Nationals Arm Race

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

2021 CWS Super Regionals Recap and CWS Field set


  • #1 Arkansas vs NC State: Arkansas destroyed NC State in game one 21-2. That’s a beat-down. NC State rebounded to force game 3, where they shocked the nation’s #1 team to advance as an unseeded team to Omaha.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Stanford: Stanford shocked the host Texas Tech team 15-3 in game one, then blanked them in game two 9-0 for a dominant super regional win on the road.
  • #5 Arizona vs #12 Ole Miss: Arizona with relative ease in game one, and Ole Miss trounced them in game two to force the tiebreaker. Arizona rebounded again in game 3, with a 16-3 destruction to punch their ticket to Omaha.
  • #4 Vanderbilt vs #13 East Carolina: Vandy’s two aces dominated ECU, giving up just one run between them, and Vanderbilt advances to the CWS with ease.
  • #3 Tennessee vs LSU: Tennessee held serve in game 1 and handled LSU in game two with ease to move to the finals as a big favorite.
  • Dallas Baptist vs UVA: DBU with the close one in game 1, getting to UVA ace Andrew Abbott and holding on for the win. UVA blanked the Patriots in game two behind 7 2-hit innings from Griff McGarry (who sported an ERA north of 6.00 on the season) to force the Monday tie-breaker. In the breaker, UVA’s freshman Nate Savino struggled early, was replaced by middle reliever Matt Wyatt, who shut down DBU for the rest of the game, setting the stage for a clutch 7th inning Grand Slam from Kyle Teel, their best hitter on the season, to move them to Omaha.
  • #7 Mississippi State vs #10 Notre Dame: Miss State outslugged ND in game one 9-8. Notre Dame blasted the SEC team 9-1 to force the Monday tie-breaker. There, Notre Dame just couldn’t score enough to overcome their own pitching and lost 11-7.
  • #2 Texas vs South Florida: Texas won a close game 1 and blew out the cinderella team in game 2 to advance to Omaha.

Super Regional predictions: Arkansas, Texas Tech, Arizona, Vandy, Tenn, UVA, Notre Dame, Texas.

Super Regional actuals: NC State, Stanford, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, UVA, Mississippi State, Texas. Prediction went just 5 for 8 in the super regionals.

CWS field: 

top half: NC State, #9 Stanford, #5 Arizona, #4 Vanderbilt

bottom half: #3 Tennessee, UVA, #7 Mississippi State and #2 Texas

Despite losing the #1 overall seed, Omaha is pretty stacked, with 5 of the best 8 teams in the land, plus #9 Stanford who dominated the #8 seed to move on.  We’re about to see some really good baseball.

Star Power in the CWS:

  • Vanderbilt: Leiter and Rocker, both likely going top 5 of the 2021 draft in a few weeks time, continue to show why Vandy is the team to beat.
  • Texas: Ty Madden, their Ace, continues on and might be in the mix for the Nats pick at #11.
  • UVA: Zach Gelof, Andrew Abbott, Mike Vasil: all likely 2nd day picks.
  • Mississippi State: Wil Bednar, Christian MacLeod, two solid arms.


  • In the top-half: It is hard not to look at the way Vanderbilt’s two aces can dominate even a top offensive team like ECU and not just pencil them in for wins.  Look for Vanderbilt to win the first two games of their CWS bracket, then wait in the final.  Stanford took 2 of 3 versus Arizona at home in May, but the friday night game was a 13-inning affair that saw both teams’ aces give up runs, so its hard to predict who might come out of the loser’s bracket, but i like Arizona to challenge Vandy but ultimately lose.
  • In the bottom half…#3 Tennessee is my favorite here, despite being the slight underdog to #2 Texas. D1Baseball has Tennessee above Texas in their rankings, and I wonder if Texas will save their ace for game 2 as a result. Tennessee will start with UVA, while Texas will start with Mississippi State. I like the top 2 seeds to move on, with Tennessee eventually advancing out of the group.

This would leave a CWS final of Vandy vs Tennessee, a rematch of a mid-April 3-game series at Tennessee where Vandy won 2 of 3, beating Leiter in the saturday game. Still thinking Vandy takes this.

Written by Todd Boss

June 15th, 2021 at 11:32 am

Posted in College/CWS

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60 Responses to '2021 CWS Super Regionals Recap and CWS Field set'

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  1. Well, Kumar Rocker isn’t falling to #11. He may be the highest ceiling guy in the draft, and it’s really kinda crazy if he falls down into the #5-7 range. Madden also solidified, if not enhanced, his draft standing. Will he make it to #11?

    I have no interest in Bachman, for the reasons Sao has spelled out. Jobe is a high school pitcher. He won’t see the majors until around 2026, no matter how good he is. Does Rizzo have a solid enough job to pick a guy who can’t help his mediocre and aged big-league club for five years? Much less one who can’t hit?


    16 Jun 21 at 12:01 pm

  2. I was on vacation and didn’t have chance to respond to the very legitimate question last week of whether the Nats should back up the truck. On first glance, the answer is at least “probably,” but it’s complicated, for several reasons.

    One is that even though the Nats are 7.5 games out, the teams in this division aren’t good. Only one is over .500, and it can’t score. But are the Nats really capable of catching fire enough to get to slightly better than .500? I don’t know. Soto still hasn’t found himself. Trea has been up and down. Corbin’s performance on Tuesday was encouraging, but it was against a AAA team with its best hitter sitting.

    Speaking of the AAA Pirates . . . if the Nats trade 5+ players, particularly hitters, um, they will be bad. They have no minor-league players to speak of to fill the holes. Folks also tend to get a little delusional about potential returns in trades. The Nats can’t really take on salary of a current MLB player unless they’re dumping salary in the process.

    I don’t know. There isn’t an easy answer. It doesn’t make sense to sit on tradeable assets if the team doesn’t start climbing and have a shot in the standings. But trading assets at the trade deadline isn’t going to be a panacea to fix the decay of this team for coming seasons.


    16 Jun 21 at 12:13 pm

  3. The Nats took care of business against the Bucs. The whole season doesn’t ride on the approaching series with the Mets, but the direction of the season might . . . and perhaps even the direction of the franchise. I hope the Nats don’t lose three or four and dig a deeper hole, but if they do, then the buzz to sell will intensify. Win three or four, and the new life might seem legitimate.


    16 Jun 21 at 7:19 pm

  4. More and more it’s looking like the NL West will send 3 teams to the playoffs; SFG, LAD and SDP are the three best records in the NL. Which means they have to win the division. Which means they have to make up 7.5 games against the division. their record against the teams currently ahead of them in the standings? NYM 1-2, ATL 3-7 and Phi 2-4.

    however, I’m one of them who went on record two years ago that it was a lost season, so … i’ll hold off for a month or so.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jun 21 at 9:34 am

  5. SSDD as MLB Pipeline again mocks Sam Bachman to the Nats, albeit while noting there’s still buzz that Rocker could slide to #11 somehow. This time Madden comes off the board before the Nats pick; it remains unclear whether the Nats have interest in Madden, although the fit seems apparent.


    17 Jun 21 at 11:06 am

  6. The fact that the Nats still have so many games left with the Mets is actually reason for hope. The fact that the Nats are already 10 games behind the Mets in the loss column is not. The gap really needs to close some this weekend to keep hope alive.

    I hear you about 2019, as I was the same way. But then, I was really frustrated because the Nats had what seemed like a talented team that wasn’t playing up to its capability. Now, I don’t see anywhere near that level of talent on the Nats. At the same time, the NL East right now isn’t very good at all. I don’t think the Mets are built for the long haul. But they may be the best of a bad bunch. The Braves aren’t suddenly going to find a pitching supply, or get Osuna back. The Phils don’t have enough pitching. If Stras can actually come back, and Corbin is actually figuring things out, the Nats still have a chance, albeit a small one. Their record since the World Series is 56-69. We can keep saying and hoping that they aren’t REALLY that bad, but at some point, they just are.


    17 Jun 21 at 12:24 pm

  7. Here’s every single name mocked to the Nats in my mock collection at this point, from earliest to latest: House, Wood, Jobe, Jobe, Jobe, Jobe, Madden, Jobe, Jobe, Bachman, Rocker, Jobe, Frelick, Bachman.

    The trend clearly was Jobe … but now Jobe is getting top5 buzz.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jun 21 at 12:47 pm

  8. No one seems to have any idea, and nothing would really shock me. I think a top 10 mock like:

    1. Pirates – Marcelo Mayer
    2. Rangers – Kahlil Watson
    3. Tigers – Henry Davis
    4. Red Sox – Jack Leiter
    5. Orioles – Jackson Jobe
    6. Diamondbacks – Kumar Rocker
    7. Royals – Jordan Lawlar
    8. Rockies – Brady House
    9. Angels – Benny Montgomery
    10. Mets – Matt McLain

    …isn’t that much more plausible than a mock like:

    1. Pirates – Henry Davis
    2. Rangers – Jordan Lawlar
    3. Tigers – Marcelo Mayer
    4. Red Sox – Jack Leiter
    5. Orioles – Harry Ford
    6. Diamondbacks – Matt McLain
    7. Royals – Kahlil Watson
    8. Rockies – Kumar Rocker
    9. Angels – Sal Frelick
    10. Mets – Brady House

    …or a mock like:

    1. Pirates – Kahlil Watson
    2. Rangers – Henry Davis
    3. Tigers – Jackson Jobe
    4. Red Sox – Jack Leiter
    5. Orioles – Brady House
    6. Diamondbacks – Marcelo Mayer
    7. Royals – Jordan Lawlar
    8. Rockies – Colton Cowser
    9. Angels – Harry Ford
    10. Mets – Sal Frelick

    …or a mock like:

    1. Pirates – Jack Leiter
    2. Rangers – Jordan Lawlar
    3. Tigers – Marcelo Mayer
    4. Red Sox – Jackson Jobe
    5. Orioles – Kahlil Watson
    6. Diamondbacks – Brady House
    7. Royals – Kumar Rocker
    8. Rockies – Sam Bachman
    9. Angels – Andrew Painter
    10. Mets – Ty Madden

    Gun to my head, I think Jobe, Rocker, and maybe Madden come off the board in the top 10 and Bachman falls to the Nats. But so much is unsettled. Bachman could definitely go in the #8-10 range. Pretty much the only points of consensus are that the Red Sox are locked on Leiter and the Rangers are at least taking a hard look at Watson. And nearly everyone seems to think the Nats will go for another pitcher at #11, with their preferences appearing to be (in order) Jobe, Rocker, Bachman, ???

    The big question to me is if Rocker and/or Jobe slip out of the top five, are #6-10 going to be scared off by the prospect of having to give them big overslot bonuses to sign? We know the Nats are not intimidated at all by that and routinely swing overslot deals on Draft Day, but several of the teams in the top 10 are notorious for actually preferring underslot deals in the first round. So that’s an added wrinkle of uncertainty.


    17 Jun 21 at 1:31 pm

  9. Teams that pass on Rocker and Leiter for high schoolers are insane. Period. As noted above, I still think Rocker has the highest overall ceiling in this draft.

    I don’t think Jobe makes it to #11. Bachman seems like a very risky one-year wonder from a lower-level conference.

    Frelick, McLain, Cowser . . . It looks like Fabian is dropping all the way out of the 1st round in some mocks now. He did strike out a crazy amount.


    17 Jun 21 at 6:58 pm

  10. It is weird. Really unsettled. And #11 is a weird, in-between place for the Nats to draft. They could end up with their pick of the spoils, they could end up with only one guy left on their board, they could end up seeing all of their top choices gone and have to pivot to some distant backup plan.


    17 Jun 21 at 11:29 pm

  11. In “celebration” of TEN years since the Nats have invested a 1st-round pick on a cornerstone hitter for the middle of their World Series-winning lineup, err, a college bat, I will conduct my annual exercise in tilting at windmills.

    There are three college hitters now projected around where the Nats are picking: McLain, Cowser, and Frelick. Fabian has dropped after 80 Ks this season, along with 20 homers. All three of the others have excellent K/BB numbers, something the Nats used to value but seem to have gotten away from.

    Of the three, I’m least a fan of Frelick. A best-case projection for him would be something like Eaton, which can have value but is sort of a narrow path to being an MLB regular. He could end up being the next Stevenson easier than he could the next Eaton.

    With the Nats already having a CF in Robles, my question with Cowser would be whether his one-year power surge in the Southland Conference portends enough pop for him to make it in the majors as a corner OF. Will he plateau with maybe Eaton’s peak “power,” or AJ Pollock’s, or could he be someone like Eddie Rosairo whose power emerges over a few seasons?

    I see McLain as the highest-floor hitter among the three, as I think he is the most likely to hit enough overall to stick as a major-leaguer. Can he hit with enough power to be considered at 3B or corner OF? The Nats are heavily invested in middle infielders in Garcia, Antuna, Infante, and Cruz. (Antuna not projecting well right now, at all, and disappointing that Infante wasn’t deemed good enough to play on a very bad full-season A team.) McLain’s positional flexibility does seem like a plus, and it makes him more adaptable to positions befitting the level of power he develops.

    So . . . Frelick probably wouldn’t really be on my board at #11. It would be a difficult choice between Cowser, who seems to have a higher power ceiling, and McLain, who would offer a good bit of flexibility (the type of player Davey loves).


    18 Jun 21 at 8:58 am

  12. I don’t have ESPN+ Insider access (I should be clear I’m not anti-paywall, and I happily subscribe to Baseball America, the Post, and others, but $6/month is too rich for my blood given how few articles I read on ESPN’s website). But Kiley McDaniel has a new mock draft out apparently linking the Nats to Ty Madden at #11, although it sounds like a mostly speculative connection and Sam Bachman is also mentioned (as are Jackson Jobe and Kumar Rocker, who are off the board by the time the Nats pick in McDaniel’s mock).

    The interesting nugget is that according to McDaniel, his sources think Bachman drops into the 20s, even though he’s been as high as #8 in other mocks. That makes sense if the consensus among front offices is that Bachman ends up as a quick-to-the-majors reliever, which would benefit a club like, say, the Rays or the White Sox, but it wouldn’t likely help the Nats at all.


    18 Jun 21 at 12:02 pm

  13. I have no interest in a possible/probable reliever at #11. And considering how prospect-poor the Nats are right now, I have little interest in waiting on a high schooler (and waiting, and waiting . . .) (Kieboom now at .240 after two hits last night, but with only six extra-base hits after 30 games [with a double last night].)

    Consensus Nat preseason top hitting prospect: Antuna — .127/.218/.264, and at a level below where most thought he would be playing. Yeah, aren’t you glad we added him to the 40-man? Mendoza (.152/.267/.323, albeit with more extra-base hits than Kieboom); Pineda (.165/.237/.339). Banks at .151 and Wiseman at .184 may be close to the end of their pro careers.

    I could see an argument that Madden might be higher on a team’s board than Cowser or McLain, and in a vacuum, I would be fine with getting Madden. But the Nats’ system isn’t a vacuum (well, except for all the sucking). And FWIW, the FanGraphs Big Board has Cowser, Frelick, and McLain all ahead of Madden, so it’s not unrealistic to expect at least an equal chance of success for the hitters compared to Madden.

    The Nats have plenty of young pitchers in their system doing well or very well, including their top prospect. Show me ANY realistic MLB hitter in that system. There’s a super-desperate need on that side of the talent ledger. It’s almost like they’ve given up on drafting hitters and are just expecting to find them in the Caribbean.


    18 Jun 21 at 2:36 pm

  14. That, or hoping guys they take in later rounds will pop up. That strategy hasn’t really worked very well, though. It could simply be Rizzo isn’t as confident in his scouting department’s ability to pick ’em when it comes to hitters, although at that, seems like it might be time for a change in personnel.

    I’d definitely be fine with any of Cowser, Frelick, or McLain, and I know Steve Mears and some others on the blogosphere are pushing for that (especially McLain or Cowser), and I’m happy if that happens. I’m not really into Bachman, and while Jobe is a guy I’d consider making an exception for (just as I would have been fine if Mick Abel had fallen to the Nats somehow last July), I’m not into prep pitchers as a general rule and have little to no interest in using a Day 1 pick on anyone else in that category. Probably a moot point, as I think Jobe comes off the board in the top six anyway.

    I’d really prefer Rocker or even Madden to Bachman. Madden averaged 101.25 pitches per start this year and routinely pitched through or past six innings. Pitches weren’t tracked for all of Bachman’s starts, but for those that they were, he topped out at 91 pitches twice; one of those games, he only made it through five innings. Bachman also made four fewer starts than Madden. I think obviously, durability and stamina are concerns, and when I watch his pitching motion, I see an eighth- or ninth-inning reliever, not an MLB starter.


    18 Jun 21 at 2:47 pm

  15. Yeah, I had seen a high pitch count for Madden’s super regional game and wondered whether that was a trend. Sounds like it is. Buyer beware.

    That said, my guess of who the Nats would take would be Madden, if he makes it that far. I don’t think Jobe will fall that far, so I don’t think he’s in play. I’m surprised that people still think Rocker might fall through the top 10.

    If Jobe, Rocker, and Madden, are all gone by 11, then things get interesting. With so many pitchers taken, that means at least one among the three hitters would still be on the board, possibly all three. I like McLain and Cowser better than Frelik, am not quite sure why Frelik is in the same conversation with them.

    If the Nats are going by a board similar to those that most mocks have, these hitters are ahead of the next tier of pitchers, including Bachman.


    18 Jun 21 at 3:23 pm

  16. In the FWIW department, among the high schoolers, outfielder Benny Montgomery plays in suburban Harrisburg, so Nats brass should have had ample opportunity to see him play. Lots of concerns about his swing, though, and he’s also almost 19.


    18 Jun 21 at 3:39 pm

  17. Basically, the Nats are going to be picking out of a pile of the following 15 names minus 10, barring a surprise:

    RHP Sam Bachman (COL)
    OF Colton Cowser (COL)
    C Henry Davis (COL)
    OF Sal Frelick (COL)
    C Harry Ford (HS)
    SS Brady House (HS)
    RHP Jackson Jobe (HS)
    SS Jordan Lawlar (HS)
    RHP Jack Leiter (COL)
    RHP Ty Madden (COL)
    SS Marcelo Mayer (HS)
    SS Matt McLain (COL)
    OF Benny Montgomery (HS)
    RHP Kumar Rocker (COL)
    SS Kahlil Watson (HS)


    18 Jun 21 at 3:47 pm

  18. One wild card I didn’t mention: Andrew Painter. He was getting top 10 buzz over the winter, then started slow and faded from the conversation a little, but BA has him back up in the top 15, and while I think he’s too risky — prep right-hander, big frame, a lot of projection — Mike Rizzo hasn’t historically shied away from that. I think he’s a stretch at #11, but if Rizzo has cooled on Bachman and the other pitchers are gone by the time he picks, I wouldn’t be shocked (although I’d be at least a little dismayed).


    18 Jun 21 at 3:56 pm

  19. From that group, here’s my draft board for the Nats:

    1. Rocker
    2. Davis
    3. Leiter
    4. Cowser
    5. McLain
    6. Madden
    7. Frelik

    I would be thrilled if any of the top three drop to them, but I’m not counting on it. Otherwise, I want a hitter. And as noted, with the farm system so talent-starved, they have no business taking on the long-term risk/reward of a high schooler right now. Plus I think House and Montgomery in particular are real high-risk picks. And Mayer, Watson, and Lawler won’t be there for the Nats to worry about.


    18 Jun 21 at 6:25 pm

  20. Huge win for the Nats on Friday night to jump-start the big series. Momentum is only as good as yesterday, though, with a vital double header ahead.


    19 Jun 21 at 7:19 am

  21. I forgot De La Rosa: .172/.241/.242. None of the Nats’ “top” field prospects is even close to .200. That’s a very low bar, used to be called the Mendoza line, although our Mendoza currently is at .146 . . .


    19 Jun 21 at 12:30 pm

  22. Mendoza had that one game when he hit two three-run homers, and otherwise, he’s been terrible. I’ve watched some Senators games and he looks really unimpressive. A lot of swings and misses, poor plate discipline, just looks like he’s trying to hit the ball 600 feet every time he bats because that probably worked for him in college.

    Things can change quickly, but it’s tough for me to see our farm graduating any position players with a ceiling higher than utility infielder or fourth outfielder, at least from the guys currently in full-season ball.


    19 Jun 21 at 2:33 pm

  23. The Nats obviously did Mendoza, Cluff (now injured), and Wilson (barely playing) no favors by having them skip AA. By trying to cover for the problem of having no hitting talent in the upper minors, they created another one. I do think those are different cases, as I believe that Mendoza has higher-ceiling “talent” than the other two, but it sure sounds like he’ll have to totally rethink his approach.

    We knew the field talent wasn’t great, but I’m surprised by this level of all-consuming dumpster fire among the hitters. Seems like there need to be some changes made in personnel evaluation and development.


    20 Jun 21 at 8:27 am

  24. Nats have taken two of three from the Mets thus far, showing some life and frankly looking like the better team, despite the lethargic performance in the first game on Saturday. Hoping the Corbin from his last outing shows up on Sunday.

    I’m not going to predict that the Mets are going to fall apart, as they’ve got plenty of pitching to keep them afloat. But with that feeble offense, they’re not going to streak away toward 95+ wins, either.


    20 Jun 21 at 8:33 am

  25. And to the surprise of absolutely no one, Gerardo Parra is back despite being handily outhit by Daniel Palka and Alec Keller at Rochester and having not appeared once at a fielding position other than LF/RF this season. Guess Palka or Keller should have come up with a catchier walkup song.


    20 Jun 21 at 11:45 am

  26. Mendoza and cluff are in AA; did you mean have them skip high-A? Well, both were low-A right out of draft, then 2020 would have been hihg-A, and now they’re right on track.

    Getting a good look at Ty Maddon pitching for UTexas tonight; mid-90s, big guy, clean mechanics. Of course, he’s being outshined by this kid Bednar, a 2nd year freshman who just blew away the #2 team in the land.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jun 21 at 8:54 pm

  27. Bednar just turned 21 so he’s draft eligible … i’m sure this performace will rocket him up the charts. BA had him ranked #38 in the class … maybe he’s an early 2nd rounder. right in line with Nats 2nd pick.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jun 21 at 8:56 pm

  28. On Parra’s callup … i’d be willing to bet he had a clause in his contract that said “called up by X date or released.”

    Sometimes it isn’t entirely about their batting average in AAA.

    Todd Boss

    21 Jun 21 at 10:33 am

  29. Parra didn’t hit last year at all in Japan. Plus, as Sao said, there were far better choices for a callup.

    Mark L

    21 Jun 21 at 12:12 pm

  30. No argument. Palka is an intriguing player; he was really frigging good his rookie year and then inexplicably stopped hitting. But he’s hitting this year for sure.

    Its gotta be a handshake deal to bring Parra back up.

    Todd Boss

    21 Jun 21 at 1:26 pm

  31. O ye of little faith in the magic of Baby Shark . . . I absolutely hated the Parra signing in ’19 and couldn’t believe they were giving that stiff the slot that should have been Yadiel’s. I don’t really understand why they’re bringing him up now, either, other than desperation for a spark. What many forget is that after his hot start in ’19, he reverted to his not-good mean. However, if he’s the magic element to get Soto smiling and having fun again, then he might be worth it. Best case might be for them to declare his knee balky at some point and put him on IL for a few months, so he can hang around on the bench but not actually hurt the team on the field.

    So where are we? I haven’t a clue. We’re certainly better off than we were 10 games ago. But the elements that fueled the 8-2 run aren’t sustainable, namely nine Schwarber homers and starting-pitching ERA of around 2. They’re still having a lot of trouble delivering with runners in scoring posting. Soto still isn’t getting much loft. We hold our breath as Max comes back and still wonder if Stras will be able to contribute anything this season.

    Before the season, I said that the Nats had a very narrow window, and that the best case with this roster was probably 85 wins. I didn’t think at that time that 85 would get them in the playoffs, but with this division’s collective struggles, it might. I’m just not seeing all the elements clicking yet to convince me that the Nats will get to their best-case number.

    But at least they stayed alive. They easily could have come close to eliminating themselves last week. Instead, they seem rejuvenated. We’ll see whether they can lift enough of the other elements to maintain the spark.


    22 Jun 21 at 5:20 am

  32. Mendoza, Cluff, and Wilson might have stayed “on track” of a level a year, but they still didn’t play at the A+ level. It seems quite clear that their alleged success (as well as Antuna’s and Pineda’s) in the practice games at Fredericksburg last year doesn’t replace a year in a better league, where other teams quickly figure out and exploit your weaknesses. Our guys seem to have a lot of those.


    22 Jun 21 at 5:24 am

  33. Nats now in a three-way tie for second place. Max is back. Mets just lost Stroman. Wheeler exited early and may not be OK. And all Giradi has for his sinking team is silly gamesmanship . . . against a Hall of Famer who he just made madder. Things are getting interesting!


    23 Jun 21 at 7:19 am

  34. Mendoza demoted. That was the biggest of many farm system moves yesterday, which included shedding 6 guys and moving a bunch more around.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jun 21 at 9:16 am

  35. Mendoza’s demotion isn’t surprising. What is is that they haven’t demoted all the other higher-level prospects who can’t break .200. Good for Mendoza showing up in Wilmington and getting two hits in his first game. He remains one of the Nats’ (very few) higher-ceiling hitting prospects.


    23 Jun 21 at 12:24 pm

  36. O ye doubters of the magic of Baby Shark . . .

    Something’s happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. I have a hard time believing that this is a full 2019 redux, but the Nats definitely have put themselves back in play for the division, just two weeks after we were wondering how many guys would be traded.

    Plus it’s always a good day when the Philthies are getting booed off their home field several times during the game.


    23 Jun 21 at 5:50 pm

  37. Mildly interesting (only mildly, given it’s yet another mock with the Nats taking future reliever Sam Bachman) that the latest mock draft says the Nats have interest in Will Bednar as well.


    23 Jun 21 at 9:08 pm

  38. And just like that, the Nats are in second place all by themselves, only four games back. That’s with no Stras and Soto still not yet clicking.

    The funny thing about that with Soto is that we all think of him as having an off year so far, but he’s still at 137 OPS+, 127 wRC+. That’s what it looks like when he’s “bad,” which is a heck of a floor.


    24 Jun 21 at 5:30 am

  39. latest MLBpipeline mock:

    As Sao said, nats still mocked to Bachman. While I like Bednar, he’s not a 1st rounder, certainly not a near-top 10 guy. BA ranks him #38 in the draft class, mlbpipeline #36. That’s comp round, end of 1st round at best.

    There’s a reason they like Bachman. Sits 97, hits 101 with a ton of movement/sink, with a slider that can hit 90 (think about that) and a solid (grade 55) change-up. You can’t teach that kind of velocity, especially in a starter, and he’s worth a pick at #11.

    I know we talk about velocity allt he time in the sport and you hear “sits 97” and think, oh well everyone sits 97 these days. But there’s only 10 qualified starters in the entire league right now whose average fastball velocity sits at 96mph or higher.

    Todd Boss

    24 Jun 21 at 9:51 am

  40. Another mock hits this morning, from my favorite writer Keith Law at the atlantic. Paywall but here’s link;

    In his mock, he has Bachman going to Mets at #10 and Nats taking Jobe, who falls to them at 11. But he writes:

    Everyone assumes that this is Rocker’s floor. I don’t think the Nats would take any high school pitcher here other than Jobe. If both he and Rocker are gone, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take Madden or Bachman or another hard-throwing college pitcher.

    So per Law, Nats pecking order goes like this: Rocker, Jobe, Bachman, Madden.

    There’s almost no chance of one of these four players not being available at #11, based on the almost certainty that this list is going at the top of the draft in some order: Lawlar, Mayer, Leiter, Davis, Watson, House. That’s 6 names that all likely go in the top 7-8 picks, and the only way the Nats DON’T get one of these four arms is assuming that the entire first 10 picks goes chalk and nobody does anything weird. And right now, nearly every pundit is predicting that Baltimore in particular will go off-board and pick a lesser player at #5 to cut a deal, meaning one less of the top tier of players going that early.

    So, everyone get ready for one of Rocker, Jobe, Bachman, or Madden to the Nats at #11.

    Todd Boss

    24 Jun 21 at 10:39 am

  41. Bachman’s stuff is obviously good. His difficulties staying healthy and going deep into starts is a red flag. And while size isn’t everything, of course, he’s clearly undersized for a starting pitcher at 6-foot-1.

    Interesting that Law isn’t buying the hype around Jobe potentially going top-five. The calculus there might be if he slips past Arizona, the #7-10 teams aren’t going to be willing to pay him enough to forgo college. The Nats have never been shy about swinging overslot deals in the first round, though.


    24 Jun 21 at 10:55 am

  42. Bachman’s size is bad … but if he was throwing 90 it’d be a heck of a lot different than hitting 100. I think that’s the differentiator. I saw his video and thought his mechanics were smooth enough.

    In other words, i’ve got no problems taking Bachman.

    kevin Goldstein scouts three other arms right in the same area: Madden, Hogeland and ECU’s Williams. I don’t think the Nats should really consider the other two at #11 … Hogeland seems like an 18-20 pick, Williams more like a 25-30 pick.

    Todd Boss

    24 Jun 21 at 1:26 pm

  43. Let’s hope Rocker’s semi-shaky start in the CWS (during which he still K’d 10) drops him to the Nats. That would be the greatest thing to happen to them since the Royals took Bubba Starling, leaving Rendon on the board. (I saw one of the high school hitters this year, either Montgomery or House, compared to Starling. It wasn’t meant as a compliment.) I still think Rocker is a cut above most of the others who are being mentioned.

    Of course it still makes little sense for the Nats to draft a pitcher . . .


    24 Jun 21 at 1:45 pm

  44. What does Law say about the reasons that Rocker might be dropping? Does he buy them, or think they’re overstated?


    24 Jun 21 at 1:47 pm

  45. It’s a combination of Rocker showing some small cracks, but more about other players really stepping up.

    the two HS shortstops at the top (Lawlar and Mayer) were no where close to the top of the draft pre-season, but have really exploded up. Davis from Louisville had a great season and jumped rocker. meanwhile, Rocker’s been outshined by his teammate Leiter, has shown some velocity loss/fatigue and all of this conspires to move him down.

    however, nearly every pundit right now basically says if rocker gets to Kansas City at #7, they’re taking him. Everyone is getting the same info.

    Todd Boss

    24 Jun 21 at 3:21 pm

  46. Carlos Collazo has the Nats drafting Ty Madden at #11. Sam Bachman slides to #20 in his latest mock draft. Andrew Painter is also mentioned as an outside possibility for the Nats. Collazo also thinks there is a real chance Kumar Rocker falls to the Nats.

    Discounting the possibility Mike Rizzo goes bat, my preferences here look like: Rocker, Madden, Jobe, Bachman, Painter.


    25 Jun 21 at 9:48 am

  47. Was just going to post the same. BA link is here:

    Painter; i’ve been reading mocks for months and I’ve yet to see his name anywhere in a top 10. Seems to me like he’s more teen-range, too high for nats to take him unless they got a discount and could apply it to a prep kid in the 2nd round. Problem is … that is absolutely NOT Rizzo’s mo; he generally takes like 1-2 prep players in each draft; he’s not in the mind-set to be cutting deals so he can buy multiple prep players.

    Rocker again to Royals; that’s seemingly a lock at this point. Jobe rising. but Bachman’s incidentals seem like they’re going to wow someone like Rizzo more than Madden.

    I’m not a Madden fan. I’m not sure Madden was even the best starter on his staff this year, his stuff gets hit (per the BA scouting report, when he pitched fastball up == .333/.350/.846 slash line). And he only has two pitches. I don’t want an #11 overall pick in my bullpen in 3 years. I need him in my rotation in 3 years. I’d rather roll the dice on Bachman, whose two leading pitches are both better than Maddens AND he has a 3rd pitch that he actually uses.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jun 21 at 11:39 am

  48. My feeling is the opposite. I really don’t like Bachman’s delivery, and paired with his modest height, I think it’s highly likely he’ll end up in the ‘pen.

    Madden is a horse who routinely goes deep into games, and he actually has *four* pitches, although his curveball is (by all accounts) not very good. Bachman rarely used his circle changeup and is still developing the pitch; there’s no guarantee it emerges as a workable third pitch to let him start long-term.

    There’s question marks with both, but to me, Madden looks like the lower-risk proposition.


    25 Jun 21 at 11:58 am

  49. I’m not scared of his height. I mean, Pedro Martinez was 5-11. Greg Maddox was 6-0. The nats have drafted plenty of big bodies who couldn’t do jack with their size (Jake Johansen, Alex Meyer).

    If both Madden and Bachman are “two pitch guys” as a floor, why not go with the guy who has better grades on both pitches, who has hit 101, and whose slider is generally considered the best in the class?

    Todd Boss

    25 Jun 21 at 2:55 pm

  50. Another mock, this from Axisa at CBSsports.

    He has the captian obvious title of “2021 MLB Mock Draft: Pirates take prep shortstop No. 1; Vandy’s Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter go in top 10.”

    Really. Rocker and Leiter have both basically been projected in or around the top five all season.

    Anyway. Axisa’s top5 is defensible and he has Rocker to KC at #7 (like everyone else) and Nats taking Bachman. but … interestingly, he doesn’t have Madden in his entire first round?? that seems like an error, esp. since he has Hogeland going in the upper teens as a TJ guy.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jun 21 at 2:57 pm

  51. Madden and Bachman both seem fairly divisive. I saw another mock the other day that had Bachman falling out of the first round altogether (might have been McDaniel, come to think of it) as well because of his reliever risk.

    And here’s one more mock for good measure from Bleacher Report, which has the Nats taking Madden over Bachman (plus Rocker to the Royals, again, which is starting to look like a mortal lock unless maybe Kahlil Watson slips somehow):

    ProspectsLive will do their “live mock” this afternoon, so I’ll plan on tuning in for that, although I think those have more entertainment value than actual predictive potential.


    25 Jun 21 at 4:44 pm

  52. There’s some upside to the BAchman/Madden discussion … and that’s the fact that they’re NOT on Jobe. Who wants to take another HS starter in the first round? Uh, nobody Alex. Bachman and/or Madden might actually pitch for the nats by 2023. jobe might not be in the majors until 2026.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jun 21 at 5:22 pm

  53. Meanwhile, Rocker is dominating today in what could be his final collegiate start (unless he comes back for a CWS game 3): 6ip, 5 hits, 1 ER, 11ks/1BB. 111 pitches through 6 … the walk came in the 6th as he tired. I wonder if he comes out for the 7th on 111 pitches.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jun 21 at 5:27 pm

  54. Vandy Coach does the right thing and sits Rocker on 111 pitches. phew.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jun 21 at 5:37 pm

  55. ProspectsLive brings on Burke Granger to pick for the Nats at #11 and he goes with Ty Madden, although Sam Bachman is off the board in this (kinda silly) mock and Burke says he would have preferred Bachman. For what it’s worth (not much).


    25 Jun 21 at 7:56 pm

  56. Gritty performance today from Madden in the CWS. Six innings, two runs, eight strikeouts. Had that Scherzer “your hate only makes me stronger” thing going as the game went on.

    I think Bachman does have better stuff, but I really like Madden. He’s a bulldog and a workhorse and he absolutely knows how to pitch.


    25 Jun 21 at 10:44 pm

  57. If there are questions about Madden and Bachman — and there are — Cowser and McLain are fairly “safe” picks as hitters. I know I’m dreaming, but Rocker and Leiter are really the only two “safe” college pitchers. And I still think Rocker has the capability be be a cut above everyone.


    26 Jun 21 at 10:30 pm

  58. Bachman has a very, very little track record . . . but also very limited mileage on his arm. The CWS guys have been ridden hard.

    I think of Bachman as a higher-risk pick than Madden, and FanGraphs has them classified that way: Bachman as high risk, and Madden as medium risk. (FWIW, they have Rocker as high risk. He’s dominated for most of the NCAA tournament. I just don’t see what makes teams so reluctant about him.)

    FG has only three players in the top 38 listed as low risk: Cowser, McLain, . . . and Wicks, who just had a TJ (low risk???).

    I don’t get mentions of Painter to the Nats at all.


    26 Jun 21 at 10:50 pm

  59. From what I’ve read, the Nats scouted Painter pretty heavily, but he wasn’t as dominant this season as, say, Jobe, so he’s slid a bit (not a ton, but definitely a few slots) in the rankings and Jobe has easily overtaken him as the consensus top prep pitcher in the draft.

    I can see why the Nats might love Painter: He’s big, physical, and throws hard, he’s got clean and repeatable mechanics, and he has plus command even as a high schooler. If they were drafting at #21, I can easily see them penciling him in as their dream guy and hoping he falls to them the way Cavalli and Rutledge did. But I think drafting at #11, they’re likely to have better options available on the board — all around, with a higher floor, a higher ceiling, and a nearer ETA.

    That being said, if they’re not in love with Bachman’s mechanics and/or they’re concerned about Madden’s mileage, and Rocker and Jobe are gone by the time they draft, and they’re *still* dead set on a pitcher, I can imagine Painter being the guy. The Nats haven’t historically been very wary of guys with that profile, and they tend to take the long view with player development, as evidenced by the Tommy John survivors like Giolito and Fedde they’ve drafted over the years.


    26 Jun 21 at 11:21 pm

  60. You can’t teach velocity. Bachman has a better fastball and a better slider. I think they’ll fall in love with teh tools and take him.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jun 21 at 7:19 pm

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