-field things that can’t be measured in the stats. His trade partner Souza was a perfect example, a high-school draftee who very nearly blew it more than once before he got his head and his game together.


    14 Dec 16 at 7:05 am

  19. On passing judgement on draft classes. KW you make a great point about comparing our drafting acumen to other teams. But to do that research would probably take days and days.

    On our own draft analysis, Maybe i’m being far too picky in my expectations for a draft.

    I posted in July 2014 (after killing the Nats for their 2014 draft) what I thought were guidelines for a “good” or “bad” draft: . Here was what i listed as being a guideline for a draft:
    a. 1st rounder: future MLB above average regular to all-star
    b. 2nd rounder: future MLB regular
    c. 3rd-5th: expect at least one future MLB player in at least a backup/bullpen role
    d. 6th-10th: hope for at least one player to reach the MLB level.
    e. 11th-20th: hope for at least three players who matriculate to AA or higher
    f. 20th and above: hope for one-two players to matriculate to AA or higher

    I’d modify this list now that we know that the 6th-10th rounds are basically throw-aways to save draft bonus dollars. But I still generally like these guidelines. Maybe the 11th-20th is a bit aggressive of a goal. Do you guys think this is too demanding of a standard?

    Todd Boss

    14 Dec 16 at 9:04 am

  20. I don’t know how good a frame of reference “1st rounder” is considering that many of the 1st rounds have contained nearly two rounds worth of picks. It may be more instructive to break things down by pick number:

    — Top 10 pick had better be a solid regular/star. Rizzo and Co. have nailed these with Stras, Harper, and Rendon. But many other teams in the same time period have missed badly in the top 10.

    — Second 10: MLB regular with some star potential. The Rizzo Nats have Giolito and Fedde from these picks, wounded wings who had been projected higher but still took overslot to sign.

    — Rest of 1st round & 2d round: potential major-leaguers. The Nats have done OK with later 1st-round picks but not well with 2d rounders. But even the guys who are making it tend to be fringy and taking a long time, like Goodwin and Meyer.

    — 3d round: depends on bonus money; the Nats have invested big in some 3d rounders like Purke, and did so again in Luzardo, again wounded wings who could have been 1st-rounders. If you pay a big bonus, you had better be expecting a major-leaguer, which is why the Reetz pick isn’t looking so great, even though he’s sort of progressing.

    — There are future MLB guys available in the 4th-5th, but a more reasonable goal may be a AA-AAA type who might have an MLB shot under the right circumstances — Skole, for example. Souza and Taylor were 5th rounders out of HS who took a long time to mature.

    — As noted, 6th-10th have sort of become low-cost guys from which to save money, but I thought the Nats did a great job in 2015 in finding some good arms and one great one here, although they did pay above slot for the great one (Glover). Still, if you’re being picked this high in the draft, shouldn’t you be expected to make it at least to A+ or AA?

    — 11th-20th: I agree that you’re looking for AA guys here, but three out of ten to AA seems low. Maybe five out of ten? If you have five guys making AA from the group, it’s possible that one might get an MLB look. If you get more than one major-leaguer out of that level in any draft, I’d say you aced that stage.

    I’m just guessing at this stuff, though, with more knowledge of the ups and downs of what the Nats have done than any other team.

    The guys from lower rounds who tend to progress well, at least to Hagerstown and Potomac, are the Moneyball guys, college players who had good stats but didn’t throw 97 or hit 20 HRs. The bigger misses seem to be with guys who look great in a uniform but never posted great stats. There is a big step up to Potomac, though, and an even bigger one to AA, and a lot of guys don’t make it past those steps, or take several years to master them.


    14 Dec 16 at 10:16 am

  21. Forgot Storen as a “second 10” guy.


    14 Dec 16 at 10:20 am

  22. Todd, I think (a) and (b) are too demanding. I’m just spitballing, but I suspect the probability of a top ten pick in the first round becoming an above average regular or all star at about 50% and probably much lower after the top ten. And I think your criterion in part (b) applies better to the remainder of the first round and perhaps part of the second round rather than to the second round.

    In the top two rounds of the draft, it really does matter that the Nats have been picking in the bottom third of the draft (sometimes the very bottom or not at all!) since 2012. Missing on pick 6 in the first round is very different from missing on pick 27.


    14 Dec 16 at 10:23 am

  23. I think that might be a bit aggressive for the 1st round, actually. Maybe you break it down between where in the round someone is drafted? Above average regular/AS is a reasonable expectation for a top 10 pick, but after that the historical performance of those picks falls off quite a bit. And back end 1st rounders are hard to distinguish from second rounders.


    14 Dec 16 at 10:30 am

  24. I Should have refreshed the screen. I agree with how KW laid it out.


    14 Dec 16 at 10:31 am

  25. I’m rethinking my own criteria. Todd may be right in expecting only three AA guys out of 11th-20th rounds. But it never hurts to raise expectations!

    Here’s a bottom-line question for everyone: what is a reasonable expectation of the number of major-leaguers from a draft, even for a team picking later? Five, maybe? Even counting cup-of-coffee guys? Still, that’s only a 12.5% success rate, or a .125 BA, to put it in baseball terms.


    14 Dec 16 at 10:58 am

  26. We suck least!

    Do we get a trophy for this?


    14 Dec 16 at 11:48 am

  27. I fail to understand the handwringing over the “decimation” of the Nats farm system. It is simply not true. There is a lot of pitching depth and we will know it well at this time next year.

    The Nats traded two ripe assets that were at the top of their prospect list. They were replaceable, especially insofar as the team has five starting rotation spots accounted for, and long term.

    I think Simms is trending up. He has proven he can get guys out at AA and consistently so. He is a heady pitcher who deserves a shot at AAA. Moving him up gives Fedde a chance to season at AA and himself get promoted should he dominate the level.

    As for Voth, he should be next in line. He has succeeded at every level and also brings mound maturity. He has demonstrated more success in the organization to date than Nate Karns did, and Karns is now a proven major league starter. So I am certainly comfortable with Voth being next in line or close to it.

    I also wonder, especially if there is a significant deal to be had involving Joe Ross (just sayin). If Treinen is NOT going to be groomed to be a closer, does to make sense to transition him back to a starting role? Certainly worked out for Roark. And Treinen is still on his first elbow and proved he was a successful starter as high as AAA.


    14 Dec 16 at 12:03 pm

  28. After the Giolito and Lopez departures, I would say that the odds of Joe Ross being traded are exceptionally low.


    14 Dec 16 at 12:26 pm

  29. Purke DFA’d, before we even made it to the 2011 draft. Hard to believe that he’s only 26. It seems like we’ve been hearing about him forever.


    14 Dec 16 at 5:47 pm

  30. The sad part is he never recovered from his butcher of a college coach.
    Good for him he got a large ($4 miilion) bonus.

    Mark L

    14 Dec 16 at 8:02 pm

  31. Purke: Hard to come back from shoulders… we’ll talk about him in one of the upcoming draft class posts…

    Todd Boss

    14 Dec 16 at 8:10 pm

  32. On the flip side, Tommy Milone got a major-league deal from the Brewers. Soft-tossing lefties can pitch forever!


    14 Dec 16 at 8:16 pm

  33. […] Fifth 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 class. […]

  34. Interesting take on the Eaton trade from one of ESPN’s senior writers Schoenfield.

    Todd Boss

    15 Dec 16 at 10:26 am

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