Nationals Arm Race

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

2017 Rule-5 Addition analysis/predictions

30 comments

Will Gushue get the call this weekend? Photo via mlb.com

Will Gushue get the call this weekend? Photo via mlb.com

We do this every year.  We argue about it every year.  This is now the 8th version of this post (see the bottom for links/summary of the first seven).  Thanks to long-since implemented service time changes the Rule-5 draft remains mitigated in importance.  Yet here we are talking about it again, because we’re some of the few people out there who obsess about the edges of the 40-man roster, and who have meticulously studied our prospects for years and who don’t necessarily want to see the promising ones head out the door for a pittance.   So here we are.

Next Monday at 8pm is the deadline to set 40-man rosters ahead of the Winter Meetings, which include the Rule-5 draft.  With so many teams purposely tanking there’s going to be lots of usage of the draft this year.  Lets take a look at who is eligible, who might get protected and make some predictions.  I’ve got the Nats 40-man roster at 35 now, so there’s plenty of room to add names and do their off-season work.

As always, using the indispensable Nationals resource sites Draft tracker and the Big Board, and then looking up candidate acquisitions made via trade, here’s some thoughts on who might merit protection.   Also incredibly useful is Roster Resource’s Nats Roster, which keeps track of options, rule-5 status and the like.

The quick Rule-5 rules for 2017; any college-aged draftee from 2014 or before who isn’t already on the 40-man roster is Rule-5 eligible this coming off season, and any high-school aged draftee/International Free Agent from 2013 or before is newly eligible this year, assuming they were at least 18 as of June 5th of that year.


 

Newly Eligible 2014 draft College Players this year worth consideration for protection:

  • Austen Williams: he has featured at High-A 3 years running, got moved to AA for the 2nd year running this year and still continues to struggle with that leap.  I don’t think he’s a candidate to protect but is worth mentioning since he’s a long-serving starter in the organization.  The team sent him to the AFL perhaps as an audition for consideration.
  • Tyler Mapes: the 30th round pick continues to be found gold for this team … but he missed the entire 2017 with an injury.  Because of that he’s clearly not a rule-5 danger, but he could fit into the teams plans as a rotation member in AA or AAA this year.  He has a career 2.68 ERA in the minors, vastly outperforming most of the rest of his draft class.
  • Taylor Gushue: the 2017 trade acquisition had a solid year in High-A, is a catcher in a system that needs them, and seems like a lock to add.  He wasn’t set to the AFL for nothing.

Not mentioned: several other draftees from this class that are marginal prospects right now: Dale Carey, Matthew Page, Austin Davidson, Alec Keller, Robbie Dickey, Weston Davis, James Bourque.  All these guys are still in the lower minors.  Dickey represents the biggest investment ($400k signing bonus) and is one of the biggest disappointments from this draft.

Erick Fedde would have been the big name here to protect had he not already been added.  Trea Turner was also a 2014 college draftee.


 

Newly Eligible 2013 High School-age drafted players under consideration for protection

  • Drew Ward: he is literally the only 2013 HS draftee remaining in the system and is an interesting protection case.  He had a great 2016 (making the All Star team and shining in High-A) but has not translated that success to AA.  But, he’s only 22, and a 22-yr old struggling in AA isn’t that surprising.  Question is; do you protect him?  He’s blocked at the major league level by Anthony Rendon but that means little in a game where his value might be in trade versus production for the big league squad.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he got protected.

 

Newly Eligible 2013 signed IFAs under consideration for protection:

  • Edwin Lora: SS who has progressed neatly one level at a time for 5 years.  But he’s a career .238 hitter.  We need a backup utility fielder and he fits the bill, but he doesn’t seem to be ready.  I also don’t see him as a threat to get drafted.
  • Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B recently of the AFL who has shown some promise.  He’s a lock to get protected based on his production and his presence in Arizona.
  • Luis Reyes, RHP who started 26 games for Potomac this year.  He’s a bit wild, but he’s also a solid starter who projects to AA in 2018.  Is that enough to be a draft threat?   Maybe.
  • Anderson Franco, 3B: highly touted on prospect boards, but hit just .201 for low-A this year.  Not a draft candidate but someone to watch/hope for a rebound 2018.

Not mentioned: many 2013 IFA signings throughout the lower levels of the system.  This includes Aldrem Corridor, Joshual Ramirez, Luis Vilorio, Oliver Ortiz, Francys Peguero.  Honestly, I had not even heard of most of these guys and wouldn’t be surprised if I had their eligibility wrong.  They’re mostly in the very low minors.


 

Rule-5 Eligible hold-overs of note: 2013 or prior college draftees still hanging out in the system, or 2012 and prior HS/IFAs.

  • Wander Suero: the 2010 IFA exploded onto the scene this year as the closer in AA and then AAA, posting a 1.79 ERA for the year and heading to the AFL.  He was already added to the roster two weeks ago.
  • John Simms: I’ve always liked this guy; he’s now worked his way to AAA and made 8 starts there last  year.  He isn’t a big K/9 guy, perhaps is seen as an org arm, but he’s got a good pedigree (Rice) and has made it to the cusp of the majors.  Is that enough to protect him?  Probably not.
  • Spencer Kieboom: he struggled enough in 2016 to get DFA’d in early 2017 … but then he hit pretty well in AAA this year.  Is that enough to get him back into the mix?
  • Dakota Bacus: he pitched pretty darn well in relief across High-A and AA this year, and was sent to AFL to get more innings.  Is he an option to add?  He didn’t have the numbers that Suero did, but perhaps the team thinks he could be an option out of the pen.
  • Kyle McGowin: an interesting case since he was sent to the AFL: he struggled badly in 2017, getting demoted to AA at one point and posting a 5.95 ERA for the year.  I don’t think we’d shed a tear if he was drafted, but I don’t think he’s meriting a 40-man spot right now.
  • Joan Baez; power arms don’t grow on trees, and even though he was “only” in high-A this year he’s well known enough to perhaps merit protection.

2013 or before College Draftees that are Rule-5 holdovers include David Masters, Isaac Ballou, Justin Thomas, Matthew DeRosier, Robert Benincasa, Derek Self, Brian Rauh, Ronald Pena, Robert Orlan, Steven Perez, Bryan Mejia, Osvaldo Abreu, Wirkin Estevez, Hector Silvestre, Jefry Rodriguez.  Perhaps at some points in their careers some of these guys seemed like locks, but for now they all toil in the lower minors (for the most part) hoping to put themselves into contention.

MLFAs who are technically Rule-5 eligible:  Yadiel Hernandez,  Irving Falou, Greg Ross, Jaron Long, Jordan Mills.  Long in particular has worked in AAA for three years now, but may be considered an org arm at this point.  Ross looked promising for a while, but struggled badly in 2017.


 

So, who would I protect?

  • Wander Suero (already added)
  • Kelvin Gutierrez
  • Taylor Gushue
  • Drew Ward
  • Joan Baez

Who would I consider: Kieboom, Bacus.  Maybe.

If they added these four additional guys they’d be at 39/40 on the roster, still leaving them immediate room for a FA signing or trade.   But there’s more than a few names on our 40-man currently that could be cut (starting with Voth, Gott, Bautista).  So we could see some manouvering this off-season.

Did I miss anyone?  this is kind of tough analysis without a massive white board with every name in the organization listed … something none of us have time to do for free.

Nats official protection announcement: Gutierrez and Jefry Rodriguez in kind of a shocker.


For a fun trip down memory lane, here’s the same Rule 5 Protection analysis post for 201620152014201320122011, and 2010.

By year, here’s who I predicted we’d add and who we did add.

  • 2017: Predicted: Gutierrez, Gushue, Ward, Baez.  Actual: Gutierrez and Jefry Rodriguez.
  • 2016: Predicted Voth, Bautista.  Actual: Voth, Bautista, Marmolejos, Read and Skole.
  • 2015: Predicted Kieboom, Bostick, Marmolejos-Diaz.  Actual: Kieboom, Bostick, Lee
  • 2014: Predicted Cole, Skole, Goodwin.  Hedged on Grace, Martin and Difo.  Actual: Cole, Goodwin, Difo, Grace.
  • 2013: Predicted Solis as the only lock (Souza already added).  Possibles mentioned in order Barrett, Taylor, Grace, Holland.  Actual: Solis, Barrett, Taylor.
  • 2012: Predicted Karns and McCoy, with Hood and Rosenbaum as maybes.  Actual: Karns and Davis.  I think we were all surprised by Davis’ inclusion, despite his good AA numbers that year.
  • 2011: Predicted Norris as a lock, guessed strongly on Moore, Meyers and Komatsu.  Actual: Norris, Moore, Solano, Perez.    This was poor analysis on my part; I did not consider the IFAs newly eligible.
  • 2010: Predicted Marrero, Meyers and Mandel.  Actual: Marrero, Carr and Kimball.
  • 2009: pre-dates my blog and thus no predictions, but Actual was Jaime, Thompson and Severino.
  • 2008: I might be wrong, but I don’t see any evidence of the team protecting *anyone* prior to the Rule-5 draft.  A bit of an indictment of the farm system at the time, I’d say :-)

30 Responses to '2017 Rule-5 Addition analysis/predictions'

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  1. Todd, thank you so much for this. So many threads you do that are worth looking forward to, and I and the others really appreciate the sandbox you maintain for us.

    That noted, they have five spots now, with the prospect for removing folks after the rule 5 who will pass through waivers, I would imagine.
    I would protect:

    John Simms – His ascent reminds me of a player who gets no respect or prospect pub, just gets it done and knows how to pitch. He will pitch in the major leagues one day, and I think he is on the organizational starting pitching depth chart — and should be even higher than Cole, who should be converted to long relief.

    Kelvin Gutierrez – A lock

    Joan Baez – A big arm waiting to break out. He really delivered well late in the year, looking like someone who could make it as a starter.

    Yadiel Hernandez (if they need to) – Another guy who I see on a much more upward trajectory, even with his age. Very underrated prospect by the pundits.

    As for the others, Gushue has not passed Read on the depth chart in any way, even though he took a leap forward. Kieboom is a maybe for me, especially with his brother in the org, because Severino may falter and I’m not so sure that Kieboom isn’t one of those folks who shows up better in the bigs. Like his eye, like his defensive chops, and his pop. Don;t see a long term future for Read here unless he keeps improving. As for Ward, he’s faded to what might have been.

    forensicane

    17 Nov 17 at 11:00 am

  2. You guys are WAY more aggressive on this than I am. We’ve been debating Gutierrez’s merits a bit on Luke’s site over the last couple of weeks as he’s made good contact in AZ but still shown little power. Heck, even Stevenson showed a little pop in AZ last year! That’s the rub with Gutierrez. I’ve seen him a few times at Potomac. He has a major-league body, looks like he should be hitting 30 a year. In fact, he has only seven homers over five pro seasons. You couldn’t play a corner position on a good D1 college team with that little power, much less an MLB one.

    Drew Ward is three months younger than Gutierrez and has played a year and a half at AA, compared to no AA time for Guiterrez. If I were to protect one of the two, it would be Ward, but I don’t see much reason to protect him after the struggles he had at Harrisburg this season. Would you pick a guy at a corner position in the Rule 5 draft who slugged .356 this season? I wouldn’t. I’m not saying that he won’t be protected, only that there’s little reason to fear losing him.

    Suero was the only slam dunk, and he’s been added. Gushue looked like Piazza for six weeks at Potomac but then fell off a cliff and didn’t even get moved up after basically two seasons at A+ level. No need to protect him. Williams has an ERA over 10 in AZ after twice failing AA. He’ll be lucky to stay in baseball, much less make the 40-man. Baez had a 1.646 WHIP at A+ at age 22 and didn’t even get the AZ call. Supposed to have a big arm, but K/9 of only 7.4. No to him as well.

    Yadiel Hernandez had a very good second half at Harrisburg after a slow start. He intrigues me. But he’s also 30 years old. There are a number of OFs in their 30s out there who will sign MiLB deals. The Nats have already re-signed Raburn. So while I hope Hernandez is back, I don’t think they need to protect him.

    S. Kieboom’s rebound at Syracuse also intrigues me. He would seem to be behind Severino and Read in the pecking order, though, . . . and with the hope that the Nats add another catcher behind Wieters in the offseason. If there is a player potentially at risk of being lost in Rule 5, it’s probably Kieboom, but it’s also hard to see the Nats committing to five catchers on the 40-man (assuming another is added).

    So . . . my protection order (beyond Suero) would be Ward, Kieboom, and Hernandez, although I don’t think any of them have to be protected. If I’m predicting who they add, I think it will just be Ward, although they generally surprise me with someone.

    KW

    17 Nov 17 at 12:51 pm

  3. What’s Jimmy Cordero’s status? The Nats DFA’d him off the 40-man last season while he was being awful at Harrisburg. He’s been very good in AZ, though, and might tempt someone if he’s on the Rule 5 list.

    KW

    17 Nov 17 at 12:55 pm

  4. By the way, I think Weston Davis is still a “prospect.” He’s only 21. He had some injury issues in 2017, started the season late, and struggled. He was very good at Auburn in 2016 in his age-19 season, though. He’s never pitched above Hagerstown, so there’s no Rule 5 threat of losing him, but he could be one we’re debating protecting next offseason.

    KW

    17 Nov 17 at 1:03 pm

  5. I should have noted my general reasoning behind rule5 additions. For me, protecting a player is a combination of the following:
    – “famousness” of the prospect (i.e. the more famous/visible the more likely they get picked … famous can be a high draft pick, or frequently on prospect lists, or having played in the AFL)
    – likelihood of a player really being able to stick on a MLB roster next year … in other words, a guy in high-A is really, really unlikely to be able to cut it so there’s generally no reason to protect them.
    – … but the likelihood of a one-inning reliever/utility infielder/backup catcher being able to stick being caveated versus, say, a corner infielder who would be expected to hit.
    – lastly … points against a guy who looks/smells like an org arm since those are available a dime a dozen on the open market (look at our entire AAA rotation last year).

    So, I said Kelvin Gutierrez, Taylor Gushue, Drew Ward, Joan Baez.
    – gutierrez is famous
    – Gushue is in a position of scarcity
    – Ward is kind of famous in that he was a pretty high draft pick
    – Baez could probably be a 6th inning one-pitch reliever right now given his velocity.

    Forensicane likes Simms, the cuban Yadiel Hernandez, doesn’t like Gushue. Simms for just smells like org-arm. Hernandez is 30; he’s not a prospect and frankly i don’t know why he’s blocking other prospects at this point.

    KW likes Ward, Kieboom, Hernandez. Kieboom is another interesting case as i noted; if the team were to max out its 40-man roster right now i’d also think about adding him back. I mean, he was considered good enough two seasons ago to add, and he had a solid 2017. We’re going to be losing a catcher in FA, so we need to build back up depth.

    Cordero; looks like a 2011 IFA so he’d also be eligble. I missed him (this analysis is tough). 6.84 ERA in AA with as many walks as strikeouts? No need to protect, even if he featured in the AFL.

    Todd Boss

    17 Nov 17 at 3:00 pm

  6. Gutierrez is “famous” . . . for having no power. You really think a team is going to pick a guy who hasn’t played above A+ and has no power? Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t given up on Gutierrez; I just don’t understand significant fuss about him yet. But yes, you walk in the ballpark, and he’s the first guy you see who you look up in the program. He absolutely looks like a major-leaguer in the uniform. (Daniel Johnson looks like the bat boy . . . and hit 22 homers this season, 20 more than Gutierrez.)

    There’s a heck of a lot more chance of losing Cordero in the draft than Baez. If a team wants to take a flyer on Baez, good luck to him. Same with Gushue, who is hitting .143 in AZ.

    The big club has a bunch of spots to fill this offseason, and I just can’t see them loading up the 40-man with a bunch of marginal guys. They will add a starting pitcher, probably a couple of guys for the bullpen, hopefully another catcher, a slugging 1B/LF Lind replacement, and a Drew INF replacement. That’s five guys right there. Yes, Voth could be DFA’d at any time with no harm. But I really don’t think they’re going to hamstring themselves by filling up the 40-man with two or three guys who haven’t played above A+. I will be surprised if they add more than two or three to the 40-man beyond Suero. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t add anyone else.

    KW

    17 Nov 17 at 3:28 pm

  7. Agree with KW in that I don’t think you really have to protect any of these guys since none of them are likely to be drafted and kept for a year by anyone. Between the guys who have already been added to the roster and the terrible drafts from 2012-2014 there aren’t really very many in the upper minors that you have to worry about protecting.

    Todd, I’m a little confused as to why Baez is in this post as a holdover since he wasn’t in last year’s post and only seems to have been playing since 2014. Not that I’d protect him, but is Phillips Valdez eligible to be taken or is he a Minor League Free Agent by now? I also think many of the guys you list as holdover (e.g. Ballou, Benincasa) have already been cut loose in the last year or two.

    James

    18 Nov 17 at 8:31 am

  8. Yes, Ballou was released. Matthew Page as well. I’m not sure about some of the others. Yes, the 2012-14 drafts have become black holes, and there’s not too much promising from 2015, either, other than Glover. Stevenson looks like the very limited player he was when he was drafted, and Perkins is progressing very slowly.

    KW

    18 Nov 17 at 8:52 am

  9. Jeff Todd, who I think is a DMV native (MD side, maybe?), has the MLBTR Offseason Outlook posted for the Nats:

    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/11/offseason-outlook-washington-nationals-7.html

    KW

    18 Nov 17 at 8:56 am

  10. […] Todd Boss breaks it down at NationalsArmsRace and about the only thing I’d disagree with is protecting Drew Ward – he can’t be hidden on a bench as he’s not a viable defensive replacement and is not very fast. About the only intrigue is learning which of the IFAs the Nationals feel (fear) might be the next Felipe Rivero. […]

  11. Baez; admittedly this rule-5 protection piece is kind of tough because the rules are so iffy. Baez’s eligibility is based on how old he was when he signed, which I donn’t know. Baseball Prospectus’ depth chart says he’s rule-5 eligible so I put him in (https://www.rosterresource.com/mlb-washington-nationals).

    Same thing on the releases of these guys. I didn’t know off the top of my head about Ballou for example being released. I was depending there on the draft tracker being updated; it still has Ballou being active. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pZpAxtq3K6SxrHb6YSe3_NF6Cay0MkeYwW1Dc2_KHrE/edit?hl=en&hl=en#gid=0

    Todd Boss

    19 Nov 17 at 7:14 pm

  12. I don’t think any of these guys are critical keeps, and I have trouble seeing them staying on someone else’s roster for all of next year anyway.

    But here’s what I think their key offseason move needs to be: re-sign Howie Kendrick. He is a hedge against so many spots – Zim, Murph, OF, plus great bench bat – that he’ll be worth the $8m. I’ll bet he gets close to 500 PAs. I’d even take him for two years.

    They need some SPs too, but I’m not expecting more than some NRI types.

    Wally

    19 Nov 17 at 7:38 pm

  13. There is a bigger risk losing guys if you have to DFA them off the 40-man than there is in the Rule 5 draft. If I’m remembering correctly, the Nats haven’t even had a Rule 5 draftee since Nieto in 2013. The Chisox kept him all year in 2014 . . . but he hasn’t been in the majors since. Conversely, the Nats lost Bostick to a DFA claim (and got Gushue in return) after Bostick was added to the 40-man ahead of Rule 5 when there was virtually no risk he would be taken in the draft. People still grouse from time to time about the Nats “letting Bostick go.” (Again, it’s not like he’s Cal Ripken! He’s been in the majors for 20 games.)

    Wally’s right, though, the much bigger story is the offseason holes the Nats need to fill. Todd had a post on such things right after the season, but it got buried when Dusty wasn’t renewed. Perhaps it’s time to revisit.

    I think they’ll go bigger on an SP than NRIs. I just don’t know who. I don’t see Darvish/Arrieta/Lynn/Cobb fitting the Nats’ need-vs.-payroll equation. So they’re down to either Chacin/Cashner/Vargas or a trade. I’ve seen the Manaea idea floated, but I look at his numbers and just can’t convince myself that he’s that good.

    KW

    20 Nov 17 at 7:42 am

  14. http://m.mlb.com/news/article/261944130/prospects-added-to-40-man-or-exposed-to-rule-5/

    We haven’t even discussed Abreu. He’s only two months older than Gutierrez but already has a full AA season under his belt, albeit not a very good one. I wouldn’t protect him if it were me, but he’s at least worth mentioning. With Difo “graduating,” Abreu is the “best” of a very limited middle infield crop in the upper minors.

    KW

    20 Nov 17 at 10:59 am

  15. Two added: Kelvin Gutierrez and … Jefry Rodrigez, who i didn’t even look at based on his struggles last year and his PED issues this year.

    https://curlyw.mlblogs.com/nationals-add-two-players-to-40-man-roster-6b03891346ae

    kinda shocked actually that Rodriguez is on this list.

    Todd Boss

    20 Nov 17 at 2:08 pm

  16. Yep, every year there’s a surprise. Rodriguez doesn’t make much sense from my vantage point, although FWIW, he was better at Potomac than Baez . . . but is a year and a half older than Baez and has the PED bust on his rap sheet. J-Rod at Potomac this year: 1.11 WHIP, 3.22 FIP, 3.68 xFIP. He’s a big guy (6-5) with a big arm (8.1 K/9). But he’ll turn 25 during the 2018 season.

    Here’s hoping Kevin Long can show Gutierrez how to get a ball out of the ballpark. No one else has been able to do so. He’s got good contact and a great arm, but you can’t play a corner position without more power than he’s shown.

    KW

    20 Nov 17 at 3:11 pm

  17. Fifty cents says Spencer Kieboom gets picked in Rule 5. It would be great for him, actually, as he’d get a year of MLB service time and $545K, neither of which he’s likely to see with the Nats. He’s exactly the type of player Rule 5 is intended to liberate.

    KW

    20 Nov 17 at 3:20 pm

  18. To be clear, Kieboom would get all of that if he actually sticks with the club that picks him. No guarantees there.

    KW

    20 Nov 17 at 3:59 pm

  19. From the fangraphs Guy on Twitter:

    Gutierrez got reps at 1B in AFL. He’s okay at third, but Rendon isn’t going anywhere any time soon. I think the bat plays every day at third, on the fringes at first.

    Wally

    20 Nov 17 at 6:29 pm

  20. It wasn’t clear whether Gutierrez was getting AFL reps at 1B because the Nats wanted him to, or just because Neuse needed to play 3B. There will be an interesting choice for the Nats at Harrisburg, though, as Gutierrez should be moving up, and either he or Ward will have to switch off 3B. Gutierrez is MUCH more mobile, and Luke Erickson has always insisted that Ward needs to be at 1B. We’ll see.

    But frankly, the next 3B for the big club is most likely to be . . . Carter Kieboom. If there’s genuinely some buzz about Gutierrez right now, monetize it in a trade. Either that, or try Gutierrez at 2B, where the big club may have an opening in 2019, and where HR power isn’t as essential.

    KW

    20 Nov 17 at 9:04 pm

  21. I don’t know if Gutierrez is a real prospect, but I wouldn’t let Ward block anyone. I know he’s still young but I just don’t see him making the bigs.

    Plenty of time to see who takes the infield slots in a few years between Kieboom, Antuna etc. their play over the next couple of years will tell us if any of them are keepers.

    Wally

    20 Nov 17 at 9:16 pm

  22. Ward turns 23 this week, so you have to think about it like a college player who played a full year at AA his second year after being drafted. I thought of Nick Banks . . . and what do you know, when I just looked him up, he’s one week older than Ward. Banks posted a .676 OPS at Hagerstown, while Ward had a .681 at Harrisburg. Rhett Wiseman is half a year older than those two and posted a .675 at Potomac, where Ward was at .868 in 2016 before getting promoted.

    Ward has already played a season and a half at AA. He hasn’t thrived, but he hasn’t washed out, either. As noted above, he’s three months younger than Gutierrez, who has yet to see AA. Taylor’s light-bulb year, after several seasons of scuffling in the minors as a high school draftee, was his age-23 season.

    I don’t know whether Ward will break through or not. He didn’t show any improvement in lowering his K rate this season, but he maintained a decent walk rate. Considering how low the Nats are on legit prospects in the upper minors, he’s still one of the better ones.

    KW

    20 Nov 17 at 10:16 pm

  23. Todd, just wanted to make sure you saw this since I seem to recall that your family has a connection with Dayton:

    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/11/braves-claim-grant-dayton.html

    KW

    21 Nov 17 at 6:46 am

  24. I just don’t see it with Ward. I wouldn’t cut him, but also wouldn’t block anyone for him.

    I kind of wish the Nats picked up some of these pitchers the Nats were shedding due to 40 man issues.

    Did anyone think the Rizzo comments about his extension were a little ominous? ‘Im not approaching them, they can approach me if they are interested?’ There has always been a concern in my mind that the [apparent] coldness in the Lerners management style would cause a reaction by him, and hoping it doesn’t.

    Wally

    21 Nov 17 at 7:44 am

  25. If Taylor is a model for anyone, I think it’s Daniel Johnson. Different in size but have many similar attributes in their overall profile. Next year is going to be a very important one for Johnson to see how he does again at Potomac and maybe even Harrisburg. If he keeps hitting Harrisburg, the Nats will have a real player.

    Wally

    21 Nov 17 at 7:54 am

  26. Wally, I agree completely about Johnson. I’ve not allowed myself to get beyond “cautiously optimistic” with him. His power certainly is encouraging, but there are questions in nearly every scouting report on him about the consistency of his “hit tool.” In response to such statements, I remind people that everyone thought he was extremely raw when drafted. He had been a JUCO so only had one season at the D1 level, and not at a major-conference program. (In contrast, it’s more frustrating when guys from major programs like Wiseman and Banks struggle as pros, as they’re supposed to be more refined.)

    Do scouting reports and lack of size eventually catch up with Johnson, or does his continuing refinement keep him ahead of that curve? We’re about to find out. I’m curious whether he will get a spring invite to the MLB camp and a chance to work with Kevin Long. Johnson’s swing seems well made for Long’s lift techniques.

    KW

    21 Nov 17 at 9:30 am

  27. Wally, let’s pose the question this way: would you rather carry Jefry Rodriguez as dead weight for a year on the 40-man, or Grant Dayton? I’d be tempted to say Dayton.

    The Nats do have a couple of guys to whom they committed to long-term comebacks, but not on the 40-man, in Tim Collins and Aaron Barrett. Collins in particular might bear fruit in 2018 . . . if he re-signs with the Nats.

    KW

    21 Nov 17 at 9:33 am

  28. I have almost no opinion on JRod, but I agree that I thought Dayton was an interesting gamble to take. But it looks like ATL claimed him before the Nats had a chance, so nothing they could do. Its kind of a surprise they did that to me, because they have a lot of young guys coming up needing spots, and Dayton is going to need a 40 man spot for two years to see what they have.

    Just based on reports, I don’t worry about DJ’s size holding him back. Seems like a very strong guy. I think its all about the hit tool. If he can make enough contact at AA, that’s going to be a great sign.

    Wally

    21 Nov 17 at 11:48 am

  29. Braves get blasted, and rightfully so.

    KW

    21 Nov 17 at 8:48 pm

  30. Yeah just saw the Dayton thing … good for him to go to Atlanta; its much closer to his home (he was born in Alabama and went to Auburn).

    Seems kinda cold on the Dodgers’ part to DFA him while he’s rehabbing a blown UCL he did on their watch. But I guess the Nats have done the same before (Taylor Jordan?) so we can’t cast too many stones.

    Todd Boss

    22 Nov 17 at 9:55 am

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