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2015 CWS Regional Results and Super Regionals pairings

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2015:

Now we’re through the Regionals and the field has been winnowed from 64 to just 16.

College CWS tournament references:


We’ll review the 16 regionals in order of the national seeds.  Bold is the host city, Blue is the host team and Red is the winner.  We’ll also highlight significant players and/or guys who are big names in the upcoming draft as we get to them (MLBpipeline.com summarizes their top 200 ranked players here: i’ll just talk about the 1st round talents and players w/ local ties).

  1. In the Los Angeles regional (host: #1 seed UCLA), the big story wasn’t the tourney’s #1 overall seed, but lowly #3 seed Maryland, who upset SEC power Ole Miss and then handled the #1 team in the land 4-1 to advance to the regional final.  UCLA made its way through the loser’s bracket and beat Maryland on 5/31/15, setting up a winner-take-all game to advance on 6/1, but Maryland prevailed in a 2-1 nailbiter.  This sets up a most amazing super-regional matchup; read on.
  2. In the Baton Rouge regional (host: #2 seed LSU), #2 overall seed LSU breezed into the region final, where they beat UNC-Wilmington 2-0 to advance.  Players of note: likely upper 1st round pick Alex Bregman had a relatively quiet regional at the plate.
  3. In the Louisville regional (host: #3 seed Louisville), Louisville made quick work of this regional, winning 3 straight games to become one of the first teams to advance.  Ace Kyle Funkhouser was thrown, oddly, in the opener against tiny Morehead State and was good but not great (2ER in 7ip), another sign that his draft stock is falling.  Nonetheless, Louisville did not look stretched in this regional, beating Michigan 13-4 to advance.
  4. In the Gainesville regional (host: #4 seed Florida), Florida (who I thought could have been the #1 overall seed) made quick work of its regional, defeating each of the other 3 participants en route to a 2-1 victory over Florida Atlantic in the final.
  5. In the Coral Gables regional (host: #5 seed Miami), Miami seemed to be in control of the regional, but was stunned by Ivy league champ Columbia, who forced a winner-take-all game on 6/1.  In that final game, Columbia finally ran out of gas and Miami embarrassed the Ivy Leaguers 21-3.  Players of note: Miami’s ace (and Nats 2014 2nd round pick) Andrew Suarez threw 7innings of 2-run ball to get the win in the opener.
  6. In the Champaign regional (host: #6 seed Illinois), the host team cruised to the region final, where they face upstart Wright State on 6/1/15.  In the final, Illinois handled Wright State to advance.  Players of note: Illinois closer Tyler Jay,whose usage this season has been deplored by scouts, did not even appear in his team’s first two wins, each a complete game by the starter.  In the region final, he closed out the game and showed off his arm, giving up 1 hit and a walk in four innings of work.  Jay is projected as an upper 1st round pick and a future starter … why he’s not being used as such in college is beyond me.
  7. In the Fort Worth regional (host: #7 seed TCU), NC State upset the host team to make the region final, but TCU fought their way out of the losers brack and forced a deciding 6/1/15 game.  After forcing the winner-take-all game, TCU rallied from an 8-1 deficit in the 8th inning to force extra innings and win on a walk-off to advance to the super-regional in perhaps the tourney’s best game.
  8. In the Springfield regional (host: #8 seed Missouri State), Missouri State lived up to its national seeding by cruising through the regional without a loss.  Players of note: Missouri State Ace Jon Harris threw 8 innings of 1-run ball to get the win over Canisius in the opener.  Harris has quietly put together a strong year and looks to be a back-of-the first round pick.
  9. In the Stillwater regional, (host: #9 seed Oklahoma State), 2nd seeded Arkansas made quick work of the regional, with host Oklahoma State not even making the regional final.  The 4th seeded St. Johns team pushed Arkansas but ultimately lost 4-3.  Players of note: Arkansas projected 1st rounder Andrew Benintendi went 4-11 for the regional but took an o-fer in the regional final.
  10. In the College Station regional (host: #10 seed Texas A&M), California (whose baseball program was one step from the grave a few years ago) upset the host to make the regional final, but TAMU forced a deciding 6/1 game.  In that game, TAMU won a well played 3-1 game that had both sides wishing these two teams played more often. 
  11. In the Nashville regional (host: #11 seed Vanderbilt), Vanderbilt awaits local team Radford, who lost to Indiana early but got revenge to make the regional final.  In the final though, Radford ran out of gas and Vanderbilt advanced by the amazing score of 21-0.  Players of note: Carson Fulmer pitched 7 innings of 1-run ball in the opener for the victory, potential first overall pick Dansby Swanson connected for his 14th homer in the 2nd game, and Walker Buehler was removed after 5 innings thanks to his team’s 10-run 5th inning.  Note: most of Radford’s squad is VA-based; I’ve never covered players heading there since it isn’t a destination baseball program.  But tourneys like this can lift up a program’s credentials, so we’ll take note of Radford commits more closely going forward.
  12. In the Dallas regional (host: #12 seed Dallas Baptist), local entry VCU made some waves early by reaching the winners bracket final, taking out host Dallas Baptist and Oregon State easily.  The host team made its way back to the regional final and has to sweep a 6/1/15 double-header to advance.  DBU forced the winner-take-all game, but VCU outlasted them in the final to be the only #4 seed to advance t his year, and perhaps one of the most unlikely #4 seeds to win a regional in the tournament’s history.  Note:  VCU’s squad is a lot more national than I would have guessed, but do have some players with local ties.
  13. In the Tallahassee regional (host: #13 seed Florida State), College of Charleston had to sweep a 6/1 DH from the host to advance, but they couldn’t get going an Florida State advanced easily.  Player of note Taylor Clarke (Ashburn native and Broad Run HS grad) got hit hard in the opener against Auburn but did not factor in the decision.
  14. In the Fullerton regional (host: #14 seed Cal State-Fullerton), host Cal State-Fullerton pounded upstart Pepperdine 10-1 to win the regional in three straight games.
  15. In the Houston regional (host: #15 seed Houston), host Houston lost a 20-inning heartbreaker to city rival Rice to be eliminated; this was one of those games you see and cringe, because both teams had guys come out of the bullpen to throw 9 innings (as far as I can tell, both teams used mid-week starters, and did not have middle relievers suddenly throwing 110 of the highest leverage pitches of their lives).  Rice has to sweep Louisiana-Lafayette twice on 6/1 on about 6 hours of sleep in order to advance, but couldn’t even win the first, losing 5-2 to send the Rajun’ Cajuns to the super-regional.
  16. In the Lake Elsinore regional (host: #16 seed UC Santa Barbara), UVA showed how badly it was under-seeded by advancing to the final by taking two close games.   Connor Jones (Great Bridge HS in Chesapeake) gave up just 1 run in nearly 8 innings to win the opener and Brandon Waddell pitched even better to beat San Diego State.  The regional final was wild, with UVA scoring 3 in the 8th to tie it and then 5 in the 11th to win 14-10 over USC to advance.  In the 3rd game, UVA threw out all kinds of names familiar to readers here: Alec Bettinger (Hylton grad from Woodbridge) got the start but failed to record an out.  He was relieved by Tommy Doyle (Vienna VA, Flint Hill) and got the game to UVA’s middle relievers.  Josh Sborz finished all three wins off.  Joe McCarthy struggled on the weekend, going just 1-6 in the final.  Nathan Kirby remains sidelined but could return for the Super-Regionals, bad news for whoever they face.  Other players of note in the regional: Upper-1st round draft talent Dillon Tate had 11 strikeouts in 8 innings, but gave up 4 runs and was out-dueled by San Diego State’s Bubba Derby in what was likely his last amateur appearance.  UCSB was badly exposed, getting crushed in its loser’s bracket game and becoming the only seed to go 2-and-out.

Summary of Regionals statistically:

  • 11 of 16 hosts advanced, including 7 of 8 National seeds.  This is a far cry from 2014, which lost most of its national seeds early.  This tournament is setup to be much more “chalk” than in years’ past.
  • 5 = number of regionals forced into the “extra” deciding game.  Most of them were good; a couple were laughers.
  • 10 of the 16 regionals were extended to Monday games, some thanks to weather, some thanks to the regional getting extended to the “extra” deciding game.
  • 11 number one seeds, 1 number two seeds, 3 number three seeds and 1 unlikely number four seed (VCU) advanced to the supers.
  • 6 number of #4 seeds who didn’t finish 4th in their regional: lots of overseeded 2/3 seeds ended up going two-and-out.  In fact, three #4 seeds pushed their way to the regional final: VCU (who won), St. Johns and Pepperdine (clearly under-seeded).
  • 1 host that went 2-and-out: the clearly undeserving host UC Santa Barbara.  Now, they were the 16 seed, but college pundits howled at their selection as host over a team like College of Charleston.
  • 9 = the number of extra inning games, including the epic 20-inning Houston-Rice game and the NC State-TCU winner-take-all extra innings affair.
  • 6 of the regionals went pure chalk, a good indication of the job the seeding committee did this year.
  • Biggest upsets: Maryland over #1 overall seed UCLA is the clear big-time upset.   Arkansas beating #9 Oklahoma State (who some thought should have been a national seed) probably was the 2nd biggest upset.
  • Most surprising regional winner:  VCU, who becomes just the 5th #4 seed to advance out of a regional since the field expanded to 64 in 1999.  But VCU is the most surprising team; the other #4 teams who advanced at least had prospects.
  • My Predictions: I was wrong about Illinois and Missouri State but was right about TCU struggling to get by NC State.  I was right in saying the rest of the national seeds should win but wrong on UCLA; nobody saw that coming.  In the 9-16s, I was right about UC Santa Barbara, wrong on Fullerton and right about Dallas Baptist … just wrong on which team was going to win.

Conference Breakdowns of the teams in the Super Regionals:

  • 4 ACC teams (out of 7 that made full field).
  • 5 SEC teams (out of 7 that made full field).
  • 2 Big-10 teams (out of 6 that made the full field).
  • 0 Pac-12 teams (out of 5 that made full field).  Per the d1baseball post above, this is the first time since the 64-team expansion that a Pac-12 team failed to make the super-regional field.  In fact, there’s just one team west of Texas in the super-regional (Cal State-Fullerton), who will be a big underdog at Louisville.  For me, this confirms what I’ve often thought; Pac12 baseball tends to get overrated.
  • The remaining 5 super-regional teams are from one-bid conferences: TCU, Missouri State, Fullerton, Louisiana-Lafayette and VCU.

Its clearly an ACC/SEC kind of year.

 


Super Regional MatchupsThe super-regional hosts were announced just after the last regional ended.

  • Maryland at UVA (guaranteeing at least one non-top 16 seed makes the CWS this year)
  • #2 LSU vs Louisiana-Lafayette
  • #3 Louisville vs #14 Cal State-Fullerton
  • #4 Florida vs #13 Florida State
  • #5 Miami vs VCU
  • #6 Illinois vs #11 Vanderbilt
  • #7 TCU vs #10 Texas A&M
  • #8 Missouri State at Arkansas

Super Regional Thoughts:

What an amazing set of circumstances: our two local teams (UVA and UMD) both fly 3,000 across the country to … setup a repeat of last year’s UVA-held super regional.  Who would have thought.  I’m not quite sure why Arkansas gets to host over national seed Missouri State; that’s got to be a point of contention for that deserving program.  Three great intra-state matchups featuring great teams from Florida, Louisiana and Texas.   The super-regionals could be pretty fun.

Predictions:

UVA gets Kirby back and holds off Maryland.  LSU and Louisville cruise.  Florida outclasses the over-achieving Florida State rival.  Miami pounds the “just happy to be here” VCU team.  Vanderbilt “upsets” by seed Illinois, who can’t handle the talent level Vandy puts out.  Texas A&M beats TCU and Missouri State blasts Arkansas after being insulted by losing hosting rights as a national seed.

 

UVA’s 2015 baseball recruiting class ranked top-10

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The publication Collegiate Baseball Newspaper recently announced its Top 40 college baseball recruiting classes, and 2014 CWS runner-up UVA was ranked 9th.  LSU, Wichita State, Florida, San Diego and Oklahoma State comprise the surprising top 5, though the rest of the top 10 contains some of the expected collegiate powerhouse programs.  In late October, Baseball America ranked UVA’s class even higher, at #2 in the country behind only LSU.

(Also: UVA announced their 2015 schedule on 9/25/14, schedule here).

UVA published their own press release, which detailed the names in their recruiting class.  A good friend (UVA alumni who has taken a big interest in the squad with their recent success) asked me to react to the class with what I knew.  Here’s what I wrote:

(Here’s what I wrote about UVA-committed players after the 2014 draft, and some of these guys were covered in my “pre-2014 season draft prospects” piece).

Derek Casey: he’s the player I’d be most happy about coming to school, were I a UVA fan.  He was a 3rd round talent, undefeated in his HS pitching career, 93-94 on the gun.  He should go far towards replacing the arms UVA stands to lose after next season to the draft (basically, all three of their projected weekend starters are Juniors in 2015).
Pavin Smith probably replaces Mike Papi like-for-like in the lineup; big lefty 1B/OF type.  Well regarded nationally.
Charlie Cody was more highly ranked on prospect boards before his Senior year; he’s a good bat addition.  At one point early in 2014 he was ranked as high as #34 for all HS prospects nation-wide by one ranking service.
Bennett Sousa is another guy who got a lot of national recognition even if he wasn’t drafted.  93mph from the left hand side, another future starter.
Tommy Doyle: its hard to say just how good he is: yes he got drafted (by the Nats in the 34th round) but his drafting seemed to be one of those “draft a local kid to appease a part-owner’s buddy” kind of things.  He pitched at a small high school (Flint Hill Prep in Oakton) with almost no competition, making it really tough to gauge how good he is.  He also played for a no-name travel team instead of someone like the Evoshield Canes.  What he does have going for him is his size: he’s 6’6″ and hitting 91, which probably comes out of his hand about a foot closer to the plate than a guy who is 6′ even, making it look that much faster.  If he can add a few mph, he’ll be a beast.
Jack Gerstenmaier, like Cody, had his stock drop in 2014 for whatever reason.  He was a 1st team PerfectGame All-American for the region at one point.  But Gerstenmaier-Cody could be UVA’s double play combo for years.

Of the rest of UVA’s announced class, I don’t know anything about them, even the local guys.  I’d guess that a couple of them are good talents … but most of them might be on minimal-to-no scholarship.

UVA lost a big-time recruit last minute in Devon Fisher (no relation to 2014 supp-1st round pick Derek Fisher); he was a catcher from Portsmouth who got drafted and then signed with Boston.  20th rounder so probably not for a lot of cash, which makes it that much more of a surprise.  He would have pushed this class up the rankings for sure.

With the new draft rules in place, its likely that guys like Cody, Casey and Gerstenmaier let it be known they had strong college commitments and thus that hampered their draft status.  Same thing happened to Conner Jones last year.  Good for UVA that they draw so well.

It seems UVA is quite setup for the future in terms of arms:

  • 2015 rotation: Kirby, Waddel, Sborz on weekends, one of the freshman/sophomores (Jones?) mid-week.
  • 2016 rotation: Choosing from Jones, Bettinger, Sousa, Doyle and Casey.  not bad.

MLB Draft Results for Players with Local Ties for 2013

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Virginia Tech’s Chad Pinder represents the highest ranked Virginia-tied player in the 2013 draft. Photo via dailypress.com

After checking in with some local prep players early in March 2013, and then taking a more in-depth look at all the local player draft prospects (with a focus on any Virginia-based player) in May, here’s how the draft ended up working out for these and a few other Virginia players (table in order of overall draft position).

Couple of useful links while reading here: Total Team Bonus Pool limits for 2013 draft and Slot Bonus Values for the first 10 rounds of picks.

(Sorry for the formatting of this table at the blog itself: it looks fine in the WordPress editor and in the RSS feed)

Player Name Pos Current School Klaw Rank BA rank Coll Cmmt Drafted #overall Drafting Team
Chad Pinder 3B Virginia Tech 86 53 n/a 2nd-Supp 71 Oakland
Kyle Crockett LHP UVA >100 93 n/a 4th 111 Cleveland
Matt McPhearson OF Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro) 62 136 Miami 4th 120 Arizona
Bobby Wahl RHP Ole Miss (from West Springfield) 66 36 n/a 5th 161 Oakland
Jimmy Reed LHP U Maryland (From Gaithersburg, MD) >100 >500 n/a 6th 185 St. Louis
Alex Murphy C Calvert Hall College HS (Frederick) >100 >500 Wake Forest 6th 189 Baltimore
Tyler Horan OF Virginia Tech >100 293 n/a 8th 252 San Francisco
Jake Joyce RHP Virginia Tech >100 >500 n/a 9th 286 Washington
Austin Nicely LHP Spotswood (Grottoes) 78 342 Virginia 10th 287 Houston
Ryan Cordell OF Liberty >100 196 n/a 11th 340 Texas
Alec Grosser RHP TC Williams (Alexandria) > 100 158 George Mason 11th 343 Atlanta
Conner Jones LHP Great Bridge (Chesapeake) 29 33 Virginia (strong) 21st 628 San Diego
Scott Silverstein LHP UVA >100 >500 n/a 25th 745 Toronto
Andy McGuire SS/3B Madison HS (Vienna) 74 196 Texas 36th 1069 Colorado
Jack Roberts RHP James River (Richmond) >100 360 Virginia
Thomas Rogers LHP Lake Braddock (Fairfax) >100 >500 North Carolina
Errol Robinson SS St. Johns (DC) >100 >500 Ole Miss (strong)
Alec Bettinger RHP Hylton (Woodbridge) >100 >500 Virginia
Zach Rice LHP Suffolk (Norfolk) >100 >500 North Carolina

Note that this is not an exhaustive list of Virginia or Maryland-tied players who were drafted; it is merely a list of some of the more notable names in the state pre-draft.   You can surf to MLB’s excellent Draft Tracker tool for the 2013 draft and query by state, which gives you any player who has a connection to a state (whether they’re from the state or attend college there).

Some thoughts here:

  • We continue to see the drastic effects the new draft bonus limits have on team’s decisions.  No longer are you seeing any high-end high schoolers taken with speculative picks in the 4th-10th round (much as the Nats picked and signed the likes of A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray).  Now, if a high schooler projected to go in the first few rounds falls … he may as well fall all the way out of the draft.  Consider what happened to Andy McGuire; pre-draft ranked relatively highly by pundits and projected as a 4th rounder by Keith Law.  What happened?  He falls to the 36th round where Colorado makes a (frankly) wasted pick on him.  So McGuire is clearly going to school.
  • Continuing on this theme, the number of college seniors and slot-signing players in the 4th-10th rounds continued to be high.  A number of Virginia-based college players went in this range despite not even being in the BA top 500 list.
  • Conner Jones is going to get his wish to go to school, falling from his end-of-1st round projection all the way to being a 21st round pick.  The lesson; the penalty for picking and missing on an upper-end pick is no longer just “saved” money but “lost” bonus money, so these tough-sign high schoolers went from first three rounds to nothing.
  • Bobby Wahl reportedly set out his bonus demands early ($1.5M or he returns for his senior season per Keith Law), dropping him from a worst-case end-of-2nd round projection all the way to the 5th.  Will Oakland find the money for him or will he go back for his degree?  Likely the latter.  Post-script: Wahl signed for $500k.
  • A couple of local prep players did get picked relatively high; Matt McPherson went in the 4th round to Arizona; will he take that slot money ($425k) or will he honor his University of Miami commitment?   And TC Williams hurler Alec Grosser was selected in the 11th round, which has a slot value of $100,000 unless Atlanta coughs up additional dollars saved elsewhere.  McPherson may want to take the money but Grosser likely could earn himself some cash by gong to school.  Post-script: both guys signed above slot deals; McPhearson for $500k and Grosser for a hugely overslot $400k.
  • The collection of high-profile Virginia hurlers who went completely unselected (the bottom names in the list above) includes a couple of guys whose lack of being picked surprised national pundits.
  • Lastly thought on all these highly regarded prep arms not being drafted: both the University of Virginia and North Carolina made out like bandits with this draft result.  All four major local UVA pitching recruits (Austin Nicely, Conner Jones, Jack Roberts and Alec Bettinger) are almost guaranteed to be going to college.  And UNC’s Thomas Rogers and Zach Rice will join that squad for the next three years.   The ACC should have some pretty significant pitching battles if these guys live up to their scouting reports.   Post-script: only Nicely ended up signing, for a big overslot $610k deal with Houston.

Virginia Region and State High School Results and Recaps

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We posted at the end of the District tournaments on May 23rd the results of the Virginia local district championships.  I admittedly took a larger interest this year because of the success of my own alma mater high school Madison, and followed the subsequent regional and state tournament closely.  Here’s a recap of those two tournaments, which culminated with the State final being played yesterday 6/9/13 in Chantilly.

The Regional tourney kicked off May 24th with this slate (home teams are the higher seeds, here’s the bracket):

  • T.C. Williams (11-10) @ Oakton (17-4): a tough matchup for Oakton if TC Williams throws their ace Alec Grosser.
  • Stone Bridge (11-11) @ Yorktown (17-5)
  • Stuart (15-6) @ Langley (13-9)
  • Robinson (10-12) @ South County (14-8)
  • Edison (12-10) @ Madison (21-1)
  • Chantilly (11-12) @ Lake Braddock (17-4): Lake Braddock has high-end pitching prospect Thomas  Rogers finally back from TJ surgery, adding a surprise element to this storied franchise and defending State champ.
  • West Potomac (12-8) @ Centreville (15-4)
  • Marshall (8-14) @ W&L (13-10); also a tougher matchup here if Marshall throws its lefty ace Mitch MacKeith

5/24/13 results: first round done, here’s the Northern Region tourney first round results:

  • Oakton d T.C. Williams 9-1 (I guess Grosser wasn’t a factor)
  • Stone Bridge d Yorktown 1-0 (an upset per seedings and records)
  • Langley d Stuart 8-2 (Stuart’s great season comes to an end)
  • South County d Robinson 6-1 (a traditional power ends a disappointing season)
  • Madison d Edison 13-1 (a predictable blow-out for the region’s #1 seed)
  • Lake Braddock d Chantilly 8-2 (Chantilly’s cinderella run ends)
  • Centreville d West Potomac 8-2 (no upsets here, setting up an interesting quarter final match)
  • Marshall d Washington & Lee 7-0 (an upset by record but perhaps not by overall capabilities)

2nd round Matchups on Monday 5/27/13

  • Oakton v Stone Bridge: Oakton beat Stone Bridge 6-2 earlier in the season and is favored here.
  • Langley v South County: no prior meetings between the teams, but South County is streaky and has one 5 straight.  Close game.
  • Madison v Lake Braddock: close matchup by record, no prior meeting but Madison has the advantage playing at home.
  • Centreville v Marshall: Centreville beat Marshall away 8-4 to open the season; Centreville favored here.

5/27/13 Results: Big upsets in the Regional quarters:

  • Lake Braddock takes out #1 Seed Madison 9-6 on home turf behind Thomas Rogers, recovered from TJ Surgery.
  • South County edges Langley 4-3 in 13 innings.  Wow.
  • Oakton steamrolls Stone Bridge 13-5, is now the new favorite to win the region with Lake Braddock.
  • Marshall edges out Centreville 5-4, continuing their cinderella run.

Regional Semis on 5/29/13 are set: Its now looking like and Oakton-Lake Braddock regional final.  5/29/13 results: Indeed both Oakton and Lake Braddock won easily and both advance to the State tournament.

  • Oakton d South County 8-1
  • Lake Braddock d Marshall 16-5

Regional Final: predicting Oakton but wouldn’t be surprised either way.  5/31/13 result: Lake Braddock batters its way to another Regional crown 14-7.

With the Regional losses for both Great Bridge and Madison, both teams have now dropped out of top-25 rankings in BaseballAmerica and USAToday‘s early June rankings.   Great Bridge and now Lake Braddock are Honorable Mentions in USAToday, implying a top 50 national ranking for now.

Virginia AAA State Tournament: with the 5/30/13 Regional results, the 8 participants in the state tournament are now known.  From each of the four State Regions:

  • Northern Region (Fairfax, Arlington counties): Lake Braddock, Oakton
  • Northwest Region (Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier counties): Hylton, Patriot
  • Central Region (Richmond): Douglas Freeman, Hanover
  • Eastern Region (Norfolk/Va Beach): Kellam,Great Bridge

Weird how Great Bridge loses early in its own district tournament but still advanced to the Regional tournament, which it subsequently looks to win.

State Quarter finals to be held Tuesday 6/4/13: Lake Braddock v Patriot, Oakton v Hylton, Freeman v Great Bridge and Hanover v Kellam.  The semis and final are at Westfields High School friday and saturday June 7-8th.

6/4/13 State Quarter final results: local teams and the favorite go through to the semis.  Results:

State Semis are Friday 6/7/13 at 3pm and 7pm.

Semis and Final ResultsBoth NoVa local teams were beaten in the State Semis, setting up a Great Bridge-Hanover state final and two of the best arms in the state.  In the state final, Richmond area Hanover prevailed over a Conner Jones-less Great Bridge 3-1.  Despite a 5-run lead on Friday night against Lake Braddock, Great Bridge left Jones throw 2 2/3 innings in the semi, leaving him ineligible to appear in the championship.   This seemed like rather questionable strategy, considering the way Hanover used their ace Casey to save the friday night game and to pitch the bulk of the state championship game.  If you’ve never heard of Casey, you will next year.  Only a junior, he’s already up to 93 on the gun, was a PerfectGame pre-season undergrad All-American and has an early UVA commit.  I’m sure about this time next year we’ll be hearing about Casey’s draft value much as we’ve heard about Jones’ all this spring.

Congrats to Hanover and Derek Casey for a 2013 Virginia State Baseball Title.

Written by Todd Boss

June 10th, 2013 at 10:17 am

Local Prep Baseball: Oakton & Madison win District titles; Regional tourney set

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Despite going to Madison, I've never seen this seal until googling it.

Vienna High School baseball continues its dominant ways, with the #1 DC-area Ranked Madison Warhawks and their next-door neighbor rival Oakton Cougars both taking home district tournament titles on 5/20/13.

Madison blew through the Liberty District, getting a bye into the semis, winning in the semis against Stone Bridge 11-0 (with their starter taking a perfect game into the 7th) and then beating the #2 seed Langley Saxsons 11-2 in the final.  Oakton beat a couple of Northern Virginia heavyweights in Robinson and Chantilly, the latter in walk-off fashion, for their Concorde District title.

The wins for Madison lately have vaulted them into some national prominence.  They’re #20 in the latest Baseball America top 25 poll (mostly b/c so many upper-ranked teams were dropped after losing in their state playoffs).  Honestly though I have a hard time putting Madison over Great Bridge HS (#22 in Baseball America), knowing what I know about that Chesapeake team (namely, Conner Jones).   USAToday’s latest ranking (dated May 8th so its way out of date) has Great Bridge #17 and Madison as a honorable mention.  I’m hoping for a Madison-Great Bridge state final.  Update: USA Today’s 5/22/13 rankings now have Madison at #22 nationally with Great Bridge dropping out entirely due to their playoff loss to Western Branch.   So much for a Madison-Conner Jones state final I guess.

Both Madison and Oakton advance to the Northern Regional tournament, along with their fellow district quarter and semi-finalists.  No schedule yet but the pool of teams looks like this:

  • District champs: Madison, Oakton, South County, Washington & Lee
  • District finalists: Langley, Chantilly, Lake Braddock, Yorktown
  • District qtr finalists: Stone Bridge, Marshall, TC Williams, West Potomac, Centreville, Robinson, Edison and Stuart

The Regional tourney kicks off tomorrow night with this slate (home teams are the higher seeds, here’s the bracket):

  • T.C. Williams (11-10) @ Oakton (17-4): a tough matchup for Oakton if TC Williams throws their ace Alec Grosser.
  • Stone Bridge (11-11) @ Yorktown (17-5)
  • Stuart (15-6) @ Langley (13-9)
  • Robinson (10-12) @ South County (14-8)
  • Edison (12-10) @ Madison (21-1)
  • Chantilly (11-12) @ Lake Braddock (17-4): Lake Braddock has high-end pitching prospect Thomas  Rogers finally back from TJ surgery, adding a surprise element to this storied franchise and defending State champ.
  • West Potomac (12-8) @ Centreville (15-4)
  • Marshall (8-14) @ W&L (13-10); also a tougher matchup here if Marshall throws its lefty ace Mitch MacKeith

Guessing on the seeds: Madison #1, Oakton #2, South County #3 and Washington & Lee #4.  Centreville #5, Langley #6, Yorktown #7, Lake Braddock #8.  This is slightly different from the district final results (Centreville and Chantilly seem switched if I’m reading the bracket correctly).   Madison gets an advantage by virtue of hosting its entire half of the draw plus the Regional semis and Final next week.  Regional Final set for 5/31 at 6:30pm at Madison.

Predictions for the tournament: all the home teams hold serve in the first round, then Oakton, South County, Madison and Centreville into the regional semis with an all-Vienna regional final next friday.

5/24/13 results: first round done, here’s the Northern Region tourney results:

  • Oakton d T.C. Williams 9-1 (I guess Grosser wasn’t a factor)
  • Stone Bridge d Yorktown 1-0 (an upset per seedings and records)
  • Langley d Stuart 8-2 (Stuart’s great season comes to an end)
  • South County d Robinson 6-1 (a traditional power ends a disappointing season)
  • Madison d Edison 13-1 (a predictable blow-out for the region’s #1 seed)
  • Lake Braddock d Chantilly 8-2 (Chantilly’s cinderella run ends)
  • Centreville d West Potomac 8-2 (no upsets here, setting up an interesting quarter final match)
  • Marshall d Washington & Lee 7-0 (an upset by record but perhaps not by overall capabilities)

2nd round Matchups on Monday 5/27/13

  • Oakton v Stone Bridge: Oakton beat Stone Bridge 6-2 earlier in the season and is favored here.
  • Langley v South County: no prior meetings between the teams, but South County is streaky and has one 5 straight.  Close game.
  • Madison v Lake Braddock: close matchup by record, no prior meeting but Madison has the advantage playing at home.
  • Centreville v Marshall: Centreville beat Marshall away 8-4 to open the season; Centreville favored here.

I’m holding to my predictions made before round 1 for the semis.  Oakton, South County, Madison, Centreville.

5/27/13 Results: Big upsets in the Regional quarters:

  • Lake Braddock takes out #1 Seed Madison 9-6 on home turf behind Dan Rogers, recovering from TJ Surgery.
  • South County edges Langley 4-3 in 13 innings.  Wow.
  • Oakton steamrolls Stone Bridge 13-5, is now the new favorite to win the region with Lake Braddock.
  • Marshall edges out Centreville 5-4, continuing their cinderella run.

Regional Semis on 5/29/13 are set: Its now looking like and Oakton-Lake Braddock regional final.  5/29/13 results: Indeed both Oakton and Lake Braddock won easily and both advance to the State tournament.

  • Oakton d South County 8-1
  • Lake Braddock d Marshall 16-5.

Regional Final: predicting Oakton but wouldn’t be surprised either way.  5/31/13 result: Lake Braddock batters its way to another Regional crown 14-7.

With the Regional losses for both Great Bridge and Madison, both teams have now dropped out of top-25 rankings in BaseballAmerica and USAToday‘s early June rankings.   Great Bridge and now Lake Braddock are Honorable Mentions in USAToday, implying a top 50 national ranking for now.

Virginia AAA State Tournament: with the 5/30/13 results, the 8 participants in the state tournament are now known.  From each of the four State Regions:

  • Northern Region (Fairfax, Arlington counties): Lake Braddock, Oakton
  • Northwest Region (Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier counties): Hylton, Patriot
  • Central Region (Richmond): Douglas Freeman, Hanover
  • Eastern Region (Norfolk/Va Beach): Kellam,Great Bridge

Weird how Great Bridge loses early in its own district tournament but still advanced to the Regional tournament, which it subsequently looks to win.

State Quarter finals to be held Tuesday 6/4/13: Lake Braddock v Patriot, Oakton v Hylton, Freeman v Great Bridge and Hanover v Kellam.  The semis and final are at Westfields High School friday and saturday Jule 7-8th.

6/4/13 State Quarter final results: local teams and the favorite go through to the semis.  Results:

State Semis are Friday 6/7/13 at 3pm and 7pm.

Semis and Final Results: Both NoVa local teams were beaten in the State Semis, setting up a Great Bridge-Hanover state final.  In the state final, Richmond area Hanover prevailed over a Conner Jones-less Great Bridge 3-1.  Despite a 5-run lead on Friday night against Lake Braddock, Great Bridge left Connor Jones throw 2 2/3 innings in the semi, leaving him ineligible to appear in the championship.   This seemed like rather questionable stragegy, considering the way Hanover used their ace Derek Casey to save the friday night game and to pitch the bulk of the state championship game.  If you’ve never heard of Casey, you probably will next year.  Only a junior, he’s already up to 93 on the gun and has an early UVA commit.  I’m sure about this time next year we’ll be hearing about Casey’s draft value.

Congrats to Hanover and Derek Casey for a 2013 Virginia State Baseball Title.

Written by Todd Boss

May 23rd, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Mid-spring update on local draft prospects

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High Schools are heading into post-season tournaments and local prep players have had their chances to make impressions through the Spring HS season.  How are our local prep phenoms faring this year, and what players with Virginia ties may feature prominently in the upcoming MLB draft?

Note; it is difficult to find updated stats on Prep players.  I tried.  If you know where to find reliable prep hitting and pitching stats, let me know.  So there’s not much in the way of stats here unless they’re college players.  For all the players below I’ve listed if they appear in the latest top-100 draft prospect rankings from two reliable sources: Keith Law‘s top-100 draft list and BaseballAmerica’s top 100 list and top 250 list.  Instead of re-linking over and over, i’ll refer to these two lists in shorthand via the links here.

First, quick updates on the players mentioned in my March 2013 posting on 4 local players:

  • Andy McGuire: SS/3B: leading Madison HS in Vienna to a 19-1 record (with 19 consecutive wins) heading into the District tournament and a #1 local ranking by the Washington Post.  Madison is also an honorable mention in the latest USA Today national rankings.  I asked Law in his 5/16/13 chat about McGuire’s draft status (he’s regularly in the lower 50 of pundit’s top 100 draft prospects for this year, implying a mid 2nd round pick) but Law is “hearing” 4th round, which he’s surprised by and may indicate that McGuire will honor his U. Texas committment.  Draft Rankings: Law #74/BA #196.  6/6/13 update: some video of McGuire at this link; just watching him run and move and his body type I’m immediately thinking he’s going to struggle to stay at SS, echoing what scouts say.
  • Alec Grosser: RHP TC Williams: Nothing else has really popped up about Grosser after the initial flurry of articles, and he’s listed as “Signed” and committed to George Mason.  PerfectGame has his best measured fastball at 92, ranging 89-92.  That’s still pretty good and I’m guessing he’ll head to George Mason to see where his arm takes him.  His HS has not had the success one would expect with a dominant arm, sitting at around .500 heading into the post-season.  Not ranked by Law/BA #158.
  • Matt McPhearson: OF with Riverdale Baptist popped up on MinorLeagueBall’s Mid-Atlantic report recently with the note that he has “game changing” speed.  He’s still listed as a “Verbal” Commit to U. Miami.  I’ve seen him as a late 1st rounder on some mock drafts.  Here’s a good scouting report on him from BaseballHounds.com.  Lastly there’s some scouting video online of him, showing a good bat from the left-hand side and with some amazing speed stats: a verified 6.2 in the 60 yard dash and home-to-first in less than 3.8 seconds.  As the articles say; that’s Crazy fast.   He’s one of only three guys with an “80” scouting grade in this year’s class per Jim Callis (the other two being Jonathan Gray’s fastball, and Kris Bryant’s power, and those two guys are both going in the top 3 of the 2013 draft). The only knock on him may be his size (just 5’10”) but he profiles as a prototypical leadoff/center fielder.  Law ranked #62/BA #136.
  • Thomas Rogers, LHP injured all year is still verbally committed to UNC.  Nothing new to report.  Not ranked in either Law/BA’s lists.

A couple of new names that I’ve taken note of locally, by virtue of their college commitments to major Baseball programs:

  • Errol Robinson, SS from St. Johns, signed to play at Ole Miss.  He was #92 in BaseballAmerica’s top 100 pre-season draft prospects and had a nice Q&A with them in March 2013.  His PerfectGame profile and draft write ups indicate he’s a quick-bat SS who has the capability of going in the top 5 rounds.  NatsGM’s Ryan Sullivan scouted him about a week ago and wrote it up here.   Based on this interview (where he talks about how his Mom, Dad and sister all attended or currently are at Ole Miss), I’m pretty sure he’s going to honor his college commitment despite any potential drafting.   Not ranked in either Law/BA’s lists.
  • Alec Bettinger, a RHP with Hylton HS in Woodbridge, has a verbal commitment to UVA.  PerfectGame has him with about a 90 mph fastball.  He’s “small but athletic” per this MinorLeagueBall article (6’0″ 165lbs), which may have him leaning towards a future professional bullpen role.  6’0″ is really on the low-end for what scouts like to see in a starter (think Tim Hudson is considered undersized and he’s 6’1″ 175lbs), so it seems likely he’ll take his fastball to college to see how it develops.  Not ranked in either Law/BA’s list.

Other Virginia-connected big names being talked about in the draft (thanks to this MinorLeagueBall article and comments for crowd-sourced Virginia-connected names to target)

  • Conner Jones, RHP with Great Bridge HS, the HS of Justin Upton down in Chesapeake.  Jones is leading his HS to a current 19-0 record, good enough for being ranked 18th by USAToday/22nd by BaseballAmerica in the state title game.  He’s easily the best Virginia draft prospect this year and is the only guy that MLBDraftInsider.com has going in the top 50 of their mock drafts right now.  PG has him at 93mph with a UVA committment that he has told scouts he intends to honor, but he’s getting back-of-the-1st round notice for the upcoming draft.  As scouts have noted, these “verbal commitments” are pretty meaningless unless a player specifically fails to file one specific item prior to the draft (which automatically invalidates them; i can’t recall what it is right now but believe its a drug test).  So we’ll see.  Law ranked #29/BA ranked #33.
  • Bobby Wahl: RHP from Ole Miss, a good sized Righty who is Ole Miss’ Friday night starter and who hails from Springfield, VA (West Springfield HS).  He’s 9-0 with a 1.43 ERA on the season, quite a stat line considering who he’s typically going up against (the #1 starters of other SEC teams, easily the best baseball conference in the land).  Law ranked #66/BA ranked #36.  If he last til the late 2nd round as Law suggests, he could be right around where the Washington Nationals could draft him with their first pick (#68 overall).  However, John Sickels/MinorLeagueBall’s latest mock draft has Wahl going #31, more consistent with BA’s rankings.  It doesn’t seem likely he’ll fall to the Nats.
  • Austin Nicely, LHP from Spotswood HS in Grottoes, Virginia (way down I-81 by my alma Mater James Madison University).   PG has him as a lefty who throws 90 and is committed to UVA.  Law #78/Not in BA’s top 250, a huge disparity.
  • Chad Pinder, 3B Virginia Tech.  Described as a plus-defender, decent bat.  His season batting stats aren’t that impressive as compared to his teammates, so he must be some defender.  If he can really move to SS like the scouting reports say and still hit for average and some power, he’s a good 2nd-3rd round prospect.  Law ranked #86/BA ranked #53.
  • Jack Roberts, RHP from James River HS in Richmond, committed to UVA and per PG gets up to 92mph.   Big guy (6’4″ 200lbs) who I’d bet can add more velocity if he goes to college.   If he threw a couple ticks higher he’d probably be a big time prospect.  Not ranked in either Law/BA’s list.
  • Zach Rice, LHP from Suffolk (outside of Norfolk), tall lanky kid who slings it 89 from the left hand side.  Committed to UNC.  Worth mentioning since he’s been recruited by the best team in the country.  Not ranked in either Law/BA’s list.
  • Kyle Crockett, LHP from UVA.  He’s UVA’s closer (and a HS teammate of fellow draft prospect Chad Pinder).  He throws 90-92 from the left side but has impeccable control; he has just one unintentional walk in 43 innings this year while getting more than a K/inning.  Despite being used as a reliever, I can see someone moving him back to the rotation to see if his stuff can play for 6-7 innings at a time.  Not ranked by Law/BA #103.

Conclusion: Looking at this list, UVA stands to lose an awful lot of pitching recruits if these guys don’t honor their commitments.  Bettinger, Jones, Nicely and Roberts are all UVA commits.  But imagine that staff in a couple years if they all go to college.  Phew.

2013 State Draft Report: Virginia