Nationals Arm Race

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Who is the Best HS player the Nats have ever drafted?

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Would you believe that A.J. Cole is the best prep draft prospect ever for the Nats in the Rizzo era? Read on. Photo AP

A comment about Mason Denaburg in the last thread, with MarkL wondering/speculating on whether our 2018 1st overall pick may possibly pitch in 2021, made me think, yet again, about the folly of drafting high school arms (or HS players in general) and then made me wonder..

Who is the best HS player we’ve ever drafted?

By “best” I mean possible one of two things:
1. Most successful for our team or for someone else, since (as we’ll see) we’ve had a tendency to trade prospects before they matriculate.
2. Most successful for the Nationals themselves.

So, we’ll answer both.

I’ll also divide this into the “Rizzo” era and the pre-Rizzo era, since you can almost count on one hand the total number of HS players Mike Rizzo has drafted since taking over in mid 2009, whereas the Jim Bowden regime was quite heavily skewed towards HS players.

Using the Draft Tracker as a reference, here are your nominees for best ever HS draftee by the Washington Nationals, moving backwards in time (note; i’m omitting some HS draftees like 20th round signees who happened to sign and subsequently flame out; this mostly is a value play of top-5 round picks plus other notables we over-paid).

  • 2020: Samuel Infante, SS/3B from Florida: too early to tell obviously, but the reaction in the Natmosphere was mixed to begin with. We’ll see.
  • 2018: Mason Denaburg, RHP from Florida. $3M signing bonus for getting selected 27th overall in the 1st round. Has been plagued by injury since his arrival, and his limited stats have not been promising. What is even more indicting about this selection is the fact that the next three arms drafted who signed ( Shane McClanahan, Jackson Kowar and UVA’s Daniel Lynch) were all college arms (like what the Nats normally draft this high), are all now considered top-100 prospects, and had all reached AA by the end of 2019. Opportunities lost.
  • 2016: Carter Kieboom, SS from Georgia. Held the #1 Nats prospect label for years, but has struggled in two call-ups now that have the team looking at 3B candidates in free agency, a pretty severe indictment of what they think they have in Kieboom right now.
  • 2016: Jesus Luzardo, LHP from Florida. Traded as the centerpiece prospect of the Sean Doolittle/Ryan Madsen acquisition in 2017, then became a top-10 prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2019 season. Pitched in Oakland’s rotation as a 22yr old in 2020 with league average results, projecting to be a #2 lefty starter. It was a lot to give up for relievers (at the time I was “ok” with the trade, but did note that it would look pretty lopsided if Luzardo turned into precisely what he’s projecting to become), but flags fly forever and Doolittle was an integral part of this team for a while.
  • 2015: Blake Perkins, OF from Arizona. Traded to Kansas City as part of a prospect group to acquire Kelvin Herrera, has a career .236 minor league BA as a glove-first CF.
  • 2015: Tyler Watson LHP from Arizona. 34th rounder paid like a 4th rounder that year. Traded to Minnesota to acquire Brandon Knitzler as part of the great mid-season bullpen construction job in 2017. Pitched all of 2019 in High-A’s rotation with decent results, likely in AA in 2021. Knitzler of course ran himself out of town in mid 2018, so the team didn’t get a ton to show for this trade.
  • 2014: Jakson Reetz, C from Nebraska. Has passed through three Rule-5 drafts now and was part of the 60-man extended roster in 2020. He stepped up his power and his offense in 2019 in High-A; is he turning a corner? Re-signed as a MLFA this off-season to do his 8th pro season in our farm system.
  • 2014: McKenzie Mills LHP from Georgia. This 18th rounder blew up in the spring of 2017, dominating Low-A and getting flipped to Philadelphia to acquire Howie Kendrick. His 2018 was solid in High-A, but he struggled with the jump to AA and got released in the minor league purge of June 2020. I wonder if he’s worth a MLFA flier in 2021 for someone.
  • 2013: Drew Ward, 3B from Oklahoma. 3rd rounder who was good enough to get promoted year after year, but not to escape “org player” role. Released in the 2020 player purge.
  • 2013: Travis Ott, LHP from Pennsylvania. showed some promise in his 2nd pro season in Short-A as a 19yr old, enough so to be the secondary piece in the huge 3-team trade that netted the team Trea Turner and Joe Ross. (more on that later when we talk about Souza). He continued to pitch well in Tampa’s org, but then curiously was moved to the bullpen in 2018 and then was stuck on the restricted list in apr 2019, where he presumably remains today. No idea what happened here.
  • 2012: Lucas Giolito RHP from California. Perhaps the most controversial candidate on this list. He had TJ surgery the year he was drafted, recovered, raced through the minors and debuted for the team as a 21yr old in June of 2016. His Minor league career looked too good to be true. But, in MLB 21 innings that year he pitched to an ugly 6.75 ERA, an even worse 8.21 FIP … and then got flipped in the off-season as the centerpiece to acquire Adam Eaton from the White Sox. I hated the move when it happened. There were rumors about how the Nats talent evaluators thought that Giolito had “plateaued” or that somehow he wasn’t someone they could work with. And, to be fair, it took a full year of awfulness in the majors for the White Sox before Giolito modified his mechanics and turned into a pretty good starter. His last two seasons have been ERA+ of 134 and 128 respectively, and he’s gotten down-ballot Cy Young voting. Did the Nats give up on him too early? Yes. Did we get equivalent value in return from Eaton? No …. but it wasn’t entirely Eaton’s fault. Who could have known that Eaton would blow out his knee, which would blow out his defensive value, which was a huge reason he was such a WAR darling prior to his trade? Does the 2019 WS title make every move between 2015 and Nov 2019 worth it regardless of the transaction? Most would argue yes. Flags fly forever.
  • 2012: Hayden Jennings, OF from Louisiana; a 6th rounder that year, he lasted just two years in the system and never got out of the GCL. Seemed like a quick release frankly; I wonder if there was some off-the-field issues.
  • 2010: A.J. Cole RHP from Florida. Just could never cut it as a starter for this team, with spot start appearances across 4 MLB seasons for the Nats. Finally flipped for cash after his DFA ahead of the 2018 season when he ran out of options and the team ran out of patience. He’s bounced around since, pitching for the Yankees bullpen in 2018, getting claimed off waivers by Cleveland for 2019, then signing on as a FA for Toronto in 2020, each time putting up decent numbers as an 8th/9th inning non-closer type. Why he could never do this for us is … a mystery. Certainly we could use a competent reliever right now.
  • 2010: Robbie Ray, LHP from Arizona. A 12th rounder given 2nd round money, Ray was the centerpiece prospect in the Doug Fister 2013 trade (which shocked the baseball world and made the Nats look like a genius), then was flipped again to Arizona ahead of the 2014 season. From there he turned into a solid starter, putting up huge K/9 numbers but featuring as a guy who struggled to get through 6 innings thanks to elevated pitch counts. He’s a FA this off-season and could be a decent 4th starter for someone.
  • 2010: Bryce Harper: you could technically count Harper here since he was a HS-aged player in Juco, but it isn’t like selecting him 1-1 was any great piece of decision making on the Nats part. He was destined to be a 1st overall pick from the moment he appeared on the cover of SI as a 16-yr old.

So, in the Rizzo Era, I’d say that the most successful HS drafted player for us or any other team is clearly Lucas Giolito (even though Ray has more career bWAR), with Luzardo projecting right now perhaps as having the capabilities of supplanting him in the future.

The most successful HS drafted player for the Nats? Only three have even played a game for the Nats: Cole, Giolito and Kieboom. Read that sentence again; in a decade of drafting, just three prep-players have ever suited up for this team. I guess you’d have to say Cole has the most impact for the Nationals themselves at this point, with high hopes for Kieboom going forward.


Rizzo was named the GM in August of 2009, so technically the 2009 and prior drafts were not on his resume (yes he was involved in the 2009 draft, but it was still Jim Bowden‘s show) You can see the effect that Rizzo had on draft strategy, because prior to 2010, the team was much more apt to draft prep players. We’ll run through them below.

  • 2009: Michael Taylor, SS from Florida. Quickly converted to OF, where he was a fantastic defender who hung around for years as 4th OF for the team. Finally non-tendered this past off-season, and he’s heading to Kansas City for the 2021 season. Some were sorry to see him go; if his arb salary hadn’t inflated so much, maybe he’d still be here.
  • 2009: Roberto Perez SS from Puerto Rico. Played three minor league seasons and (in my opinion) got a quick release after a stint in 2011 at Short-A.
  • 2008: Destin Hood, OF from Alabama. The 2nd round pick played out the string in our org, then bounced around for four more years as a MLFA. In his “make or break” year as a 23yr old in AA he slashed .224/.278/.327 and his fate was sealed. Eventually got some MLB time with Miami.
  • 2008: Graham Hicks, LHP from Florida; never got out of low-A, flipped in the Gorzelanny deal, out of baseball by age 22.
  • 2008: Adrien Neito, C from Florida. Had a great-looking season in High-A as a 23rd old, then the team left him unprotected in Rule-5 and he got plucked by the White Sox. I went back and looked at my analysis of the 2013 rule-5 draft and discovered that the team was sitting at 39/40 and really didn’t have the room to protect someone like Nieto, who was considered a long-shot to get taken despite going to the AFL that year. Nonetheless, after spending all of 2014 on the 25-man roster, he was went back down and never re-appeared. He has bounced around as a MLFA ever since and is still active today.
  • 2008: J.P. Ramirez, OF from Texas. Ramirez played out his 6-years with the Nats, then jumped to indy and eventually Mexican league ball.

In 2007 alone, Bowden drafted no less than 8 prep players in the top 10 rounds. Did any of them pan out?

  • 2007 Michael Burgess OF from Florida. He was beginning to blossom in 2010 as a 21 yr old, making it to AA and playing in the AFL, so he was used as the centerpiece prospect to get Gorzelanny. He didn’t do much afterwards, bouncing around orgs and eventually going to indy ball.
  • 2007: Jake Smolinkski 3B from Illinois. Very quickly became a solid prospect, succeeding in Low-A as a 19yr old and became the centerpiece prospect sent that off-season to acquire Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen. Interestingly, he washed out of the Miami org as a MLFA, caught on with Texas and had several years as a MLB utility player with Texas and Oakland after that.
  • 2007: Steven Souza, OF from Washington State: a middling prospect for years, he started to show some serious pop as a 23yr old in High-A, culminating with a blow-up season in AAA as a 25 year old that allowed the Nats to pull off perhaps their greatest ever trade heist; packing Souza with Travis Ott and interjecting themselves into a trade between Tampa and San Diego to fleece San Diego out of two first round picks in Trea Turner and Joe Ross. Souza had his best season in 2017 for Tampa, a 3.5 win team, but has struggled with injuries
  • 2007: Derek Norris, C from Kansas. 5 seasons, 5 promotions for Norris in our system, before he was included as perhaps the 3rd piece of 4 in the Gio Gonzalez trade. Once he got to Oakland though, he blew up and had several solid seasons, even making the 2014 all star team. But he declined quickly, got moved to San Diego, then the nats re-acquired him back for Luis Avila … only to DFA him a few weeks later.
  • 2007: Josh Smoker, LHP from Georgia. Played out his string with the team without ever getting out of A-ball, then made it into the Mets’ bullpen in 2016 and 2017, where he put up below replacement level numbers.
  • 2007: Jack McGeary, LHP from Massachusetts. Paid like a mid-1st rounder in the days before bonus slots, McGeary seemed like a potential steal. Unfortunately, he just could not compete, suffering injuries multiple times. Mercifully taken in the minor league rule-5 draft by his hometown team Boston in 2013, he didn’t do much better there, eventually washing out of indy ball in 2014 as a 25-yr old.
  • 2007; PJ Dean, RHP from Texas. Looked awesome in Short-A as a 19yr old, throwing 10 starts with a 1.97 ERA. Was the lead prospect in the Willingham/Olsen trade that off-season… then, nothing. I have no idea what happened to the guy; he never played another game of baseball for the Marlins or anyone. Does anyone have any idea what happened to him?
  • 2007: Patrick McCoy LHP from Arizona; struggled as a starter early, moved to the pen, played out his string with the Nats as an org guy, signed on as a MLFA with Detroit and got a call-up where he put nearly 2.5 runners on base and was waived. Bounced around after that, never made the majors again.

It is notable that Jim Bowden nearly signed more HS players between these last two years than Rizzo has done in a decade in charge. Just a completely different mind-set of drafting.

In 2006 it was more of the same: the first 6 players he picked were all HS players.

  • 2006: Chris Marrero, OF from Florida. Made his way up to the big club in 2011 as a 22yr old, never really made it back. Was the quintessential 4-A guy for years, profiling as a corner guy w/o great defensive skills but missing the big bat.
  • 2006: Stephen Englund, OF from Washington State. Seems like a huge scouting miss; he just could not hit pro pitching. Career minor league slash line of .188/.308/.252. Cut from Low-A in 2009 after starting the season 11-101 with 48 Ks.
  • 2006: Stephen King, 3B from Florida. Played for years in the low-minors as a light-hitting infielder, eventually leaving as a 6-yr FA. Got to AA twice, was never able to even hit .200 there.
  • 2006: Colten Willems, RHP from Florida. The 1st rounder was ok his first couple of years in pro ball, never could really compete above low-A, then abruptly retired at age 21 when he struggled upon getting demoted back to Hagerstown. A huge draft bust.
  • 2006: Sean Black, RHP from New Jersey. Drafted in the 2nd round, refused to sign. Went to Seton Hall, 7th round pick by the Yankees three years later. Was a solid starter up to AA, got flipped to Cincinnati and his career fizzled.
  • 2006: Glenn Gibson LHP from New York. Had a great pro debut in Short-A as a 19yrold, then was traded to the Rays to obtain Elijah Dukes. Tampa dumped him two seasons later, and the Nats picked him back up because they liked him enough to draft him in the first place.  He didn’t go much further and was released from affiliated ball in 2011 as a 23yr old.
  • 2006: Sam Brown, RHP from North Carolina. Did not sign, went to NC State, signed with Texas, then signed as a MLFA with the Nats in 2011 after his release. Pitched one year in the Hagerstown bullpen and was done.
  • 2006: Brad Peacock, RHP from Florida. A 41st round pick selected under the previous rules of “Draft and Follow.” He was drafted in June of 2006, but not signed until May 30th of 2007. It took him a while to get going professionally, but he blew up in 2011, rising from High-A to the majors with a sterling debut. This led to him being included in the player package to acquire Gonzalez from Oakland. After a year there, he was moved again to Houston in the Jed Lowrie move, and from there he flourished in a swingman role, winning a World Series there in 2017.

In 2005, just one top-10 round HS player drafted, but a few more signed on in the later rounds.

  • 2005: Ryan DeLaughter; OF from Texas. he never really succeeeded outside of complex ball, giving Short-A a try multiple times. Hooked on briefly with Milwaukee and indy league baseball as a 22yr old.
  • 2005: Deryck Johnson, CF from Florida; this 14th rounder played just one season in rookie ball, hit .185 and was cut.
  • 2005: Michael Watkins, RHP from Rhode Island. Pitched parts of two rookie league seasons and got cut.
  • 2005: Eduardo Pichardo, RHP from Florida. This 17th rounder threw 13.2 innings across two rookie league seasons and posted a stellar 20.41 ERA and was released.
  • 2005: Brad Clark, RHP from Florida. This 19th rounder got hurt, didn’t pitch until 2007, threw 5 1/3 total innings and got cut.
  • 2005: Ryan Butchter RHP from New Jersey: signed as a 33rd rounder, somehow survived two seasons with ERAs north of 7.00, then got traded after his third pro year for Matt Avery. Avery pitched one year of relief for our AA team and got cut. Meanwhile, Butchter hung on for years, finally debuting as a 27 yr old, and then as a 29yr old rookie excelled in the San Diego bullpen.

So, in the pre-Rizzo era, who’s the most accomplished HS drafted player for any team? Best candidates are Peacock, Norris, Souza, and Taylor. I’ll go out on a limb and say its Peacock.

For just the Nats? Has to be Taylor.

2018 Draft coverage; Extended DC/MD/VA Draftee review

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UVA's Daniel Lynch is the highest-drafted DC/MD/VA player for 2018. Photo via Richmond Times Dispatch

UVA’s Daniel Lynch is the highest-drafted DC/MD/VA player for 2018. Photo via Richmond Times Dispatch

Here’s a review of MLB Draftees in 2018 with Local ties.  By Local, I mean any player that either went to high school or college anywhere in DC, MD or VA.

We posted earlier about all the marquee names in the area who may get draft notice;  almost all of them went undrafted  this year and so lots of colleges are getting VA and MD based kids heading to school.

Its clear to me that several clubs in particular had strong area scouts in the Virginia area;

  • Chicago Cubs: the Cubs took four Virginia-tied players in the top 10 picks and a fifth later on.
  • Cleveland: they took three locally-tied players in the first 11 rounds
  • New York Yankees: took four locally-tied players in this draft, three between the 8th and 13th rounds.
  • Cincinnati took two VA-college players in the top 10 rounds (both likely senior sign/money savers)
  • Arizona took three VA-tied players, including a flier on Zach Hess in the later rounds after he so precipitously fell.

There are several high schoolers in the DC/MD/VA area with commits to major colleges who went completely un-drafted, surprising me.  Stephen Pelli (UNC commit), Cade Huntgate (Florida State), Will Schroeder (also UNC), Kody Milton (UMD), Tyler Casagrande (Vanderbilt), Jacob Steinberg (Miami), and Ryan Archibald (Arizona).   This list includes both the Virginia and Maryland Gatorade players of the year for 2018, normally guys who are getting significant draft attention.

Its kind of a down year for prep players in the area.  We didn’t see a DC/MD/VA prep player even picked until the 18th round, and then  just a handful of others with throw-away mid-30th round picks.

Here’s a full table of all locally tied kids drafted this year.

RoundOverallDC LocalStateDrafting TeamPlayerPositionCol/HSHSCollege (or Commit)
134NoVAKansas CityLynch, DanielLHP4YR JRFreeman (Richmond)UVA
1-supp39NoVAArizonaMcCarthy, JakeOF4YR JRScranton HS (Scranton PA)UVA
1-supp43NoVASt. LouisRoberts, GriffinRHP4YR JRJames River HS (Midlothian)Wake Forest
3103NoMDClevelandPalacios, RichardSS4YR JRBrooklyn NYTowson
5158NoVAChicago CubsWeber, Andy2B4YR JRAuburn, OHUVA
5154NoMDSt. LouisDunn, Nick2B4YR JRSunbury PAUMD
7218NoVAChicago CubsArtis, D.J.CF4YR JRGreensboro NCLiberty
7223YesMDClevelandMorris, CodyRHP4YR JRReservoir HS (Columbia)South Carolina
7214NoVAMinnesotaWinder, JoshRHP4YR JRJames River HS (Midlothian)VMI
8248YesVAChicago CubsMort, ZachRHP4YR JRCosby HS (Chesterfield)George Mason
8247YesVANew York YankeesVan Hoose, ConnorRHP4YR SRGonzaga HS (via Alexandria)Bucknell
9278NoVAChicago CubsCasey, DerekRHP4YR SRHanover HS (Richmond)UVA
9259NoVACincinnatiMcDonald, AndrewRHP4YR JRCincinnati, OHVirginia Tech
10292NoVAArizonaLanghorne, Brett3B4YR SRLee-Davis HS, MechanicsvilleCarson-Newman College
10288NoVACincinnatiSousa, BennettLHP4YR SRNorth Palm Beach, FLUVA
11344YesVAClevelandDeGroat, JackRHP4YR JRLoudoun Valley HSLiberty
12367NoVANew York YankeesPita, MattOF4YR JRCosby HS (Chesterfield)VMI
13397YesMDNew York YankeesPasteur, IsaiahRHP4YR SRWinters Mill HS, Westminster MDGeorgetown
15449NoVATexasSimmons, CameronRF4YR JRRoyersford, PAUVA
16473YesVAOaklandNightengale, BryceRHP4YR JRAllegany HS, Cumberland, MDGeorge Mason
16474NoVAPittsburghSelby, ColinRHP4YR JRWestern Branch HS, Chesapeake VARandolph-Macon
18535NoMDBaltimoreZebron, JakeRHPHSColonial Richardson HS, FederalsburgNC State (commit)
19564YesDCPittsburghKobos, WillRHP4YR JRCharlotte, NCGeorge Washington
20586YesVASan FranciscoManning, JeffSS4YR JRBattlefield HS, HaymarketAlabama
20596NoVATorontoKapra, VinnySS4YR SRMelbourne, FLRichmond
21632NoVAKansas CityEaton, NathanCF4YR SOThomas Dale HS (Richmond)VMI
21644NoVALos Angeles DodgersTodd, TreCF4YR JRNew JerseyLiberty
22672NoMDHoustonCostes, MartyOF4YR JRArchbishop Curley (Baltimore)UMD
23698NoVAChicago CubsTaylor, HunterCF4YR SRNandua HS (DelMarVA peninsula)South Carolina
25756YesDCColoradoMetz, Robert2B4YR 5SPoolesville George Washington
26783NoVASt. LouisCoward, ConnorRHP4YR JRPittsburgh, PAVirginia Tech
26813YesVAWashingtonMorse, ColinRHP (Str)4YR SRMcLean HS, McLean VAShenandoah
28836YesVATorontoMcGuire, Andy1B4YR JRMadison HS, ViennaTexas
29877NoVANew York YankeesBertsch, JacksonLHP4YR 5S?Liberty
30906NoVAColoradoHarlow, ColtonLHP4YR SR?JMU
32955NoMDBaltimoreSandridge, JayvienLHPHSMercersburg Academy (Hagerstown)UCF (commit)
341012NoVAArizonaHess, ZackRHP (Str)4YR SOLiberty Christian Academy (Lynchburg)LSU
351045YesVABaltimoreGrammes, ConorRHP4YR SOMcLean HS, McLean VAXavier
351038YesVAChicago White SoxMorgan, JasonRHP4YR SRChancellor HS (Fredericksburg)UNC
351037NoVAPhiladelphiaRoss, AustinRHP (Str)4YR 5S?Radford
381130NoVANew York MetsZona, NickSSHS SRHanover HS (Richmond)JMU (commit)
391172NoVAKansas CityHackenberg, AdamCHS SRMiller School of Albemarle (VA)Clemson (commit)
401205NoVAMilwaukeeClarke, WesCHS SRLiberty Christian Academy (Lynchburg)South Carolina (commit)

Local draft-prospects to keep an eye in for the 2018 draft

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Will Zack Hess get drafted or will he go back for another year of college? Photo via 247sports.

Will Zack Hess get drafted or will he go back for another year of college? Photo via 247sports.

Its draft day 2018!

Here’s one of the longer-running drafts in my system; I first created this post in July of 2015 and its now ready for publication just in time for tonight’s draft.  This is a quick guide to possible draft prospects with local ties.  Its kind of a “down” year for DC area prospects … with just a couple of UVA players (who are from elsewhere) getting 1st or 2nd round buzz this year.  This post has turned mostly into a list of “good” local kids, a few of which may get drafted.

The College players are mostly drawn from my 2015 Local High School draft coverage, listing guys who were HS seniors in 2015 who went to 3-year programs and who are now draft eligible.  From that time frame, here’s the 2015 pre-season list and then the Post-Draft/post-signing coverage from 2015.  Pop-up guys plus non-MD/VA native players playing at MD/VA colleges are added as they become serious draft prospects.

Major Local College Draft Prospects for 2018

  • Zack Hess, RHP from LSU by way of Liberty Christian Academy; will be a draft-eligible sophomore and is already making noise early in the 2017 season as LSU’s mid-week starter.  2nd team all-american Freshman.  Standout in the 2017 CWS, with announcers gushing over his stuff (95-96 fastball with movement, power curve).  2nd team 2018 collegiate pre-season All American.
  • Jake McCarthy, OF UVA.  2nd team 2018 collegiate pre-season All American.
  • Daniel Lynch, LHP UVA: has come on strong and put himself into 2nd round consideration.
  • Nick Dunn, inf U Maryland: may be a 3rd/4th rounder.

Lesser Local College draft eligibles w/ Local Ties

(Also includes juniors not drafted in 2017, which will all be round 7-10 under-slot fodder, too many to name here).

  • UVA: Evan SperlingConnor Eason, Nathan Eikhoff, Grant Donahue, Cameron Simmons
  • U of Maryland: A.J. Lee, Hunter Parsons, Marty Costes
  • Liberty: Jack DeGroat (by way of Loudoun Valley HS), D.J. Artis
  • Virginia Tech: Nic Enright, Stevie Mangrum, John DeFazio, Paul Hall, Sam Fragale, Tom Stoffel
  • South Carolina: Cody Morris, Danny Blair
  • Wake Forest: Harvey Logan
  • VCU: Brody Cook
  • UNC-Asheville: Jordan Carr
  • Campbell: James Monaghan
  • Towson: Richie Palacios
  • George Washington: Isaiah Pasteur

DC/MD/VA Local Prep players for 2018; it is definitely a down year for local prep prospects; we may not see many drafted from the DC area, if any.  Also, my apologies if i’ve got the college commits wrong; these things change all the time and I didn’t have time to look everyone up in perfectgame.org.

  • Kody Milton, 1B from Severna Park HS.  Honorable All-Met in 2015 as a freshman.  Evoshield Canes 16-U for 2016.  Early commit to Maryland.  All-Met 2017 as a junior.  Anne-Arundal county POTY 2017 as a junior.  PGNationals 2017.  Evoshield National 17U summer/WWBA 2017.  Baltimore Sun All-Metro player of the year in 2017 as a junior.  3rd team All American ABCA in 2017 as junior.
  • Will Schroeder, RHP/SS from Loudoun County HS.  2016 Conference 21B Player of the Year, Region 4A West All-Region first team and 2016 VHSL 4A All-State first team as a sophomore.  Loudoun County POTY for 2016 as a sophomore.  Stars 16U for summer 2016.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.  WWBA with Stars baseball 2017 as a junior.  Early commit to UNC.  PGNationals 2017.   Stars 17U Red at WWBA 2017.
  • Tyler Casagrande, OF from Paul VI via Leesburg; WWBA with Stars baseball 2017 as a junior, Visaa All State Division I in 2017.  2nd-team All-Met as jr in 2017.  Early commit to Arizona.  PGNationals 2017.  Stars 17U Red at WWBA 2017
  • Cristian Sanchez, RHP/MIF from Paul VI via Centreville.  WWBA with Stars baseball 2017 as a junior.  Stars 17U Red at WWBA 2017.  Early commit to Alabama, now UVA.
  • Wilson Ayers, RHP for Briar Woods.  VHSL All-state 5A as a junior in 2017.  Early commit to Navy.   Stars 17U Red at WWBA 2017.
  • Jacob Steinberg RHP St. Johns in DC.  2nd team 2016 American Family All-DC as sophomore.  Early commit to Miami.  Diamond Skills Dodgers at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  Evoshield Canes National 17-U team summer of 2017.
  • Brooks Bengston, OF from Georgetown Prep.  Evoshield 17U National team for WWBA 2017, High Point commit.
  • Joe Seidler, RHP Chesapeake AA.  2nd-team All-Met 2016 as a sophomore, 1st team All-Met in 2017 as a junior.  Playing summer ball for Mid-Atlantic Red Sox.  All-Anne-Arundal 2017 as junior.  Baltimore All-Metro 2017 as a junior.
  • Carter Bosch, RHP from the Potomac School.  All-Met 2017 as a junior.   All PBR Virginia state finalist as a junior in 2017.  D-bat Elite summer team.
  • Trendon Craig, OF from DeMatha.  All-Met 2017 as a junior.  Perfect Game profile has him graduating 2019 though and attending Riverdale Baptist.
  • Logan Cooper, OF for Loudoun Valley.  2016 Region 4A West All-Region first team as a sophomore.  2016 VHSL 4A All-State second team as a sophomore.  All Loudoun County 2016.  No PG profile.
  • Kyle Novak, 2B/SS from Madison HS in Vienna.  #3 hitter for the 2015 6-A champion Madison as a *freshman*.  First-team 6A Conference 6 and 2nd team All 6-A North region in 2016.  Repeated as 2nd team all 6-A North region as a junior.  Early commit to JMU.  Stars 17U Red at WWBA 2017
  • Jake Nielsen: RHP from Madison HS in Vienna.  2017 pitcher of the year and 6-A all region as a junior.  Son of former Madison star from the late 1980s Mike Nielsen, my former some-times teammate.
  • Eric Lingenbach, SS from Oakton HS.  2017 6-A all-region as a junior, huge walk-off homer to win the 6A title for Oakton.
  • Jose Rivera, SS from Riverdale Baptist.  2nd-team All-Met as jr in 2017.  Stars baseball summer team.
  • Corey Rosier, util from Riverdale Baptist.  2nd-team All-Met as jr in 2017.
  • Brady Pearre, RHP from Poolesville.    2nd-team All-Met as jr in 2017.
  • John Eames OF Langley.  6-A North all-region honorable mention in 2016.  1st team all-region as a Junior.  2nd team all 6A State as a junior in 2017.
  • Flynn Hopkins OF Robinson.  First-team 6A Conference 5 and 6-A North all-region honorable mention in 2016.
  • Jimmy Baumstark RHP Osbourn Park.   First-team 6A Conference 8 and 6-A North all-region honorable mention in 2016 as a sophomore.
  • Blaze O’Saben, SS Fauquier: A first-team 4A Conference 22 selection in 2016 as a sophomore
  • Justin Taylor, SS Flint Hill.  First team all-VISAA Division I in 2016 as a sophomore.
  • Matt Thomas, 3B Lake Braddock: Second-team 6A Conference 7 selection in 2016 as a sophomore.
  • Jack Weeks. Paul VI Catholic (formerly of Herndon HS).  Starter for VISAA-I state finalist in 2016 as a sophomore.

Extended DC/MD/VA Prep players (outside DC Area) on the radar.

  • Adam Hackenberg, C from the Miller School (was Fork Union HS).  First team all-VISAA Division I in 2016 as a sophomore.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.  #50 on Keith Law’s top 100 draft prospects.  Committed to Clemson.
  • Ryan Archibald 3B from John Carroll HS in Churchville.  PGNationals 2017.  Evoshields 17U National summer team for WWBA 2017.  Early commit to UMaryland, now committed to Arizona.  Gatorade MD player of the year 2018.
  • Cade Huntgate, RHP/SS for Abingdon.  Evoshield Canes 16-U 2016, Committed to Florida State.  Gatorade VA player of the year 2018.
  • Jack Dragum, RHP Hanover (Richmond).  Starter as a sophomore on great 2016 team.  Evoshield Canes 16-U 2016. Early commit to UVA.  Evoshield 17U team at 2016 Marietta/Cobb.  All-Richmond 2017 as junior.  Evoshield National 17-U summer 2017.
  • Wesley Clarke, C with Liberty Christian Academy.  2016 Region 4A West All-Region second team as a sophomore.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.  Evoshield National 17U team for WWBA 2017.  South Carolina commit.
  • Stephen Pelli, RHP for St. Marys in Arnold, Maryland.  Evoshield Canes 16-U 2016. Evoshield National 17U  for WWBA 2017.  PGNationals 2017.  Early commit to Virginia Tech, now North Carolina.
  • Matt Sykes, LHP/OF from the Miller School in Richmond.   Evoshields 17U National summer team for WWBA 2017.
  • Tevin Tucker,  SS from Prince George  HS in Prince George VA.  Virginia Cardinals 16-U for 2016.  Second team VHSL all 5A in 2016 as a sophomore.  All-Richmond 2017 as junior.  Early WVU commit.
  • Nick Zona, SS from Hanover in  Mechanicsburg/Richmond.  At Area Code Games 2017, the SOLE DC/MD/VA kid there.  Early commit to JMU.
  • Clay Lloyd, C with Halifax.  VHSL 1st team all State 5A as a junior.
  • Zach Thomas SS with Eastern View HS:  VHSL 1st team all State 4A as a junior.
  • Kyle Horton, OF with Liberty Christian Academy.  Starter as a sophomore on great 2016 team.   PGNationals 2017.  Evoshield Canes National 17U team for WWBA 2017: South Carolina commit, now Charleston Southern
  • Tristan McDonough, RHP from Decatur HS.  PGNationals 2017.  Early commit to Miami??
  • Connor Butler, 2B/SS from Western Branch.  All 6A South in 2017 as a junior.  Tidewater Orioles summer team.  All 6A Virginia State in 2017 as a junior.
  • Jon Sawyer, RHP /OF for Atlantic Shores Christian.  All Tidewater 2017 as junior, early commit to ODU.
  • Cam Nolet, RHP from St. Marys.  Anne-Arundal county POTY 2017 as a junior.
  • Austin Gault, OF Poquoson, Soph.  3-A East all-region 1st team in 2016.
  • Gage Williams, RHP Nansemond River.  Starter on excellent 2016 team as a sophomore.
  • Cory O’Shea, ? position on Mills Godwin.  Starter on excellent 2016 team as a sophomore.
  • Scott McDonough: ? position on Mills Godwin.  Starter on excellent 2016 team as a sophomore.
  • John Kish, RHP for Cosby.  Starter on excellent 2016 team as a sophomore.
  • Ethan Williams, C for Cosby.  Starter on excellent 2016 team as a sophomore.
  • Tyler Bailey, INF/RHP for Thomas Dale in Chester (Richmond), VA.  Virginia Cardinals 16-U for 2016.
  • Tucker Bushby, OF/LHP for James River in Midlothian (Richmond), VA.  Virginia Cardinals 16-U for 2016.
  • Wes Glass, 1b/LHP for Riverside HS in Leesburg VA.  Virginia Cardinals 16-U for 2016.
  • Michael Peterson, OF from Prince George  HS in Prince George VA.  Virginia Cardinals 16-U for 2016.
  • Scooter Ray, C Manchester HS in Chesterfield, VA.  Virginia Cardinals 16-U for 2016.
  • Gregory Ryan, SS Benedictine HS in North Chesterfield, VA.  Virginia Cardinals 16-U for 2016.  Early commit to Pittsburgh.
  • Tomas Sanchez, OF from Dinwiddie.  2016 VHSL 4A All-State first team as a sophomore.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.
  • Cole Harness, 1B from Eastside HS.  First team VHSL all 1A in 2016 as a sophomore.
  • Jacob Council, OF from Windsor HS.  First team VHSL all 1A in 2016 as a sophomore.
  • Tanner Bailey, OF from Fort Chiswall HS.  First team VHSL all 1A in 2016 as a sophomore.
  • Jonathan Walton, 1B from Prince George HS.  First team VHSL all 5A in 2016 as a sophomore.
  • Thomas Francisco, 2b from Abington HS.   First team VHSL all 3A West Region and all 3-A state in 2016 as a sophomore.  All PBR DC/VA team 2016.
  • Nic Kent, INF, St. Anne’s-Belfield (Charlottesville) . American Family 2016 2nd team All-Virginia as a sophomore.
  • Chance Davis, Inf Fort Chiswell, All PBR DC/VA team 2016.
  • Kris Artis, RHP from Grandby HS in Norfolk. All 6A South in 2017 as a junior, 2nd team All 6A State in 2017.  Early commit to ODU.
  • Ty Hanchy, C from Grandby HS in Norfolk.  2nd team All 6A South in 2017 as a junior.
  • Xavier Anderson, OF from Grandby HS in Norfolk.  2nd team All 6A South in 2017 as a junior.
  • Shane Stinard, OF from Cox HS in Va Beach.  2nd team All 6A South in 2017 as a junior.
  • Andrew Melnyk, LHP from Kellam HS in Va Beach.   2nd team All 6A South in 2017 as a junior.
  • Skylar Petry, RHP from James RIver HS in Richmond.   2nd team All 6A South in 2017 as a junior.
  • Ethan Williams, C from Cosby HS in Moseley/Richmond.   2nd team All 6A South in 2017 as a junior.  Evoshields Mid-Atlantic summer team.
  • James Deloatch, OF from Grandby HS in Norfolk.  2nd team All 6A South in 2017 as a junior.
  • Pearce Bucher, 3B from Sherando.  2nd team all VHSL 4A as a junior in 2017.
  • Maxwell Costes, Inf from Gilman.  Baltimore All-Metro 2017 as a junior.
  • A.J. Holcomb, OF from Loyola-Blakefield.  Baltimore All-Metro 2017 as a junior, early commit to Va Tech.
  • Austin Koehn, RHP from Patterson Mill.  Baltimore All-Metro 2017 as a junior.
  • J.P. Murphy, OF from Calvert hall.  Baltimore All-Metro 2017 as a junior, early commit to High Point.

 

Sources used

 

Written by Todd Boss

June 4th, 2018 at 8:17 am

2017 CWS tournament: Regional Results, Super-Regional Pairings

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CWS-2017_calendar-narrow

Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2017:

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

We’ll review the 16 regionals in order of the larger bracket.  Bold is the host and Bolded 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.

It was a crazy set of regionals; by Sunday night only 6 of the 16 brackets were decided; a slew of regionals were forced to monday games (two weather delays involved).  And we saw one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.  Read on.


Regional Recaps

In the #1 Oregon State regional, Oregon State held serve easily while Yale scored the unlikely upset over Nebraska in the 2/3 game.  In the winners bracket game, Oregon State blitzed Yale 11-0 behind Luke Heimlich‘s 7ip-2hit performance.  Holy Cross sent home Nebraska in the loser’s bracket, cementing their status as a drastically over-seeded team from the Big-10.  In the regional final, Oregon State again crushed Yale 8-1 to cement their status as the #1 team in the land and advance to Super Regionals.
In the #16 Clemson regional, Vanderbilt crushed an over-ranked St. John’s team in the opener (an upset not by seeding but by ranking) while Clemson snuck by UNC-Greensboro.  In the losers bracket, St. Johns was sent home 2-and-out by UNCG while Vanderbilt blitzed by Clemson 9-4.  Clemson fought their way out of the loser’s bracket and then forced the Monday decider with a 6-0 win over Vandy.  In the do-or-die game though, Clemson never got started and Vanderbilt advanced 8-0.

In the #8 Stanford regional (which started a day early), both top teams blasted inferior competition to setup a Stanford-Cal State Fullerton winner’s bracket game.   In that game, Fullerton won easily to put themselves into the driver’s seat.  Sacramento State became the first team eliminated thanks to this regional starting a day early to placate BYU.  Stanford made their way back to the title game, but were beaten again by Fullerton, making Cal State Fullerton the upset winner and the first team to advance.
In the #9 Long Beach State regional, Texas beat UCLA for the fourth time this season (beating UCLA’s ace and likely 1st rounder Griffin Canning along the way), while host Long Beach State beat SDSU easily.  In the winner’s bracket game, Texas’ Morgan Cooper (the Nats 2014 34th round pick) threw a solid game and the Longhorns got into LBSU’s bullpen for an extra inning’s victory.  UCLA went 2-and-out in the loser’s bracket game; yet another example in SDSU of a #4 seed not finishing 4th.  Long Beach got back to the deciding game and took one from Texas, forcing the Monday finish.  There, Long Beach State got 2 runs early and made them stick, advancing through the loser’s bracket and setting up an in-conference matchup with Fullerton.

In the #5 Texas Tech regional, the hosts won easily while Sam Houston state took it from Arizona in a 2/3 seed upset.  TT took out Sam Houston easily in the winner’s bracket.  However the pesky #3 seed Sam Houston took out Arizona again, then took a game from TTU to force the Monday decider.  There, the amazing happened, with tiny Sam Houston State beating the #5 national seed again and becoming the 2nd most unlikely regional winner this year.
In the #12 Florida State regional, Auburn scored the slight upset over UCF in the opener and then Tennessee Tech took out Florida State for 2 upsets in a row.  Auburn won the winner’s bracket game while FSU kept their hopes alive in the elimination game.  Florida State grinded their way back to the final and then took a walk-off win over Auburn to force the Monday decider.  Florida State made the decider a non-issue, dominating Auburn and winning 6-0 to advance.

In the #4 LSU regional, both top seeds won in an offense-minded regional, scoring double digits.  The region continued to go chalk with both seeded teams again winning and again scoring in the double digits.  Rice beat out SELA to get to the regional final, but there LSU got 8 shutout innings from its #3 starter Eric Walker and they advanced to the super-regionals.
In the #13 Southern Miss regional, the host won a barn-burner to avoid a first round upset against Illinois-Chicago while South Alabama upset SEC power Mississippi State.   Southern Miss held-serve to advance to the final, while Mississippi State got revenge against South Alabama to reach the regional final.  There, the SEC power Mississippi State took two from Southern Miss to advance.

In the #2 UNC regional, Davidson took it to upper 1st rounder J.B. Bukauskas and knocked him out early, then held on for the day’s biggest upset over UNC.  Meanwhile FGCU easily topped Michigan to setup a very weird winner’s bracket game.  Bukauskas’ final collegiate performance (coupled with his struggles in the ACC tournament) may have cost him draft spots; lots of mocks have him going 6th overall, but now I think he falls.  In the winner’s bracket game, Davidson again defied the odds, taking out FGCU while UNC salvaged some hope with an easy 8-1 win over the over-seeded Michigan team (again showing why the Big-10 did not deserve as many teams in the CWS as they got).   UNC made it back to the regional final, but their bats came up empty as Davidson shocked the baseball world and took the regional 2-1.  The most amazing thing I heard about Davidson this week?  They only gave out three (3) scholarships.  Three!  UNC probably has 3 full-rides just in its rotation.
In the #15 Houston regional, both top seeds were upset, with TAMU and Iowa topping Baylor and Houston respectively.  And Iowa did it without any input from their cleanup slugger Jake Adams (who had 27 homers this season).  Houston took out some aggression on Baylor in the elimination game, winning 17-3, while TAMU (who were supposedly one of the last four teams in) took the winner’s bracket game to hold the driver’s seat in this regional.  Houston made it back to the title game with a win over Iowa, but couldn’t take out Texas A&M, who won the regional and likely won the right to host a super-regional despite not being a regional host.

In the #7 Louisville regional, both top seeds advanced with ease (Oklahoma and Louisville).  Louisville destroyed Oklahoma 11-1 in the winner’s bracket game behind top-pick Brendan McCay‘s 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball (to go along with his batting clean-up as perhaps the best two-way college player we’ve seen in a while).  Virginia’s Radford went two-and out as the #4 seed.  Xavier blitzed Oklahoma in the loser’s bracket final, but then couldn’t hang with Louisville in the regional decider, losing 8-7 as Louisville advances.
In the #10 Kentucky regional, Kentucky survived a late rally to top Ohio in the opener while under-seeded NC State topped Indiana in a 2/3 seed upset.  NC State showed why they were underseeded as a #3 by taking out the host in the winner’s bracket game.  Kentucky made it back to the regional final, and took a game from NC State to force the extra decider.  There, hand it to Kentucky, they got the win they needed and advanced to setup a great in-state super-regional.

In the #6 TCU regional, all games were delayed a game due to rain to start.  Both top seeds advanced, with UVA getting a strong performance from #2 starter Derek Casey over the tough Dallas Baptist team.  In the winner’s bracket game, UVA’s Daniel Lynch got hit early and their hitters could do nothing with TCU’s Jared Janczak and they lost 5-1.  UVA has to face DBU again, as DBU eliminated #4 seed Central Connecticut in the loser’s bracket.  In the loser’s bracket final rematch between UVA and DBU, UVA’s thin pitching staff was finally exposed, giving up 9 runs in the first two innings (Evan Sperling could not record an out as the starter) and never getting all the way back.  It didn’t matter much, as TCU destroyed DBU in the final to advance and show why they were the consensus #1 ranked team pre-season.
In the #11 Arkansas regional, the host won easily while the day’s best game featured Missouri State getting a do-or-die walkoff 2-run homer to top Oklahoma State.  Missouri State showed they belong by upsetting the hosts in the winner’s bracket game while Oral Roberts pounded OK-State in the elimination game.  Arkansas made it back to the regional final, taking an 11-10 wild game from Missouri State to force the extra decider on Monday.  There, Missouri State gritted out the win over Arkansas to advance.

In the #3 Florida regional, the hosts and South Florida easily advanced to hold serve against lower-seeded competition.  The region continued chalk with Florida scoring 4 in the 12th to ease past South Florida (Florida threw their ace Alex Faedo in this game; he delivered with 7 innings of one run ball).  Bethune Cookman advanced out of the losers’s bracket and promptly took a game off of Florida, forcing the extra regional decider Monday.  There, Florida outlasted tiny Bethune to advance as expected.
In the #14 Wake Forest regional, the two top seeds both battered Maryland teams UofMaryland and UMBC.  In the loser’s bracket, UMaryland committed some Terrapin-on-Terrapin crime by destroying them 16-2, while  Wake held on for a win over WVA in the winner’s bracket.  WVA took advantage of Maryland’s thin pitching corps to advance to the regional final, but lost 12-8 as Wake Forest advanced.


Predictions versus Actuals

My Predictions: Oregon State, Vanderbilt, CS-Fullerton, Long Beach State, Texas Tech, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi State, UNC, TAMU, Louisville, Kentucky, UVA, Arkansas, Florida, Wake Forest.

Actuals; Oregon State, Vanderbilt, CS-Fullerton, Long Beach State, Sam Houston, Florida State, Mississippi State, LSU, Davidson, Tamu, Louisville, Kentucky, TCU, Missouri State, Florida and Wake.

I got 12 of 16 right.  I missed on Davidson and Sam Houston State (like every one else), but over-thought the TCU/UVA matchup, forgetting how good TCU was, and missed on the Arkansas/Missouri State matchup.

 


Summary of Regionals statistically:

  • 9 of 16 hosts advanced, including 5 of 8 National seeds.  National Seeds losing: #2 UNC,  #5 Texas Tech, #8 Stanford.
  • 3 first time Super-Regional participants; Davidson, who was also a first time REGIONAL participant.  Sam Houston State.  Kentucky is also a 1st timer despite being seeded.
  • 7 = number of regionals forced into the “extra” deciding game: Vanderbilt/Clemson, Long Beach/Texas, Texas Tech/Sam  Houston, FSU/Auburn, Kentucky/NC State, Arkansas/Missouri State, Florida/Bethune-Cookman.
  • 9 number one seeds, 4 number two seeds, 2 number three seeds, and 1 number four seeds advance to the super regionals.  
  • 7 number of #4 seeds who didn’t finish 4th in their regional; Holy Cross, UNC-G, SDSU, Tennessee Tech, Davidson, Iowa, Oral Roberts.  That’s great balance.
  • Zero hosts that went 2-and-out this year.
  • 1 of the regionals went pure chalk (Wake Forest).  That’s either a great testament to the balance of the tournament, or a real indictment of the seeding of #2s versus #3 teams.
  • #4 over #1 openers: Davidson over UNC, Tennessee Tech over Florida State, Iowa over Houston
  • Most surprising regional winner: Davidson easily, followed by Sam Houston State.

Conference Breakdowns of the teams in the Super Regionals:

  • SEC: LSU, TAMU, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Florida
  • Big12: TCU
  • ACC: Louisville, Wake Forest, Florida State
  • Pac12: Oregon State
  • Big West: Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State
  • Atlantic 10: Davidson
  • Southland: Sam Houston State
  • Missouri Valley: Missouri State

9 of the 16 super regional teams from the two power conferences ACC and SEC.  The Big12 was the #1 ranked RPI conference and placed 7 teams into the tourney, but just one advanced, perhaps an indictment of these conference RPI rankings in general.  But, with 8 conferences represented overall, there’s good spread.  Only the Big10 really didn’t show up, putting 5 teams in the tourney and faring horribly.  It seems like this is a recurring theme; Big10 gets 5 teams in and does nothing while higher ranked conferences like the AAC and C-USA put in fewer teams (3 and 2 respectively).  I doubt anything will change in the future; the committee seems to fall in love with wins (not one eligible team with 40+ wins missed the tourney) and with marginal big-conference teams in lieu of better teams from smaller conferences .


Super Regional Matchups:  the higher ranked team is the host in each case.

  • #1 Oregon State vs Vanderbilt
  • Davidson vs TAMU
  • #3 Florida  vs #14 Wake Forest
  • #4 LSU vs Mississippi State
  • Sam Houston State v #12 Florida State
  • #6 TCU v Missouri State
  • #7 Louisville v #10 Kentucky
  • Cal State Fullerton vs #9 Long Beach State

Super Regional Thoughts:

Hard not to pick Oregon State, who looks the part of a #1 ranked team.  Also hard to pick Davidson to continue their upset run, so I’ll go with TAMU based on experience.

I’ll take Florida over Wake, despite Wake’s being rather under-rated.  They lost only two weekend series allyear, both away to top teams.  But Florida has the ace in Faedo and the cache.

A SEC rematch between LSU and Mississippi State might be a laugher; LSU swept MSU on their field in their weekend series earlier this year, and LSU will host.  Look for two quick wins for the National power.

As with Davidson, its hard to give Sam Houston a shot at the veteran Florida State team.

The in-state Kentucky matchup between Louisville and Kentucky is a good one; they met twice in mid-week games and split them, but those games (both throwing mid-week starters) aren’t a great predictor.  I like Louisville’s pitching and experience here.

The final matchup, between two Big West teams, seems easy enough to call on paper: Long Beach State and CS-Fullerton met 6 times this year and Long Beach won five of them.  I’m guessing LBSU hosts, where they swept Fullerton earlier this year.  I think the Dirtbags should advance easily.

Super Regional Star Power

Lots of top-end draft picks will be playing this weekend, just ahead of the MLB draft which starts on 6/12/17.  By Super Regional:

  • Oregon State/Vanderbilt: the likely #1 overall draft pick Kyle Wright, also Kendall, plus Oregon State’s two dominant starters Heimlich and Jake Thompson.
  • Davidson/TAMU; none really.
  • Florida/Wake Forest: Alex Faedo mostly.
  • LSU/Mississippi State: Alex Lange for LSU, Brendan Rooker for MSU.
  • Sam Houston State/Florida State; none really, despite FSU’s ranking.
  • TCU/Missouri State; MSU’s Jake Burger; TCU is led more by under-classmen but does have Evan Skoug who might get drafted relatively highly.
  • Louisville/Kentucky; Louisville of course led by possible #1 overall pick Brendan McKay.
  • Cal State Fullerton/Long Beach State; no 1st round notables.

MLB.com has a nice summary with all the above names plus more.


 

CWS Predictions: Oregon State, TAMU, Florida, LSU, Florida State, TCU, Louisville, Long Beach State.

Or, in the CWS groupings: Oregon State, CS Fullerton, FSU, LSU in one bracket, and TAMU, Louisville, TCU and Florida in the other.

That’d be a great CWS field.


College CWS tournament references:

2016 CWS Regional Results, Noted Player performances, Super Regionals pairings

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2016:

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

We’ll review the 16 regionals in order of the larger bracket.  Bold is the host and Bolded 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 Florida regional, UConn put a mini upset loss on Georgia Tech, who tried to sneak a win with a mid-week starter and now face a loser’s bracket hole.  Meanwhile Florida surprisingly stuck with their rotation and threw ace/friday starter Logan Shore in game one against Bethune-Cookman. Presumed #1 pick A.J. Puk then went up against UConnn and their 1st round Ace Anthony Kay.  In the winner’s bracket game and both laid eggs; Puk couldn’t get out of the 5th and Kay gave up 5 runs in 5+ innings.  One wonders if this causes some last minute changes at the top of draft boards.  Nonetheless, Florida got a run in the 8th to take it 6-5 and assume control of the regional.  Georgia Tech took out UConn to face Florida in the regional final, where they got pummelled 10-1 as Florida advanced.

16. In the Florida State regional, Florida State and Southern Miss destroyed their foes in the first games, and Florida State made quick work over Southern Miss to advance to the championship game.  South Alabama lost 14-2 in their opening game; they were one of the last at-large teams to make the tourney at the expense of UNC and UNC’s Zac Gallen took to twitter to let the selection committee (which included South Alabama’s athletic director) know it.  Can’t blame him; the ACC has dominated in this tourney so far.  That being said, South Alabama did advance out of the loser’s bracket to face Fla State in the regional final, where they got obliterated.  Florida State Advances, scoring 43 runs in three games.

2. In the Louisville regional, both Louisville and 2-seed Ohio State handled their openers.  Louisville threw Kyle Funkhouser and he gave up just 4 hits in 8 innings, with presumptive upper 1st rounder Corey Ray going 3-5 at leadoff.  Louisville pounded Ohio State in the winner’s bracket game, putting themselves in the easy driver’s seat and making them an early CWS favorite.  Louisville ended up downing Wright State to advance.

15. In the Vanderbilt regional, awful news broke just prior to the game when it was learned that one of Vanderbilt’s freshmen pitchers Donny Everett drowned the previous weekend, casting a pall over the regional.   UC Santa Barbara held serve in their first game.  When Vanderbilt finally took the field, they completely melted down in the 7th inning, giving up 13 runs in the frame (half of them against likely 1st rounder Jordan Sheffield) to lose 15-1 to 4th seeded Xavier.  In the loser’s bracket, Vanderbilt’s coach left in his starter Kyle Wright far too long (122 pitches but more importantly turning an 8-2 lead in to an 8-7 nailbiter), and Washington eventually hit a 2-run homer against the bullpen for the win.  Vanderbilt goes 2-and-out as a host and ends their streak of making the CWS finals.  Meanwhile UC Santa Barbara took control of the region and forced Xavier to have to beat them twice to advance; it didn’t happen as UC Santa Barbara pounded Xavier 14-5 to advance to their 1st super regional ever.

3.  In the Coral Gables regional (host #3 Miami), Long Beach State got an early upset win over Florida Atlantic while Miami eased past in-state rival Stetson.  Miami won a squeaker over Long Beach to take control of the regional, but it was closer than you’d expect. Stetson went 2-and-out quickly.  LBSU got back to the winner’s final, and almost had a 9-run comeback against Miami before dropping the regional final 9-8 on a Miami walk-off.

14. In the Ole Miss regional, Mississippi became one of the only hosts to lose its first game, dropping a 6-5 decision to the probably-underseeded Utah team.  Boston College also got a mini-upset when their 1st round prospect ace Justin Dunn dominated Tulane to setup a 3-4 seed winner’s bracket game.  Ole Miss then promptly went two and out by losing the next game to Tulane.  Boston College beat Utah to take control of the regional.  Tulane overtook Utah to make it to the regional final, but Boston College handled them easily to advance as a #3 seed.

4. in the Texas A&M regional, both seeds advanced (TAMU and Wake Forest) initially without much fanfare, but then TAMU embarassed Wake Forest to the tune of a 22-2 beatdown in the winner’s bracket.  TAMU may “only” be the 4th seed, but they’re #1 in some polls and are looking very dangerous.  TAMU eventually advanced against Minnesota, who made it to the regional final as what many thought was an undeserved #2 seed.

13. In the TCU regional, Gonzaga upset Arizona State and pressed TCU in the winner’s bracket game before falling 4-3.  Arizona acquitted themselves and got back to the regional final, where TCU made short work of them 8-1 to advance.

5. In the Texas Tech region, the hosts destroyed Fairfield in the opener and then New Mexico shocked Dallas Baptist.  DBU advanced to the loser’s bracket final.  Texas Tech won a nail-biter over the tough New Mexico team in the winner’s bracket game.  DBU advanced to the regional final, where they took one game off of Texas Tech to force the winner-take-all game.  In a back-and-forth game, Texas Tech jumped ahead in the 6th and made the lead stick to advance.

12. In the Charlottesville Region (host #12 UVA), UVA took a gamble and threw struggling sunday starter Alec Bettinger against in-state rival William & Mary (filled with Northern Virginia alum) and pounded their starter Dan Powers (of my alma mater Madison HS in Vienna).  UVA didn’t stop there, eventually winning 17-4.  Meanwhile, ECU (half of their lineup is VA-based) destroyed Bryant’s bullpen en route to a 9-1 easy victory in a “minor upset.”  ECU has to like their chances, having taken 2 of 3 in Charlottesville earlier in the season.  UVA did their best to keep this from happening, taking a 6-3 lead into the 9th against some-time starter (and Vienna native Tommy Doyle, who promptly gave up 5 runs in the 9th and a walk-off 3-run homer to blow the game for the Cavaliers.  W&M made quick work of the over-seeded Bryant team and gets a second crack at UVA, who now faces a big up-hill battle to advance.  Interesting choice to finish the game; doesn’t UVA have, you know, relievers and a closer for that task?  Then, to add insult to injury in the Loser’s bracket elimination game William & Mary quickly got to UVA’s saturday starter Daniel Lynch and then tacked on two more on Doyle to eliminate last year’s champion UVA 5-4.  UVA just didn’t have the pitching they needed and sorely miss the presence they got from someone like Josh Sborz last year.  W&M and ECU face off having eliminated the top two seeds in this regional, and ECU easily advanced to the Super Regional.  ECU was the first team to book its ticket to the super-regionals this year.

6. In the Mississippi State regional, the hosts won their first game and then eased by the dangerous Cal-State Fullerton team to take control of the regional.  CSF got upset by Louisiana Tech in the losers’s bracket, but it didn’t matter as Mississippi State wasn’t troubled in the regional final to advance.

11. In the Louisiana-Lafayette regional, both top seeds held serve in the first games before weather pushed the whole regional by a day.  ULL made it to the regional final with a 10-3 victory over Arizona, but Arizona came back through the loser’s bracket and took two straight over ULL to win the regional in a winner-take-all game Monday.

7. In the Clemson regional (host #7 Clemson), Clemson scored an astounding 24 runs to win a slugfest in its opener but then had its hat handed to them 12-2 by Oklahoma State in the winner’s bracket game.  Huge showing by the Big-12 so far in this tournament.  Clemson battered their way back to a rematch … where Oklahoma State promptly beat them again 9-2 to advance.  Clemson becomes the first national seed to fall, albeit not in a hugely surprising fashion to a very good OK State team.  Clemson’s Seth Beer continued his monster season, finishing up one of the 5-best freshman seasons we’ve seen in a while and putting his name on the map for the 2017 draft (where he’ll be a draft-eligible sophomore).

10. In the South Carolina regional, the hosts were shocked by Rhode Island in the opener while UNC-Wilmington (who starts four guys in the lineup hailing from Virginia) destroyed Duke to put themselves in the driver’s seat.  UNC-W continued on, beating Rhode Island 11-7 to head to the winner’s bracket final.  South Carolina downed Duke in the elimination game to face up with R.I. again.  There, South Carolina got their revenge, beating Rhode Island by the astounding score of 23-2.  In the regional final, SC had to beat UNC-W twice to advance; they forced the winner-take-all game with a 10-1 dismantling of their CAA foes sunday night.  The winner-take-all game got rained out monday, pushed to Tuesday.  In that tuesday game, South Carolina jumped ahead early and held on to win the last game 10-5 to complete the comeback out of the Loser’s bracket and advance.

8. The LSU regional was plagued by rain.  They only got one game in on Friday and Saturday.  however, LSU saved their ace Alex Lange for the Rice matchup, where he’ll face another highly regarded college junior in Jon Duplantier.  A freak “ground rule grand slam” set the tone early and LSU prevailed.  Rice came back through the loser’s bracket and took the first game from LSU in the regional final, forcing a winner-take-all Tuesday.  In that winner-take-all game, Rice jumped out ahead but LSU had a clutch go-ahead homer in the 7th to break Rice’s back.  LSU advances and becomes the last of the 16 teams to do so.

9. In the NC State region,  NC State pounded Navy’s Luke Gillingham to put away any chances of an upset while Coastal Carolina eased past St. Marys to setup a fun all-Carolina matchup in the winner’s bracket.  Navy put St. Marys on 2-and-out.  The NC State-Coastal game was delayed a day by weather, but Coastal held a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the 9th to delay the inevitable.  NC State destroyed Navy in the loser’s bracket final 17-1 to face off against Coastal twice to advance.  In the first game of the final, NC State easily beat CC to force the winner-take-all game.  That game, believe it or not, was suspended in the top of the 9th with NC State holding a 2-run advantage and had to be pushed to Tuesday.  When they resumed the game … Coastal Carolina rallied for four runs in the top of the 9th to win the game and the regional.  Amazing.

 


Summary of Regionals statistically:

  • 10 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, but about in line with 2015’s tournament where 11 of 16 advanced.
  • 2 first time Super-Regional participants (Boston College, UC Santa Barbara)
  • 5 = number of regionals forced into the “extra” deciding game, most of them on Tuesday thanks to weather.
  • 10 number one seeds, 4 number two seeds, and 2 number three seeds advance to the super regionals.  
  • 6 number of #4 seeds who didn’t finish 4th in their regional: two were runner’s up in their region (William & Mary and Xavier).
  • 2 hosts that went 2-and-out (the understandable Vanderbilt and Ole Miss).
  • 5 of the regionals went pure chalk, a decent indication of the job the seeding committee did this year.
  • Biggest upsets: Xavier destroying Vanderbilt, Utah beating Ole Miss.
  • Most surprising regional winner:  UC Santa Barbara

Conference Breakdowns of the teams in the Super Regionals:

  • SEC: florida, TAMU, Mississippi State, South Carolina, LSU
  • Big12: TCU, Texas Tech, OK State
  • ACC: Fla State, Lousiville, Miami, BC
  • Pac12: Arizona
  • other: UCSB, ECU, Coastal Carolina

Super Regional Matchups:  The super-regional hosts were announced just after the last regional ended.

  • #1 Florida vs #16 Florida State (a rematch of last year’s super-regional)
  • #2 Louisville vs UC Santa Barbara
  • #3 Miami vs Boston College
  • #4 TAMU vs #13 TCU (a rematch of last year’s super regional)
  • #5 Texas Tech vs ECU
  • #6 Mississippi State vs Arizona
  • Oklahoma State vs #10 South Carolina
  • #8 LSU vs Coastal Carolina

 


Super Regional Thoughts:

I think the top 4 seeds are class this year; i’m going with Florida, Louisville, Miami and TAMU to start, and two of them are helped by going against first time super-regional teams.  We have two Super-Regional rematches from last year (Florida-Florida State and TAMU-TCU), which followed last year’s multiple super regional rematches.  I know the committee likes this, but I don’t; give these teams a shot at playing someone else.  Florida destroyed Florida State last year and their pitching staff should control them again this year.  I don’t see Louisville troubled.  Miami-BC is an ACC match-up that never happened this season.  I love TAMU-TCU and think its unfortunate they meet here and not Omaha; they played a fantastic regional last year that culminated in a 16-inning decider.

I like ECU but don’t know enough about Texas Tech to predict a possible upset.  Same with Mississippi State; are they the most non-descript national seed we’ve had in awhile?  Arizona came out of the weak Pac12 this year so its hard to pick against the nationally ranked team.  I think Oklahoma State is better

Predictions: Florida, Louisville, Miami, TAMU, ECU, Mississippi State, OK State, LSU

 


College CWS tournament references: