Nationals Arm Race

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

2017 Draft coverage; DC Area Local draftees and who didn’t get drafted of note


Bukauskas was the highest DC-area player taken this year.  Photo Bill Kamenjar/

Bukauskas was the highest DC-area player taken this year. Photo Bill Kamenjar/

Draft Coverage so far for 2017:

Here’s a quick rundown of the DC-area kids who got drafted this year.  My definition of “DC Area” includes any draftee who went to HS in the DC area or who attends a DC-area college.  Thus this includes University of Maryland players, even inf most of them went to HS outside the area. has a version of this story, and also published one if you’re interested.

RoundOverallStateDrafting TeamNamePositionCol/HSHSCollege
115VAHoustonJ.B. BukauskasRHPCol JrStone Bridge (Ashburn)UNC
2-S70VAColoradoTommy DoyleRHPCol JrFlint Hill (Vienna)UVA
4129MDTorontoKevin SmithSSCol JrUpdate NYUmaryland
6172MDArizonaBrian ShafferRHPCol JrN. Harford, Pylesville MDUmaryland
10294VAMilwaukeeAlec BettingerRHPCol JrHylton (Woodbridge)UVA
14422MDNew York YankeesHarold CortijoRHPHSRiverdale BaptistSeminole State
17515VADetroitBilly LescherRHPCol JrWest Potomac HSPenn
17524VATexasTyler Ratliff3BCol JrTC Williams Marshall U
18527VACincinnatiJohn GhyzelRHPCol JrWestfield (C'ville)U Rochester
19558VASan DiegoNick Feight1BCol SrBattlefieldUNC-Wilmington
19566VAColoradoJoey BartosicCFCol SrOakton HSGeorge Washington
20598MD/VAPittsburghWill ReedRHPJ2Loudoun Valley (Purceville)Harford CC
21625VALos Angeles AngelsDevon PerezRHPCol JrStone Bridge (Ashburn)Oklahoma
22653VAPhiladelphiaBrian Mims2BCol JrForest Park HS (Woodbridge)UNC-Wilmington
27800MDAtlantaRandy BednarCFHSLandon SchoolUmaryland
27820MDLos Angeles DodgersJeremy ArochoSSHSOld MillNorthwest Florida State College
31921VAOaklandBrandon WithersRHPCol Sr5Osborn (Manassas)JMU
31937MDNew York MetsRyan SelmerRHPCol JrRiverdale BaptistUmaryland
32946VAMinnesotaNick BrownRHPCol SrPatriot (Bristow)William & Mary
341023MDSeattleDavid HesslinkLHPCol SrBethesda-Chevy ChaseMIT
361071VAOaklandLogan FarrarOF/LHPCol JrWoodbridge HSVCU
371109MDMiamiJared PriceRHPCol Sr5Pennsylvania HSUMaryland

That’s not a bad collection of DC-area guys.  We all knew J.B. Bukauskas would go high; lots of the mock drafts I saw had him as high as 6th.  However two unsteady starts to close out his career (in the ACC tourney and then in the Regionals of the CWS) dropped him probably 10 spots from where he could have gone.  Rumor has it he was suffering from a blister.  Suffice it to say, Houston has to be ecstatic that they got him at 15.  I’m slightly surprised how high Tommy Doyle went honestly; I would have guessed him to go a bit lower based on his profile now at UVA (reliever).  But he’s now looking at an $800k+ bonus.  UMaryland infielder Kevin Smith went a bit lower than projections.  Maryland RHP Brian Shaffer also went a bit ahead of schedule, going in the 6th round after having some helium this spring.  The last DC-area top-10 pick with a guaranteed slot was also a surprise to me: another UVA arm in Alec Bettinger went in the 10th round.  Again a surprise given his profile as a reliever.  But certainly not on talent or reputation; Bettinger’s name has been known to local baseball followers for years.

Riverdale Baptist’s Harold Cortijo, the All-Met player of the year, went in the 14th round.  It should be interesting to see what he does.  It seemed to me from reading his interviews that he intended to go pro, but a 14th round pick somewhat limits the bonus dollars he can get.  I wonder if he goes to JuCo and tries again next year.

Three DC-area prep graduates who, frankly, I’d never heard of went in the 17th and 18th rounds.  All three were at lower-profile baseball colleges.

Two area guys who play for UNC-Wilmington and who got some pre-season All America mention went in the 19th and 22nd round respectively: Nick Feight and Brian Mims were surprises to me to go so low.

The only other DC-area prep guys to even get drafted this year were two of the leading prep players in the area: Landon’s Randy Bednar, who went in the 27th and seems likely to honor his commit to UMaryland.  Also Old Mill’s Jeremy Orocho, who  is a longtime Evoshield Canes member and who apparently gave up on his UMaryland commit to go to JuCo.  I’m guessing he plays a year of community college and re-applies for the draft.


So here’s a short list of the higher profile DC-area kids who did NOT get drafted at all that i’ve been tracking for a while: These commits change constantly so apologies if I have one of them wrong.

  • Kyle Whitten, RHP/1B from Osbourn Park in Manassas, VA.  Early commit to UVA.
  • Tyler Solomon, C/1B from Battlefield HS in Haymarket, VA.  Early commit to Vanderbilt
  • Anthony Simonelli RHP from Millbrook in Winchester, VA.  Early commit to Coastal Carolina
  • Michael Ludowig, OF from Briar Woods.  Early commit to Wake Forest.
  • Connor Hartigan, OF from Millbrook in Winchester, VA.  Was Early commit to Coastal Carolina, now committed to University of South Carolina-Sumter.


A far cry from 2016 with multiple prep kids from the area going in the top rounds.  I’ll do a similar post for the extended DC/MD/VA area next.

26 Responses to '2017 Draft coverage; DC Area Local draftees and who didn’t get drafted of note'

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  1. Auburn starts play Monday, too soon to incorporate 2017 draftees. And their official roster is fairly non-existent. So the beginning of NYPL play always brings surprises. That’s how Rey Lopez busted out a few years back.

    Who matriculates early from the Dominican prospects, and who skips up north? There are lots of holdovers from the 2016 draft, and the Nats have not been promoting from the low minors. And, a few players who had been DL.

    One year ago today, no one knew Juan Soto’s talent. Now he is the #2 prospect in the Nats system. With the big signees of the 2016 haul not active in DSL play, and other 2015 signees not active, it will be interesting which kids, truly kids, get the fast track to Florida to play alongside all of the college pitching auditioning for a move up to Auburn.

    There are a lot of bodies to create a lot of competition. No clue who will emerge. But with the organization as depleted as it is, not only from trade but underperformance, the opportunities are there and we will have a completely revamped top slate of prospects by early September. Hope summers eternal.


    16 Jun 17 at 9:11 am

  2. I’ll do a full nats recap soon. Need the weekend to digest and write and format.

    I will say this: there stands to be a wholesale dumpster fire of player releases out of Viera. I count more than a dozen names still sitting in XST who didn’t make full season squads; there’s just no room for them given the number of arms we’ve just drafted.

    I count 7 guys who really are slotting into higher levels (guys like John Lannan, for example, who clearly isn’t going to get released for a 2017 draftee). But there’s also 6 names who were in Auburn last year who didn’t make Hagerstown who are probably gone as soon as these 2017 guys start signing. And there’s more than a dozen GCL guys who might get squeezed too.

    Todd Boss

    16 Jun 17 at 9:24 am


    Keith Law’s take on the NL drafts. His AL team by team review was yesterday.

    Todd Boss

    16 Jun 17 at 9:25 am

  4. Well, we were certainly hoping that Juan Soto had talent since he got a large signing bonus. But yes, there was still no guarantee that he was going to dominate in the GCL like he did. Antuna and Garcia don’t have the same type power tools that Soto does, so it will be more difficult to judge with them.

    Yes, there are a lot of pitchers in the Nat organization who are about to have their dreams crushed. On the flip side, I’m very eager to see what Luzardo and Ryan Williamson can do. I also wonder about the status of wounded arms Andrew and Nick Lee and Bryan Harper. Will any of them be back on the mound this year? Andrew Lee had his surgery last June, but it was his second TJ.

    Among those who haven’t progressed as hoped is a local product, Kevin Mooney. He got bypassed pretty quickly by guys in his 2015 class like Glover, Brinley, and A. Lee.


    16 Jun 17 at 9:39 am

  5. Bonuses are no prognostication in any organization, including the Nats. Example: Robles – 225K bonus. Top prospect. Bencosme – 400K bonus treading water. Rey Lopez 25K bonus – pushed to the point of skipping GCL.

    Consider that in the same class as Soto, the next highest bonus baby, Elvis Alvarado, started play THIS year and has one hit in 27 ab in the DSL. But he is 6’4 and came out pretty hyped.

    The Nats have three high priced IFA picks who are not on the DSL rosters. Antuna, Garcia, and Sanchez. So…are any of them coming to Florida, as did Soto? That is as much a maturity issue as a talent one.

    Antuna they showered with money. As an organization that does not. So on some level, he amounts to following him as we would a first round pick.


    16 Jun 17 at 10:14 am

  6. Beyond the stragglers, there are a lot of real talents down in XST who have not yet appeared. I think the Sciallabba farm system is much slower about promoting the position players this year and it is keeping a number of players back who would otherwise be in Hagerstown getting a shot.

    A few position players in particular have caught my attention: Evangelista, Simonetti, Upshaw, and catchers Baez and Harris. The team invested a lot in Upshaw and remain quite impressed with him. Cole Freeman looks ticketed for Auburn and as the team leader at the top of the order, and local product Beckwith to short. But the lack of position players drafted in the high rounds and even overall makes for an intriguing story line for who gets the call to Auburn to start in the infield, otherwise.

    Pitching is another story. The tell was the Nats signing retreads MLFA when they had backfill in XST. So yes, the purge is coming, and we may see pitchers from this draft in Hagerstown faster than usual, if they show up well early. But as I noted earlier, since pitchers are drafted on potential first, and the team does not tinker with their bad habits untill the fall instructionals, the raw players we have been talking about are not necessarily going to make any impact this year. But there are a number of 2016 pitchers, including 2016 DSL products, who will have their coming out parties in the warmer weather.

    The pitchers I am watching post closely from the newcomers are Peguero, Alvarado, Jhonathan German,

    There was a catching glut, sure, (which is amazing when one considers what Lobaton looks like at the ML level this year), and that also contributes to slow promotions. Harris, a 2016 draftee, showed up well last year as a defense first catcher. Baez is a real talent who needs to get game reps. Tillero disappeared to a restricted list just as it appeared his bat was taking off. And the team has then gone out and drafted a bunch of catchers this week, to go along with a portfolio of catching prospects in the Dominican. So perhaps the Nats are stockpiling assets for trade discussions, to provide depth (Ready being shopped? Gushue?)


    16 Jun 17 at 10:41 am

  7. correction: Acevedo, and I see that he is injured. So one less arm for the newbies to compete with.


    16 Jun 17 at 10:44 am

  8. One of the curiosities of the international class signed last year that’s about to debut is that while Antuna got more money, Garcia is getting more prospect hype.

    I’m also on the Simonetti bandwagon (despite the K’s), all the more now since the Nats drafted NO power this year. I hope Upshaw proves worth his bonus, but I’ve been skeptical all along. It was concerning that neither of those guys could make what proved to be an awful Auburn team last year, though (although many of the same players, as well as the team collectively, are getting much better results at Hags).


    16 Jun 17 at 10:58 am

  9. Well, they did draft a little very raw power this year in JUCOs Eric Senior (17 HRs) and Jamori Blach (11 HRs). Senior had 15 doubles, 7 triples, and 17 homers, with a .398 average. That’s an impressive line in any league, no matter the level of competition.

    It’s curious that they ended up drafting so many catchers but passed repeatedly on Skoug. Yes, I would think that the catchers in the lower minors are now on about as much notice as the borderline pitchers.


    16 Jun 17 at 11:21 am

  10. Power is hard to project from numbers. The Nats drafted three players in recent memory who had college under their belts and were taken higher for the power they displayed – Gardner, Kerian, and Page. Page is still around, but none of the anticipated power showed up there. Same with Nick Banks.

    Then you look at people like Daniel Johnson.

    So the scouts have their own way of measuring the potential of power. Bat speed? Velocity off the bat? Clearly it’s more than just height and weight.

    You by now know me to be an optimist, but the nats drafted a smaller college power hitter who once hit two home runs early in his GCL career. He never went anywhere, though, and was out of baseball at year’s end.

    So the short of it is, the Nats likely anticipate power from every one of the Latin hitters they gave a lot of money to. If you want a slick fielder, draft David Masters in the ninth round and pay him 5K.

    As we watch with Drew Ward and his slow pace relative to the development of Johnson, when and how that power develops, and to some degree, are a convergence of coaching and things that do not appear in the box score.

    That is why, when people speak of players like Robles for whom the ball makes a different sound coming off the bat, power can be anticipated even before it is witnessed in stats. Without starting an argument on another topic, it’s why I’ve stayed on the Taylor bandwagon this long. And why people believe that Marmelos will eventually be hitting home runs.


    16 Jun 17 at 12:33 pm

  11. I was referencing Philip Deidrick of Western Kentucky.


    16 Jun 17 at 12:34 pm

  12. re: Antuna. If they could spot Robles, I trust DiPuglia to make a 4m call on Antuna. We’ll know where he lands soon enough.


    16 Jun 17 at 12:36 pm

  13. Johnson hit 12 HRs his junior season, which was very likely what vaulted him into the top five rounds. He hit more than anyone else the Nats drafted last year except Simonetti, and more than anyone they drafted this year except Senior (in JUCO). [Oops, just realized that I forgot Jake Scudder’s 13.] Now, no one could be sure that Johnson’s numbers in the WAC with metal would translate to sea level and wood, but drafting guys who have gotten the ball out of the park before is a good place to start.

    Yes, we’re constantly told that power is the hardest thing to “project.” Pitching seems to be the next-hardest, so the Nats tend to crowd-source that issue. That’s why it drives me nuts that they don’t go after more higher-voltage bats. We know that only a few are going to pan out, and that it’s impossible to know which few. Wiseman looked good on paper out of Vandy and hit 13 HRs last year at Hags but is struggling to hit his weight at Potomac . . . but he still has seven HRs in slightly less than half a season.

    My point is that the Nats have thrown a few darts at power but haven’t really invested in it, and it shows.


    16 Jun 17 at 1:35 pm

  14. Lest we not take the draft, and the announced positions, too seriously:

    Let Andrew Lee hit!


    16 Jun 17 at 2:05 pm

  15. I thought hitting (the hit tool) was the hardest thing to project, not power. I thought power was projectsble through some combination of bat speed and swing mechanics? And that pitching was easier to project because or present and projected velocity and spin? With command being the hardest thing about pitching to project? Maybe I’m quibbling.

    I think the Nats don’t go for the power guys because power without a hit tool is a guy that doesn’t get past AA, whereas speed and defense without power has a chance to be a utility guy at lleast, and much more if the hit tool comes around (and a top 10 prospect like Robles if power also develops)? So they take Upshaw, Perkins, etc and hope one or two develop as hitters?

    Law’s write up wasn’t so bad. The expected snarky knock about Romero, and reliever-wish comments about the rest. Not glowing, certainly


    16 Jun 17 at 4:55 pm

  16. Just wanted to note how I love that the big club has taken care of business in NYC, with 15 runs in two games. Things could have started getting uncomfortable if they hadn’t, but the Mets are now back to -10.5. Harper seems to be getting back on track, and of course Murph always sees red when Mr. Met is involved. (One of the few cases where it’s good to have a disgruntled former employee!)

    As for “projectable power,” I’m not sure it really exists. Teams are wrong about it 95 percent of the time, but in the few times when it actually develops, they say they foresaw it. It’s much easier to “project” power from guys actually hitting homers when you draft them than from ones who aren’t.


    17 Jun 17 at 1:33 pm

  17. Pitching success is a similar beast. That’s what bugs me so much about the high pick of the “projectable” Mr. Racquet. As we all recall, the Nats once spent a second-round pick on a hard-throwing righty who had a small-college ERA over 5.00. And guess what, Jake Johansen continued to have ERAs over 5.00, like clockwork. Like all of them, I hope Racquet works out, but I’m very skeptical.


    17 Jun 17 at 1:41 pm

  18. It’s complicated, I think that was my point.

    My point is also to not presume that there are no power prospects down below besides Simonetti. We are literally waiting for the curtain to be lifted on June 26, to see what the system has (although Auburn starts Monday with a skeletal roster, since signees won;t report for a number of days.

    The bonuses being given to some of the seniors in rounds 1-10 are ridiculously low. It feels unfair to compare a bonus of 2,500 with that of 7 million for players that were drafted in the first ten rounds. The system needs to be retweaked. I think the cap limits are stupid and anti-competitive.


    18 Jun 17 at 5:25 am

  19. Happy Father’s Day to all

    Two questions, if you know:
    -is there a list anywhere of Nats’ signings? I see the big ones trickling in on BA but haven’t heard anything about the Nats
    – does anyone know how to research how many times a batter reaches on an error? Seems like TT creates a lot of those but wanted to see what the stats say


    18 Jun 17 at 12:33 pm

  20. Here’s where you can follow the signings of the top 10 rounds for all teams:

    (This list isn’t showing any Nat picks as signed yet.)

    As I recall, it’s hard to get info on guys beyond the first 10 rounds. If folks know of other sites, please share them.


    19 Jun 17 at 6:37 am

  21. Ok, Neil Greenberg helped me figure out how to research ROEs (reached on errors). Turner has almost twice as many as anyone else (10 v 6). If these were counted as hits, his batting line would be .304/.336/.427. If they were counted as walks, he’d be at .265/.336/.427 (this is the method that makes most sense to me)

    My take is that an error could just be a brain freeze on the fielder’s part, but could also be influenced by how hard the ball is hit, how much spin it has, or even the speed of the batter. I’m not saying that it definitely is a batter skill, but it might be and is worth some analysis. But at a minimum, it’s silly that the batter not only gets no credit for it, but is in fact penalized in most of the counting stats (treated as an out).


    19 Jun 17 at 9:44 am


    Auburn roster is up. More newbies straight from the DSL than I ever remember. Last chance for people like Encarnacion and Ortiz while news signees get studied in Florida.

    Simonetti is in Auburn, so he must be injured.


    19 Jun 17 at 2:09 pm

  23. Auburn roster post coming tomorrow.

    Todd Boss

    19 Jun 17 at 2:25 pm

  24. I don’t recognize many names there, and many are long in the tooth. Maybe it’s a quick assignment until the draftees are ready then everyone moves up


    19 Jun 17 at 7:47 pm

  25. New posted on Auburn roster.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jun 17 at 9:20 am

  26. Looks like the Nats have signed 11th Round -> Justin Connell OF American Heritage School, Florida HS and 22nd Round -> Nelson Galindez LHP Haines City HS.

    1st Round-Romero, 2nd Round-Crowe will get done. 4th Round-Freeman, 5th Round-Hill, 18th Round- Choruby, 24th Round-Richards, 40th Round Engelbrekt are all in the CWS.

    That really only leaves 13th Round sleeper-Eric Senior, and high upside Missouri P 15th Round -> BA # 146 rated prospect Bryce Montes de Oca as possible Top 25 picks who may go unsigned.


    21 Jun 17 at 1:40 am

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