Nationals Arm Race

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

Rafael Martin DFA’d; the inevitable

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Rough week for Martin. photo Nats official

Rough week for Martin. photo Nats official

 

With the news that Jayson Werth had to hit the D/L and the team suddenly needing a RH hitting options on the bench, new acquisition Ryan Raburn was called into action.

The Nats had finally run out of procedural moves that prevented them from cutting loose someone … and the answer to the question “who is the first guy off the 40-Man roster” this year goes to Rafael Martin.  Unfortunately for Martin, he was DFA’d yesterday to make room for Raburn.

Personally, I thought the team would cut loose under-performing AA hurler Jimmy Cordero before Martin … but he was 2nd on my list.  He’s struggled in AAA this year, and has been passed over for promotion by several 2017 NRIs.  The writing was on the wall, even given his SSS K/9 rates int he majors.  This year in Syracuse he’s sported a kind-of-unlucky 5.21 ERA with a 4/1 K/BB rate and a decent 1.27 whip.  But he’s also a 33-yr old junk baller who isn’t exactly a prospect anymore.

I’ll guess he passes through waivers, takes his assignment to AAA and may return to the Mexican league next year.

He’ll always have 2015 though (25 Ks in 12 innings).

 

Written by Todd Boss

June 6th, 2017 at 10:18 am

Prep Baseball Update #2 2017: Maryland State Champs, Virginia Regional Champs crowned

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Update #2 for DC/MD/VA Prep baseball for 2017.

Here’s the rough schedule of posting and what we’ll cover:

  • #1: DC/MD/VA District High School Tournament Report: post-season kickoff.  Covers: MD regionals, VA district brackets, Private school tourney updates.  Usually publishes the week before Memorial day tournament finals.
  • #2: Maryland State Champs, Northern VA Regional Champs crowned (this post).  Covers: MD state finals, VA regionals finals.  Usually publishes first week of June.
    #3: Virginia State Champions crowned.  Covers: VA state tourneys, recaps MD, DC, Private School results.  Publishes mid-June once the Va state tourney wraps up.
  • #4: Players of the Year/All-State lists and final rankings; publishes early July once all the all-state lists are published.

Lets see where we stand now with Virginia having completed their regional tournaments and setup state semi finals’ matchups.

Text in Red are pending results, which we’ll pick up in the next post in this series.

All Virginia regional finals were played on 6/2/17; here’s the scoreboard with all results.  Winner highlighted in bold red.


Virginia

Here are the Virginia Conference champions, regular season and tournament.  All these playoff brackets, if they exist, are at this link at VHSL.  I won’t re-link all the playoff brackets per district/region below.

6-A North Regional  Conference Tournament Results

  • 6-A Conference 5/ConcordeOakton beat Westfield
  • 6-A Conference 6/Liberty: Madison squeaked by Langley
  • 6-A Conference 7/Potomac: West Springfield blanked South County
  • 6-A Conference 8/ Cedar Run: Patriot cruised to the district title over Osborne Park

Regional Tournament Results: The four expected #1 seeds advanced easily in the first round of the Regional tournament; Oakton, Madison, West Springfield and Patriot.  In the regional quarters, all four #1 seeds advanced again; Madison advanced easily over Lake Braddock 6-0, Oakton advanced over Battlefield 5-3, West Springfield easily handled Westfield 9-2, and Patriot downed Robinson 1-0 on a walk-off homer.   The regional semi-finals on 5/30/17 were both interrupted by a massive storm that moved through and were completed on 5/31/17.  In those regional semis, Oakton walked-off with a Sac Fly in the bottom of the 7th to top Madison 3-2 while Patriot held off West Springfield 4-3 to punch their tickets to the State tourney.  The Madison/Oakton game was a rematch of an earlier game this season, easily won by Madison, so that result was surprising.  Patriot over West Springfield was more expected, given Patriot’s traditional strength.

Regional Final: Oakton got a n extra-innings, 2-run walk-off homer  from Junior Eric Lingenbach to take the 6A regional title from Patriot 3-2.

 


6-A South Region: mostly covering Richmond, Roanoke and Virginia Beach area.  But there are just enough schools in Woodbridge proper to form a 6-A conference closer to DC with teams that are typically considered for All-Met rankings.   Unlike 6A-North, just the top two teams from each district make the Regional tournament.  Thus, the district tournaments here are lagging the district tournaments for the North region, which finished before theirs even began.

VHSL bracket link here.  Direct link to Tide-water area tourney schedules at Pilot Online.    Direct link to Richmond area tourney schedules at the Times-Dispatch.

  • 6-A Conference 1/Coastal: Cox defeated Kellam in a battle of Va Beach heavy-weights.
  • 6-A Conference 2/Monitor Merrimac: Western Branch beat Oscar Smith in an upset-filled district tourney where top-ranked Granby and Woodside were upset early.
  • 6-A Conference 3: Manchester d Thomas Dale in a district tourney that went chalk.
  • 6-A Conference 4Woodbridge d Colonial Forge 12-11 in a barn burner.

Regional Results: all four district champs won their quarter final matchups, with Cox having the easiest time of it.   In the Semis, Cox beat Manchester 3-2 and Western Branch handled Woodbridge 5-3. 

Region Final:  Cox rallies to defeat Western Branch 4-3.


5-A North Region:

Conference winners:

  • 5-A Conference 13/Capitol: Marshall
  • 5-A Conference 14: Briar Woods
  • 5-A Conference 15: Potomac
  • 5-A Conference 16: Halifax

Regional Results: (5-a Regional bracket): There were some small upsets in the play-in games in the first round of the 5A North regional; an under-seeded Stafford fell to Stone Bridge (despite finishing the regular season 19-2) and#3 Seed Atlee easily beat #2 seed Wakefield.  The other #2 seeds (Orange and North Stafford) advanced as expected to face the #1 seeds in the quarters.  Stone Bridge faces one of the best teams in the state in Halifax, whose #1 starter (Andrew Abbott) has a ridiculous 133/3 K/BB ratio this spring and is UVA bound (h/t NovaBaseballMagazine.com).  In the quarters, #1 seeds Briar Woods, Potomac and Halifax all advanced, while North Stafford blanked Marshall to advance to the semis.  In the Semis, Briar Woods thrashed Potomac 8-1 while Halifax held off the surprising North Stafford team 2-1 in 12 innings.

Region Final: Briar Woods destroyed top 5-A team Halifax 10-0 to continue a surprising run in the post-season (they weren’t even the #1 seed in their own district).

 


5-A South Region

  • 5-A Conference 9/Atlantic: Kempsville d Hickory.
  • 5-A Conference 10/PenSouth: Menchville d Clouchester.
  • 5-A Conference 11: Deep Run d Mills Goodwin.
  • 5-A Conference 12: Prince George d Matoaca.

Quick predictions for 5-A south regional tourney: Prince George at 19-1 and Hickory are good bets to advance

Regional Results: as with the 6A-South tourney, all four district champs held serve in the quarter finals, mostly with ease.  In the Semis, Prince George and Menchville advanced, with the Menchville pitcher throwing a no-hitter to add insult to injury.

Region Final: Prince George continued 5A dominance, topping Menchville 13-5.


Smaller Virginia Classifications

4-A West:

  • 4-A Conference 21 East/A: Heritage upset #1 seed Loudoun Valley then #2 Seed Loudoun County to win the district.  Heritage and Loudoun County to regionals.
  • 4-A Conference 21 West/B: Harrisonburg beat Sherando in a 2/1 seed upset to advance to regionals.
  • 4-A Conference 22: Kettle Run easily won the region over Freedom to advance as the 4A North #1 seed with an unblemished 19-0 record.

4A Regionals preview: (bracket here): Kettle Run and Liberty Christian Academy look like they’re destined to meet in the 4A West regional final.  In the tournament though, Kettle Run was upset early by Lynchburg’s EC Glass.  Liberty Christian won on a walkoff, and they are joined by Harrisonburg and Freedom-South Riding (which recently dropped down from 5A).  The semis were a contrast in styles, as LCA won 1-0 over Freedom-South Riding while Harrisonburg topped EC Glass by a football-score of 14-13.

In the 4A regional final, Liberty Christian won another squeaker, topping Harrisonburg 1-0, validating their move to compete in the public schools VHSL.

4-A East (Bracket here)

Preview: I’d say that the two best teams here are Great Bridge (which has great baseball history as of late and just dropped down from 5A) and Hanover (which won the old AAA title just before reclassification and can easily compete with 5A and 6A schools).  In the 4A East quarters, Great Bridge, Dinwiddie, Hanover and Jamestown all advanced to the semis.  There, the expected wins for Hanover and Great Bridge occurred, setting up a great regional final (thought it took Hanover 13 innings to top Jamestown.

In the 4A East final, Hanover held on to top Great Bridge 4-3 in a battle of two of Virginia’s top high schools irrespective of division.  This matchup, coincidentally was the 2013 State Final just prior to going to 6 divisions.


3A West: Turner Ashby blanked Brookville 4-0 in the Regional final.

3A East: Riverside beat Spotsylvania in the final 9-6.  Riverside is in Ashburn and is coached by the former Stone Bridge coach Sam Plank, fyi.

Lower Divisions 2A and 1A features teams from the smaller areas of Virginia and we won’t bother covering them this year.  IF you want to see their regional and state brackets, visit the VHSL site above.


Maryland

Here’s the 2017 state finals results in Maryland, played over the 5/26/17 weekend.  Brackets here at the MPSAA website.

A quick list of past Maryland State champions by division:

The Maryland public high school seasons are now complete.


DC Public Schools/DCIAA:

  • DCIAA: (2017 playoff bracket): Wilson defeated School Without Walls 7-4 to take the DCIAA title and continue its ridiculous winning streak within DC public school competition.
  • DCSAA: (2017 Playoff Bracket): Gonzaga beat Wilson 9-1 to win the DCSAA baseball title (Wilson upset St. Albans to make the final).

DC public (and private) High school seasons are now complete.


Private Leagues: WCAC/MAC/IAC and VISAA/Maryland Private

State-level Private School tourneys:

  • MIAA: Regular Season: Calvert Hall, Spalding and Gilman were the class of the MIAA Class A all  year.  Boys Latin takes the Class B regular season title while St. Johns Catholic is again the Class C regular season title winner.   Loyola Blakefield came out of nowhere to beat Calvert Hall in the MIAA-A playoffs (their first title in 71 years), having just a .500 record during the season.  Boy’s Latin beat Severn to take the MIAA-B final.  St. Johns Catholic ended up beating Gerstell Academy 5-0 to win its 4th straight MIAA-C title.
  • VISAA: The VISAA playoff brackets show the top 8 private schools in each Virginia division.  In Division I; DC local schools Paul VI and Potomac School were upset early, with #3 seed Benedictine taking the VISAA Division I title.  The Miller School took the Division II title with defending champ Greenbrier Christian getting upset in the first round.  Southampton Academy repeated as VISSA Division III titleists.
  • Maryland Private School “Governor’s Flag” Tournament: tbd.  Draws are here. Only seems like there’s 4 teams for 2017: DeMatha, Spalding, McNamara and Avalon.  I’d guess this would be a cake-walk for Spalding.

DC-area Private School Leagues

Of note, Maryland baseball factory Riverdale Baptist won their 4th straight NACA National Championship, finished the year 30-1 and nationally ranked in every publication that attempts to rank national high schools.

All Area private schools’ seasons are now complete.


Individual Player Accolades Announced

In addition to being playoff-baseball time, this is also the time of the year that we start to see player awards.  I’ll put these in as they publish, but we won’t expect most of these until the end of June.

Gatorade announced their player of the year awards on 5/29/17:

  • MarylandHarold Cortijo, RHP/OF from Riverdale Baptist.  Committed to play at Seminole State U.
  • Washington DCJack Roberts, RHP/SS from St. Johns.  Committed to play at Elon.
  • VirginiaAndrew Abbott, LHP from Halifax County HS.  Committed to play for UVA.

Pending Awards to be announced/expected later this spring:

  • Louisville Slugger All-Americans: pending
  • Washington Post All-Met teams: pending
  • The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro Team: pending
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch All-Richmond team (if exists): pending
  • Virginian Pilot All-tidewater team (if exists): pending
  • Virginia All 6-A North Regional team: Langley’s Danny Hosley is player of the year (no PG profile/unknown college commit).  Madison’s Jake Nielsen pitcher of the year (a Junior w/o a current college commitment).
  • Virginia All 5-A North Regional team: pending
  • Other Virginia All-Regional teams: pending
  • Northern Virginia All-District teams: Available at this link at Novabaseballmagazine.com, thanks to Joey Kamide for all his hard work.
  • VHSL All-State Teams: pending
  • VISAA’s All-State teams:
    • Division I All State Team with several Paul VI and Flint Hill players.  Player of the Year: Evan Justice– Collegiate School, a LHP from Richmond committed to NC State.
    • Division II All State Team.  Player of the year: Ethan Murray– Miller School, a Junior SS/RHP who sports a 4.0 and is an early commit to Duke.
    • Division III All State Team.   Player of the Year: Carter Davis– Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot, a C from Powhattan committed to St. Andrews Presbyterian College.
  • Maryland MIAA All-State teams (if exists): pending
  • All WCAC 2017Jack Roberts, RHP/SS from St. Johns player of the year.
  • All MAC 2017 and all IAC 2017 also at Novabaseballmagazine.com’s site.

My master list of links used to cover HS Baseball:

Local and National High School Baseball Ranking Lists:

These National rankings are dominated by teams in Texas, Florida and California, as you might expect.  These teams can play nearly 40 games and usually have at least 15-20 under their belts before DC/MD/VA teams even get going.  So its somewhat of an accomplishment just to have a local team get some recognition.  In fact, any cold-weather state team appearing in these lists is pretty special.


Major Newspaper Links/Resources for following prep baseball around the state

  • Washington Post’s AllMetSports section with standings and schedule results.
  • The Baltimore Sun’s high school page has information on some of the programs outside the DC area mentioned in the Maryland section
  • InsideNova.com‘s coverage of high school sports, but has put limits on the number of stories you can read.
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch has a HS scoreboard.
  • Hampton Roads Pilot (Hampton Roads) has scores for teams in the Chesapeake/Norfolk/Va Beach area.
  • NovaBaseballMagazine: great coverage of Prep baseball in NorthernVirginia (thanks to Joe Antonellis for the heads up on this great new resource).

Local Newspaper Coverage, including links to many local papers covering smaller jurisdictions.

Non-newspaper Links for Local and National Prep Baseball Coverage

Good Twitter accounts to follow:

  • https://twitter.com/toddeboss/lists/prepbaseball: I maintain an open list at my twitter account via this link, which contains direct links to dozens of local resources (including all the below).  Way too many retweets from the travel team accounts especially, but its a good way to keep up with local ball.
  • https://twitter.com/PBRVirginiaDC: Prep Baseball Report VA/DC coverage
  • https://twitter.com/NVBaseballMag: NoVa Baseball Magazine
  • https://twitter.com/NoVAHSBB
  • https://twitter.com/DynamicBaseball

Ask Collier 6/1/17

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I've got Harper in the 7th, TKO. Photo via Star Tribune

I’ve got Harper in the 7th, TKO. Photo via Star Tribune

This time of year is generally light on pure Nats coverage for me: I like to track local Prep tournaments, I like to track the CWS tourney, and I like to do draft prep.  All of these these things basically hit at the same time between Mid-May and Mid-June.  So bear with me if these aren’t your cup of tea.  I’ll get back to my “where are they now” series soon, as well as more regular stuff on the Nats.

I didn’t even bother to post about the ridiculous Bryce Harper/Hunter Strickland brawl.  I’ll say this: I got a MLB.com app notification on my phone that said simply, “Harper charges the mound in SF” and I immediately said to myself, “Strickland must have hit him.”  So clearly the intent was obvious, and I think personally the right punishment was arrived at (Bryce 3 games for charging the mound, Strickland 6 days for his ridiculous action).

But, I know my readers mostly care about the Nats.  So luckily MLB.com Nats beat reporter Jamal Collier posted an Inbox last night, so I have some Nats content to invent.  Here’s how i’d have answered the questions he took.


 

Q: Have any reason why Bryce has struggled the past few games? Seems like his batting average and other numbers has taken quite a hit.

A: I’d probably say “regression to the mean.”  Nobody can post a 1.200 OPS for an extended period of time (Harper had a 1.281 OPS in April).  But he’s also been a bit unlucky in May in terms of BABIP (.268), just as he was overly lucky in April (BABIP of .429).  I’m guessing he’ll eventually settle back into a .310-.320 BABIP (he does hit the ball hard, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see his BABIP regularly higher than league average; his career BABIP is .320) and his numbers will rise back up to impressive levels.

I also notice that he hasn’t missed a game yet; he has sat just one game and got a PH appearance in it (April 24th).  Dusty Baker gives other guys regular rest but Harper hasn’t sat in 6 weeks … maybe he was just starting to drag a bit.  The suspension will be well-timed, especially since it takes him out of the Oakland series (death to hitters).

Collier attributes it to regression as well.

Q: If Glover keeps up his recent dominance, will he stay closer rest of season or do Nats trade for Robertson or Herrera?

A: Well, the question here really should be, “Has the Ownership learned its lesson about fiddling with the closer yet?”  I’m not entirely sure they have; they still seem to buy into the closer narrative, a mind-set that led to them jerking around Drew Storen constantly and demoting him during perhaps his best season.  So will the narrative continue in 2017?  It goes like this: “Gee yeah Koda Glover has been throwing the ball really well, but he’s a rookie so he can’t possibly handle the pressure of October baseball, so we better get the “Proven Closer” and pay out the wazoo for him because that’s what we really need in the playoffs.”

I hate that mindset.  Yes Storen blew a couple of games in the post season; he pitched a grand total of 5 1/3 post-season innings for the Nats across 6 games, and in four of those games he gave up zero runs.  Can  you say “small sample size?”  But to continue to over-react and over-pay for closers is something this team has to stop doing.  Lest I remind everyone of Joe Posnanski‘s research on the topic: teams have won 95% of games they lead in the 9th for about the last 100 years, irrespective of whether they were throwing Joe Schmoe in the 9th in the 40s or Goose Gossage in the 70s or Aroldis Chapman today.

Right now Glover, at league minimum salary, is posting a 200+ ERA+ figure and hasn’t given up a run in a month.  Meanwhile, two of the the three big-money closers on the FA market this past off-season have hit the D/L and have worse seasonal numbers for approximately 30-times the salary.  Which situation would you rather be as a team and a GM?

So; if Glover keeps pitching well (and as long as he’s throwing a 95mph cutter or slider or whatever it is, he should), then leave him there and augment the bullpen at the trade deadline with quality middle relievers who won’t cost as much in terms of prospects.  That’s my suggestion.

Collier thinks the Nats may still get a closer at the trade deadline, and noted (using Storen as an example) that they’ve not hesitated to replace a closer mid-season in the past.  In other words .. he thinks they may go ahead and do something stupid too.

Q: Question for your mailbag: can we expect Albers to revert to his norm? Same for Taylor? (That K rate and BABIP…)

A: Yeah, at some point.  There was a reason Matt Albers was a NRI this past off-season, and there’s a reason Taylor has now had nearly 1,000 major league PAs and is still slashing just .234/.285/.374 for his career.  As far as Albers goes … its ok to have a 6th/7th inning guy who gets blown up every once in a while, as long as those outings are mitigated and don’t really cost you games all that much.  So far, he’s been so much better than expected for us.  Projecting forward, his FIP is a bit higher than his ERA and his BABIP is unsustainably low (.208), so we’ll see some regression back to the mean.  But also there’s this: for as bad as he was in 2016, he was great in 2015.  Who is to say that 2016 was the one-off season and he’s re-gained whatever enabled him to post a 1.21 ERA in 30 appearances for the White Sox?

As for Taylor, I’m not going to re-litigate the whole “Can Michael Taylor turn it around” case.  There’s clearly people dug into the sand on both sides.  His BABIP with his current surge of productivity is .385; that’s all that we need to say.  At some point he’s going to stop having stuff fall in for hits and he’ll regress back to the .230 hitter he’s always been.  Lets just hope Baker is smart enough to keep him in the 8-hole as it happens.  That or recognize it as it happens and think about giving those empty ABs to someone else when it happens.

Collier thinks both players are coming back to earth at some point.

Q: In the time you’ve been covering the Nats, tell us about the value you see JW adding to the team and clubhouse

A: Hard for an armchair psychologist such as myself to give an intelligent answer here.  I know there are many who read this who put little to no value in “clubhouse chemistry,” “team leadership,” and other fuzzy emotional issues when it comes to professional athletes, and I’m fine with that.  I tend to think that clubhouses work like any other workplace team; you have “good” co-workers and “lazy” co-workers, you have respected leaders who have “seen it all” and who have “been around the block” and you have rookies who do dumb things because they just havn’t been around that long.  So in that respect, Jayson Werth should be a valued team-mate who steps up and helps lead the clubhouse, but I have no idea if he actually does.  Its all conjecture on my part, having never stepped into a MLB clubhouse.

Collier says … similar things to what I just said.  Its hard to value leadership.  But he also says (and I agree) that Werth has proven he deserves another contract.  I wonder if it will be with us.

 

 

 

 

2017 Draft coverage; Local draft-prospects to keep an eye in for the 2017 draft

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J.B. Bukauskas, three years after being a potential first round pick out of Stone Bridge in Ashburn, may be a top 10 pick in 2017 out of UNC. Photo via chapelboro.com

J.B. Bukauskas, three years after being a potential first round pick out of Stone Bridge in Ashburn, may be a top 10 pick in 2017 out of UNC. Photo via chapelboro.com

Hello all.  I’ve been slacking on local high school and college coverage this season, partly because there’s not nearly as exciting of a class as last year (when the DC area had two guys picked in the first three rounds in Joe Rizzo and Khalil Lee, in addition to a HS all-american in Zach Hess down at Liberty Christian).  But here’s a quick review of my 2017 Local Draft Prospect list.   By “local” I generally mean anyone from DC, MD or VA, with a focus on DC-Metro kids.

This list has essentially turned into a massive “Best players from the area” list, with mention given to nearly every kid who has shown up on an accolades list in the last couple of years.  Only a few of the prep kids are going to get drafted, but it is interesting to me to track where they’re going to school.  Lots of these college commitments may be out of date; an early commit often turns into a rejection once college coaches see how their recruiting classes gel.  So if I have a kid wrong, my apologies and let me know in the comments.


Major Local College Draft Prospects for 2017

This list started with my 2014 Local High School draft coverage, listing guys who were HS seniors in 2014 who went to 3-year programs and who are now eligible.  Since we’ve augmented it with locally tied guys who have put themselves into draft positions by virtue of collegiate or summer league performances.  I separate “major prospects” from the lower list in that these guys have usually gotten some sort of national press, top-100 list type of press, and are good bets all to get drafted in the first 5-6 rounds this coming June.  The first few names are all being talked about as potential 1st rounders or 2nd rounders.

  • “Jacob” J.B. Bukauskus, RHP from UNC by way of Stone Bridge HS in Ashburn.  A 2014 HS All American who chose to go to college.  Spent 2016 as UNC’s saturday starter and blew up to the tune of a 13 K/9 rate his sophomore year.  Projecting now as an upper 1st rounder.  2016 Collegiate National Team and briefly in the Cape.  Projecting as possible top-10 pick.  2017 Pre-Season Collegiate Baseball All-American 2nd team.
  • Pavin Smith is a big lefty 1B/OF at UVA; he has been a significant member of the UVA lineup during his career.  All-League Cape Cod league summer of 2016.  Projecting as possible end-of-1st rounder.  2017 Pre-Season Collegiate Baseball All-American 2nd team, fantastic 2017 season now has him projecting as a possible top-10 pick.
  • Adam Haseley, OF/RHP from UVA.  Great on the mound for UVA in 2016, worked solely in the field in Cape Cod League 2016.  Projecting now as 2nd rounder.  2017 Pre-Season Collegiate Baseball All-American 2nd team.  Like his teammate, Haseley’s 2017 season has put him in the upper first round territory.

From the top 3 guys here, there’s a gap to the next group:

  • Kevin Smith, INF From Maryland.  Cape Cod league summer standout of 2016, being named MVP of the final and All-League.  Projecting now as 2nd rounder.
  • Tyler Johnson RHP from South Carolina by way of Trinity Episcopal, Richmond.  8th/9th inning reliever for SC as a sophomore.   2016 Collegiate National Team.  Projecting as 3rd/4th rounder.
  • Ernie Clement, 2b/SS from UVA.  All League Cape Cod league summer of 2016.  Big Cape showing now pushing his draft stock way up; possible 3rd rounder.
  • Hunter Williams LHP from UNC by way of Cosby HS in Chesterfield, VA.  A mid-week starter in 2016, may move into the weekend rotation for 2017.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016, where he posted a 1.10 era.  Cape showing pushing him into 4th round discussions.
  • Tommy Doyle, RHP at UVA by way of Flint Hill HS (hometown: Vienna).  Began 2016 as UVA’s Sunday starter, converted to be their closer by season’s end.
  • Brian Mims, 2B/SS UNC-Wilmington by way of Forest Park HS in Woodbridge: Multiple All-american honors as a sophomore in 2016.  2016 Collegiate National Team invitee
  • Nick Feight, C UNC-Wilmington by way of Battlefield HS in Haymarket: Multiple All-american honors as a sophomore in 2016.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.  2016 Collegiate National Team invitee.  2017 Pre-Season Collegiate Baseball All-American 1st team.

Lesser Local College draft eligibles w/ Local Ties

This list is defined as “lesser” prospects in that they’re not getting “first few rounds” publicity, but seem like in most cases draft candidates.  I don’t mean to imply that “lesser” means they’re any less of a player; they’re just not getting “J.B. Bukauskas” hype.  I’d guess most every name on this list will get called in June, some in the 6-8th round, perhaps others down in the 15-25th round range.  Some may opt to forgo the draft bonus they’re offered and return for their senior season.  Some are almost guaranteed to return thanks to injury or circumstance, but they’re all draft eligible this year.

  • Sam Donko, RHP (closer) from VCU. 2017 Pre-Season Collegiate Baseball All-American 1st team.
  • Cullen Large, 2B from W&M.  2017 Pre-Season Collegiate Baseball All-American 3rd team.
  • Keenan Bartlett, RHP from Richmond
  • Packy Naughton, RHP Virginia Tech.  All League Cape Code 2016, giving him some helium as potential 5th rounder.
  • Brian Shaffer, RHP at Maryland; on d1Bsaeball’s top 100 draft prospects lists, came out of nowhere.
  • Zach Rutherford, 2b/SS from ODU by way of Western Branch HS in Chesapeake VA.  Undrafted as a junior in 2016.  All-League Cape Cod league summer of 2016, which put him into 4th-5th round discussions.
  • Derek Casey, RHP from UVA by way of Hanover HS (Mechanicsville).  Underwent Tommy John surgery early in his sophomore year and never appeared his junior year, so likely returns to school to be a 4th year junior draftee in 2017.  However he’s draft eligible in 2017 and, if he has a great return season, he could put himself back in the conversation.
  • Taylor Lane, a shortstop from Chesapeake, transferred to IMG academy for college, went to Florida, transferred to Northwest Florida State and having a good 2016 season leading off for them.
  • Charlie Cody 3B from UVA by way of Great Bridge HS in Chesapeake.  Not starting as a sophomore; more of a super sub.
  • Jeff “Junior” Harding went to Cambridge-South Dorchester here locally.  He went to South Carolina, transferred to Chipola College in Florida, got drafted by KC in the 20th round last year.  I’m not entirely sure if he signed; he may either be in KC’s system or be draft eligible again in 2016.  Update: he got drafted again in 2017, in the 17th round, so no he didn’t sign last year.
  • Brodie Leftridge is an OF at U Tennessee by way of Highland MD/St. John’s HS in DC.  Part-time player at UT his sophomore year.
  • Hunter Taylor, a C at South Carolina by way of Nandua HS in Olney, VA.  Has barely played in 2016.
  • Bennett Sousa is a LHP from UVA; 2016 bullpen member, limited use.
  • Zach Clinton is a RHP from Liberty U by way of Liberty Christian HS.  He’s not on their active stat sheet but still seems to be on the roster; I cannot tell where he is these days.
  • Zack Hopeck, RHP from Coastal Carolina by way of Heritage HS in Leesburg.  Mid-week starter for CCU as a sophomore during their CWS run.
  • Canaan Cropper RHP from South Carolina by way of Salisbury HS.  Minimal action as a sophomore.
  • Nick Brown: RHP William & Mary by way of Patriot HS in Gainesville, VA.  Undrafted as a junior in 2016.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Logan Farrar: VCU by way of Woodbridge HS.  Undrafted as a junior in 2016. Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Ryan Selmer, RHP from Maryland by way of Riverdale Baptist HS (lives in Beltsville, MD).  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Robert Metz, 2b/SS from George Washington by way of Poolesville HS.  Undrafted as a junior in 2016. Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Gavin Sheets, 1B from Wake Forest by way of Gilman HS in Lutherville, MD.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Nicholas Dunn, INF from Maryland.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Kyle Adams, C from Richmond.  Undrafted as a junior in 2016. Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Joseph Freiday, C from Virginia Tech.   Undrafted as a junior in 2016. Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • D.J. Artis, OF from Liberty.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Chase Pinder, OF from Clemson by way of Poquoson HS.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.  Hit 11 homers playing CF in sophomore year; could be a draft board riser.
  • Peter Soloman, RHP from Notre Dame by way of Mt. St. Josephs HS in Ellicott City, MD.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Jason Morgan, RHP from UNC by way of Chancellor HS in Fredericksburg, VA.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.
  • Sam Sinnen, RHP from ODU by way of Kellam HS in Norfolk.  Cape Cod league summer of 2016.

 

DC/MD/VA Local Prep players for 2017.  It seems like its a “down” year for local prep players, especially compared to 2016 w/ Rizzo/Lee, but there’s still some very good prep players in the area.  I’m sure we’ll see some draft fliers on some of the names towards the top of this list.  Its tough to keep track of college commitments and I depend mostly on perfectgame.org, so if I have something wrong here definitely pipe up in the comments.

  • Kyle Whitten, RHP/1B from Osbourn Park in Manassas, VA. WWBA 2015 with Team Stars, 2016 Evoshield 17-U team.  At the USA Baseball 18U national trials in June 2016 (and made 40-man roster).  Early commit to UVA.  Evoshield 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  PBR Class of 2017 top 10.
  • Tyler Solomon, C/1B from Battlefield HS in Haymarket, VA.  2015 WWBA Team Evoshield 17-U, 2016 All 6-A North Region 2nd team.  2016 Evoshield 17-U team.  At PG National 2016.  At the USA Baseball 18U national trials in June 2016.  Early commit to Vanderbilt.  Evoshield 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.  PBR Class of 2017 top 10.  Area Code Games 2016. WWBA 2016 with Evoshield.
  • Austine Jeremy Arocho, SS from Old Mill HS in Glen Burnie, MD.  2015 WWBA Team Evoshield 17-U, 2016 Evoshield 17-U team.  At PG National 2016.   18U National team trials.  Evoshield 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  Area Code Games 2016. WWBA 2016 with Evoshield.  Was early commit to Maryland, Now committed to Northwest Florida State College.
  • Anthony Simonelli RHP from Millbrook in Winchester, VA.  WWBA 2015 with Team Stars.  All 4A West 2016 as a junior.  VHSL 4A 2nd team all-state as a junior.  At PG National 2016.  Early commit to Coastal Carolina.  Stars 17u Reds at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.  PBR Class of 2017 top 10.  WWBA with Stars baseball 2017.
  • Michael Ludowig, OF from Briar Woods.  2016 All-5A North Region as a junior.  Evoshield Canes 16-U team 2016, early commit to Wake Forest.  Evoshield Mid-Atlantic 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  PBR Class of 2017 top 10.
  • Connor Hartigan, OF from Millbrook in Winchester, VA.  WWBA 2015 with Team Stars.   All 4A West 2016 as a junior.  VHSL 4A 2nd team all-state as a junior.  At PG National 2016.  Stars 17u Reds at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  Was Early commit to Coastal Carolina, now committed to University of South Carolina-Sumter.
  • Harold Cortijo, OF/RHP from Riverdale Baptist.  2016 all-Met as a junior.  2016 American Family All-Maryland 1st team as a junior.  No summer team.  Early commit to  Seminole State College of Florida.  Huge 2017 put him on the map as Maryland gatorade player of the year.

There’s a gap between the above and this next group:

  • Antonio Menendez RHP Herndon HS.  2016 All 6-A North Region 2nd team.  Wake Forest early commit.  Team Dirtbags at WWBA 2016 (the champs)
  • Randy Bednar LHP from Landon by way of Bethesda MD, early commit to Maryland.  2015 All-Met as a *sophomore*.
  • Will Liverpool, RHP from Mclean HS in McLean, VA.  WWBA 2015 with Team Stars.  Early commit to West Virginia.
  • Christian Pitura, SS/OF from Chantilly in Fairfax, VA.  2015 WWBA with Virginia Cardinals.  No college commitment yet but looking at a slew of virginia schools.
  • Brett Boggs, OF Battlefield HS from Haymarket, VA.  2016 All 6-A North Region and all 6-A State.  No summer team, early commit to VMI.
  • Isaak Lyons Utility Player West Springfield HS.  2016 All 6-A North Region 2nd team.  Stars summer 2016, just committed to GMU.
  • Ryan Miles, inf/RHP from Woodbridge,   Richmond Braves 2016 team, just committed to GMU.
  • Jake Williams Pitcher West Springfield HS.  2016 All 6-A North Region 2nd team.  No summer team, no college commitment.
  • James Price RHP Patriot HS in Bristow, VA.   2016 Stars.  Committed to GMU.
  • Evan Antonellis, SS from Potomac HS in Woodbridge.  2016 All 5-A North region 1st team.  2016 All-5A State.  2nd-team All-Met 2016.  No perfectgame.org profile.
  • Will Merriken, LHP from Kettle Run.  #1 Starter on 2016 state semifinalist team.
  • Justin Pearson, LHP from Mountain View.  #3 starter on 2016 state semifinalist team.
  • Raffy Baumgarner, Util from Bulliss.  2nd-team All-Met 2016.
  • Sam Ewald, ? position Kettle Run.  All 4A West 2016 as a junior.
  • Josh Simon, OF St. Johns in DC.  American Family 2016 1st team All-DC as a junior.
  • Toma Shigaki-Than, RHP Oakton HS.  Stars Showcase Baseball 17U at PG nationals 2016.  Committed to Duke.  WWBA with Stars baseball 2017.

Extended DC/MD/VA Prep players (outside DC Area) on the radar.  Most of these players are south of here, from Richmond or the Tidewater area.  There’s good baseball down south.  :-)

  • Matt Cooper, C/1B from Norfolk Academy.  2016 VISAA Division I all-state.  2016 Evoshield 17-U team.  At PG National 2016.  Early commit to Clemson.  2nd Team all-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.  American Family 2016 1st team All-Virginia as a junior.  Evoshield 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.   PBR Class of 2017 top 10.  Area Code Games 2016.
  • Tanner Morris, MIF from St Anne’s-Belfield HS/Miller School of Albemarle.  2015 WWBA Team Evoshield 17-U, VISAA A All-State 2016.  2016 VISAA Division II all-state.  2016 Evoshield 17-U team.   At PG National 2016.  Early commit to UVA.  American Family 2016 1st team All-Virginia as a junior.  Evoshield 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.   PBR Class of 2017 top 10.  Area Code Games 2016.  WWBA 2016 with Evoshield.  BA Top 100 list #78 (only local player on list).
  • Hunter “Will” Perdue, RHP/1B from Grassfield HS in  Chesapeake, VA.  2015 WWBA with Richmond Braves, early commit to UVA.  2nd Team all-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.  American Family 2016 1st team All-Virginia as a junior.  Richmond Braves 17u Jones at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  PBR Class of 2017 top 10.  WWBA 2016 with Evoshield.
  • Andrew Abbott, LHP from Halifax County HS in Nathalie, VA .  2015 WWBA Team Evoshield.  2016 Evoshield 17-U team.   2016 All-5A North Region as a junior.  2016 All-5A State.  Early commit to UVA.   Evoshield 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  PBR Class of 2017 top 10.  WWBA 2016 with Evoshield.
  • Mikey Polansky, 1b/3B from Hickory HS.  2016 Evoshield 17-U team.  VHSL 2016 2nd team All-5A State as a junior.  Early commit to Virginia Tech.  2nd Team all-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.  Evoshield 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  PBR Class of 2017 top 10.  WWBA 2016 with Evoshield.

Gap between the above guys and the rest:

  • Eric Stock, SS from Greenbrier Christian.  PBR Class of 2017 top 10.  Early commit to ODU.
  • Brandon Dorsey, 3B from Calvert Hall HS in Mount Airy, MD.  At PG National 2016.  Early commit to UNC.
  • Ethan Gallagher, OF from Mount St. Josephs HS in Catonsville.   At PG National 2016.  Early commit to Wake Forest.
  • Nolan Caler, MIF from Hanover  HS in Mechanicsville, VA.   2015 WWBA with Virginia Cardinals.  Virginia Cardinals summer of 2016.
  • Hunter Cochrane RHP/1B from Glen Allen HS in Glen Allen, VA.  2015 WWBA with Virginia Cardinals.  Virginia Cardinals summer of 2016.  Committed to Hampden-Sydney College.
  • Eli Ottinger, RHP from Benedictine HS, Glen Allen, VA.  2015 WWBA with Virginia Cardinals.  2016 VISAA Division I all-state.  Virginia Cardinals summer of 2016.  2nd-team 2016 all Richmond metro as a junior.
  • Josh Pittman, RHP/MIF from Highland School in Elkwood, VA.  2015 WWBA with Virginia Cardinals.  2016 VISAA Division II all-state.  Virginia Cardinals summer of 2016.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.
  • Timmy Stephan, ? position from Highland School in Elkwood, VA.  2016 VISAA Division II all-state.
  • Callaway Sigler, OF from Deep Run HS in Glen Allen, VA.  2015 WWBA with Virginia Cardinals.  Virginia Cardinals summer of 2016.
  • William “Will”  Simon, 1B/RHP from Benedictine HS, Richmond, VA.  2015 WWBA with Virginia Cardinals.  2016 VISAA Division I all-state.  Early commit to URichmond.
  • Evan Justice, RHP from Collegiate School.  2016 VISAA Division I all-state.  2nd-team 2016 all Richmond metro as a junior.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.
  • Daniel Brooks, RHP Spotsylvania.  3-A East all-region 1st team in 2016.
  • RJ Payne, 1B William Monroe.  1st team 3-A Wast all-region and all-state in 2016.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.
  • Cole Jackson, Util Poquoson.  3-A East all-region 1st team in 2016.
  • Chin Moss, SS First Colonial.  All 6-A south region 2016.  All-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.
  • Eric Zimmerman, OF Colonial Forge.  All 6-A south region 2016
  • Pearce Howard OF, Liberty Christian Academy. All 4A West 2016 as a junior.  VHSL 4A 2nd team all-state as a junior.
  • Noah Cook, MIF Liberty Christian Academy.  Starters on great 2016 team.  Early commit to VMI.
  • Hunter Johnson, MIF Liberty Christian Academy.  All 4A West 2016 as a junior.  VHSL 4A all-state as a junior
  • Junior Devine, RHP from Jamestown (Williamsburg).  #2 starter on great 2016 team.
  • Michael Schmidt, ? position from Jamestown (Williamsburg).  #2 starter on great 2016 team.
  • Jarrid Johnson, ? position from Nansemond River.  Starter on good 2016 team.
  • Harrison Moncure, RHP for Mills Godwin.  Starter on good 2016 team.
  • Cale Agee, 2B from Louisa.  4A East All-Region 2016 as a junior.  VHSL 4A all-state as a junior.
  • Aaron Robinson, C from Monacan.  4A East All-Region 2016 as a junior.  VHSL 4A 2nd team all-state as a junior.  Virginia Cardinals summer of 2016.  2nd-team 2016 all Richmond metro as a junior.
  • Matthew Culbreath, 3B from Dinwiddie.  4A East All-Region 2016 as a junior.  VHSL 4A 2nd team all-state as a junior.
  • Matt Carter, Util from Caroline HS.  4A East All-Region 2016 as a junior.   VHSL 4A 2nd team all-state as a junior.
  • Matt Pinson, RHP from Maggie Walker HS.  VHSL 2A player of the year as a junior.  2nd-team 2016 all Richmond metro as a junior.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.
  • Hunter Gregory, RHP from Hickory HS.  VHSL 2016 2nd team All-5A State as a junior.  All-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.
  • Tyler Knapp, Util from Menchville HS.  VHSL 2016 2nd team All-5A State as a junior.
  • Riley Clifford, 2b/SS from First Colonial HS.  All-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.
  • Rufus Hurdle, OF from Western Branch HS.  All-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.  All 6-A South Region and all 6-A State as a junior.
  • Hogan Brown, OF from Cox.  2nd Team all-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.
  • Alec Giles, OF from First Colonial.  2nd Team all-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.
  • Dalton Jackson, 1B from Great Bridge. 2nd Team all-Tidewater 2016 as a junior.
  • Logan Barker, 2B from Colonial Forge.  First team All 6-A south region 2016, 1st team All 6-A State as a junior.  Evoshield North 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  Early commit to Marshall U.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.
  • Carson Stanley, util from Rustburg.   1st team 3-A Wast all-region and all-state in 2016.
  • Grant Burleson, inf from Parkside HS in Salisbury.  2016 American Family All-Maryland 2nd team as a junior.  Evoshield Mid-Atlantic 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  Early commit to Maryland.
  • Austin Smallwood, ? from Eastside HS.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.

 

Sources used

Written by Todd Boss

June 1st, 2017 at 10:07 am

Posted in Draft,Local Baseball

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CWS 2017: Field of 64 announced with Regional predictions

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CWS-2017_calendar-narrow

Its that time of year again; Its College Baseball playoff season!

On 5/28/17, a day before the entire field was announced, the 16 Regional hosts were announced.  These are also the top 16 seeds (though they only acknowledge the top 8 “national seeds”).  The following day, the entire field was announced.  Here’s a look at the 16 regional tournaments with some quickie thoughts.

Each of these 4-team sets is listed in the “seed” in the regional, starting with the host.  I’ve organized them as they’ll meet in the super regionals.

#1 Oregon State, with Nebraska, Yale and Holy Cross.  No challenges here for the #1 overall seed, which finished the season an amazing 49-4.
#16 Clemson, with Vanderbilt, St. Johns, UNC-Greensboro: Clemson draws the always-tough Vanderbilt, who may upset the Tigers.

#8 Stanford, with Cal State-Fullerton, BYU, Sacramento State: tough draw for Stanford, who has a national seed for the first time in a while.  Fullerton is always a tough out.
#9 Long Beach State, with Texas, UCLA, San Diego State: wouldn’t be surprised to see the scrappy SDSU team make some waves here, nor would I be surprised watching Texas win this.  Texas may be one of the weaker #2 seeds, but the rest of this regional is weaker too.

#5 Texas Tech, with Arizona, Sam Houston State, Delaware.  Texas Tech has quietly put together a monster season, and I see little to prevent them from sweeping through this regional.
#12 Florida State, with UCF, Auburn, Texas Tech.  We’ll get to the snubs below, but the fact that Florida State is hosting over UVA (not to mention Clemson) is kind of ridiculous.

#4 LSU, with Southeastern LA, Rice and Texas Southern.  Odd to see Rice with a #3 seed, odder still to see SELA with a #2 seed.  LSU should breeze here.
#13 Southern Miss, with Mississippi State, South Alabama and Illinois-Chicago.  Tough draw for Southern Miss; Illinois-Chicago has one one of the best staffs in the country.

#2 UNC with Florida Gulf-Coast, Michigan, Davidson.  Davidson’s first ever visit to the CWS tourney will be against the #2 team in the land …though they’ll probably save J.B. Bukauskas for the second game (likely against under-seeded Michigan).  Still, not much here to trouble UNC.
#15 Houston with Baylor, TAMU, Iowa.  Last team in TAMU, which did not suck in the SEC this year, probably makes this regional more interesting than Houston likely wants.  I could see either Houston or TAMU winning … but based on Houston having kicked off their #1 starter .. i’ll go TAMU.

#7 Louisville with Oklahoma, Xavier and Radford.  Good to see Radford representing the Commonwealth here; they’ll be two and out.  Louisville has the arms and shouldn’t be troubled by any of these teams.
#10 Kentucky with Indiana, NC State and Ohio.  NC State may give Kentucky a run for their money in this regional, but I don’t think they can beat them.

#6 TCU with UVA, Dallas-Baptist and Central Connecticut.  The last time UVA got snubbed so badly, they went to a stacked UC-Irvine regional, battered Stephen Strasburg in his final collegiate start, and made the CWS as a regional #3 seed.  Watch out TCU.
#11 Arkansas with Missouri State, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts; I know little about any of these teams; Okla State is having a down year, Arkansas was 18-11 in the SEC West.  They’re a tough out.

#3 Florida with South Florida, Bethune-Cookman, Marist.  Man, what an easy draw for Florida.
#14 Wake Forest with West Virginia, Maryland, UMBC.  Well, the West Virginia-Maryland game should be interesting; does either team have enough to beat a good Wake Forest team?


 

Easiest Regionals: Oregon State & Florida

Hardest RegionalsTCU, Stanford

Regional Predictions (in the order listed above): Oregon State, Vanderbilt, CS-Fullerton, Long Beach State, Texas Tech, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi State, UNC, TAMU, Louisville, Kentucky, UVA, Arkansas, Florida, Wake Forest.

My Omaha predictions right now: #1 Oregon State, CS-Fullerton, #5 Texas Tech, #4 LSU on one side.   #2 UNC, #7 Louisville, UVA, #3 Florida.

DC/MD/VA rooting interests: UVA, Maryland, UMBC, Radford, plus Virginia-born players on UNC, NC State and Wake Forest rosters.


Snubs

The d1baseball.com guys think the last 3 teams out (roughly, ODU, Gonzaga and UConn) were more deserving than the last three teams in (roughly Maryland, St. Johns and TAMU).  But they also admit that its nit picking to some extent.  There were 6 or so “stolen bids” when the non-favored team won a 1-bid conference tourney … leaving a lot of deserving teams on the sidelines.

There’s some oddities in the draw; too many Big10 teams, which was only the 7th ranked conference, yet the Conference USA (higher ranked) only got two teams in (this goes to the ODU snub).

But the biggest, least defensible decision was to give Clemson the #16 seed/last host over UVA.  UVA beat Clemson 10-2 in the ACC tourney, finished with a better conference and overall record than Clemson, and (to say nothing about Clemson’s hosting) had similar arguments for hosting versus Florida State.  Then to add insult to injury … UVA gets sent to TCU’s regional.  Did UVA piss off the committee for some reason?

Marquee Draft-related players to watch

I won’t go through all 64 teams, but here’s some of the more interesting names to keep an eye on:

  • #1 Oregon State’s lefty starter Luke Heimlich is their main draft-eligible player this year.  He leads the nation with a 0.81 ERA on the year.
  • #2 UNC’s #1 starter is of course Ashburn’s J.B. Bukauskas; he likely goes #6 overall in the draft.  They also have likely 2nd rounders Logan Warmoth and Brian Miller as high-end draft prospects.
  • #3 Florida’s #1 starter is Alex Faedo, who is probably an upper-first round talent.
  • #4 LSU is led by Alex Lange, who is tied to the Nats as a lower 1st round pick.
  • #7 Louisville’s star is top-5 pick Brendan McCay.
  • #8 Stanford’s top-ranked draft prospect is pitcher Tristan Beck, a draft-eligible sophomore who missed the whole season with a back injury.
  • #10 Kentucky has a good hitting prospect in 1B Evan White.
  • #11 Arkansas is led by RHP Blaine Knight.
  • #15 Houston’s former friday starter was LHP Seth Romero, kicked off the team for disciplinary purposes.
  • Vanderbilt has two 1st round talents in Kyle Wright and Jeren Kendall.
  • UVA also has two upper 1st round players in Pavin Smith and Adam Haseley.
  • Missouri State has big hitting 3B prospect Jake Burger (4th in the nation in Homers this year).
  • UCLA is led by RHP Griffin Canning, likely 2nd/3rd rounder.

Several back of the 1st round arms listed here, many of whom are rumored to be on the Nats radar at #25.  Keep an eye on Lange, Romero, Beck (even if he isn’t playing) and maybe even Faedo if he drops that far (doubtful).

Other News

Defending National Champ Coastal Carolina struggled on the year and failed to make the tourney.  Miami had a relatively mediocre season and broke an amazing streak of 44 straight appearances in the CWS tournament.  A light year for Virginia schools with decent teams like ODU getting snubbed, VCU getting upset in the conference tourney, Virginia Tech struggling, the three local “George” teams struggling George Mason, Georgetown, George Washington), etc.


College CWS tournament references: (i’ll put more here when they get posted).

So this is what a 96mph cutter looks like

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The right guy is finally closing. Photo via mlb.com

The right guy is finally closing. Photo via mlb.com

New anointed Nationals closer Koda Glover came into Friday night’s game in what was absolutely a “save situation.”  Max Scherzer ran out of gas, clearly, had loaded the bases and the tying run was at the plate.

What’d he do?  He threw four “sliders,” all of them between 95.4 and 96.4 MPH, all of them unhittable, and struck out Hunter Renfroe with ease to close the game out.

Here’s the video of the final pitch: http://m.mlb.com/video/v1430295083/sdwsh-glover-strikes-out-renfroe-to-notch-the-save/?game_pk=490824

Now, some might call his pitch a cutter; Glover refers to it as a cutter while Pitch F/X classifies it as a slider.  It seems to me to be somewhere in between in terms of movement: i think it moves more than Mariano Rivera‘s cutter/cut-fastball, but doesn’t move as sharply as other sliders that we’ve seen.  Either way, a 96 mph pitch with that kind of movement is a heck of a pitch.

Lots of people freaked out when Noah Snydergaard debuted his 95mph slider, which looks like an actual slider (see video evidence here) more than Glover’s.  And Snydergaard’s pitch is pretty amazing.  But so is a 96-mph cut-fastball, especially from a guy who really doesn’t have that much time in the majors and who might be improving/learning as we speak.

Glover should have been the closer from day one and now he is; i’m guessing he doesn’t get supplanted from the role for a while.

Written by Todd Boss

May 27th, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Prep Baseball Update #1 2017: DC/MD/VA District High School Tournament Report: 2017 post-season underway

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Welcome to my Prep Baseball Tourney coverage for 2017.  We’re a bit late to get started thanks to my out-of-town trip, and I’ve done little in the way of coverage this year since the local landscape of high-end players hasn’t been as interesting.  But here we go; its tournament time so might as well get started.

Here’s the rough schedule of posting and what we’ll cover:

  • #1: DC/MD/VA District High School Tournament Report: post-season kickoff (this post).  Covers: MD regionals, VA district brackets, Private school tourney updates.  Usually publishes the week before Memorial day tournament finals.
  • #2: Maryland State Champs, Northern VA Regional Champs crowned.  Covers: MD state finals, VA regionals tourneys, DC regular season results.  Usually publishes after the Memorial Day weekend tournaments finish up.
    #3: Virginia Regional Results, DC Tourneys.  Covers: VA regional results, State brackets, DC tourney results.  Usually publishes the first week of June.
    #4: Final Prep Baseball Update: Virginia State Champions crowned.  Covers: VA state tourneys, recaps MD, DC, Private School results.  Publishes mid-June once the Va state tourney wraps up.
  • #5: Players of the Year/All-State lists and final rankings; publishes early July once all the all-state lists are published.

Northern Virginia

Virginal district tournaments get started last weekend and most are scheduled to finish this week.  The VHSL site has some district brackets already published.  NovaBaseballMagazine has done a great job keeping up conference results and has links to the conference tournaments under its “Standings” links.  Here’s a preview of the district tournaments for local conferences with the leading contenders.

The top four teams from each district tourney form the 16-team regional brackets, to be published later on once all the divisions are finalized.

  • 6-A Conference 5/ConcordeOakton beat Westfield for a district title repeat, not giving up a run in the process.  Robinson and the dangerous Centreville also advance.
  • 6-A Conference 6/Liberty: Madison squeaked by Langley for their 5th straight conference title; they finished the year with just two losses.  South Lakes and McLean also advance to regionals.
  • 6-A Conference 7/Potomac: West Springfield blanked South County in the final, Lake Braddock (the #1 seed) and West Potomac also advance to regionals.
  • 6-A Conference 8/ Cedar Run: Patriot cruised to the district title over Osborne Park.  Osborn and Battlefield also advance.

Regional Preview: The four expected #1 seeds advanced easily; Oakton, Madison, West Springfield and Patriot.  Unfortunately the two best teams (Oakton and Madison) are on the same side of the bracket.  I’m predicting a Madison-Patriot regional final and a Madison victory in a down year for the region.

In the 5-A division:

  • 5-A Conference 13/Capitol: Marshall repeated as district winner, with Wakefield and Edison advancing to regionals.
  • 5-A Conference 14: Briar Woods upset #1 Stone Bridge for the district title, with Broad Run advancing to regionals.
  • 5-A Conference 15: Potomac took the title over upset-minded North Stafford.   #1 seed Stafford also advanced to regionals.
  • 5-A Conference 16: #1 seed Halifax cruised to the district title.  Orange and Atlee also advanced to regionals.

Regional Preview: (5-a Regional bracket): I’m predicting a Potomac-Marshall regional final with Potomac taking the title.  We’ll see how good Halifax is soon enough; they face off against perennial power Stone Bridge in the regional quarters.  Prep Report thinks Halifax is the best 5-A team in the state… but Stone Bridge just handled Stafford easily enough, who they thought were #2.

There are some DC-local teams in the 4th and smaller divisions (mostly in Loudoun County).  We’ll go through them once their brackets are made available on VHSL.  The best 4-A team out there is probably Kettle Run, #1 in Nova Baseball Magazine’s rankings.


Maryland

At this point, the Maryland State tournament is nearly complete; the state finals are this weekend.  Brackets here at the MPSAA website and direct links to the four State-wide brackets are linked directly below.

  • Maryland 4-A: 2012 champ Northwest defeated several perennial powerhouses to take the 4A-West region title.  Eleanor Roosevelt won an upset-laden 4A-South regional.  #1 seed and powerhouse Severna Park won the 4A-East title with ease, while Baltimore-based Howard upset several perennial contenders to take the 4A-North title.  In the state semis, Howard and Northwest advanced to meet in the state final.
  • Maryland 3-A: Poolesville over Thomas Johnson in the 3A-East, Huntington upsettting Rockville to win 3A-South, 2014 4-A state champ Chesapeake-AA beat River Hill to take the 3A-East, and 2010 state champ C. Milton Wright over Landsdown in a Baltimore-laden 3A-North Regional.  Poolesville will take on Chesapeake in the 3A-final.
  • Maryland 2-A: Middletown won the 2A-East, two-time defending 2-A champ Southern was beaten by former 3-A powerhouse La Plata in the 2A-South final, Fallston won 2A-East and last year’s finalist Eastern Tech won 2A-South.  Middletown and Fallston will battle for the state title.
  • Maryland 1-A:  (mostly smaller schools outside the DC area): Three repeat regional titleists in St. Michaels,  Patterson Mill,  and Pikesville, joined by Boonsboro.  Boonsboro will battle St. Michaels for the state title.

 


DC

  • DCIAA: (2017 playoff bracket): Wilson defeated School Without Walls 7-4 to take the DCIAA title and continue its ridiculous winning streak within DC public school competition.
  • DCSAA: (2017 Playoff Bracket): Gonzaga beat Wilson 9-1 to win the DCSAA baseball title (Wilson upset St. Albans to make the final).

 


Private Leagues: WCAC/MAC/IAC and VISAA/Maryland Private

State-level Private School tourneys:

  • MIAA: Calvert Hall, Spalding and Gilman were the class of the MIAA Class A all  year.  Boys Latin takes the Class B regular season title while St. Johns Catholic is again the Class C regular season title winner.   Loyola came out of nowhere to beat Calvert Hall in the MIAA-A playoffs.  Boy’s Latin beat Severn to take the MIAA-B final.  St. Johns Catholic ended up beating Gerstell 5-0 to win its 4th straight MIAA-C title.
  • VISAA: The VISAA playoff brackets show the top 8 private schools in each Virginia division.  In Division I; DC local schools Paul VI and Potomac School were upset early, with #3 seed Benedictine taking the VISAA Division I title.  The Miller School took the Division II title with defending champ Greenbrier Christian getting upset in the first round.  Southampton Academy repeated as VISSA Division III titleists.
  • We are waiting for the Maryland Private School Tournament to be announced; it should have some of the better private schools from Maryland, including the non-affiliated but perennial powerhouse Riverdale Baptist.  Details coming later.  It should be interesting to see if the big time MD MIAA schools can touch the nationally ranked Riverdale school.

DC-area Private School Leagues


Local and National High School Baseball Ranking Lists:

These National rankings are dominated by teams in Texas, Florida and California, as you might expect.  These teams can play nearly 40 games and usually have at least 15-20 under their belts before DC/MD/VA teams even get going.  So its somewhat of an accomplishment just to have a local team get some recognition.  In fact, any cold-weather state team appearing in these lists is pretty special.


 

Major Newspaper Links/Resources for following prep baseball around the state

  • Washington Post’s AllMetSports section with standings and schedule results.
  • The Baltimore Sun’s high school page has information on some of the programs outside the DC area mentioned in the Maryland section
  • InsideNova.com‘s coverage of high school sports, but has put limits on the number of stories you can read.
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch has a HS scoreboard.
  • Hampton Roads Pilot (Hampton Roads) has scores for teams in the Chesapeake/Norfolk/Va Beach area.
  • NovaBaseballMagazine: great coverage of Prep baseball in NorthernVirginia (thanks to Joe Antonellis for the heads up on this great new resource).

Local Newspaper Coverage, including links to many local papers covering smaller jurisdictions.

Non-newspaper Links for Local and National Prep Baseball Coverage

Good Twitter accounts to follow:

  • https://twitter.com/toddeboss/lists/prepbaseball: I maintain an open list at my twitter account via this link, which contains direct links to dozens of local resources (including all the below).  Way too many retweets from the travel team accounts especially, but its a good way to keep up with local ball.
  • https://twitter.com/PBRVirginiaDC: Prep Baseball Report VA/DC coverage
  • https://twitter.com/NVBaseballMag: NoVa Baseball Magazine
  • https://twitter.com/NoVAHSBB
  • https://twitter.com/DynamicBaseball

Written by Todd Boss

May 25th, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Local Baseball

Tagged with

Ask Collier 5/22/17 (i’m back!)

30 comments

Our newest little Nats fan!

Our newest little Nats fan!

So, after nearly a 3 week hiatus, i’m back.  And what better way to get back into the swing of things than to do a mailbag!  Nats mlb.com beat reporter Jamal Collier was kind enough to post a mailbag last night.

(In case you were wondering where I was, we traveled to China to adopt a little girl.  The above is a picture of her the day after we met her for the first time as we were walking the streets of Jinan, the capital city of the province where she was living in an orphanage :-).  She’s a natural in the curly-W hat).


 

Q: Any sense of urgency from the front office to get pen support? could we see a trade soon or will Rizzo play it cool and wait a bit more?

A: I don’t know how there isn’t a sense of urgency at this point.  We’re nearly a third of the way through the season and the bullpen is in shambles.  As we speak, the Nats bullpen ranks 29th in ERA, 27th in FIP, and 27th in fWAR.  Their best reliever so far in 2017 was a scrap-heap NRI pickup in Matt Albers, who now seems to be closing.  Five different guys have saves.  The two guys who we thought would be in the “closer” discussion ahead of the season (Shawn Kelley and Blake Treinen) have ERAs of 6.08 and 7.78 respectively.  The bullpen has 8 blown saves already, some of which were really, really egregious (like May 9th’s scuttling of Max Scherzer‘s 8 inning shut-down effort in Baltimore).

But its not exactly trade season yet.  You very rarely see trades during this time of year; front offices are preparing for the draft.  Then they’ll spend most of June negotiating with draft picks and making roster decisions on short season squads.  Then there’s the International Signing period leading up to the beginning of July.  Then there’s the all-star break.  Only THEN do you really get into “trade season,” the period in-between the all-star break and the trade deadline on 7/31.  So I’d be kind of surprised to see the Nats pull off a trade right now.  More likely you’ll see more of what they’re doing with Erick Fedde: looking at their AAA and AA teams and wondering who might be able to help.  Fedde could be a nice little 7th/8th inning helper, kinda like Koda Glover was last year.  Perhaps there’s another starter down there who might make sense to do the same in a pinch.  The team still has several options in AAA and on the 40-man roster that they’ve yet to explore: Austin Adams has 31 Ks in 19 innings with a 1.42 ERA for Syracuse so far in 2017 …. to go along with 17 walks (but hey, Enny Romero was able to fix his walk issue, right?).  Trevor Gott‘s numbers aren’t awful.  So perhaps there’s some options.

Oh Side note; the rumor that the Nats had a deal with the White Sox to move David Robertson (AND salary relief!?) for Jesus Luzardo and Drew Ward?   That came from Bob Nightengale from the USA Today, who is one of those reporters who seems to get a lot of “anonymous quotes” from unnamed front office types looking to air dirty laundry, especially from the slimy Chicago White Sox organization (go google his reporting on the Adam LaRoche situation for a decidedly pro-ownership take on that whole situation, trashing the player without anyone taking any credit for the quotes).  So i’m not sure how much credit to give it.  But if its true … then you have to scratch your head as to why the Nats didn’t pull the trigger on that one.  Ward is a limited prospect, completely blocked at the MLB level  and who is Rule-5 Eligible this coming off-season and Luzardo is a lottery ticket coming off TJ surgery who has yet to throw a pitch.  I’d have made that deal in a heart beat; you’re telling me the Nats balked because they didn’t get *enough* money coming back?

Collier says the team is well aware of the issue, is poking around, but as noted above its two months from the trade deadline so there’s not a lot of urgency from other teams.


Q: Does Eric Fedde have a chance that to join the Nats bullpen soon?

A: Duh, yes.  Why else would the team have taken its absolute best starting pitcher prospect  in Erick Fedde and put him in the bullpen mid-May?  I don’t think it was to see how he liked it.  I think it was clearly to fill a need at the MLB level.  And soon.  I’d say they’ll give him a call as soon as he a) shows he can handle pitching back to back days, and b) he clears the super-2 deadline.  When will Super-2 deadline be?  Well, its generally been falling in the 2yr, 135day range.   So we’re right in the range as we speak of being at the super-2 cutoff; to be really safe, teams could wait until the first week of June to do call-ups and likely be clear of the cut-off.  So that works  out well; Fedde gets 3 weeks or so in the bullpen, then gets the call.  That’d be my prediction.

Collier agrees; says absolutely Fedde is coming up in a relief role for 2017 to fill a need, similarly to the way the team moved Trea Turner last year.


Q: When can we expect solis to rejoin the team?

A: Beats me.  Sammy Solis just can’t stay healthy, and his current injury is listed on b-r.com as having “no time table for return.”

Collier reports that Solis is not even throwing yet; i’d say we’re at least a month from seeing him back.  Not good.


Q: Are Trevor Gott, Joe Nathan, and Bryan Harper being considered for call ups in bullpen? 

A: I discussed Gott above: his numbers aren’t stellar but they’re not awful either.  Joe Nathan has been looking his age in AAA: 1.60 WHIP, 5.65 ERA but getting a K/inning.  Does this sound like the bullpen savior?  Bryan Harper had TJ Surgery in November; he’s out the entire year for sure.  So he’s not an option either.

Collier notes that both Gott and Nathan’s numbers are from earlier struggles and both have pitched better lately.  Fair enough; the team has gotten lucky with NRIs so far this year, perhaps Nathan is another possibility.  


Q: When is Dusty going to name Glover as the closer? I think it needs to happen. Let him have a real shot since there are no better options.

A: Who cares who the “Official Closer” is?  You know who has the best bullpen in the Majors?  Cleveland.  You know who Cleveland’s best reliever is?  It isn’t the “closer.”  Its time people started realizing that bullpen usage is evolving.  I don’t care who the guy is getting the useless “save” statistic; I want my best arm pitching in the highest leverage situations, irrespective of what inning it is.  Does Dusty Baker get this?  Probably not … which holds the team back.  But at least  he’s not Matt Williams in terms of bullpen usage idiocy.

Right now Glover seems to be pitching well, but Albers is pitching better.  So those are my late-inning/high leverage go-to guys.

Collier says Baker danced around the issue when most recently asked.  Which isn’t a surprise for a team with 5 different guys who have gotten saves so far this year.


Q: The RHH bench consists of Chris Heisey (0-14 as PH) and Wilmer Difo (1 PH hit?). Upgrades?

A: SSS.  You’re grasping at straws if you’re worried about this team’s offense right now.   Nats team offense is #1 in the majors in BA, #3 in OBP, #1 in Slugging, #1 in wOBA and #3 in wRC+.  For a National league team, that’s astonishing considering that they’re basically punting the Pitcher slot in the order while AL teams have beefy designated hitters in their stead.  So if you asked me if i’m worried about the right handed pinch hitting options, i’d say no.  Heisey was just fine last year, earned his spot this year, and he’ll be ok eventually.   You can’t expect your bench guys to be awesome, all the time; if they were, they wouldn’t be bench guys.

Collier agrees; its early.


 

Q: With Adam Eaton out even as Zimmerman makes a resurgence doesn’t it make this team the exact same team that lost in NLDS?

A: Not really; last year’s team was good offensively but not this good.  Last year  Bryce Harper struggled most of the year; this year he’s back in 2015 form.  You replaced last year’s empty ABs given to Ben Revere and Danny Espinosa with theoretically “better” at-bats from Trea Turner and Adam Eaton to start.  Even with Eaton gone, Michael Taylor hasn’t been completely awful.   But this team won’t go far in the playoffs without some reliability in the bullpen, no matter now many pitchers their starters throw.  That’s your concern right now.

Collier thinks its pretty much the same team, also noting the bullpen as a weakness.

 

 

 

 

2 week hiatus

95 comments

Hello all.

I’m traveling out of the country (am already gone) and just wanted to put up a quick post saying that we’ll likely go on a brief hiatus for a couple of weeks.  I return the 19th of May and can’t guarantee the ability to post…

Feel free to use this as a placeholder for the inevitable things to argue about :-)  I can probably pipe in here and there in comments.

Todd

Written by Todd Boss

May 4th, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Non-Baseball

We miss you: Former Nats from the 2015 team and where they are now

14 comments

Did we dodge a bullet by allowing Zimmermann to leave? Photo via The Boston Globe.

Did we dodge a bullet by allowing Zimmermann to leave? Photo via The Boston Globe.

Next in a series moving backwards.  Here was the “We Miss You” for the 2016 team.

Lets go back a year and look at those players gone from the 2015 team.  I’m building these partly from the Nats to Oblivion Posts and partly from my own notes using a combination of players gone via FA, trades, DFAs, to include major league players and significant minor league players.   If a player is still in the org but was just DFA’d off the 40-man, I’ll mostly skip them.  I may miss someone; pipe up in the comments if I have a glaring miss.

I’ll organize this by roughly by the level of the player; major league players who left via FA or trade, then DFA’d/declined players, then minor leaguers of note who departed.

  • Jordan Zimmermann; signed 5/$110M with Detroit and left us with a comp pick, used to take Dane Dunning.  I think its safe to say that Zimmermann’s tenure in Detroit thus far has been disappointing: he had a 4.87 ERA in 2016 and missed half the season, and he’s been even worse this year.  Detroit has to behaving some buyer’s remorse right now.  And he’s signed for 3 more years past this one, at big money.
  • Dan Uggla: The Nats were probably his last stand chance in the majors; hit just .183 and was given just 17 ABs the last two months of the 2015 season.  Never signed for 2016 and seems to be retired.
  • Doug Fister: signed 1/$7M with Houston, to whom he gave 32 starts and 180 innings of mediocrity (4.64 ERA) in 2016.  Apparently still believes he’s worthy of a 25-man spot and refused all offers this past off-season that were not MLB deals.  Remains unsigned as of this writing; he may have to swallow his pride if he wants to keep playing and take a MLFA deal.
  • Ian Desmond signed 1/$11M with Texas after declining Washington’s qualifying offer.  Desmond became kind of the poster child for all the things wrong with the Qualifying Offer season; after turning down a 5yr/$89.5M deal the previous season, he turned down a guaranteed $15.8M offer to eventually sign for $11M.  To add insult to injury, Desmond had to move off of SS for Texas, which was what propped up his value in the first place.  He had an up-and-down season with Texas, starting the year incredibly hot and making the All Star team, but slumping towards the end.  He got saddled with a second QO, which he again signed, but his 2016 season was enough for Colorado to give him perhaps the most inexplicable contract of last off-season, a 5yr/$70M deal … to play first base.  A position he’d never played before.  And Colorado gave up literally the highest unprotected draft pick to do so (the 11th pick in the upcoming 2017 draft).  Desmond suffered a hand injury this spring, and as a result Colorado has installed slugger Mark Reynolds at 1B; he’s done so well that the team is wondering just what they’ll do with Desmond when he returns in early May.  On the bright side for Desmond; at least he finally got paid.  And i’m sure that 100% of Nats fans would take what the team has done at SS since over having a $90M contract on their hands.
  • Denard Span signed 3/$31M with San Francisco, capping a frustrating year for Span and the team.  He only played 61 games for the 2015 team, forcing the Nats to start Michael Taylor and his 30% K rate in CF for a good chunk of the season.  Span’s first season in SF was similar to his first in DC; he struggled offensively.  He’s been even worse in 2017, and is currently on the D/L (in an interesting twist of fate; his replacement on the SF active roster?  None other than Michael Morse).
  • Nate McLouth; The team couldn’t wait to decline his 2016 option and pay his 750k buyout for 2016 after his disastrous stint with Washington.  His contract was ill-advised from the start; did we really need to pay good money to have a “veteran 4th outfielder?”  McLouth missed the entirety of 2015, has yet to sign since, and may have played his way out of baseball.
  • Matt Thornton signed a MLFA deal with San Diego for 2016, got called up after a couple of months in AAA, but struggled.  He posted a 5.82 ERA over the next couple of months and was released in August.  He has not appeared since and now at age 40 is likely done.
  • Casey Janssen was so poor for the Nats that they bought his 2016 out for a cool $1.5M buyout for 2016); he also signed a MLFA deal with San Diego for 2016.  Ah San Diego; the place where pitchers go to resurrect their careers.  He was released in late Spring Training 2016, got picked up with Boston in June of 2016, pitched a bit for their Short-A and AAA teams then was released in early August 2016.  Did not pick up with a team for 2017 and at age 35 with little velocity on his fastball, he may be retired.
  • Reed Johnson got picked back up on a MLFA deal by Washington for 2016 season, but did not make the team out of spring and was released on 4/2/16.  He did not pick up with anyone for 2016 and at age 39 may be retired.
  • Taylor Jordan: After brief stints with the team in 2015, started 2016 in AAA but got hurt in June of 2016, he had a second TJ surgery … and then was released by the club on 6/28/16 to correspond to the Giolito contract addition.  Man, that seems kind of cold to release a guy just after surgery, but his odds of making it back to the majors just took a significant hit.  As of 2017 has not re-signed anywhere and seems a long-shot to do so, with little major league track record and two arm injuries.  Likely out of baseball at this point.
  • David Carpenter: shoulder injury, DFA’d, elected free agency and quickly signed a ML deal with Atlanta for 2016.  However he was cut after just a handful of spring training games; maybe his injury is worse than we thought.  He then bounced from Tampa to the Angels system for 2016, and then signed back with Tampa as a MLFA/NRI for 2017, but was cut on 4/4/17.
  • Emmanuel Burriss: signed MLFA with Philly and lead-off against the Nats in their first visit to Philadelphia in the new season.  He was DFA’d and purchased a couple times by Philly last year, but upon his outright after the season he elected FA and signed a MLFA to return to the Nats for 2017.  He looked like nice utility infielder insurance until he got suspended for a “drug of abuse” in the spring (his second such offense).  He currently sits on Syracuse’s restricted list.  I have to say; his status as the sole DC-bred baseball player in the pros (as far as I can tell) and his playing for the Washington franchise seems to put him in a great post-career outreach position … but now with two drug suspensions on his resume, I wonder if he’s scuttled any such possibility of representing the team in the community.
  • Craig Stammen: fan favorite had an ill-timed injury late in the 2015 season and was non-tendered instead of guaranteeing him a contract for 2016.  He signed a MLFA with Cleveland for 2016 but never made it out of AAA.  I had him as a leading “oblivion candidate” until he signed another MLFA deal for 2017 and made the San Diego opening day roster.  His april has not been good though, sporting an ERA in the mid 8s as of May 1st.  He may be in danger of a DFA, which might spell the end of his MLB career given how the last couple of seasons have gone.  He gave the Nats 3 solid years as a bullpen workhorse that may have led to his eventual wearing out.
  • Tyler Moore never could match the magic of his debut season in 2012, but a series of injuries kept him hanging around in 2014 and 2015 when he may otherwise have been released.  His luck ran out though for the 2016 team, when he got beat out for the RH bench bat by Chris Heisey and he got DFA’d at the end of spring training.  We negotiated a trade of similar discarded assets with Atlanta, trading Moore for Nate Freiman.  Freiman didn’t last three weeks with the AAA team before being released (a measure of just how little we got in return for trade), while Moore got injured early and missed most of the year for AAA Gwinnett.  He signed a MLFA for 2017 with the Marlins and team out of spring training.  He even got a crucial hit against the Nats early in 2017 season, but was soon DFA’d again.  He passed through waivers and was outrighted to New Orleans (where, as noted in the previous post, he joins a litany of former Nats).
  • Xavier Cedeno was the first 25-man DFA of the 2015 season.  He was used 4 times in 5 nights in early April, gave up a couple of runs and then got designated with just 3 IP.  It was an odd move at the time; why was he getting appearance after appearance if the team was going to DFA him?  Why did the team have so little patience with him?  After his DFA, he got purchased by the Dodgers, who then sold him to the Rays 5 days later … and he had 61 appearances with a 2.09 ERA for Tampa Bay the rest of 2015.  He was a solid bullpen arm for them all of 2016 and remains on their team now.  Do you think maybe the team gave up on him too soon?
  • Taylor Hill: Hill was DFA’d to make room for January 2016 signings and was outrighted to AAA, where he pitched the entire 2016 season.  Hill finished out the year for AAA Syracuse with a 4.60 ERA in 27 starts.  He is still with the AAA team for 2017 but has been passed on the depth chart by several guys (Cole, Voth, Fedde) and faces long odds of a return to the majors with this organization.  Additionally, Hill has started the 2017 AAA season by getting shelled; an 8.14 ERA for April.  He may be in serious jeopardy of getting released.
  • Aaron Barrett: Tommy John in 2015, then in June of 2016, he had a major set-back in his TJ recovery, fracturing his elbow.  He has re-signed with the Nats for 2017 and starts the  year on the AAA D/L.  I was happy to see the Nats give Barrett this gesture of signing him so that he can rehab with the team, and I hope it pays off with an eventual return to the fold.
  • Matt Purke got his last shot at salvaging a career with the Nats, who signed him for big-time money ($2.75M as a 3rd rounder in 2011, the last free for all non-capped bonus draft).  He failed to impress again, and the team let him go to free agency.  He signed a MLFA deal with the Chicago White Sox, who assigned him to AAA … and then he earned a call-up by mid May 2016.  The nats were looking rather foolish for cutting bait on a guy who made the Chicago MLB team after just a few weeks.  But his time in South-Side was short lived; he was optioned back to the minors by the end of June, never made it back, was outrighted over the off-season and started 2017 off the 40-man pitching for AAA Charlotte.  He is still wild (8 walks in 11 2017 innings) but he’s only 26 so there may still be time.  But from a Nats transaction perspective, i’m not sure what else they could have done.
  • Yunel Escobar: after a productive season with the Nats, where Escobar played multiple positions and covered for infield injuries galore, he was traded to Los Angeles Angels for Trevor Gott and Michael Brady in the off-season.  At the time of the trade (mid December 2015) Escobar was considered surplus to requirements, in that the team had its infield already spoken for in Anthony RendonDanny Espinosa, and Trea Turner.  Two weeks later the team signed Danny Murphy to play 2B, thus relegating Turner back to AAA to save his service clock.  Escobar was traded to the team with perhaps the worst farm system in the majors; Gott has yet to throw a pitch for the MLB team and Brady is already gone via MLFA, so the return for Escobar is rather paltry.  That being said, I think the league knew we were shopping him, he had just had a career year with a BA 30 points above his career average, and may have been ceiling limited with the expectation of regression.  Since the trade, Escobar has played a solid 3B for the Angels and kept his BA above .300, and has been joined in their infield by fellow Nats reject Espinosa.
  • Drew Storen traded with cash to Toronto for Ben Revere, ptbnl.  I think we’ve litigated the Storen case to death; he was flipped more or less since the acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon and Storen’s undeserved demotion seemed to break him; it was as clear of a case of someone needing “a change of scenery” as I’ve seen with one of our players.  We got a player in Revere that filled a point of need (CF) and one that looked on paper like a good deal at the time.  I think its fair to say now that this trade didn’t work out for either team: Storen put up an ERA north of 6.00 for Toronto, got flipped again to Seattle, and at current sits as the 8th inning guy for one of the worst teams in baseball (Cincinnati).  Meanwhile Revere barely hit the Mendoza line for the Nats, forcing the team to put its SS of the future into CF as a make-shift replacement, and got non-tendered at season’s end.  A crummy end to Storen’s career here, where he remains in 2nd place all time (behind Chad Cordero) in career franchise saves.
  • Kila Ka’aihue,  Ian Stewart, Mike Carp: part of the great 2016 RH bat spring training cattle call; didn’t make the team and were eventually released.
  • Tony Renda traded to Yankees for David Carpenter mid-season in an attempt to buttress the bullpen.  Didn’t work.  Renda may have been my farcical “future hall of famer” before Max Schrock, in that they’re both basically undersized middle infielders that posted good minor league numbers but seem ceiling limited.  Renda got traded to Cincinnati ahead of the 2016 season, had a cup of coffee up there, but got outrighted after the 2016 season and remains on the AAA Louisville roster.
  • Mitch Lively and Evan Meek: both AAA hurlers released from their contracts so they could sign in Japan and Korea respectively.  Lively struggled in Japan and has been pitching in the Mexican league ever since, while Meek also struggled in the KBO and has been playing indy ball ever since.
  • Jose Valverde opted out of his MLFA contract and was released in July; never picked back up for 2015, or 2016.  Kept pitching in winter ball and is now in the Mexican league.
  • Eric Fornataro the off-season waiver claim never made it out of AAA, posting a mid 5 ERA and got released in July.   He picked back up with a MLFA for 2016 with Baltimore, but struggled in AA and was released in May of 2016.  He has not signed since and may be done.
  • Nick Pivetta: traded to Philadelphia for Papelbon.  We know the Papelbon story, and now we know the Pivetta story; he debuted in Philly’s rotation last weekend in LA after a solid year starting in AA and AAA in 2016 and a hot start in Lehigh Valley for 2017.  He may be in a position to haunt the Nats for 6 seasons …. all for a year and a half of tumult out of Papelbon.
  • Dan Butler was a Catcher we received from Boston for Danny Rosenbaum in Jan of 2015; he was a 40-man spot holder for most of the season but served mostly as catcher depth before being DFA’d in July to make room for Papelbon.  He was outrighted to AAA, elected FA after the season and went right back to Boston for 2016.  He remains as their AAA backup catcher.

Did I miss anyone?


Player I most miss from this list: From a Nats “legacy” perspective it was tough to wave good bye to Ian Desmond, who gave this franchise 11 years of his life.  Same with Zimmermann; he was part of the core that turned this team from a laughing stock to divisional winner.

Player Loss I most regret using unfair “hindsight is 20/20” vision: Pivetta.  Even if he’s “only” a 4th starter, he represents all that was wrong with the Papelbon decision.

Player Loss that is the most “We dodged a bullet” situation: Zimmermann’s contract; we thought he’d get overpaid, but a year and a half in his contract looks awful for an aging team that’s moving the wrong direction and has little chance of unseating Cleveland in their own division.