Nationals Arm Race

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

Rule 5 Analysis/Prediction for 2019


Is Sterling Sharp getting the call? Photo unk via

Is Sterling Sharp getting the call? Photo unk via

Welcome to the annual Rule 5 analysis post.

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 30 now (as of 11/6/19, after all FAs and opt outs), so there’s plenty of room to add names and do their off-season work.  But, this team also needs to sign a bunch of FAs.  But there’s a slew of options-challenged players who might get waived this off-season.  So it’ll be an interesting Rule-5 year, and an interesting off-season in terms of roster manipulation.

As always, using the indispensable Nationals resource sites Draft tracker (at its new location, now maintained by Luke Erickson) 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 2019; any 4-year college-aged draftee from 2016 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 2015 or before is newly eligible this year, assuming they were at least 18 as of June 5th of that year.  There’s always a couple of guys who have specific birthdays that move them up or down one way or the other; i’ll depend on the Roster Resource rules and the Draft Tracker for exact details.

One last thing: here was our 2019 AFL Roster (also here at’s site).  Often times teams put Rule-5 guys onto AFL rosters to get one last look at them against top quality performance to see if they’re worth protecting.  Of course, this practice also puts a huge spotlight onto those players for opposing teams and their scouts…

  • Rule 5 eligible: Sterling Sharp, Nick Banks, Andrew Lee, Jakson Reetz
  • Not: Luis Garcia, Cole Freeman, Nick Raquet, Jacob Condra-Bogan, Pearson McMahon, K.J. Harrison

Newly Eligible 2016 draft College Players this year worth consideration for protection:

  • Nick Banks, 2016 4th rounder LF who ascended to Harrisburg in 2019.  Decent numbers and hit pretty consistently from High-A to AA this year, but he’s a corner outfielder who hit one homer in 45 AA games.  You need more power than that to ascend.  I mention him here b/c of draft pedigree, not because I think he’s going to be protected.  I don’t think anyone could see him sticking on a MLB roster or competing with an aging ML veteran on a non-guaranteed deal.
  • Armond Upshaw, 2016 11th round OF who is still in low-A; no jeopardy of getting picked.
  • Jack Sundberg: 2016 26th round CF who repeated high-A for the third year in a row this season; no jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Hayden Howard, 2016 12th round middle reliever who has good numbers but has never pitched above High-A ball; no real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Ryan Williamson, 2016 15th rounder who missed two full years with injury and is only in low-A; no real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Ben Braymer, 2016 18th rounder LHP starting pitcher who is one of the best draft picks (in terms of value vis-a-vis draft position) the team has had this decade.  He has now risen to AAA’s rotation … where he proceeded to get shelled thsi year (7.20 ERA in 13 starts).  Hard to tell if that’s the level or the PCL; i’m going to go latter since he maintained sub 3.00 ERAs at most of his stops as he ascended the minors.  I think its worth protecting a home grown lefty starter who they drafted and paid a paltry $100k signing bonus for.
  • Jacob Howell: 2016 21st rounder, missed all of 2018 with injury, pitched mostly in Low-A this year; no real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Sterling Sharp: 2016 22nd rounder, missed a chunk of the 2019 season with injury, but improved year over year in his AA results and then went and pitched pretty well in the AFL (6 starts, 24 innings 4 runs allowed).   I think someone would take a flier on him, especially a tanking team (which now defines 1/3rd of the league).  I think he should be protected.

Its worth noting that the team already has added two guys from this class who likely would have been Rule-5 this year anyway: Tres Barrera and Jake Noll both would have otherwise been on this list.

So, two candidates from this group for me in Braymer and Sharp


Newly Eligible 2015 High School-age drafted players under consideration for protection

  • None

The Nats generally don’t pick HS players, so the picking here is always slim.  But we’re down to just 8 players remaining in the system at all from the 2015 draft class, and none of them were HS draftees.

Zero candidates from this group.

Newly Eligible 2015 signed IFAs under consideration for protection:

  • Brailin Mesa, a 2015 IFA DH who never came state-side and who probably was released after the 2017 season, but sometimes’s records are not up-to-date.
  • Gerald De La Cruz: also a 2015 IFA pitcher who never came stateside and has no results past 2017: like Mesa above, probably was released after the 2017 season.
  • Omar Meregildo, a 2015 IFA light hitting 3B who split time in 2019 between low- and high-A.  No real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Gilberto Chu, an 2015 IFA RHP who has now appeared in short-season Auburn for 3 seasons running.  Good numbers, but no real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Jhonathan German, 2015 IFA RHP closer who ascended 3 levels in 2019, ending the year in AA.  Good numbers across his career, especially once he abandoned starting.  I’d have a hard time believing he’d get picked though, with just 13 IP above A-ball.  Perhaps we revisit his candidacy next season if he continues to pitch well in AA for a team that’s always looking for relievers.
  • Felix Taveras, 2015 IFA now age 24, missed all of 2018 and threw just a handful of complex-league innings in 2019.  Not getting picked.
  • Tomas Alastre: 2015 IFA RHP starting pitcher who, inexplicably to me, has been a rotation mainstay in Hagerstown for two full seasons running despite his posting an ERA north of 5.00 consistently throughout that time period.  Is this a case where the team is just keeping him around to eat innings?  I can’t imagine that being the case with so many arms getting drafted each year.   That being said, he’s only 21, so he’s still quite young even though he’s now rule-5 eligible, but he’s at no risk of getting picked in 2019’s rule-5 draft.
  • Jhon Romero: 2015 IFA signing, trade bounty for Brandon Knitzler last year during the infamous purging of “bad apples.”  He missed most of 2019 with injury while repeating high-A; little chance of getting selected.

Zero candidates from this group.

Rule-5 Eligible hold-overs of note: 2015 or prior college draftees still hanging out in the system, or 2014 and prior HS/IFAs.

2015 Draftees

  • Rhett Wiseman, 2015 3rd round left-handed hitting OF out of Vanderbilt.  Repeated High-A in 2018 and drastically improved his OPS, but it seems to be on the back of perhaps going for more of an all or nothing approach: he increased his homer output, but also struck out 122 times in 407 PAs.  In 2019, he ascended to AA and hit just .215.  The team invested a big bonus in him, and it hasn’t panned out.  I really liked this pick at the time, but then watched him hit in the CWS that year and thought he’d have a hard time adjusting to pro pitching.  So far, my amateur observation seems to be holding true.  He seems likely to pass through Rule-5 once again and hit MLFA after 2020.
  • Ian Sagdal, 2015 16th round senior sign who has hung around, ascending to AA for 2019 and hitting decently.  He’s listed as a 1B but had just 8 homers this year; that’s not going to get him Rule-5’d.
  • Andrew Lee: 2015 11th rounder basically missed all of 2017 with injury, was decent as a swingman in Low-A in 2018, then pitched pretty well in the same swing-man role, ascending to AA in 2019.  Just a half a season above A-Ball; i still don’t see him as a candidate to get picked, but could turn into a James Bourque-like figure for this team next season if he continues to pitch well.  He was sent to the AFL, so scouts got a look at him; is this enough to expose him?
  • Tommy Peterson, 2015 12th rounder, has now missed the last two full years; he last appeared at the end of 2017.  Surprised he’s still with the organization, not a candidate to get picked.
  • Ryan Brinley, 2015 27th rounder, has also missed the entirety of the last two seasons with injury yet remains on the roster.
  • Jorge Pantoja has bounced around the A-levels for four years now, ending last year with a 2.59 ERA in High-A … his fourth year running in Potomac.  not a candidate to get picked.
  • Andrew Istler, our trade bounty from the Dodgers for Ryan Madsen.  He had very solid numbers in AA in a middle relief role, even earning a stellar AAA call-up.  He’s an undersized Duke grad, 23rd round pick who has done well.  I wonder if his pedigree makes him less likely to get picked.  In 2019, he was MIA for months, finally got assigned … to High-A despite being in AAA a couple of years ago.  He posted sub 1.00 ERAs in both his stops this year but is now a 27yr old RHP middle reliever.  If someone didn’t pick him last year, its hard to believe he’s ever going to get picked.  At age 27 with solid middle relief numbers, it isn’t out of the realm of possible though that a team could pick him and have him be their 7th man in an 8-man pen…

2014 Draftees

  • Jakson Reetz, 3rd round C from 2014.  Reetz was paid a big bonus out of HS, but has struggled for years.  In 2019, repeating high-A for the 3rd successive year he lifted his OPS above .800 in a split-duty role, and was sent to the AFL.  He only appeared in a few games in Arizona; unknown why.  Its hard to see a player getting Rule-5 drafted without having never ascended above A-Ball.
  • Austin Davidson started out as a corner OF and 13th rounder in 2014, now a light hitting middle infielder.  Started the year in AA, demoted to high-A.  Not a threat to get drafted.
  • Alec Keller: a 2014 17th rounder who has ascended now to AAA, but is a high-average, low-power corner OF who seems like a classic 6-year FA AAA player who will get one more year in Fresno in 2020.
  • Robbie Dickey, a 2014 4th rounder who now has no results for 3 successive years on; it seems likely that he got released after the 2017 season and the site just isn’t updated.
  • Tyler Mapes, a great story who continues to hang in there.  He was a 30th rounder in 2014, missed all of 2017 with injury but came back with a vengeance in 2018, dominating Potomac and holding his own with a 3.95 ERA in AA. In 2019 as a full time starter in AA he took a step back; 5.00 ERA across 26 starts, showing  hit-ability and not a ton of swing and miss.  He’s not likely to get picked, but is likely to stay in the rotation in 2020.
  • Taylor Gushue, a 2014 Draftee out of Florida who has now made his way all the way to AAA in 2018, then hit .312 as the part-time starter in Fresno this year.  I said this last year, but the lack of Catchers on the Nat’s 40-man and the fact that one of them (Raudy Read) has 63 days of service, a PED suspension and zero options seems like they should think about adding more catching depth.  I’d add Gushue … but its also worth noting that despite the catching depth issues in the sport … the fact that Gushue would have to stay on a 25-man roster all year (essentially being the backup/play twice a week guy) means it’d be a huge risk to take him.  More likely is that the Nats wait it out and he’s the first catcher to get added to provide cover for Kurt Suzuki and whoever else we sign this coming off-season.
  • Nick Wells, our trade bounty for Austin Adams at the beginning of 2019 (bet the team wishes they had that trade back; Adams struck out 51 in 31 innings for Seattle and was a solid 7th inning guy … something we could really have used … but I digress).  We got back Wells, a local kid (Battlefield HS) who for reasons unknown sat in XST for most of the summer, then got just 12 innings for Low-A Hagerstown … the same level he initially pitched in four seasons ago.   I’m sure he isn’t getting picked, but I also question what the plan is for Wells at this point.

IFAs: 2014 and older

  • Luis Reyes: finally made it to AA in 2018, and got shelled (12 starts, 5.18 ERA).  Nonetheless the team included him in their 2018 AFL roster, where he got even more shelled (4 starts, 12 innings, 22 runs allowed).  This pushed him back to Potomac for 2019, where he lost his rotation spot and struggled in middle relief.  No jeopardy of getting picked.
  • Joan Baez went 9-9 with a 3.79 ERA as a full time starter for Potomac in 2018, then moved into relief (finally) in 2019, where he moved up the chain and ended the year in AAA.  He had good numbers in AA, not as good in AAA (but who does), but concerningly had more walks than Ks in Fresno.  He’s only 24.  This team is always looking for relievers.  I wonder if he’s worth protecting at this point.
  • Telmito Agustin, a LF who hit pretty well for High-A in 2018 (OPS of .822) … then repeated the level in 2019.  Not a candidate to get picked.
  • Steven Fuentes, who forced a mid-season promotion to High-A where he posted a 3.00 ERA in 45 middle-relief type innings in 2018 … and got PED suspended in 2019.  Not a candidate
  • Gilbert Lara, the 3B prospect the Nats received from Milwaukee in the Gio Gonzalez trade.   He played all of 2018 in Low-A, then jumped up to High-A mid-2019 but is no candidate for drafting.
  • Malvin Pena basically missed two full seasons, spent entirety of 2019 in High-A’s rotation and posted an ERA north of 6.00.  Not a candidate to get picked.
  • Aldrem Corredor, a 1B who has hung around since 2012 in the system, played 2019 in high-A as a 1b for average kind of guy; not a candidate.
  • Omar Meregildo: a light hitting part time 3B who played in Potomac this year; not a candidate.
  • Angel Guillen, a RHP reliever who pushed his way up to Potomac this year with solid numbers.  I like him in 2020 to get to AA; not a candidate.

One solid candidate from this group (Gushue), two maybes (Baez, Istler)

MLFAs for 2019: 

These are 2013 or prior college draftees, or 2012 or prior HS draftees/IFA signings.

Post-2019 publishing, i’m adding a new section because  it seems like we’re going to see the following situation occur for the second time in recent memory.   Long time farmhand Mario Sanchez achieved minor league free agency at the end of the 2019 season, but apparently has been re-signed (his page lists the Nationals resigning him to a contract … but its dated in the future, 12/18/19, something i’ve never seen before).   But, if he’s re-signed as a MLFA with the team, then he has to be protected else he’d be subject to the draft.

This situation occurred a couple years back with Wander Suero, when the team selected his contract the day after the season ended upon his reaching MLFA status.

There’s a few other interesting newly-minted MLFA candidates who we’ve talked about in the past, but unless we have evidence the team re-signs them they’re not really candidates to discuss here.  Names like Drew WardJordan Mills, etc.  Perhaps even Spencer Kieboom.  But like Suero and Sanchez, if you want to keep them, you’ve got to sign them to a ML deal.

One candidate from this group: Sanchez


So, who would I protect?

So, remember, if someone gets drafted they have to stick on someone else’s ACTIVE, 25-man (well, now 26-man) MLB roster the entirety of 2019.  So it has to be someone who could theoretically stick on a MLB roster.

  • Ben Braymer
  • Sterling Sharp

Who would I additionally consider?

  • Taylor Gushue
  • Joan Baez
  • Andrew Istler

Here’s some other opinions in the Natmosphere on the same topic (i’ll add them as I see them):

  • Federal Baseball thinks Sharp, maybe Braymer, maybe Istler
  • TalkNats/SaoMagnifico (who’s been chatting on this post) thinks Sharp, maybe Braymer, maybe Fuentes, possibly Istler, German, Sanchez, Banks, Gushue
  • (via thinks Sharp yes, possibly Braymer, possibly Malvin Pena (??)

For a fun trip down memory lane, here’s the same Rule 5 Protection analysis post for 20182017201620152014201320122011, and 2010.

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

58 Responses to 'Rule 5 Analysis/Prediction for 2019'

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  1. Todd –

    Thank you again for this special yearly feature. Part of what makes this site essential reading for the Nats fan base.

    I can’t help but think that the team has been preparing for the Rule 5 since last year, and this was reflected in trades even last winter (Johnson, Rodriguez) and more recently (Guilbeau) of roster-eligibles that the team was already on the fence about protecting. A look back shows that te Nats have not been raided of talent that made it, but that a high percentage of players protected eventually had major league time in DC or on other rosters.

    So now the roster is very much cut down by the free agency eligibility of many players. It feels moreso than recent years. But this year features, to me, even fewer players than typical who might be realistic additions.

    With so many roster spots open already, and that does not even include those who can be dropped, the Nationals go into the hot stove with a lot of spots for signing FA and those non-tendered players, like utility options, early career players trying to break through, bullpen cattle calls, or Rizzo “Seventh starter specials” who might be holding out for a major league roster spot.

    So I see Sharp protected, along with Mario Sanchez (not listed here). Stephen Fuentes, as a potential starter, needs to be protected as well – but will they? A 60 day PED suspension is not shoulder surgery, and the team has heavily invested in him.

    I get the argument for Gushue but he hasn’t the defensive chops (that Severino and Leon have) and I don;t see his bat playing enough for any team to bury him. He’s like a more advanced Adrian Nieto, and has been passed on the organizational pecking order by Barrera.

    As for Istler, Rizzo’s pride would be reflected in protecting an undersized right hander who did not even see much of AA last year. Was he hurt? Is that why it took so long to place him? Trevor Gott was also undersized. If Menhart liked him, I have to think the Nationals would have put him in AA sooner than they did. Unless, of course, the Nats buried him to protect him now. But that would be almost Astros-like in its sneakiness. The one thing that stands out is that when he was in Potomac, the league was observing that Istler should be playing at a much higher level (AAA-majors)? So hopefully he is not the next arm (See Austin Adams and Trevor Gott) that gets away.

    Sao over at Luke’s site has been preaching the virtues of Mario Sanchez, a double AA revival last year that the Nats pulled back in after he had been traded to Philadelphia for Jimmy Cordero. I agree with him.

    The current roster has a number of “sell-by” players, and with the next wave of talent a year from now coming, I see a lot of roster turnover again – because it worked this year.

    I have long advocated Rizzo’s strengths here (although acknowledging his weaknesses for drafting and player development), and trading from inventory is one of them. The current state of affairs, which includes the Rule-5 eligibles, plays to his strengths. So much intrigue coming this off season!


    15 Nov 19 at 11:15 am

  2. Great stuff, Todd. Kudos!

    Mark L

    15 Nov 19 at 11:55 am

  3. Fore — Mario Sanchez is actually a minor-league free agent. Per the latest discussion on Luke’s site, since his name didn’t appear on the latest BA list of Nat minor league free agents, there’s some hope that he’s already re-signed, but no one seems to know.


    15 Nov 19 at 12:55 pm

  4. Reetz suffered a knee injury in AZ, making a “no” for the 40-man pretty easy. Because of that, they may think about adding Gushue, but I would be surprised if they do.


    15 Nov 19 at 1:22 pm

  5. Fore beat me to the punch on my #1, absolute must-add guy: Fuentes. He’s two years younger than Sharp, pitching at the same level, and probably better. And the suspension would actually make it easier for an MLB team to stash/carry him after a Rule 5 pick. Plus he also has considerable experience working in relief. Based on what Fuentes did in 2019 after his move into the AA rotation, at age 22, he’s one of my top two or three arms in the system right now.

    There are several readers at Nats Prospects who are really on the Sharp bandwagon, but I remain a skeptic. He’ll turn 25 in May, and he’s only listed at 170 lbs. He’s not a solid horse like Braymer or Bourque. He had a troubling 1.41 WHIP and high 2.54 BB rate. I have a hard time seeing him as a potential Nat MLB contributor in 2020, particularly ahead of a slew of other guys who also aren’t on the 40-man: Crowe, Braymer, Istler, Lee, Condra-Bogan. That’s the bottom line for me: I have a hard time making the argument to tie up a 40-man slot with him not being on the near horizon. But I won’t be particularly surprised if the Nats do add him.

    Braymer’s another tough call in my mind. He’ll turn 26 in April and got clobbered in the PCL. He’s probably not going to be able to remain as a starter. His K/9 hasn’t broken 8 at AA or AAA, so he’s probably not a swing-and-miss reliever, either. (That would be Andrew Lee.)

    At least Braymer’s a year and half younger than Istler, who is already 27. The Nats’ handling of him in 2019, in a year when they desperately needed relief help, was downright weird. They don’t seem sold enough on him to put him on the 40-man.

    Frankly, if I were an opposing team, of all the Nat relievers who might be available, I’d be most tempted to take a Rule 5 shot at Andrew Lee. He’s the hard-throwing reliever/swingman type who might have a chance to stick all season. At the same time, from the Nats’ perspective, it’s hard to make a significant case for protecting him. He’s about to turn 26, has barely pitched above A+, and is on his third elbow. He did look dominant at times in the AFL, though.

    Baez turns 25 in December. He’s got a big, wild arm. Do the Nats see him as a potential contributor in 2020? I have no idea. I don’t think he profiles as well as Jefry Rodriguez did when they added him a couple of years ago.


    15 Nov 19 at 1:29 pm

  6. Banks made some overall strides forward in 2019, but I agree with Todd that he didn’t show enough HR power to be added to the 40-man. Plus he struggled in AZ. Who knows, maybe he’ll turn into a slugger in the PCL.


    15 Nov 19 at 1:34 pm

  7. I will note that the Nats have an unusual amount of 40-man maneuverability at this time. They’ve only got 30 guys on the 40-man, because of all the free agents, plus there are another 10 or so guys who are out of options, with several of them likely not coming back (Read, Difo, Ad. Sanchez). They’ve also got several non-tender candidates: Taylor, Strickland, Guerra. All of that to say that they’ve got the space to go hog-wild and add four or five guys to protect them from Rule 5. They just don’t have a lot of inspiring candidates at the moment.

    To me, there’s less risk exposing a guy to Rule 5 — where a team would have to keep him on the big-league roster all season or return him — than there is adding a guy who they later have to DFA. A DFA’d player doesn’t have to be added to the MLB roster, only the 40-man.

    It will be interesting to see whether there’s a little more Rule 5 drafting this year with MLB active rosters expanding from 25 to 26.


    15 Nov 19 at 1:48 pm

  8. Wow you guys like Fuentes. I admit; i saw his PED suspension and immediately figured nobody would take him.

    NO argument his stuff has been solid. Year after year to be honest. That’s not the issue. Would a team take him and carry him on their 26-man active roster all year, right now? I think that’s a stretch.

    Todd Boss

    15 Nov 19 at 6:04 pm

  9. Fuentes is better than Sharp in nearly every category and two years younger, and a team wouldn’t have to have him on the active roster during the period of his suspension. He has roughly 25 games left on the suspension, so pretty much the month of April.

    Fuentes started 11 games at AA at just barely 22. His FIP was an amazing 2.24, and he K’d nearly 9 per 9. For reference, Will Crowe, who is almost three years older, started 16 games at AA with a very good 3.15 FIP and 8.4 K/9. Sharp, who is two years older than Fuentes, started 9 AA games with an excellent 2.59 FIP and 8.15 K/9. Braymer, who is three years older, started 13 at AA, 3.37 FIP and 7.86 K/9. All of these numbers were good, but Fuentes’s were the best of the lot, and he’s significantly younger than all of them.

    A lot of folks think they will protect Sharp. If so, fine, but also protect the guy who is two years younger and already better.


    15 Nov 19 at 7:44 pm

  10. […] Rule 5 protection deadline is next week, and Mr. Boss over at NationalsArmsRace has broken it down as he has every year since 2010 (fun fact*: his site started the same day I assumed full control of […]

  11. Since we’ve mentioned a whole bunch of upper-system arms, I’ll bring up another issue: what are the Nats supposed to do about the Fresno/PCL problem? They promoted a number of guys who had done really well at AA, including Crowe, Braymer, and Mario Sanchez, and they all got rocked in the PCL. (So did Fedde.) Do they expose Sharp and Fuentes to the same fate?

    Frankly, I don’t think the quality of hitters a pitcher would face at AAA is that much better than AA. I think it would be better to have the best real pitching “prospects” succeeding at Harrisburg, rather than struggling at Fresno. Just stock Fresno with a bunch of 30-year-old minor league vets.


    16 Nov 19 at 11:27 am

  12. Todd, this is some good stuff. A piece I wrote for TalkNats yesterday just went live and it looks like we arrived at some similar conclusions, although per the comments here, I am a lot more taken with Fuentes. (The big question there is whether the heptaminol puts the Nats off, or they believe in him despite the positive drug test and suspension.)

    KW makes a good point, though: Triple-A was roooough on the Nats pitchers who got a taste of it this year. Obviously, we’re hoping that it was the generally crazy offensive environment that’s to blame for that, and not just that these guys can’t hack it above Double-A. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that aside from Carter Kieboom and I guess Braymer, pretty much all of the guys considered to be notable prospects weren’t allowed anywhere near the PCL this year by the Nats front office.


    16 Nov 19 at 3:59 pm

  13. As for the question of Mario Sanchez…obviously, it’s a challenge for us prospect-watchers to know exactly what’s going on with minor league rosters, contracts, injuries, etc., because there simply isn’t as much information published about them. I’m willing to believe Sanchez remains in the organization on a minor league deal, along with several other FA-eligible minor leaguers, since the other FA-eligible minor leaguers are no longer listed on rosters and Sanchez, Corredor, Reyes, Espino, etc., are. In those cases, it’s not hard to conceive of why both sides would be interested in continuing the partnership (Sanchez and Espino, notably, came back to the organization this year of their own volition), and it’s unclear to me why the official rosters and transaction logs would reflect the likes of Marmolejos, Ward, Bacus, etc., becoming free agents while excluding certain FA-eligible minor leaguers like Sanchez.

    All of that being said, and even if my assumptions are correct, it seems like if the Nats were going to promote Sanchez to the major league roster, they would have done it already instead of apparently bringing him back for 2020 on a minors deal. I suppose it’s possible he signed before the 2019 season on a multiyear minors deal, or even that he agreed to a new minors deal with a handshake agreement that he would be protected ahead of the Rule 5 draft, but neither of those scenarios seems very likely.


    16 Nov 19 at 4:10 pm

  14. I really don’t know what to do about the Fresno pitching problem. Although I sort of suggested leaving a lot of the rotation at AA, there’s basically a full rotation ready to move up from A+, including a few legit “prospects”–Tim Cate, Carson Teel, Jackson Tetreault, Andrew Lee, and Nick Raquet (who may be headed to the ‘pen). Also, there’s the matter of keeping the “6th starter” at Harrisburg instead of across the country; I assume that’s going to be McGowin since Voth, Fedde, and Ross are out of options.

    Having so many quality starter prospects and demi-prospects is a good “problem” to have, of course. And there’s no room to leave the guys mentioned at A+ because Rutledge, Adon, Schaller, Irvin, Stoeckinger, and Troop are ready for their step up. And maybe Romero, that man of mystery, will show up in Woodbridge, err, Fredericksburg as well.


    16 Nov 19 at 8:37 pm

  15. As for the PEDs, the Nats did “reward” J-Rod and Read with 40-man spots based in part on their PED-infused boosts. J-Rod continued to pitch pretty well, but Read has never quite taken the “next step.” He’s out of options and probably will be leaving, as a 20-HR catcher — even at Fresno — probably wouldn’t clear waivers.


    16 Nov 19 at 9:46 pm

  16. The one thing that’s not being mentioned here is that at AAA they used the juiced baseball that the majors had. That, plus the PCL/beer league factor made for a lethal combination.
    If they go back to a legitimate baseball at AAA that would make things a lot more palatable.

    Mark L

    17 Nov 19 at 8:14 am

  17. It’s premature to speculate who will be cut loose among players who have never truly been given a shot. So much from year to year depends on the player’s inspiration to improve.

    The PED issue does not negate Fuentes. Read was an up and comer, got suspended for PED, but made his way to the 40 man in 2019. He may never get a shot, but that’s only because Suzuki is a bat first veteran catcher and the better thought of prospect in the upper minors right now is Barrera. Read could be packages in a trade based on his offensive numbers. Many “pundits” and some posters here who obsess over BA rankings forget that other teams value Nationals prospects highly.

    But the off season also illustrates who takes their game to the next level. Brian Goodwin looked like he was a stalled AA-AAA player, then used his winter right. Michael Taylor did that a few years ago.

    Taylor is a curious story. Read Byron Kerr’s informative article about Nick. Banks and take in how he reflects upon Taylor’s character. MAT is clearly a high character player who other players respond to as a young leader. He is dispensable because of Stevenson’s defense, but is a championship caliber player who many teams that don’t have Soto and Robles WOULD take a chance on. And based on the allure and exposure of his playoff performance, he has trade value (although free agency looms for him as well).

    The Rendon and Strasburg talk is well worn at this point. That noted, the Nationals need a franchise catcher. I don’t see Grandal as that two way player who is a Realmuto or Molina. The team needs the catcher the pitchers want to throw to, and for years to come. The Reetz injury was quite a setback this fall that no one talks about. Not that he would have been able to jump, but he was really starting to blossom later this year as one of the underrated (by others) stars of the system. I really hope he is not drafted away because he has everything a team needs in the way of tools.


    17 Nov 19 at 11:43 am

  18. Mario Sanchez: i omitted him entirely from the analysis b/c he is (was) a MLFA. Now i’m hearing he got signed. Well if he got signed, he’s gonna get protected right?

    Or … and I don’t know this answer … would a MLFA signing even be subject to the rule 5 analysis draft?

    Todd Boss

    17 Nov 19 at 3:10 pm

  19. Why not? Either you are on the 40 man or you’re not.

    He came back to the organization last year and to the minor league pitching coordinator who helped him develop into a prospect the Phillies wanted. And so if he re-upped instead of free agency, maybe he realizes Paul Menhart is his ticket to more, if only a slring training invite.

    Remember that Sanchez could have gone anywhere and stayed in an organization in which he is theoretically well down the pecking order. His agent knows something we don’t.


    17 Nov 19 at 5:12 pm

  20. Yes, if Sanchez is indeed back on a minors deal, he’ll be exposed in the Rule 5 draft unless the Nats promote him by Wednesday. I think forensicane is on to something with the Menhart connection. Similarly, there’s a reason the Nats decided out of nowhere to not just promote 21-year-old Steven Fuentes but turn him into a starter in his first taste of Double-A.

    Is it enough to get Sanchez and/or Fuentes bumped up to the 40-man roster? That remains to be seen. But there’s a reason Sanchez re-signed (twice now, apparently) and there’s a reason Fuentes was moved so aggressively. They are part of the Nats’ plan in some way, shape, or form.


    17 Nov 19 at 5:30 pm

  21. Fuentes started out as a starter and was originally a hot item in the Dominican. He only was turned into a reliever when his progressed stalled. He obviously turned a corner this year, and heart meds it ain’t.

    Again, pundits are generally useless other than telling us what we already know – that Kieboom and Garcia are the creme. The Nats know who their talents are. As do the people who have watched Fuentes stateside. I saw him pitch at Auburn and, while I’m no Luke Erickson, and no expert on who is a better starter than reliever, I felt that he was the best pitcher of the five I saw. At that stage, he looked like he knew what he wanted to do on the mound. That’s not drugs.


    17 Nov 19 at 6:01 pm

  22. To be clear, I’m not advocating that anyone be “cut loose.” I would be glad if Read, Difo, and Ad. Sanchez can remain in the system. But they’re out of options, and they’re not good enough to be on the 26-man roster of the defending World Champs, which means they’ll have to be DFA’d, traded, or released. Those are the only options. If DFA’d, if they pass through waivers, they could then be outrighted to Fresno and no longer be on the 40-man.

    They will no longer be able to be “shuttle players,” though. It’s a pickle when a player is out of options, like Matt Reynolds, who just signed with the Royals. The Nats called him up once, but they had to DFA him just to send him back to the minors because he was out of options.

    Spencer Kieboom elected free agency, so he and Read will no longer be the shuttle catchers. Tres Barrera, already on the 40-man, will be one, and I guess Gushue will be the other.


    17 Nov 19 at 7:41 pm

  23. As for Menhart’s influence, I’ve pointed to Voth’s rise in particular. Not sure he would have gotten the real look that he did without Menhart’s promotion.

    Is Voth the offseason leader for 5th starter? He pitched better overall than Fedde or Ross and had strong starts in key games down the stretch. All three of them are out of options. All would have some fairly significant trade value. My crystal ball says Voth as 5th starter, Ross as bullpen swingman, and Fedde traded for a nice return. McGowin has one more option year so will be #1 on the shuttle, unless someone like Crowe, Braymer, or Mario Sanchez (if he’s still with us) has a strong spring.

    One possible wrinkle is that there are a number of very good second-tier starters on the market. It’s possible the Nats pick up one of them as the 5th starter, but perhaps on a three-year contract to overlap the end of the Sanchez and Scherzer contracts. (One would guess that Max will be invited to stick around beyond 2021, of course, but at a reduced rate.)


    17 Nov 19 at 7:54 pm

  24. On Fuentes – The Nationals may have discovered something hiding in plain sight last year. He started in the bullpen, yes, and even continued as such in Harrisburg. And then he got his shot and just killed it! Yet in all, his body of work includes only 6 outings of more than 80 pitches. It reminds one of Drew Pomeranz suddenly being all the rage as a bullpen lefty. But hey, he’s on our side, so I’ll take it.

    As for Menhart, I discovered in spring training last year that he is the warmest, most engaging communicator of a coach — a perfect complement to Davey Martinez in the positivity aspect. He has always enjoyed a great reputation in the organization, but given the Nationals’ relatively underwhelming track record of draft pick development to the majors, I wonder how much of it is the gift of his personality rather than a Maddux like encyclopedic sophistication. Who knows?

    Voth was always very highly regarded. And he has slowly made his way up the ladder and eventually excelled despite cautious expectations. I think that is a portent for his big league success. Once he settles in, he demonstrates he more than belongs.

    Ross really re-emerged, then took a line shot off a leg and faded. Fedde had his flashes. One can assemble a betting line, especially on who is more traded before we ever get to spring training, but the correct question is, “Who is the pitcher the other trading partner asks for?” which of course we cannot answer. Truth is, the nationals now have AAA-Majors depth at a level not seen since they dealt Milone and Peacock together. Especially since that depth extends to AA (Sharp, Fuentes, Crowe, Braymer, and the wave of lefties to hit AA next year).

    In my mind, pitcher development is reflected in players who leap forward after working with a particular coach Tejada gets a lot of props, but I wonder if we will not be hearing a lot more from the A+ pitching coach, Sam Narron, under whom Fuentes, Fletcher, Johnston, Teel, and others apparently blossomed.


    17 Nov 19 at 9:25 pm

  25. FWIW, FanGraphs lists Mario Sanchez as Rule 5-eligible.


    18 Nov 19 at 10:20 am

  26. KW You talking about this link?

    seems out of date. No Sanchez in AA rotation, and still lists guys like Jordan Mills as on the roster.

    Todd Boss

    18 Nov 19 at 11:52 am

  27. No, on Sanchez’s individual page.

    If he is eligible, then he would be a 40-man add for me. I see him as ahead of Sharp in the pecking order/scheme of things.

    With all the 40-man space the Nats have, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add Sanchez, Sharp, Fuentes, and Braymer.


    18 Nov 19 at 1:31 pm

  28. MLBTR’s offseason outlook for the Defending World Champions:


    18 Nov 19 at 7:04 pm

  29. The real question for me with Sanchez is what were the terms of his 2020 contract. When was it agreed on? Was there an understanding he’d be protected in the R5? Think back to 2017. Wander Suero was eligible to become a minor league free agent five days after the end of the World Series. The Nats added him to the 40-man roster at the start of November to forestall that. Sanchez appears to still be a member of the organization, but his contract hasn’t been selected so he is not on the 40-man roster. If he were going to be promoted, wouldn’t the Nats have selected his contract right after they won the World Series instead of negotiating a new minors contract? But if Sanchez was already signed for 2020, it wouldn’t have been a pressing decision, and the Nats were awfully busy that weekend.

    Just thinking “out loud” here, as it were. I like Sanchez, but it just seems like he’d be on the 40-man already if the Nats planned on protecting him.


    18 Nov 19 at 7:17 pm

  30. And the weird thing is that even after the deadline passes on Wed. to add guys to the 40-man, we still won’t know Sanchez’s status, unless they add him.

    As I noted somewhere above, I’m not a big fan of adding a lot of guys to the 40-man just to protect them from the perceived — and very small — risk of being picked in the Rule 5 Draft. You hamstring yourselves sometimes on 40-man maneuverability, particularly if you have added guys who don’t really figure in your MLB plans in the upcoming season (guys like Gutierrez), and the risk of losing someone in the Rule 5 Draft is a lot less than it is if you have to DFA someone you’ve added.


    19 Nov 19 at 8:24 am

  31. Sao — specific to Sanchez, I wonder how much the Nats are behind the curve, time-wise, entering this postseason since they actually made it all the way to the World Series this year. It sounds like even the front office and the scouts were heavily involved in coming up with ways to foil the cheatin’ Astros. So routine decisions that they’ve had weeks to prepare for in past offseasons are suddenly on a much-accelerated timetable. Plus they’ve got exponentially bigger decisions with Stras and Rendon, they had to make the decisions on options with Zim, Gomes, and the like, and all of this.


    19 Nov 19 at 8:42 am

  32. Sanchez’ MILB page does show him being re-signed … but its dated 12/18/19.

    Possible that’s a typo and it was actually 11/08/19? Off by a digit in both the month and the year?

    I just finished drafting a post about options statuses … and let me tell you, if you’re worried about “wasting” 40-man roster space, don’t. There’s 10 guys without options heading into 2020 and I think half of them get cut eventually. I mean, right now they can add or sign fully 10 guys before they even address non-tenders or options.

    Todd Boss

    19 Nov 19 at 9:02 am

  33. What all of this means, of course, is that without even signing flotsam, the Nationals will have five or more developed starters who have shown success at AA to potentially earmark for AAA, And, a big push from Potomac of graduating starting pitchers, including the three lefties.

    Can’t help but see trades coming.


    19 Nov 19 at 9:42 am

  34. Fore — I think you’re right about the trade material they have available (also including some of the out-of-option and/or non-tender candidates, like Taylor, Read, and Difo, and maybe even some of the relievers like Strickland, Elias, and Guerra). I’ve said already that I think they will trade at least one from among Fedde/Ross/Voth, all of whom are out of options. McGowin is very useful this season because he has one option left and has looked decent at times in the majors. Crowe doesn’t even have to be added to the 40-man until next year, unless they call him up, although age is already a bit of an issue with him.

    And frankly, despite all the potential starters we’ve mentioned in these comments, if I had to pick the next guy (beyond Voth/Ross/Fedde) I could see as being legitimately good enough to be in the rotation for a contending team, I’d probably point to Jackson Rutledge. And his draft mate from last year, Matt Cronin, may be the best overall reliever prospect.

    What trade needs do they have? Well, bullpen, obviously. They need a lead catcher, although the scuttlebutt seems strong that they’d like Gomes back, just at a reduced rate. Suzuki will likely be done after 2020. They need someone to share 1B with Zim, although presumably they hope Mendoza can be ready in a couple of years.

    We’ll see. Should be an interesting offseason!


    19 Nov 19 at 10:42 am

  35. The high-end trade market:

    Despite several mentions of the Nats as possible destinations, I doubt they have the high-end chips to deal for most of these . . . unless they’re willing to give up Garcia and/or Kieboom. Ray would be interesting, and perhaps affordable only one year from FA. No interest in Shark and his big contract. Two years of Seager would interest me a lot as sort of a replacement for Rendon, but if it costs Kieboom to get him, that’s sort of a wash.


    19 Nov 19 at 11:50 am

  36. I kind of like the idea of signing Grandal to platoon at catcher and at 1B. Against lefties, Suzuki starts at C and Grandal starts at 1B. Against righties, Grandal starts at C and a free agent lefty hitter starts at 1B (I like Thames from this bunch).

    Reasons: 1) Grandal is a better hitter than all FA 1Bs; 2) the team needs both a C and a RH 1B and Grandal kills two birds with one stone; 3) Suzuki is the weaker C offensively and defensively, and this gives him the weaker half of the platoon.

    Drawbacks: 1) effectively means saying goodbye to Zim; 2) cost (though this may not be that big an issue given that Grandal is like getting two players for the price of one).

    Note: over his career, Grandal is slightly better hitting righties than he is hitting lefties. His splits were reversed – better at hitting lefties – last year, but they just the opposite – better at hitting righties – in 2018. Other than 2017, which was a down year offensively for him across the board, he’s been consistently above average from both sides of the plate each year.

    Note 2: the defensive metrics absolutely love him at C, mostly because they think he’s a great framer. This is consistent throughout his career, so we probably ought to expect him to continue to be good, but worse than he has been. There are lots of Cs whose framing success declined over time.


    19 Nov 19 at 11:58 am

  37. I think this is a great opportunity to buy low on Buster Posey. The Nationals line up well with the Giants as trading partners, and he is coming off hip surgery. But he is only 32, signed for two years and controllable for three, a proven champion and true two way catcher who is a team leader and clubhouse asset, one who can mentor in another catcher.

    The Nationals need a franchise catcher and tried with Suzuki/Gomes. It was a big upgrade, but unless they are bringing back Gomes at less money, I don’t see anyone out there who pairs up well with Suzuki.

    Grandal for a draft pick does not excite me. Players that play for too many teams tell me that there is more to the story.

    The other interesting story line is the Red Sox high end pitching. If Strasburg leaves, trading for Chris Sale would be a good play, in my mind. Rizzo already likes him, and has a history of staying with his favorites (Span, Murphy) until he gets them at his price.


    19 Nov 19 at 12:54 pm

  38. I think Posey is too much the “face of the franchise” from the championship years for SF to trade him. Of course I didn’t think they would let MadBum walk, but maybe they are. (If so, they screwed up by not trading him at the deadline and getting something for him.)

    I wouldn’t hate it if the Nats went after Grandal, but I think that only happens if they have leftover bucks if Rendon doesn’t come back. The question there becomes how long will the Nats wait on Rendon/Boras. Last year, they pretty much spent the Harper money on Corbin early in the FA period.

    If I had to guess, I would say Gomes come back, for around $4-5M, not the $9M he would have been owed. And I think it’s a mortal lock that Zim will be back. Will they find a platoon mate for him at 1B, or just have two RH hitters with him sharing time with Kendrick? (Part of me thinks that they got the max they could expect out of Howie, particularly at his age. The other part sees what a heck of a hitter he’s been over the last three seasons.)


    19 Nov 19 at 2:56 pm

  39. I would not be outbid for Howie. Apart from his production, and his clutch, the fact that he came back from what would be a career killer for many at any age shows the character of a person who will come to play at age 37. Even a 20% regression is worth what they pay him.

    I’m not so sure Zim is coming back as a player. Werth likely said the same thing. Rizzo is not going to be governed by sentimentality.

    You make a good point on Posey, but the Giants have Joey Bart in the wings Posey’s trade value may be on the cusp of steep decline, and Zaidi is a newer GM with no attachment to the steep contracts he inherited. He wants and needs to put his stamp on the franchise and blew the chance with MadBum.


    19 Nov 19 at 3:31 pm

  40. I would be shocked if the Nats talk Zim into retiring, but if/when he comes back, I do think it will be with the understanding that he’s only going to be playing about half the time.

    With so many free agents, the Nats are really in a weird state of limbo right now. There’s a chance much of the 2019 postseason squad could return intact, probably with Kieboom replacing Dozier on the roster, perhaps Adams and Parra not back, and with a couple of additions in the bullpen. Or there could be a major shake-up, with new starters at 1B, 2B, 3B, and C, #2 and #5 starter, and the majority of the bench and bullpen replaced. Most likely, it will end up being somewhere in between. And Rizzo usually seems to have his eye on some FA that the rest of baseball isn’t expecting the Nats to pursue.


    19 Nov 19 at 8:31 pm

  41. I hadn’t thought of Posey, but if the Giants were ever going to trade him, this would be the winter to do it. That being said, I’m skeptical.

    I’ve seen Bart play, though, and he’s the real deal.


    19 Nov 19 at 10:33 pm

  42. Parra signs with Yomiuri Giants. Good for him. I know there was some sentiment for bringing him back, but he really reverted to the mean after his strong start with the Nats. So that’s one area where we can move on without wondering if he’s part of the equation. (Would LOVE to have him back as a coach in a couple of years, though.)


    20 Nov 19 at 7:37 am

  43. Parra: Good for everyone. If the Nationals repeat, they need to refurbish their identity to maintain a hunger to win a championship. 2019 was that and will never come back. He was great at times, and great in the clubhouse, and this is a signal that 2020 will be a different vibe.

    Zimm: The Nats won’t convince him to retire. But if they would kick Gomes to the curb with no replacement yet available, Zimm is in the same category at any price. They should offer a heavily incentivized deal, because even if they pay him 2m a year base, that’s not worth anything for an oft-injured 257 hitter who plays one position and decently. The team is too good for that and there are only 26 roster spots.

    Rule 5: My last word is Sharp, Braymer, Fuentes, Sanchez and maybe Reetz – because they have ten spots open and because I expect them to trade from the existing roster, and even from that group as well. Promotions add visibility and trade value just like the organizational awards and AFL exposure does. It’s like the Ross Perot story about buying a three legged camel from an Arab (you could look it up), and I think the Nationals play up their prospects that way to the media and pundits (like, which beyond the obvious is a more dubious list, IMHO, but likely what the Nats want it to be).

    I wouldn’t be surprised, for example, for Sharp to be part of a package for a big needed piece.


    20 Nov 19 at 12:16 pm

  44. Anthopolous is a good GM. He’s made aggressive and smart moves, like a man with a plan. He has really turned around the Braves on so many levels.


    20 Nov 19 at 12:18 pm

  45. Also, so long as we are spitballing, I can see the Nationals lining up with Texas on a Michael Taylor-Jose LeClerc components in a deal that brings back rehabbing Taylor Hearn as part of the package.

    Or, the Nats lurking around to see the non-tender list and hope that Blake Treinen or Shane Greene fall to them.


    20 Nov 19 at 12:31 pm

  46. It seemed it was going to be either Parra or Michael Taylor as they are both defense first outfielders.

    Nothing but wishing the best for Parra!

    Mark L

    20 Nov 19 at 12:51 pm

  47. Todd Boss

    20 Nov 19 at 1:05 pm

  48. Well, unless they’re planning on making more moves today, we can probably say goodbye and good luck to Sterling Sharp. What a strange decision by the Nats, who could at least be getting something in trade for Sharp if they aren’t planning to use him.


    20 Nov 19 at 1:29 pm

  49. When in doubt, save the lefty! Really, Braymer is the only returning lefty “prospect” from AAA or AA.

    I don’t blame the Nats for not tying up a lot of 40-man slots with guys who probably can’t help the big club in 2020. We’ll see how it works out. Really, the risk of losing a player through Rule 5 is small.


    20 Nov 19 at 1:35 pm

  50. Sao — I’m very skeptical of Sharp as a major-leaguer in 2020, even for the Orioles. We’ll see. It is interesting that the Nats showcased him in AZ but then didn’t protect him after he pitched well.

    I’m still curious about Mario Sanchez’s status. I think he’s closer to MLB-ready than Sharp is.


    20 Nov 19 at 1:39 pm

  51. It isn’t 8PM yet.

    Nor the Winter meetings yet.

    Last player selected from the Nats – Adrian Nieto by the White Sox. Last seen in AA (from Sox to oblivion, as Todd might say).

    With ten slots available, it’s too obvious to protect more. So Rizzo has another plan that we will find out.

    As for Braymer, he may have been lit up in Fresno, but in his first go ’round of AA, he was excellent. So he’ll build on it, and as an upper level lefty in a system without many (any) to speak of.


    20 Nov 19 at 2:18 pm

  52. Zuckerman is assuming that, because there’s no other announcements, that Braymer is the sole addition. But … its not 8pm yet.

    Todd Boss

    20 Nov 19 at 2:50 pm

  53. Nieto was a nutty case. He had never played above A+, and his one solid year there came a season after a PED suspension. The Chisox took him in Rule 5 in 2013 and kept him for all of the 2014 season, during which he actually posted a somewhat respectable 83 OPS+, particularly considering that he had never even played AA. He had a poor season in the minors in 2015 and has never been back to The Show, as Fore noted.


    20 Nov 19 at 3:10 pm

  54. Correct, KW.

    I raised it not to illustrate the customary trajectory of Rule 5s, but more to attest to Rizzo’s acumen for decision-making about roster spots and promotion to avoid selection in the Rule 5.

    What we also are not factoring in is that the 26 man roster works in the Nats favor (to hide a player all year) as well, and that Rizzo may be waiting to see who is added by other teams before he irreversibly accounts for spots on the 40-man. You can always add, but subtraction is more tricky.


    20 Nov 19 at 3:52 pm

  55. OK, since we’ve hitched our wagon to Braymer, here’s a question: does he stay a starter and perhaps join McGowin as the second “shuttle starter” for the big club, or do they move him back to reliever since they certainly could stand to develop some LH options? I guess my immediate concern with Braymer as a reliever is that his 9.40 K/9 at Potomac only translated to 7.86 at AA and 7.05 in the wilds of the PCL. In other words, I’m concerned that he doesn’t have nearly the swing-and-miss success as he’s hit the higher levels.

    Braymer had a terrific 0.97 WHIP at AA this year, 3.37 FIP. And FWIW, his PCL nightmare wasn’t nearly as bad as Mario Sanchez’s. Braymer did improve at Fresno, giving up 1/3/3/1 earned runs in his last four starts while decreasing his ERA by two full runs.


    20 Nov 19 at 7:24 pm

  56. Well THAT was unexpected. Interesting to see Mayo’s column on who was and was not protected, at least by the mlb rankings, for all teams. There’s always more to the story.


    21 Nov 19 at 10:00 am

  57. […] one of the longest running posts I do. Here’s links to past years posts on this topic: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010. We have managed to do this post every year, […]

  58. […] Predicted Braymer, Sharp.  Actual: just Braymer.  And…. Sharp got picked in the Rule-5 […]

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