Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats 2019 Draft Class; Highlights of picks 11-40 and overall class breakdowns


Arruda is the first pick on day three. Photo via Fresno State Athletics department

Arruda is the first pick on day three. Photo via Fresno State Athletics department

Another  year in the books, and another 40 guys now potentially part of the Nats organization.

We reviewed the top 10 more in-depth in the previous post. Lets zip through the rest of the draft and do some quick commentary as needed.  I’m basically depending on BA’s scouting reports for observations (hey, I finally subscribed, so might as well use them).

  • Round 11: J.T. Arruda, Fresno State’s starting SS.  Redshirt Sophomore, with no Baseball America scouting profile (which is odd, because they have hundreds and hundreds of them).  Stat line at Fresno State looks good, but so does everyone else’s on that solid team.  But he does have a good combo of power and speed.  Undersized (5’10”) and clearly a 2B/SS type guy.  An interesting selection with #11, which is generally where  you try to find guys who slipped out of the top 5-6 rounds who may sign.  I’d like to see something like a Max Schrock or Steven Lombardozzi career out of him; good hit tool, utility infielder who can stick around and help.
  • Round 12: Orlando Ribaltra, Miami Dade Juco RHP.  Graduated HS in 2016 so he’s basically a College Jr.  Already a reliever, hit 97 and scouts think he can go higher.  Secondary pitches lacking (hence already being a reliever, even in Juco).  I’m guessing he’s straight tot he closer role in Short-A and stays there all the way up.  BA lists no xfer commitment and I think its safe to say he’ll sign for the $125k or close to it.
  • Round 13: Jake Randa, NW Florida State Juco Corner OF.  BA says he’s one of the best JuCo hitters in the country; he slashed .412/.507/.753 as a freshman before cooling a bit in 2019.   He also impressed this past summer in the Wood bat Northwoods league.  He was projected to go in the 6th-7th round or so this year and slipped.  Has committed to transfer to Mississippi State and I think he’s a tough sign here; if he was projected 6th round and has an SEC xfer commitment, why would he sign for $125k when he could do one more year of school on the big stage and really make himself some money?
  • Round 14: Lucas Knowles, Central Arizona Juco LHP.  Interesting story; he was a weekend starter as a RS freshman for U-Washington, then left when they didn’t pony up a scholarship.  He does have an xfer commitment to Kentucky for his Junior  year, but he’s already got three college years (he redshirted with TJ surgery, so this Juco year was his 3rd college season).  He profiles like a Tom Glavine type: 88-91, control lefty with four pitches.   I think he signs in lieu of xferring to his 3rd program in four years and gets started.  I’d like to think he’s a 2019 Short-A/2020 Low-A rotation guy for us.
  • Round 15: Davis Moore, Fresno State weekend RHP starter.  Numbers don’t look great (3.91 ERA) but its also a hitter’s league (the Mountain West Conference has teams in Vegas, Reno, Colorado Springs, Albequerque and Fresno, all altitude/dry air places.  Even San Jose, despite being on the Pacific coast, is in a dryer climate that far inland).  He really pitched well against Stanford in the regional too, perhaps impressing scouts to bump him a bit.  Sinkerballer, not a ton of velocity but scouts think his sinker will really play against wood bats.  I like his profile especially against lower-level wood bats.
  • Round 16: Junior Martina, Western OK State Juco SS.  BA doesn’t have a scouting report on him, and Western Oklahoma State’s stat page doesn’t have him on the roster, at least not by the name “Junior Martina.”   If he goes by “Junior Osebo” instead, then he was a middle reliever with decent stuff and decent stats.  I don’t know if he’s got a 4yr transfer commitment.  An enigma.
  • Round 17: Amos Willingham, RHP starter from Georgia Tech.  No BA scouting report, but he ended the season as the #1/Friday night starter for one of the best collegiate teams in the country this year and pitched for them in the opener of their CWS regional (getting a 6ip 2-run quality start win).   His stat line on the season is poor: 5.19 ERA, but he came on strong at the end.   Some internet research showed that he was a Juco xfer to Georgia Tech, and sometimes suffers from a strength-sapping stomach ailment that may explain some bouts of ineffectiveness.   I wonder if he’s signable, given that he’s at a big-time program, finally started to shine in Ga Tech’s rotation towards the end of the year, and may want another shot at improving upon his ERA as a senior.
  • Round 18: Mason Doolittle, C from Palm Beach Juco in Fl.  No BA scouting report, but does have an xfer commitment to Appalachian State.
  • Round 19: Tyler Yankowsky, RHP reliever from Division II Millersville U.  He’s already been dumped from the rotation to the bullpen in a Div-II school, but BA says he’s mid-90s with a good cutter and a fringe curve.  BA’s scouting report also has this weird quote: “An excellent golfer in high school, Yankowsky’s command and delivery explain why he’s a reliever.”   I’m not sure what his command and delivery have to do with the fact that he was a good golfer in  high school; frankly, most every top baseball hitter I know is also a good golfer.  Why?  because golf requires the exact same hand-eye coordination that hitting a baseball requires.  Anyway; he’s 6’6″ with a two-pitch mix; sounds like a good pro reliever for the time being.
  • Round 20: Jack Dunn, Senior SS from baseball hot-bed Northwestern.   1st team all big-10 his senior year.  Not much else out there about him; no BA scouting report.  He’s from Georgia and was decently regarded out of HS.  Looks like a lead-off hitter for Northwestern, decent stats, decent OBP.   Maybe he’s the 2B half of a double play combo in Short-A with Arruda.

Past Round 20, I’ll just note interesting guys; see the table above for the next 20 picks fully.

  • Seven of the Ten picks in the Rounds 21-30 are college seniors, mostly position players, likely filling out Short-season squads with $5k-$10k players.
  • Round 22: Allan Berrios, a Juco 3rd year Catcher from the same Western Oklahoma State team as 16th rounder Martina.  Perfect game has absolutely nothing on the guy, not even ranked coming out of Florida as a prep.  BA has nothing.  An interesting pick.    But here’s the guy’s slash line this year: .427/.484/.729.  In 53 games he had 12 homers, a 20/17 K/BB ratio and even had 17 SBs.  Holy cow.   He was batting above .500 for more than half the season.  I get that this is Juco and not as competitive as 4-year conferences, but this is also not exactly slow-pitch softball, and to hit this well against guys trying to get you out is pretty impressive.
  • Round 23; Michael Cuevas, the first Prep/HS player taken by the Nats in the 2019 draft.  Drafted as a RHP, committed to a JuCo program, so this seems like an odd pick here.
  • Round 25: Quinn Parker, a 1b from Hofstra.  Notable b/c the Nats also drafted him in 2015 out of HS, in the 40th round.
  • Round 29: Brandon Gonzales is the 2nd Prep/HS player taken; he may be a legacy pick as the Nats central region cross checker is Jimmy Gonzales.  He’s committed to a texas Juco.
  • Round 33: Cutter Clawson is a prep LHP with a BYU commit (which usually means Morman, which usually is a tough commitment to buy out), so this seems like a throw-away pick.
  • Round 35: Bryce Osmond was a top 50 prospect heading into the draft, and when he fell out of the top two rounds he basically guaranteed his attendance to college (in his case, top program Oklahoma State).
  • Round 37: Tei Cruz, notable b/c he’s a third generation baseball player (grand father Jose Cruz, father Jose Cruz Jr.).  He’s at Rice, seems like a good bet now to stay there.
  • Round 39: Jake Bennett is a LHP committed to Oklahoma.


Summary of the Draft class:

  • 19 Arms, 20 bats.
  • 14 College Juniors (or draft-eligible Sophomores)
  • 9 College Seniors with no leverage
  • 8 Juco guys (!)
  • 8 High Schoolers, 7 of which are basically throw-away picks in later rounds or legacy picks.

No less than 8 Juco guys, most of which were in the 11-20 range.  This is an interesting strategy.

Of the 23 4-year college guys:

  • 3 from SEC teams: Arkansas, Florida, LSU
  • 1 from Pac-12 teams: UCLA
  • 3 from ACC teams: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Boston College
  • 1 from Big10 teams: Northwestern
  • 0 from Big12 teams
  • 2 from MWC teams: Fresno State (2)
  • 1 from C-USA teams; Rice
  • 7 from smaller Div 1 programs: BYU, Texas State (2), Tennessee Tech, Hofstra, College of Charleston, UC Irvine
  • 5 from non division 1 programs: Lubbock Christian, Millersville, Biola, South Dakota State,  Berry,

Not one team from the typical feeding ground of Big-12 Texas/Oklahoma programs this year.  Instead, a lot of geographic diversity from a ton of different programs.

Geographic Locations of picks:

  • 9 from Texas Schools
  • 6 from California schools
  • 5 from Florida schools
  • 4 from Oklahoma schools

that’s 24 of 39 picks just from four states.  And the Texas/Oklahoma area again is well represented in our draft class.

Signability:  my quick glance at this class, assuming there’s no signing issues with anyone in our top 10,  I think we end up signing somewhere around 28 of these draftees.   Here’s my predictions:

  • 6 of the 8 JuCo guys sign, missing out on #13 Randa and #34 Battles
  • all 9 College Srs sign
  • Just 1 of the 8 HS guys sign (#23 Cuevas)
  • 12 of the 14 College So/Jrs sign, missing out on #17 Amos and #37 Cruz.

Here’s a table with all our picks picks.

RoundOverallNamePositionCol/HSCollege or CmtmStateSlot Value
117Rutledge, JacksonRHP (Starter)Col J2San Jacinto College North (TXTX3609700
394Mendoza, Drew3BCol JrFlorida State UFL618200
4123Cronin, MattLHP (Reliever)Col JrArkansasAR464500
5153Dyson, TylerRHP (Starter)Col JrFloridaFL346800
6183Cluff, JacksonSSCol SoBYUUT266000
7213Peterson, ToddRHP (Reliever)Col JrLSULA208200
8243Ydens, JeremyOF (CF)Col JrUCLACA169500
9273McMahon, HunterRHP (Starter)Col JrTexas StateTX152600
10303Pratt, AndrewCCol SrLubbock ChristianTX144100
11333Arruda, J.T.SSCol JrFresno StateCA
12363Ribalta, OrlandoRHP (Reliever)Col J2Miami DadeFL
13393Randa, JakeOF (corner)Col J2NW Florida StateFL
14423Knowles, LucasLHP (Starter)Col J3Central Arizona CollegeAZ
15453Moore, DavisRHP (Starter)Col JrFresno StateCA
16483Martina, JuniorSSCol J2Western Oklahoma StateOK
17513Willingham, AmosRHP (Starter)Col JrGeorgia TechGA
18543Doolittle, MasonCCol J2Palm Beach CCFL
19573Yankosky, TylerRHP (Reliever)Col JrMillersville UniversityPA
20603Dunn, JackSSCol SrNorthwesternIL
21633Strohschein, Kevin1BCol SrTennessee TechTN
22663Berrios, AllanCCol J3Western Oklahoma StateOK
23693Cuevas, MichaelRHP (Starter)HSTexas Rio Grande ValleyTX
24723Alu, Jake3BCol SrBoston CollegeMA
25753Quinn, Parker1BCol SrHofstraNY
26783Hart, Dupree2BCol SrCollege of CharlestonSC
27813Hubbard, Jaylen3BCol 5SrTexas StateTX
28843Bocko, JordanRHPCol SrUC IrvineCA
29873Gonzales, BrandonSSHSGreyson County CollegeTX
30903Stainbrook, TroyLHPCol SrBiola UniversityCA
31933Stover, BradyLHPCol JrSouth Dakota StateSD
32963Beasley, DylanRHPCol JrBerry CollegeGA
33993Clawson, CutterLHP (Starter)HSBYUCA
341023Battles, JalenSSCol J1McLennan CCTX
351053Osmond, BryceRHP (Starter)HSOklahoma StateOK
361083Wibbels, SamRHP (Starter)HSKentuckyNE
371113Cruz, TreiSSCol SoRiceTX
381143LaRue, TylerCHSUncommittedTX
391173Bennett, JakeRHP (Starter)HSOklahomaOK
401203Brown, JadenSSHSKentuckyCAN


8 Responses to 'Nats 2019 Draft Class; Highlights of picks 11-40 and overall class breakdowns'

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  1. The success of the this Nats’ draft hinges on two things: Rutledge’s ceiling, and whether Mendoza can become an MLB regular. If Rutledge makes the rotation or becomes a closer, and if Mendoza becomes a corner power hitter (probably at 1B), then this draft is a huge success. If not, then . . . it’ll be a heck of a lot like most of the Nat drafts over the last decade. As I’ve noted, Wiseman and Banks have really cooled me from getting too excited about Mendoza at this point.

    Cronin would seem to have a good shot to make it to the MLB bullpen. The way people talk about him, he could even ascend as rapidly as Glover (who was in the majors a year after being drafted). But if he takes three years and still ultimately proves effective, I’m fine with that.

    I love getting Dyson in the 5th, whether he pans out or not. He was extremely highly thought of at one point, for a reason.

    Beyond that, get back to me if they sign all the interesting guys in the teens. The profile of Randa (13th) reminds me quite a bit of that of Eric Senior, drafted a couple of years ago after destroying in JUCO. Our friend Forencicane reported that there was buzz about Senior this spring, but apparently not enough to get him assigned to a full-season squad.

    Willingham (17th) could be a real find if they get him to sign. I don’t think there’s any chance they have the money to sign Osmond.


    6 Jun 19 at 1:21 pm

  2. FanGraphs guys on Rutledge: “After he was in the 8-14 range a week ago, Rutledge falls to Washington at 17. He’s good value there, even if he does have significant risk of becoming a reliever and has a medical history that makes some pause (two hip surgeries, multiple broken bones). But the raw stuff was arguably the best in the draft and his short arm stroke is becoming more accepted by clubs.”


    6 Jun 19 at 1:30 pm

  3. Heard this fun nugget yesterday: Mendoza is a Boras client. So that seems like where some extra money is going.

    Todd Boss

    6 Jun 19 at 1:39 pm

  4. That’s the problem, though: this is supply and demand. If Mendoza fell to 94 because teams passed on him NINETY-THREE TIMES, then he should get what the market dictates: that he be paid as the 94th pick.

    It does make you wonder whether the Nats would have taken him in the 2d round if they had a 2d round pick, as their #57 pick was right around where Mendoza was projected to go.


    6 Jun 19 at 2:09 pm

  5. KW I don’t think its always that simple, just saying that Mendoza was the 94th best player in the draft b/c he got picked 94th. And that’s because Mendoza probably got called 20 times in the 2nd and 3rd rounds with a dollar figure that teams may or may not have wanted to meet. Just like, for a recent/local example. J.B. bukauskas was projected to go like 10th, fell to 15th, but demanded 10th money. Well, the teams between 10 and 15 probably called him and weren’t willing to go above slot so he fell. We’ll see if he signs for slot there; somehow I doubt it and I’m guessing the Nats go slightly above slot for him.

    Todd Boss

    7 Jun 19 at 12:09 pm

  6. Keith law take on the Nats draft:

    The Nats had to be thrilled when the year’s top juco player, right-hander Jackson Rutledge, slid to their pick after everyone thought he’d go somewhere in the No. 9-11 range, but it did ruin my streak of predicting their picks accurately. I had one front-office source with another team say Rutledge had the best fastball/slider combo in the class. That was their only pick on Day 1. They took Florida State third baseman Drew Mendoza (3) to start Day 3; he has raw power, a long swing, a lot of swing and miss, and below-average defense at third. He’s very famous, having supposedly turned down multimillion dollar offers out of high school, but struck out 130 times across the past two springs and doesn’t make adjustments at the plate.

    Arkansas lefty Matt Cronin (4) has hit 98, pitching in the mid-90s, with a power curveball, a pure reliever who will move as fast as his control allows. Florida right-hander Tyler Dyson (5) came into the year as a likely Day 1 pick but was awful when healthy and missed a few starts, showing velocity but 35 command and lacking the normal bite on his breaking ball.

    Todd Peterson (7) has a big fastball and a big body (listed at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds) but hasn’t missed as many bats as he should with that stuff, with just 40 strikeouts in 44 innings out of LSU’s bullpen this spring. Jeremy Ydens (8) was a surprise pick after he missed more than half of UCLA’s season because of a finger injury he suffered on a bunt attempt (just more evidence teams should stop bunting). He has a no-load, contact swing, with minimal power, and can run a little, but in his one full season at UCLA he struggled with the strike zone.

    True to form, the Nats didn’t take any high school kids until the 23rd round.

    Todd Boss

    7 Jun 19 at 12:10 pm

  7. The first question is always, who signs. And the Nats drafts, for their positives and negatives, have yielded some of the most enduring positives on the last day and in the highest rounds. Some are low money picks, like Brad Peacock. Others are high money grabs like Tyler Watson, who became Brandon Kintzler.

    But don’t sleep on the highest rounds. This year’s 40th pick, for example, is for some the best position player out of Canada, and sounds like he really wants to get into the pro game.

    So let’s see how this looks when the teams start lining up their SS rosters. Clearly the Nats this year went after a LOT of players who can go back to school. Does that mean they sign less and sign more overslots? Of know who can be lowballed?

    This was more than a BPA draft.


    7 Jun 19 at 4:44 pm

  8. My observation on Day 3 was this: “holy cow that’s a lot of Juco guys.” Never seen anything like it.

    A quick run through the whole class let me to believe there’s going to be 27-28 signings. I’d be shocked if they got anyone from round 33 onwards to sign for $125k. shocked. That 40th round pick: he’s committed to an SEC school (Kentucky). Why would he take $125k to forgoe a solid big-time program spot?

    Todd Boss

    10 Jun 19 at 4:10 pm

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