Nationals Arm Race

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2019 CWS Group Winners and CWS Final preview

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:


Lets review the CWS group play.  The CWS plays just one or two games a day; a far cry from the first weekend, where 64 teams played hundreds of games over the course of a long weekend.  So this post has been written in one or two sentence increments for a week and a half…

Predictions for the Group stages: Vanderbilt and Texas Tech.


In the Top Bracket (Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, Florida State)

  • In the opening games, we got two upsets right out of the box.  Michigan beat TTU 5-3 behind a solid outing from 2nd rounder Karl Kaufmann, while Florida State topped Arkansas in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel.  Nats picks Drew Mendoza went 0-4 for FSU, while Arkansas closer Matt Cronin pitched a scoreless 9th inning.
  • In the first elimination game, Texas Tech beat Arkanasas 5-4 to eliminate the #5 seed.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, 2nd round pick Tommy Henry pitched the game of his life, throwing a 100-pitch 3-hit shutout to blank FSU 2-0 and put Michigan in the driver’s seat.  FSU’s Mendoza went 0-4 with two punchouts against the tough lefty, and badly threw away an easy grounder in the field.    This sets up Michigan and their 2-Ace staff nicely; they don’t play again until Friday, giving their #1 starter Kaufmann 5 full days of rest for that regional final.  And if they have to go to the next game … Murray would have four full days of rest.  Michigan is going to be hard to beat.
  • In the play-in game, Texas Tech eliminated Florida State and sent their legendary manager Mike Martin into retirement without having ever won the CWS, despite dozens of appearances.  The final collegiate game for Mendoza did include a hit (on a questionable scoring call), and his 1B bailed him out of another easy throwing error early.  But FSU is done and Mendoza should be cleared to start negotiating.
  • In the group final, Michigan scored early and often to blitz Texas Tech and advance loss-less to the final.  just an amazing story.

Final Group standings: Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, Florida State, #5 Arkansas


In the Bottom Bracket (Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt)

  • In the opening games, Vanderbilt held serve and topped Louisville 3-1, while Mississippi State scored 4 in the 9th to beat Auburn 5-4.
  • In the first elimination game, Louisville took out Auburn across two rain-delayed days to eliminate Auburn.
  • In the winner’s bracket game, Vanderbilt got another stellar start from freshman sensation Kumar Rocker, this time throwing “only” 95 pitches and giving up 1 run in 6 complete, to down #6 Mississippi State and take control of the group.
  • In the play-in game, another walk-off win as Louisville spoils a gem of a start from Mississippi State’s J.T. Ginn by scoring 2 in the 7th and 2 in the 9th to win 4-3 and eliminate Mississippi State.
  • In the group final, Karm police took hold of Louisville starter Luke Smith, who pitched 8 stellar innings … and profanely let the Vandy dugout know it, only to lose in the 9th as Vanderbilt walked off for the win.

Final Group standings: #2 Vanderbilt, #7 Louisville,  #6 Mississippi State, Auburn


CWS finals discussion: Games 1,2,3 set for Mon-Wed 6/24/19 to 6/26/19.

Pitching Match-ups:

  • Game 1: Monday 6/24/19: Vanderbilt’s #1 Drake Fellows (7 days rest) vs Michigan’s #2 Tommy Henry (6 days rest)
  • Game 2: Tuesday 6/25/19: Vanderbilty #2 Kumar Rocker (5 days rest) vs Michigan’s #3 Jeff Criswell (3 days rest from a relief appearance)
  • Game 3: Wednesday 6/26/19: Vanderbilt’s #3 Mason Hickman (4 days rest) vs Michigan’s #1 Karl Kaufmann (4 days rest)

Thoughts: Michigan is the cinderella … but Cinderella had to burn a second CWS start from their ace Kaufmann to get there.  Meanwhile, Vanderbilt advanced to the title without interrupting its rotation whatsoever and has its staff lined up exactly as they want.  Michigan gets the ball to their stud lefty Henry, who shut down FSU and should be pretty effective against Vanderbilt’s lefty-heavy middle of the order.  I’m predicting that Michigan sneaks a win from Henry, but then (as in the super regional) Vanderbilt will explode against the rest of the Michigan staff and runs away with it in three.

Prediction: Vanderbilt in 3


College CWS tournament references

Written by Todd Boss

June 24th, 2019 at 10:17 am

2019 CWS Super Regional Recaps, CWS Omaha field and performance of Nats draft picks

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Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2019:


CWS Super Regionals were played this past weekend.

Super Regional Recaps:  I’ve got these ordered by they way they’ll be playing into the CWS field (i.e. by bracket, with former National seeds 1,8,5,4 in the top and 6,3,7,2 in the bottom).  And this is the order they’re listed on d1baseball’s Tourney Central, the quickest way to find results.

  • #1 UCLA vs Michigan: In the opener, Michigan shocked UCLA to win game 1 3-2.  Nats 8th rounder Jeremy Ydens went 0-3 playing RF and batting 7th.   UCLA scored one late to take game 2 and force the decider (Ydens batted 8th and went 2-3 with a walk).    Michigan proved game 1 was no upset by going and sweeping UCLA to advance to its first CWS since 1984.   A huge upset, not only having the tournament lose the #1 seed (a team that had basically been #1 the entire season), but an upset by a regional 3rd seed.  Nats pick Ydens did his part in the 2nd, going 3-4, batting 6th and playing RF in likely his final collegiate game.
  • #8 Texas Tech vs #9 Oklahoma State; TTU held serve in the opener, winning 8-6.  OSU returned the favor, winning game two 6-5 to force the Sunday decider.  In the final, an amazing back-and-forth game featuring these two very powerful lineups ended up with the host Texas Tech coming out on top to advance.
  • #5 Arkansas vs #12 Ole Miss: Arkansas held serve in the opener winning easily 11-2.  Nats draftee Matt Cronin did not see action, as Arkansas’ starter Isaiah Campbell nearly pitched a CG.  In game 2, Ole Miss reversed the score, trouncing Arkansas 13-5 to force the Monday decider (again, no Cronin appearance).  In the decider, Ole Miss scored in the first…then didn’t score again as Arkansas ran up the score to win 14-1.  Cronin pitched the 9th in the win.
  • Florida State vs #13 LSU; Florida State got to Lynchburg’s Zach Hess in the 8th to seal a come-from-behind victory in game 1.  Nats draftee Todd Peterson went 4 1/3rd middle relief innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits.  Nats 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza batted 3rd for FSU and went 0-2 with 3 walks.  In a scintillating Game 2, FSU held off an LSU come-back and Mendoza got a walk-off RBI-single in the 12th to complete the sweep and send Florida State back to the CWS.
  • Auburn vs #14 UNC; Auburn surprised UNC 11-7 in game one, and then UNC blanked Auburn 2-0 in game two to force the Monday decider.  In that decider, Auburn scored 13 runs (!!) in the first inning to end it before it started, eventually winning 13-7 to advance to its first CWS trip since 1997.
  • #6 Mississippi State  vs #11 Stanford; In Game 1, Mississippi State got to Stanford’s starter early and held on for the upset win in game 1.  Game two wasn’t close, and Mississippi State punched a ticket to Omaha.
  • #7 Louisville vs #10 ECU: In Game 1, Louisville got to Jake Agnos in the 4th for 4 runs … so ECU pulled him and the bullpen melted, with Louisville winning 14-1.  It wasn’t any prettier in game 2, with Louisville blanking ECU 12-0 to become the first team to punch their ticket.   A pretty amazing performance, winning two games over a top-10 team like ECU by the combined score of 26-1.
  • #2 Vanderbilt vs Duke: In the opener, Duke got a flabbergasting win, destroying Vanderbilt 18-5.  In game 2, Kumar Rocker, who was one of the top prep arms in the 2018 draft before falling out of the 1st round and heading to Vanderbilt, threw a 131-pitch, 19 strikeout no-hitter to win game 2 and force the decider.  In the final, Vanderbilt ran away with the win 13-2 and advanced to Omaha, where they’re likely the favorite.

My CWS Predictions vs Actuals:

Predicted: #1 UCLA, #8 Texas Tech, #12 Ole Miss, #13 LSU, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt

Actuals: Michigan, #8 Texas Tech, #5 Arkansas, Florida State, Auburn, #6 Mississippi State, #7 Louisville, #2 Vanderbilt

I got the entire bottom bracket right, including the Auburn upset of host UNC.  Didn’t get much else right.

 


CWS Field and Profiles

Top Bracket: (records through Super-Regionals)

  • Michigan: 46-20, 16-7 Big 10.  2nd place Big-10 reg season, semis of Big-10 tourney, #3 regional seed.
  • #8 Texas Tech: 44-18, 16-8 Big-12.  Regular season champs, semis of Big-12 tourney
  • #5 Arkansas 46-18, 20-10 SEC.  SEC West division regular season co-champ, lost in qtrs of SEC tourney.
  • Florida State: 41-21, 17-13 ACC.  3rd Place, ACC Atlantic Division regular season, eliminated in pool play in tourney.

Bottom Bracket

  • Auburn: 38-26, 14-16 SEC.  6th in SEC West division regular season, eliminated in 2nd round of SEC tourney.
  • #6 Mississippi State: 51-13, 20-10 SEC.  SEC West division regular season co-champ, lost in qtrs of SEC tourney
  • #7 Louisville: 49-16, 21-9 ACC.  ACC Atlantic division regular season champ, eliminated in pool play in tourney.
  • #2 Vanderbilt: SEC East division regular season champ.  SEC tournament champ.

CWS field review by the numbers

  • SEC: 4
  • Pac12: 0
  • ACC: 2
  • Big12: 1
  • Big10: 1
  • National top 8 Seeds: 5
  • Regional Hosts (i.e. top 16 seeds): 6
  • First time programs: none

CWS Field thoughts

Lots of big time baseball programs here: Vanderbilt, Louisville, Florida State.  Half the field is SEC teams, fitting b/c 10 of them made the field of 64.

The field looks bottom heavy, with three National seeds advancing and three SEC teams competing with a tough ACC team.  in Regular season play, Mississippi State beat Auburn 2 of 3 and Auburn got swept by Vanderbilt (in addition to getting pounded 11-1 in the SEC tourney), so i’d guess Auburn is finishing last in this bracket.   Mississippi State and Vandy only played once; a 1-0 win by Vandy en route to their SEC tournament title.   The wildcard seems to be Louisville, who powered up to advance to the CWS but struggled when it had to play quality opponents (losing 2 of 3 versus UConn, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and UVA).  I think the bottom bracket goes Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Louisville, Auburn.

Meanwhile, the top features a couple of rather stunning upsets, with two regional #3 seeds advancing to the CWS.  Both the remaining seeded teams were stretched to three games in the Super Regional … though to me Texas Tech (despite being the lower seeded team) looked like the superior team.  Interestingly, Arkansas and Texas Tech also made last year’s CWS … and also faced each other in the group stage.  They also get the weakest team in Omaha first (Michigan).  I think the top bracket goes Texas Tech, Arkansas, Florida State and Michigan.

Quick predictions:

Final: Vanderbilt over Texas Tech.

Player Star power in this CWS: By team, here’s the top-end draft talents still playing.

  • Michigan: three picks in the first 3 rounds: two of their starters in Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann, plus CF Jordan Brewer in the 3rd.
  • #8 Texas Tech: 1st rounder and 8th overall Josh Jung, who was a monster in the Super Regional is the main draft talent.  TTU had 6 other players drafted in rounds 7 onward.
  • #5 Arkansas has two Comp-B round picks in OF Dominic Fletcher and senior starter Isaiah Campbell, in addition to the Nats 4th rounder Cronin.
  • Florida State: Nats 3rd rounder Mendoza, plus 4th rounder OF/closer J.C. Flowers along with an 8th and 9th rounder.

Bottom Bracket

  • Auburn: 5th rounder SS Will Holland, 7th rounder RHP Davis Daniel, and 3 lower round picks.
  • #6 Mississippi State: 1st rounder (28th overall) Ethan Small, 4th rounder Jake Mangum.
  • #7 Louisville: 5 guys in the top 7 rounds, including 2nd rounder 1B Logan Wyatt.
  • #2 Vanderbilt: no less than 13 drafted players, led by 4th overall pick J.J. Bleday.

 

Nats 2019 Draftees still playing in the CWS:

  • 3rd rounder Drew Mendoza will have his signing delayed a few more weeks; he’s the key slugger for FSU and will keep slugging in Omaha.
  • 4th rounder Matt Cronin got just 1 inning in the Super Regional.

College CWS tournament references:

2018 Draft coverage; Mock Draft mania plus my projected top-5 and Nats picks

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Casey Mize has been the consensus 1-1 for 2018 for most of the season. Photo d1baseball.com

Casey Mize has been the consensus 1-1 for 2018 for most of the season. Photo d1baseball.com

Mock Draft mania!  Since the draft is Monday i’ll publish this now to talk about it and talk about who we’d like to see the Nats pick.  I’ll keep adding mocks as they get published and update this post all the way til gametime.

First, here’s a preview of the names we’re talking about for the upper end of the first round.  This is an evolving list, with names who were prominently mentioned last fall falling by the way-side and helium guys rising up.  At publication, i’ve separated those who have fallen as indicated below.

College Upper 1st round names in the mix

  • Casey Mize RHP, Auburn. 2017 USA Nat’l team star, quickly rising to be the consensus 1-1 pick in 2018.
  • Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech.  Helium candidate in spring 2018
  • Alec Bohm, 3B Wichita State.  Helium guy with strong 2018.
  • Brady Singer RHP, Florida. Dominant in 2016 CWS. 2017 USA Nat’l team.
  • Nick Madrigal 2B, Oregon State: Golden spikes semi-finalist 2017 as sophomore. All-american as Soph. 2017 USA Nat’l team.
  • Jonathan India, 3B, Florida. another Helium guy in spring 2018; was always solid but now hitting .400 in the SEC

College Candidates who have fallen to mid-1st round status: basically i’d be happy with nearly any pick on this list dropping to the Nats at #27.

  • Logan Gilbert, RHP Stetson; top Cape Code league prospect 2017
  • Ryan Rolison, LHP from Ole Miss; #1 pitching prospect from Cape 2017 league.
  • Travis Swaggerty, CF, South Alabama; has not hit well in 2018, lowering stock slightly.
  • Tristan Beck, RHP Stanford.  solid starter who missed significant time with back injury.
  • Sean Hjelle, RHP Kentucky: huge guy (6’11”) who doesn’t throw hard, but it appears so b/c of his reach.
  • Griffin Conine OF, Duke. Jeff Conine‘s son. Exploded in Cape Cod League 2017, All-Cape 2017, named top prospect, but has fallen precipitously in 2018
  • Luken Baker, 1B TCU; more “famous” than draft prospect thanks to lack of defensive value.  Suffered broke leg Apr 2018 after an arm injury in 2017, lowering stock.
  • Seth Beer, 1B Clemson: another “famous” name in the draft; his OBP skills may push him to 1st round.
  • Jackson Kowar, RHP Florida; U-Florida’s saturday starter who has scuffled a bit this spring but still should be a 1st rounder.

High School

  • Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS, Melbourne, FL.  Mississippi State commit, highest spin rate ever recorded?  helium guy spring 2018, jumping up over many names to be first prep player taken.
  • Matt Liberatore LHP, Mountain Ridge (AZ) (Arizona commit).  18U team, Gold Medal game starter, but has had inconsistent spring 2018, not consistently showing 96-97.
  • Jared Kelenic OF, Waukesha (WI) (Louisville commit). 18U team.  Considered best prep hit tool in the class.
  • Nolan Gorman, 3B Sandra Day O’conner HS (AZ): (Arizona commit).  18U team.  best power bat in the class, struggling spring 2018 b/c of being walked all the time.
  • Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (CA).  Mississippi State commit, helium guy spring 2018.

High School guys whose stock has fallen:

  • Brice Turang SS, Santiago (CA) (LSU commit). 18U team.  Questions on hit took spring 2018; polarizing player among scouts.
  • Ethan Hankins RHP, Forsyth Central (GA): (Vanderbilt commit). 18U team.  Shoulder injury has lowered his stock.
  • Kumar Rocker RHP, North Oconee (GA) (Vanderbilt commit). 18U team.  Has lost velocity this spring, lowering his stock.
  • Nander de Sedas, SS, Montverde FL (Florida State commit): great 2017 summer.

Here’s the Mock draft collection.  I’ve generally listed their top-5 and then who they project the Nats to take at #27 (if they project out that far).  I got the first Mock draft link here just after the end of the 2017 season, when the BA guys did a mock once we knew the draft order.  I’ll continue to add in mocks as they get published post-posting up until the draft.

  • Baseball America (John Manuel) 2018 Mock Draft v1.0 dated 10/6/17: Singer, Hankins, Turang, de Sedas, Gorman.  Nats taking prep RHP Slade Cecconi from a FL HS who can hit 97 with 3 pitches.
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) 2018 Mock Draft v1.0 dated 5/11/18: (behind a pay wall)
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) 2018 Mock Draft v2.0 dated 5/18/18: (behind a pay wall)
  • Baseball Draft Report (Rob Ozga) 2018 Mock Draft v1.0 dated 10/7/17: Gilbert, Madrigal, Singer, Hankins, Rolison.  Nats taking LHP Konnor Pilkington from Mississippi State, a 2017 USA Nat’l team member.
  • MLBPipeline (Jim Callis) 2018 Early Mock Draft dated 12/5/17: Singer, Hankins, Liberatore, de Sedas, Turang.  Only projected top 10 so no Nats pick.
  • MLBPipeline (Jim Callis) 2018 Mock Draft dated 5/11/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Madrigal, Singer.   Nats taking prep RHP Cole Wilcox, RHP, Heritage HS (Ringgold, Ga.)
  • MLBPipeline (Jim Callis) 2018 Mock Draft dated 5/24/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Singer, Madrigal.   Has Nats on Mason Denaburg, a prep RHP from Florida (with a Florida commit) who is someone i hadn’t heard of prior to seeing it in print  here.  He was projected higher until shut down with biceps tendinitis; this could be a classic Nats move of taking a top-10 talent later in the 1st thanks to a slight injury issue.
  • MLBPipeline (Jim Callis) 2018 Final Mock Draft dated 6/4/18: Mize, Bart, Madrigal, Singer, India.  Still has Nats on Denaburg.
  • MLBPipeline (Jonathan Mayo): 2018 Early Mock Draft dated 12/5/17:  Singer, de Sedas, Hankins, Kowar, Madrigal.  Only projected top 10 so no Nats pick.
  • MLBPipeline (Jonathan Mayo): 2018 Mock Draft projection dated 4/30/18:  Mize, Singer, Madrigal, Bohm, Stewart.  has Nats on Xavier Edwards, SS, North Broward Prep (Coconut Creek, Fla.), an undersized but good prospect with a strong Vanderbilt commitment.
  • MLBPipeline (Jonathan Mayo): 2018 Mock Draft projection dated 5/17/18:  Mize, Bart, Bohm, Singer, Madrigal.  Has Nats on Denaburg.
  • MLBPipeline (Jonathan Mayo): 2018 Mock Draft projection dated 5/31/18:  Mize, Bart, Madrigal, Singer, India.  Nats again on Denaburg.
  • MLBPipeline (Jonathan Mayo) 2018 Final Mock Draft dated 6/4/18: Mize, Bart, Madrigal, Singer, India.  now has Nats on Xavier Edwards, a prep SS from Florida.
  • Fangraphs (Eric Longenhagen/Kiley McDaniel): 2018 Mock Draft v1.0 dated 4/19/18: Mize, Bohm, Madrigal, Swaggerty, Kelenic.  Only projected top 10, but notes that Washington wants a “quick moving” college pitcher (just like every year) and is tied to either Tristan Beck or Sean Hjelle.
  • Fangraphs (Eric Longenhagen/Kiley McDaniel): 2018 Mock Draft v2.0 dated 5/15/18: Mize, Bart, Bohn, Madrigal, Singer.  Also has Nats on Denaburg.
  • Fangraphs (Eric Longenhagen/Kiley McDaniel): 2018 Mock Draft v3.0 dated 6/1/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Singer, Madrigal.  Now has Nats on Wilcox.
  • Seedlings to the Stars/Calltothepen.com (Benjamin Chase) Mock draft v1.0 4/30/18: Mize, Bohm, Libratadore, Kelenic, Madrigal.  Has the Nats on Mike Vasil, a HS RHP pitcher from a Boston, MA high school  (with a commit to UVA/Virginia) with some possible arm issues so could be following their pattern of buying low in injured guys.
  • Seedlings to the Stars/Calltothepen.com (Benjamin ChaseMock draft v2.0 5/7/18: Mize, Madrigal, Bohm, Winn, Libratadore.  Has Nats on de Sedas, which would fit the Nats’ predilection of taking “famous” names.
  • Seedlings to the Stars/Calltothepen.com (Benjamin ChaseMock draft v3.0 5/15/18: Mize, Bart, India, Bohm, Singer.  Also has Nats on Denaburg.
  • Seedlings to the Stars/Calltothepen.com (Benjamin ChaseMock draft v4.0 5/21/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Madrigal, Singer.   Has Nats now on Wilcox instead of Denaburg now.
  • Seedlings to the Stars/Calltothepen.com (Benjamin ChaseMock draft v5.1 5/28/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Singer, Madrigal.  Has Nats back on Denaburg.
  • Seedlings to the Stars/Calltothepen.com (Benjamin ChaseMock draft v6.2 6/4/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Singer, Madrigal.  Same top 5 as last few iterations.  Has Nats back on Wilcox.
  • ESPN/Keith Law Mock draft v1.0 5/2/18: Mize, Singer, Bohm, Bart, Madrigal.  Has the Nats taking a prep RHP named J.T. Ginn from Mississippi, or perhaps taking one of the more “famous” prep arms if they fall (Hankins, Turang).
  • ESPN/Keith Law Mock draft v2.0 5/17/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Madrigal, Singer.  Has the Nats on Rocker, or perhaps one of the other prep guys who are “famous” but who are falling this spring, looking for value.
  • ESPN/Keith Law Mock draft v3.0 5/31/18: Mize, Winn, Bart, Singer, Madrigal.  Has the Nats on Denaburg.
  • ESPN/Keith Law Mock draft v4.0 6/4/18: Bart, Winn, Mize, Singer, Madrigal.  Still has the Nats on Denaburg.
  • Sporting News Mock Draft v1.0 5/17/18: Mize, Libratadore, Singer, Madrigal, Stewart.  Has the Nats taking Seth Beer, which I wouldn’t be totally against.
  • TheBigLead.com (Ryan Phillips) Mock Draft v1.0 5/17/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Madrigal, Singer (same as Law).  Only projects top 10, so no Nats pick.
  • TheBigLead.com (Ryan PhillipsMock Draft v2.0 5/30/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Madrigal, Singer (same as his first mock).  Has Nats on Wilcox.
  • TheBigLead.com (Ryan PhillipsMock Draft v3.0 6/3/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Madrigal, Singer (same as his first two mocks).  Has Nats on Ethan Hankins now.
  • PerfectGame.org (Brian Sakowski) Mock Draft v1.0: 4/20/18: Mize, Kelenic, Madrigal, McClanahan, Hankins.  has Nats on Grayson Rodriguez, prep RHP from Texas HS.
  • PerfectGame.org (Brian Sakowski) Mock Draft v2.0: 5/10/18: Mize, Stewart, Bohm, Singer, Madrigal.  Nats on Kumar Rocker as well; I’d love this pick if it happened.
  • PerfectGame.org (Brian Sakowski) Mock Draft v3.0 5/24/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Madrigal, Singer.  Nats on Jackson Kowar, RHP weekend starter for Florida.  Um, if Kowar makes it here, i’d be ecstatic and it’d be a great pick.
  • PerfectGame.org (Brian Sakowski) Mock Draft v4.0 6/4/18: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Singer, Madrigal.  Nats on Denaburg.
  • Prospect Digest (Joseph Werner) Mock Draft 6/4/18: Mize, Liberatore, Madrigal, McClanahan, Stewart.  Nats picking Stanford’s Tristan Beck.

Mock draft posters from 2017 who didn’t seem to do one this year.:

  • D1Baseball (Frankie Piliere)
  • HeroSports.com (Chris Crawford/Jason Crawford)
  • MinorleagueBall.com (John Sickels)
  • SI.com (Jay Jaffe), now with Fangraphs, so probably not doing prospect work anymore.
  • CBSsports (Mike Axisa)

Todd Boss’ Mock draft top-5 prediction?

My top 5: Mize, Bart, Bohm, Singer, Madrigal.   It seems like most all the pundits have arrived at this as a top 5 and it seems to make sense.

ACTUAL DRAFT Results (added after the draft): top 5 went Mize, Bart, Bohm, Madrigal, India.  First four no surprise … India at #5 a surprise.  So was Kyler Murray at #9 to Oakland … that came out of nowhere.

Who are the Nats going to take at #27:  Mason Denaburg

Its really, really difficult to project to the 27th pick; you just have no idea who will be there.  Just consider the 2011 draft; the Nats sat at the #6 spot and figured they’d have zero shot at Anthony Rendon, who for most of his college career was considered a 1-1 guy.  Suddenly Rendon has a slight injury, the first few teams pass on him … and he falls into the Nat’s lap.

Historically, Mike Rizzo drafts college guys.  And historically, he drafts college arms up high.  However, most of the mocks above have the Nats taking prep arms in the first.

The clear “word on the street” out of the Nats camp this year is prep arm.  Why?  I have no idea.  How many high school arms have you ever seen Mike Rizzo draft at the top of the draft?  How about in the top 10 rounds altogether?   I’ll give you the answer to the latter question: Three: Rizzo has drafted exactly three prep arms in the top 10 rounds in the entirety of his Nats career, dating to 2009.  Jesus LuzardoLucas Giolito and A.J. Cole.   That’s it.  Cole was under the prior bonus rules, when they threw 1st round money at him in the 4th.  Giolito was a case where he dropped precipitously thanks to an arm injury and the Nats snagged him mid 1st (which kind of fits the Denaburg projection this year) … and Luzardo was a 3rd rounder with 1st round talent but a TJ surgery on his resume who they got great value on.  So why would anyone think Rizzo is going to pick a prep arm unless its a Giolito situation where a top-5 projected guy suddenly falls?

Normally, i’d firmly in the camp that the Nats will follow their typical pattern here for later 1st round picks: college arm.  I like the mocks that project guys like Beck or Hjelle, or any one of several solid college arms who might drop down because of a crummy regional performance.  Ole Miss’ Ryan Rolison fits the bill here as a guy who might be available at 27, as does Jackson Kowar.

What about one of the famous “bats” in this draft?  Namely, Seth Beer or Luken Baker or Griffen Conine?  All seem like no-position/defensive liability sluggers, which may end up being tweeners between Late 1st round and mid 2nd round … so they’d be reaches for the Nats in the 1st but gone by our 2nd round pick.

 

Actual Nats #27 Pick (added after the draft): Mason Denaburg.  For the second year in a row, the Nats tip their hand and have their first round pick predicted by every major pundit.

The race for the 2018 #1 Draft Pick

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SF is in the lead to have first crack at top prep SS Brian Turang. Photo via baseball America

SF is in the lead to have first crack at top prep SS Brice Turang. Photo via baseball America

About this time, I like to look at the bottom of the standings to see who’s going to have the first crack at talent in next year’s Rule-4 amateur draft.

With two weeks left (roughly 13-15 games), here’s how things stand.  There seem to be 4 contenders for the title (records as of saturday morning 9/16/17).

  1. San Francisco, 57-92.  what a season for the Giants, going from presumed contenders to currently owning the worst record in the majors.  They’ve lost 15 of their last 20 and might not be catchable for the #1 pick.  Pretty impressive for the team with the 5th highest opening day payroll.
  2. Philadelphia: 57-90: we knew they’d be bad and so did they … but they’ve played .500 ball for the last month to take themselves out of the running for their 2nd straight #1 overall pick.  They seem likely to end up 3rd or 4th.
  3. Chicago White Sox: 59-88: another team that clearly waived the white flag this past off-season, but which stocked up so heavily on top-end prospects that their possible end of 2018 rotation (Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Carson Fulmer and Michael Kopech is a murder’s row of 1st round/highly rated prospects.  They could return to glory and fast, especially with another year of top draft picks.  They’ve rebounded as of late though and are playing themselves out of the running for #1 overall.
  4. Detroit: 61-86: keep an eye on the Tigers though, who have won just 8 of their last 30 and have (finally) admitted to themselves they need to sell, moving face of the franchise Justin Verlander and probably selling off everything they can this coming off-season.  Detroit by the way had the 2nd hghest payroll on opeing day only behind the Dodgers.  Now that’s hard to do.
  5. New York Mets: 63-84: they’re 6 games out of the “lead” but are in free fall, losing 20 of their last 30 and being led to the finish line by a manager that should be canned for incompetence this off-season.

Next few teams: As, Reds and Padres, all of whom are playing .500 ball right now and seem unlikely to get into the top 5.

End of year prediction: SF, Detroit, Mets, Philly, White Sox.

So who’s in the “race” for #1 overall next summer?  Its really early, and these rankings drastically change with spring performances, but here’s some of the top names to keep in mind:

College:

  • Brady Singer RHP, Florida. Dominant in 2016 CWS. 2017 USA Nat’l team.
  • Casey Mize RHP, Auburn. 2017 USA Nat’l team star.
  • Nick Madrigal 2B, Oregon State: Golden spikes semi-finalist 2017 as sophomore. All-american as Soph. 2017 USA Nat’l team.
  • Seth Beer 1B/DH Clemson: monster freshman year in 2016: Dick Howser award, Golden spikes finalist. 2017 USA Nat’l team.
  • Griffin Conine OF, Duke. Jeff Conine‘s son. Exploded in Cape Cod League 2017, All-Cape 2017, named top prospect
  • Jeremey Eierman SS, Missouri State; All-American 1st/2nd team 2017 as sophomore. 2017 USA Nat’l team invitee.

High School

  • Kumar Rocker RHP, North Oconee (GA) (Vanderbilt commit). 18U team.
  • Brice Turang SS, Santiago (CA) (LSU commit). 18U team.
  • Ethan Hankins RHP, Forsyth Central (GA): (Vanderbilt commit). 18U team.
  • Jared Kelenic OF, Waukesha (WI) (Louisville commit). 18U team.

If the draft was tomorrow, it’d probaby go Turang, Singer, Rocker at the top.