Nationals Arm Race

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

Race to the Bottom: 2021 Draft outlook


For the first time in quite a while, the Nats are projected to be drafting in the top 10. The last time the team was projected to be drafting this high was in 2011, when they picked 6th overall and somehow nabbed Anthony Rendon in the process.

Here’s where the “standings” for the #1 pick sit as of 9/14/20, with the Nats exactly 75% of the way done with their season (better link at

  1. Pittsburgh: 14-30. entered the season in real “tanking” mode and have successfully executed their plan. The last time they drafted #1 overall they managed to snag Gerrit Cole, but their history of drafting in the 1st round is basically abhorrent since. The best 1st rounder they’ve managed since is Austin Meadows, who the team traded away to acquire Chris Archer. Archer has pitched awfully for Pittsburgh and is missing 2020 due to shoulder surgery. Its no wonder Pittsburgh remains mired in the second division.
  2. Boston at 17-31: wow the Boston fans must just be ecstatic with the management of their team. One of the wealthiest franchises in the world, which cleared north of $500M in revenues in 2019, is the 2nd worst team in baseball after crying poor and trading away a generational talent last off-season in Mookie Betts. At least their “plan” is now going to net them a top pick in what should be a stacked draft.
  3. Arizona (17-31) certainly didn’t expect themselves to be this bad, not after buying an ace in the off-season in Madison Bumgarner and making a bunch more moves. They also face one of the easiest remaining schedules, so if they play a bit better they might drop down a bit on this list.
  4. Texas at 17-30 is shocking; i thought they had one of the best rotations in the game heading into 2020. That rotation has collapsed; they lost ace Corey Kluber after one start, and three of their rotation members have regressed horribly.
  5. Washington at 17-28: the team has a 1.5 game “lead” over #6 Kansas City, and we’re coming into a stretch where we have to play a slew of doubleheaders coming up, meaning a slew of 4-A starters and an already-taxed bullpen getting shredded.

What do I think is going to happen here on out? I sense the Nats continuing their trend and staying roughly at the #4 or #5 range. They’d need to win three straight games just to get into the #6 slot right now … something they haven’t managed to do since the first week of the season.

The 2021 draft, coincidentally, is stacked. Tons of solid collegiate arms at the top, right in the Nat’s wheel house. The last mock I saw had this as a top 5: Kumar Rocker, Jack Leiter, Jud Fabian, Adrian Del Castillo, and Jaden Hill as the top 5, all of whom are solid college players who could move fast.

53 Responses to 'Race to the Bottom: 2021 Draft outlook'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Race to the Bottom: 2021 Draft outlook'.

  1. College hitter, college hitter, college hitter . . .

    I like the looks of Fabian a lot. McLean is a good all-around player but needs his power to pick up. Del Castillo and Binelas (a Nat pick out of high school) are some of the next hitters on the list. Right now, I’m seeing Jaden Hill projected lower, but with a chance to move up if he has a 2021 season. The Nats have spent a lot of time scouting LSU pitching, of course. But-but-but we need hitters A LOT more than we need yet another big pitcher. Unless it’s Rocker, of course, as he seems like a Stras-like generational talent.

    Caveat: in the summer after their college soph seasons, Tyler Dyson and Drew Mendoza were consensus top-five overall picks. Nick Banks was thought to be a top-15 pick. A lot can change between now and draft time in 2021.


    14 Sep 20 at 2:48 pm

  2. Has MLB announced how it is going to determine draft order in 2021? I’ve read that it’s not going to be determined strictly by record. Projecting amateurs always makes me uncomfortable, but if the Nats were able to draft Rocker, it would remind me of the late 90s Spurs – a consistently good team has terrible injuries one year and gets the #1 pick at exactly the right (Tim Duncan) time.


    14 Sep 20 at 3:49 pm

  3. Draft Order: yeah now that you mention it, I’ve seen something to that end too. has some details, basically giving MLB the right to manipulate the draft order if the season was < 81 games. Which of course it was. No idea what they could do. speculation could include a lottery, or to combine w/l in last two seasons not just this one.

    Todd Boss

    14 Sep 20 at 3:54 pm

  4. Hopefully whatever happens with the draft order doesn’t mess with the Nats too much. Baseball America’s last report on it was that sources (didn’t get more specific than that) don’t think Manfred is going to monkey with it, and I’m inclined to agree; he’s already unpopular enough and if he tells teams that sucked this year, “Sorry, but you’re not going to get those plum draft picks,” I honestly think he’s going to have owners making moves to oust him.

    I think we probably finish with the fifth-best record in baseball. I can see Arizona and/or Texas overtaking us, but Anaheim isn’t very good and could slump down the stretch.


    14 Sep 20 at 7:40 pm

  5. Remembering the 2011 draft, there was zero decision-making with picking Rendon. That year there were 6 players considered way above the rest, it was just who was going to be left when the Nats turn came up.

    Thankfully the Royals picked Bubba Starling, a high schooler, one pick ahead of Rendon. Turns out Francisco Lindor and Javy Baez were 8th and 9th. Good ol’ baseball draft.

    Mark L

    15 Sep 20 at 6:33 am

  6. Nats went 93-69 last year, projecting to go 23-37 this year. Combined that’s a 2-season record of 116-106. A bit above .500, which means we’d probably be pushed down to the 18-20 range if they did a 2-season W/L record determining the draft order. Which would really suck for us. So, lets hope they don’t do that.

    Todd Boss

    15 Sep 20 at 9:50 am

  7. 2011 draft: Here’s my pre-2011 draft projecting who we might get:

    … basically every mock draft had Rendon in the top 2 picks, with the Nats likely going with Bauer or Sonny Grey. Many knew we loved Alex Meyer and had him going to us at #6 but clearly he was mid-1st round material.

    And then, watching the draft unfold with Hultzen going early and Rendon falling, i could not believe my eyes when he was available at #6. was my 2011 draft reaction … with the shock of getting Rendon.

    Todd Boss

    15 Sep 20 at 9:55 am

  8. I remember there being some pre-draft speculation that Rendon might fall to the Nats because of the teams that didn’t want to deal with Boras, and because of injuries and questions of whether Rendon really had a position (as with Hiura a couple of years ago). I also remember that Rizzo was said to like Hultzen, which would have been a disaster of course, as would Starling. Rendon could have been on those KC World Series teams in 2014-15.

    The Nats did with Meyer exactly what they need to do now — trade at least one of their big-armed pitchers (who may or may not be able to stick in a rotation) for an everyday player. And of course they made the wrong choice in keeping Taylor while DFA’ing Goodwin, although Goody now seems to have reverted to his mean in Cincy. Purke was damaged goods thanks to TCU and never had a chance. Was probably still worth a shot at pick #96, although the Nats gave him a huge bonus for that slot.


    15 Sep 20 at 3:01 pm

  9. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Todd. That was fun.
    Purke only mistake in his career was signing with TCU. At least he got a cup of coffee with his 18 innings with the White Sox in 2016 and left with a nice nest egg.

    Mark L

    15 Sep 20 at 4:01 pm

  10. I didn’t really have a chance to weigh in on the last post about “what next.” We’ll have a long winter to discuss it, but here are a few hot takes.

    First, I’m sort of glad that we’ve had this disaster now. If it had to happen, thank goodness Stras and Ross get a year to rest their arms as they’re going to be needed. More pertinently, I hope some illusions of near-relevancy have been shattered so some genuine tough decisions can be made.

    Among field-position players, the Nats only have two who are sacred cows, and one of them will be a FA after 2021 unless they try to extend him (which should be an offseason priority). Gomes, who has an option, is good enough at catcher, so I’ll add him to the “stays” list. (Not sure about bringing back Zuk to share time, but they could do worse. I’ve already expressed my reservations for entering the Realmuto sweepstakes, which could end up being a big overpay if he ends up mostly as 1B/DH.)

    But what about that great young trio we have in Robles, Garcia, and maybe Kieboom? First, let me point out to those who put Carter decidedly third on this list that, because he understands what happens if you take four balls, his OBP is .330 despite his BA. Robles’s is .305, while Garcia’s is .300. I’m really disappointed in Robles and would be very open to trade possibilities . . . except the Nats have nothing in the OF pipeline and a gaping hole in RF already. So . . . I tentatively say they’ll just have to stick with the trio of (rally) doom and hope they live up to their prospect clippings. But I wouldn’t cry to see any of them headlining a trade.

    Castro (.302 OBP) is also under contract for another year, not an option. He was pretty meh, even as Davey kept putting him at cleanup. If they truly like him at an INF position, I suggested looking at moving Kieboom or Garcia to a corner OF spot.

    OF FAs: Castellanos, Ozuna, Springer, Brantley, Pederson. Some interesting names/power there, and also some VERY up-and-down season-to-season numbers on some of them. Plus Springer is hitting only .236 without the trash can.

    I have no idea what they’ll do with 1B/DH types, who can usually be had for a good price. Just hope they do better than Thames next time.


    15 Sep 20 at 5:00 pm

  11. Starting pitching: Stras should come back healthy. Just hope they treat/recognize him as the ace right now. Max is a 2-3, but a very good one. (Do they think about extending him 2-3 years to lower his AAV a little? He also now should be used as more of a 5-6 inning guy.) Corbin is looking more like the 2017 version than the 2018-19 one but is still fine at #3.

    Sanchez has a huge $6M buyout, but there’s no way they pay him $18M to stay.

    Let’s hope and pray that Ross really is good and ready and benefits from a year off. They really need to be a #4. One of the defining questions of the offseason will be whether the Nats sign a #4-5 starter or pray that Ross is good enough and that someone from among Fedde, Voth, Crowe, and McGowin will actually start looking like an MLB starter. Frankly, I could see arguments either way, but this short season really argues that Fedde and Voth aren’t good enough. Miraculously, I don’t think Fedde burned his extra option this year, so of that group, only Voth is out of options. Fedde is fine as a AAAA shuttle starter, but he’s yet to prove that he’s anything more. Sure looking like a wasted #1 pick there.


    15 Sep 20 at 5:12 pm

  12. But-but-but . . . I’ve mostly just reviewed what largely standing pat would look like. Yes, Stras and Ross would make a difference, but THAT much of one? I actually think they need to think about a significant trade or two, and/or a couple of bigger FA signings. Their everyday lineup in particular is going to be pretty mediocre overall unless/until Robles, Garcia, and Kieboom all take big steps forward. Odds are that not all of them will. Choose wisely.


    15 Sep 20 at 5:15 pm

  13. A correction and a question: they’ve got two years left with Trea, due to their bizarre early career manipulation of his service time.

    The question is on Fedde. FG shows him with one option still remaining. He was optioned late in Spring Training (the March one), but with Ross opting out, Fedde has been on the MLB roster for all of the 2021 demi-season. So did Fedde actually burn that 4th option?


    15 Sep 20 at 6:32 pm

  14. Nats now basically in a statistical tie with BOS and AZ. TEX is one game worse, PIT 3.5 worse. I don’t think WAS will get the #2 pick, but they’ve got a chance at #2-3. Probably Leiter at #2, maybe Fabian at #3.

    Really sad to see Sanchez and Eaton look so washed up. They were key parts of the championship drive just a year ago. We’ll always remember the Sanchez near-no-hitter in the NLCS and Eaton driving in the last runs of the WS clincher.


    16 Sep 20 at 11:20 am

  15. Agree KW about Sanchez & Eaton; Eaton just can’t field his position anymore.
    That NLCS game, when the entire pitching staff was wiped out from the Dodgers Series, will go down as one of the, if not THE, most important pitching performance in Nats history. For that Sanchez will be welcomed back to Washington forever. Sadly, he looks done.
    The only outfielder in that bunch that’s worth going after is Brantley. Bad choices.

    Mark L

    16 Sep 20 at 12:08 pm

  16. Meant to say that I don’t think the Nats will make it down to the #1 pick for Rocker, but they’re tilting toward #2 or 3, sadly.

    On a positive note, Kieboom had two hits and a walk on Tuesday night, bringing his OBP to .347. With Nats who have played regularly, that’s behind only Soto, Turner, and Suzuki. Of course Kieboom also only has one extra-base hit in 98 plate appearances. Sigh.


    16 Sep 20 at 12:20 pm

  17. I see the same Eaton on the field that you guys do, but the stats tell a slightly different story. His BABIP is .262, which is 70 points off his career mark of .332. The low BABIP isn’t the continuation of a trend, either b/c it was .319 last year. If you add 70 points of batting average to his slash line (not statistically clean, but whatever), it moves from .228/.288/.389 to .298/.358/.459. By way of comparison, Eaton’s career slash line is .282/.360/.416.

    Why might his BABIP be low this year? The best answers I can come up with: (1) hitting the ball less hard; (2) he’s gotten slower; (3) he’s hitting ’em where they is instead of where they aint (i.e., bad luck). Number 1 just isn’t true: his exit velocity is perfectly in line with career norms, and his ISO is higher than his career average and higher than it was last year. His max exit velocity is similar to what it has been, and his hard hit percentage has increased. Re Number 2, his statcast speed score is 27.9, which has him tied with Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich, and Bryce Harper. His score in 2019 was 28.3 (also tied with Harper) and 27.5 in 2018. I don’t think this is the explanation: he hit much better in 2018 while being a slower runner.

    I think much of Eaton’s poor batting line is just due to bad luck (I’d also like to accuse all the ridiculous bunting he does but I don’t know how to test that theory). I’d bet on him being as good a hitter in 2021 as he was in 2019 (WRC+ of 107), with some potential upside. I don’t think it would be a stretch for him to get to the 120 WRC+ level he was at in 2018 and the years before. The only thing that concerns me with his batting is the lower walk rate, but it’s lower by just a small amount.

    I don’t think fielding stats are good enough to use to assess whether something has changed in 2020 to make him worse. He does look terrible out there. But I think he has life left in the bat. I don’t know that this means picking up a $9.5 mil option to have him play RF. The free agent OFs are not good. I think Joc Pederson might be a decent target (though he’s having just as bad a year with the bat as Eaton). You’d have to pair him with a platoon partner, so he’s not ideal.I wonder how many years you’d have to go to sign Brantley, who will be 34 next May.


    16 Sep 20 at 1:19 pm

  18. Derek — I think Eaton is actually owed $10.5M next season. Ouch. I could see them renegotiating with him and bringing him back as a reserve, but that would be for something like $2M (plus he’d get his $1.5M buyout, a la Zim’s deal). But I think it would have to be with the understanding that he’s a reserve.

    The problem, of course, would be filling the OF slot, as they’ve got no one in the pipeline. I also share some curiosity about Pederson. Talk about bad “luck” — his 2020 BABIP is at .178! He’s weirdly never had a high BABIP, though, career .256, never over .300. He seems like a good Kevin Long redemption candidate.

    Closer to home, I’m really worried about Robles. I remembered his very brief hot “streak,” end of Aug./beginning of Sept. He had 11 hits in 7 games, plus two HBP. Aside from those 7 games, his BA is .184, OBP .254. That’s not anywhere close to starter quality. As much as folks fuss about Kieboom, his OBP is .343. That will carry you a long way while other things get sorted out.


    17 Sep 20 at 5:23 pm

  19. Now Eaton out for the rest of the year. It will be interesting to see if they give Yadiel a longer look to see if he’s got legit MLB potential. He would be a much cheaper reserve than what they’d have to pay Eaton or Taylor. Taylor will be a free agent, and they think so little of Stevenson that they’ve kept him on the taxi squad all year after a horrid start with the big club. I guess that means he’s not even hitting in the simulated games.

    Holt and Harrison have made good cases to be brought back in 2021 in utility roles. Holt was pretty good in ’18-’19, so there’s reason to believe in his bounceback. Harrison hasn’t been really good since ’14 and not even decent since ’17, so I’m more skeptical that he’ll stay good.


    18 Sep 20 at 10:58 am

  20. I’d have to think they give OF reps to the kids, not to a 33-yr old rookie. But who knows. maybe they’ve already decided what they have with Taylor, Stevenson, etc.

    Todd Boss

    18 Sep 20 at 12:59 pm

  21. Eaton’s a $9 million decision, so that’s a no. I’d keep Brock Holt, he’s versatile, so that’s a plus.
    Michael Taylor has a .694 OPS this year, which is about his average for his career. The plus for him is his career OPS in the playoffs is 1.000+.
    Robles has a .603 OPS, which a huge step back for him.
    Rizzo is going to earn his extension this year figuring out his outfield next year.


    18 Sep 20 at 1:12 pm

  22. Sorry that was me, my name keeps erasing.

    Mark L

    18 Sep 20 at 1:14 pm

  23. I would LOVE it if they had OF “kids” to play. Let me know when you find them. They don’t even have Nick Banks and Cole Freeman in the Fredericksburg camp, which tells you what they really think of them. They’ve got de la Rosa there. Now he would be a REAL kid!

    All the more reason I’ve floated the idea of moving Kieboom or Garcia to the OF. They already got Castro signed for next year and probably will bring back one or both from Holt and Harrison. So they can cover an INF position. Maybe they move Antuna to the OF if they think Kieboom and Garcia are going to stick at 3B and 2B.

    Mark, Taylor’s OBP is a career-low .250, and that’s even with him reducing his K% a little. His wRC+ is 77. There will be better free agents available in the $1-2M range . . . which was my non-tender argument about him last year. Let him go to Houston and play for Dusty.


    18 Sep 20 at 2:10 pm

  24. Definitely some interesting decisions to make this coming off-season.

    Eaton is only 31. Its not like he’s washed up. He’s a year younger than both Holt and Harrison, who both out hit Eaton this year but who both really, really were bad prior to showing up here. I think i’d trust Holt more than Harrison going forward. I mean, who would you rather have? Eaton at $10.5M age 32 (1.5 of which is the buy out) or Taylor in Arb4 year probably around $3.5M?

    Todd Boss

    18 Sep 20 at 2:13 pm

  25. Todd, you’re right, they’ve still got one more Arb year with Taylor. Makes NO sense to pay him $3M+ for as little as they get out of him, though. Maybe they can non-tender and then re-sign him. Or just trade him if he’s got any value. It’s not difficult to “replace” (improve on) a wRC+ of 76.


    19 Sep 20 at 8:30 am

  26. The Phils are currently only in the playoffs by half a game. We knocked those losers out of the playoffs during the last week of the season in 2019, and it’s time to do it again. There are four NL teams within half a game of each other for spots #7 & 8.

    Would it be worth dropping two or three slots in the draft to eliminate the Phils? Hell yes!


    21 Sep 20 at 10:47 am

  27. Also, we start the week with Soto seven points ahead of Freeman in the batting race. Sure would be cool for him to win a batting title, even in this lost year that will carry an asterisk. Soto currently leads the majors in OBP . . . and figures to get walked a lot this week with no one remotely scary batting behind him.


    21 Sep 20 at 10:54 am

  28. Agreed, KW, would you pitch to Soto if you’re fighting for a playoff spot? He already leads the league in intentional walks.

    At least we get to watch Luis Garcia blossom. So exciting!

    Mark L

    21 Sep 20 at 11:37 am

  29. I just took a look at the all-time single-season numbers. And yes, 2020 will have an asterisk. But if Soto’s OBP bumps up two points or more this week (assuming he’ll be walking a lot), he would have a top-50 all-time OBP season. Only three players have cracked the top 50 since expansion in 1969: Bonds (4 times) and once each for Frank Thomas and Edgar Martinez. Going back farther, since WWII, the only others you would add to that list would be Ted Williams (six times), Mantle (twice), and a real outlier by Norm Cash.

    Anyway, the “magic number” for Soto to get into the OBP top 50 is .478. He’s currently at .476.


    21 Sep 20 at 12:10 pm

  30. Todd, I forgot to ask, you’re a pitching centric guy, what is your take on Braymer yesterday? I didn’t know he had that kind of domination in him.
    Have to ask Luke what he saw in him over the years.

    He was an 18th round pick and he’s 26, Frangraphs didn’t even have him as one of the Nats top 21. He and McGowin are the 2 best stories in a bad pitching year for the team.

    Mark L

    21 Sep 20 at 12:24 pm

  31. My take on Braymer; well, i see why he’s not a heralded prospect. 88-89, curve at 75, slider (?) at 79. Just not “impressive” stuff. Its very Tom Glavine in his mid 30s stuff, but in order to be successful with that arsenal you need 80 command. I’d love to see more starts for him, i mean why not right?

    Todd Boss

    21 Sep 20 at 3:41 pm

  32. Braymer’s best pitch is supposed to be his changeup.
    This may be a one-off we never see again but we could also see the next Jamie Moyer.

    Mark L

    21 Sep 20 at 5:11 pm

  33. guys like Braymer are tough to scout. If Greg Maddux was coming up as a prospect today, he’d be listed as a fringe starter/org guy ceiling b/c he presented with sub-average velocity and was undersized. Crazy. but that’s where we are; its really easy to scout the radar gun, harder to scout pitching feel, command, control, etc.

    Todd Boss

    22 Sep 20 at 9:30 am

  34. With the flurry of moves yesterday, big board up to date again.

    The rosters are now as follows:
    – 28/28 active
    – still 39/40 on the 40-man thanks to the Romero corresponding move to 60-day DL to make way for Espino
    – 60-man now at 58; it drops a slot with the Romero move too.

    We have 7 players on the 10-day DL, meaning there’s just 4 non-28 man active players remaining … Read, Stevenson, Crowe and Williams. Williams had TJ in August but i’m guessing they’re holding off on recalling him to put him on the 60-day DL so they can save the mlb active roster pay. but its amazing how few players they ahve remaining.

    Six now sit on the 60-day dl. that’s a lot of injuries.

    Todd Boss

    22 Sep 20 at 10:05 am

  35. Stevenson is on the active roster. He’s had a hit in all five games since being recalled, including two doubles.


    22 Sep 20 at 12:06 pm

  36. man, maybe i’m missing someone. Oh yeah it was Hernandez, who went up and back like 4 times in the last week.

    Todd Boss

    22 Sep 20 at 12:50 pm

  37. Also, interesting and good news:

    Jeff Passan reports that MLB is leaning towards using solely 2020 results to determine 2021 draft order. shows us currently in 5th overall spot.

    Todd Boss

    22 Sep 20 at 12:52 pm

  38. Having a Top 10 spot, if it holds, is huge. We’ve only had to slog through 2 months of disappointment rather than a very painful 6 months.
    The Nats need some bats bad.

    Mark L

    22 Sep 20 at 2:04 pm

  39. Eat dirt and die, Phillies! If we can’t make the playoffs, trashing the Phils is the next best thing. Folks probably aren’t watching much, but Yadiel’s walkoff may have been the most-fun moment in this under-fun season.


    22 Sep 20 at 9:40 pm

  40. Being a spoiler sure is fun. I know SSS and all but what is Andrew Stevenson eating, he looks great.

    After looking bad all year, Voth and Fedde had their best starts by far in the last week. With Braymer’s start Sunday maybe we have some pitching hope.

    Gotta be happy for Yadiel!

    Mark L

    23 Sep 20 at 2:00 am

  41. Soto has dropped two points behind Freeman in the batting race, but Soto’s league-leading OBP is up to .480, which would be a top-50 season all time, and the highest ever for anyone age 21 or younger. (Ted Williams had his epic 1941 season at age 22.)

    The Nats’ little spurt has “dropped” them to tied with Balto at #7 on the draft slot list. They probably won’t drop lower than #8, unless they win out and SEA and LAA suck to the finish line. I guess the Nats also theoretically could catch the Mets since they have four head to head.


    23 Sep 20 at 11:25 am

  42. 2021:

    — I do think the spurts by Stevenson and Hernandez may matter as they contemplate backup OFs. No reason to pay Taylor’s arb price if they believe in those guys as reserves.

    — I wonder if the late-year spurts by Voth and Fedde affect the thinking about whether to sign another starter. I can’t see them picking up Sanchez’s $18M option, despite a couple of good recent starts by him, although that wouldn’t preclude them from re-signing him at a reduced rate. But do they believe that they can have two effective starters from among Ross, Fedde, and Voth?

    — Kris Bryant is hitting .195. Anthony Rizzo is hitting .220. Both will be free agents after 2021, and the Cubs might not even want to pay them what they’ll be due for 2021. They both played for Davey in Chicago. They can’t have much trade value right now, although the Nats don’t really have that much they would want to trade. I’m not sure what I’m advocating here, just thinking out loud. I was looking around for guys who would be 2022 free agents who might be available. Bryant could plug into LF, with Soto moving to RF (where he played the second game Tues. night), but Bryant would also give them a 3B option if Kieboom doesn’t make it.


    23 Sep 20 at 11:40 am

  43. The Cubs will pick up Rizzo’s option, it’s not very much and he’s a Gold Glove on defense. Bryant’s another story, but how much is he worth.

    KW, I would be thrilled with the #7-8 spot.

    Mark L

    23 Sep 20 at 12:38 pm

  44. Rizzo turned 31 in August and is owed $16.5M in 2021, or a $2M buyout. The option decision on him would come sooner than the tender decision on Bryant. I don’t think it’s a slam dunk that they want to pick up that option, particularly considering the tanking of the 1B/DH market over recent years. (Although there are no locks in picking the right bargain-basement guy, as the Thames disaster shows.) I’m not as interested in Rizzo for the Nats as I am Bryant, but if Rizzo became available for less than $16.5M, I could see him being a fit in DC.

    Bryant’s arb number this year is $18.6M, which should have been a bargain based on past performance but is a killer for a guy with a current wRC+ of 62. But what do they do? There’s no way they non-tender Kris Flippin’ Bryant, is there? The Cubs are in a pickle, though, because what’s the trade value of a guy controlled for only one year who seems radically overpaid based on 2020 performance?

    Cavalli for Bryant — who says no? It might not even take that much if the Nats would take on the full salary.


    23 Sep 20 at 2:50 pm

  45. Despite the not-great outcome on Wed. night, there was a nice swing in the batting race, as Soto is now nine points ahead of Freeman with four games to play. Soto’s OBP also surged to .486, which would be top-40 all time. Only Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas have had better seasons in the expansion era.

    In the race to the bottom, the Nats are in a three-way tie for #6, but only a game out of #3. They probably can’t get higher than #3, or lower than #8.

    Other than surrendering two homers to a guy he’s been facing since Little League, Fedde had another good outing. I’m really wondering if the Nats are going to think that they need to sign an FA starter.


    24 Sep 20 at 8:43 am

  46. Hard to believe now, but Fedde finishes with a 4.29 ERA for the season. At this point that would be the best of the Nats rotation. Raise your hand if thought he would be #1.
    Soto’s .486 OBP is breathtaking.

    Mark L

    24 Sep 20 at 8:49 am

  47. Fedde has had a very nice end to the season but his ERA is still significantly higher than Max’s 3.67.


    25 Sep 20 at 8:56 am

  48. On Thursday, Soto surged to a 13-point lead over Freeman in the batting race. His .487 OBP would be 35th all time, and climbing.

    The race to the bottom is crazy entering the weekend. The Nats currently have the #6 pick, but they’re just one game “behind” getting to the #3 pick, and one game “ahead” of ending up as low as #8. I have no idea how ties are broken. Nats also have a good shot at being rained out tonight. Sure hope they don’t force two teams that are already out of it to play yet another double header, but you never know. I see that DET is five games short of 60 games but only has three scheduled this weekend, against KC, another of those “competing” for the bottom.


    25 Sep 20 at 8:59 am

  49. Draft ties are broken by last year’s record, so odds are we’ll be “losing” any tie in the standings for draft picks.

    Currently sitting at 6th. Unfortunately we’re playing the Mets, who also suck and have no incentive to win either.

    Todd Boss

    25 Sep 20 at 10:50 am

  50. Starting the day on Saturday, Soto leads the majors in: BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, and wRC+. His OPS of 1.190 (with an asterisk) would be 25th-highest of all time, well ahead of anything produced by any current player. It’s a truly epic (demi-)season.

    Nats currently with #5 pick entering Sat.


    26 Sep 20 at 8:55 am

  51. Even with that Juan Soto is not in the conversation for MVP. Which is ridiculous.

    Mark L

    26 Sep 20 at 10:47 am

  52. A one-hit double header has left Soto only three points ahead of Freeman going into the final day. Sure hope he can pull out the batting title.

    The late demi-surge by the Nats (6-2 since winning last Sunday) has “tanked” their higher draft-pick possibilities. In fact, since they would lose a tie with any team with which they’re “completing,” including the Mets (who they would tie for 4th in the division with a win), the Nats could end up picking as low as #11 with a win on Sunday. With a loss, they would pick no worse than #8. If I’m looking at things right, the highest they could end up picking would be #7. So the likelihood is that they’ll be picking somewhere #8-10.


    27 Sep 20 at 9:24 am

  53. Well, Scherzer does land up leading the rotation with a 3.74 ERA. Second is Fedde with 4.27.
    While I’m thrilled that Fedde did so well towards the end, if your best has a ERA of 3.74 that’s just bad.

    I’d be very happy with #10 pick in the draft. You can get a terrific college bat with that.

    Thanks,KW, For the Soto updates. An amazing year.

    Mark L

    27 Sep 20 at 9:59 am

Leave a Reply