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Rule 5 Analysis/Prediction for 2019

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Is Sterling Sharp getting the call? Photo unk via talknats.com

Is Sterling Sharp getting the call? Photo unk via talknats.com

Welcome to the annual Rule 5 analysis post.

Lets take a look at who is eligible, who might get protected and make some predictions.  I’ve got the Nats 40-man roster at 30 now (as of 11/6/19, after all FAs and opt outs), so there’s plenty of room to add names and do their off-season work.  But, this team also needs to sign a bunch of FAs.  But there’s a slew of options-challenged players who might get waived this off-season.  So it’ll be an interesting Rule-5 year, and an interesting off-season in terms of roster manipulation.

As always, using the indispensable Nationals resource sites Draft tracker (at its new location, now maintained by Luke Erickson) and the Big Board, and then looking up candidate acquisitions made via trade, here’s some thoughts on who might merit protection.   Also incredibly useful is Roster Resource’s Nats Roster, which keeps track of options, rule-5 status and the like.

The quick Rule-5 rules for 2019; any 4-year college-aged draftee from 2016 or before who isn’t already on the 40-man roster is Rule-5 eligible this coming off season, and any high-school aged draftee/International Free Agent from 2015 or before is newly eligible this year, assuming they were at least 18 as of June 5th of that year.  There’s always a couple of guys who have specific birthdays that move them up or down one way or the other; i’ll depend on the Roster Resource rules and the Draft Tracker for exact details.

One last thing: here was our 2019 AFL Roster (also here at milb.com’s site).  Often times teams put Rule-5 guys onto AFL rosters to get one last look at them against top quality performance to see if they’re worth protecting.  Of course, this practice also puts a huge spotlight onto those players for opposing teams and their scouts…

  • Rule 5 eligible: Sterling Sharp, Nick Banks, Andrew Lee, Jakson Reetz
  • Not: Luis Garcia, Cole Freeman, Nick Raquet, Jacob Condra-Bogan, Pearson McMahon, K.J. Harrison

Newly Eligible 2016 draft College Players this year worth consideration for protection:

  • Nick Banks, 2016 4th rounder LF who ascended to Harrisburg in 2019.  Decent numbers and hit pretty consistently from High-A to AA this year, but he’s a corner outfielder who hit one homer in 45 AA games.  You need more power than that to ascend.  I mention him here b/c of draft pedigree, not because I think he’s going to be protected.  I don’t think anyone could see him sticking on a MLB roster or competing with an aging ML veteran on a non-guaranteed deal.
  • Armond Upshaw, 2016 11th round OF who is still in low-A; no jeopardy of getting picked.
  • Jack Sundberg: 2016 26th round CF who repeated high-A for the third year in a row this season; no jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Hayden Howard, 2016 12th round middle reliever who has good numbers but has never pitched above High-A ball; no real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Ryan Williamson, 2016 15th rounder who missed two full years with injury and is only in low-A; no real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Ben Braymer, 2016 18th rounder LHP starting pitcher who is one of the best draft picks (in terms of value vis-a-vis draft position) the team has had this decade.  He has now risen to AAA’s rotation … where he proceeded to get shelled thsi year (7.20 ERA in 13 starts).  Hard to tell if that’s the level or the PCL; i’m going to go latter since he maintained sub 3.00 ERAs at most of his stops as he ascended the minors.  I think its worth protecting a home grown lefty starter who they drafted and paid a paltry $100k signing bonus for.
  • Jacob Howell: 2016 21st rounder, missed all of 2018 with injury, pitched mostly in Low-A this year; no real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Sterling Sharp: 2016 22nd rounder, missed a chunk of the 2019 season with injury, but improved year over year in his AA results and then went and pitched pretty well in the AFL (6 starts, 24 innings 4 runs allowed).   I think someone would take a flier on him, especially a tanking team (which now defines 1/3rd of the league).  I think he should be protected.

Its worth noting that the team already has added two guys from this class who likely would have been Rule-5 this year anyway: Tres Barrera and Jake Noll both would have otherwise been on this list.

So, two candidates from this group fo r me in Braymer and Sharp

 


Newly Eligible 2015 High School-age drafted players under consideration for protection

  • None

The Nats generally don’t pick HS players, so the picking here is always slim.  But we’re down to just 8 players remaining in the system at all from the 2015 draft class, and none of them were HS draftees.

Zero candidates from this group.


Newly Eligible 2015 signed IFAs under consideration for protection:

  • Brailin Mesa, a 2015 IFA DH who never came state-side and who probably was released after the 2017 season, but sometimes milb.com’s records are not up-to-date.
  • Gerald De La Cruz: also a 2015 IFA pitcher who never came stateside and has no results past 2017: like Mesa above, probably was released after the 2017 season.
  • Omar Meregildo, a 2015 IFA light hitting 3B who split time in 2019 between low- and high-A.  No real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Gilberto Chu, an 2015 IFA RHP who has now appeared in short-season Auburn for 3 seasons running.  Good numbers, but no real jeopardy of getting selected.
  • Jhonathan German, 2015 IFA RHP closer who ascended 3 levels in 2019, ending the year in AA.  Good numbers across his career, especially once he abandoned starting.  I’d have a hard time believing he’d get picked though, with just 13 IP above A-ball.  Perhaps we revisit his candidacy next season if he continues to pitch well in AA for a team that’s always looking for relievers.
  • Felix Taveras, 2015 IFA now age 24, missed all of 2018 and threw just a handful of complex-league innings in 2019.  Not getting picked.
  • Tomas Alastre: 2015 IFA RHP starting pitcher who, inexplicably to me, has been a rotation mainstay in Hagerstown for two full seasons running despite his posting an ERA north of 5.00 consistently throughout that time period.  Is this a case where the team is just keeping him around to eat innings?  I can’t imagine that being the case with so many arms getting drafted each year.   That being said, he’s only 21, so he’s still quite young even though he’s now rule-5 eligible, but he’s at no risk of getting picked in 2019’s rule-5 draft.
  • Jhon Romero: 2015 IFA signing, trade bounty for Brandon Knitzler last year during the infamous purging of “bad apples.”  He missed most of 2019 with injury while repeating high-A; little chance of getting selected.

Zero candidates from this group.


Rule-5 Eligible hold-overs of note: 2015 or prior college draftees still hanging out in the system, or 2014 and prior HS/IFAs.

2015 Draftees

  • Rhett Wiseman, 2015 3rd round left-handed hitting OF out of Vanderbilt.  Repeated High-A in 2018 and drastically improved his OPS, but it seems to be on the back of perhaps going for more of an all or nothing approach: he increased his homer output, but also struck out 122 times in 407 PAs.  In 2019, he ascended to AA and hit just .215.  The team invested a big bonus in him, and it hasn’t panned out.  I really liked this pick at the time, but then watched him hit in the CWS that year and thought he’d have a hard time adjusting to pro pitching.  So far, my amateur observation seems to be holding true.  He seems likely to pass through Rule-5 once again and hit MLFA after 2020.
  • Ian Sagdal, 2015 16th round senior sign who has hung around, ascending to AA for 2019 and hitting decently.  He’s listed as a 1B but had just 8 homers this year; that’s not going to get him Rule-5’d.
  • Andrew Lee: 2015 11th rounder basically missed all of 2017 with injury, was decent as a swingman in Low-A in 2018, then pitched pretty well in the same swing-man role, ascending to AA in 2019.  Just a half a season above A-Ball; i still don’t see him as a candidate to get picked, but could turn into a James Bourque-like figure for this team next season if he continues to pitch well.  He was sent to the AFL, so scouts got a look at him; is this enough to expose him?
  • Tommy Peterson, 2015 12th rounder, has now missed the last two full years; he last appeared at the end of 2017.  Surprised he’s still with the organization, not a candidate to get picked.
  • Ryan Brinley, 2015 27th rounder, has also missed the entirety of the last two seasons with injury yet remains on the roster.
  • Jorge Pantoja has bounced around the A-levels for four years now, ending last year with a 2.59 ERA in High-A … his fourth year running in Potomac.  not a candidate to get picked.
  • Andrew Istler, our trade bounty from the Dodgers for Ryan Madsen.  He had very solid numbers in AA in a middle relief role, even earning a stellar AAA call-up.  He’s an undersized Duke grad, 23rd round pick who has done well.  I wonder if his pedigree makes him less likely to get picked.  In 2019, he was MIA for months, finally got assigned … to High-A despite being in AAA a couple of years ago.  He posted sub 1.00 ERAs in both his stops this year but is now a 27yr old RHP middle reliever.  If someone didn’t pick him last year, its hard to believe he’s ever going to get picked.  At age 27 with solid middle relief numbers, it isn’t out of the realm of possible though that a team could pick him and have him be their 7th man in an 8-man pen…

2014 Draftees

  • Jakson Reetz, 3rd round C from 2014.  Reetz was paid a big bonus out of HS, but has struggled for years.  In 2019, repeating high-A for the 3rd successive year he lifted his OPS above .800 in a split-duty role, and was sent to the AFL.  He only appeared in a few games in Arizona; unknown why.  Its hard to see a player getting Rule-5 drafted without having never ascended above A-Ball.
  • Austin Davidson started out as a corner OF and 13th rounder in 2014, now a light hitting middle infielder.  Started the year in AA, demoted to high-A.  Not a threat to get drafted.
  • Alec Keller: a 2014 17th rounder who has ascended now to AAA, but is a high-average, low-power corner OF who seems like a classic 6-year FA AAA player who will get one more year in Fresno in 2020.
  • Robbie Dickey, a 2014 4th rounder who now has no results for 3 successive years on milb.com; it seems likely that he got released after the 2017 season and the site just isn’t updated.
  • Tyler Mapes, a great story who continues to hang in there.  He was a 30th rounder in 2014, missed all of 2017 with injury but came back with a vengeance in 2018, dominating Potomac and holding his own with a 3.95 ERA in AA. In 2019 as a full time starter in AA he took a step back; 5.00 ERA across 26 starts, showing  hit-ability and not a ton of swing and miss.  He’s not likely to get picked, but is likely to stay in the rotation in 2020.
  • Taylor Gushue, a 2014 Draftee out of Florida who has now made his way all the way to AAA in 2018, then hit .312 as the part-time starter in Fresno this year.  I said this last year, but the lack of Catchers on the Nat’s 40-man and the fact that one of them (Raudy Read) has 63 days of service, a PED suspension and zero options seems like they should think about adding more catching depth.  I’d add Gushue … but its also worth noting that despite the catching depth issues in the sport … the fact that Gushue would have to stay on a 25-man roster all year (essentially being the backup/play twice a week guy) means it’d be a huge risk to take him.  More likely is that the Nats wait it out and he’s the first catcher to get added to provide cover for Kurt Suzuki and whoever else we sign this coming off-season.
  • Nick Wells, our trade bounty for Austin Adams at the beginning of 2019 (bet the team wishes they had that trade back; Adams struck out 51 in 31 innings for Seattle and was a solid 7th inning guy … something we could really have used … but I digress).  We got back Wells, a local kid (Battlefield HS) who for reasons unknown sat in XST for most of the summer, then got just 12 innings for Low-A Hagerstown … the same level he initially pitched in four seasons ago.   I’m sure he isn’t getting picked, but I also question what the plan is for Wells at this point.

IFAs: 2014 and older

  • Luis Reyes: finally made it to AA in 2018, and got shelled (12 starts, 5.18 ERA).  Nonetheless the team included him in their 2018 AFL roster, where he got even more shelled (4 starts, 12 innings, 22 runs allowed).  This pushed him back to Potomac for 2019, where he lost his rotation spot and struggled in middle relief.  No jeopardy of getting picked.
  • Joan Baez went 9-9 with a 3.79 ERA as a full time starter for Potomac in 2018, then moved into relief (finally) in 2019, where he moved up the chain and ended the year in AAA.  He had good numbers in AA, not as good in AAA (but who does), but concerningly had more walks than Ks in Fresno.  He’s only 24.  This team is always looking for relievers.  I wonder if he’s worth protecting at this point.
  • Telmito Agustin, a LF who hit pretty well for High-A in 2018 (OPS of .822) … then repeated the level in 2019.  Not a candidate to get picked.
  • Steven Fuentes, who forced a mid-season promotion to High-A where he posted a 3.00 ERA in 45 middle-relief type innings in 2018 … and got PED suspended in 2019.  Not a candidate
  • Gilbert Lara, the 3B prospect the Nats received from Milwaukee in the Gio Gonzalez trade.   He played all of 2018 in Low-A, then jumped up to High-A mid-2019 but is no candidate for drafting.
  • Malvin Pena basically missed two full seasons, spent entirety of 2019 in High-A’s rotation and posted an ERA north of 6.00.  Not a candidate to get picked.
  • Aldrem Corredor, a 1B who has hung around since 2012 in the system, played 2019 in high-A as a 1b for average kind of guy; not a candidate.
  • Omar Meregildo: a light hitting part time 3B who played in Potomac this year; not a candidate.
  • Angel Guillen, a RHP reliever who pushed his way up to Potomac this year with solid numbers.  I like him in 2020 to get to AA; not a candidate.

One solid candidate from this group (Gushue), two maybes (Baez, Istler)


So, who would I protect?

So, remember, if someone gets drafted they have to stick on someone else’s ACTIVE, 25-man (well, now 26-man) MLB roster the entirety of 2019.  So it has to be someone who could theoretically stick on a MLB roster.

  • Ben Braymer
  • Sterling Sharp

Who would I additionally consider?

  • Taylor Gushue
  • Joan Baez
  • Andrew Istler

Here’s some other opinions in the Natmosphere on the same topic (i’ll add them as I see them):


For a fun trip down memory lane, here’s the same Rule 5 Protection analysis post for 20182017201620152014201320122011, and 2010.

By year, here’s who I predicted we’d add and who we did add.

  • 2019: Predicted Braymer, Sharp.  Actual: tbd
  • 2018: Predicted: Bourque, Mills, Istler.  Actual: just Bourque.
  • 2017: Predicted: Gutierrez, Gushue, Ward, Baez.  Actual: Gutierrez and Jefry Rodriguez.
  • 2016: Predicted Voth, Bautista.  Actual: Voth, Bautista, Marmolejos, Read and Skole.
  • 2015: Predicted Kieboom, Bostick, Marmolejos-Diaz.  Actual: Kieboom, Bostick, Lee
  • 2014: Predicted Cole, Skole, Goodwin.  Hedged on Grace, Martin and Difo.  Actual: Cole, Goodwin, Difo, Grace.
  • 2013: Predicted Solis as the only lock (Souza already added).  Possibles mentioned in order Barrett, Taylor, Grace, Holland.  Actual: Solis, Barrett, Taylor.
  • 2012: Predicted Karns and McCoy, with Hood and Rosenbaum as maybes.  Actual: Karns and Davis.  I think we were all surprised by Davis’ inclusion, despite his good AA numbers that year.
  • 2011: Predicted Norris as a lock, guessed strongly on Moore, Meyers and Komatsu.  Actual: Norris, Moore, Solano, Perez.    This was poor analysis on my part; I did not consider the IFAs newly eligible.
  • 2010: Predicted Marrero, Meyers and Mandel.  Actual: Marrero, Carr and Kimball.
  • 2009: pre-dates my blog and thus no predictions, but Actual was Jaime, Thompson and Severino.
  • 2008: I might be wrong, but I don’t see any evidence of the team protecting *anyone* prior to the Rule-5 draft.  A bit of an indictment of the farm system at the time, I’d say :-)

Minor League Rotations: Mid-May Check-in

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Wil Crowe is the best starter in the system right now. PHoto via insidenova.com

Wil Crowe is the best starter in the system right now. PHoto via insidenova.com

Since its so depressing to talk about the train wreck that the Major League team is … lets look at the minor league pitching pipeline.

We last checked in a couple weeks into the season on 4/15/19, so we’re just about a month past that post.  Lets revisit where we are.


 

AAA/Fresno 2019

The rotation is: Voth, McGowin, Copeland, Espino, MSanchez.   Changes from last post: Alvarez got dumped to the bullpen thanks to his  8.20 ERA, Dragmire is on the D/L,  Ross got promoted to the needy MLB bullpen, and MSanchez was promoted up from AA to fill the rotation gap.

The Bullpen is: Rainey, Hoover, Self, Bacus, Nuno, JMills*, Blazek with Alvarez as long-man/spot starter.   Changes from last post: Adams was DFA’d and traded for Nick Wells, a Battlefield HS grad who now gets to play closer to home.  Cordero was also DFA’d and as of this writing sits in DFA limbo.  To replace them the team promoted JMills from AA and signed Blazek off the street a day before this writing.

Who’s hot:  McGowin has thrown 4 straight QS.  Voth remains the best AAA starter, keeping his ERA under 4.00 despite playing in the PCL.  Self and Bacus continue to perform well in their first AAA experiences.  I continue to be dumbfounded why Adams was DFA’d; here’s his AAA line this year for Fresno: 12.1 IP, 2.19 ERA, 0.89 Whip, 24/3 K/BB.  Yet the team (at the time) thought it was more important to keep Cordero on the roster.

Who’s not?  Dragmire may go straight to release waivers off the D/L (28 hits in 13 IP).  Mills does not look ready for AAA (13.50 ERA in 8 IP).  Neither does Mario Sanchez (13 hits in 7IP in 2 starts).

Who’s next guy to get the call?   Voth if they need a starter.  The only 40-man reliever left here is Rainey and he can’t find the plate (28ks and 12 walks in 16.2 innings).

Who’s next to get the Axe?   the JJ Hoover experiment may be over.  Both Mills and Sanchez probably should return to AA.  Dragmire continues to be in jeopardy of his roster spot when he gets healthy.


AA/Harrisburg 2019

Rotation: Crowe, Tetreault, Sharp, Mapes, Braymer*.  Changes from last time: Fedde got promoted to the MLB bullpen, replaced by the promoted Tetreault.

Bullpen: Bourque, Condra-Bogan, RPena, Guilbeau*, ABarrett with Baez, Ondrusek, Fuentes as swingmen/spot starters.  Changes from last time: Brinley on the D/L, JMIlls promoted, Ondrusek demoted from AAA’s D/L, Fuentes promoted up from High-A.

Who’s hot: Crowe remains the best AA starter and is probably now the best SP prospect in our system.  Bourque has a 29/5 K/BB ratio in 18 innings and its rather inexplicable that he a) remains in AA and b) has not yet gotten called into the MLB relief corps to alleviate the bullpen issues.  Tetreault has picked up right where he left off in High-A, with a 1.43 ERA through 3 AA starts and now has a 1.50 across 7 starts and two levels on the year.    Barrett continues to look solid and has MLB experience, so may be an option in the future.

Who’s not? Mapes has the worst ERA of the rotation, really the only starter  you can quibble with.  Pena and Guilbeau are struggling in the bullpen.

Who’s next guy to get the call?  Crowe, Bourque

Who’s next to get the Axe? Pena; the org has stuck by him a long, long time fora  16th round pick.  He’s 27 in AA and now in his 8th pro season here.  But an ERA in the 6s puts him on the chopping line when the next reliever needs to be promoted.


 

High-A/Potomac 2019

Rotation: Johnston, Borne*, Raquet*, ALee, MPena.  Changes from last time: Tetreault promoted, Reyes dumped to the pen after posting an ERA > 9.00.   Replaced in the rotation by Lee, who was bumped up from spot-starter/swingman.

bullpen:  Bogucki,  McKinney,  Bartow, JRomero, LReyes, German with Howard*,  Teel* as swingmen and (presumably) Nick Wells showing up soon.  Changes from last time: Acevedo released, Fuentes promoted, JRomero re-instated from XST, German and Teel promoted from Low-A.

Who’s hot:  I like what I see out of Lee in the rotation so far; he’s got the best ERA and peripherals of any High-A starter.   Teel and Bartow are the best relievers right now by stats, and Bartow has 2 of the 3 saves the staff has on the entire season (how is that possible?  In 14 victories they only have 3 saves.  that’s saying something).

Who’s not?  Raquet and Pena both have ERAs north of 7 in the rotation.  Nothing personal against Raquet, but I hated the draft pick at the time, and now he’s repeating high-A with the same crummy numbers and lack of swing and miss he exhibited there last year.  Every time I see him get shelled in a start its another indictment of that draft pick and that draft class in general.

Who’s next guy to get the call?  They’ve already promoted the two best arms (Tetreault and Fuentes).  No starters really pushing for a promotion right now.

Who’s next to get the Axe?  Bogucki is putting on > 2 runners an inning but was solid in High-A last year.  The fact that Reyes continues to have a roster spot astounds me: he is now in high-A for the 3rd year; he was also in High-A in  2016 and 2017, neither season of which merited his 2018 promotion to AA (where he got shelled).


Low-A/Hagerstown 2019

Rotation:  Alastre, Adon, Cate*, Irvin, FPeguero.  Changes from last time: Strom was demoted to XST, and the tandem starting seems to have been somewhat relaxed in that this set of 5 starters has rotated for several turns now.

Bullpen: Stoeckinger*, AGuillen, RWilliamson*, Tapani, Fletcher*, Day as swingmen/spot starters, along with Brasher, TTurner in the pen as more conventional relievers.  Changes from last time: Teel and German promoted, and RWilliamson and Tapani promoted from GCL/XST.

 

Who’s hot: Cate and Peguero, the two  starters I noted as being “hot” in the last post, remain the two best starters in Low-A.   Cate, a college Sr 2nd rounder last year, is probably too old for the level and needs to be moved up.  Fletcher, Stoeckinger and Guillen are pitching well in their “tandem” multi-inning roles.

Who’s not?  Irvin’s seasonal numbers are skewed by a 1ip/9-run outing, but he has the worst ERA in the rotation right now.  Brasher has gotten hit hard in limited action.  Alastre continues to not find the plate; he has 25 walks in 35 innings.

Who’s next guy to get the call?  Cate needs to move up stat.   Same with Peguero; he’s now 23 dominating Low-A.  Why are they still there?   Same with Fletcher; he’s now 23, was a senior sign and has 6 weeks of dominant numbers in low-A.  Why wait?

Who’s next to get the Axe?  Brasher seems most likely to be the next guy sent back to XST.


XST names of interest

  • Where is Istler?    He was solid in AA and even had some AAA time last year.  Still unassigned.
  • Where’s Jhon Romero?  He got assigned to High-A.
  • Pantoja? Still missing; may have been a “quiet” release.
  • No word yet about Seth Romero‘s rehab progress.
  • Since the last posting, the team officially assigned 5 guys to Low-A and put them directly on the DL: Barnett, WDavis, Howell, SRomero, Troop.  Barrett and WDavis were on the GCL team last year.  Howell and Troop were “missing” names from last year’s Low-A team now found, and of course Romero remains perhaps the worst 1st round pick this team has had since the Aaron Crow/Jim Bowden debacle.

 

Local 2014 Draft Prospects: Post-draft summary

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Jacob Bukauskas was among the area's highest ranked draft prospect. Where'd he go? John McDonnell/Washington Post via getty images

Jacob Bukauskas was among the area’s highest ranked draft prospect. Where’d he go? John McDonnell/Washington Post via getty images

We started looking at DC-local draft prospects early this spring with a comprehensive pre-season review of all local draft prospects.  Then at mid-spring season we took at look at just the best local prospects.   Now that the Rule 4 draft has occurred, lets talk about some of these big-time names from DC/MD/VA and who went where.

I’ll list these players with local ties in the order they were drafted, which it should be noted, turned out to be vastly different from their pre-draft ranking order.  Like with other posts, I’ll put in rankings for the player from four reputable ranking sources pre-draft for prospects: Keith LawBaseball AmericaMLB.com and MinorLeagueBall (though, as we’ll see by the rankings below, I’m not sure I think MinorLeagueBall’s rankings are worthy; they’re *way* off on some players who went in the upper rounds).  After the 10th round, we’ll just focus on “name players” or high schoolers who got previous mention; lets be honest, the odds of a high school star being bought out of his college commitment drastically drops after just the first few rounds.

Editor’s note: post-signing deadline I updated this with signing status and bonus for first 10 rounds of picks.  Actual bonus tracker from MLB.com here, slot values for each pick here.

The MLB Draft Tracker is the best tool out there for finding info on players and is used heavily here.

  • 1st Round/#19 overall by Cincinnati: Nick Howard, UVA rhp reliever (Law #63/BA #25/MLB #31/MinorLeagueBall #40).  Jim Callis reports that Howard’s stock was rising fast ahead of the draft, and MlbDraftInsider predicted an early 2nd round pick for Howard.  Shocking everyone, he went right after the Nats picked at #19 in the first round.  A surprise pick; he was projected to be just the third UVA player selected and perhaps a 2nd rounder.   He was a Sunday starter for UVA but moved to the bullpen in 2014 and showed a significant strike-out tool (he had a 15.88 K/9 rate on the year, albeit in just 28 innings closing games for UVA).  I wonder if Cincinnati is thinking they can move him back to a starting role, because drafting a reliever this high is (in some pundit’s minds) a waste of a first round pick.  Signed for $1.995M, $100k under slot.
  • Supp-1st Round/#37 overall by Houston: Derek Fisher, UVA OF (#15/#31/#26/#31).  Keith Law video breakdown.  Law predicted back of first round despite his ranking him as the 15th best prospect.  Scout.com predicted the same.  MlbDraftInsider predicted mid-first round.  They were all wrong; Fisher lasted until the mid supplemental 1st round, and odds are that Houston got a steal of a player here.  Fisher’s production was hampered by a broken hamate bone this season, causing him to miss time and lose power, so this pick was projecting his excellent sophomore season.  I think Houston will find a quick-to-the-majors corner outfielder who can slot nicely into a #2 or #6 slot.  Signed for $1.534M, exactly slot.
  • Supp-1st Round/#38 overall by Cleveland: Mike Papi, UVA 1B/OF (#43/#43/#45/#81.  Keith Law video breakdown.  Law predicted mid 2nd round.  MlbDraftInsider predicted early 2nd round.  But Papi’s strong finish clearly jumped him on Cleveland’s board, who nabbed him in the supplemental first round.  He profiles as a professional hitter, lots of line drives, lots of walks (I think of Nick Johnson).  Signed for $1.25M, about $250k under slot.
  • 2nd Round/#45 overall by Chicago Cubs: Jake Stinnett, SR RHP from U of Maryland (#51/#67/#72/#213??).  Stinnett clearly made himself a ton of money with his showings at the ACC tournament (8ip, 3 ER and 10ks versus UVA) and the CWS regional (8ip, 3runs against ODU).  He is the first college senior off the board, to a team (the Cubs) that is trying to rebuild itself, so one may wonder if this is a pre-negotiated/below-slot deal with a guy who won’t have a ton of leverage so that the Cubs can throw extra cash later on.  Either way, Stinnett was likely to go in the 2nd round regardless, so the Cubs don’t do much of an over-draft here.  Signed for exactly $1M, about $250k under slot.
  • 3rd round/#78 overall by Chicago Cubs: Mark Zagunas, C from Virginia Tech ((Law out of top 100/#111/#149/#106).  Zagunas profiles as a Jason Kendall like catcher; good defense, contact hitter who doesn’t strike out a ton.  But Law thinks he projects as a backup catcher and thinks this is a bit of an over-draft.  No matter; Zagunas became one of the first players to sign when he took an under-slot deal over the weekend.  Signed for 615K, about $100k underslot.
  • 3rd round/#83 overall by Toronto: Nick Wells is a LHP from Battlefield HS in Gainesville (Law out of top 100/#119/Out of MLB’s top 200/#343) who has a College of Charleston commit and who sits low-90s on the gun.  He’s popped up from being just a good HS pitcher to being a potential 3rd-4th rounder.   Slot is $661k.  Might be signable; that’s a lot of money.   Battlefield lost in the 6-A north regional quarters to McLean; i’m not sure which game Wells pitched (perhaps their first round game, a 4-0 win).  UPdate: named to Baseball America’s 2nd team All-American team for 2014.  Signed for $661k, exactly slot.
  • 4th Round/#111 overall by Seattle: Ryan Yarbrough, a senior LHP from ODU (na/#407/na/na) who I hadn’t seen on any pre-draft rankings.   I was surprised to find him at least on BA’s list.  He was a weekend starter (some Friday, some Saturday) for ODU this year but struggled to a 6-7, 4.50 ERA on the season.  In the CWS regional he pitched in relief in the first of their two-and-out losses to Maryland.  No offense to Yarbrough, but a 4th round senior draftee (slot value $471k) who likely is an org-arm more befitting of a mid-20s round pick looks like a complete money-saving move by Seattle to free up cash for other picks.  Signed for just $40k, more than $430k under slot.  Seattle went WAY over-slot with its 1st rounder and supp-2nd rounder and needed to make up for it with a ton of under-slot guys.
  • 4th Round/#116 overall by Milwaukee: Troy Stokes from Calvert Hall College in Baltimore (na/#316/na/#260).  He profiles as an undersized lead-off/CF and is committed to Maryland.  I can see him signing for slot frankly based on this draft position.  Maryland loses a recruit that could have really helped them.  Signed for $400k, about $50k underslot.
  • 4th Round/#127 overall by Tampa Bay: Blake Bivens is an RHP from George Washington HS (aka GW-Danville near the NC border) (na/#124/na/#140).  He’s committed to Liberty but has been consistently 90-93 on the gun with reports of good secondary stuff.  Projected as possible 3rd-4th rounder and indeed that’s where he went.  GW-Danville is a 4-A school that got upset in their conference semis, hence his absence from the prep radar.  His slot value is $404k; is that enough to get him out of going to Liberty?  I would think so, even given Liberty’s run to the CWS this year we’re not talking about a big-time program (though, that being said, I don’t know jack about Bivens personally, and he might be quite religious, which would explain his commitment to small-school liberty despite his talents).  Named to Baseball America’s 3rd team all-american.  Signed for $462k, about $60k above slot.
  • 7th Round/#213 overall by Kansas City: Brandon Downes, CF from UVA.  I’d accuse this of being a money-saving senior sign draft pick, but Downes is a junior.   Slot is $176k; if he gets slot he may sign.  That’s a lot of money.  Signed for $150k, about $25k under slot.  Not bad for a senior sign.
  • 7th Round/#222 overall by Oakland: Brandon Cogswell, ss/2b from UVA (na/228/na/268).  MLB’s profile projects him as either a 2nd baseman or a utility guy professionally.   I wonder if he’ll sign; slot figure is $164k and he’s a college junior.  Maybe this is a peak for him.  Signed for $200k, about $35k over slot.
  • 8th/#226 by Houston: Bobby Boyd, an undersized junior CF from West Virginia U (not ranked on any list) but who hails from Silver Spring and who went to St. Johns.   Completely unnoticed by any pre-draft ranking team; is this a punt of a draft pick?  .356 average (good) but just a .389 OBP (bad … just 10 walks all year).  Signed for $140k, about $20k under slot.
  • 8th/#250 by Detroit: Artie Lewicki, UVA’s mid-week/4th starter who got a ton of work in the ACC and regional tournaments.  A nice senior draftee for Detroit.  Signed for $60k, about $90k underslot.

 

  • 10th and 14th rounds: the only two JMU players were taken; Ty McFarland and Chris Huffman.  McFarland is a senior third baseman and son of the longtime JMU coach Spanky McFarland while Huffman is a junior RH who may opt to return in hopes of a bigger bonus next year.
  • 15th/#454 by Washington: Ryan Ripken, 1B from Indian River CC but more famous for being the son of Cal Ripken, Jr.  You can’t help but make mention of this pick, not only because it was the Nats, but because of who it is.  I can’t find much of any scouting reports on the guy.  MLB.com has a story with some more data.
  • 17th/#540 by Washington: Alec Keller, a senior CF out of Princeton but who went to Douglas Freeman in Richmond.   I had never heard of Keller, but then again I didn’t really start following prep baseball closely until recently.  Of interest; perfectgame lists him at 5’6″, 110lb but mlb.com lists him at 6’2″, 200lbs.  That’s one heck of a college growth spurt :-).  I hope Keller gets some playing time in Viera and earns another summer of pro ball.
  • 20th/#600 by Arizona: Jacob Bukauskus, RHP from Stone Bridge HS in Ashburn.  Keith Law video breakdown.   The local area’s top ranked prospect, projected as a mid-to-late first round pick, goes 600th overall.  Bukauskas had informed all interested teams that he’s honoring his commitment to UNC.  the thought was that a team might draft him early 2nd round and offer him a huge-overslot deal (as Law thought would happen, with a potential $2M bonus).  Alas it did not, and this 20th round pick seems like a waste of a pick frankly.  In late May he was named the Gatorade State player of the year.  Baseball America 1st team All-American for 2014.  Stats for the season: 7-0, 0.00 ERA.  Word came out during the regional tournament that Bukauskas was being shut-down due to shoulder tendinitis; this likely was the reason he didn’t get drafted earlier.  It looks like he’s getting his wish and going to school.  UNC must be ecstatic.
  • 20th/#614 by Boston: Devon Fisher is a catcher from 6-A south champions and state favorite Western Branch HS (Portsmouth).   UVA commit.  Projects as a 4th rounder, not picked til the 20th.  Another likely victim of the new draft rules; in years past a saavy team like Boston would just throw $1M at him in the 20th and he’d sign.  Instead UVA likely gets a big-time player coming to school.  Update: Fisher signed with Boston instead of going to UVA.
  • 21st/#634 by Washington: Connor Bach, SR LHP from VMI.   I had no recollection of him previously, but NatsGM Ryan Sullivan reports that he played in the Cal Ripken league and left an impression.
  • 22nd/#675 by St. Louis: Derek Casey is an RHP from Hanover HS (Mechanicsville) with a UVA commit.  93-94 on the gun.  Projects as possible 3rd rounder.  Casey led Hanover to the 2013 AAA Virginia state title and Hanover is the favorite to win the 4-A title this year.  Another great sign for UVA; Casey likely is going to school.
  • 32nd/#958 by San Francisco: Hunter Williams is a two-way lefty player from Cosby HS in Chesterfield, VA who has skills both on the mound at at the plate.  He’s limited to first base in the field, which may make it tougher for him to get drafted and developed.  91 on the gun.  UNC commit, it should be interesting to see which way he focuses.   Projects as a 4th-5th rounder.
  • 35th/#1050 by Arizona: Justin Morris is a C from DeMatha HS who plays for the 2013 PerfectGame national champions EvoShield Canes traveling team (east-coast based travel team with a ton of big-time names matriculating these days).  He’s a Maryland commit but didn’t improve his draft stock much throughout the year.  He was #295 on minorleagueball’s pre-season list but doesn’t get picked until garbage time in the draft.  Pre-season PG all-Atlantic 1st  team.
  • 35th/#1054 by Washington: Flint Hill’s Tommy Doyle, a UVA commit who I didn’t think was a draft prospect, but who the Nats picked up in the 35th round likely to curry favor to a local interest.
  • 40th/#1096 by Milwaukee, Taylor Lane, a shortstop from Chesapeake but attending HS in Florida at the IMG academy.  Florida commit.

Local Names of note not drafted at all:

  • Charlie Cody is a 3B from the same Great Bridge HS in Chesapeake that just graduated Connor Jones.  He’s committed to UVA.  His stock seems to have dropped this spring and he’s joining Jones at UVA; he did not get picked at all.
  • Jeff Harding is a senior RHP from the Cambridge-South Dorchester school that just made it to Maryland 1-A’s state semis (after winning the title last year).  He’s committed to South Carolina.  I thought he’d at least get a late-round courtesy pick, but I guess not.
  • Brodie Leftridge is an OF from Highland MD who played for St. Johns in DC with a Tennessee commit.
  • Zach Clinton is a RHP from Forest, VA, plays for Liberty Christian HS (the Virginia state private schools champ) and is committed to Liberty.  On 5/27/14 he was named the co-state player of the year for private schools (along with Tommy Doyle).  No love from MLB teams though; he went undrafted and looks like he’s heading to his home town college.
  • Hunter Taylor, a C from Nandua HS in Olney, VA.  Named to the Baseball America 2nd team all-American list, was not drafted.  Committed to South Carolina.
  • Pavin Smith is a big lefty 1B/OF two-way player from Florida who will attend UVA after not signing.  It seems like he could slot right into the departing Mike Papi/Derek Fisher lineup holes.
  • Bennett Sousa is a LHP from Florida who now will attend UVA.  93mph, seems like he will slot into their rotation in a year’s time.

Summary: UVA has a ton of players drafted (no less than 8, and 7 of them likely are signing).  But they have a ton of commits from major names who didn’t get drafted and/or who got drafted so late that they stand little chance of signing.  Devon Fisher, Derek Casey, Tommy Doyle and Charlie Cody are all UVA commits likely going to school.  UNC also makes out like a bandit, getting both Bukauskas and Williams to school.  And Maryland looks like it will get at least two very decent players coming to school in Morris and Harding.


Some useful draft links for you:

 

Prep Baseball Update: Virginia Regionals

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Here’s the next big update on the state of High School baseball in the area.  We previously talked about Maryland Regionals and Virginia regular season play wrapping up, then we posted after Maryland states and Virginia conference play had mostly finished up.  In these posts we also covered some private school tournaments and the DC tourneys as much as we could.

Now we’re through the Virginia regional tournaments and its time to check in.  The state semi-finals are set in all six divisions.  Lets recap the regionals.


Virginia

There’s been little national recognition of any of Northern Virginia’s powerhouses (Madison, Stone Bridge, Hylton, Osbourn Park or Battlefield) in any of the national high school rankings this year, but schools in Richmond and Norfolk have taken turns cycling in and out of the various top 25/top 50 lists.

At some point or another, Cosby HS (Midlothian, in the western Richmond suburbs), Woodside (Newport News), Douglas Freeman (Richmond), Western Branch (Chesapeake), Hickory (Chesapeake) and Great Bridge (Chesapeake) have all gotten national attention from the various national ranking lists in 2014.  It will be interesting to see how the Northern Virginia powers match up with these southern schools in the state tournament.  But, thanks to the re-classifications of schools we aren’t going to get the big-time match-ups we wanted to see in states.  Cosby, Western Branch, and Woodside are 6-A schools, while Freeman, Great Bridge, and Hickory are 5-A schools.  Last year’s AAA state champ Hanover is a 4-A school now and will face pretty light competition while returning its ace Derek Casey (UVA commit) from last year’s state champ. All these aformentioned teams have qualified for the regional tournaments, so we may get some juicy match-ups between northern Virginia powerhouses and the nationally-recognized southern Virginia schools in the State playoffs.  Only the regional champ and finalist qualify to the state final four.

With apologies to the smaller schools, we’re going to mostly focus on the 6-A and 5-A playoffs here.  All conference, regional and state brackets here at VHSL’s site.  Records listed for teams are as they were heading INTO the game being described, not afterwards.


6-A North Regionals Playoff Bracket is here.  Here were your qualifiers:

  • Concorde: Oakton (regular season and tourney champ), Chantilly, Westfield, Herndon
  • Liberty: Madison (regular season and tourney champ), Langley, Washington & Lee, McLean
  • Potomac: West Springfield (regular season and tourney champ), West Potomac, South County, Annandale
  • Cedar Run: Osbourn Park (regular season champ), Battlefield (tourney champ), Patriot, Osbourn

Regional schedule is: first round 5/30/14, quarters 6/2/14, semis 6/4/14 and final 6/6/14, each game at the higher seed’s home field.

In the 6-A North Regional first round on 5/30/14, two Conference champions were upset and the power of the Cedar Run teams was put into question.  Annandale upset Osbourn Park and McLean upset Oakton behind a 1-hitter from Va Tech commit Joey Sullivan.  Meanwhile Patriot was blasted by West Potomac 8-2.  Cedar Run’s lone winner was Battlefield, where 3rd round pick Nick Wells (College of Charleston commit, featured here in Allmetsports as a potential 3rd-4th rounder) threw a 4-hit shutout to beat South County.  The other two #1 seeds survived (Madison getting by Herndon 6-3 and West Springfield pounding Osbourn 15-3).   The rest of the regional quarter finalists slate was filled by Langley and Chantilly (a 10-0 winner over hapless Washington & Lee).

In the 6-A North Regional Quarter finals on 6/2/14, Chantilly blanked Annandale 4-0, West Springfield handled Langley 5-2 and Madison squeaked by West Potomac 7-6 in a 12-inning thriller.  However it was the last quarterfinal that gave the biggest surprise: little known McLean and its .500 record got into the regional tournament by virtue of a big upset in the conference tournament, and continued its upsetting ways, beating a well-regarded Battlefield team 7-5.

In the 6-A north regional semis, Chantilly (15-7) upset West Springfield (15-5) 4-1 behind a big night from their ace Easton Recto.  Meanwhile, conference foes McLean (14-10) and Madison (21-2) squared off for the 3rd time this season, and McLean scored the unlikely upset 5-1 behind senior Ace and Va Tech bound Joey Sullivan‘s masterful pitching.  Madison had swept the season series against McLean by a combined score of 19-4, but McLean came up big once again.  I guess it is safe to say that Madison’s record was overstating its quality.

6-A North regional final: Chantilly (16-7) destroyed McLean (15-10) by the score of 12-0 in a pretty unlikely final.   Chantilly batted around in the first inning and never looked back.  Neither team had *ever* won a regional baseball crown, and McLean has *never* made a state baseball tournament prior to this year. Quite a turnaround from a team that (by conference seed) shouldn’t have even been in the regionals.


6-A South Regional Playoff Bracket is here.  Unlike the 6-A north, just the conference finalists qualified.  Here were your qualifiers:

  • Conference 1/Coastal: Grandby (regular season champ), First Colonial (tourney champ)
  • Conference 2/Monitor-Merrimac: Western Branch (regular season and tourney champs), Woodside
  • Conference 3: Cosby (regular season champ), James River
  • Conference 4: Hylton (regular season and tourney champ), Riverbend

Regional schedule is: Western Branch vs First Colonial, Grandby-Woodside, Cosby-Riverbend and Hylton-James River.  In the 6/2/14 quarter finals, all four conference champions advanced (a slight surprise to this witness, who thought that Woodside was a bit better, and who thought that Hylton may have had a hard time with their southern virginia opponents.  Western Branch beat First Colonial 6-1, Grandby beat Woodside 2-1, Hylton beat James River 9-0 behind a shutout from Sewanee-bound Austin Magestro, and Cosby beat Riverbend 7-2).

In the 6-A south regional semis, Western Branch (22-2) blanked Grandby (18-4 record) by the score of 6-0, while the undefeated Cosby (22-0) blitzed Woodbridge powerhouse Hylton (19-2) by the score of 11-6.  We expected a Cosby-Western Branch matchup and we got it.

6-A South regional final: Western Branch (23-2) blitzed Cosby (23-0) by the score of 8-1 in a matchup of nationally recognized power houses.  I fully expect to see this rematch in the state final in a week’s time, given the weakness of the 6-A North teams.


5-A North Regional: Regional playoff bracket is here.   Here were your qualifiers (not all conference contributed equal numbers of teams)

  • Conference 13/Capitol: Marshall (regular season and tourney champ), Edison, Stuart , Lee
  • Conference 14: Stone Bridge (regular season and tourney champ), Freedom – South Riding, Tuscarora
  • Conference 15: Potomac (regular season and tourney champ), North Stafford, Brooke Point
  • Conference 16: Halifax (regular season champ), Patrick Henry – Ashland (tournament champ)

Regional schedule is: first round/play-in 5/30/14, quarters 6/2/14, semis 6/4/14 and final 6/6/14, each game at the higher seed’s home field.

In the 5-A North Regional first/play-in round on 5/30/14, Patrick Henry – Ashland, North Stafford, Freedom-South Riding and Edison all earned the right to play conference champions in the regional quarter finals.  North Stafford destroyed Stuart 10-0 and faces regional favorite Stone Bridge in what could be an interesting quarter final.  Marshall faces the unknown Patrick Henry, while Potomac likely will not be challenged by Freedom.

In the 5-A North Regional Quarter finals on 6/2/14, more surprising results.  Conference chaps Marshall, Stone Bridge and Halifax each advanced to the regional semis, but little known Freedom-South Riding pulled a monumental upset over a Potomac team that I thought could challenge for the regional title.

Just after the quarters, Stone Bridge got a huge piece of bad news when ace Jacob Bukauskas was shutdown due to elbow tendinitis.  Too bad for people who were hoping for one more shot to see him throw live.

In the 5-A North Semis, Stone Bridge (21-1) outslugged Marshall (14-6) by the score of 12-5, while Freedom-South Riding (12-12) upset conference 16 champion Halifax County (Unk record) by the score of 7-2.

5-A North regional final: Stone Bridge (22-1) eased by conference foe Freedom-South Riding (13-12) by the score of 2-1  in a Conference 14 rematch.  Stone Bridge had already beaten Freedom three times this season, each time the score got closer, so a 2-1 nail-biter wasn’t unexpected.  Stone Bridge showed how quality they are even without their Ace.


5-A South Regional: Playoff Bracket is here.  Here were your qualifiers:

  • Conference 9/Atlantic: Maury (regular season champ), Kellam (tourney champ) (Norfold/Va Beach)
  • Conference 10:  Great Bridge (regular season and tourney champ), Hickory (both teams from Chesapeake)
  • Conference 11: Douglas Freeman (regular season champ and tourney champ), Mills Goodwin (both teams in Richmond)
  • Conference 12: Matoaca (regular season champ and tourney champ, Prince George (Teams from Chesterfield and Petersburg, both in South Richmond)

The 5-A south regional faces a tough schedule; 3 games in 4 days starting on 6/3/14.  In the quarters, both Richmond teams advanced, with Freeman pounding Prince George 12-4 and Goodwin giving Matoaca just their second loss on the year in a 4-1 win.   Meanwhile the Tidewater quarters featured some interesting results, with Hickory blasting Maury 16-1 and Kellam upsetting Great Bridge 4-2.  Both Hickory and Kellam were the 2nd seeds out of their conference, and just one conference champion advanced out of the 5-A south quarters.

In the 5-A South Semis, Mills Godwin (18-5)  got another crack at Douglas Freeman (23-1) in a rematch of the Conference 11 final, but was crushed 9-1.  In the other regional semi, Hickory (16-6) outlasted Kellam (18-5) in a wild 11-10 game.

5-A South regional final: Douglas Freeman (24-1) beat Hickory (17-6) by the score of 6-4 with a 6-run sixth inning comeback.


Virginia Smaller Classifications:  Conference and Regional brackets available from VHSL’s site.

  • 4-A: One interesting note about the 4-A tournament is the fact that 2013 AAA state champion Hanover (Mechanicsville/Richmond) is now a 4-A school and is a clear 4-A state favorite right now.  They enter regionals with a 17-2 record.  Most of the 4-A regional-qualified schools closer to DC are based out of Winchester (Sherando, Millbrook) or Culpeper/Fredericksburg (Eastern View, Chancellor).  In the 4-A North semis, Conference 21 foes Sherando and Millbrook both advanced to force a 5th rematch on the year (Millbrook has won all four meetings).  In the 4-A South semis, Hanover and Grafton advanced.  In the 4-A North Regional finals, Milbrook beat Sherando for the fifth time this season 6-5, while in the 4-A south regional finals defending state champ Hanover handled Grafton 2-0.
  • 3-A: As with ther 4-A schools, the 3-A regional qualifiers close to DC area generally from the Culpeper area (Kettle Run, Culpeper, William Monroe) or points further remote, but Loudoun Valley HS (in Purceville) won the 3-A east and looks to be a state favorite.
  • 2-A: No DC-local schools (George Mason the only one) qualified for regionals.  Strasburg won the 2-A east regional and enters the state tournament with a 23-1 record.
  • 1-A: No DC-local schools are in the smallest 1-A classification.

Recent Virginia AAA HS champs:

2013: Hanover d Great Bridge. Hanover’s super-junior Derek Casey (committed to UVA) outlasts Great Bridge and their 1st round talent Connor Jones (now attending UVA after spurning a likely late 1st round draft position).  Lake Braddock and Oakton beaten in the semis.

2012: Lake Braddock d Kellam 4-0. Lake Braddock lost to West Springfield in the regional title game but then blitzed to a state championship.

2011: Great Bridge d South County in the state final, giving the powerful South County its first and only loss on the season after starting the season 28-0.  Lake Braddock was the regional finalist and lost to Great Bridge in the state quarters.

2010: West Springfield d Woodbridge in the final, giving Woodbridge its only loss on the year. WT Woodson regional finalist.

Complete history of Virginia HS Champions: from VHSL’s website.  Covers all sports.

 


Maryland

See the previous post for a full run-down on the Maryland regional and state tournaments, which ended 5/24/14.

  • 4-A Champion: Chesapeake beat Sherwood 2-0.
  • 3-A Champion: Reservoir beat North Harford 2-0.  State final winning pitcher Cody Morris named Maryland Gatorade player of the year.
  • 2-A Champion: Southern beat Parkside 3-2.
  • 1-A Champion: Smithsburg blanked Sparrows Point 9-0

 


DC

See the previous post for a more complete run-down on the DCSAA tournament.  One last game remained for the DC public schools:


Private

Most all private leagues in the DC, VA and MD areas are complete at this point.  See previous posts in this series for more detail.

  • WCAC:  St. Johns over O’Connell.  St. Johns junior P/SS Nick Lee named DC Gatorade player of the year.
  • IAC: St. Albans over Georgetown Prep
  • MAC: Flint Hill regular season champ.
  • VISAA: Division I:  Liberty Christian (Lynchburg) over Charlottesville’s St. Anne’s-Belfield.
  • MIAA: A-classification: Spalding  d Calvert Hall.  B-Classification: St. Mary’s d Annapolis Area Christian.  C-Classification: St. Johns d Chapelgate Christian

National High School Baseball Ranking Lists:

  • Baseball America’s High School top 25 (5/20/14 ranking and final HS top 50 ranking 6/3/14).  Cosby finishes at #12, Western Branch #28, Madison #40.
  • USA Today High School top 25 (6/5/14 rankings).  Freeman #21, but no mention of Cosby
  • USA Today’s Virginia-only rankings (5/25/14); these are very old and only have about 2/3s of the regular season listed.
  • MaxPreps top 25/top 50 lists (5/22/14), which has a hand-picked and a computer/power ranking list.  Cosby, Stone Bridge and Freeman mentioned.

Resources:

  • Washington Post’s AllMetSports section with standings and schedule results.
  • InsideNova.com‘s coverage of high school sports.
  • The Connection family of newspapers has a sports section that is rarely updated, but it does do some coverage.
  • MaxPreps.com also has some non-paywall HS information that comes in handy too.
  • Nvdaily.com (Strasburg/Winchester) has some results for some of the teams in the smaller conferences/outskirts of DC.
  • The Daily Progress (Culpeper local paper) also has some scores for schools in its areas.
  • Fredericksburg.com has some local coverage of Fredericksburg and Woodbridge teams.
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch has a HS scoreboard.
  • Hampton Roads Pilot (Hampton Roads) has scores for teams in the Chesapeake/Norfolk/Va Beach area.  They also have their own top-10 rankings for area teams.
  • The Baltimore Sun’s high school page has information on some of the programs outside the DC area mentioned in the Maryland section (and here’s the updated Baltimore top-20, akin to the AllMetSports top-10 list).
  • I use perfectgame.org to look up high-end HS prospects.
  • VHSL’s and MPSSAA home pages for playoff brackets and updates for VA and MD respectively.

2014 Prep Baseball Update: Virginia Districts/Conferences, Maryland & DC States

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When we last checked in with Prep Baseball on 5/20/14, Maryland was through its regionals, the private schools were mostly done, DC was still finishing the regular season, and Virginia was just starting up its District (aka “Conference”) tournaments.  Lets see where we stand now after the Memorial Day weekend and a slew of tournament results.  I’m publishing this now that the entirety of the northern Virginia 6-A and 5-A conference tournamants are complete; some of the other conferences elsewhere in the state as well as the smaller divisions are still ongoing.  We’ll update those when we get to regional tournament results.  Red text marks locations where we’re missing results and/or results are pending because of future games.


Virginia

Virginia HS Baseball has been, for at least the past 50 years or so, divided up simply into AAA, AA and A divisions.  Hence for a long time you could state who was the “AAA State Champ” and it was basically the best team in the state (the odds of a AA school competing with a AAA school were slim).  Now, we have 6 different divisions; 6-A, 5-A, 4-A, down to 1-A.  I guess it could be worse: Florida has even more divisions (they go up to 8-A) and teams in 5-A and 6-A are often ranked higher than 8-A teams there.

So in 2014, we’ll have a six champions crowned and may have a tough time stating with certainly whose better, especially between the 6-A and 5-A schools that used to compete against each other for decades.  But so be it; on with the tournaments.

Important Virginia tourney links: Upcoming Schedule (VHSL site and VHSL Conference and Regional Playoff Brackets).

  • Regular Season ending: week of May 13-May 16th.
  • Virginia District Tournaments are scheduled from May 18th to May 27th or so.
  • Virginia Regionals: from May 30th to June 6th.
  • Virgina State Semis and finals: June 10-13th.

Here are the Northern Virginia Conference champions, regular season and tournament.  Each team that makes a Conference quarter final qualifies for the Regional tournament.

6-A North Region (which roughly equates to the old “Northern Region”).

  • 6-A Conference 5/Concorde (playoff bracket): Oakton regular season champ.  In the playoffs, Oakton and #2 seed Chantilly got byes to the semis, while Centreville lost to Herndon 1-0 and Westfield handled Robinson 7-4 on 5/21/14 in big-school matchups (which if it were football would be each be Regional final quality).  In the 5/23/14 semis, Chantilly beat Herndon 7-3 and Oakton topped Westfield 4-1.  This sets up a #1/#2 final on 5/26/14; Chantilly (the 2nd seed) swept Oakton in the regular season so Oakton has its hands full.  However, Oakton persevered, topping Chantilly 5-1 behind Conference player of the year Tommy Lopez‘s pitching and hitting exploits.
  • 6-A Conference 6/Liberty (playoff bracket): Madison regular season champ.  In the playoffs, #2 seed South Lakes was upset by McLean (taking South Lakes out of the regional picture) paving the way for #3 seed Langley to return to the conference final (beating McLean in the semis).  There Langley meets Madison on 5/23/14, who shut-out #5 Washington & Lee in the conference semis behind 6 shut-out innings from conference Pitcher of the Year John DeFazio (a junior who threw a perfect game earlier this year).   Langley expects to throw conference Player of the year Jake McSteen in the final; McSteen is undefeated on the mound this year and is committed to Nebraska.  Madison swept Langley in the regular season but never faced McSteen. In the Conference Final at Madison on 5/23/14, Madison’s Nick Brady (heading to Princeton) threw 5 shutout innings and Madison got to McSteen for a 3-0 victory (insidenova.com story) This is Madison’s 3rd district/conference title in four years and they head into the Regional tournament as presumably the #1 overall seed and clear favorite.
  • 6-A Conference 7/Potomac (playoff bracket): West Springfield regular season champ.  In the playoffs Annandale took out perennail baseball power Lake Braddock in the quarters, while the seeds played true to form with South County facing West Potomac in the other conference semi.   In the conference semis West Potomac easily handled South County while West Springfield outlasted Annandale to setup a #1 vs #2 conference final on 5/23/14.  In the final, West Springfield beat West Potomac 8-5 to sweep the regular and tourney titles.
  • 6-A Conference 8/Cedar Run (playoff bracket): Osbourn Park regular season champ.  The playoffs went according to seed, with #1 Osbourn Park facing #2 Battlefield for the conference title.  Battlefield took out fellow PW powerhouse Patriot 4-0 behind a shutout from lefty senior Nick Wells (committed to College of Charleston) in the #2/#3 seed  conference semi matchup.  In the 5/23/14 final, Battlefield upset Osbourn Park 7-3.

6-A North Regional Qualifiers (in seed order).  Regional Playoff Bracket is here: the semi finalists from the four 6-A North conferences all qualify.  First round is Friday 5/30/14 at the higher seed’s home site.

  • Concorde: Oakton, Chantilly, Westfield, Herndon
  • Liberty: Madison, Langley, Washington & Lee, McLean
  • Potomac: West Springfield, West Potomac, South County, Annandale
  • Cedar Run: Osbourn Park, Battlefield, Patriot, Osbourn (went by regular season rankings not tourney)

Its hard not to say that Madison is your Region favorite; there’s not another All-Met top 10 ranked team here and Madison’s only local loss this year was to Stone Bridge’s Jacob Bukauskas.  But Madison has a tough road ahead: they face Herndon on 5/3014, then (likely) Patriot.  Meanwhile Oakton faces a tough 2nd round potential matchup with Battlefield; are teams from the Cedar Run conference  strong or weak?  Myquick Regional semis predictions would be Osbourn Park, West Springfield, Battlefield and Madison.

6-A South Region: which is mostly big-time schools in Richmond and the Virginia Beach area.  But there are just enough schools in Woodbridge proper to form a 6-A conference closer to DC with teams that are typically considered for All-Met rankings.

  • 6-A Conference 4(playoff bracket): Hylton (Woodbridge) regular season champ with a playoff bye.  In the quarters Forest Park (Woodbridge) beat Stafford 4-1, Gar-Field (Woodbridge) was pounded by #2 Colonial Forge (Stafford) 8-0, and Woodbridge lost to #3 Riverbend (Fredericksburg) 4-2.   In the 5/30/14 semis, Hylton beat Forest Park 3-0 and Riverbend upset Colonial Forge 5-1.  In the 5/31/14 final, Hylton scored in the bottom of the 7th to take the crown 2-1.
  • Other 6-A South conferences are slow to get started; the brackets are available (spotty) online at the above VHSL link).

Unlike the north regional, just the conference champs and semi-finalists qualified for


5-A North Region (which also roughly equates to schools from the old Northern Region, with the exception of Conference 16 … which includes schools all the way to South Boston).

  • 5-A Conference 13/Capitol  (playoff bracket): Marshall regular season champ.  In the playoffs, the seeds held mostly to form in the quarters, with Marshall beating Wakefield, #2 seed Edison pounding Falls Church, #3 Lee taking out Jefferson and #5 Stuart squeaking by Mount Vernon.  In the semis on 5/21/14 the #1 and #2 seeds advanced to the final, with Edison beating Lee and Marshall handling Stuart.   5/23/14 final: Marshall beat Edison 4-2 for their first district/conference championship in nearly 15 years.
  • 5-A Conference 14 (playoff bracket): Stone Bridge regular season champ.  Broad Run and Tuscarora won their quarters, making the semis Stone Bridge vs Broad Run in a battle of Ashburn high schools, and Freedom (South Riding) versus Tuscarora (Leesburg).    In the Semis 5/23/14 the seeds held true, with #1 Stone Bridge getting past Broad Run 3-0 and #2 Freedom taking out Tuscarora 5-0.  In the 5/27/14 final Stone Bridge squeaked by Freedom-SR 6-5.
  • 5-A Conference 15 (playoff bracket): Potomac (VA) regular season champ.   In the semis, Potomac (Dumfries) pounded Mountain View (Centreville)  while North Stafford handled Brooke Point in an all-Stafford semi.  Final on 5/27/14: Potomac blanked North Stafford 8-0 and looks like a force in the regional tournament.
  • 5-A Conference 16 (playoff bracket): Comprised of four schools far away from the DC area.  Halifax (South Boston) was the regular season champion, followed by Patrick Henry (Roanoke), Albemarle (Charlottesville), and Orange (north of Charlottesville, not quite to Culpeper).  Wow that’s a lot of driving for those schools to play district games.  In the 5/23/14 Halifax crushed Orange and Patrick Henry beat Albemarle, setting up a #1/#2 seed final in this small conference.  Patrick Henry upset Halifax 4-2 to take the conference final on memorial day, but the seedings went by regular season standings for the regional tournament.

5-A NorthRegional Qualifiers (in seed order): Regional playoff bracket is here.  Unlike in 6-A, only the top 3 seeds advanced in some of these conferences.  Maybe its based on the size of the conference.

  • Conference 13/Capitol: Marshall, Edison, Stuart , Lee
  • Conference 14: Stone Bridge, Freedom – South Riding, Tuscarora
  • Conference 15: Potomac, North Stafford, Brooke Point
  • Conference 16: Halifax, Patrick Henry

I’d say that your regional favorite was Stone Bridge on the back of Bukauskas, but Potomac has a strong lineup (8 college committed players) and the Southern Virginian schools are complete unknowns.  Lets hope Potomac and Stone Bridge are on opposite sides of the bracket.  The regional bracket was published 5/29/14 and it looks like the semis will play out as Marshall-Stone Bridge and Potomac-Halifax.  I’m predicting a Stone Bridge-Potomac final with Potomac taking it (depending on when Bukauskas pitches…)

5-A South Regional: Playoff bracket here.


Smaller Virginia Classifications: for years Northern Virginia didn’t have anything smaller than 6-A and 5-A schools (with apologies to George Mason HS in Falls Church); now the proliferation of newer high schools in Loudoun County has led to a slew of 4-A and 3-A schools.  They have to do some serious commuting though; most of their conference foes are significant distances west and south.  None of these schools are considered baseball powers in the same vein as the 5-A and 6-A schools above.

4-A North:

  • 4-A conference 21 (playoff bracket): Millbrook was the regular season champ, going 12-0 in conference.  In the qtrs on 5/23/14 Heritage (Leesburg) beat Park View (Sterling) 3-0, Dominion (Sterling), lost to Millbrook (Winchester) 9-0, Loudoun County (Leesburg) beat James Wood (Winchester) 5-4, and  Sherando (Stephens City, outside Winchester) blanked Woodgrove (Purceville, outside Leesburg) 6-0. In the 5/27/14 semis, Sherando beat Heritage 4-3 and Loudoun County was blanked by Millbrook 4-0.  In the 5/29/14 final, Milbrook beat Sherando for the fourth time this year 5-4.  

3-A East Region

  • 3-A Conference 27 (playoff bracket): Culpeper regular season champ.  Quarters 5/26/14 #4 Manassas Park lost to #5 Spotsylvania 2-0, #3 Brentsville crushed #6 James Monroe 10-0.  Semis 5/28/14, #1 Culpeper beat Spotsylvania 5-2, while the other semi #2 Kettle Run beat Brentsville. The #1/#2 Final is 5/31/14, won by Kettle Run in an upset 8-4.
  • 3-A Conference 28 (playoff bracket): Loudoun Valley regular season champ.  Quarters 5/26/14: #4 Skyline beat #5 Warren County 5-0 and #3 Central beat #6 John Champe  6-5.  In the 5/28/14 semis, #1 Loudoun Valley beat Skyline by the astounding score of 27-6, and #2 William Monroe beat Central 5-0.  In the Final on 5/30/14: Loudoun Valley pounded William Monroe 12-1.  Wow; that’s quite a conference tournament showing for Loudoun Valley.

2-A East Region

  • 2-A Conference 35 (playoff bracket): Strasburg was the regular season champ with just a single loss all year.  This conference is home to Falls Church’s George Mason HS, the smallest high school in the Northern Virginia area.  They were the #2 seed but were upset in the 1st round of the playoffs 6-5 by Madison County, ending their season.  Strasburg won the conference with ease and enters the regionals with a 20-1. record.

 


Maryland

The Maryland state semis were on 5/20/14 and the finals were at Cal Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen on Friday 5/23/14 and Saturday 5/24/14.  Links: MPSSAA home page.  Here’s how things turned out by classification:

  • 4-A State Playoff Bracket (alt bracket via maxpreps)
    • Semifinalists and regional champions were: repeat regional champion Elanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt), Sherwood (Sandy Spring/Olney), Gaithersburg and Baltimore’s #4 ranked Chesapeake (Pasadena, near Annapolis).
    • In the first state semi, Sherwood’s Matt Chanin (UMBC commit) threw a no-hitter and Sherwood blitzed Elanor Roosevelt 10-0.  In the other semi, Chesapeake blanked Gaithersburg 6-0 behind Chris Ruszin‘s shutout (Towson commit) as Gaithersburg committed 5 errors in the field.
    • In the state final on 5/23/14, Chesapeake’s Drew Spinnenweber (committed to the US Merchant Marine academy) threw a 13-k shutout to beat Sherwood 2-0.
  • 3-A State Playoff Bracket (alt bracket via maxpreps):
    • Semifinalists and regional champions were: La Plata, Baltimore #5 North Harford (Plysville, near PA border north of Baltimore), Thomas Johnson (Frederick) and Baltimore’s #2 ranked Reservoir (Fulton, near Columbia).
    • In the state semis, North Harford blitzed La Plata 8-2, and Reservoir similarly blitzed Thomas Johnson 12-4.
    • In the State final on 5/24/14, junior Cody Morris threw a 2-hitter and Reservoir beat North Harford 2-0.  Morris struck out 11 and dominated in the final; he’s just a junior but has already hit 94 in showcase events, was holding 92 in the state final and is an early commit to South Carolina.  He’ll be one to watch next year, to see if he can become a high-draft pick prospect.
  • 2-A State Playoff Bracket (alt bracket via maxpreps)
    • Semifinalists were: Poolsville, joined by Southern (in Harwood, south of Annapolis), Hereford (in Parkton, north of Baltimore on I-83) and Parkside (in Salisbury).
    • In the state semis, Poolsville’s great season came to an end in a 5-4 loss to Parkside.  Poolsville rallied from an early deficit, tied the game late to send it into extra-innings but gave up the winning run in the 9th.  Southern beat Hereford in the other semi.
    • In the state final on 5/24/14, Southern beat Parkside in a tight 3-2 affair to cap a surprising state title (they were just 16-9 on the season and at one point were 3 games under .500).
  • 1-A State Playoff Bracket (alt Bracket via maxpreps):
    • Semifinalists were: Maritime Academy (Baltimore), Sparrows Point (Baltimore), Smithsburg (outside of Hagerstown) and Cambridge-South Dorchester.
    • In the state semis, Sparrows Point beat Maritime Academy 24-0 (that’s not a typo; Sparrows Point won its regional final 24-1), and Smithsburg beat Cambridge-South Dorchester 4-3 (preventing Cambridge’s attempt to repeat as state titlists) to set-up a possibly lopsided state final.
    • In the state finals on 5/24/14, Smithsburg blanked Sparrows Point 9-0, the exact opposite result that I anticipated.

A quick list of past champions by division:

The Maryland public high school seasons are now complete.


DC Public Schools/DCIAA:

Wilson HS is the dominant team and has been for two decades; no surprise here who won the regular season league championship.  The 2014 DCIAA championship has yet to be scheduled (they usually wait for an open date at Nats park in early June: June 7th and 14th are candidates dates this year).

(In 2013, Wilson defeated Mckinley Tech 16-2 for the DCIAA championship).

DCSAA: DC State Athletic Association

The Inagural DCSAA “State” Baseball tournament for the District of Columbia kicked off on 5/20/14.   The “state” tournament is going on at the same time as the DCIAA regular season, making scheduling rather difficult for some teams (aka Wilson, who had four games in four days this past week!).   The field of 9 teams seems to be invite-only; it contains a cherry-picked list of DC schools, mostly private though with a couple of public schools.  And the schedule is awful; teams must play at least three games in four days (or four in five days if they are in the play-in game) in order to win this tournament.  The championship game took place on 5/24/14 at Nats park, so that’s quite a carrot.  #1 seed St. Johns seems likely to meet #2 seed (and fellow WCAC conference foe) Gonzaga for the title, but must go through DCIAA power Wilson to get there.

In the Quarters, the seeds mostly held to form with #1 St. Johns, #5 Wilson, #3 St. Albans and #2 Gonzaga all advanced.  In the semis on 5/23/14, St. Johns blanked a tired Wilson 4-0 and St. Albans upset Gonzaga 2-1 to setup a great grudge-match settling final between the champions of Washington’s two biggest private leagues.  In the final, St. Johns outlasted their IAC counterparts 6-3 in the season finale for both squads.

 


Private Leagues

Most all private leagues in the DC, VA and MD areas are complete at this point.  Here’s a list of winners per league:

 


Resources:

  • Thanks to the Washington Post’s AllMetSports section with standings and schedule results.
  • InsideNova.com‘s coverage of high school sports.
  • The Connection family of newspapers has a sports section that is rarely updated, but it does do some coverage.
  • MaxPreps.com also has some non-paywall HS information that comes in handy too.
  • Nvdaily.com (Strasburg/Winchester) has some results for some of the teams in the smaller conferences/outskirts of DC.
  • The Daily Progress (Culpeper local paper) also has some scores for schools in its areas.
  • Fredericksburg.com has some local coverage.
  • The Baltimore Sun’s high school page has information on some of the programs outside the DC area mentioned in the Maryland section (and here’s the updated Baltimore top-20, akin to the AllMetSports top-10 list).
  • I use perfectgame.org to look up high-end HS prospects.
  • VHSL’s and MPSSAA home pages for playoff brackets and updates for VA and MD respectively.

If you have any other good sources for local prep baseball information, i’m all ears.