Nationals Arm Race

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

2017 Draft coverage; Prospect ranks, important links and local players of note



2016’s version of this post.

Its Draft Day!

The 2017 MLB rule-4 (Amateur) draft starts  6/12/17 at 7pm.  The MLB Network will have full coverage of the first round of picks. This post is my dumping ground of draft coverage for 2017.

This post uses last year’s format, with links to use to see draft prospect rankings, links to help cover the draft (which I personally come back to time and time again), some blurbs on local players of interest, and then links to a bunch of mock drafts.

Draft Coverage so far at NAR for 2017:

  • Local Draft prospects of note for 2017: namely, J.B. Bukauskas, Adam Haseley and Pavin Smith (see more below)
  • Mock Draft Overview for 2017.  The same top 5 names seem to appear … and the Nats are more and more rumored towards a problem child.

Draft Links of importance

  • Official 2017 Draft Central home page.
  • MLB’s Awesome 2017 Draft Tracker; you can slice and dice the draft 10 different ways, search by schools and home states, etc.
  • Official MLB 2017 Draft Order, including slot values for the first few rounds. Nats pick 25th, then 65th, then 103rd, then 133rd and 30 more each add’l round.
  • Official Draft Bonus Pool totals for 2017.  Minnesota most with $14M, Nats have about $5.5M.
  • MLB Draft Database for all past drafts.
  • Baseball-Reference Draft Tools: links to their draft database plus some custom reports.
  •’s 2017 Player profile index; an index of their profiles of all the top-end draft prospects for this year.

Here’s a slew of Draft Prospect rankings : these are NOT the same as mock drafts; these are independent rankings of the players without consideration to draft considerations.  Apologies in advance; many of these are insider/subscription.  Fork over the dollars and subscribe and support baseball coverage that you like!

(Pundits to track: D1Baseball, ESPN Law, MLBpipeline, MinorleagueBall, USAToday, BaseballAmerica, PerfectGame,, MLBDraftReport, BeyondtheBoxScore)

Notice how nearly EVERY list has Greene as the best prospect in this draft?  That’s pretty consistent view … but there’s no chance that Greene goes #1 overall.  So thanks to the perverse risks associated with drafting prep kids, yet again we will likely see the best prospect not getting taken #1 overall.  This seems to happen nearly every year since the Strasburg/Harper drafts.   In 2011, Gerrit Cole went 1-1 when Anthony Rendon should have been.  In 2012 i think the “right guy” went 1-1 (Carlos Correa).  Imagine the Astros right now had they taken Kris Bryant instead of Mark Appel (who didn’t sign and who has yet to matriculate to the majors) in 2013 1-1 overall.  Brady Aiken 1-1 overall in 2014 was defensible at the time … but Carlos Rodon was the presumed 1-1 heading into the spring season.   I don’t think anyone disputes the Dansby Swanson 1-1 pick in 2015 (it was a weak class), but few think that Mickey Moniak was the best prospect in the 2016 class (most had it as Jason Groome or Riley Pint;  Groome fell to 12th thanks to some off-the-field stuff and is now hurt while Pint is struggling in low-A).  So its good to be the 2nd team picking this year.

Now, some news about College Players with local ties who are serious draft candidates (meaning first couple of rounds projected or present on top 100 draft ranking lists).  Note that I’ve got a far, far larger list of local players that I’ll follow-up on after the draft; these are just the significant/top 10 round types.

  • J.B. Bukauskas: has had a fantastic junior season and has become perhaps the 2nd best collegiate pitcher this class.  Still undersized … but there are some 6’0″ guys with success in the majors right now.
  • Adam Haseley: has rocketed up draft boards by being perhaps the 2nd best two way player in college baseball.  Upper 1st round talent.
  • Pavin Smith: 1B only but a sweet, solid bat.  Upper 1st round talent.

At this point, all three of these players are projecting in the first half of the first round; no other local player seems close.  There’s a slew of other local college kids mentioned in the BA top 200, which means they’re all likely 5th-8th round material.

Local Prep players of note who are serious draft candidates: none this year.  Unlike last year, where Joe Rizzo and Khalil Lee both were top 5 round picks, there’s nobody anywhere in the DC/MD/VA landscape that is threatening to be a top-end prep pick (at least as far as I can tell right now).

Nats Re-Draft players of interest: these are guys who the Nats have previously drafted but who did not sign.  Using the Nats Draft Tracker as a guide, here’s some prep guys we drafted generally in 2014 who are now rising college juniors and are bigger names in this draft:

  • Stuart Fairchild, OF from Wake Forest: we drafted him in the 38th round in 2014; he’s now perhaps projected mid 2nd round.
  • Evan Skoug, C from TCU: we drafted him in the 34th round in 2014; now he’s perhaps projected as a 3rd rounder.
  • Tommy Doyle, RHP from Flint Hill HS/UVA: we drafted him in the 35th round in 2014, probably as a hat-tip to a local kid more than a possible signee.  He’s projected as a 6th rounder after a decent career at UVA coverting to relief.
  • Quinn Brodey, RHP from Stanford: we drafted him in the 37th round in 2016; now he’s perhaps a 6th-7th rounder projected.
  • Morgan CooperRHP from UTexas; we drafted him in the 34th round last  year in 2016: he chose to stay in school to build value and now is projected as a 5th-6th rounder.
  • Tristan Clarke and Cory Voss: two Juco draftees from 2016 who are draft eligible for 2017.  Clarke started for UNO and put up solid numbers, albeit in the weaker Southland conference.  Voss only played part-time at UofA and isn’t a draft prospect.
  • Other Prep draftees in 2014 not mentioned here who are not draft prospects:

Mock Drafts

See separate Mock Draft post.


32 Responses to '2017 Draft coverage; Prospect ranks, important links and local players of note'

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  1. Chelsea Janes correctly notes that the Nats don’t have a history of taking knuckleheads like Romero:

    She doesn’t offer much insight into other potential draftees, though.

    My lengthy speculation on the Nats’ process of elimination is in the comments on Todd’s last post. I think they would take Hiura if he drops that far, but if not, I say a big major-college arm. My guess is Tanner Houck. Of the HS kids, Carlson or Thompson could be possibilities in the range, if they would sign for what little the Nats have. I personally don’t think Carlson would be that much better than the more polished college arms who should still be there.

    I would love to get both Fairchild and Skoug again. I fear that Fairchild falls too low for them to take at #25, though, and much too high to fall to #65. If they want him, they’ll have to reach for him at 25. Skoug is grading ~3d round. He might be a reach at #65 but gone by #105.


    12 Jun 17 at 9:34 am

  2. From every mock i’ve seen, it looks like the Nats will have their choice of several high-profile college arms at #25. Lange, Houck, Peterson. Perhaps even a very good prep arm like Carlson. I just have to think that’s the way they’ll go. Unless they get a bite at a superb bat.

    Todd Boss

    12 Jun 17 at 10:26 am

  3. I’m updating the previous Mock draft post with those that are coming in day-of. MLBpipeline did a dual mock draft wtih both Callis and Mayo and they have Romero going way before Nats could pick him. Good sign. Jay Jaffe says Nats on Romero, but he then has three better arms going 26,27,28 so I have a hard time with it.

    Todd Boss

    12 Jun 17 at 10:47 am

  4. KW – I think you’re going to be disappointed today. I see the Nats going pitching, pitching, pitching. And you and Todd are probably right that Houck or Lange look like the most likely choices, although I’d find that uninspired.

    I was surprised at Romero too, but with so many people saying it, it might have some legs. I still think Little is in the mix.

    Should be fun. I have plans tonight so won’t follow it live but will be interested


    12 Jun 17 at 11:05 am

  5. Jaffe clearly notes that he’s cribbing off BA, KLaw, et al., just presenting a “consensus.”

    If Peterson were somehow to drop to #25, he’d really intrigue me, as 6-6 lefties don’t grow on trees. If the Nats had their choice between Lange and Houck, I don’t know what they’d do. The thinking seems to be that Lange is more polished but Houck throws harder (but has a weird arm slot). Once you get past those guys, then you’re down to the JUCOs (102 mph Pearson and Little) and the wounded (Schmidt, T. Beck). Canning is so well thought of that I’d be surprised if he drops all the way to the Nats. The Pearson profile reminds me a little too much of Johannsen, too unknown and too wild to risk for my taste.

    For what little Rizzo has said, he seems mostly to have mentioned the depth in “high-velocity arms.” I wouldn’t sleep on them surprising everyone to take a bat, though. If they still like Fairchild, he wouldn’t be that much of a reach at #25. There aren’t that many toolsy college OFs higher on the board. The big knock on him seems to be a bad wood-bat summer on the Cap. He had 17 HRs and 20 SBs this season, though, an excellent power/speed combo. And perhaps they could get him a little under slot if he goes higher than expected.


    12 Jun 17 at 11:16 am

  6. Wally, I won’t be disappointed with a college arm that isn’t Romero. The depth of the draft seems to be in college arms. I would prefer a four-year, major-college arm to a JUCO lottery ticket.

    But yes, I would prefer a bat! It’s too bad that MLB doesn’t allow trades of picks, as this might be a good year for the Nats to be able to trade back 5-10 picks and still be able to look at Fairchild, Rooker, and maybe Schmidt.

    Two things would make me cry (at least figuratively): the Nats drafting Romero, or the Cubs taking Rooker at #30.

    I would be most ecstatic if Hiura somehow fell to the Nats, or if they said screw rankings and age and took Rooker.


    12 Jun 17 at 11:22 am

  7. I predict that the Nats first pick will disappoint people here, because he wil have been ranked lower. But he will be an upperclassman (not JUCO) that the Nats can sign at or below slot, leaving them with more flexibility elsewhere.

    The only way I see it playing otherwise is if a quick to the major college pitcher that they rank much higher falls to them unexpectedly because other teams are drafting prep, or hitters.


    12 Jun 17 at 12:31 pm

  8. that is, quick to the majors.

    And no, I don’t see them taking a medical pitcher.

    The philosophy to follow is best 2016. Dunning was a low mileage and under the radar college arm. They used the TJ flyer on a third round pick who fell, and they paid for him with slot saings.

    In the meantime, Kieboom was good scouting and they made the family connection pay off. Neuse has been the guy they hoped for at round 2. And with extra $$ they got Armond Upshaw, whom they are hopeful for, just as they were pleased with the Schrock and Watson investments before them.

    I’d be surprised if they took Romero at #1. They allow Boras to use them for media hype, and if someone else chooses Romero and a guy like Peterson falls to the Nats as a result, everybody is happy.

    Freeing up the extra cash makes the future come true. A little extra might have landed last year’s #34 Morgan Cooper, who went back to school and is one of the higher rated righthanders in this year’s draft.


    12 Jun 17 at 12:40 pm

  9. I won’t be disappointed if the Nats “reach” in respect to conventional wisdom, as long as it’s not for a HS pitcher. I think there’s too much good college pitching in this draft to pay the premium to sign a HS kid in the first round.

    In the last two drafts (the post-Roy Clark era), it could be argued that the Nats “reached” on Dunning, Neuse, Stevenson, and maybe Perkins as well (projections on him differed). They weren’t big reaches, but they were 10-20 picks ahead of where they were expected in some cases. So clearly, the Nats had their own grading and were thinking about their own needs. In most cases, they were college guys.

    Who might be on the “reach” list this year? The college guys just beyond the first round consensus would be Wil Crowe, Corbin Martin (so many SEC starters!), Rooker, Fairchild, Drew Ellis, Deichmann, maybe Skoug if you don’t believe the reports that he could drop to the 3d round because of contact issues. All might sign under-slot. I don’t think they would be as interested in speed-first guys like Kevin Merrell and Brian Miller because they’ve already got a lot of those type of players.


    12 Jun 17 at 1:48 pm

  10. Canning did not impress me in CWS tourney; under sized, skinny little guy, like a lightweight Tim Lincecum. Give me someone with some meat on his bones.

    Rooker, btw, has looked awful in the super regional.

    Todd Boss

    12 Jun 17 at 1:49 pm

  11. I’m liking a possible linkage to Tanner Houck. Lots of mocks have him going to Baltimore at #21; if that happens I still think there’s value down there with some of these names we’ve been discussing.

    Todd Boss

    12 Jun 17 at 2:03 pm

  12. Here’s the Hags roster:

    Sort the pitchers by height. Half of these guys are 6-4 or better. That’s reason #1 I don’t think the Nats would be particularly interested in Canning, or Schmidt for that matter. They have a “type,” particularly for RHP, and it’s 6-4/6-5, 200+.

    Yeah, Rooker had no hits but three walks in the two losses to LSU, against Lange in the first game.


    12 Jun 17 at 2:21 pm

  13. Just finished up the Keith Law chat, and man he’s convinced the Nats are taking Romero.

    He better be f*cking good.

    Todd Boss

    12 Jun 17 at 4:10 pm

  14. Like Rizzo tips his hand? Not.

    Pundits gonna pundit.


    12 Jun 17 at 5:37 pm

  15. [Bangs head against computer.]

    They have Crownover, Borne, McKenzie Mills (looking terrific), Watson, and paid a mint for Luzardo. There’s no reason to reach for a lefty right now.

    Here’s the biggest deal to me. We’ve all played with and/or tried to coach players who think the rules don’t apply to them, who try to get away with everything. It’s terrible for the whole team, for anyone who has to deal with the kid. And what these kids were doing generally is less toxic than what Romero has done. The Houston coach finally kicked his best player off the team. That’s the “recommendation” from his college coach: that he had to go.

    I don’t care if he’s the next Kershaw (which he’s not); he’s just not worth the hassle.


    12 Jun 17 at 5:41 pm

  16. I asked Law a question in his chat, and his answer was even more confusing than the act of taking Romero. I asked what he meant in his mock about the Nats taking Romero (something like ‘at some point it becomes indistinguishable from parody ‘) and he said that if you want to take an educated guess who the Nats will take, look for the most well known name left on the board. I assume he meant a shot at Rizzo’s penchant for stars, which I’ve heard before. But it was more direct criticism than I had heard before.

    As for Romero, he probably is a head case. But smoking weed and getting into a fight with a teammate aren’t the worst things a guy can do, especially a 2o yr old kid. Not saying I like it, but how about the kid from oregon that abused a minor? I wouldn’t take a chance on a guy like that under any circumstances. Even if it guaranteed a WS.


    12 Jun 17 at 6:15 pm

  17. The word is that the guy from Oregon State isn’t getting drafted, at all.

    I wrote something along these lines on Nats Prospects. What Romero did isn’t comparable to that, or to Joe Mixon (or to Okla. letting him stay in school!) But Romero is a habitual offender, the classic case of “rules don’t apply to me” that I described above. He was suspended at the beginning of his soph season after gaining 40-50 pounds. After the positive drug test, and being let back on the team, he let himself be photographed in uniform with a bong. (Hey, I’m the star, I can do anything!) Then there was the fight, and who knows what else.

    Does he deserve a chance? Sure. “Talent” always keeps getting a chance. Just let it be with another team. (The Mets seem to love knucklehead hurlers.)

    Wally, you’re making it sound like KLaw has been orchestrating this whole thing. It sure seems orchestrated, by someone, although I was blaming Boras.

    We’ll see. Interesting doings at the top of the draft thus far. I’m not happy to see the Braves get a front-line starter who can help them sooner rather than later!


    12 Jun 17 at 8:06 pm

  18. Wow, Hiura all the way up at #9. I’ve been trying to tell people that he’s the best all-around hitter in the draft. Adell at #10, so no temptation for the Nats to overpay.

    Faedo and Bukauskas falling out of the top 10 should bode well for someone like Lange or Houck still being on the board at #25.


    12 Jun 17 at 8:24 pm

  19. Bukauskas falling was kind of expected; his last two starts were on the biggest stage and were his worst. But someone is goign to get a frigging steal. The guy was going 6th two weeks ago.

    Todd Boss

    12 Jun 17 at 8:39 pm

  20. Bukauskas at #15. Faedo still on the board, as are guys like Peterson, Lange, and Houck, as well as hitters White and Warmoth. I think the hitters will be gone by #25, but there’s going to be a darn good college pitcher or two from whom to choose.

    Alas, I’ve got to turn in, so I’ll have some surprises in the morning.


    12 Jun 17 at 9:00 pm

  21. Wow, Yanks take the plunge on Schmidt at #16. What’s the story of Faedo falling? There was some talk of that last week, but he’s been great in the postseason. He was in the 1/1 conversation going into the season.


    12 Jun 17 at 9:04 pm

  22. Romero it is. Another “buy low” 1st rounder, just not because of injury this time. The Nats must hope they can keep him on the straight and narrow, but of course that didn’t work with Elijah Dukes.

    Karl Kolchak

    12 Jun 17 at 9:57 pm

  23. I wasn’t implying that KLaw was orchestrating anything. I’m still trying to figure out what he meant by the chat comment. I was just saying that enough people were mocking it that there might be something to it.

    KW – good call on Hiura, you were early on him. I think BAL got pretty good value in DL Hall. I also was surprised that ARI went Smith over Haseley.

    And my guy Brendon Little went to CHC. Damn, I think he is going to be good.

    Lange and Rooker still out there.


    12 Jun 17 at 10:13 pm

  24. Wow.

    Big risk here. Let’s see how this plays out. Randy Moss or Johnny Manziel?


    12 Jun 17 at 11:03 pm

  25. Hat tip to Keith Law. They must love his arm.


    12 Jun 17 at 11:03 pm

  26. Not a great night. The Nats 1st round pick is a head case and the bullpen is now in full blown meltdown mode.

    Before I said they need at least 2 more quality veteran arms to compete in the postseason and that 3 would be better. Now 3 should be the minimum, although I doubt they’d even be able to pull off that many trades. Plus, there’s obviously no way the Lerners would agree to take on that much extra salary.

    Karl Kolchak

    12 Jun 17 at 11:58 pm

  27. Sigh. The Nats passed on Little and Lange, both of whom went to the Cubs, as well as Nate Pearson.

    I’ve said my piece on Romero. They’re making a huge investment in a knucklehead. Boras had better be giving us a huge discount as part of this drug deal.

    LOVE getting Wil Crowe at #65. He’s a hard-throwing TJ guy who had been mentioned as high as the end of the first round and comp. balance picks. In other words, the Nats got him 30-35 picks later than he had been projected.

    Now it’s time for some bats. Will Evan Skoug still be there at #105?


    13 Jun 17 at 5:18 am

  28. Skoug is a C? I’m usually not a fan of drafting Cs in the first 5 rounds. I’d be ecstatic if they could get and sign Nick Allen or Enlow but don’t see either happening.

    Maybe we’ll be surprised and they will get Romero at $1m, allowing them to draft some more quality kids.


    13 Jun 17 at 6:52 am

  29. More pitching, please.


    13 Jun 17 at 8:04 am

  30. Skoug is a catcher . . . with 20 HRs this season. Buffalo 2.0 (including the same high K numbers).

    Romero only halfway makes sense if there’s a deep discount to allow the Nats some money play overslot somewhere later.

    Another note on Crowe: he may have dropped because of a velocity drop during this season. It’s his first one back from TJ, so he may be an early shut-down candidate this summer. He’ll also turn 23 in a couple of months. On a more positive note, he weighs 250, so he can beat the crap out of Romero if he gets out of line!

    Bats! I want POWER bats!


    13 Jun 17 at 8:17 am

  31. Here’s one guy’s take on the best players still available:

    Would it be too much to hope that the “promise” to Tristan Beck is from the Nats, with the money they’re allegedly saving on Romero?


    13 Jun 17 at 8:40 am

  32. new posted on Romero and Crowe briefly.

    Todd Boss

    13 Jun 17 at 9:27 am

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