Nationals Arm Race

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

John Sickels Season Review of all Nats 2012 draft picks


The Nats liked Mooneyham a lot more than pundits did. How did he do in his first pro season? Photo via

John Sickels writes the very good blog located at  He does profiles on Minor League players, reviews the day’s marquee Minor League games, and generally does a good job highlighting the guys down on the farm.

Late this past season he embarked on a project where he has reviewed the performance of EVERY draft pick, by round, from the 2012 draft.  This, as you might imagine, is one heck of an effort.  In fact, in one of his later posts, he admitted he may not have the sanity to continue this all the way through all 40 rounds of players.  In fact, he didn’t; he made it through 17 rounds and last posted on this thread 9/27/12.  So I’ve completed his quick-hit analysis/statistical summary for the rest of our picks who debuted this year.

Below is a cutting-n-pasting of Sickels’ round-by-round analysis of the Nats players taken.  I’ve put in links in the form of the “Round N” at each spot so you could read his original post.  The (YY) number is overall draft pick positioning.  Lastly, he started this series in mid-August, so I’ve updated the first several playerswriteups from Sickels’ to have season-ending stats, but his blurb is usually still accurate enough.  After round 17, I’ve filled in the details in Sickel’s style for the rest of our draftees.

(For draft reference, click here for the fantastic Nationals Drafttrack Google XLS, created by Brian Oliver and now maintained by “SpringfieldFan.”  Also, for 2012 draftee information, thanks to Sean Hogan‘s 2012 Nats draft pick blog research, which I’ve quoted at various places here.  He has the best available summary of each draftee’s information.

Round 1: (#16 overall) Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals: Threw two innings in the Gulf Coast League on August 14th.  [Editors Note: obviously we all know by now that those two innings resulted in Giolito’s blowing the partially torn UCL, and he has subsequently had Tommy John surgery.  My thoughts on the pick and the resulting surgery have been published here before].

Round 2: (80) Tony Renda, 2B, Washington Nationals: .264/.341/.295 with 31 walks, 33 strikeouts, 15-for-18 in steals over 295 at-bats for Auburn in the NY-P. Controlling zone well, steady glove, but lack of pop is disappointing.  He did improve his average 30 points in the last few weeks of the season, finishing hot.

Round 3: (111) Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Washington Nationals: 2.55 ERA with 29/16 K/BB in 42 1/3 innings for Auburn in the NY-P, 36 hits. Just like in college: looks like a pitcher, good arm, but doesn’t dominate the way you think he should.  Like Renda, a couple of good late outings improved his peripherals.

Round 4: (144) Brandon Miller, OF, Washington Nationals: .292/.354/.549 with four homers, 10 walks, 36 strikeouts in 113 at-bats for Auburn in the NY-P. Small sample, but fits the scouting reports perfectly: he’s got a ton of power, but struggles for contact.

Round 5: (174) Spencer Kieboom, C, Washington Nationals: .258/.362/.305 with 19 walks, 24 strikeouts in 128 at-bats for Auburn in the NY-P. Has thrown out 44% of runners, but bat looks doubtful.

Round 6: (204) Hayden Jennings, OF, Washington Nationals: .192/.254/.231 with 11 walks, 70 strikeouts in 156 at-bats in the GCL. Has stolen 17 bases in 19 attempts, but his strikeout rate is obscene.

Round 7: (234) Robert Benincasa, RHP, Washington Nationals: 3.09 ERA with 32/3 K/BB in 23 1/3 innings for Auburn in the NY-P, 27 hits, 2.00 GO/AO. Slot bonus from college, could move quickly as reliever if healthy, just went on DL [Editor’s note: the DL trip seemed innocuous, a roster manipulation at season’s end].

Round 8: (264) Stephen Perez, SS, Washington Nationals: Below slot bonus for college infielder, awful hitter so far, .222/.252/.364 with four walks, 40 strikeouts in 99 at-bats between GCL and NY-P. Glovework also disappointing. Has good tools but didn’t play up to expectations in college at Miami, and hasn’t in pro ball so far either.

Round 9: (294) Derek Self, RHP, Washington Nationals: Below slot college pitcher, solid in pro ball so far, 3.27 ERA with 25/8 K/BB in 33 innings for Auburn in the NY-P, 32 hits, 14 saves. Good fastball/cutter combination.

Round 10: (324) Craig Manuel, C, Washington Nationals: College backstop with good defensive and intangible rep, bat questions kept him to a small bonus. So far, hitting .287/.376/.315 with 16 walks, 11 strikeouts in 143 at-bats for Auburn in the NY-P, with 41% of runners caught. If he had any power at all, he’d be a major sleeper.

Round 11: (354) Brian Rauh, RHP, Washington Nationals: Slot bonus for college pitcher, 3.99 ERA with 43/26 K/BB in 59 innings for Auburn in the NY-P and Hagerstown in the Low-A South Atlantic League. Held his own in pro ball although component ratios aren’t great.

Round 12: (384) Carlos Lopez, 1B, Washington Nationals: Below slot bonus college first baseman, solid slugger at Wake Forest but didn’t repeat success as a pro, .253/.332/.376 with three homers, 20 walks, 50 strikeouts in 170 at-bats for Auburn in the NY-P. Age 22.

Round 13: (414) Elliott Waterman, LHP, Washington Nationals: Slot bonus college pitcher from San Francisco, 4.97 ERA with 24/22 K/BB in 25 innings for Auburn in the NY-P, 31 hits. Held back by control issues at this point. Age 21.

Round 14: (444) Jordan Poole, OF, Washington Nationals: Another junior college guy, this one from Florida, name was called as a pitcher but he played outfield in pro ball, hit .205/.264/.295 with 10 walks, 58 strikeouts in 132 at-bats between GCL and NY-P. That won’t get it done.

Round 15: (474) Brandon Smith, OF, Washington Nationals: California prep didn’t sign, honored committment to Grand Canyon University.

Round 16: (504) Ronald Pena, RHP, Washington Nationals: Junior college pitcher from Florida, low 90s stuff, 6-4, 195 build, 12 innings with a 2.92 ERA and a 9/1 K/BB, five hits allowed between GCL and NY-P. Sleeper potential.

Round 17: (534) Blake Schwartz, RHP, Washington Nationals: College senior from Oklahoma City University, originally from Minnesota, performed well in pro debut with 3.05 ERA, 41/11 K/BB in 38 innings, 39 hits in the South Atlantic League. Considered a sleeper by some Midwestern scouts due to his command.

Round 18: (564) David Fischer, RHP, Washington Nationals: College senior from U-Conn, the lanky right handed hurler (6’5″, 175lb) struggled in his Short-A debut, posting a 4.96 ERA, 31/14 K/BB in 49 innings, 56 hits.  Fischer only had a GO/AO ratio of 1.11, so he needs to work on keeping the ball on the ground in 2013.  Considered a possible top-10 talent early in the 2012 college season, Fischer’s fastball sits 92-93 on a projectionable frame, but his off-speed pitches need work.

Round 19: (594) Brian Lippincott, 1B, Washington Nationals: a College senior from Concordia, this left-handed batting first baseman hit .281/.361/.374 with 16 walks, 29 strikeouts in 139 GCL at-bats.  This is decent but far less impressive than Lippincott’s college career, where he hit .494 his senior season to led all Division II batters.  He showed some power in college but relatively little in pro-ball; he’ll need to feature more power to stick at first base.

Round 20: (624) James Brooks, SS, Washington Nationals: a College senior from Utah hit .273/.345/.354 with 8 walks, 25 strikeouts in 99 GCL at-bats.  He was 1-32 in 10 games in Auburn before being dropped down to the Rookie League.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about Brooks is his birth place: Melbourne, Australia.  No word yet whether he’s under consideration for Australia’s 2013 WBC team.

Round 21: (654) Austin Chubb, C, Washington Nationals: College senior from Florida Southern hit .209/.260/.373 with 3 walks, 11 strikeouts in 67 GCL at-bats.  He hit left-handers to the tune of .400, but in a catcher-platoon, only catching every third day or so, he struggled to get going in 2013.   He only threw out 3 of 12 runners and allowed 2 passed balls in his 10 games behind the plate.   He’ll have to improve all around in 2013.

Round 22: (684) Will Hudgins, RHP, Washington Nationals: a College senior from Notre Dame (who hails from Richmond, so he has local roots) posted a 2.22 ERA, 31/6 K/BB in 44 2/3 innings, 41 hits split between GCL and AUB.  Decent numbers despite being a 22-yr old in rookie ball, he has some promise as he fills out and moves forward.  Perfect Game only has him with a mid-80s fastball but “with life;” I’m hoping that’s an old reading.

Round 23: (714) Casey Selsor, OF/LHP, Washington Nationals: this College Senior from UT-San Antonio was drafted ostensibly as an outfielder but threw 41 innings in rookie-ball while also getting a handful of at-bats/games in the field.  He did neither relatively well; posting a 6.10 ERA, 34/15 k/bb in those 41 innings giving up 50 hits and seven home runs.  While playing the out-field he was 1-6 in 3 games, hardly a judge-worthy sample size.  The Nats clearly like this guy, having drafted him in 2008 out of high-school, so count on him sticking around at least a couple years.   On the mound, he features as an undersized lefty (he’s only 5’10”) who throws upper 80s but with excellent secondary stuff.

Round 24: (744) Kevin Dicharry, RHP, Washington Nationals: College Senior from University of Texas missed most of his college career with shoulder issues (tendinitis) after an excellent freshman year.  His pro debut looked very promising; 2.84 ERA, 22/4 K/BB in 25 1/3 innings, 19 hits, zero homers allowed.  Dicharry was highly regarded nationally graduating high school (a 2nd team Rawlings All-American and a marquee part of Texas’ recruiting class) and this pick represents a great value pick for the Nats if Dicharry regains some of his past form.  He reportedly is showing a low 90s fastball, a tight curve and a good change this year, to go with his excellent control (nearly a 6-1 k/bb ratio).  A sleeper prospect if he stays healthy.

Round 25: (774) Freddy Avis, RHP, Washington Nationals: California prep didn’t sign, honored commitment to Stanford.

Round 26: (804) Skye Bolt, RHP, Washington Nationals: Georgia prep didn’t sign, honored commitment to UNC.

Round 27: (834) Cody Poteet, RHP, Washington Nationals: California prep didn’t sign, honored commitment to UCLA.

Round 28: (864) Hunter Bailey, SS, Washington Nationals: College senior from Oklahoma State hit .247/.345/.329 with 8 walks, 12 strikeouts in 73 GCL at-bats.  He clearly features as a low-power middle infielder glove and may struggle to stand out in the system.

Round 29: (894) Leonard Hollins, RHP, Washington Nationals: A JuCo 2-year graduate from Chipola college threw 9 no-hit innings in the GCL and then was jumped to low-A, where he posted a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings, 8/7 K/BB ratio, giving up 18 hits.   He’s a submarining right-handed reliever who had a tendency to pitch either a perfect 1-2-3 inning or give up a slew of hits.  He’s tough to get the ball in the air on though; a 3.50 GO/AO ratio in Hagerstown and zero homers given up in 27 IP in his pro debut across both levels.  He could be an intriguing, difficult-to-scout/hard to quantify reliever for the team moving forward.  A sleeper reliever prospect.

Round 30: (924) Robert Orlan, LHP, Washington Nationals: A junior draftee out of UNC, Orlan suffered an elbow  injury late in the college season and was immediately placed on the 60-day DL by the team.  No bonus information is given for the player, who likely signed with the team knowing that a year’s recovery from Tommy John would have cost him his entire senior year of college too.  He profiled as a top-15 round talent, a lefty with decent velocity (upper 80s coming out of HS, presumably more now) and a decent variety of pitches.  Another value pick by the Nats, who could get a later-round steal if Orlan regains some of his promise after injury recovery.

Round 31: (954) Michael Boyden, RHP, Washington Nationals: This college senior out of University of Maryland quickly was promoted out of the GCL and posted a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings of short-A.  His control was pretty bad though: 22/17 K/BB ratio in those 25 innings.  In college he reportedly showed 90-92 with flashes to 94, but dropped because of his size and control issues.  This local product (he grew up in La Plata, played a year at GW and finished at Maryland) likely gets lucky to be drafted by his local team, and we’ll see if his wildness causes some regression on these numbers in the future.

Round 32: (984) Michael Mudron, LHP, Washington Nationals: College senior from Cal State San Bernadino posted a 3.75ERA in 24 innings in the GCL, with a 27/8 K/BB ratio, 16 hits.  A decent K/bb ratio, decent numbers for Mudron (who is incorrectly listed on as a right-handed pitcher).  I cannot find any scouting information, but assume that he profiles as a lefty match up guy (though his 2012 splits showed little lefty-lefty matchup capability).

Round 33: (1014) Mike McQuillan, 2B, Washington Nationals: College senior from Iowa hit .268/.362/.430 in 149 ABs for Auburn after being promoted out of the GCL.  21 walks and 27 Ks in those 149 Abs.  He features as a classic undersize 2nd baseman with little pop, but if his OBP stays above .350 he should continue to rise in the system.

Round 34: Jake Jeffries, 2B: California Prep did not sign, honored commitment to Cal St. Fullerton.

Round 35: Corey Bafidis, LHP: Texas Weslylan junior opted to return for his senior season.

Round 36: Max Ungar, C: Maryland Prep did not sign, honored commitment to Denison.

Round 37: Tyler Watson, LHP: Texas Prep did not sign, honored commitment to Kansas.

Round 38: Jarred Messer, RHP: Mallone College (OH) junior opted to return for his senior season.

Round 39: Mitchell Williams, C: Georga Prep did not sign, honored commitment to the Marion Institute.

Round 40: Ricky Gutierrez, CF: Florida Prep did not sign, honored his football commitment to U-Conn.

There you have it; your 2012 draft class.  So far, there seems like there’s some definite sleeper potential in the lower rounds and some players who played above their draft position.  I can’t wait to see how the likes of arms Pena, Schwartz, Hudgins, Dicharry and eventually Orlan pan out.

11 Responses to 'John Sickels Season Review of all Nats 2012 draft picks'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'John Sickels Season Review of all Nats 2012 draft picks'.

  1. Todd – there is a lot of information here, thanks for putting it all together.

    It doesn’t really look like such a promising draft, does it? Giolito needs to get back on track. I never thought much of the Mooneyham pick, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.


    10 Dec 12 at 1:25 pm

  2. I didn’t like the Giolito pick and said so at the time. I don’t like HS players taken that high to begin with, and I certainly didn’t like taking a guy who knowingly had a tear in his UCL. I think that fact was glossed over at the time; you can say “semantics” over the difference between a “sprain” and a “small tear” but the Nats drafted damaged goods. And I especially didn’t like taking an injury risk given that we already had significant $$ committed to Rendon and Purke, both themselves injury risks. If all three of these guys fail to pan out, we’re going to have a very large hole in the farm system pipeline, very soon. I thought the team should have gone for one of the bigger college names still on the board at the time, hitters for a system that has slowed its production of hitters.

    BUT, I can see the thought process of the team. They have the bulk of this rotation locked up for at least 3 years, and can wait out development of the guys they have in the system plus a potential 5 year minor league project like Giolito. Fair enough. And they’ll look like complete geniuses if Giolito turns out to be a BA top 10 prospect in 2015. We’ll see.

    Mooneyham had some good starts towards the end of the season (a couple of 6ip, 0 or 1 ER) that really made his ERA look good. But it was only in 10 games. Not enough K’s for me, and too many bb for the K’s he does get. I can’t wait to see what he does in a full season.

    This ended up being kind of a cool exercise; the guys we got in the late, late rounds may be real diamonds in the rough.

    Todd Boss

    10 Dec 12 at 2:04 pm

  3. Which ones do you like? I am not an avid prospect follower, especially now that the major league team is good, and I can’t quite tell from your write up. They seem like mostly college seniors playing below their age- appropriate leagues (although I am pulling for Fischer since he came from my old school).

    Injuries: what you say has logic, but I can’t help wondering if it is the new inefficiency, given how competitive things are searching for talent. If a team can show some unique skill rehabbing injuries, it could be a real competitive advantage at least for a little while. Can’t say the Nats inspire that much confidence from me yet, medically speaking.


    10 Dec 12 at 3:01 pm

  4. Well, clearly the key to the draft is whether Giolito recovers and produces at a near 1-1 level. The Nats “saved” money on below slot deals all throughout the draft so as to maximize what they could give in bonus to Giolito. If he fails, then the whole draft is a failure.

    Who do I like? I agree with Sickels’ commentary on some of the hitters. I like Miller, I want to see what Lippincott can do, and I like what McQuillan did as such a low rounded draft pick. For arms, I think Mooneyham will continue to progress through the system, I like Pena and Schwartz. I really want to see what DiCharry and Orlan do, given their former pedigrees and late-round drafting. And i’m curious to see what Boyden can do, to see if he can get his walks down.

    Todd Boss

    10 Dec 12 at 3:14 pm

  5. Off topic, but I have been thinking about the Dodgers. Forgetting the money for a minute, just how good do you think they are? It isn’t clear to me that they are even the best team in their division, let alone the NL. They clearly have two exceptional starters fronting their rotation (I like Greinke more than you, I think), but with Billingsley hurt, it is not clear that any other starter is even league average. Beckett? Lilly? Capuano is probably the best of the rest, but he is no one to get excited about. They have two studs in their lineup (Kemp and Gonzalez, and I am giving Kemp a complete pass on the injury), and two above average-ish others in Ethier and AJ Ellis, and a whole lot of questions. What is to be expected from Hanley these days? And Crawford always had platoon issues, and now hasn’t really played in two years and is on the downside of 30 (who would have predicted at the time that you’d love to have Werth’s deal over Crawford’s?). I think I’d rank SF, STL, CIN, WAS and ATL ahead of them right now, with MIL and ARI pretty close behind.

    As crazy as it may sound, looking at all their trades, the Korean kid and Greinke, I think the Greinke deal was the best.


    10 Dec 12 at 5:22 pm

  6. I’m glad you broke your rule on no longer writing about the farm. This was a good job of coalescing all the information together. Thanks.
    As much as I find room to criticize some of Rizzo’s major league moves, I really feel they have the best developmental people in all of baseball.
    Remember, this is the first offseason for the coaches to work with Mooneyham, let’s see what 2013 brings.
    Now that they’ve traded or lost so many players, the pressure is really going to on the development side.

    Mark L

    10 Dec 12 at 5:46 pm

  7. […] In the meantime, I’d recommend folks take a peek at the idea I will steal from him next year excellent work Todd Boss has done aggregating Sickels’ opinions on the Nats’ 2012 draft along with his own work detailing how the entire class did in their first pro season. […]

  8. Hey, sometimes its just easier to write about the 25-man major league roster. There’s more farm system guys yeah, but without the benefit of going to the games and seeing these guys with your own eyes, its hard to really be an accurate judge of talent.

    I wish I had done this type of effort for 2011’s draft; it was pretty interesting to go player by player and see how they did in their first year.

    Todd Boss

    11 Dec 12 at 10:19 am

  9. With the Greinke addition they have an argument for the best rotation in baseball, right up there with the Nats. Kershaw is arguably greater than Strasburg (they’re the same age but Kershaw has a cy young and more MLB starts). Greinke is over hyped but is clearly on a par with Gio. If Becket returns to form (which he did at the end of last season) he has near ace potential (Zimmerman, while quite good, is usually referred to as a good #2). I think the Nats 4/5 options take the Dodger’s 4/5 options though, so perhaps the Nats still win out. But the Dodgers have TOO many starters under contract and can make some trades to get back some prospect depth if need be. Still, the point is LA now has a formidable rotation pitching in a very pitcher-friendly park. (I talk about this more in an upcoming post where I rank the 30 rotations, a tease for a post later this week that we can all argue about ad-naseum since its nearly impossible to rank 30 rotations and not get something wrong).

    On the offensive side … it all comes down to whether the likes of Crawford, Gonzalez, Hanley perform in new environments. All of them were in toxic places and wanted out. You can easily argue that LA is improved across the board over last year right? They still won 86 games last year. How many WAR in a full season do all these guys contribute? A lot. A full season of Kemp adds a few wins, Grienke a few wins, and if you believe Gonzalez/Hanley/Crawford rebound (which I do), they’re each worth a couple wins more … suddenly you go from 86 wins to nearly 100.

    I think they’ve absolutely set themselves up to improve enough to make the playoffs though. Are they really worse than SF? How long do the Giants get by with a minor league free agent retread (Vogelsong) and a guy on the worst contract in baseball (Zito)? Is Lincecum an Ace or suddenly an unreliable reliever? They have absolutely no power (I mean, laughably no power). I still don’t know how they won the WS.

    The money factor is another issue. And a scary one for the immediate future of baseball.

    Todd Boss

    11 Dec 12 at 10:34 am

  10. Not to nitpick, but Selsor is 6’2″ (not 5’10”) who could throw low to mid 90s if he learns to use his body more efficiently. He has the mental toughness, just needs to develop corner of the plate control.

    Mike S

    10 Apr 13 at 4:53 pm

  11. Hmm. I don’t know where I got his height/weight from. Milb site lists him as 6’2″ 185lbs. I wonder if I just was looking at the wrong guy.

    Todd Boss

    10 Apr 13 at 6:47 pm

Leave a Reply