Nationals Arm Race

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

CWS Finals: Oregon State Wins!


OSU wins. Photo via

OSU wins. Photo via

Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2018:

Here’s how the finals played out.

For Reference: Arkansas Stats and Oregon State Stats.

  • Game 1 6/26/18: Arkansas got to Oregon State #1 Luke Heimlich in the 5th, got him for 4 runs and made them stick.
  • Game 2 6/27/18: Oregon State scored 3 in the ninth to steal the title away and force the decider.
  • Game 3 6/28/18: OSU got a stellar game (a 2-hit shutout) from freshman starter Kevin Abel and ran away with the game 5-0.

Your 2018 College World Series Champion: Oregon State

Commentary: Rains moved the entire slate forward one day, which drastically helped Oregon State’s fatigued rotation/bullpen.  Arkansas had Oregon State down to their last strike in game 2 and let a foul pop drop between three defenders before giving away the game.  This seemed to deflate Arkansas and energize OSU, who turned the decider into a no-contest.

This concludes the College Baseball season and our coverage of it for 2018.  I’ll post one more post that covers draftees and signing status for all local-connected players (prep and college).  I don’t really cover the summer collegiate wood bat leagues: for that I’d suggest, which is really coming into its own in terms of local coverage for all players with local ties.




College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 29th, 2018 at 10:34 am

Posted in College/CWS

Tagged with ,

41 Responses to 'CWS Finals: Oregon State Wins!'

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  1. Juan Soto is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We all had him winning ROY this year, right? Goodness. He keeps playing like there’s another level where he can get promoted, like AAAAAA or something.

    Nope, still not missing Pivetta very badly.


    29 Jun 18 at 9:27 pm

  2. And then what a Fedde meltdown . . . and a Martinez meltdown for leaving him in. Ugly.

    I think it’s time to start kicking the tires on guys like Tyson Ross, maybe even (gasp) Edwin Jackson.


    29 Jun 18 at 9:42 pm

  3. Sharp 1st AA start: 7 innings 1 hit 0 runs

    Sharp’s 2nd AA start: 2 innings 10 hits 10 runs.

    I suppose its possible we just literally saw his career best and worst starts back to back.

    Todd Boss

    30 Jun 18 at 9:22 am

  4. Oh to be a headline writer in Harrisburg: “Sharp Not Sharp,” “Sterling Sharp Isn’t.”

    I’ll admit that I’ve sort of slept on Sharp, who just turned 23 in May. He’s tall (6-4) but skinny (170) and doesn’t strike out a lot of guys (6.55 at Potomac before promotion). In this day and age, it’s just hard for me to believe in a guy who isn’t getting a higher percentage of K’s.


    30 Jun 18 at 1:46 pm

  5. So the Nats reach the midway point of the season with a very mediocre record that has them only three games over .500. Once again, they got good enough pitching to win, but the offense collectively didn’t get it done, despite a long stint from the very average Phil bullpen. Sigh.

    I’m still not particularly worried. Signs point to the Nats having Stras, Adams, and Zim back by after the All-Star break in two weeks. Hellickson is already back and was reasonably effective. Weiters also is apparently progressing, and Read has been back playing at AAA for a couple of weeks after his suspension. Ross is throwing some in FLA, and Robles is doing some “baseball activities.” So the cavalry is on the way.

    There are no guarantees this year, though. The Nats are going to have to work for it. The same applies to the over two overwhelming NL favorites, the Dodgers and the Cubs. They’re not in first place, either.

    What are the positives? Well, the Nats have added a bonafide star to their lineup in Soto. Adams (when healthy) has been better than advertised, to the point that Zim may be platooning with him. Hellickson and Miller have been very effective bargains. And the Nats have already added the best reliever available in Herrera, giving up very little in return.


    1 Jul 18 at 8:18 am

  6. I think Rizzo has to start balancing this year and the next few years, and any moves he makes at the trade deadline should be with that in mind.

    So, I’d do more Herrera type trades. I’m not saying ones that appear so one sided – but meaning if you get a rental, don’t give up anything significant. If they do give up a significant piece, it should be for a player who is controllable at least next year too. I see 2b as a need. Difo hasn’t continued his progress from the second half of last year and, since a good hitting C is very hard to find, I’d focus on fixing that spot. And I think this helps this year and next. I understand the Kieboom argument but I don’t think that should be counted on.

    And think extensions: Rendon certainly; Adams for another 2 years shouldn’t be prohibitive with the way the market views those guys. 2/$15m? That’s important because they will lose 2 big lefty bats in Harper and Murphy.

    Anyway, I’d start thinking that way. I wouldn’t sell out for this year. so much is going wrong with their core that you can’t fix: Stras, Gio and Roark need to get healthy and pitch like they did last year; Murphy, Bryce and Zim need to do the same. You can’t trade to replace that level of production, you need those guys to do better or accept that it isn’t your year.

    For this year, I might look for a bat that can play LF/2b and 1B, like Kendrick was doing before he got hurt. And pitching, especially SPs that you can see in the rotation next year too. A 3/4 type. Maybe another pen guy if it doesn’t cost too much. But that’s it.


    1 Jul 18 at 9:20 am

  7. Not much left to be said right now that hasn’t already been covered.

    So CWS is over, when does Denaburg sign?


    1 Jul 18 at 8:05 pm

  8. Presumably, as soon as Shaddy signs, they can sign Denaburg. They have til July 6th.

    Todd Boss

    1 Jul 18 at 8:28 pm

  9. Sigh. The Nats got three good efforts from starters this weekend and lost all three. Fedde was the only one who really struggled, but they gave him an 11-run lead. At least they had encouraging signs from Gio and Tanner.

    That’s about all the encouraging signs, though. They’re now six games back with three with the Red Sox dead ahead. Still not panic time, but once you get beyond five back, you start to squirm a little. The Nats are only two games over .500 right now. After 82 last year, they were 14 games over .500 and about to go on a 9-2 run that blew the rest of the division away. By game 93, they were 21 games over .500.

    But of course Dusty sucked and had to go.


    1 Jul 18 at 9:34 pm

  10. Wally, I really have no idea what to recommend for trades, even if I had Rizzo’s ear (which I clearly don’t!). Yes, Kendrick was a significant loss, one that hasn’t been fully appreciated.

    Murphy played 13 innings at 2B today. He’s still not hitting a lick, though. The experimenting with him at 2B would seem to be in preparation for an Adams return to 1B. Can Murph hold up playing every day?

    They REALLY need Murph to be able to play 2B. Difo is an adequate backup but never should be playing every day. I don’t know that I see them trading for a 2B unless Murph just really can’t do it. I’ve also floated the Carter Kieboom option. (Since you mentioned someone with the rare talent to play 2B, 1B, and LF, that’s actually Austin Davidson, who also caught for an inning for Harrisburg over the weekend. I would be very surprised if he got a call, but less surprised than I was last year when they called up Sanchez.)

    Catcher? I think they’ll be waiting there as well, on both Wieters and Read. If a trade presents itself, it wouldn’t surprise me, but if they think Wieters will be healthy, I also can’t see them paying the price for a starter.

    So I really don’t know. In their areas of greatest need, they do have returning vets, albeit ones trying to shake off serious injuries. My priority would probably be catcher over 2B, perhaps for a catcher with a couple of years on his contract. That might cost more now, but the internal options have all been tried and found wanting. (Same for Difo as a potential starter next year at 2B.)


    1 Jul 18 at 9:49 pm

  11. Yeah, I don’t know what to say either. Max, Turner, Doo and Rendon are the only ones playing like they were expected. Maybe Eaton. Max and Doo maybe a little better. And of course Soto had no expectations.

    Everyone else is largely below expectations or hurt, which is unusual for everything to happen at once.

    I don’t get it though. I don’t really think a manager can have that much impact, nor do I think Martinez is Williams-bad.

    Thankfully I’m going on vacation soon out of the country, so i’ll Probably reboot after the ASG. Hopefully things are looking up by then. It’s getting late early, though.


    2 Jul 18 at 9:13 am

  12. on 7/2/18

    Shaddy signed … for an OVER slot deal. 150k for a slot of 136,900. Hmmm… so much for senior sign/money saver.

    so now my the Nats can offer Denaburg max 2,925,490 if my calculations are correct, which is 452,790 over the slot figure of 2,472,700.

    that’s a pretty specific number; i’m guessing htey offered him like 2.9M flat or something. we’ll find out in the next cpl of days.

    Todd Boss

    2 Jul 18 at 11:42 am

  13. The Nats have Max tonight. One game at a time. They have completely wasted the last four Max-efforts, though. The Barves have three at NYY followed by four at Milw, so I don’t think they’ll be disappearing over the horizon.


    2 Jul 18 at 2:47 pm

  14. As I’ve said, it would be a huge screw-up if they don’t sign Denaburg. Don’t mind paying Shaddy, though. I think he’s got a decent upside, much better than Cole Freeman’s.


    2 Jul 18 at 2:49 pm

  15. FWIW, Jim Callis is reporting that Shaddy signed for a $10K bonus, way underslot. Not sure where the discrepancy comes from, but it would be shocking if team gave a 10th round senior an above-slot bonus, wouldn’t it?


    2 Jul 18 at 4:58 pm

  16. Someone on Luke’s site said that Denaburg is in town and all that’s left is the physical.

    Sounds good to me, although I have to say, if they weren’t waiting for Shaddy to sign, which they obviously weren’t, why did it take so long? As todd showed, the numbers are public and say how high a team can go. Unless the Nats are saving a few pennies, which I doubt, I don’t get it.


    2 Jul 18 at 4:59 pm

  17. Whoops, crossed the posting with NG. If that’s right, then I get it


    2 Jul 18 at 5:00 pm

  18. $10k for Shaddy is much, much, much more in line with what you’d expect. No idea why MLBpipeline (which is who Callis works for) reported 150k. Probably a cut and paste error. versus .

    Coincidentally Callis’ max bonus figure is the same that I arrivaed at for Denaburg: $3,065,490 . Good to know my spreadsheet skills are working this year 🙂

    Todd Boss

    2 Jul 18 at 8:08 pm

  19. Cr@p! Rendon hits a liner that five feet to either side of the OF plates the tying run after Soto’s cojones-of-steel walk after being behind 0-2 to Kimbrel. Sigh. Very good to see Bryce and Murph finally dial long distance. We don’t need moral victories, though.


    2 Jul 18 at 10:57 pm

  20. So the Nats were playing very badly prior last weekend (the weekend of the 23rd) into the beginning of last week. Good teams don’t lose by double-digit runs to the Phillies and the Rays. Since then, however, they are playing a bit better. Each of their last five losses has been by one run. In some of these losses, they’ve clearly outplayed the other team (last night is an example of that). But this sort of junk – losing a number of close games – always happens in a long season. A good team plays well enough for long enough to have these stretches balanced out by good stretches where the team’s record in close games is better than it probably should be.

    But the Nats have pissed away their margin for error. They need to start winning games. I think 3-4 games out of first by the ASB is a reasonable target given schedules. For the Nats truly to play well, two of the following things need to happen: Bryce needs to hit like a 2017 version of himself, Murphy needs to hit like 90% of the 2016-17 Murphy, and Strasburg needs to pitch like 2016-17 Strasburg. If two of those things happen, we don’t need much improvement from the existing roster to play better and win more games. I have more confidence in Bryce and Strasburg than Murphy, but all three of them are question marks. We are getting close to the brink here…


    3 Jul 18 at 11:15 am

  21. Everyone keeps talking about how Harper has been unlucky. The team in general has also been unlucky: 8-16 in one-run games despite having a better than average bullpen is just unlucky. Meanwhile the Phillies and Braves are both incredibly unbalanced the reverse way in one-run games; 13-6 and 17-7 respectively. There’s 6 games of “luck” in our pythag record between us and Philly too; the bad news is that the Braves may not be in for regression.

    This situation is starting to remind me of two separate seasons:
    – 2012 nats: who were “good” a year before they were supposed to be good
    – 2015 Nats, who scuffled along the majority of the season under performing until it was too late.

    They’re 7 games back as we speak. 3.5 back of the wild card … but lets face it, this team was supposed to win this division. I know the Braves have come out of nowhere, but there’s just too much talent on this team to be playing like this.

    My hope is this: we get past this AL east brutal section of the schedule and get healthy playing the three series leading up to the ASG. They play 11 versus Miami, Pittsburgh and the Mets. They need to go like 9-2 in those games honestly. And then the first series after ASG is home to Atlanta; they need to take 2 of 3 there, hopefully behind two dominant starts from Stras and Scherzer. A sweep would make the statement they need to make.

    I actually like the Harper playing 1B thing honestly; if Taylor is swinging a hot bat, then frigging leave him in CF. His defense alone helps make the team better even if he’s “only” a 100 OPS+ guy.

    Todd Boss

    3 Jul 18 at 11:33 am

  22. I think the bullpen less Doolittle has been pretty bad. The runs they do give up all seem to be crucial ones. Madson, Kinzler, Solis, all performing worse than their average-bad stats suggest all season.

    Marty C

    3 Jul 18 at 12:43 pm

  23. Per fangraphs isolation of Relievers: nats bullpen in 2018 is ranked (in whole of MLB):,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=12,d

    – 12th in ERA
    – 20th in FIP
    – 14th in xFIP
    – 22nd in fWAR (since their FIP is so bad; fangraph’s WAR is driven by FIP).
    – 3rd in blown saves (as in, 3rd least)
    – 27th in IP (starters doing a lot of the load)

    so, that’s not an awful bullpen, but it isn’t a great one either. 14th in xFIP is pretty much right in the middle.

    Todd Boss

    3 Jul 18 at 12:48 pm

  24. nats announce signing of Denaburg, Shaddy AND Evan Lee. We know Lawson (12th) and Chapman (17th) aren’t signing and nobody’s heard any word about 19th rounder Lingenfelter.

    right now i’ve got them with 29 of 40 picks under contract. of remaining 11:
    – 5 are on record specifically saying they will NOT sign
    – 3 more are HS kids picked in the 30+ rounds who likely are going to college or who were legacy picks
    – 1 is a college sophomore (Lingenfelter) who goes to Tennessee who probably wants to improve his draft stock
    – 2 are juco guys Hamilton and Nardi who may be thinking of going to a 4-year school to improve. Nardi is committed to Uof Arizona, no idea where Hamilton is going.

    Todd Boss

    3 Jul 18 at 12:53 pm

  25. Jim Callis says Denaburg “done for $3M.” didn’t give an exact figure but $3M is right in the $3,065,490 range.

    Todd Boss

    3 Jul 18 at 1:05 pm

  26. Evan Lee is an interesting get. Is it clear whether he’ll be a P or OF?


    3 Jul 18 at 8:25 pm

  27. Down 9-2 already. Looks like the Nats will hit the 4th of July with a .500 record. In 2017, they arrived at the 4th 15 games over .500. (Now 9-3, with Tanner being left out there to “take one for the team.”)

    Yes, there have been injuries, and yes, there is that awful 8-16 record in one-run games. But is that all “bad luck”? I’d put at least a few of those at the feet of the rookie manager.

    People put down Dusty for his inability to win in the postseason, but there’s a talent to steady management during the regular season. (Bobby Cox, HOF.) Heck, Dusty was also heavily criticized for leaving starters in too long and overusing certain guys in the bullpen . . . just like Martinez is doing!

    I dunno. I’ve got no answers. But ALL the NL prohibitive favorites have struggled — Dodgers, Cubs, and Nats. The other two are doing a little better than the Nats, but not that much.

    I do think the Braves will regress some and perhaps are an 85-win team. I don’t think the Phils are as good as the Braves. Neither of those squads has Thor/deGrom/Harvey like the Mets did in ’85. But at some point, the Nats have to start winning. I don’t see the urgency, or the leadership. There are no stats for those. They sorta showed some on Monday night, but they’re laying a big fat egg on Tuesday. They’re trotting out Fedde on Wednesday . . . so could be nine games out by the 5th of July . . .


    3 Jul 18 at 8:44 pm

  28. Evan Lee was listed as drafted as a pitcher. About the only two-way player of recent vintage I remember the Nats keeping as a hitter rather than a pitcher was Neuse. I keep wondering if Andrew Lee keeps struggling in his return from his second TJ if they’ll let him hit.


    3 Jul 18 at 8:50 pm

  29. KW

    3 Jul 18 at 9:13 pm

  30. I don’t think Martinez has done a particularly good job, but I doubt he’s had much role in this. Many parts of the team are underperforming. Martinez hasn’t found a way to reach them, but this season is first and foremost a player failure. Multiple player failure. It happens sometimes, and it’s happening now. We are almost too late. You see talk now and again about the Nats should trade their walk Year guys. A week ago, I would have said no way but their complete collapse over the last week is close to having me change my mind. If they are 10+ out by the break, spin Gio, Murph, Madson, Herrera maybe even Harp (after the ASG) and reload for next year. Maybe restock some upper level pitching and get a 2b.

    One thing I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older is I’m less committed as a fan. More fair weather. I barely watch them now while they sink to the bottom. I’ll bet I’m not the only one. I’ll bet Luke’s site picks up traffic as the big club craters.


    3 Jul 18 at 9:26 pm

  31. One thing that should be noted is the complete loss of Zimmerman in 2018 versus 2017. WTF is going on with him? didn’t play a bit in spring training (do you think Dusty would have allowed that to happen), barely produces, disappears to the DL for weeks due to a minor issue, makes noise about not going on a rehab assignment (again … would a respected manager allow that to happen?), and now is gone til at least the ASB. He had a massive season last year and this year nothing.

    Its not hard to pin the entire 2018 season on the massive steps backwards in production from Zimmerman, Murphy and Harper. That’s the entirety of the middle of the order from last year. That’s your 3-4-5 hitters for most of the 2017 campaign. Essentially gone this year.

    Last year the nats scored 819 runs, averaging 5.055 per game. So far this eyar they’re averaging just 4.22 runs per game. That puts them on a pace for 684 runs for the year, which last year would have put them in 27th place in the league.

    Todd Boss

    4 Jul 18 at 8:26 am

  32. Man, they’ve been melting down at NatsTalk over the Zim stuff, calling each other names. The bottom line is that the team has mishandled whatever was going on, dating all the way back to the spring, so we have no idea how hurt he has been. My hope right now is pinned more on Adams (started rehab assignment at AA yesterday) than it is on Zim.

    The team did do a good job of contingency planning for Zim and Murph with Adams and Kendrick. Both just got hurt. Neither was going to fully replace what Zim and Murph did, though. I’m not sure the team was honest with itself about whatever was/is going on with Zim. I don’t think it was honest with itself on Murph’s recovery time frame. The only recovery that went more or less on timetable was Eaton’s, but then he bummed his ankle.

    Then there’s Bryce’s funk . . .


    4 Jul 18 at 9:43 am

  33. Adams already being activated for today; Collins DFA’d. He’s been decent enough that they may lose him.


    4 Jul 18 at 9:50 am

  34. The Collins DFA was surprising to me. that’s what happens when you have a veteran bullpen; they already were forced to send down a valuable guy (Solis) solely due to his options availabiilty; how much “damage” is that going to do to the clubhouse?

    Personally i would have axed Kelley, not Colins … but that being said Kelly has been good lately. No easy answers honestly. Maybe they should have “invented” a soft-tissue 10-day DL injury to someone instead.

    Todd Boss

    4 Jul 18 at 10:11 am

  35. I kind of agree on Collins. He’s done well enough to keep around, surprised there wasn’t a phantom injury to manufacture. Miller could use a break (although he probably isn’t getting one today with fedde’s Injury). With the way this season has gone so far, the Nats need an actual long man. JRod, I think. Maybe Milone.

    On Zim, it’s definitely been a weird year for him. Not least with his suggestion that he doesn’t need a rehab assignment. I’m not sure what’s going on. Maybe he’s had enough of the grind of playing. I think he’s nearing the end of his career – he’s made a ton of money, his family is just starting, he’s seems committed to the org and the area (we share a hometown) and the market doesn’t currently favor his profile, even when he’s going well. It would be a shame if he goes out on anything other than a high note relationship-wise, so hopefully this doesn’t mushroom.

    That being said, during periods of extended poor play, I limit the sites that I go to. TalkNats is a great site that I use frequently, but there’s a lot of people and sometimes the negativity runs high from some of the posters, and I need a break from it now and again. Harper ‘s Nationals Baseball is another one that I limit during times like these. I get enough negatives from watching and reading game reports.

    Lastly, they need to keep Matt Adams around. Shouldn’t be too expensive. He hasn’t had a payday yet, his profile isn’t in vogue and he’s still young. Losing Murph and Harp creates a real need for LHBs. Just Eaton and Soto left.


    4 Jul 18 at 12:42 pm

  36. And Adams . . . holds a bat in the dugout while Difo meekly ends the game. WHAT?!?

    The Nats get shut out for the fifth time in the last 20 games. They are 5-15 in that stretch. When they beat the Yankees on June 13, they were 10 games over .500.

    It seems simple to say, but they’ve got to play better baseball. They’ve got MIA, PIT, and NYM — 11 games to the All-Star break, and then three head-to-head with the Braves following the break. It’s time to start making up ground.

    Murph looks more comfortable at the plate. Turner and Rendon seem to be finding their strides. Adams is back . . . so Murph needs to be able to play 2B.

    Am I clinging to hope where it’s dying? I don’t know. This is too good of a team to keep playing this poorly, right? But the Nats looked completely outclassed by the Red Sox.


    4 Jul 18 at 3:26 pm

  37. Players-only meeting, led by Max. Finally.

    In other news, Luis Garcia, who is barely 18, has been promoted to Potomac. Gage Canning is the first position player from the 2018 draft to reach Hagerstown. (Frankie Bartow is already there from the pitchers.)


    4 Jul 18 at 7:01 pm

  38. Leaving Adams out of the game was a train wreck decision that we all saw coming as soon as Davey didn’t PH for Difo. His post game explaination that they would have just walked him to get to Severino didn’t past muster with me either. Why would they put the tying run on?

    I’m not so upset with Davey’s managing yet but am ready to ditch KLong and Lilliquist. It feels like the hitters are more inconsistent than ever, with a lot of weak pop ups and strikeouts in big spots. Yes they’ve had a few rare explosions, but more frequently get shut out than in prior years. And the pitchers all seem to be head cases or more easily frustrated. Even Max seemed miffed by the pace with Severino yesterday. I never see any confidence being inspired by Lilliquist when he makes a mound visit.


    4 Jul 18 at 8:53 pm

  39. Not sure how much of a “problem” Lilliquist is with the Nats on pace to surrender 637 runs, an improvement on 672 last season. The awkwardness right now, as MG noted, seems to be with Severino, who multiple pitchers seem to be struggling to work with. He’s not hitting, the pitchers don’t like working with him, and he gave up an awful passed ball yesterday. So why is he here? We know Raudy Read isn’t very good defensively, but he’s a significantly better hitter.

    (Very weird note from the 4th: Davey said postgame that S. Kieboom was sick and really not available. So they played a midday game in oppressive heat with only ONE catcher available?)

    On the hitting side, I have no idea how much Long does or doesn’t have to do with things. The Nats are on pace for 677 runs, an astounding 142 behind the 819 of 2017. The only person on the Nats’ staff who seemed to have much influence on Harper’s hitting was Matt Williams. Dusty seemed to be the personal coach for MAT and Goody. But who knows?

    One thing I will note about the coaches is that even though they all came with good backgrounds, I don’t know that many/any of them had worked together before, and Martinez hadn’t run a staff before. Plus most of these coaches didn’t know these players, what they respond to and what they don’t, etc. Maybe they’ll figure out what buttons to push, but it’s also possible that they won’t.


    5 Jul 18 at 8:39 am

  40. Another weird note: I was just looking at the Nats’ 40-man and was surprised to see that Robles isn’t on the 60-day DL.

    Weirder note: Heyman has the Nats poking around about Matt Harvey. I’ve got a couple of bucks that says that Boras is the source of that rumor!


    5 Jul 18 at 8:45 am

  41. Robles not on 60-day D/L: has to be to save on service time.

    Todd Boss

    5 Jul 18 at 11:20 am

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