Nationals Arm Race

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2024 Draft Day 3 Reaction


Here’s a quick recap with some thoughts on day 3 of the 2024 MLB Draft, rounds 11-20

Reminder: Draft tracking Links

  • MLB Draft Tracker: updated for first 10 slots with all the info for our draftees plus Twitter accounts.
  • List of all Slot values for 2024
  • The Nats Draft Tracker master XLS, which I’m building out for 2024 as we go. With the trade we just made, our bonus pool is 13,895,100, but with the 5% buffer we can go up to 14,589,855 on our first 10 picks and 11th-20th rounders who get more than $150k.

11th Round, 320 Overall: Merrett Beeker, a LHP starter Coll jr from Ball State.

11th rounders are generally where you’ll find interesting over-slot deals made, since there’s a flat $150k bonus structure for each player and there’s no “slot savings” for under-slot deals like there are for the back half of day 2. The Nats have signed a couple of above-slot 11th rounders in the past (Luke Young in 2022, JT Arruda in 2019 for example) and last year grabbed a Juco guy named Gavin Austin in the same gambit but couldn’t get him to sign (he was drafted in the 8th round this year by Pittsburgh).

That being said, this year we take Beeker, a LHP starter who was Ball State’s #2/Saturday starter this year and had some pretty intriguing numbers. He went 9-3 with a 4.11 ERA, 1.22 Whip, but he had 128 Ks in 81ip! that’s a 14 K/9 rate for a starter, which was good for #6 in the nation this year. The top 5 K/9 leaders ahead of him include 2 first rounders Hagen & Smith, plus 2nd rounder Brecht and 4th rounder Langevin, so that’s heady company. An interesting pick for sure, and not really one that looks like it needs an overslot deal.

12th round, 350 overall: Alexander Meckley, RHP college Junior starter/reliever from Coastal Carolina.

BA Ranked him #421 this year. Their scouting report: He was hit around a bit in his first 43 innings as a starter and reliever but has a big arm with a fastball that sits 93-94 and touches 97 with riding life from a high release point. Meckley has a four- and two-seam variation on his fastball and will spin a low-80s slider and upper-70s curveball with more depth.

This pick is interesting. Meckley started the year as CCU’s Friday night starter, and he started the year really well. He went 7ip and gave up 2hits in march against CWS team JMU. He held his own against early season opponents like Ball State, Indiana, and Michigan. Then suddenly he fell off a cliff, ending with a 2ip/8Run embarrassment against Wake Forest. At which point, CCU took him out of the rotation entirely. He ended the season with a 7.52 ERA and a 1.44 whip. He was a Juco transfer into Coastal, and in Juco his numbers were decent, so perhaps the team had a local area scout who remembered the guy. One has to think he’s relatively signable at the $150k slot here; if you get drafted the year after you put up an ERA in the 7s, you should probably take the money and give pro ball a try.

13th round, 380 overall: Bryant Olson, LHP reliever college junior from Mercer

Olson was Mercer’s closer for a while this season, finishing with 8 saves and some ugly stat lines. 6.41 ERA, 2.25 whip. 39/29 K/BB in 26 innings. Not much info out there on him, but a lefty with big K numbers could indicate a project the team is willing to work on.

14th round: 410 overall: Yoel Tejeda Jr. a draft-eligible Sophomore RHP from Florida State.

Tejeda is a massive (6’8″) guy, who transferred out of Florida and to Florida State for 2024. He got a couple of opener-starter gigs but was mostly in the bullpen for the FSU team. He got shelled in a game on May 26th against Duke, where he walked in a run and gave up a grand slam, and didn’t appear the rest of the season. The gamer from that game was blunt; calling his use an “experiment” that continued to go badly. His season numbers: 5.95 ERA in just 19ip, and more walks than strikeouts.

Why did he never pitch after May 26th? Injury? Or banishment to the bench? Either way, I wonder if he’s more likely to enter the transfer portal than he is to end his college career on this note. He turned down mid-teen money out of HS two years ago (he was drafted 18th round by Pittsburgh) and maybe he’ll do it again.

That makes four straight day-3 college arms. They’ve done so well in the past couple of drafts with this strategy (Sthele, Sullivan, Amaral last year, Lord and Luckham the year before, Alvarez in 2021…) that you can’t blame them for this strategy. Does anyone want to bet that one of these mid-teens college juniors won’t make a fast jump?

15th round: 440 overall: Sir Jamison Jones, a HS Catcher from St. Rita HS (IL)

BA ranked 372. Their report: Jones is one of the most physical players in the 2024 prep class and has tons of strength currently with a 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame. He can generate huge fly balls and has exciting power upside because of his massive strength, though he’ll need to refine his approach significantly and make more contact to fully tap into that raw power. His pitch recognition is inconsistent and he was also late against fastballs a bit too often. Jones has a big arm behind the plate, but he’ll need to work to stick behind the plate and might fit best as a first baseman. He’s a well below-average runner. Jones is committed to Oklahoma State.

I about spit out my drink when I saw this pick. A High School catcher in the 15th round? And, after doing the BA and PerfectGame research, apparently a good one. He’s been at all the showcase events, is one of the top ranked players coming out of Illinois, and he’s got a commitment to a big-time college in Oklahoma State.

Well, if you’re saving your pennies, this is where they could go. But a 6-3 225 guy screams 1B, not C, but he also seems like a project. Is he really signable here? He’s not a top 100 ranked guy, so we’re not talking millions to buy him out of Ok State, so I wonder what the angle here is.

16th round, 470 overall: Nolan Hughes, college senior LHP from Xavier

Hughes was played the first three years of his career at Fordham, then transferred to Xavier for 2024. He was mostly a bullpen guy, who got 4 starts on the year and faced some decent competition admirably. Season stats were mediocre until you see the K line. 4.33 ERA, 1.90 whip. 65/52 K/BB in 35ip. That is an astonishing 16.7 K/9 rate. He’s a big velocity lefty, can touch 98 with off-speed stuff that includes an 81mph sweeping curve and an 87mph changeup. That must look like an eephus pitch. Clean mechanics, looks solid in the little video snippets we can find. A project, but has some tools to work with.

17th round, 500 overall: Gavin Bruni, LHP starter from Ohio State

BA #384. Their scouting report: Bruni was an arm-strength lefthander who was already touching 96 mph in high school, but also had real control questions. Three years later and he’s still largely that sort of pitcher. A 6-foot-3, 205-pound starter, Bruni sits around 90 mph with his fastball and will run it up to 95-96 with above-average carry on the pitch but below-average command. He mixes in a slider around 80 and a curveball in the mid 70s that both have solid spin. He has a low-80s changeup that he rarely throws and isn’t likely to be a big piece of his arsenal moving forward without significant improvement. Bruni has been a full-time starter for Ohio State, but likely projects as a reliever in pro ball thanks to a career walk rate around 17%.

A weekend starter for Ohio State, which isn’t really that big of a baseball program. 6.19 ERA this season with not impressive peripherals. As the writeup says, he projects as a lefty reliever in pro ball, where he can sit more in the 95-96 range for an inning.

18th round: 530 overall. Teo Banks, OF (CF) college jr from Tulane.

Banks was Tulane’s CF and #2 hitter in the post-season; not sure if that’s where he played the whole season, but that’s where he ended it. Slash line for the year: .265/.380/.543 with some power and some speed. He’s a bigger dude, (6’2 205) so he might project as a corner in pro ball. I wish he had a better hit tool this year, but for what its worth he hit .301 as a sophomore and .317 as a freshman. He started part of freshman, all of sophomore and all of junior. He seems sign-able here.

19th round: 560 overall: Ryan Minckler, college junior RHP from Niagara University

Minckler served as kind of a long-man reliever for Niagara this year, 20 games, 50+ innings, with decent numbers. Initially went to UVA but never appeared, so he transferred and was in the Niagara rotation last year. Never seems to go more than 3-4 innings an appearance. Probably immediately projects to be a pro reliever.

His twitter has a pinned post from June 30th that says he’s transferring to Arizona State. He’s listed as a college junior but he redshirted his freshman year so technically he has two years of eligibility left, so me thinks he’s going to ASU and won’t sign. It’s not often you get to move to a major baseball program, in Arizona … which is about as far away a place from a college perspective as you can get from Niagara.

20th round: 590 overall: Colby Shelton, a SS/3B college junior from Florida

BA scouting report: Shelton had a standout freshman season with Alabama in 2023, when he led the club with 25 home runs en route to a second-team All-America selection. After the season, Shelton transferred to Florida, where he continued to show a powerful lefthanded bat. His production took a slight step backward in 2024, when he hit .256/.381/.573 with 20 home runs in 61 games. A 6-foot, 200-pound lefthanded hitter, Shelton is strong with all-fields power that comes with plenty of swing-and-miss. He sets up with a slightly crouched stance that includes a high handset and small leg lift, though he can be a bit rigid and stiff at times. His career strikeout rate sits in the 24-25% range, and he has contact questions versus all pitch types and an aggressive approach that leads to too many swings out of the zone. Because of Shelton’s back-to-back 20-homer seasons in the Southeastern Conference, some scouts think he will hit for enough impact to profile as a bat-first infielder. A shortstop now, Shelton profiles better at either third base or second base thanks to just OK actions and quickness. He can throw from multiple angles nicely and has enough arm strength for the left side of the infield. He is a fringe-average runner. He fits anywhere from round two to four.

So, this is the most interesting pick of the draft for this team. 20th rounder but MLB has him ranked #133 and BA has him all the way up at #64. Why did he fall? He was a 2nd team All American after the 2023 season, then left Alabama to go to Florida. He struggled this year: .254/.374/.551 but still hit 20 homers for one of the best teams in the land. In Florida’s final game, a loss to Texas A&M in Omaha, he played SS and batted cleanup. This is a big-time player. Can the team come with 3rd round money ($1M?) to sign him? Maybe; I can’t see an obvious massive over-slot guy anywhere else here, and I suspect they’re saving at least that amount off their 1st rounder.

We’ll do a draft class recap post later this week, summarizing.

Written by Todd Boss

July 17th, 2024 at 9:24 am

Posted in Draft,Prospects

2024 Draft Day Two Analysis


Kevin Bazzell becomes our highest pick of day 2 and can play C or 3B.  Photo via Sports Illustrated

Here’s a quick recap with some thoughts on day 2 of the 2024 MLB Draft, rounds 3-10.

To recap, we picked a college SS/3B, then a college C, then a prep SS with our three day 1 picks.

Reminder: Draft tracking Links

  • MLB Draft Tracker: updated for first 10 slots with all the info for our draftees plus Twitter accounts.
  • List of all Slot values for 2024
  • The Nats Draft Tracker master XLS, which I’m building out for 2024 as we go. With the trade we just made, our bonus pool is 13,895,100, but with the 5% buffer we can go up to 14,589,855 on our first 10 picks and 11th-20th rounders who get more than $150k.

Reminder: Draft Rankings

3rd Round, 79th Overall: Nats take Kevin Bazzell, a College Jr Catcher/3B from Texas Tech.

Ranks by major shops: BA=68, ESPN=59, MLBpipeline=55, Law=35, Fangraphs=63

So, we picked a college catcher in round 2 who was actually ranked BELOW the college catcher we drafted in round 3. Interesting. A couple of the pundits (Law included) really like Bazzell, giving him a 60 hit tool. A 60 hit tool behind the plate has aspirations to Joe Mauer, and (true to Nats form lately) Bazzell also played 3B a lot this year. Despite having mononucleosis earlier this spring he still slashed .306/.401/.473.

Makes me wonder if Lomavita was underslot and Bazzell is over slot?

4th round, 108 overall: Jackson Kent, a LHP starter college Jr from University of Arizona.

Ranks by major shops: BA=138, ESPN=144, MLBpipeline=136, Law=unranked, Fangraphs=unranked, P1500=170,

Finally, we get a pitcher for our pitching starved system, but somehow Kent seems underwhelming. A lefty who posted kind of middle of the road numbers this year (4.08 era, 1.28 whip, about a hit an inning, about a K an inning, .253 BAA) as Arizona’s Friday night starter/ace. His game log from 2024 was rather interesting: his first 11 starts were pristine; almost all quality starts or close to it, a bunch of 6ip-1r type affairs, then his last four starts he got hit hard; gave up 5 in 4 2/3 against Stanford, 5 in 6ip against Utah, 5 in 3IP against Oregon State, and then 7 in 5ip against Cal.

His late season slump was bad enough that Arizona, who was a regional host/top 16 seed, didn’t even use him in the post season as they went 2-and-out. Usually such a wild turnaround indicates injury, but none was reported. Nonetheless, the Jackson Kent of the first 11 starts (2.47 ERA) is obviously the guy we want.

5th round, 141 overall: Randal Diaz, a college Jr SS from Indiana State by way of Puerto Rico.

Ranks: not ranked by anyone

Very little to go on here, other than scouting the stat line. He looked great for a CWS team this year, slashing .360/.437/.632 as a middle infielder with 18 homers. He batted leadoff and played SS and definitely contributed in the CWS regional as they made the regional final before falling to Kentucky.

Is this an under-slot signing? Probably; there’s still top prospects on the board and he’s well off. But, I like what we see here as a sneaky productive possible under-slot player. Interestingly, he had entered the transfer portal after Indiana State’s coach left just after the season ended to take the South Florida job. This likely makes him that much more signable/amenable to go pro.

6th round: 170 overall: Davian Garcia, a college junior RHP from Florida gulf Coast.

Ranks: unranked by all shops

Another unranked draftee likely also means underslot deal. Delving into his numbers this year at FGCU, he started in the bullpen and rose to be their ace starter by season’s end. He ended the year with a 3.03 ERA, 1.21 whip, and 71/20 K/BB in 59IP. 98 on the gun, with good spin and off-speed metrics apparently. I don’t love his mechanics (super inverted W with shoulder subluxation) and he’s kind of wirey/undersized, which screams a) injury and b) reliever, but you can’t teach velocity.

7th round: 200 overall: Robert Cranz, college junior RHP reliever from Oklahoma State.

Ranks: unranked

Another round, another arm, which is good to see. And we return to fertile scouting ground for this team: Oklahoma colleges. Cranz worked out of Oklahoma State’s bullpen this year with stellar results: 1.63 ERA, 0.77 whip, a .153 BAA. Great looking stats. Prior to OK State, he pitched two years at Wichita State. Not much out there on him. He came out of Keller HS in the Houston area, a baseball factory.

Is he destined for the pen in pro ball? Not necessarily; this team turned Brad Lord from a senior sign college reliever into a starter in AAA in two years. It’s not like these guys forgot how to throw 6 innings.

8th round: 230 overall: Sam Petersen, OF College Junior from Iowa

Ranks by major shops: BA=184, ESPN=205, MLBpipeline=205, P1500=209

So, in the 8th they get a guy who fell a bit (was 5th round projection perhaps) who seems to be a speedy OF type with great pace and solid SB numbers. He was hurt most of this season, so I wonder what kind of signability he has here.

9th Round: 260 Overall: Jackson Ross, a 5th year senior/grad corner 1B/OF from Ole Miss

The first obvious senior sign/$10k bonus candidate is Jackson Ross, who started every game for the team and showed some positional flexibility. He played 1B, LF, RF and DH’d this year. He was a middle of the order bat for the team, showed some power, decent OBP. He played his first few years at Florida Atlantic. Should be a $10k or $20k signer and may provide some veteran leadership not unlike what Gavin Dugas has done so far.

10th round: 290 overall: Luke Johnson, a college senior RHP starter from UMBC

Johnson was a weekend starter for traditional baseball powerhouse UMBC this year. His numbers weren’t as great this year, but last year he had a sub 3.00 ERA. Interestingly, he’s the very first player from Maryland to get picked this year (and as it turned out, the SOLE player from Maryland for the draft), with a down year from the University of Maryland and no prep prospects to speak of.

With all due respect to Johnson, this is the epitome of a slot savings pick, and should sign for $10k or so.

Draft summary so far:

6 position, 4 arms. 2 college catchers, the rest SS and guys who can slot in at multiple positions. The arms don’t look half bad.

2 Obvious slot savings picks at 9 & 10, maybe a couple others in the 5-7th range. But who are they saving money for? Is the prep SS from New Jersey going to cost that much? Maybe they have their eye on an 11th rounder that will go 7-figures.

hate to say it, but i’m not really that impressed with this class. Maybe the Seaver King pick has disappointed me from getting excited here.

Written by Todd Boss

July 15th, 2024 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Draft,Prospects

2024 Day One Draft Reaction – Seaver King!?


Here’s my quick take on Nats Day 1 picks (1st, 1st-comp, and 2nd rounders)

First: Important Draft Links

  • MLB Draft Tracker
  • List of all Slot values for 2024
  • The Nats Draft Tracker master XLS, which I’m building out for 2024 as we go. With the trade we just made, our bonus pool is 13,895,100, but with the 5% buffer we can go up to 14,589,855 on our first 10 picks and 11th-20th rounders who get more than $150k.

Also, Here’s all the main pundit Draft Ranks with Scouting Reports; here’s links to the leading pundits out there with their Draft Boards (not Mocks) which usually have click-through scouting reports.

I’ll use some of these links to show where each guy we pick landed on the various boards to indicate whether it was a reach or a steal.

1st Round, 10th Overall: Nats take Seaver King, a College Junior SS from Wake Forest.

Ranks by major shops: BA=17, ESPN=16, MLBpipeline=17, Law=17, Fangraphs=11. SportingNews=11. Others generally in the 17-19 range.

So, the Nats at #10 have Bryce Rainer AND Braden Montgomery on the board dropping to them after both being mocked as high as the top 5 all month, and they reach down past even where Yesevage was projecting to go to pick Seaver King, a D2 transfer to Wake who has been creeping up draft boards ever since he slashed .424/.479/.542 with wood on the Cape last year.

I’ll point out that Seaver King did not appear in a SINGLE MOCK draft in the top 10 that I can recall, nor was he ever associated with a Nats pick at #10. This is coming out of LF for sure. To me, this smells like an under-slot deal (slot value for 1-10 is $5.9M) so that the team, who now owns the #39 and #44, might be able to save $1.5M or so (the difference between 10th overall and 17th overall, which is probably where he was expecting to go) and throw it at one of their next two picks to make it look like a mid-1st rounder.

Back to King: he played CF, SS, 3B, and 2B in that order this year, has positional flexibility, can absolutely hit both with metal and with wood (Slash line at Wake Forest this year: .308/.377/.577), has some speed and some power. I bet the Nats like him b/c he can play a bunch of different positions.

What do I think? I would rather have taken Montgomery. Maybe they were spooked by the injury. I wasn’t really on Tibbs as much as Moore (who went a couple picks earlier), and Yesevage would have been a reach (he went 20th overall). So. Lets see who they pick in the next two rounds.

1st round Comp round, #39 overall: Caleb Lomavita, a College Junior C from Cal-Berkeley.

Ranks by major shops: BA=18, ESPN=24, MLBpipeline=33, Law=46, Fangraphs=43. SportingNews=35

Interesting range of ranks from the shops, especially BA at #18 and Law at 46 as extremes.

So, three picks before ours, MLB’s best available included Brody Becht and Tommy White, both of whom got mid-1st round buzz throughout the spring. In fact, the very first mocks we saw all had White going to Nats at #10 under the guise of “Mike Rizzo loves the famous guys.” Well, White had a crummy spring, which knocked him down to being available at #39, and Becht got popped one pick beforehand, so the Nats went with the Catcher Lomavita. We don’t have a ton of depth at the position and there’s definitely concerns about Kiebert Ruiz right now despite the contract we gave him (he’s slashing .224/.260/.333 this year). We say it over and over; you don’t draft for need, but here’s the Nationals Catching depth chart right now:

  • MLB: Ruiz & Adams, neither of whom can hit
  • AAA: Millas, Lindsley (a 10k senior sign), Gonzalez (an NDFA who spends most of his time on the Dev list).
  • AA: Pineda (already outrighted), Vega (boucning around like an org guy), Stubbs (2024 MLFA)
  • High-A: Romero (hitting .168 this year), Suggs (an NDFA hitting .202), Diaz (2024 BA: .116).
  • Low-A: Colomenares (.197), Farmer (22 NDFA hitting .186), Rombach (just promoted from FCL)
  • Rookie: three 18yr olds from the DR
  • DSL: three 17yr olds we signed in January

So, yeah, we need catching depth. Badly. The scouting reports aren’t great, he’s undersized and has some mechanical issues, but he’s definitely a college catcher and will stay there. Maybe we put him at Low-A to start, move Rombach up since nobody at Wilmington can hit, and see what happens.

2nd round #44 overall: Luke Dickerson, Prep SS from Morris Knolls HS (NJ).

Ranks by major shops: BA=56, ESPN=77, MLBpipeline=49, Law=59, Fangraphs 100+. SportingNews=36

It’s possible some bonus dollars will go to buy Dickerson out of his UVA commitment, but they probably don’t need THAT much. The slot value is $2.1M. The pundits said he was getting 1st round buzz, and he was certainly a helium prospect this year. 6′ shortstop who is offense over defense, may project more like a 2B or a CF, but has serious athleticism. Not only is he a top baseball prospect, but he also helped his HS team win the state Ice Hockey championship this year. Interesting sport combo.

An interesting pick; not sure who was exactly available at this point who might have made more sense. A slew of college arms went right after him. One thing that seems to stand out is his positional flexibility; he’s an athlete enough to move around the dirt, or play the OF with his speed.

Day 1: A solid college SS, a college C, and a prep SS. We’re a long way from drafting pitcher after pitcher.

Written by Todd Boss

July 14th, 2024 at 10:48 pm

Posted in Draft,Prospects

2024 Draft Coverage – Final Mocks and still a ton of questions


Konnor Griffen seems more and more likely to end up a Nat. Photo via Mississippi Scoreboard

We’ve published a couple of Mock draft collections so far, and as we get closer to the draft we’re starting to see some solidification at the top. We’re now past the CWS, past the draft combine, and we’re getting close. These mocks run from late June all the way to the eve of the draft … where we got some decent consolidation of predictions.

We’re starting to see some new names slipping into the 8-10 range of this draft. We’ve gone from it being a “9-man draft” to a collection of 10-12 players who seem to be fitting. Those players are (in rough order of draft rank), with some commentary on each pick based on post-season performances:

  • Charlie Condon: 3B/OF, University of Georgia: monster regional, then wasn’t that impressive in the super regionals. Mostly 1-1 on boards, but CW is that he’ll go 1-2 or 1-3 so that Cleveland can save some money at the top.
  • Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State; so-so post-season doesn’t seem to be hurting his 1-1 chances, given that he’ll sign for a lot less than Condon.
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP Florida; Just blew up at the plate all post-season, really impressed. Also solidified his lack of ability on the mound.
  • Nick Kurtz, 1B Wake Forest: almost no impact in the post-season.
  • Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M; broke his ankle in a weird running play, missing his team’s run to the final. Was top 5, now likely drops.
  • Hagen Smith, LHP starter, Arkansas: final start wasn’t great in the regionals.
  • Chase Burns, RHP starter, Wake Forest; got out-pitched by Yesevage in his last start, and now
  • J.J. Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia; poor regional but may sneak into top 5.
  • Konnor Griffin, SS/CF, Jackson Prep (Flowood, Miss.); skipped MLB draft combine.
  • Bryce Rainer, SS from Harvard Westlake HS in LA: went to MLB draft combine, showed 96 on the mound, impressed as per reports.
  • James Tibbs, OF Florida State University: a couple of monster post-season games has him sneaking into the top 10 on some boards.
  • Trey Yesevage, RHP, East Carolina: out-pitched Burns in his post-season start, now creeping into the top 10 in some mocks.

If you’d like to see some scouting reports, go to one of these main spots:

Here’s the Mocks from Late June leading up to the draft.

  • MLBpipeline team 6/20/24 mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 take Griffen over Rainey.
  • Sporting News/Edward Suetan 6/20/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 take Rainey over Griffen. quite similar mock to above MLBpipeline one; exact same top 5 in the same order.
  • MLBPipeline/Jim Callis 6/27/24 mock: Bazzana, Caglianone, Condon, Montgomery, Griffin (wow). Nats at #10 get Rainer. In this mock, Kurtz was on the board but the team still took the prep SS.
  • Baseball America/Carlos Collazo Mock v5.0 7/1/24: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats at #10 take Griffen over Kurtz and Tibbs.
  • CBSsports/Mike Axisa 7/3/24 mock: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats at #10 get Montgomery, who falls with the injury and an early pick of Yesevage in his mock. They leave Griffen, Moore, Tibbs, and Kurtz on the table.
  • MLBpipeline/Mayo 7/5/24 mock: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Montgomery, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 get Rainer.
  • ESPN Staff Mock 7/5/24: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Smith, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 take the power hitting Christian Moore 2B, Tennessee, over Rainer, which I don’t think is reasonable. I sense this “staff mock” is more about the staff guys doing a draft rankings versus the proclivities of what these teams would take. But, Moore, if the Nats take him, was a beast all year and, even though he’s 2B limited, could probably feature at 3B if he’s a 2B now. If he could hit in pros like he’s hit in college, look out.
  • Bleacherreport/Joel Reuter 7/7/24 mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 go Yesevage. In this mock, the two prep SS both go high, as does Montgomery, so Nats take Yesevage over Moore, Kurtz, Tibbs.
  • The Athletic/Keith Law’s mock 3.0 7/10/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Kurtz, Caglianone. Nats at #10 take Yesevage over Griffen.
  • Fangraphs/Longenhagen Mock draft v1.0 7/11/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Montgomery, Caglianone. Nats at #10 take Griffen and Yesevage slips to #15.
  • MLBPipeline/Jim Callis Mock 7/11/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Kurtz, Caglianone. Nats get Rainer, who isn’t taken earlier like in other mocks above us.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel mock 3.0 7/11/24: Wetherholt, Caglianone, Condon, Bazzana, Griffen. Nats take Tibbs over Kurtz or Yesevage here, in a very weird mock with different names than most anyone else.
  • Sporting News/Eduard Sutelan mock 7/11/24: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats at 10 get Rainer. In a fun one, they have 3 full rounds of mocks: they have Nats taking local guy Griff O’Ferrall, SS, Virginia in the 2nd and Sawyer Farr, SS, Boswell (TX) in the third. So that’d be 3 short stops in a row.
  • Baseball America Mock 6.0 7/11/24: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats take Kurtz as BPA after both prep SS gone, but still too early for Yesevage.
  • CBSsports/Mike Axisa 7/13/24 mock: Bazzana, Condon, Smith, Montgomery, Caglianone. Nats go Griffen after Rainer taken early, but Yesevage and Kurtz still on board. I’m not sure I agree with his order here, having Wetherholt falling out of top 5 and Montgomery going so high.
  • D1Baseball final mock 7/13/24: Wetherhold, Bazzana, Burns, Condon, Caglianone. nats take Montgomery after both prep SS are picked ahead. This does not seem credible; Condon is not falling out of the top 2.
  • BleacherReport/ Joel Reuter’s final mock 7/13/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Montgomery, Caglianone. nats at 10 take Yesevage over Griffen. I’d take this.
  • ESPN/KIley McDaniel mock 3.0 7/13/24: Wetherholt, Caglianone, Condon, Bazzana, Griffen. nats take Tibbs over Kurtz, Yesevage. Would be hard to believe this top 5 and this Nats pick happen.

I may have missed a couple, but there’s been so many in the last couple days its hard to keep up.

After all these Mocks, what do I think top 5 is?

I think the top 5 will go:

  1. Bazzana: I think Cleveland gets significant cost savings over what Condon wants by taking Bazzana here (probably $1M), which will let them buy a prep kid in the 3rd round who has slipped (similar to what we did with Sykora last year). They take Bazzana and his superior hit tool over Wetherholt and his health issues.
  2. Condon: he probably goes for near slot here ($9.7M). He won’t slip past here.
  3. Burns: Colorado can’t get FAs pitchers to come there, so they have to breed pitchers, so taking the best available arm makes sense here. Burns has slightly better stuff and less injury history than Smith.
  4. Any one of Wetherholt/Montgomery/Kurtz/Bazzana: Oakland is always a wild-card team in the draft and could pivot, but it seems like it’ll be one of these four guys depending on wh goes 1-1.
  5. Chicago: Caglianone. this seems like a lock.

So, 4 of the first 5 seem to be consensus, with only Oakland as a wildcard.

After all these Mocks, who do I think the Nats will take?

Its a draft like this where I honestly wish MLB teams could trade draft picks. Because I think the Nats might find themselves wanting a guy like Yesevage (or, ahem Tommy White) who might go later in the 1st round but if they pick him at 10 they’ll overpay. I mean, if they could trade down 3-4 picks, pick up an extra 2nd or 3rd rounder, and then pick Yesevage … in an old-school NFL-style trade, wouldn’t you be for that? We can only wish.

That being said, I hate to say it, but i think we’ll end up with a prep SS and not a college player. It will either be Rainer or Griffen. It seems like it’ll be Griffen, since Rainey seems to be getting popped a bit earlier. If Montgomery falls due to his health, i’d be ecstatic. If Kurtz falls b/c he’s 1B only and the Nats take him, i’ll be upset. If they surprise and take Tibbs or Moore, I wouldn’t hate it. If Kurtz is there, and they take him versus Yesevage… i’ll be upset. If both Rainer and Griffen are off the board at #10, it means that someone like Kurtz or Montgomery is there for the taking.

If it was me? I’m taking Yesevage. I don’t care if he’s 13-14th on the board, i don’t care that he “only” pitched for ECU. He’s polished, healthy, no mechanical issues, 3 pitches, throws strikes, performed on the big stage at CWS playoffs. However all the pundits keep talking about how 1) the Nats new player evaluation staff is more prep friendly and 2) they scouted the hell out of Griffen and Rainer this year.

Written by Todd Boss

July 13th, 2024 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Draft,Prospects

Baseball America Mid-Season Prospect Re-Rank


Lord has shot up the system in 2024 and gets his first prospect call-out. Photo via IG

Baseball America announced a slight mid-season re-rank of its top 30 prospects for every team on 7/9/24, and the Nats top 30 saw a bit of movement. Here’s a quick look at their top 30 right now plus a discussion on the changes they’ve made since the beginning of the season.

BA Also put out a quickie update in early May, so we’ll talk about the changes these players have had from January to May to July.

Here’s the latest list and the link for subscribers.

RankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1WoodJamesOF (Corner)
2CrewsDylanOF (CF)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
6Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
8SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
9RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
10LileDaylenOF (CF)
11VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
13BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
14LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
15SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
16HerzDJLHP (Starter)
17GreenElijahOF (CF)
18PinckneyAndrewOF (Corner)
19BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
22HenryColeRHP (Starter)
24De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
28AlvarezAndrewLHP (Starter)
29LordBradRHP (Starter)

Here’s my thoughts and observations.

  • #1 and #2 flipped in May, with Wood taking over for Crews. No surprise here.
  • 3-4-5 have stated the exact same, in the same order. They havn’t dinged Cavalli for his rehab difficulties, nor Morales for his struggles in AA so far.
  • Rutledge dumped from #6 to #9. #6 was always too high for this guy, even based on his 2023 rise. Now we’re seeing him come back to earth. His 2024 numbers do not merit a top 10 system ranking.
  • Lipscomb has gone from 16 to 9 to 7. Soon he’ll be going to “graduated” since it seems like he’ll be playing 3B in the majors the rest of the way.
  • Parker: started the year #29, was up to #10 in May, now graduated. Not a bad 5th rounder.
  • Susana rightfully gets bumped up a few slots, from #11 to #8. Go look at his game logs for this year; whoever he talked to after his May 24th start did him a solid: since that start, 7 starts, 35 innings (5 innings a start exactly, no more, no less); 15 hits, 13 walks, 2 ER, total. 57 Ks. Wow. Talk about a good month.
  • Vaquero dumped a few spots from #8 to #11: dude’s hitting .157 this year. I mean, if they’ve dumped Green as far as they have, why not Vaquero as well? He’s still ranked this high entirely based on the size of his signing bonus.
  • Andry Lara, massive riser. He went from #31 pre-season to unranked last May, now he’s #15. He’s been solid the entire year and rightfully earned the promotion to AA. I’ve been complaining about Lara’s progression for several years, but no taking away his 2024 so far.
  • Sykora holding steady at #15, which seems to be underselling what he’s done so far in his first pro season. Like Susana, the team won’t let him pitch past the 5th inning, so he’s got a slew of “5ip 1hit 8ks zero walks zero runs” outings as of late. His absolute worst outing was his pro debut and he’s nearly in line for a promotion. He should be top 10 material soon.
  • Herz also holding steady at #16, probably unfairly given that he’s made his MLB debut. I mean, lets be honest; why would Herz be ranked lower than Rutledge right now? It was Herz who got the call-up, not Rutledge. Dumb.
  • A reminder: Jacob Young started the year as a #18 prospect, now is projecting for a 4-win season and rookie of the year votes. Bravo.
  • Green continues his slide: started at #9 (where I thought he was actually UNDER ranked), now slipped from #12 to #17. Ouch. He’s hitting .174 with 136 Ks in 67 games as of this writing. What the hell is going on here?
  • Not much movement for the guys in the 18-25 range; mostly fringe guys or former top prospects who continue to scuffle.
  • Nunez, who still retains his rookie status by ABs since he’s barely playing, dumped to #26. The team has lasted this long with him, but honestly, does anyone see him actually working out based on what we see? I’d also like to point out that it is now mid July; he’s had 13 total at-bats this year. 13! he’s 1-13 for the season.
  • Brad Lord comes in at #29, the first time we’ve seen any prospect ranking shop rank him. Lord was, lest we forget, an 18th round SENIOR draftee who was a reliever in college from a mid-major UCF, who worked his way into the low-A rotation last season, then held his own in 9 starts to finish the season, got moved to AA to start this season, completely owned it, and is now in the AAA rotation. An 18th round draft pick. Bravo to him and his success.
  • Marcus Brown holding steady at #30. Not sure why. He’s hitting .203 in low-A despite coming out of a major conference.
  • The only player previously listed not here is TJ White, who got bumped from #28 to #30+.

Missing? I think you can make a case for a slew of guys to be on this list at the expense of the likes of Brown or Nunez. Luckham, Cox, Quintana, Shuman come immediately to mind. But, this was clearly not a major overhaul/analysis either.

Soon we’re ramping up for draft week!

Written by Todd Boss

July 10th, 2024 at 10:00 am

Posted in Prospects

2024 Draft Coverage – Next Group of Mock Drafts


Konnor Griffen is looking like a popular pick to mock to the Nats at #10. Photo via Mississippi Scoreboard

Instead of sitting on a massive mock draft post this year, I published the first cut of mocks to show how the top 5 and our thinking at #10 have morphed from mid 2023 until about mid May 2024. This post has basically mid May to Mid June, as a slew of mocks have just come out in the last couple of days that show some crystallization of moves post D1 playoffs.

As most pundits point out, this is basically a 9-10 person draft. Those 10 players are (in rough order of draft rank):

  • Charlie Condon: 3B/OF, University of Georgia
  • Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP Florida
  • Nick Kurtz, 1B Wake Forest
  • Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M
  • Hagen Smith, LHP starter, Arkansas
  • Chase Burns, RHP starter, Wake Forest
  • J.J. Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia
  • Konnor Griffin, SS/CF, Jackson Prep (Flowood, Miss.)
  • Bryce Rainer, SS from Harvard Westlake HS in LA
  • James Tibbs, OF Florida State University (he’s now creeping into the top 10 in a lot of mocks)

If you’d like to see some scouting reports, go to one of these main spots:

Here’s some mock draft links starting from Mid May to Mid June.

  • USAToday/Jack McKessy Mock 5/22/24: no original analysis; he’s aggregating others.
  • MLBPipeline’s Odds of going #1 5/23/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Smith. This isn’t a mock as much as it is analysis of the 4-5 players who might go 1-1.
  • Kiley McDaniel/ESPN Mock Draft 1.0 5/29/24: Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone, Smith. Burns takes a big rise up here from other mocks. Nats at #10 get Rainer, as McDaniel predicted earlier in the month. Yesevage falls to #15, White at #27 to Philly, which, honestly, would make a ton of sense and he’d seemingly fit right into that clubhouse.
  • Bleacher Report/Joel Reuter Mock 3.0 5/30/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Griffen. Nats at #10 get Wetherholt who has slipped to them in this sequence of events. Wetherholt at #10 would be a steal, a guy who started the cycle in the conversation for 1-1. I’d take this outcome.
  • MLBPipeline/Jonathan Mayo 5/30/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Montgomery, Caglianone. A run on college talent at the top leaves the Nats at #10 with the last “big 9” name in Griffin, as Yesevage drops to #15.
  • Baseball America Mock Draft v3.0 5/31/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 grab Griffen over Yesavage. We’ve definitely seen a shift in the industry; nearly every major pundit now has Bazzana going 1 over Condon, probably in a cost savings move.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel Mini-Mock 5/31/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Smith. Nats at #10project to Rainer. This is turning into a common theme: Bazzana over Condon despite Condon being the higher-ranked talent, and Nats picking the prep SS. However, in this mock the Nats would be leaving both Yesevage and Wetherholt on the table, and I don’t think they leave Wetherholt on the table.
  • CBSSports/Mike Axisa mock 6/13/24: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Kurtz, Smith. Nats take Griffin over Yesevage and Rainer (Tibbs sneaks into top 10).
  • SBNation/Mark Schofield 6/14/24 mock: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Burns, Smith. Nats at #10 take Griffin over Rainer, Tibbs, Yesevage.
  • MLPPipeline/Jonathan Mayo Mock 6/14/24: Bazzana, Burns, Condon, Montgomery, Caglianone. Nats at #10 get Rainer, who they continue to have the nats on.
  • BA Mock Draft v4.0 6/17/24: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Nats at #10 get Kurtz, who’s fallen behind both prep bats.
  • Sporting News/Edward Suteland 6/15/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Burns, Caglianone, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 take Rainer. This mock interestingly has Florida State OF slugger James Tibbs sneaking into the top 10, maybe on the huge performance he’s had in the post season.
  • CBSsports/RJ Anderson 6/18/24 odds of going #1: Bazzana, Condon, Wetherholt, Caglianone, Burns. Only did a top 5.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel 6/19/24 Mock 2.0: Wetherholt, Condon, Burns, Bazzana, Caglianone. Very contrarian top 5, considering many others have Bazzana nowhere else besides #1 or #2. Nats at #10 take Griffen, even though in this mock Kurtz is still on the board (who he has going 13th!). Kiley predicts into the 2nd round and has us taking a duke LHP named Santucci in the second.
  • Athletic/Keith Law 6/19/24 Mock 2.0: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Kurtz, Wetherholt. Nats at #10 get Montgomery, who falls b/c of his injury with memories of the way Rendon fell to us. They leave Griffin and Yesevage on the board.

Here’s the collection of Draft Ranking lists from Mid May leading upto the draft.

NOTE: there’s a difference between a Mock draft and a Draft board Ranking. Mocks take into account a thought process as to what a team might do, and includes the value-add of the networking and intelligence the writers have. So, keep that in mind when reading Ranks versus Mocks here. I’ll pull out all these Draft Ranks again when we do 2024 draft recaps to show where our draftees rank.

  • Kiley McDaniel/ESPN Top 100 Draft Ranks 5/8/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Smith. Nats at 10 take Bryce Rainer, a SS from Harvard Westlake.
  • Keith Law Top 100 Draft Ranks 5/22/24: Condon, Bazzana, Kurtz, Wetherholt, Montgomery. If the draft went chalk to his rankings, at #10 we’d have Caglianone. Honestly, while Caglianone is certainly famous and many think he’s going to try the Ohtani two-way route, most scouting reports put him as hitter-only, which means he’s 1B limited with huge power but also huge swing and miss concerns. I’d rather have an arm. In his ranks, Burns and Smith go ahead, but Yesavage goes right behind.
  • ProspectsLive Draft top 300 ranks 5/29/24: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Montgomery, Smith. Coming in ranked 10th is Yesevage, right above Rainer.
  • MLBpipeline top 200 Draft ranks 5/30/24: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Burns. #10 is Rainer, #11 is Yesevage, so they’re consistent with other ranks.
  • Baseball America top 500 Draft Ranks 5/31/24: Condon, Bazzana, Burns, Wetherholt, Montgomery. Rainer comes in ranked 10th.
  • ESPN/Kiley McDaniel top 150+ ranks 5/31/24: Condon, Bazzana, Montgomery, Smith, Caglianone. 10th ranked is Wetherholt.
  • CBSSports/RJ Anderson 6/14/24 Draft Rankings: Condon, Bazzana, Burns, Kurtz, Caglianone. Ranked 10th is the Florida State slugger James Tibbs III, the first time we’ve heard his name in this series but certainly not the first time we’ve written about him after he dominated in the Super Regionals.

So, what do I think will happen with the Nats pick? Right now it really seems like we’ll take one of the two prep shortstops. I’d love it if one of the college guys fell down. Not sure what I think about Montgomery yet.

Written by Todd Boss

June 19th, 2024 at 8:50 am

Posted in Draft,Prospects

Fangraphs Nats top 32 Prospects for 2024 Analysis


Victor Hurtado gets some prospect love from FG. Photo via Nats X account

As with last year, the final major scouting pundit/shop to publish their “pre-2024” list of Nats prospects is Fangraphs & Eric Longenhagen, and what a list it was.

Here’s the table of players, which is at the above link as well with more detail and FG’s FV values.

RankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1WoodJamesOF (Corner)
2CrewsDylanOF (CF)
3CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
6SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
8VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
9ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
10LileDaylenOF (CF)
11RibaltaOrlandoRHP (reliever)
12HerzDJLHP (Starter)
13SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
14BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
15GreenElijahOF (CF)
17ShumanSethRHP (Starter)
18BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
20RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
23Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
27LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
28CoxBrennerOF (CF)
31De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
32AcostaDaisonRHP (reliever)

Here’s the slot by slot analysis. Before we get started, we should probably point out that Longenhagen is absolutely the biggest proponent of “ceiling” versus “floor” in prospect analysis, and some of his rankings are clear evidence of that.

  • Top 4 are the same as everyone else. Wood gets ahead of Crews, and Cavalli presents as the rare ranking ahead of House, perhaps because Cavalli’s nearly 26 and his ETA is basically as soon as he’s done with rehab.
  • #5 is Victor frigging Hurtado. I am not kidding. Hurtado, who is given an ETA of the year 2030, who was signed to a pro contract 5 months ago and who has yet to play a single inning of pro ball, is the 5th best prospect in the system. I get it; he’s a highly regarded International signing, but there’s just no way you put a guy this far away from the majors ahead of so many other guys who are going to contribute in the next couple of years.
  • #6 is Travis Sykora, who suffers from the same issue as Hurtado. I mean, at least Sykora is playing right now. But man, this is a hefty projection based on his 2023 draft status.
  • #7 is Drew Millas. Millas! He’s already 26, he’s a AAA catcher, he’s behind both Ruiz and Adams on the pecking order, and if anyone thought he was this frigging good they’d come asking for him, since clearly he’s surplus goods for this team. I don’t see another pundit who has him higher than like 18-20 in the system, for the same reason. You’re telling me Millas is a better prospect than Mitchell Parker? Right now? The same Parker who’s got a 3.45 ERA in 8 starts right now, including wins over multiple 2023 playoff teams?? Come on.
  • The aforementioned Parker comes in at #9, which is where you’d expect him to be with the benefit of hindsight, instead of the 20-25 range most of us thought in January.
  • Orlando Ribalta comes in at #11. Ok. So now you see the problem with ordering your ranks by a FV column while also knowing that a pitcher is already a reliever. There’s NO WAY a right handed reliever in AA who’s already 26 is a prospect at all, let alone a near-top 10 prospect (Note: he’s recently been promoted to AAA, but my point is still the same). What does Ribalta project to? The 5th guy out of the bullpen? The definition of a replacement player is someone who can easily be replaced with the next guy out of AAA. I think the highest you should ever rank a reliever is in the 20s, unless they’re the next coming of Rollie Fingers.
  • Same issue as I have with Ribalta at #11, I have with Brzycky at #14. Even moreso, since the guy is on the full season DL.
  • Oh how the mighty have fallen: Elijah Green all the way to #15 here. Longenhagen gives him a 20 grade on his hit tool. 20. You and I have a 20 grade hit tool. He also gives him just a 25 grade on “game power” right now. Ouch. I mean, I get it; the guy has done almost nothing to earn his high 1st round drafting slot or his signing bonus. I would have expected some improvement by now though.
  • Morales, who is generally 4th or 5th on every other list, comes in at #16 here. Eric is pretty bearish on his progress so far, even though he started the year in AA as a 2023 draft pick.
  • Seth Shuman at #18. Really? Didn’t pitch a lick in 2023 due to TJ, currently on the 60-day DL and is 26 having never pitched above high-A. How is this a prospect at all? I mean, yes I like his stats, and if not for injury and Covid maybe we’d be having a different conversation, but he’s nearly at the end of his 6year ML tenure and he may not even get to AA this year. How is that a prospect at all? (Yes I know I already said that).
  • Darren Baker at #19, highest of anyone i’ve seen. I mean, yeah, if you put relievers just outside your top 10 you’ve gotta rate backup infielders highly too.
  • Nunez still listed despite exhausing his service time by now, though maybe Longenhagen is going by PAs for rookie status, which, if that’s the case, Nunez may not get 10 PAs the rest of the season based on his usage so far.
  • Robert Hassell all the way down at #23. Which is ridiculous. He’s got better tools across the board than players above him, he’s repeating AA at age 22 despite having hamate bone surgery last year, and he’s CF capable. His slash line is solid this year so far (.288/.380/.369) and if the only ding you have on him is his slugging/XBH tool just be patient; he slugged .470 as a 19yr old in A ball three years ago.
  • Lipscomb dumped to #25, why? Why would you have a guy who HAS been in the majors as a backup infielder behind a guy like Baker, who hasn’t?
  • Brenner Cox, who has done a ton to rehabilitate his profile so far in 2024, comes in at #28. Good for him, and good to see him hitting.
  • Jorgelys Mota gets a mention, one of the few shops to do so, coming in at #29.
  • Lastly, his #32 spot is a guy making his debut on any prospect list for this team, minor league Rule5 draftee Daison Acosta, who’s currently a 25yr old reliever in AA with solid 2024 numbers.

So, a weird list that really goes against the grain of the rest of the prospect rankings out there. Is he right when everyone else is wrong?

Written by Todd Boss

May 30th, 2024 at 3:36 pm

Posted in Prospects

2024 CWS Coverage – Field of 64 and Regional Preview


Its College Baseball post-season time, something we’ve followed in this space for years. Here’s a quick guide to the CWS 2024 post season. The field of 64 was announced on Memorial Day Weekend at Noon, so here’s a preview of this coming weekend’s 16 regional events.

First off, some resources for you.

Your top 8 seeds and favorites to make Omaha, in order, along with their RPI and their Strength of Schedule (SoS) denoted:

  1. Tennessee: #1 RPI, #23 SoS
  2. Kentucky: #3 RPI, #6 SoS
  3. Texas A&M: #2 RPI, #13 SoS
  4. North Carolina: #4 RPI, #15 SoS
  5. Arkansas: #5 RPI, #11 SoS
  6. Clemson: #7 RPI, #18 SoS
  7. Georgia: #6 RPI, #9 SoS
  8. Florida State: #8 RPI, #26 SoS

The top 8 seeds also are the top 8 RPI ranked teams, in nearly identical order to their RPI ranking, in case you were wondering how important RPI is to seeding in College Baseball. The top 8 national seeds are entirely from two conferences: SEC and ACC, showing the dominance of those divisions (something we’ll see more of in the regions).

The rest of the Regional Hosts/Top 16 teams are as follows:

  • #9 Oklahoma: #14 RPI, #10 SoS
  • #10 NC State: #15 RPI, #3 SoS
  • #11 Oklahoma State: #11 RPI, #28 SoS
  • #12: Virginia: #12 RPI, #27 SoS
  • #13 Arizona: #31 RPI, #31 SoS
  • #14 UC Santa Barbara: #13 RPI, #100 SoS
  • #15 Oregon State: #18 RPI, #78 SoS
  • #16 East Carolina: #22 RPI, #71 SoS

There’s definitely a couple of outliers here, especially #31 RPI Arizona, who won the Pac12’s final title but doesn’t seem to deserve a top 16 spot at the expense of other teams. The 9th ranked RPI team is Wake Forest; I don’t think anyone wants to see Wake Forest in this tournament and they’re not even a seed.

Local DC/MD/VA local teams in the tourney:

  • UVA: #12 overall seed, has to deal with Mississippi State in their region but at least they host.
  • VCU: a 3-seed in the ECU regional, which also includes Wake Forest. Tough.
  • ECU: #16 national seed but stuck with Wake and may be in trouble.
  • West Virginia is the 3-seed in Arizona’s regional that includes Dallas Baptist. Also tough.
  • JMU, my alma mater, sneaks in as a 3-seed in the NC State regional. They were definitely a bubble team, and there’s probably 3-4 other teams that merited this spot (TCU, Cincinnati, etc). But, we benefitted this year.

It’s definitely kind of a down year for area teams. Maryland is usually solid but was on the bubble after faltering in their conference tourney. Liberty had a down year, going just 24-34 in CUSA. Virginia Tech went around .500 in ACC play but went 2-and-out in ACC tourney play; one win there and maybe they’re in. ODU was #71 in RPI but really needed to win the Sun Belt to get in. Same with Coastal.

Quick Regional Thoughts

Here’s one sentence or so on each regional.

  1. Tennessee: should cruise through, straight forward regional.
  2. Kentucky: Gets #10 RPI Indiana State, who had a strong case for hosting. No favors here for Kentucky.
  3. Texas A&M: Gets a grudge match against U-Texas as well as a very solid Louisiana team; tough regional, though LA-TX opener burns each team’s ace.
  4. North Carolina: they get last year’s champ LSU, which had an obviously down year but is still no slouch and UNC is close enough to have their fans drive.
  5. Arkansas: Might have the easiest regional of all, at one of the hardest places to play.
  6. Clemson: Of course they get Vanderbilt, plus Coastal. Vandy down this year though so Clemson should move on.
  7. Georgia: Fun possible rivalry game against Ga Tech brewing, but don’t sleep on UNC-Wilmington.
  8. Florida State: A couple of tougher teams in this regional, including the SEC tourney host Alabama.
  9. Oklahoma: Oof, I wouldn’t want to see Duke in my regional. Upset watch here.
  10. NC State: will have to contend with battle-tested South Carolina.
  11. Oklahoma State: They won’t be scared of #2 seed Nebraska, but will be scared of perhaps Florida, who sneaks into the tourney.
  12. Virginia: it all comes down to the under rated Mississippi State in this bracket; upset watch here.
  13. Arizona: If i’m Dallas Baptist, I’m happy as heck here, getting easily the weakest host. DBU is ranked #17 in RPI, more than a dozen slots higher than AZ. It’ll be an upset if DBU loses this one. They also have to deal with WVU for a balanced regional.
  14. UC Santa Barbara: they get an all-west coast group in a down year for West Coast teams, but this division does have the champs of three West Coast conferences all together: The Big West, The WCC, and Mountain West.
  15. Oregon State: As Pac12 runner up, gets Big West runner up UC Irvine. Too close to call.
  16. East Carolina: for their troubles they get Wake Forest and likely 1st rounder Burns in the Saturday winner’s bracket final, but if they save fellow 1st rounder Yesavage we have an early contender for game of the weekend.

Prospect Watch. Nearly every guy projected to go in the first round is playing post season, so this list kinda looks like the projected top 10. We’ll go region by region:

  • #1 Tennessee: mid 1st round projecting 3B Billy Amick plus a handful of solid 2nd/3rd round hitters
  • #2 Kentucky has just one top 3-4 round prospect on its team: RHP Travis Smith
  • #3 TAMU is led by top-5 pick Braden Montgomery. But they have a ton of named picks, as does UT Austin.
  • #4 UNC is led by Vance Honeycutt, likely 1st rounder who was projected higher earlier in the cycle. LSU is led by Tommy White (aka Tommy Tanks), but has a couple other boppers who should go 1st/2nd rounds.
  • #5 Arkansas’ top starter is Hagen Smith, who should go top 8 picks.
  • #6 Clemson’s only top prospect is LHP Tristan Smith. Vandy has a couple of pitchers to watch for in Bryce Cunningham and Carter Holton.
  • #7 Georgia is led by consensus 1-1 Charlie Condon.
  • #8 Florida State has a couple of hitters who project end of 1st in Cam Smith & James Tibbs
  • #9 Oklahoma doesn’t have much in prospect power, while Duke has a 2nd rounder LHP in Jonathan Santucci.
  • #10 NC State and South Carolina don’t have much in the way of 1st round projections right now.
  • #11 OK State has a potential late 1st rounder in Carson Benge. Florida is led by top-5 pick Jac Caglianone.
  • #12 UVA’s top rated star is SS Griff O’Farrell. MSU has a solid 1st round projected hitter in Dakota Jordan.
  • #13 AZ and DBU don’t have much in the way of star power, but their region’s #3 seed West Virginia team is led by likely top 8 pick JJ Weatherholt.
  • #14: UC Santa Barbara regional has some lesser known talents but no 1st rounders.
  • #15 Oregon State is of course led by possible 1-1 pick Travis Bazzanna
  • #16 ECU, as noted above, is led by top 10 pick RHP Trey Yesavage on the hill, and their regional foe Wake Forest is led by likely top 6 RHP Chase Burns. Wake also has likely top 5 pick Nick Kurtz and likely mid-1st rounder Seaver King for a star-studded lineup.

Written by Todd Boss

May 28th, 2024 at 8:01 am

MLB Pipeline Mid-season Prospect Update

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It’s just a matter of time before James Wood is slugging in the majors . Photo via Baseball America

Hot on the heels of Baseball America doing the same, MLB Pipeline boys re-did their top 100 and slightly changed their top 30 for the Nats. Here’s a quick post talking about their changes and why.

Here’s the new MLBPipeline top 100 (with Wood now ranked #5 overall) and here’s a link to the current state of the Nats top 30. I won’t repeat the top 30 here in table format, but i’ll go over what’s changed.

  • Flipped Wood and Crews at the top. No surprise here, just recognition that Wood has basically “solved” AAA so far while Crews continues to struggle in AA. Crew’s numbers have improved so far in May (.269/.375/.615), so that’s good.
  • For those clamoring for Wood to get promoted … who do you sit? That’s the real problem with the makeup of the MLB roster right now. Winker has cooled a bit but still has a 117 OPS+ playing in LF, and you need him to retain value in trade. Young’s been great in CF and it’d make no sense to sit him. I don’t think you can cut bait on Rosario yet, and Robles is now back and needs playing time too. Meneses is 1B/DH and may have already been let go if Gallo wasn’t hurt. So, who sits? Robles? do you cut Meneses and DH Wood full time? Well that makes no sense either. Honestly, we need an injury or a trade.
  • Morales and Cavalli swap spots at 4/5. I guess they’re hedging on how long it’s taken Cavalli to come back. Remember, Cavalli was routinely in the top 50-60 of all of the minors at the beginning of 2023 (including #58 in MLBPipeline’s rankings pre TJ).
  • MLB Pipeline has now “graduated” both Jacob Young and Nasim Nunez, ranked 18th and 19th respectively earlier this year. Young was graduated out on ABs in April, while Nunez is now graduated by virtue of Service Time thanks to being on the big league roster more than 45 days.
  • The two graduations left two spots open at #29 and #30; those have been filled with Armando Cruz and Andry Lara. These two are more than reasonable additions at this juncture. The highest ranked guys I have not on their list are Quintana (who’s hitting .192 this year so far) and Andrew Alvarez (who doesn’t scream “prospect” based on his stuff).
  • They did not modify Lipscomb or Parker’s rankings despite MLB success, indicating this was really just a quick peek at the top of each team’s list to make slight adjustments.

We still wait for Fangraphs Nats top XXX for 2024, which came out in June last year. Eric Longenhagen always has a unique take on prospects and we’ll give that the full writeup when it comes out. He’s already releasting teams so perhaps we’re going to be last alphabetically.

Written by Todd Boss

May 13th, 2024 at 11:59 am

Posted in Prospects

Baseball America May 2024 Updated top 30


Reviewing off-season ranks from pundits last winter was a ton of fun, culminating in my publishing my own ranks once all the major pundits had reported.

We’re now a month into the season, and the first of a few expected “mid season updates” have published. These are useful re-ranks that take into account promotions, graduations, injuries, and the like. So, here’s a reaction to the 5/6/24 Update to the Baseball America Rankings for the Nats.

Here’s the May 2024 rankings.

BA May2024 rankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1WoodJamesOF (Corner)
2CrewsDylanOF (CF)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
6RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
7Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
8VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
10ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
11SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
12GreenElijahOF (CF)
13LileDaylenOF (CF)
15BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
16SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
17HerzDJLHP (Starter)
19PinckneyAndrewOF (Corner)
20BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
22HenryColeRHP (Starter)
25De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
28WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
29AlvarezAndrewLHP (Starter)

In this post, i’ll highlight just those changes in these rankings from their Jan 2024 system rankings, reviewed here (all stats quoted were as of 5/8/24 and may be slightly different when you read this).

  • At the top, BA officially does what many others have been threatening to; switch Crews and Wood at the top of the ranking. Wood had a monster spring and is at AAA, while Crews has scuffled out of the gate to continue his poor AA career numbers (he hit .208 there for a month last year and is hitting .235 there so far this season). Meanwhile, Wood is destroying AAA pitching so far in 2024; current slash line .339/.444/.529. I think it’s more than safe to say that the current depth chart of outfielders on the 40-man roster (roughly: Winker, Thomas, Young, Robles, Rosario, Call, and Garrett) may be ready for a shake up the next time they have an injury. I’m not sure how much longer the team will stand for Rosario to hit .125 when they have a top-5 prospect in AAA with nothing more to prove.
  • Lipscomb bumped up from #16 in January to #9 today, and he may not be eligible for this list much longer. He’s already got 87 ABs this season and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere as a useful backup infielder. Meanwhile, Rule5 draftee Nasim Nunez has three (3!) total ABs this season, and if the team stays in Wild Card contention much longer I see his usefulness being exhausted pretty soon.
  • Parker bumped up from #29 to #10. Well of course he’s been bumped up. Show up in the majors as a mid-20s prospect on every sheet, shut down the Dodgers, shut down the Astros? Come on. Nobody saw this coming. I liked Parker a lot after seeing him in person last year and I could only push him into my mid 20s. Hopefully its not a complete mirage and he continues along an bests what most pundits saw initially; 4th/5th starter ceiling.
  • Susana jumps ahead of Green in the rankings. Not sure what Susana has done to merit jumping ahead of anyone, let alone being this high. So far in 2024: 5 starts, 16 innings, and a 5.51 ERA. Interestingly, his K/9 is way up and his BB/9 is way down … but they can’t let him throw more than 3 innings a stint? Meanwhile, Green continues to not hit in the low-A, with a .170 BA and 52 (!!) Ks in 25 games so far this year. I mean … unless the franchise has told him to swing out of his ass every time he gets up, this is just not good.
  • Nunez remains 18th on the list, with no movement up or down relative to where he was in January. Really?
  • Jacob Young, ranked 18th in January, has officially graduated from rookie eligibility/prospect status by hitting his 150th PA in April. Like Parker/Lipscomb he never really was a heralded prospect but is succeeding so far in the majors.
  • The rest of the list from 19 to 29 is identical from January.
  • To add in the new 30th prospect to replace Young, BA has added … Marcus Brown. Which is weird b/c they had a list of 8-10 “honorable mentions” after posting their Jan 2024 list, and Brown wasn’t on it. I guess they released this before seeing what Marcus did in High-A when he got promoted earlier this year (.129/.206/.145). In January their “31st”prospect was Andry Lara, who has looked awesome so far in 2024, so that doesn’t make much sense.

So, some movement for some players, but not a full overhaul based on the SSS of 2024.

Written by Todd Boss

May 10th, 2024 at 9:51 am

Posted in Prospects