Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats 2021 top 10 picks with ranks and thoughts


Yes I know, this is the same picture i used yesterday. Might as well; it seems like the team has blown most of its draft pool on him.

Note: I have updated the Draft Tracker for the 2021 draft, both the master board and the 2021 draft notes boards).

I have more details about signing bonus calculus and player notes/twitter accounts on the 2021 worksheet, in case you’re wondering why I separate them.

By now, you’ve probably heard about our picks and read a ton of responses in the commentary. Nonetheless, here’s some thought and insight into our 2021 picks.

Using various pundit draft board rankings (listed at the bottom for reference), here’s how our picks were thought of before the draft.  Along with some commentary from me.

  • 1st Round/#11 overall: Brady House, SS/3B Winder Barrow HS (GA).   Law=11.  MLBPipeline=8.  BA=7.  Fangraphs=9.  ESPN=5. Prospects1500: 6

Thoughts: Discussed in a separate post here. Short version: great pick, great value for a guy who many pundits thought would go top 3-5. Based on where the pundits generally had House ranked, the Nats definitely seemed to get solid value even at the #11 spot in the draft.

  • 2nd round/#47 overall: Daylen Lile, OF Trinity HS (KY). Louisville commit. Law > 100.  MLBPipeline=80.  BA=62.  Fangraphs ~80.  ESPN=47. Prospects1500: 70.

Thoughts: MLB’s scouting reports describe him as a gap hitter, but his size (6’0″) makes you wonder if he can develop power. Despite his understated stature, he’s apparently limited to LF because of a lack of arm strength? A curious pick, especially since he was projected more like a 3rd rounder. Is this a value pick to save on bonus money? I can’t imagine so; a HS player in the 2nd round isn’t taking a discount. Also, not for nothing … another prep player. Is Mike Rizzo gearing up for a possible rebuild by going young in the draft? A completely typical Nats pick (Brendan Beck, rhp from Stanford) went just a few picks later, a famous guy who you would have thought was a shoe-in for the Nats. Based on the scouting ratings, it seems across the board that the Nats overpaid for this pick. I thought one scouting report in BA was especially prescient: “Lile’s profile has been one that teams prefer to send to college where he will have a chance to prove his hitting ability.”

  • 3rd Round/#82 overall: Branden Boissiere, an OF/1B from University of Arizona. Law > 100.  MLBPipeline=159.  BA=143.  Fangraphs >100 .  ESPN > 100. Prospects1500: 181

Thoughts: Seems like a slot-saver once again. Boissiere is 1B limited (listed as an OF but that was limited LF exposure early in his career). He can definitely hit though: slash line on the year: .369/.451/.506 but only 5 homers. Sweet swing, not a ton of power, Mark Grace comp. Another odd pick though in the grand scheme of things.

  • 4th round/#112 overall: Dustin Saenz, a LHP from Texas A&M. MLBPipeline=189.  BA=143.  Prospects1500: 136.

Thoughts: The scouting reports list him as TAMU’s swing man for most of his career but was a weekend starter this year. He had decent numbers on the season; in 14 starts a 4.27 ERA, 1.26 whip, 104/23 in 84ip. I like those K/IP numbers a lot, especially since he’s pitching in the SEC. He had a couple of rough outings this season against top SEC teams (Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Arkansas all got to him), but he finished his SEC slate by pitching 8 innings of 2-hit ball against LSU. Scouting reports have him sitting low 90s and being undersized (5’11”). Seems like a bit of a slot saver yet again, but likely a decent lefty matchup reliever arm at the next level with deception. I’m beginning to wonder if the Nats promised Brady House … well, the house.

  • 5th Round/#143 overall: TJ White, a prep OF from Dorman HS (SC). MLBPipeline= n/r.  BA=360.  Prospects1500: 346

Thoughts: Is Mike Rizzo sick today? he’s taken three high school players in his first 5 rounds after taking just a handful of prep players in the top 10 rounds in the last decade. White is somewhat unknown, but is listed as having 70 power at BA, a switch hitter, and is an Indiana recruit. Corner OF limited apparently, making him the third positionally challenged player the team has taken. Is he underslot? Maybe; if he’s ranked in the mid 300s at best, that’s a 10th round player projection. If they offered him anywhere close to slot he may take it.

  • 6th round/#173 overall: Michael Kirian, LHP from Louisville. BA=274.  Prospects1500: 262

Thoughts: Rizzo’s second college arm … and likely his second lefty reliever. He was a reliever for most of his Louisville career, transitioned to the rotation this year and struggled. His 2021 stat line: 4.80 ERA, 1.41 whip, 75/28 K/BB in 69 IP. He seemed to be doing fine in the rotation, but then had 4 straight starts against UVA, Clemson, Duke and UNC where he got shelled each week, then got dumped from the rotation for the rest of the season. He’s huge though: 6’6″ and the scouting reports say he creates deception and odd angles. Great; a loogy. More and more i’m thinking these are all underslot guys to pay House.

  • 7th Round/#203 overall: Jacob Young, OF/2B from UFlorida. BA=354, Prospects1500: 200

Thoughts: A more slight guy (6’0″ and just 175) who played LF this year (to make way for the more “famous” Jud Fabian, but who is clearly a CF and also can play 2B. Listed as a speed guy with a solid hit tool, he started all 60 games for Florida this year and slashed .315/.385/.461 with 5 homers and 13/14 SBs. Not too bad; I mean, at least he had 5 homers. Per BA, he led the Gators in hits (80), doubles (16), runs (56) and stolen bases (13) this spring. Not a bad pick in the 7th round.

  • 8th round/#233 overall: Will Frizzell, 1B from Texas. BA=418, Prospects1500=211.

Thoughts: Well, Frizzell absolutely destroyed at the plate this year; his slash line was .343/.451/.686 with 19 homers in 56 games. Lefty hitting 1B who BA says is a poor defender and may have to DH in pro ball. Well, lets let him hit his way up before we worry about where he’s playing. Despite his power, he’s listed as a plus hitter as well, so maybe the team has someone to push Drew Mendoza now. An excellent senior sign in the 8th round.

  • 9th round/#264 overall: Cole Quintanilla, RHP from Texas. BA=300.

Thoughts: College reliever for Texas, led their staff in ERA on the year with an excellent 1.35 era/0.83 whip. 42/11 K/BB in 40 innings (26 appearances). So he projects as a middle reliever. BA notes “Quintanilla is the typical fastball-slider reliever with a 91-95 mph average fastball and a plus low-80s slider.” TJ surgery in 2018 (wouldn’t be a Nats draft if we didn’t draft someone who had TJ), but no issues reported. Decent senior pick at this juncture, can’t complain especially since he likely signs for a fraction of slot.

  • 10th round/#274 overall: Darren Baker 2B from Cal Berkely. BA=187, Prospect1500=326

Thoughts: well, we drafted him in 2017, likely as a favor to Dusty Baker (who we summarily fired), and now we got him again in 2021. In the interim, he’s moved from SS to 2B. Lets see if its “third time’s a charm” about drafting a second baseman from UC Berkeley; we tried it in 2009 (2nd rounder Jeff Kobernus) and in 2012 (2nd rounder Tony Renda). Baker has almost no power (just 1 homer in 4 years in college) but has a ton of speed (top 10 in the nation in SBs) and is a plus defender at 2B. BA thinks he could play OF, but his arm is limited. Solid hitter (slashed .327/.402/.354). I suppose a 10th round senior sign who fills a spot of need (have you guys seen the 2B depth chart in the minors right now? Its MLFAs, NDFAs and 20th rounders).

top 10 picks Draft summary:

  • 7 hitters, 3 Arms (wow)
  • 3 prep, 7 college (wow)
  • Of the 3 arms, all three likely projecting as relievers
  • Of the 7 bats, two likely 1B, one CF, one 2B, two likely corner OF and House, who likely moves to 3B.

Conjecture on over/under slot needs in top 10 rounds

  • Players who are likely commanding over-slot: House
  • Players who are likely signing for slot: Lile, White, Young
  • Players who are likely under slot: Boissiere, Saenz, Kirian, Frizzell, Quintanilla, Baker.

Draft Board Rankings

Written by Todd Boss

July 13th, 2021 at 12:46 pm

73 Responses to 'Nats 2021 top 10 picks with ranks and thoughts'

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  1. It’s clearly a weird draft. I don’t like high school picks, and neither does Rizzo, but there just doesn’t seem to have been a lot of high-level college talent this year, at all. There was chatter that Madden was seen as being close to Leiter and Rocker, but clearly he wasn’t. Bachman was a wild reach to go ahead of Rocker. Henry Davis was seen as the only top-tier college hitter. I liked Cowser but thought he was a bit of a reach at #5. So many of the high school shortstops are, at age 18, mostly line-drive guys who people hope/wish will show some power.

    So it was a very curious pool. House probably is the highest-ceiling hitter in this draft, particularly power-wise. Will he pan out? Will he be worth strangling the rest of the draft to sign? We’ll see. Did we get the next Alonzo, or the next Bubba Starling?

    I agree on Lile and sign-ability. Most high school guys won’t take underslot, unless they understand that they’re being intentionally overdrafted. (Infante clearly didn’t last year, when they both overdrafted and overpaid.) However, we do have this from the Post article on the second day: “Baca and Nationals assistant GM Kris Kline did not voice much concern about whether they would be able to sign Lile or any of their other high picks. ‘You work that out a little bit prior to taking the player, as every team will do, because you’ve got to find a way to manage your money,’ Kline said. ‘So we’re good there.’”


    13 Jul 21 at 1:09 pm

  2. Lile’s hitting profile actually isn’t too different from those of the HS shortstops who went in the top 10. He’s just more position-limited. One report said he might be the best contact hitter in the draft.

    On the flip side, a couple of sites have a 70 power grade on White. He also seems like a good gamble, all the more since he, like House, is just now turning 18 and is a year younger than a lot of the draftees. And they’re both already big dudes.

    And heck yeah, if Frizzell hit like that in the SEC, he’s certainly worth a look. He’s a late bloomer who hadn’t shown a lot of power previously. And as Schwarber shows, anyone can stand in LF!


    13 Jul 21 at 1:18 pm

  3. Six pitchers in seven picks thus far today, with only one of them under 6’3″. The real Rizzo has returned from witness protection!


    13 Jul 21 at 1:54 pm

  4. And they’re done:

    Lots of college arms on the last day, which is fine. They have a good track record of finding one or two who can move up. They also took a catcher from Auburn who showed some power in the SEC, which is intriguing. The Nats obviously spent a lot of time scouting the nation’s top conference.


    13 Jul 21 at 2:35 pm

  5. 13th round pick Mack Anglin from Clemson is interesting. Wonder if he will be a tough sign? MLB had him at 217 and Prospects Live at 150.

    Ohio’s top prep prospect and Gatorade’s player of the year in the Buckeye State in 2019, Anglin went undrafted because of his strong commitment to Clemson. He struggled as a midweek starter last year and opened this spring in the bullpen before the Tigers made him their No. 1 starter at midseason. Draft-eligible as a second-year freshman, he’s a darling of analytic-minded teams because of the elite spin rates on his fastball and power breaking balls. Anglin has some of the best breaking stuff in the Draft, with both his 82-85 mph curveball with depth and 84-87 mph slider with more horizontal break grading as well above-average offerings. He can light up radar guns with his fastball, which usually sits at 93-95 mph and tops out at 98 with riding and running action. But his long arm action gives hitters a good look at his heater, so it doesn’t play as well as its velocity and spin rates indicate it should. With his arm action and struggles to repeat a delivery that features some effort, Anglin profiles as a reliever in pro ball. He doesn’t trust his fading mid-80s changeup or provide consistent strikes, two more hurdles he’ll have to overcome to make it as a starter. But if he can harness his stuff and miss more bats with his fastball, he could be a late-inning weapon out of the bullpen.

    From Prospects Live:
    91-94/95 with iffy command and lots of walks. Curve is a high low 80s offering with 11-5 hard, violent break and high spin. If he’s commanding it, it might be the best curveball in the class. Works in a high-spin slider as well. CH is 81-84 but higher spin most of the time. Can turn a few over for plus. Will be very, very young for draft and teams will covet the upside. If a team believes he can start, Anglin is a Top 50 player on that board.

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    13 Jul 21 at 2:40 pm

  6. Sorry for the random gibberish at the end of my last post. Poor copy/paste job.


    13 Jul 21 at 2:41 pm

  7. Chris: i thought the same thing. I’m not sure why he’d sign for $150k and should go back to school to try to improve draft status.

    Todd Boss

    13 Jul 21 at 3:37 pm

  8. Anglin would have some leverage, but the Nats aren’t going to have a lot of extra money. So who knows? Presumably, the Nats knew his price when they took him. The 13th-14th rounds seems to be the area where they take a few flyers. They’ve had a couple who didn’t sign, and couple who surprised by doing so.


    13 Jul 21 at 3:39 pm

  9. Kumar Rocker just agreed to a $6 million with the Mets. A line has been drawn.

    Mark L

    13 Jul 21 at 5:06 pm

  10. I’m betting that we’re on the same line with House. Both wanted top-5 money.


    13 Jul 21 at 7:36 pm

  11. Is the conventional wisdom that the Nats would have taken Rocker over House if the Mets had picked neither? Basically just curious if anyone on here prefers House to Rocker straight up…


    14 Jul 21 at 8:58 am

  12. I’m thrilled to get a hitter . . . but I would have taken Rocker. I think he’s the top talent in this draft. Among hitters, though, House may have the highest ceiling in the draft, albeit with a floor of not even making the majors. Big risk for potential big reward. With Rocker, he’s going to pitch in the majors. There’s not nearly that level of risk with him. Only down side with him is that he might be a Giolito, taking a few years to harness all that talent.


    14 Jul 21 at 9:16 am

  13. Rocker > House for me. But in March both were routinely listed as 1-1 overall candidates. Both guys got picked apart because they had nowhere to go but down.

    Todd Boss

    14 Jul 21 at 11:13 am

  14. House was just barely 15 at this time:

    Pick him apart all you want, but there are a lot of guys at the top of this draft who can’t hit a ball that far at 21-22.


    14 Jul 21 at 1:08 pm

  15. Keith Law’s take on our draft, in full, which is pretty consistent with what we’ve internally thought; betting the house on Brady House:

    Washington Nationals
    The Nats went big with their first pick, as they often do, taking Georgia high school infielder Brady House (1) with the 11th overall pick. House had some of the best exit velocities in the draft class, and he’s still young, just turning 18 a month ago. He’s going to move off shortstop, probably to third base, but the biggest question scouts had on House was the hit tool, as last summer he showed trouble with breaking stuff and seemed to be power over hit.

    Daylen Lile (2) has a tough profile for a high school outfielder who’ll move to left in pro ball because he doesn’t have the speed for center or arm for right. He has a mature build and doesn’t have plus power in his body or swing. He has a strong approach and hit well all last summer, but he has to find more power to be a regular.

    Arizona rightfielder/first baseman Branden Boissiere (3) looks like a tweener – he doesn’t have power, but strikes out too much for a no-power corner bat.

    Lefty Dustin Saenz (4) was a 22-year-old senior at Texas A&M who moved into the rotation full-time this year, a fastball/slider guy who throws both pitches for strikes and could be a back-end starter if he develops his seldom-used changeup.

    T.J. White (5) is a left-handed hitting prep outfielder from South Carolina with big power, swinging very hard just about all the time, but his swing isn’t really out of control itself, just the approach.

    Louisville lefty Michael Kirian (6) is 88-93 with a basket of 45s and not enough command to be more than a minor-league depth starter or emergency callup.

    Florida outfielder Jacob Young (7) has some bat speed and is a solid average runner, but can’t hit breaking stuff and doesn’t have power.

    And yes, that’s the Darren Baker (10), Dusty’s son, whom you might remember from the 2002 World Series.

    It’s a conservative, low-upside draft beyond House.

    Todd Boss

    15 Jul 21 at 10:24 am

  16. Todd, I read that too. It looks like the Nats are going to give almost all of their pool of money to 1 person.

    Now we wait for the signings.

    Mark L

    15 Jul 21 at 11:34 am

  17. If Rocker demanded $6M, hard to think House wouldn’t have demanded a similar number. If they give House $6M, that leaves around $3.2M for the other 9 picks.

    I did a little what if on the Draft Tracker (link below): they could go $6M to House, go a little over slot for both Lile and White, then go underslot for the Juniors and then just a $10k bonus for 8,9,10th round senior signs and do it. Check it out:

    Todd Boss

    15 Jul 21 at 11:53 am

  18. White intrigues me, even more after seeing Law’s take. If they can calm his swing, he has big power, and he’s a few weeks younger than House. Maybe he develops, maybe he doesn’t, but he’s worth a flyer.

    I have more hopes for Frizzell than I do Boissiere, mainly because there’s a lot more power evident with Frizzell. That said, guys who can hit decently in the pros can stick around a long time, even with not a lot of power — Keller, Sagdal, Davidson, et al.

    An interesting comment I saw about House was that he might completely outgrow the infield and end up in RF. There are some pretty big 3Bs, though, so it takes a lot to outgrow the INF. No one questions House’s arm, as he hits 97 on the mound. He can be the next Othani!

    What concerns me about this draft beyond House is that all of these guys are just so far down the rankings, or not ranked at all. Of course the Nats reached according to the rankings last year when they took Infante, and paid him overslot, too. So they’re betting that their scouts can outsmart the gurus. At the same time, I’ve seen several comments about the Nats going more in an analytics-driven direction, including taking younger players (House & White in particular), look for spin-rate arms, etc.


    15 Jul 21 at 12:55 pm

  19. Interesting question: how good of a prospect is Brady House in terms of the totality of the Minors?

    Saw the first shop attempt to include 2021 draftees into their prospect ranks and House was #84. Is he clearly now our #2 prospect?

    Todd Boss

    15 Jul 21 at 3:11 pm

  20. Spesking of money for the rest of the draft, there are a couple of players in rounds 11-20 who will be tough to sign unless they use some of the pool money to go over $125,000.

    Mark L

    15 Jul 21 at 3:54 pm

  21. Mark — I had the same thought with later picks, Anglin in particular.

    Yes, with Rutledge injured and not progressing, House clearly is the Nats’ #2 prospect right now. If we’re talking actual ceilings, though, I think his theoretical one is higher than Cavalli’s. I’ve been very impressed with Cavalli’s progression this year, and improvement over college, but is he going to be more than a #2-3 starter? Not putting that down, as you can make a lot as that level of starter (just ask Corbin). But on paper, House has a 70-80 power grade, putting him in Tatis/Othani type class. If he fully pans out (big IF), he will be a top-5 overall prospect . . . and he will be more valuable than all those little shortstops drafted ahead of him, no matter where they stick him in the field.


    15 Jul 21 at 7:45 pm

  22. KW, Anglin was rated as prospect #217 and he fell to the Nats at #383. Does anyone know why? He’s only a sophomore so he has leverage.

    Todd, MLB has Kligman (round 20) as a catcher, not OF. I have no idea which it is. But if he is a catcher it’ll take more than $125,000 to sign him.

    Mark L

    16 Jul 21 at 8:07 am

  23. The Nats just signed their 3rd,4th,6th, and 9th round picks; all college players.
    Still trying to find the numbers.

    Mark L

    16 Jul 21 at 10:27 am

  24. Mark, those guys probably got a collective 73 cents! Actually, I would guess that 3d & 4th got $100-200K range, and 6th and 9th were the $10K variety, certainly no more than $50K I would think.

    I assume Anglin fell because of the sign-ability concern. I also assume that his rep gave a price to all the teams who called, so the Nats presumably knew his number when they took him. I would guess that he’ll be the last one to sign, the “if we have that much left over” guy. Perhaps his number is in the $200-300K range.


    16 Jul 21 at 11:46 am

  25. Kligman;

    Listed as SS/C/RHP.

    Something fishy about him; no college committment, middling numbers (84 on the mound, for example). No scouting report anywhere. I think he’s a “favor draft pick” for someone in the Nats org.

    Todd Boss

    16 Jul 21 at 1:22 pm

  26. markL: where do you see the proof of signing for our picks? I don’t see it anywhere

    Todd Boss

    16 Jul 21 at 1:30 pm

  27. Mark Zuckerman broke the stories about the signings, MLB doesn’t have that info yet.

    It turns out Kligman is an Orthodox Jew who converted to catcher because it would make it easier for him to skip playing on the Sabbath and still stick with a team.

    Mark L

    16 Jul 21 at 2:46 pm

  28. Oh great, and now Castro is on indefinite leave facing domestic violence charges. Time for that Kris Bryant trade!

    Should they buy? Should they sell? Well, Castro was one of the few logical guys they could sell — him, Gomes, Harrison, a few bullpen pieces. Even if they throw in the towel, I just don’t see them selling more than that. Scherzer isn’t leaving, and very likely not Corbin. I see Schwarber and Bell as big pieces for next season, particularly with little help available on the farm.

    Can they bounce back this season? I saw Ghost’s piece at Nats talk that argued that the Nats have probably the easiest schedule in the second half, plus 11 games head to head with the Mets to make up ground. Certainly it would improve their chances to get a healthy Stras back. But . . . they start off with three with the Padres, while the Mets get the Pirates. If the Nats end the weekend eight or nine back, the narrow window will be a lot narrower.

    The Nats are still capable of making a run, and no one is staking claim to the division. But man, everything is going to have to break right for them, and the Castro news isn’t a good start to that.


    16 Jul 21 at 4:13 pm

  29. The nats are 5 games under .500. they start with 3 against San Diego at home, easily could go 1-2. Then they get Miami at home; easier. But then they’re away to Balt, away to Phi … they’re not going to sweep those games, so I can easily see them continuing to tread water at around 5-6 games under .500 as we hit hte break. Its going to be a real tough call for Rizzo to look at a team that’s (say) 46-52 coming out of the Baltimore series and go, “Yup we have a run in us.” Not with (checks big board): 9 guys on the 10day DL, 3 more on 60-day and now Castro on restricted.

    Todd Boss

    16 Jul 21 at 4:33 pm

  30. Todd, I tend to agree. They rode the Schwarber streak back into significance, making it to 1.0 game back, but then fell apart against the NL West teams. Now Castro is out, and Stras isn’t back, and they’re starting the 2d half with Fedde on the mound (?!!!?). I would love to see the Nats make a run, but it may just be a run trying to get to .500. That said, this division might be won with 85 wins or so.

    If I had to guess, by the trade deadline, . . . I think they’re still going to be treading water 6-8 games back, not really buying, but not really selling, either. They might part with Gomes and a reliever or two if the price is right. But I don’t expect major action buying or selling.


    16 Jul 21 at 7:08 pm

  31. And yes, I wrote that about Fedde before the game. Man, what a disaster. He looked like he had something earlier in the season, but he and Lester are a real mess now.


    16 Jul 21 at 10:16 pm

  32. Sure, it’s just one loss — and with the Mets somehow managing to lose yet again to the lowly Pirates, it doesn’t hurt them too much in the standings — but it was the Nats’ fifth in a row and their tenth in their last twelve games. And it burned up the bullpen at the start of what is going to be a critical stretch, with key pieces like McGowin and Rainey already on the IL.

    I think there’s a good chance we’ll see Gabe Klobosits and/or Nick Goody in D.C. by game time after the Nats needed seven pitchers in this one, with only one (Clay) throwing fewer than 25 pitches and three (Fedde, Espino, Harper) throwing more than 45.


    17 Jul 21 at 3:42 am

  33. Who gets cut if we add an arm though? Are any of our 10-day DL guys actually 60-day DL guys?

    24-8; worst ever loss. Seems kind of an omen no?

    Todd Boss

    17 Jul 21 at 7:27 am

  34. In the “but the Titanic had a great band” category of comments, the Home Run derby seems to have put Soto in touch with his Zen — 4 for 5 with two homers.

    Um, I’m not worried about the 40-man. You could DFA every stiff who pitched last night, including the starter, and I wouldn’t lose any sleep. Rizzo likes to send his little messages, like when he cut Kelley and traded Kintzler and Madsen. This team needs a message sent, that being really bad at what you’re supposed to be able to do won’t keep you in the majors very long. They’ve got nothing invested in guys like Machado. Yes, by all means, what would it hurt to give a look to someone like Klobosits?

    This is the second time in eight days that the Nats have scored eight runs against the Pads and lost. It’s totally unacceptable. Yet, as Sao notes, with the Mets losing, the Nats still are only six out, helping them maintain that illusion/delusion that they’re still in it.


    17 Jul 21 at 7:44 am

  35. I don’t necessarily think this was what the Nats intended, but I got a Baseball Stays Boring vibe from this draft.

    Strikeouts are boring, but the trend of strikeouts ticking up could lead to a league-wide strikeout average per plate appearance at or above the 25% range by the time these guys reach the majors. My Cherry-picked evidence for this: strikeout percentage is up or even every year since 2005, growing from 16.4% then to 23.7% now (link at bottom).

    So after House, the Nats drafted a bunch of batters who make contact, hooray for fewer strikeouts! But these guys aren’t very good at defense. But who cares if they can’t play defense if the opponent hardly ever puts the ball in play? Does “Left Field Only” become “Corner Outfielder” in a world where only 3 or 4 balls get to the right fielder in a game?

    So I don’t have any idea how I feel about the draft. I want the Nats to do well and I want them to exploit trends in the game, but I also don’t want baseball to be all strikeouts.,ss&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=&enddate=

    Bland Moniker

    17 Jul 21 at 8:40 pm

  36. The Nats as an organization made a conscious move away from high-K guys in the mid-2010s, after the end of the Desi/Danny the K era. They sought mostly high-contact/low-K guys (with a few exceptions like Matt Adams and Brian Dozier, both of whom weren’t playing much by the end of 2019). I think Rizzo and his crew guided this shift from the top, but Dusty really reinforced it. He never had a 100-K season in his career (11.5% career K%), and he hated strikeouts.

    The big club has tilted back in a K direction, though. They brought in three high-Ks in the offseason in Schwarber, Bell, and Avila. Schwarber eventually put things together, but Bell has remained woefully inconsistent. K’s have also remained a big impediment for Kieboom.

    As for the draft, strikeouts are the huge question with House. Teams in general seem to be willing to put up with higher K numbers now, though, if players are producing big power numbers in return. We’ll see. The Nats actually picked three players with big power potential: House, White, and Frizzell. Some scouts had a 70 power grade on White, who like House is already of substantial size and also just turning 18. Frizzell had 19 HRs and 13 doubles on an SEC team this year, with a respectable 39/43 BB/K ratio.


    18 Jul 21 at 7:10 am

  37. Meanwhile, the big club continues to look terrible, but the rest of the NL East continues to mess around the leave the Nats semi-alive. Presumably, the Nats will drop the game they trail 8-4 and then hope Max can right the ship in the second game. They have the Marlins and O’s ahead and really need to start a big run against them, but right now, this doesn’t look like a team capable of a big run, except in the wrong direction.


    18 Jul 21 at 7:15 am

  38. Well, the Nats gave up FORTY-ONE runs in three games, yet still managed to win one of them, thanks to Tingler’s managerial blunder: pitching to Soto with a base open. Yes, a walk would have put the go-ahead run on base. So what? Soto put it touching home plate. He seems to have come back from the Home Run Derby with a lot of confidence, ready to go on a tear. The Nats sure need it.

    So where are we? Disastrous weekend but didn’t lose any ground. The Mets seem to be doing their darnedest to not win the division, but who wants it? This next stretch for the Nats — Marlins, O’s, Phillies — should tell us whether the Nats have any juice left in them. I know the Phils are better than the other two, but that’s the point: they need to be playing better by then.


    19 Jul 21 at 7:22 am

  39. Strikeouts: yes, Ks are rising. As is velocity. They are completely correlated. And at the same time analytics-minded teams are aware that working counts, drawing walks and hitting for power are beneficial. So you have a perfect storm of hitters selling out for power because they’re probably going to strikeout anyways, and if they take a walk, great.

    how do you fix it? Well, you can’t really outlaw velocity. So you have to bring balance back to the game. Shrink the strike zone at both the top and especially bottom will help immensely. I don’t think moving the mound back is the solution (though it will “slow” the game down a bit) since logistically you’d be asking thousands of baseball fields around the country to do the same. Robot umps might help since they seem to struggle with the corners. I also feel like subtle changes to the ball will help; when MLB standardize manufacturing practices two years ago we saw a huge spike in homers. why? because standard baseballs without irregularities didn’t “move” as much, so hitters hit them harder. I think that is a huge factor that can overcome even velocity.

    Are Ks the death fo the game? no of course not. We adjusted after 1968 and we can adjust again.

    Todd Boss

    19 Jul 21 at 9:07 am

  40. has 4 bonus values announced for our picks.

    3. Boissiere signed for 600k, saving $144k
    4. Saenz signed for 500k, saving 17k
    6. Kirian signed for 200k, saving 89k
    8. Quintanilla signed for 130k, saving 26k

    Curious. Saenz, Kirian and Quintanilla we thought perhaps were discount options. Apparently not; just a combined $277k of savings here. Maybe they’re getting discounts elsewhere? Baker? Frizzell? They need to make up some serious scratch if htey’ve promised to pay House. Maybe they didn’t; maybe House agreed to something like $5M flat, still over slot but not Rocker money .

    Todd Boss

    19 Jul 21 at 10:06 am

  41. I’m surprised we couldn’t bargain Saenz down a little more than that. Undersized, relatively unheralded lefty no one thinks is a starter at a high level.

    It’s been a long time since the Nats failed to ink a top draftee, so I’ll trust that Mike Rizzo knows how to make the math work to get House and Lile under contract.


    19 Jul 21 at 4:53 pm

  42. Dear Rizzo: Please have Soto participate in the Home Run Derby every year.


    20 Jul 21 at 7:54 am

  43. Yes, I’m very surprised at how much they paid all four of those draft picks. I mean, I don’t blame the players for getting what they can, before embarking on the life of poverty in the minors. But I don’t see a major leaguer in that quartet, unless the two large pitchers find something in the pros and make the bullpen. Boissiere had a 5th-round grade. I have more hope for Frizzell than I do him.

    Yeah, House’s price must to closer to $5M with them saving so little on what should have been obvious cost-saving picks.


    20 Jul 21 at 8:26 am

  44. Draft Tracker now showing Erik Tolman (14th round) signed for 125K.


    20 Jul 21 at 8:29 am

  45. Good news on Tolman. As a junior he had leverage.

    Mark L

    20 Jul 21 at 11:28 am

  46. All I can find on why Tolman pitched only 13.1 innings as a starter this year is “arm strain.”


    20 Jul 21 at 1:14 pm

  47. Todd Boss

    20 Jul 21 at 1:17 pm

  48. Todd, that link is behind a paywall. Have the Nats signed a lot of these NDFA’s?
    The Post did a nice story last week of some player in L.A. that signed the day after the draft.

    Mark L

    20 Jul 21 at 2:43 pm

  49. Meanwhile, the big club, despite the 2-12 meltdown against the West, is now only five back. Rizzo says that Castro is done here. Henry, Antuna, and Cate for two months of Kris Bryant? Who says no? I don’t think I would go as high as including Rutledge, but we have a lot of other guys who could be fair game, including S. Romero or Denaburg.

    Or are the Nats selling? At five back, I don’t think they’re selling, and with the O’s ahead on the schedule, they may be even closer than five by the trade deadline. They need another back and possibly a back-end starter, although who knows when Stras and Ross will be back. Lester righted his ship, as least temporarily, on Monday, and Fedde has his chance to get straight today.


    21 Jul 21 at 10:44 am

  50. We have 2 more signings, including the first High School sign.
    5th Round pick T.J. White signed for $400,000.

    7th Round pick Jacob Young signed for $275,000.

    The Nats have now signed 6 out of the Top 10 picks.

    Mark L

    21 Jul 21 at 11:23 am

  51. Young was a solid player in the SEC who should be capable of making it at least to AA or so. The organization needs a lot more solid field-position players like him.

    White excites me. He is already physically mature, like House, and also like House, he’s young. Next season will be considered Young’s age-18 season. He has 70-grade power according to some scouts. He’s basically got an unlimited ceiling. Obviously many see a lower floor, though, if he’s in the 5th round and is getting bought out of a college commitment with only $400K. So we’ll see. Destin Hood looked great in a uniform right out of high school, too.


    21 Jul 21 at 12:42 pm

  52. The Nats just made a huge overpay on Darren Baker, paying him slot value of $146,000.
    Guess they didn’t want to upset Dusty.

    Mark L

    21 Jul 21 at 1:26 pm

  53. They also went $50K over slot for Young, and $18K over for White. The top two plus Frizzell are the only ones in the top 10 rounds who haven’t signed. Not a lot of overall slot savings there. Sure hope they only promised House $5M.


    21 Jul 21 at 5:14 pm

  54. Definitely some interesting signings. And yes more and more it looks like House is only getting a little more than slot.

    Lets assume they sign Frizzell to a minimal bonus; 10k. That would leave a “spare” 400000 to split as overslot money for the top 2 picks. Thats it. That means House is not even getting $5M.

    Todd Boss

    21 Jul 21 at 5:27 pm

  55. Todd Boss

    21 Jul 21 at 5:28 pm

  56. Why would Frizzell take less than Baker? They’re both seniors, and Frizzell is a significantly better hitter, in a better conference, and presumably his father isn’t a multi-millionaire.

    I assume the Nats know what they’re doing, and know the prices of their guys. But it’s head-scratching how much they’ve paid several of these players who looked on paper like $10-50K guys.


    21 Jul 21 at 7:25 pm

  57. We have a new batch of signings.

    8th Round — Will Frizzell $179,000

    12th Round — Andrew Alvarez $125,000

    15th Round — Jaden Fein $125,000

    16th Round — Jack Sinclair $100,000

    17th Round — Brendon Collins $100,000

    18th Round — Steven Williams $100,000

    19th Round — Riggs Threadgill $125,000

    That leaves 4 important unsigned players, the 2 kids at the top and the 11th & 13th round picks, who both have leverage and will cost more than $125,000.

    I agree with KW; when I saw the drafted players I thought I saw 3-4 $10,000-15,000 palers but it turned out none were signed for those numbers.

    Mark L

    22 Jul 21 at 6:35 am

  58. Well, with 8 of top 10 signed, the team has “saved” exactly $210,700 in bonus dollars to overpay 1st and 2nd. $221k including the 5% buffer.

    Is it possible the 2nd rounder is an underslot guy??

    Todd Boss

    22 Jul 21 at 9:22 am

  59. Todd, this is mystifying. I thought they were going to save at least $400,000 -$500,000 with all these college senior picks.
    All of the important unsigned 4 have leverage.

    Mark L

    22 Jul 21 at 9:33 am

  60. I do think it is possible that they have an underslot deal with Lile, maybe around $1M or so. He was #80 on the board and not in the top 100 on FanGraphs. (In fact, FG has White higher on its best-of-the-rest list than Lile.)

    Among the guys who just signed, I love getting a guy like Frizzell in the 8th round. Are there really 232 guys in the draft better than someone who slashed .343.451/.686 in the SEC, with 19 HRs and a 39/43 BB/K ratio? He may not pan out, but at pick #233, heck yeah it’s worth finding out.


    22 Jul 21 at 10:40 am

  61. Sure wouldn’t have bet on Lester, Espino, and Fedde collectively giving up only one run across their three starts. Nats should have won all three. Wed. night hurt, as they squandered several scoring opportunities.

    As of now, the Nats are on pace to win 77 games.


    22 Jul 21 at 10:47 am

  62. Meanwhile, Jake Alu reached base three times yesterday and is now hitting .344/.901 since his promotion to Double-A, this after hitting .303/.846 at High-A. He’s only like five months older than Carter Kieboom. K rate is a little high (about 23% at Double-A, 22% overall), but not unacceptably so.

    Is Alu for real? He got off to a slow start over the first two weeks of the season, but he broke out with a two-homer game on May 26 and he’s done nothing but hit since then. I’ll be interested to see whether the evaluators take him seriously when they do their midseason prospect re-rankings.


    22 Jul 21 at 12:38 pm

  63. Alu as a senior at Boston College: .339/.407/.470, only 4 homers but 17 doubles, 27/34 BB/K. He’s not walking much at all as a pro, but he’s still a doubles machine. He’s only listed at 5-10, 175. With not much size or HR power, and with already being 24, he’s not going to get a lot of love from the gurus. But in our hitter-starved system, he’s certainly one of the top guys based on actual production.

    Looking for the next Alu? Jacob Young this year: .315/.385/.461 (in a tougher conference), 5 homers, 16 doubles, 27/45 BB/K, 6-0, 175. I love taking a shot on these college guys who can hit but who don’t necessarily fit the masher profile.


    22 Jul 21 at 2:11 pm

  64. The most important aspect of Jake ‘no respect’ Alu is he made that hardest of all promotions from High A to AA without missing a beat. Such a feelgood story.

    Mark L

    22 Jul 21 at 2:58 pm

  65. On the draft picks and not ‘saving’ money … its important to realize that the Nats wouldn’t have picked these guys without a verbal committment on money. So we shouldn’t worry about a) all top 10 picks signing and b) having enough money. The interesting part as a a reader is how our assumption that House “needed” $6M to sign turned out to be way wrong. Heck, maybe he signed for slot.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jul 21 at 10:20 am

  66. Nats signed their 2016 19th round pick Jarrett Gonzales as an NDFA ..

    the draft link has a 2021 worksheet for hte nats 20 picks, plus a local draft board, plsu the main draft board. check it out.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jul 21 at 12:12 pm

  67. 2nd round pick Daylen Lile just signed for $1.75 million.
    It’s looking very unlikely that the Nats will sign all the remaining 3 left.
    Hope I’m wrong.

    Mark L

    23 Jul 21 at 5:07 pm

  68. holy cow, that’s basically the remaining overage. House must have agreed to slot.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jul 21 at 5:10 pm

  69. Actually , i take that back. It looks like they can pay House basically exactly $5M plus a few thousand. My bet is they offered him a flat $5M.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jul 21 at 5:13 pm

  70. Yeah … #11 and #13 seem like long shots now.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jul 21 at 5:23 pm

  71. I’m not that worried about #11 and #13. Just get House signed. Yes, his number very likely is $5M. That’s not bad for a guy who could have been a top-5 pick.


    24 Jul 21 at 8:25 am

  72. Boy, what a poor effort by the Nats on Friday night. That’s two feeble losses in a row against last-place teams. So much for the little spurt at the beginning of the week. That plus the news of yet another Stras setback really do inch them closer to the “sell” setting.


    24 Jul 21 at 8:27 am

  73. I think O’s loss and Strasburg setback may very well be the catalyst to sell. Already this morning the rumor mill reports that Scherzer is on the market.

    I’ll go ahead and now post my “if they sell here’s who should be traded” post.

    Todd Boss

    24 Jul 21 at 2:02 pm

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