Nationals Arm Race

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

Draft in 2021 to be pushed back


Finally, a change involving the draft, amateur signings and what not that I agree with and believe makes sense. Today, as reported by Kiley McDaniel and repeated by Steve Adams at mlbtraderumors, MLB announced that the 2021 draft is not going to be held the first week of June (as it always has) but instead will be pushed back to the all Star break in the middle of July.


Immediate benefits that I can see:

  • No more draft and distractions right in the midst of the CWS playoffs, which has been happening for years with more and more attention brought as the draft has become more and more important to teams. I felt like it was just a matter of time before the CWS saw a player get drafted then immediately quit the team (as we’ve started to see with collegiate football players who quit on their teams instead of playing some meaningless bowl game where all they can do is get hurt).
  • Same (to a lesser extent) for High School players: most are done with their seasons by early June but some have slight lingering end of season playoffs.
  • As noted in the article, the gap this opens up several weeks after the end of the CWS (June 26th in 2019) to host any number of pre-draft activities that make sense. The articles mention two interesting ideas: draft showcases and pre-draft Medical combines. Other pro sports have these kinds of things and they’d be great to incorporate into MLB. Teams desperately want pre-draft medical information on players but have had zero way to get it done in a nation-wide, coordination fashion. Perhaps this gap would allow the teams to coordinate on a national event where all the top prospects get flown in (not sure who pays though) to participate.
  • These kinds of events, rolled into the All Star weekend, would do nothing but add more attention to the future of the sport. MLB has long failed to really work on its burgeoning pipeline of players, for years almost not even recognizing the fact they were drafting players. Now they have a national draft night, they have a futures game, and more events will bring more attention to the next generation of players.

Still no word on the # of rounds in 2021 draft; it has to be at least 20 per the agreement so I’d bet on 20. I think (based on the elimination of the short-season) it should be closer to 25 but losing the 21st-25th rounds probably means pretty little.


Post publishing update: Keith Law published his own reactions to the draft pushback.

Written by Todd Boss

September 2nd, 2020 at 11:09 am

Posted in Draft

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38 Responses to 'Draft in 2021 to be pushed back'

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  1. A related, and unresolved, question is whether MLB is still intent on killing off the half-season rookie leagues. Those leagues have been a good introduction to pro ball for the draftees, but at the same time, they’ve made for really extended seasons for young players, particularly those coming out of a CWS run.

    If the rookie leagues die and the draft is only 5-10 rounds, I guess teams will just be running large instructional leagues/tryouts at their spring training sites for FA signees and HS draftees. They will probably push their college higher draftees to a full-season A-ball team.


    2 Sep 20 at 11:25 am

  2. Top draft prospects for 2021:

    I have a hard time believing that the Nats are THIS bad and will stay in a top 5 draft position, but you never know.


    2 Sep 20 at 11:27 am

  3. I thought the elimination of the short season leagues was a fait accomplis at this point. I feel like MLB has leveraged this pandemic and the end of the previous agreement to rid itself of the worst 40 stadiums/baseball towns, and conveniently passing along a modicum of bonus savings to the owners. If draft is mid july, the draft deadline probably becomes mid-august, which leaves a scant few weeks of playing time. so everyone drafted goes to complexes, maybe plays some sim games, maybe goes to fall leagues…. then starts pro career in earnest hte following season. makes sense to me.

    Todd Boss

    2 Sep 20 at 11:30 am

  4. No mas. It’s over. We’re dead in the water. What an awful pseudo-season. Time to play Kieboom and Garcia and give Crowe some starts. Please keep Rizzo and Davey, though.

    The only manager who has gotten this team to the playoffs two years in a row is Dusty. Unbelievable how up and down they are, even with folks like Harper and Werth gone.

    Very weird new world where they’re in the #5 draft position but still only 4.5 games out of the playoffs!


    3 Sep 20 at 12:43 pm

  5. Hey, I said we were done last year at 19-31. we were 10 games out of the NL east lead, and (I think) 6 games out of a WC spot.

    Right now even though they’re scuffling they’re closer to the WC spot. Of course, they don’t have nearly as much time to turn it around.

    A 5 game win streak probably puts them right back in Wc spot. It can happen.

    Todd Boss

    3 Sep 20 at 1:45 pm

  6. Even if the team starts a 2019-esque turn around today, it’s a long shot. After 19-31 last year, they went 18-8 over their next 26 games played which would at least get them back to .500 this year at 30-30. That’s actually good enough to make the expanded NL playoffs as of today.

    Over their last 26 games in 2019, most of which was still fighting to clinch the WC and home field, they went 16-10. That stretch would leave them at 28-32 in 2020. They’d be 11th in the NL and 3rd team out of the playoffs with than winning percentage if the season ended today.

    So yes, I guess you’re saying there’s still a chance. But Stras, 2019-Anibal, Rendon, Zim and Baby Shark are not walking through that door!


    3 Sep 20 at 2:19 pm

  7. Considering the Nets have yet to even win 3 in a row at any point this year, I’m not betting on 18-8 to finish the year. There have been plenty of chances too, against the Marlins coming out of COVID down time and with a brand new roster, against the Phillies when they couldn’t hold a team to less than 10 runs per game and most recently against the pretty terrible Red Sox. Missed opportunities all year (month) long.


    3 Sep 20 at 2:22 pm

  8. Many, MANY missed opportunities. I’d love for them to prove me wrong. Save this page and I’ll gladly eat crow. But they’ve only won two in a row twice all season, the last time being four weeks ago. I just can’t see them going on a run, particularly with only two quality starting pitchers.

    Certainly losing Stras was a huge blow to how they had the team built, and Ross opting out didn’t help, although I refuse to blame anyone for sitting out. Even though they brought in some reinforcements in Castro and re-signing Cabrera, they had too much faith that Kieboom was ready. As Sao point out several times, Kieboom only had something like one extra-base hit the whole second half at Fresno last year. Maybe he will turn out to be a solid player one day, but there were some indications that he wasn’t ready (including in the first spring training). They’ve had too much faith in Fedde for many, many years as well, but then Fedde wasn’t “supposed” to be a regular MLB starter in 2020 anyway. Also, they had too much faith in the buy-a-vet strategy. Cabrera was bound to revert to the mean, and Howie is a year older and creakier. Castro actually was looking like a bargain, but Thames has completely tanked. Eaton looks done, but they shot themselves in the foot by tendering MAT and thinking that he and Stevenson could be ready-reserve OFs. They proved long ago that they’re not everyday guys.

    On the plus side, they seem to have found several cheap and controlled bullpen pieces, Garcia sorta looks ready (sometimes, at least more than Kieboom), Gomes has finally found his stroke, and Castro looked good.


    3 Sep 20 at 3:45 pm

  9. Can’t give up till it’s over. I won’t repeat what’s in the other thread. But I would say that you have to sign Rizzo again, and Davey too.

    The team will have to further upgrade its scouting and may have to sell on certain talent that can bring in more high end prospects. You can’t sell low on Kieboom, Ross, or Voth, and the team really should sign Trea. But Garcia is a legitimate trade chip, given the surplus every year of second basemen. Otherwise, it’s going to be a heavy free agent off season with Sanchez, Eaton, Doo, Suz, and others off the books, and I think that works well to Rizzo making a splash with Realmuto + (Lemahieu? an OF?).


    3 Sep 20 at 3:49 pm

  10. I don’t see how this crew can make a run with this starting pitching. Scherzer and Corbin are the only credible starters, and even they look closer to being #3/4 arms than the aces they were last year. Sanchez has just gotten old and I’m not sure there’s more to analyze than that. Fedde has been pitching with a horseshoe in his back pocket and clearly that outrageous good luck is starting to equalize; you can’t walk more guys than you strike out at this level. Voth still has swing-and-miss stuff, but he lacks moxie, and we saw what a killer that was for Blake Treinen when he was a Nat; hopefully we don’t have to ship Voth to California in order for him to figure things out, but he’s really lost right now. Nobody else who is close is exciting at all, with Crowe and McGowin being sub-Fedde options.

    So it’s damn hard to imagine a five-game winning streak. That’s not even getting into the offense, which has two great hitters, two or three decent hitters, and then a bunch of guys who look like they don’t know which end of the bat to hold. These guys aren’t going to score a lot of runs with an aging utility infielder batting in the cleanup spot every day. And when three of your five starters are arsonists and the other two are more OK than great (at least so far this year), that’s not a recipe for a lot of wins.


    4 Sep 20 at 2:53 am

  11. Last nite’s game was this year in a nutshell. The ‘b’ bullpen was great for 3 2/3 innings and the high priced relievers lose the game.

    fore, as much as I’d like Realmuto too, if the Mets ownership changes as expected than the Nats have zero chance of getting him.

    Mark L

    4 Sep 20 at 7:42 am

  12. 4 game sweep to a divisional rival probably spells the end of it.

    My narrative-driven brain thought that the older Nats might be at an advantage this season, only having to keep it together for 2 months with a stellar rotation. But to me the “message” from this season will be a rushed 2nd spring training leading to a gazillion pitcher injuries and general unpreparedness, and our aging lineup attempting to play themselves into shape and not having enough time to do so.

    they currently sit with the 4th pick next year, behind two teams who have blatantly given up (Boston and Pittsburgh) and another head scratcher team in the Angels.

    Todd Boss

    4 Sep 20 at 9:05 am

  13. Next three Nat starters: Voth, Crowe, and Fedde. I’m just not feeling an imminent winning streak. Voth actually had three strong outings against the Braves in 2019 but got clobbered the one time he faced them in 2020. I would love for Crowe to show enough that the Nats would sideline one of the other struggling starters and give him an extended look. If it were me, it would be Sanchez I would kick to the curb, just so we get full evidence on Voth, Fedde, and Crowe before we have to decide whether to chase a free agent starter or two in the offseason. (But who knows, maybe Rutledge is dominating in Fredericksburg.)


    4 Sep 20 at 9:37 am

  14. Realmuto turns 30 next spring. Never, ever give a catcher a long-term contract on the wrong side of 30 (see Posey, Buster, and many others). Now, some would argue that they could sorta be signing Realmuto as more of a 1B/DH. OK, but remember that there’s almost no market for 1B/DH types, and they can come very cheaply. Realmuto hit 25 homers in 2019, but so did Thames, who is getting $3M. Realmuto is better all around than Thames (pre-2020-tanking Thames), but not that much better as a hitter. I would expect Realmuto to be looking for Grandal type money, $18M+ for at least three or four years. Realmuto’s career slash is .278/.328/.456, and he’s striking out a frightening 29.1% this year. Caveat emptor.


    4 Sep 20 at 9:50 am

  15. Another pitching statistic: There have been 674 pitchers used this year in baseball. That’s 8th most in history for an entire year (!!!).

    What a year for pitching.

    Mark L

    4 Sep 20 at 2:31 pm

  16. It felt like the Nats and Braves used 674 pitchers just on Friday night in the minor-league doubleheader, all of them bad. Let’s see, 27 runs in 13.5 innings, two runs for every inning, including the Nats surrendering 16 runs in 13 IP. The Barves have a great lineup but absolutely no chance in the postseason with that pitching.

    The Nats have now tied the Rangers for #3 draft pick. Kumar is in sight! (Although they desperately need hitters more than yet another big-armed pitcher.)


    5 Sep 20 at 8:23 am

  17. It’s hard not to notice Asdrubal Cabrera’s splits.
    He’s hitting at a 1.331 OPS as a right hander and .488 OPS as a left hander.
    Is he too old to give up switch hitting?

    Mark Luksch

    5 Sep 20 at 12:26 pm

  18. It’s a great day in Natsdom with Rizzo FINALLY extended and Difo FINALLY DFA’d. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t clear waivers, though.


    5 Sep 20 at 4:44 pm

  19. I don’t know who’s at the top of the DFA list, but it sure as hell ain’t Kyle McGowin. The only question is who he’ll replace in the rotation. He’s obviously more “ready” than Crowe . . . and Fedde, and Voth, and . . . (Holt was the death knell for Difo and may be for Noll as well. Looks like they’ve sprinkled some of the magic 2019 retread dust on him.)

    I’ll repeat: the Barves have a heck of a lineup, but they’ll win nothing with that pitching staff. Gosh, they’re awful.


    5 Sep 20 at 11:04 pm

  20. Well, the hammer finally drops on Difo. Big board updated: by my counts we’re now at 28/28, 38/40 and 59/60. So more room for moves.

    If the nats want to win now … yeah maybe they dump voth or fedde for Mcgowin and try now.

    Todd Boss

    6 Sep 20 at 6:51 am

  21. I’m not even sure the Nats should keep Difo if he passes waivers. His time has come and gone.

    There’s a lot of talk that some of the poorer clubs will be non-tendering a lot of players in a few months. Makes sense the Nats keep spots open.

    Mark L

    6 Sep 20 at 12:29 pm

  22. Difo outrighted to Fredericksburg. so he’s passed through waivers and is back on the 60-man roster.

    Todd Boss

    8 Sep 20 at 9:07 am

  23. With difo added back to 60 man roster, i’ve got the rosters as follows now: 28/28 active. 38/40 on the 40-man, and a ful 60/60.

    Todd Boss

    8 Sep 20 at 9:11 am

  24. I agree with Todd and KW, there’s a lot of deadweight on the 40 man. It’s going to be a strange offseason.

    Mark L

    8 Sep 20 at 10:29 am

  25. And yet the Nats have now won three of the last four, against division-leading teams, all without Soto. Admittedly, they won two of those mostly because Brave pitching is so bad.

    There are going to be A LOT of interesting decisions over the offseason. There’s no way Eaton’s $10.5M option will be picked up. They might bring him back at a much-reduced rate (like they did Gomes), but it’s sure looking like Eaton’s days as a starter are over. The Nats have NO starter-quality OFs in the pipeline, though. Stevenson can’t even stick as a reserve, and Taylor will be a free agent. (Despite MAT’s recent relative success, for the the season, his wRC+ is a paltry 72; in fact, it has been between 69 and 73 his whole MLB career except the one season where Dusty worked a miracle with him and got him up to 104.)

    Anyway, what to do in the OF? The Nats have Castro coming back, so it’s possible they could think about moving Kieboom or Garcia to the OF. Soto has improved enough defensively that they could think about moving him to RF, although both Kieboom and Garcia have SS arms that would work well in RF.

    Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of good FA options for the OF. Most are older, oft-injured, or older AND oft-injured. Castellanos probably is going to get overpaid and be out of the Nats’ price range. Joc Pederson might come more cheaply and be a good Kevin Long reclamation project. Pederson is having an awful “walk year.”


    8 Sep 20 at 11:20 am

  26. That’s a depressing look at the upcoming OF market, KW, I didn’t realize it was that bad.
    Right now Robles, Eaton, and Taylor have OPS’s of .650-.700. At least Robles and Taylor have Gold Glove defense. Eaton can no longer field his position.

    Mark L

    8 Sep 20 at 4:20 pm

  27. What about George Springer or Michael Brantley? Both sure would be an upgrade over Eaton.


    9 Sep 20 at 9:57 am

  28. Brantley was one of the ones I had in mind as “oft-injured.” He’s consistently been very good when he’s been on the field, but he’ll also be 34 next year, so it’s hard to see him getting more than two or three years. I would guess that he’ll be looking for something around the $16M he’s currently making. If he gets a QO, he might want to accept it.

    Springer clearly is missing the trash can! (Currently at .233 without it.) He’s making $21M in his last arb year. I really have no idea what his market will be. I would expect that he’ll be looking for something like 5/100 and very likely will have a QO attached, but he may have to settle for something in the 17-18M AAV range. He’d be a nice addition, but I can’t see that AAV fitting into the Nats’ plans, particularly if/when they’re trying to extend Trea. I also expect the Nats to feel like they need to spend $10-12M on another starting pitcher, considering the lack of success of Voth/Fedde/Crowe.


    9 Sep 20 at 10:59 am

  29. I like Brantley a lot. He hasn’t missed any time the last 2+ years and his age will fit well in the clubhouse. Just have to factor in his age and expect him to miss 30-40 games a year.

    Springer still has to prove he can hit without cheating. Stay away!

    Mark L

    9 Sep 20 at 11:57 am

  30. Kendrick to the IL, with no corresponding move announced. The only position players at Fredericksburg left on the 40-man are Stevenson and Noll. Um, that’s pretty bad. I would assume it would be Stevo, as Noll isn’t MLB caliber at all.


    9 Sep 20 at 3:47 pm

  31. But with Holt, Harrison, and Cabrera all capable of covering a number of positions, they might opt to carry an extra pitcher instead of a position player. Or it might be a time where they could add someone like Brandon Snyder or Yadiel Hernandez and give them a little run over the last few weeks of the season.


    9 Sep 20 at 7:25 pm

  32. Any opinions on the long term outlook of Robles? I haven’t been watching too much this year. Does he look like he’ll ever be a consistent hitter?


    10 Sep 20 at 1:27 pm

  33. Anyone want to guess the over/under for tonight’s game? The Braves scored 29 runs last nite and Voth is toeing the slab for the Nats. Yikes!


    10 Sep 20 at 3:41 pm

  34. Yadiel called up! Good for him. Let’s see if he can show enough to stick around.

    Robles — still quite a roller coaster at the plate. He’s had 13 hits in his last 11 games, including three 3-hit games, that make his overall numbers look better. His K% has jumped from 22 in ’19 to 27 now, and his walk rate has flat-lined at 5%. His power is WAY down from ’19: .089 ISO vs. .165, currently SLG only .342.


    10 Sep 20 at 7:41 pm

  35. I guess Robles batting 9th most of year not as big a deal or excuse as last year with the DH. I was/am really hoping he’d be a star for us. But looks more like the streak hitter at best type so far.


    10 Sep 20 at 10:05 pm

  36. At his age you’d have to hope that Robles would have developed more at this point.
    His OPS all year has hovered around .680. Not good.

    Here’s for rooting for Yadiel.

    Mark L

    11 Sep 20 at 8:55 am

  37. congrats to Yadiel. With his call-up the rosters sit at: 28/28 active, 39/40 and 60/60.

    Todd Boss

    11 Sep 20 at 9:52 am

  38. Another roster change coming today with Doolittle injured, perhaps ending his time as a Nat. They’ve called up Braymer before very briefly as a LH arm, so he would be the logical person, unless Romero has gotten healthy or they want to give a very early look to Cronin.


    11 Sep 20 at 10:27 am

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