Nationals Arm Race

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

2024 CWS Coverage – Regional Recap and Super Regional Preview


The busiest weekend in Baseball has past; here’s a run down of the opening weekend of the College Baseball playoffs.

Resource links to help with this:

Quick Regional Recaps of the 16 regional action, ordered by National Seed super Regional matchup. that means, the pairs of regionals being reviewed (#1 Tennessee regional and #16 East Carolina regional) will determine that Super Regional. The eventual winning team is bolded.

  • #1 Tennessee Regional Recap: top overall seed Tennessee won their first two games without much fan fare to move to Sunday’s regional final. They cruised to the regional win by crushing Southern Miss in the regional final.
  • #16 East Carolina Regional Recap: this regional didn’t go anywhere close to the way people expected, with both top seeds ECU and Wake Forest losing to unheralded teams to open. This left us with Yesevage vs Burns in a loser’s bracket game unexpectedly, one where Yesevage outpitched his higher-ranked 2024 draft prospect to shockingly eliminate Wake Forest and its three-projected 1st round players 2-and-out. Meanwhile, #4 regional seed Evansville outslugged VCU to take control of the regional. ECU won twice on Sunday, including a 19-6 blitzing of Evansville to force the Monday winner-take-all game Monday, but Evansville held on to win 6-5 and move on as the rare 4th regional seed.
  • #8 Florida State Regional Recap: FSU held serve as expected, while Alabama shockingly went 2-and-out. In the final, Florida State won a winner’s bracket rematch against state-rival UCF to move on. They’ll host a super regional next weekend as a top 8 seed.
  • #9 Oklahoma Regional Recap: Host Oklahoma was shocked by #3 seed UConn and had to drop to the loser’s bracket, but they came back out and topped UConn late Sunday to force the Monday game. In that final, UConn showed up and Okla did not, winning 7-1 for the big upset.
  • #5 Arkansas Regional Recap: Arkansas was edged by unheralded Kansas State in the winner’s bracket, then went out meekly to Southwest Missouri State to become the first top=8 seed to lose. Kansas State took control and advanced to the Super Regionals without losing a game.
  • #12: Virginia Regional Recap: Virginia ground out close wins to advance to the winner’s bracket final, then dominated #2 regional seed Mississippi State to become the first team to advance to the super Regionals. They’ll have a great shot at hosting there too, thanks to Arkansas’ upset.
  • #13 Arizona Regional Recap: Host Arizona unsurprisingly went 2-and-out as the least-deserving host as West Virginia (led by 1-1 draft candidate Wetherholt) cruised into the regional final. West Virginia wasn’t really threatened the whole weekend and dumped Grand Canyon in the final to move on.
  • #4 North Carolina Regional Recap: UNC controlled red-hot LSU to get to the regional final, but the defending CWS champs would not go quietly, winning Sunday night to force the winner-take-all Monday game. In the final, in just an amazing game, UNC tied it in the 9th and won it in the 10th to oust LSU.

And, the eventual CWS Bottom Half:

  • #3 Texas A&M Regional Recap: TAMU edged its long-time rival Texas to take control of the regional, then completed a clean sweep of all three teams in the regional by finishing off Louisiana to advance.
  • #14 UC Santa Barbara Regional Recap: Oregon got a win over host UCSB to take control of the regional, then blanked them again to upset the Big West champs and move on.
  • #11 Oklahoma State Regional Recap: OSU bashed its way to the regional final, shutting down Florida 7-1 in the winner’s bracket. However, Florida came roaring back out of the loser’s bracket, toped OSU to force Monday winner-take-all. In that game, Florida, who many criticized for even being in the tourney, controlled a tight game and topped the hosts to move on.
  • #6 Clemson Regional Recap: The hosts edged Coastal Carolina in the winner’s bracket final to take control early. CCU, who had helped the shocking Vanderbilt team go 2-and-out in the post season at the hands of #4 seed High Point, fought back to the regional final but Clemson controlled them again to advance.
  • #7 Georgia Regional Recap: Host Georgia beat Army and then UNCW to take control of the regional. Georgia Tech had other things in mind though, beating UNCW to force an all-Georgia rivalry game for the super regional spot. The two teams went extras late Sunday Night but Georgia came out on top to advance to a super regional in Athens next weekend.
  • #10 NC State Regional Recap: South Carolina pulled a victory from the hands of defeat against JMU in the opener, but dropped the winner’s bracket win to host NCSU. JMU got its revenge and topped South Carolina to make the regional final, but dropped it 5-3 to the hosts. NC State moves on.
  • #15 Oregon State Regional Recap: Host OSU topped the Anteaters of UC Irvine in the winner’s bracket, and then were leading 6-4 in the 4th against the same team for the regional final when the rain came to push the final a day. On Monday when the game resumed, Oregon State pulled away from Irvine to move on.
  • #2 Kentucky Regional Recap: Kentucky won its first two games easily to move into the regional final. They finished off a neat sweep of its regional rivals and advanced to the super regionals.

Thus, your Super Regionals are ...

  • #1 Tennessee vs Evansville
  • #8 Florida State vs UConn
  • Kansas State vs #12 Virginia
  • #4 UNC vs West Virginia
  • #3 Texas A&M vs Oregon
  • #6 Clemson v Florida
  • #7 Georgia v #10 NC State
  • #2 Kentucky v #15 Oregon State

Stats/Observations of the 16 regionals.

  • 10 out of 16: Seeds/Hosts to advance, 7 of the top 8. So a rather Chalky weekend. The upsets weren’t terribly surprising: Arizona losing as the worst host was no shock, Florida moving on not a huge surprise either.
  • 4 regionals went to Monday extra game: ECU, Oklahoma, UNC, OSU,
  • Conference Breakdown of the 16 advancers: 5 from SEC (TN, TAMU, UGA, KY, Fla), 5 from ACC (FSU, UNC, Clemson, UVA, NC State), 2 from Big12 (KSU, WVA), 2 From Pac12 (Oregon and Oregon State), and 2 from elsewhere (Evansville, UConn). About what we’d expect.
  • Ten #1 seeds, Zero #2 seeds, Five #3 seeds (West Virginia, Kansas State, UConn, Oregon, Florida) and one #4 seed (Evansville) advance. That’s pretty amazing, but then again all these #3 seeds from major conferences were not exactly your typical 3-seeds.

Performance of 1st Round projected players in the Regionals:

Here’s a quick run through just the 1st round projected players who were active, using primarily MLBPipeline’s draft rankings for candidates. They’re listed in rough order of the way they’ll likely go in the 1st round in July.

  • Charlie Condon: 3B/OF, University of Georgia: Batting 2nd and playing 3B this weekend he went 3-3 with a double and a homer and 2 walks in the opener, 0-4 against UNCW in game 2, then 2-3 with 3 walks in game 3. That’s an OBP of 10-16 for the weekend.
  • Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State: from Leadoff spot, he went 2-3 with 2 walks, a solo HR, and 3 runs in game one. 1-4 but with a 2-run HR in game two, 1-4 with a walk in game 3. Not a bad weekend. Power and OBP.
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP Florida: On the mound he threw the opener: 5ip 4ER. At the plate hitting out of the #2 hole he went 1-4 with a HR in the opener, 2-4 with 2 walks, a 2b and another HR in game two, 0-4 in game three with a walk and a run, then 2-3 with a walk and a double in the decider. Not a bad series at the plate.
  • Nick Kurtz, 1B Wake Forest: 0-3 with 2Ks in the opener, 1-4 with 2RBIs in the second game. Very little impact as his team shockingly went 2-and-out.
  • Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M: Hitting 3rd and 4th and playing RF, Montgomery went 3-5 in game one, 1-4 in game 2, then 2-6 with a homer and 4RBI in the decider to earn regional MVP.
  • Hagen Smith, LHP starter, Arkansas: gave up 6 ER in 5 innings in a loss to Kansas State, then watched as his team was exited from the tournament despite being the #5 overall seed.
  • Chase Burns, RHP starter, Wake Forest: Labored through 5 innings (96 pitches) and gave up 4 runs in a no-decision in a highly anticipated matchup with Yesevage.
  • J.J. Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia: leading off and playing SS, in game 1 he went 0-2 with a walk and HBP, 0-4 in game 2, 3-6 in game 3. So, not a great regional.
  • Trey Yesevage, RHP, East Carolina: outpitched fellow 1st rounder Burns in the surprise loser’s bracket meeting between WF and ECU: 7 1/3 innings pitched, 1 hit, 1 run. 6/4 K/BB, 112 pitches. He may have made himself some cash on the weekend, and he’ll get another look next weekend as his team advanced to the Super Regionals.
  • Seaver King 3B/OF Wake Forest: 0-4 in the opener, 1-5 in the second game with a run. Not much.
  • Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State: 0-5 in the opener, 3-4 with a HR in game two, 1-2 with another HR in game 3 batting out of the #2 spot. Showed some power for sure.
  • Tommy White, 3B, LSU: Hitting either #1 or #2: 0-4 in the opener, 2-5 in game 2, 2-5 in game 3, 1-5 in game four, 1-5 in game five. Not a great series.
  • James Tibbs, OF, Florida State: 0-1 with 4BBs in the opener, 0-4 in game two, 0-4 with a walk in Game 3 batting #3 behind Smith. Not a great weekend for Tibbs, but he’ll get another shot next weekend.
  • Carson Benge, OF/RHP, Oklahoma State; as #2 hitter: 1-5 in game1, 2-4 with a HR in game2, 0-4 with three Ks in game3, 1-4 in the decider. He also got the start in game 3 (I didn’t know he was a 2-way player): giving up 5er in 5 innings against Florida.
  • Vance Honeycutt, CF, North Carolina: as leadoff hitter, 0-4 in opener, then 2-4 with HR and 4RBIs in 2nd, 0-5 with 3Ks in game3, 1-4 in the decider. Not very good.
  • Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee: 2-5 in opener, 2-4 with 2 Walks in game 2, 0-4 in game 3 but with 2 walks. Batted Leadoff and was all over the base-paths all weekend.
  • Billy Amick, 3B, Tennessee: 1-3 but with a 3-run HR in the opener, 1-3 with another big HR in game two, 0-5 in game 3. Showed power as the #3 hitter in the lineup.
  • Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State: hit a 3-run homer in the opener that essentially won the game for his team but also had a sombrero of Ks. Went 2-5 against UVA in a losing effort. Went 5-5 against St. Johns in the elimination game. Lastly went 2-4 and drove in his team’s only two runs in a 9-2 loss that eliminated them. Weekend line: 10-19 and playing a massive part in his team’s success.
  • Jurrangelo Cijntje, Switch-Pitcher, Mississippi State: had a decent start against UVA in the winner’s bracket final, going 7 and giving up 4 to keep his team in the game. Not a bad effort.
  • Kaeleen Culpepper, SS, Kansas State: 4-5 with 4R, 4RBI in the opener, 1-4 but with the decisive 3-run HR against Hagen Smith to seal his team’s win against Arkansas, then a 2-3 day with 2 walks in the regional final. 7-12 for the weekend with 5R, 7RBI batting third for his Super Regional team.
  • Jonathan Stantucci, LHP, Duke: has been on the DL for a month and made the Saturday start, but only went 2 innings. He sustained a rib injury in May.

So, Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Montgomery, Yesevage, Moore, Jordan, Culpepper impressed, while Kurtz, HSmith, Burns, King, Wetherholt, Amick, Honeycutt, Benge, and Tommy Tanks White probably cost themselves.

Super Regional predictions: Here’s what i think happens when these heavyweights meetup next weekend:

  • #1 Tennessee over Evansville. #1 overall team versus a 4-seed just happy to be there spells quick doom.
  • #8 Florida State vs UConn: UConn beat Duke handily and then Oklahoma twice, but never had to face the ace of either team by virtue of the way the regional worked out. FSU has better pitching.
  • Kansas State vs #12 Virginia: UVA likely gets the hosting duties here, which gives them a huge leg up and they move on.
  • #4 UNC vs West Virginia. Tough one to call. UNC looked a little vulnerable, but WVU wasn’t exactly challenged in this regional despite being a 3-seed. UNC to move on.
  • #3 Texas A&M vs Oregon: TAMU overpowers Pac12 opposition.
  • #6 Clemson v Florida: Florida has the #1 SoS in the country and gets the upset here.
  • #7 Georgia v #10 NC State; I like NC State’s chances.
  • #2 Kentucky v #15 Oregon State: Kentucky all the way .

Written by Todd Boss

June 4th, 2024 at 9:37 am

Posted in College/CWS,Draft

14 Responses to '2024 CWS Coverage – Regional Recap and Super Regional Preview'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to '2024 CWS Coverage – Regional Recap and Super Regional Preview'.

  1. Here’s to hoping that Smith or Burns’ poor outings might cause them to fall to us!

    If not, I’ll happily compromise on Wetherholt or Kurtz falling instead.


    4 Jun 24 at 11:19 am

  2. The biggest positive draft mover might be Yesavage, who now likely won’t make it to #10.

    As Will said, will Burns, Smith, Kurtz, or Wetherholt still be on the board at #10?

    A couple of guys projected in the teens whose stock may be rising are Culpepper and Dakota Jordan. An OF (Jordan) doesn’t make much sense for the Nats, but Culpepper could be making himself interesting for them.

    Of all of these, Wetherholt and Culpepper are the only ones still playing. That’s good news with the pitchers, who won’t be adding any more mileage to their arms.

    Does the postseason move the needle that much on draft stock? It can. Jake Irvin was projected as a 2d rounder, but a bad postseason outing or two dropped him to the 4th.

    I have a hard time seeing Kurtz drop out of the top 9. The only knock against him would be positional inflexibility, but the Nats actually need a 1B.

    Among the others, if Burns or Smith falls, either is probably a no-brainer for the Nats, although Wetherholt’s 70 hit tool is intriguing. He’s a little smaller than Rendon but would project as a similar type of player (with the caveat that college contact success doesn’t necessarily guarantee that kind of pro transition).


    4 Jun 24 at 12:35 pm

  3. I’ve seen recent mocks with Wetherholt getting to us at #10. I mean, that’s a guy who was in the 1-1 talks at some point, but who was injured earlier this year and that’s dropped his stock. I saw some video of him this weekend; he reminds me of a skinny Lenny Dykstra. Lefty, quick bat, some power. Here’s his MLBpipeline tools: Hit: 70 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 60. Slashline: .449/.517/.787 with 16 homers and 36 steals last year.

    I’d take him at #10.

    Todd Boss

    4 Jun 24 at 2:25 pm

  4. I would be thrilled to get Wetherholt. He may be the surest thing among the hitters in this draft. I don’t know that he has Ellsbury speed or Rendon pop, but he’s got attributes of both. And I would prefer him 100 times more than a high school shortstop.

    But if Hagen Smith or Burns fell and was on the board along with Wetherholt, would you still take him over a big arm?


    5 Jun 24 at 7:27 am

  5. KW, (un?)fortunately for us we won’t have a choice between Smith, Burns and Wetherholt. We’d be EXTREMELY lucky for one of them to fall to 10, three won’t.

    In a draft where there’s a clear top 2 (Bazzana and Condon), then 7 players in the next tier, followed by 2 prep bats, we’re certain to get one of them, but our pick will be basically determined by who slips to us.

    If the top 9 players all go in order (including Yesavage there), and we’re left with only Rainer or Griffin, I’d love to see the Nats possibly go after an underslot pick, and free up money for a few overslot picks in rounds 2-4. Rainer and Griffin seem to have too many flaws, and wouldn’t be particularly great prospects in a better draft class, and the quality after them seems to really fall off a cliff. I’m not sure there’s much of a distinction between the next 15 players, so finding one will to take a couple million less so we could snag a high upside player in round 2 and 3 might be worth it.

    Will be interesting to see how it plays out, but with most of the best players out of the Tournament, I don’t think we’ll see many changes to the order at this point.


    5 Jun 24 at 10:51 am

  6. Not saying that Wetherholt plus both pitchers might be there at #10, but there’s a (small) chance that Wetherholt plus one of them could be.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with Smith and Burns, and what buzz the mock guys start hearing. Both were ranked ahead of Yesavage before the tournament. Frankly, with nearly every team desperate for pitching, I would still be surprised if any of them at are there at #10. I do think that Yesavage has solidified a spot in the top nine.

    If Wetherholt slips, it’s because teams don’t think he can stick at SS and don’t think he has enough power to be more than a 2B.

    I don’t want Rainer or Griffin, the high schoolers. If Braden Montgomery is the one from the top nine who slips, a hit-over-power OF doesn’t make any sense for the Nats right now.


    5 Jun 24 at 11:58 am

  7. We pick 10th in what most pundits are calling a 9-player draft. I agree with @will in his characterization; it seems like its tier 1 (Condon and Bazzana), then 7 guys in tier 2. But, with 7 teams drafting 3-9, there’s a high likelihood that one of them will do something wacky and we’ll have one of those 7 fall to us. Oakland drafts #4: they have done dumb things in the past. The White Sox are not known for their strong baseball operations department; they draft #5. Kansas City is on a long, long rebuild and they’re not afraid of prep players, so they could be picking the Prep guy there. The Angels might be the worst run franchise in the league and they draft 8th. So, lots of opporutity for us to get a player fall to us.

    Todd Boss

    5 Jun 24 at 4:07 pm

  8. Most lists that speak of a “top nine” don’t include Yesavage in that number, an ordering that seems likely to change after his outstanding showing against Wake Forest. So someone is going to drop.

    There also seems some inconsistency on whether one or both HS SS guys are in the top nine. Rainer will already be 19 by the time of the draft, adding to my disinterest.

    One name we haven’t mentioned in Caleb Lomavita, the catcher from Cal. McDaniel says he could go anywhere from 8 to 17. We were hoping that the Nats were set at catcher, but that doesn’t really look like the case. Lomavita has shown consistent power over the last two seasons but has had an unwelcome bump in strikeouts this spring.


    6 Jun 24 at 12:24 pm

  9. Just looked at the West Virginia box score to see how Wetherholt did (1 for 4 with a K). The West Virginia starter threw 144 pitches. One hundred forty-four. He ran out of gas (surprise, surprise) and they lost it in the 9th. That’s just criminal treatment of a young arm. The bad rap that some college programs get for mistreatment of pitchers is totally deserved.


    7 Jun 24 at 10:09 pm

  10. Wetherholt goes 1-for-8 for super regional, 4-for-20 in five tournament games. How much that will be held against him will remain to be seen. All he has to do is make it to #10 . . .


    9 Jun 24 at 8:25 am

  11. MLB did a recent mock draft and kind of the made the same point about the Nats getting the best player left over in a top 9-11ish draft. In this case, Nick Kurtz was the guy who fell to us:

    So I now count Kurtz, Wetherholt, Burns, Griffin and Rainer as prospective Nats picks, with basically the Nats just taking the best left over each time.

    People seem to think we’ll go with a bat, as the new front office guys from the Orioles were bat-heavy in their time there, but that seems to be the beginning and end of insight into the Nats’ draft strategy. I think that’s assuming a lot, as Rizzo still has his type, and Hagen Smith is the epitome of it (big arm from Texas), but we’re now almost a month away. Will be interesting to see what approach the “new look” Nats take, or whether it’s actually a new look at all (see the Nats’ most recent re-brand under Watson two years ago).


    10 Jun 24 at 10:31 am

  12. That’s an interesting mock, and is usually pretty well-connected, although they also admit that they’re guessing with a lot of the teams. Their Tibbs pick seems high and Yesavage low, but other than that, it looks pretty reasonable.

    I would take Kurtz in a millisecond — 65 power/60 hit tool. Yes, he’s 1B-only, but the Nats have nothing standing in the way at that position or DH. And Morales isn’t exactly setting the world on fire.

    This is one of a couple of recent mocks that sends Wetherholt to the Bucs, presumably in part because he’s from the general vicinity. The rub I see in that thinking is that they took a very similar player two years ago in Termarr Johnson. But since that kid with a surefire hit tool is hitting .214 at A+, maybe they’re having their doubts. (Yet another exhibit in why I want NOTHING to do with Rainer or Griffin.)

    With Parker continuing to look decent, and Herz seeming at least half-decent (better at the MLB level than Rutledge or Adon), and Cavalli and Gray on the mend, I’m backing off the full insistence that the Nats need to be all in on a pitcher. I’d take Kurtz or Wetherholt over Yesavage. It would be a closer call with Burns or Smith, but the hitters would be safer bets.

    Of course whether Rizzo can resist a strapping young fella who looks really good filling out a uniform on the mound is another question! It will indeed be interesting to see if there’s a noticeable change in draft philosophy.


    10 Jun 24 at 1:33 pm

  13. To be clear, I doubt that the Nats will have more than a couple of these guys to choose from (plus probably at least one between Rainer and Griffin). If they were to happen to have Kurtz, Wetherholt, Smith, or Burns fall to them, I’d be a very happy camper, and I wouldn’t be upset if it’s Yesavage. But if Riz wants a HS SS, ask him how Kieboom and Infante are doing.


    10 Jun 24 at 1:36 pm

  14. well, the player who now seems set to fall will be TAMU’s Montgomery. Frequently going in the 4-6 range, but now with a broken ankle, i’ll bet he falls and we may have an interesting decision.

    Todd Boss

    12 Jun 24 at 2:57 pm

Leave a Reply