Nationals Arm Race

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

2023 CWS Regionals Recap


Its College Baseball post-season time, something we’ve followed in this space for years. Here’s a quick guide to the CWS 2023 post season.

First off, some resources for you.

Your top 8 seeds and favorites to make Omaha before play started, in order, along with their RPI and their Strength of Schedule (SoS) denoted:

  1. Wake Forest (RPI=1, SoS=33)
  2. Florida (4,17)
  3. Arkansas (3,4)
  4. Clemson (6,6)
  5. LSU (5,13)
  6. Vanderbilt (7,5)
  7. Virginia (10,57)
  8. Stanford (15,37)

Six of the top eight national seeds are also top 8 of RPI, with UVA getting dinged b/c they typically play such a poor mid-week schedule, and Stanford gets dinged despite crushing the Pac-12 because of a down year in that conference. The two missing top=8 RPI seeds?

  • Kentucky at #2 RPI based on their #1 strength of schedule. They’re the #12 overall seed, hosting a regional but set to go to LSU in the super regional, a dagger of a matchup for two good teams.
  • South Carolina at #8 RPI based on their #3 strength of schedule. They’re the #15 overall seed, meaning they project into #2 Florida for another potentially brutal all SEC super regional.

Local DC/MD/VA local teams in the tourney:

  • Virginia: a top 8 national seed, slightly over seeded. They get a somewhat easier regional with Oklahoma as their #2, and project to host Coastal Carolina in a super regional; they have a pretty clear path to Omaha.
  • George Mason makes the tourney for the first time in years, and for their troubles are a #4 seed heading to Wake Forest. Brutal draw.
  • Maryland also heading to Wake’s draw as that regional’s #2 seed; why these two teams aren’t in Charlottesville is kind of beyond me.
  • West Virginia is heading to Kentucky’s regional as that #2 seed; hard to see them getting out.

Other local teams who we thought had a chance: Virginia Tech’s rpi is 48, but they had a 12-17 ACC record. William & Mary was the next highest ranked DMV team; they were just .500 in CAA play. Liberty took a big step back this year, as did JMU when they matriculated a 1st round pick. Kind of a down year for local schools.

Quick Regional Recaps of the 16 regional action, ordered by National Seed super Regional matchup

  • #1 Wake Forest silenced any doubters, winning this regional by a combined score of 48-7, topping the surprising mid-major George Mason in the regional final.
  • #16 Alabama made it look easy, cruising to 3 straight wins to take its regional.
  • #8 Stanford saved some fact by forcing a Monday decider against TAMU, and then completed the come back to advance.
  • #9 Miami was outclassed at home by Texas twice to lose the regional in a battle between two of college baseball’s most historic programs.
  • #5 LSU held serve and moved on in a regional that basically went chalk. LSU threw Skenes in the opener for some reason and he pitched a complete game versus Tulane (who entered the tourney 19-41). 9ip, 2ER 12Ks 0 walks. not sure why they didn’t hold him for Oregon State but it doesn’t matter since they advanced and he’ll go game 1 of the super regional.
  • #12 Kentucky lost in the winner’s bracket final but came out of the loser’s bracket to force the Monday decider. In that game, they edged Indiana to advance.
  • #4 Clemson lost a stunner of a 14 inning marathon to last year’s #1 team Tennessee and it seemed to deflate them; they didn’t even get back to the regional final as Tennessee tops Charlotte to advance and knock out the ACC power.
  • #13 Auburn got beat two straight as a host and Ivy League Penn was in the driver’s seat until Southern Miss beat them twice on Sunday to advance.
  • #3 Arkansas got embarrassed by TCU, who beat them 20-5 and 12-4 to take the regional and knock out the national seed.
  • #14 Indiana State outclassed a regional with big-conference names to move on as a mid-major.
  • #6 Vanderbilt shockingly lost to Xavier in the loser’s bracket to exit before even the regional final, clearing the way for Oregon to advance.
  • #11 Oklahoma State was absolutely shocked at home, going 2-and-out. The pundits predicted that Oral Roberts (the 4th seed here) was no slouch and indeed they took out Dallas Baptist to take the regional with relative ease.
  • #7 UVA won a regional that went perfectly chalk, as Army got outscored 25-2 and UVA beat ECU twice to move on.
  • #10 Coastal Carolina took a huge upset loss on the first day but took out Duke in the regional final to force the Monday winner-take-all. In that game, Duke turned on the offense and cruised 12-3 into the super regionals.
  • #2 Florida bounced back from total embarrassment as the #2 overall seed and beat Texas Tech twice to move on.
  • #15 South Carolina battered their way to the regional title, scoring 41 runs in 3 games.

Thus, your Super Regionals are ...

  • #1 Wake Forest v #16 Alabama
  • #8 Stanford v Texas
  • #5 LSU v #12 Kentucky
  • Tennessee v Southern Miss (Shockingly Southern Miss is the host, not the more famous Tennessee)
  • TCU v #14 Indiana State (TCU = host for some surprising reason)
  • Oregon v Oral Roberts (Oregon = host)
  • #7 UVA v Duke
  • #2 Florida v #15 South Carolina

Talk about carnage of top seeds. #3 Arkansas, #4 Clemson, #6 Vanderbilt all out, and without putting up much of a fight along the way. Just nine of the sixteen hosts advanced. There’s two super regionals that feature both regional hosts eliminated (how do they determine who hosts?) Both of the under-seeded teams by RPI ended up advancing, with South Carolina making a statement.

Super Regional predictions:

  • #1 Wake over Alabama
  • Texas upsets #8 Stanford
  • #5 LSU squeaks by #12 Kentucky (they won 2 of 3 in SEC regular season)
  • Tennessee takes out Southern Miss.
  • TCU continues its upset run over #14 Indiana State
  • Oregon over the Cinderella Oral Roberts
  • Duke upsets #7 UVA (they won 2 of 3 in Charlottesville in the ACC regular season)
  • #15 South Carolina over #2 Florida (they swept Florida in SEC regular season play)

Prospect Watch. From Nats perspective all eyes are on LSU’s super regional, since the top two projected picks both play there. We’ll revisit prospect watch based on the super regionals and who’s still playing. But your top prospects still playing:

  • LSU: Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes, projected to go 1st and 2nd overall
  • Florida: Wyatt Langford, projected top 5 pick, along with another arm in Hurston Waldrep as a 1st round projection.
  • Tennessee: Chase Dollander, who was in the 1-1 mix but who has struggled, continues to build up draft sock.
  • Wake Forest: Their RHP Rhett Lowder is a possible top 10. 3B Brock Wilken end of 1st round.
  • Virginia: their Catcher Kyle Teel and 3B Jake Gelof both top 50 prospects.
  • Miami: 3B Yohandy Morales is a mid-1st rounder
  • Stanford: SS Tommy Troy is a mid-1st rounder
  • TCU 3B Brayden Taylor an end of 1st rounder
  • Texas RHP Tanner Witt a comp-1st round projection

So, lots of draft talent on display this weekend.

Written by Todd Boss

June 6th, 2023 at 8:55 am

5 Responses to '2023 CWS Regionals Recap'

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  1. KLaw continues to keep Langford ahead of Skenes in his latest rankings:

    Crazy regionals, and some crazy hosting choices for supers. There are a number of interesting matchups, and really no clear CWS favorite. In fact, #1 Wake may have its hands full with Bama. LSU is supposed to have overwhelming talent, but a second-half skid dropped the Tigers off the pedestal. And they’ll only have Skenes going once in the supers. UK scored five runs (four earned) off him during a regular-season matchup.


    6 Jun 23 at 2:21 pm

  2. I think Law is just being overly clever, dinging skenes a spot b/c he’s a pitcher. There’s zero chance the Nats pass on Skenes if he’s there at 1-2.

    We may see some bigtime upsets in the super regionals; we already have seen 3 top seeds out and I think more are coming. I think UVA is in trouble. I have more faith in Wake, but we might be seeing some old-school teams in Omaha.

    Todd Boss

    7 Jun 23 at 11:45 am

  3. Some interesting pre-draft takes from Callis:

    As we’ve discussed here, and as one questioner asked Callis, why wouldn’t the Pirates take Skenes? I think it’s more of a possibility than most seem to be considering. So the Nats take Crews No. 2 and Brandon Sproat, Hunter Owen, or Tanner Witt at No. 40.


    7 Jun 23 at 12:52 pm

  4. What we know: the Nats will have the chance to pick either Crews or Skenes at #2.

    What we don’t know: whether the Nats prefer Crews to Skenes or vice versa. Nor do we know whether the Nats prefer Langford to Crews (which is both possible and not ridiculous if it’s true, given how close the two OFs (amazing) hitting stats are).

    My preference is Skenes, Crews, and Langford, in that order. I think it is defensible for the Nats’ FO to say “we prefer a position player at #2 so we’ll take whoever is left between Crews and Langford.” I also think it’s defensible for the Nats’ FO to prefer Langford to Crews.

    The thing that will bother me is if the Nats take one of the two HS OFs that folks are talking about at the top of the draft. It *can* be a smart strategy to save some slot money at #2 to spend on later draft picks. And picking one of the HS OFs would probably allow the Nats to do that, if they want. But the tradeoff is foregoing someone like Crews/Skenes/Langford. Players like that are not available in every draft. At #2, you’re hoping for all-star level talent and those three (apparently) have it. It would be a big mistake, IMO, to let it pass by. I don’t think the Nats are going to make that mistake.

    By contrast, I think there’s a chance PIT takes someone other than Crews/Skenes/Langford. I’d bet on them taking Crews, but my confidence is low. Skenes is a real possibility too. I guess this is why picking 1-1 is better than 1-2.


    8 Jun 23 at 10:31 am

  5. There’s usually not slot savings on high schoolers. If anything, there’s slot overpaying.

    I have NO interest in Clark or Jenkins. Passing on one of the Big 3 for them would be like the Royals passing on Rendon for Bubba Starling.

    I’ve seen Law suggest that the Pirates might offer all of the Big 3 a bonus of $8 million and pick whoever takes the offer. But what incentive would the players have to take that offer? The top three slots are 9.7/9/8.3. Why would you take less if you’re being spoken of as a generational talent?

    I also haven’t seen mention of agents. Obviously if Boras is involved, you’re not getting a discount. (That was probably part of the reason that Rendon fell to #6.)

    For the Nats specifically, they don’t need slot savings. They need to load up on college talent in this draft. They’re heavily invested in high schoolers right now: Green, House, Wood, Hassell, Infante, Denaburg, et al., even still waiting on Kieboom to make it. (And waiting, and waiting.) On Law’s board between #36 and #46, 8 of the 10 are collegians. The Nats will have some quality choices at #40.


    8 Jun 23 at 1:36 pm

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