Nationals Arm Race

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

Local draft-prospects to keep an eye in for the 2015 draft


Duke RHP and Great Falls resident Mike Matuella has rocketed up the draft boards for 2015.  Photo via

Duke RHP and Great Falls resident Mike Matuella has rocketed up the draft boards for 2015. Photo via

For the third year running (here’s 2013’s wrap-up and here’s 2014’s wrap-up of drafted local players) we’re going to keep an eye on “local” draft prospects leading up to the 2015 amateur draft.  By “local” I essentially mean anyone who hails from the DC/MD/VA areas plus anyone who is playing their college ball here.

To compile this list, I looked at rising college juniors and rising prep seniors who made impacts in 2014 or who  have made a name for themselves with summer league performances in 2014.  Here’s a link to the WP’s 2014 all-Met team, which had more than a few juniors, all of whom are mentioned here.  Here’s the roster for Perfect Game’s big summer 2014 showcase, which is the first place a lot of rising prep seniors get scouted.  Here’s a link to Louisville’s 2014 All-American selections, looking for junior all-american nominees.  Here’s a link to the EvoShield Canes 17U Roster, the leading travel team in the area and where a number of these upper-end prospects played this past summer.  Here’s the BaseballDraftReport blog that has been doing some tracking of prep players ahead of the 2015 draft.  Here’s Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel “way too early” draft rankings from Oct 2014.  Here’s BaseballAmerica’s first 2015 draft ranking from Mid Oct 2014.  Here’s’s “early 2015 draft” prospect list.  Here’s USAToday’s pre-season HS all-american list (though there are no local first teamers).

Local Prep Names to keep an eye on for 2015’s draft:

  • Cody Morris, RHP for 2014 3-A state champion Reservoir HS (Fulton, just south of Columbia).  2014 All-Met, 2014 Louisville All-American, Maryland Gatorade player of the year.  He’s committed to South Carolina but a repeat of his 2014 season could have him rising up draft boards.  Played for EvoShield this summer and was at the PG National showcase event.
  • A.J. Lee, a SS/RHP for 2014 WCAC/DCSAA champion and Washington Post final 2014 #1 team St. Johns (DC) who hails from Millersville.  He was also named to the 2014 all-Met team and was a 2nd team Louisville All-American.  Lastly he was the DC Gatorade player of the year in 2014.  He’s committed to Maryland.
  • Connor Eason, LHP for 2014 Virginia 5-A state champs Hickory (Chesapeake).   Also played for for EvoShield this summer and is a UVA commit.
  • John DeFazio, OF/RHP for Madison HS (Vienna).  2014 All-Met, committed to Virginia Tech.
  • Brody Cook, INF for Riverdale Baptist.  2014 All-Met, committed to VCU.  Played for Demarini Stars this summer.  On BaseballDraftReport’s pre-2015 season watch list.
  • Nathan Eikhoff, who plays for Patriot and was a 2014 All-Met after hitting an astounding .541 in the spring season.  UVA commit.  Played for Demarini Stars this past summer.
  • Harvey Logan, C for 5-A state runner up Douglas Freeman (Richmond).  He was at the PG showcase, played for EvoShield and is an early commit to Wake Forest.
  • Jordan Carr, P for Archbishop Spalding (Severn, between Annapolis and Baltimore).  2nd team all-met in 2014.
  • Ljay Newsome, P for Chopticon (south of Waldorf), 2nd team all-Met in 2014.
  • Stevie Mangrum, 3B for Western Albermarle HS (Charlottesville), was at the PG Showcase.  Committed to Va Tech and played for EvoShield this summer.
  • Kaleb Bowman, RHP for Woodgrove (Purcellville), honorable mention All Met for 2014, played for EvoShield this summer and verbally committed to South Carolina.
  • Danny Blair, CF for Gilman (Baltimore), committed to South Carolina, played for EvoShield and was at the PG National showcase.
  • Evan Sperling, RHP for Grafton (Yorktown/Newport News), committed to UVA and played for EvoShield.
  • Nathan Trevillian, RHP for Amherst County HS (near Lynchburg), committed to Liberty and was at the PG National showcase.
  • Grant Donahue, RHP for Decatur HS in Berlin (outside Ocean City).  At the PG National showcase, played for EvoShield, committed to UVA.
  • Hunter Parsons, RHP for Parkside HS in Salisbury, committed to Maryland, at the PG National showcase and played for EvoShield.   Up to 93 on the gun at showcases.  Could show up on draft boards with a couple more ticks on the gun.
  • Paul Hall, LHP for Maury HS in Norfolk.  Committed to Virginia Tech, up to 90 on the gun, played for EvoShield.
  • James Monaghan, 1B for LaPlata HS.  Committed to Campbell, played for Evoshield’s regional 17U team.
  • Hunter Byrnes, 2B for GW-Danville.  Same HS as last year’s 4th round pick Blake Bivens.  Good athlete (also a star QB) who may not get drafted but could be a good Div-1 player for someone.

I give a lot of weight to playing on the Evoshield Canes, as you can see.  If a guy is on that team, odds are he’s playing Div 1 somewhere.

Local College draft-eligible players to keep an eye on for 2015:  (2014 pre-season Baseball America all-american team link here, 2014 Baseball America post-season All American team here, 2014 Golden Spikes semifinalist announcement here, 2014 Rawlings/ABCA All-American list link here.  2014 All-ACC College Baseball team.  2014 All-CAA College Baseball team.  2014 All Atlantic-10 College Baseball team. All Big South, All Conference USA teams.

  • Mike Matuella, RHP from Duke (via Georgetown Prep HS and Great Falls, VA).  Burst onto the scene in 2014 and is in the mix for 1-1 overall already.  Huge guy (6’6″) with a huge arm (sits mid-90s).  Upper 1st round projection ahead of 2015 season.  Baseball America had this feature on him ahead of the season in mid January.  Here’s a report from 2/19/15.  He missed a start with a minor injury early on (thanks to persistent 30-degree weather in the area), but has come back and as of the time of this posting has a 0.44 ERA through 20 innings/5 starts for Duke.
  • Nathan Kirby, LHP from UVA (via James River HS in Midlothian) who was a first team all-ACC, 2014 Golden Spikes semi-finalist, a BA All-American, ABCA All-American.  Projected top 10 first round pick pre-2015 season.  So far into the college season, Kirby has lived up to his billing, holding a 3-1 record with a 1.16 ERA as UVA’s friday starter.
  • Joe McCarthy, OF from UVA who hit in the middle of UVA’s order in 2014 and was named All-ACC.  Projected mid 2nd round pick by BA ahead of 2015 season.  McCarthy suffered a back injury prior to the season’s beginning and will miss the first 12 weeks of the season; he’ll have precious few looks to get his draft stock up prior to the Rule 4 draft.
  • Brandon Waddell, LHP from  UVA.  UVA’s #2/Saturday starter was 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA on the year in 2014.  2nd-team All-ACC.  So far in 2015 he’s gotten hit though, holding just a 3.48 ERA through 6 starts.
  • Taylor Clarke, College of Charleston’s Friday starter and breakout 2014 player, hailing from Ashburn and featured previously in the Washington Post.   So far in 2015, he’s only improving his stock, holding a 55/8 K/BB ratio through his first 39 2/3 innings.
  • Josh Sborz, RHP from UVA (by way of McLean HS).  UVA’s #3/Sunday starter in 2014 but has been re-assigned as UVA’s closer in 2015 in favor of former Virginia prep standout Connor Jones entering the rotation.  Thus far at the time of this posting, Sborz has 5 saves but just a 3.00 ERA through 18 innings across 11 appearances.
  • John La Prise, inf from UVA who hit .358 in 2014, but who has only played in 4 games thus far in 2015.  He is on Minorleagueball’s preliminary 2015 draft list, but he was fighting injuries prior to the season and may still be doing so.
  • 3 sophomore All-CAA players from William & Mary: Catcher Ryan Hissey, DH Charlie Gould and RHP Joseph Gaouette.  Thus far in 2015, Hissey and Gould have picked up right where they left off, but Gaouette has yet to appear for the Tribe.
  • Some draft eligible players from U-Maryland: Alex Robinson, LHP, Jake Drossner LHP, Lamonte Wade LHP/OF.  With Maryland’s rising national ranking (#11 in the 3/23/15 rankings), these guys will continue to see their stock rise.
  • Smaller college guys like Kyri Washington, OF at Longwood and Dylan Nelson, RHP from Radford.

Did I miss anyone?  I’m all ears.

8 Responses to 'Local draft-prospects to keep an eye in for the 2015 draft'

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  1. Ok, apologies to Todd since this isn’t on point to this post, but I had a question.

    Tanner Roark has had, according to most commentators, a pretty bad spring results wise. It means nothing – small sample size, working on stuff, all of those things to which I agree. But it got me thinking: if Tanner is used in the pen and then the occasional start, say he throws ~100 IPs and puts up a poor year, ERA/FIP in the 4.5 range, what will we blame it on? Regression to his ‘true’ talent level or that the Nats ruined him? Will that question be answerable, or subject to so much interpretative data as to make it nothing but fodder for each side of the argument? I am not predicting it and certainly hoping it doesn’t happen, but it’s kind of interesting. I think that it would remain one of those areas that people disagree on.


    26 Mar 15 at 8:17 am

  2. Roark; first I guess you’d have to argue about what you think his “true” talent level is? Is he the guy who had a 4.04 ERA across 667 minor league innings over 6 seasons and moving between roles? Or is he the guy who has now has a 2.57 ERA in 252 MLB innings mostly as a starter?

    That’s a pretty big discrepancy. If you can explain why there’s such a discrepancy, that might help explain what is really going on. My 2 cents; I believe a combination of 2 things have led to his instant MLB success; first he did tick up his velocity in the 2012-2013 timeframe. But he’s always been a control guy (1.8 BB/9, 17th of 88 qualified starters last year), and I believe that exceptional command plays better in the majors (where you have tighter strike zones and more patient hitters) than in the minors (where you have a lot of hackers trying to bash their way to promotions).

    For those that would say “well his FIP and xFIP are way high, so he’s been “lucky” and will regress to a higher ERA” I say this: fip and xfip is entirely about measuring strikeout guys … if you’re not a high K guy, your fip/xfip is *always* going to be higher. If you are a command/control or a sinkerballer, your xfip values are in many ways meaningless, because you’re not depending on blowing it past guys to get outs.

    Based on all of this, I am and have been a Roark believer. I think he’s absolutely wasted in a long-man role. I think the team should have flipped a departing starter for depth and used Roark and his 5-win capabilities in the rotation for his MLB min salary. I can only surmise that Rizzo dind’t get offers he thought were good enough to do this and has made the decision to keep him for insurance.

    Back to your question: if Roark struggles, I will blame it on his usage, absolutely. If you pitch 4 innings a week in low leverage situations and give up a couple runs, you’re at a medicore looking 4.50 ERA and people will judge. However, I fully expect him to roll back into the rotation at some point to cover for an injury and hopefully pick back up where he left off in 2014.

    Todd Boss

    26 Mar 15 at 11:27 am

  3. I get why FIP/xFIP doesn’t always tell the full story and I think most people would be in your camp that usage was the reason behind poor performance, but why would you blame a decline on usage though?

    I think Roark has been successful primarily by inducing weak contact (which usually is a function of stuff or deception or both) and getting a high amount of called strikes (deception). If you think this is a repeatable skill, then you would believe FIP/xFIP don’t tell the whole story (I am still deciding what I think about it). But it seems to me that should play equally well in a reliever role equally as well as SP (and Roark’s 2013 bears that out).

    Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to find something moderately interesting to talk about while waiting for the real games to begin.


    26 Mar 15 at 1:58 pm

  4. If it were me, I’d blame a decline on the fact that pitchers are creatures of habit; they have a 5-day routine built out and honed over the years based on being a starter. Suddenly they go from knowing exactly when they’re going to pitch on a week in/week out basis to this weird life that relievers live .. with some knowledge of how they’ll be used on a day to day basis, but that’s only in case the starter sucks it up … and if your starters get on a run and star throwing a bunch of complete game shutouts, you don’t work for a week. How can you be expected to be consistent under those working conditions?

    I don’t think fip/xfip *try* to tell the whole story; the inventor admits it is simply trying to remove the any factor outside the pitcher’s control from the stat. fip/xfip is also really bad to fly ball pitchers, assuming they should be turning fewer of those flyballs into outs since the ball went into play.

    Todd Boss

    26 Mar 15 at 3:41 pm

  5. You forgot about Jared Mouton A talented Second baseman at wilde lake high school although his school isn’t know for baseball he still has D1 colleges looking at him and his .400 batting average speaks for it self


    4 Jun 15 at 8:20 am

  6. Never heard of Mouton, he’s not on WP’s recruit watch and he doesn’t have a profile. Makes it tough on a casual observer to know who he is. What schools are looking at him?

    Todd Boss

    4 Jun 15 at 8:48 am

  7. […] went to 3-year programs and who are now draft eligible.  From that time frame, here’s the 2015 pre-season list and then the Post-Draft/post-signing coverage from 2015.  Pop-up guys plus non-MD/VA native […]

  8. […] went to 3-year programs and who are now draft eligible.  From that time frame, here’s the 2015 pre-season list and then the Post-Draft/post-signing coverage from 2015.  Pop-up guys plus non-MD/VA native […]

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