Nationals Arm Race

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

Good Lord we’ve drafted a lot of Arms …

11 comments

Alex Meyer leads a very very large pack of college arms in the Nats draft class. Photo via Lex18.com

I wrote this post in three parts, after each of the draft’s three days.  Hence the groupings.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the top 10 rounds.

- Anthony Rendon 2b/3b 1/6 Rice Jr.  Boras client, slipped b/c of shoulder injury #1 BA ranked
- Alex Meyer rhp 1/23 UKentucky Jr. big starter, 97mph
- Brian Goodwin of S1/34 Miami Dade Juco (was unc).  lefty leadoff/cf type.
- Matt Purke lhp 3/96 TCU Soph. Fantastic pick, was a top10 talent, shoulder bursitis issue.
- Kylin Turnbull lhp 4/127 Santa Barbara Juco.  6-4, 93mph
- Matt Skole 3b 5/157 Georgia Tech Jr.  Big bat.  47homers in 3yr college career.  wow.
- David Hill rhp 6/187 Vanderbuilt Sr.
- Brian Dupra rhp 7/217 Notre Dame Sr.
- Gregory Holt rhp 8/247 UNC Sr.
- Dixon Anderson rhp 9/277 California Sr.
- Manny Rodriguez rhp 10/307 Barry University Sr.

First day observations: Wow, that’s a lot of pitching.  8 of our first 11 picks are college arms.  Not ONE high school guy.

Looking at the next 20 rounds (where there’s less of a chance the guy pans out):

- Caleb Ramsey OF   11 Houston Sr.
- Blake Monar LHP  12 Indiana Jr.
- Blake Kalenkosky 1B   13 Texas State Jr.
- Cody Stubbs OF   14 Walters State JuCo J2
- Zach Houchins SS   15 Louisburg JuCo J1
- Deion Williams SS   16 Redan (Ga.) HS (Committed to Georgia State)
- Esteban Guzman RHP  17 San Jose State Jr.
- Nicholas Lee LHP  18 Weatherford College JuCo J2
- Hawtin Buchannan RHP  19 Biloxi (Miss.) HS (Committed to Ole Mis/Mississippi)
- Josh Laxer RHP  20 Madison (Miss.) Central HS (Committed to Ole Mis/Mississippi)
- Todd Simko LHP  21 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Jr.
- Travis Henke RHP  22 Arkansas-Little Rock Sr.
- Khayyan Norfork 2B   23 Tennessee Sr.
- Kyle Ottoson LHP  24 Arizona State Jr.
- Erick Fernandez C    25 Georgetown Sr.
- Shawn Pleffner OF   26 Univ. of Tampa Jr.
- Bobby Lucas LHP  27 George Washington Sr.
- Kenneth Ferrer RHP  28 Elon University Sr.
- Sean Cotton C    29 Tusculum College Sr.
- Bryan Harper LHP  30 South Carolina Jr.

In rounds 11-30, here’s some highlights:

  • A grand total of 3 high schoolers.  And I’d be shocked if any of them sign based on college commitments and their relatively low draft rankings.  I could be wrong though, especially with Williams.  We’d pretty much destroy Ole Miss’ recruiting class if we took both guys who committed there.
  • 11 more pitchers, making 19 out of the first 31 players we’ve drafted in 2011 arms.

Day 3: here’s rounds 31-50

Josh Tobias SS 31 Southeast Guilford HS (NC) (Florida committment)
Billy Burns OF 32 Mercer Univ. (GA) Jr.
Trey Karlen 2B 33 Univ. of Tennessee-Martin Sr.
Calvin Drummond RHP 34 Univ. of San Diego (CA) Jr.
Alex Kreis RHP 35 Jamestown College (ND) Sr.
Ben Hawkins LHP 36 Univ. of West Florida Jr.
Derrick Bleeker RHP 37 Howard College (TX) Juco J2
Brett Mooneyham LHP 38 Stanford Univ. (CA) Jr.
Peter Verdin OF 39 Univ. of Georgia Jr.
Stephen Collum OF 40 Cartersville HS (GA) (? commit)
Bryce Ortega 3B 41 Univ. of Arizona Sr.
David Kerian SS 42 Bishop Heelan HS (IA) (? commit)
Mitchell Morales SS 43 Wellington Community HS (? commit)
Matt Snyder 1B 44 Univ. of Mississippi Jr.
Richie Mirowski RHP 45 Oklahoma Baptist Univ. Sr.
Tyler Thompson OF 46 Univ. of Florida Jr.
Timothy Montgomery LHP 47 Rockmart HS (GA) (? commit)
Michael Bisenius OF 48 Wayne State College (NE) Jr.
Hunter Cole OF 49 Dorman HS (SC) (? commit)
Anthony Nix OF 50 Univ. of California-Riverside Sr.

Round 31-50 stats:

  • 6 high schoolers, most with very little chance of signing (why sign in the mid 30s for a pittance when you can go to college, get an education and improve your draft status and bonus money?)
  • 13 of the last 20 picks non-pitchers
  • A number of these 30-50th round guys are college juniors, meaning they’re likely to go back to school.
  • 7 more pitchers, bringing the total in the draft to 27 pitchers overall.  Only ONE high school arm.

Coincidentally, “Sue Dinem” has already updated the Draft Tracker xls (one of my favorite Nats resources online: thanks Sue!).

In terms of the first few drat picks: i’m presuming that all Scott Boras clients will NOT sign til 10 minutes before the August 15th deadline, so that means Rendon, Meyer and Goodwin we’ll see you in Viera next spring.  Purke; he’s going to be an interesting negotiation, since he turned down top10 money 2 years ago and presumably can threaten to go back to school.  His negotiations probably go down to the wire as well.  Most likely he pitches in the Cape Cod league, and if he shows he’s got any sort of velocity coming back, we’ll offer him first round money.  Otherwise he’ll return for his third year and the Nats will get a 3rd round compensation pick in 2012.  Not the best solution for us but workable if he’s completely damaged goods.

From Turnbull on down to about the 20th round, i’m guessing everyone signs, and signs fast.   We’ve got a ton of college seniors with no place else to go, and little room for bonus money negotiation.  These guys are going to sign quickly and go directly to Auburn.

I’m a bit surprised at the pitcher focus frankly.  I perceive that we’re rather thin on positional players in our low-minors right now.   Looking at Baseball America’s top 30 for the organization at the end of 2010, the breakdown was as follows:

  • Outfielders (5): Harper, Perez, Hood, Burgess, Ramirez
  • Catchers (2): Norris, Ramos
  • Infielders (8): Espinosa, Marrero, Lombardozzi, Hague, Sanchez, Kobernus, Martinson, Moore
  • Right Handed Starters (7): Cole, Peacock, Maya, Morris, Tatusko, Meyers, Holder
  • Right Handed Relievers (4): Kimball, Ramirez, Carr, Pena
  • Left Handed Starters(4): Solis, Ray, Milone, Rosenbaum
  • Left Handed Relievers (0)

Of these 30 players, 2 have since been traded away (Morris, Burgess) while several more are now on the 25-man roster (Ramos, Espinosa, Maya for the time being and Kimball).  That leaves a breakdown of 12 positional players and 12 pitchers in the minors at the top level of BA’s analysis.  But its hard to look at most of positional players left in the minors and really say “those guys are a sure thing.”

Now we have 26 more arms to fit in, and not a bunch more hitters frankly.  The short-A and GCL are going to be stocked with arms and probably making due with what’s left in extended spring.  There’s approximately 24-26 pitcher slots to fill in short-A and GCL … but we still have a number of arms in extended spring that will be competing.  I wonder how many guys are about to get pink slips.

Get ready for an interesting summer.

Josh Tobias SS 31 Southeast Guilford HS (NC) (Florida committment)
Billy Burns OF 32 Mercer Univ. (GA) Jr.
Trey Karlen 2B 33 Univ. of Tennessee-Martin Sr.
Calvin Drummond RHP 34 Univ. of San Diego (CA) Jr.
Alex Kreis RHP 35 Jamestown College (ND) Sr.
Ben Hawkins LHP 36 Univ. of West Florida Jr.
Derrick Bleeker RHP 37 Howard College (TX) Juco J2
Brett Mooneyham LHP 38 Stanford Univ. (CA) Jr.
Peter Verdin OF 39 Univ. of Georgia Jr.
Stephen Collum OF 40 Cartersville HS (GA) (? commit)
Bryce Ortega 3B 41 Univ. of Arizona Sr.
David Kerian SS 42 Bishop Heelan HS (IA) (? commit)
Mitchell Morales SS 43 Wellington Community HS (? commit)
Matt Snyder 1B 44 Univ. of Mississippi Jr.
Ritchie Mirowski RHP 45 Oklahoma Baptist Univ. Sr.
Tyler Thompson OF 46 Univ. of Florida Jr.
Timothy Montgomery LHP 47 Rockmart HS (GA) (? commit)
Michael Bisenius OF 48 Wayne State College (NE) Jr.
Hunter Cole OF 49 Dorman HS (SC) (? commit)
Anthony Nix OF 50 Univ. of California-Riverside Sr.

11 Responses to 'Good Lord we’ve drafted a lot of Arms …'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Good Lord we’ve drafted a lot of Arms …'.

  1. While Rizzo may be a green rookie with things at the major league level, he has proven to be a major talent at drafting & development.
    I’m going to defer to his judgement here, because otherwise a lot of this is a headscratcher.

    You have to figure he’s going trade for bats fairly soon, the lopsided nature of the farm system needs remedial work.

    Mark L

    9 Jun 11 at 9:44 am

  2. I think i’m going to expand on these thoughts in a larger post, but i think he’s just following his particular theory on building a team. HS arms are notoriously risky, while college arms have more scouting against better competition. You can be a cynic and say that all the college seniors are to save money, since they’re going to blow lots of cash on the first 4 picks.

    Also, (and this is a point i’ve made before), modern baseball is about locking up your star pitchers early. You can always acquire bats in FA it seems. But there’s almost never a major Ace available.

    Todd Boss

    9 Jun 11 at 10:43 am

  3. I think he said as much in one of blog-posts either on MASN or elsewhere … fairly sure it was during an interview with Ben Goesslng.

    Rizzo in fact stated that you can never have too many good arms because they are the easiest to turn over in trade for position players. It makes sense in that position players take longer to get to the majors. They too suffer from attrition. So, its better to acquire positional prospects when they are close enough to the majors to be considered the real deal.

    As he did with Corey Brown and Wilson Ramos. Both close to major league ready. (And yes the jury is still out on Brown see Sue Dinem’s latest on good, bad, interesting.)

    I contend that Rizzo believes (this is my inference) that this is the fastest way to contention from where he found the Nats when he first joined the organization in the 2006 time frame and since taking over as GM. As he put it: worst than the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks in their first year.

    peric

    10 Jun 11 at 12:08 pm

  4. BTW, this strategy goes against what both Boz and Jim Bowden espouse : going for bats first. Again, bats take a lot longer than arms. A good arm could be in the majors in a year (see Strasburg, Storen). A good young arm is a tradeable commodity that should bring good value. So, with a year or two after the draft you could get a huge return. Imagine the return on Brad Peacock should they decide to trade him? Look at the bats drafted in the same year as Peacock was in the 41st round. Marerro and Steven King are all that is left and since it was Bowden they were both drafted in the first 3 rounds and all that is left from that draft of the position players. (Well, they did sign Antonelli ~smiles~) Peacock was drafted 41st right? Would you trade Peacock to get Marerro AND King? I wouldn’t …

    peric

    10 Jun 11 at 12:20 pm

  5. And now consider Rendon and Goodwin. Rendon is a rare talent that could make it to the majors within 2 years. Goodwin as well perhaps. After that its a call to arms.

    peric

    10 Jun 11 at 12:22 pm

  6. Well, does Bowden/Boswell say “bats first” or do they say that bats are easier to project in the upper rounds? I thought it was the latter. Indeed, college bats are the easiest to project/lowest risk high-end draft picks.

    Peacock is doing fantastically well in AA … but scouts don’t like him at all. Say he’s a one-pitch guy who doesn’t even project as a 5th starter. For what that’s worth. Bowden’s drafts are such debacles its hard to say anything about them except that Bowden was incompetent.

    Todd Boss

    10 Jun 11 at 2:07 pm

  7. Todd, full context, Bowden had HALF the number of scouts and coaches that Rizzo does now. Couldn’t get the Lerners to spend the money then.

    Mark L

    10 Jun 11 at 4:31 pm

  8. Wow, a Bowden apologist! You’re rare in this town :-)

    Todd Boss

    10 Jun 11 at 4:45 pm

  9. No apologist, the best line on Bowden was he was fine as long as there was adult supervision around. The situation is much better now.

    The truth is the Nats never were fully staffed the first 3-4 years they were here. Without sufficient eyeballs on the ground, you’re guessing a lot. How Kasten got the Lerners to finally start doings right is a mystery that nobody is apparently allowed to know.

    BTW, since you know him better than anyone, you need to do a full bio on Mattheus for here & Sue D’s site. He’s been totally unhittable all year.

    Speaking of closers, did you see that Lehman got the promotion to Harrisburg? Next would be Manno to Potomac.

    Mark L

    10 Jun 11 at 10:15 pm

  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFpmh-sARmI

    Besides Purke, here’s another LHP to get excited about – former Yankees draft pick out of HS and we grab him in the 12th round!

    Monar Video

    12 Jun 11 at 7:05 pm

  11. I used to be a Bowden apologist as well … not sure what turned me. Perhaps the Crow debacle. The more i’ve learned about the draft, the more I realize just how badly he bungled that entire process.

    Perhaps the turning point for the Lerners was the scathing Ken Rosenthal article that just embarassed the owners and the organization. (the original link is gone but googling “National crisis: Capital franchise in turmoil” will get you some links with text copied from the time).

    Mattheus has definitely been pitching well in 2011. Typical results for a post-tommy john surgery guy. Too bad he’s a righty, since the team desperately needs competent left-handed relief help.

    Lehman up, Manno has to come up soon. I’m two cycles behind in posting reviews of pitchers. I just can’t find a contiguous spot of time to do the posts.

    Todd Boss

    13 Jun 11 at 9:58 am

Leave a Reply