Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Archive for April, 2022

2022 Draft order, Bonus Pools, Pick values Finalized


Druw Jones, son of Andruw Jones, is in the running to be the 1-1 pick in the 2022 draft; which team will get him? Photo via

It’s a bit early to think about the Rule IV (aka Amateur) draft, but with our team dead last in the NL and going nowhere, we’re clearly in rebuilding mode, and the draft is the best way to acquire new talent.

Over the weekend, MLB officially announced the Bonus pools and individual pick values, and by association essentially announced the official draft order as well. Lets talk about each one.

Draft Order Finalized

Click here for the draft order on as it is now essentially finalized (we’ll talk about why its not entirely finalized in a moment). The Nats will be picking at #5, 45, #84, #111, #141 … then every 30 after that for 20 rounds. So, three picks in the top 85 picks for us this year.

The site does a good job showing the added picks, but doesn’t show the lost picks in this page. Luckily for you, I’ve got a spreadsheet for that.

Click here for the full draft order with lost/moved picks shown where they originally were. Here you can see the original and gained/lost picks.

  • Only one team lost its first rounder this year: the Los Angeles Dodgers, which had its pick dropped 10 places for luxury tax violation purposes.
  • Five teams lost their 2nd rounders for FA signings, the highest (and perhaps most curious) being Texas, who lost the 44th overall pick (and its $1.75M slot value) when they signed Marcus Seiman to a last place team. Others losing 2nd rounders include the Angels, Philly, Boston, and the Dodgers of course.
  • Four (mostly lower-payroll) teams lost their third rounders: Also Texas (for Corey Seager), Minnesota, Detroit, and Seattle.

I wonder if Texas wasn’t given some sort of implicit ultimatum to step up and spend some money, given that they’re in the 4th largest market by MSA (after NY, LA, Chi) and make huge amounts of RSN dollars (somewhere between $80M and $150M/year, depending on which leaked document you believe about their 10-year FoxSports deal). I say this because it makes little sense for them to have committed to two major FA deals as a last place team, forgoing both a 2nd and 3rd rounder and all that bonus pool money, so that they (checks standings) can continue to be a last place team.

The draft order is “essentially” finalized because there still remains one player unsigned who has QO- compensation attached to him: Michael Conforto. Unfortunately for Conforto, he had off-season shoulder issues that prevented him from getting a serious offer, and a few weeks ago it was announced that he’s having season-ending shoulder surgery, which means the odds of him signing before the draft (at which point the compensation becomes moot) is nil. So, for the first time in Qualifying Offer history, a player will go completely unsigned for an entire year after being offered (and declining) a 1year 8 figure contract. Amazing.

Bonus Pools Announced

The Nats total bonus pool this year is their highest ever: a shade over $11M ($11,007,900 to be exact). They have the 7th largest pool despite picking 5th overall thanks to the Mets getting an extra 1st rounder and the Royals getting a huge $2.2M valued comp A pick, jumping them above the Nats in total value. By way of comparison, they had $8.7M picking 11th overall last year, so they’ll likely be getting an entire “extra” $2.2M valued player in some way or another in this draft.

Individual Pick Values

In addition to the total bonus pool, each of the first 316 slots has been officially assigned a slot value and published. I’ve now created a 2022 draft tracker skeleton spreadsheet to the overall master Nats Draft Tracker spreadsheet, which you can find at the link.

So, a $6.4M first round pick usually ends up meaning some savings there which can be applied later on in the draft. This is what the top-drafting teams generally do, instead of giving full slot to these top players. It remains to be seen how the Nats will work this in 2022; if we (for example) save $1m on their 5th overall pick, that’s $1m that can go to the 2nd pick, making that a $2.7M pick, which is the equivalent of a lower first rounder in the #27 overall range. Furthermore, teams can go 5% over the bonus pool without any penalties, and the Nats generally squeeze every dime out of this pool overage … so they could go up to 3.2M for their 2nd rounder (the equivalent of a #21 overall pick) before they start taking $$ away from their other 9 picks/total bonus pool … which we know they do extensively with the picks in the 6-10 range. So, lots of strategy in place.

How does this generally play out? A prep kid puts out a number and his representatives say, “Johnny Stud won’t sign for less than $2.5M.” The teams in that $2.5M first round range (picks 25-30) all pass. So now Johnny Stud starts getting overslot offers by teams at the top of the 2nd round, who know they can borrow from other parts of the pool. The Nats, in the upper 2nd round range, can absolutely be a player here and end up getting a 1st round talent in the 2nd.

A more risky approach is to save money for a pick in the 11th, where bonus pool figures no longer count and where a lot of players who’ve completely slipped out of the bonus pool range fall. This is risky because you’re counting on a guy being there and basically trying to save a ton of dollars for those spots. You can count on one hand the number of times the Nats have gone overslot with an 11th rounder or later in the past few drafts: JT Arruda and Jake Randa in 2019 (technically Lucas Knowles as well in 2019, though they basically gave him the few thousand leftover dollars), Jackson Stoeckinger in 2017, Armond Upshaw in 2016, who got $400k overslot as the 11th round pick, and Max Schrock in 2015, who also got a $400k overslot deal as the 13th pick.

Our 2021 draft is already looking like a great draft, with Brady House already on top 100 lists and tearing up full-season ball, with TJ White looking like he’ll get a mid-season promotion, Darren Baker already in high-A, and three lower-round pitchers in the Fredericksburg rotation in Brendan Collins, Andrew Alvarez, and Dustin Saenz.

Can’t wait to see what they pull in 2022.

Written by Todd Boss

April 30th, 2022 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Nats in General

The Rotation is worse than even I thought possible


Hey, at least Grey’s looked decent. Photo via WP

Small Sample Sizes, arbitrary endpoints, its only April, yeah yeah.

As of 4/24/22’s game, in reverse order, here’s our rotation’s last week:

Only Grey managed to have a decent week, throwing half the 4/19/22 DH in fine fashion (5 1/3ip, 3hits, 1 run). Still not a QS though; he got yanked after retiring the first guy in the 6th on just 87 pitches.

As for the rest of the rotation? Come on.

In our last 5 starts, our starters have given us a grand total of 17 1/3 innings and given up an astounding 27 runs along the way. That’s just 17 1/3 innings out of a required 45 to be pitched, meaning our bullpen is absolutely, completely shredded right now and its … April 25th. Every game for the last week looks like a spring training game, where every reliever in the pen gets an inning until the game is over.

We’re only 3 weeks into the season and the team has already called up SIX (6!) arms who weren’t on the opening day roster (Rogers, Sanchez, Clay, Perez, Ramirez, and Harvey).

And they’re going to have to scramble for coverage going forward; there are just TWO remaining arms on the 40-man who aren’t on the active roster or the MLB DL: Carrillo (who just went onto the AA D/L with a “sore shoulder,” uh oh), and Evan Lee, who’s made 3 starts but has only gone 9 1/3 total innings, giving up 8 walks along the way. Not exactly the bullpen innings eater we need. So get ready for any one of the slew of MLFA arms we have sitting in AAA to start getting called up to replace ineffective arms who suddenly have soft tissue injuries. I’m talking guys like Verrett, Edwards Jr., Clippard, Garret, Manoah, Weems, Baldonado, and Rodriguez.

After today’s debacle we’re 6-11, in last place in the NL, and have the 2nd worst record in the league. And we’re going to struggle to do better from here.

I feel like we’re in for a long season.

Baseball America “updates” its Nats top 30 and 1st week impressions


So, BA issued an “update” to its top 30 prospect lists for teams this week.

See for our “new” list.

per BA’s site, this update is… “With the minor league season beginning, we have updated our Top 30 prospect rankings for every major league club. These new rankings now include international players from the current signing class that opened on Jan. 15, with additional player movement based on new looks, information and injuries.”

BA continues to ignore MLB service time and keeps including prospects who have not hit AB/IP thresholds even though they’ve sat on the active roster long enough to exhaust rookie eligibility .. which means that they’ve kept in particular Keibert Ruiz and Riley Adams eligible, as literally no other shop has done.

So what changed between this ranking and the last one (to which I reacted here?).

  • They added Jan 2022 IFA signing Cristian Vaquero at #5.
  • ….. and thats it.

No adjustments for Antuna moving to the outfield, for Lile being out for the season, for Adon making the MLB rotation, nothing else.

So, pretty much a nothing burger of an update. But, thought i’d put a placeholder here to talk about the starts we’re seeing with the MLB club through the first week.

Talking about hitters:

  • Good, as expected: Soto, Bell, Ruiz
  • Good, unexpectedly: Franco, YHernandez (has he now won a starting job?)
  • Bad, as expected: Robles (why is he still in the majors?), Escobar
  • Bad, unexpectedly: Cruz, Thomas

Robles starts the season 0-17 and necessitates the callup of prospect OF Casey. Lane Thomas hasn’t been much better. But maybe we should just frigging play Yadiel Hernandez until he stops hitting? I mean, the dude hit last year, he’s hitting this year … why not just play the guy?

Pitchers? Phew, hide your eyes.

  • Good, as expected: … i’m not sure anyone is living up to their expectations. Rainey maybe? Arano. Fedde maybe.
  • Good, unexpectedly: Rogers, Doolittle
  • Bad, as expected: Corbin, ASanchez (by going straight to the DL), Adon, Voth
  • Bad, unexpectedly: not sure anyone qualifies here.

Lets be honest, i went into this season looking at this pitching staff with very little expectation. Our opening day rotation consisted of

  • a 9-figure contract debacle who hasn’t performed in 2 years in Corbin.
  • A option-less 5+ ERA starter who should have been non-tendered last offseason in Fedde
  • a rookie who has been all hype and no performance as of yet in Grey
  • Another rookie with one MLB start who had, frankly, uninspiring 2021 MILB numbers and who should be in AAA in Adon
  • A frigging NRI has-been who I can’t believe they took over Rogers or Espino in Anibel Sanchez.

What have see seen so far? Adon: shelled in 2 starts. Corbin? Shelled in 2 starts. Sanchez? hurt before he makes a start … and then lo and behold Rogers comes up and gives the Nats their best start so far (shocker!). Grey? Surprisingly decent so far. And Fedde? Shocker he was effective in his first start. Lets see how long that lasts.

Honestly, i’m shocked we’re 3-5 right now with a team ERA right now of 5.91. 5.91 isn’t getting the donuts made.

Long season ahead.

Written by Todd Boss

April 15th, 2022 at 9:41 am

2022 Draft Coverage: Review of Candidates for top of the Draft

leave a comment

This is a review of the marquee names that have been in discussion for the top-end of the 1st round for the 2022 draft.  Since (especially high schoolers) guys constantly are moving up or down draft boards, each section is divided into two areas: those 4-5 names really in talks to go 1-1 overall (“1-1” means 1st round, 1st overall) and then those who have fallen to “just” being 1st or 2nd rounders.

First draft of this post was in July of 2018, when several 1st rounders didn’t sign and thus became 2022 eligible. then the next major draft of this post was in July of 2021, when BA did their first mock for the 2022 draft.

The consensus on this class initially was that it would be loaded, thanks to Covid impacts compressing the last two drafts. But, as its turning out, a spate of arm injuries have really thinned the arm ranks, meaning that this class is weaker than normal, will feature a ton more bats, and a lot more prep draftees in the upper first round.

College Upper 1st round names in the mix for 1-1

  • Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly. Highly regarded prospect in 2018, but went to school to play for his father, the coach at Cal Poly. Projected top 35 pick in 2019. Switch hitter, Missed FR year, destroyed at the plate his Sophomore year .342/.384/.626 with 10 homers. Switch hitter. Fared very well in Cape Code summer of 2021 with wood. Risent to near #1 talent in the 2022 draft.
  • Jace Jung, 2B/3B Texas Tech. Will be draft-eligible Sophomore in 2022. Slashed .337/.462/.697 line with 21 home runs his Freshman year. #1 per BA in fall 2021, still top 5 Jan 2022. Some concern about defensive capabilities; might be 2B limited due to fringe arm and defense. Biggest concern is odd swing mechanics (see here).
  • Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech. Draft eligible sophomore in 2022. Solid bat in 2021, team USA. Offense first C who should stay at the position, increasing his value considerably.
  • Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi State: plus defensive C in an SEC program with decent hit tool is a lock to go first round.
  • Daniel Susac, C, Arizona. 1st Team AA as a freshman in 2021. .335/.392/.591 with 12 home runs as freshman.

College Candidates who have fallen out of  1-1 contention

  • Brock Jones, OF, Stanford. hard to think a Stanford bat is upper 1st round territory, given the way they neuter power bats.
  • Jacob Berry, corner OF/1B, Louisiana State. Xfer from Arizona. .352/.439/.676 with 17 homers in 2021. Needs to firm up defensive position and show he can play third adequately, but projected top 5 right now. Challenge will be; if he’s already a corner OF/1B, he’ll have to hit like crazy to overcome that. Dropping his draft pedigree
  • Chase DeLaughter, OF JMU. Legit upper 1st round talent as of Dec 2021. #6 on BA’s Jan 2022 list. Spring 2022; got exposed by FSU lefties; book is out on him and he got hurt. Falling.
  • Gavin Cross, OF/Croner Virginia Tech. LH power hitter who slashed .345/.415/.621 in 2021 and then impressed with the CNT. moving up.
  • Cameron Collier, 3B/SS, Chipola College (JUCO): went the Bryce Harper route, graduating HS early and enrolling at a JuCo to get into an earlier class. Solid power, lefty swing, top-5 draft potential. Spring 2022 falling.
  • Reggie Crawford, 1B/LHP UConn. Big guy who pitched very little in 2021, but then hit 100 for College National team and has shot himself into conversations of the top of the draft.
  • Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas. 4.02 ERA in rotation for #1 Arkansas team in 2021, sits mid-90s with upper 90s peak. Will need to show more dominance to move up.
  • Hunter Barco, LHP, Florida. Projected top 50 pick in 2019, fell and attended school. Weekend starter from the moment he walked onto Campus.
  • Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt. Struggled in 2021 but showed tons of power. Could be a riser in spring of 2022.
  • Peyton Graham, 3B, Oklahoma.
  • Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
  • Hayden Dunhurst, C, Ole Miss.
  • Nate Savino, LHP from UVA via Potomac Falls HS.  Potomac District POTY in 2018 as a sophomore.  UVA commit.  Was projecting as upper 1st rounder in 2020 draft, then graduated early to head to UVA.  Spring 2021 did not break into UVA’s weekend rotation, lowering his draft stock.
  • Owen Diodati, OF, Alabama
  • Brandon Sproat, RHP, Florida
  • Spencer Jones, 1B/LHP Vanderbilt (via CA HS).  Projected top 35 pick in 2019, fell and attended school.
  • Maurice Hampton, OF (CF) LSU (via TN HS).  Projected top 50 pick in 2019, fell and attended school.  Also a WR for LSU football, unclear if he’ll continue playing baseball.
  • Jerrion Ealy, OF (CF) Ole Miss (via Miss HS).  Projected top 75 pick in 2019, fell and attended school.
  • Bryce Osmond, RHP Oklahoma State.  Projected top 75 pick in 2019, fell and attended school.  Nats pick in 2019.
  • Chris Newell, OF (corner): UVA (via Malvern Prep in PA): Projected top 100 pick in 2019, fell and attended school.  Exploded in 2020, named 1st team pre-season All American in 2021.
  • Robert Moore, SS, Arkansas son of KC GM Dayton Moore

High School Upper 1st round names in the mix for 1-1

  • Andruw “Druw” Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS (Ga.). Son of the original Andruw Jones. 6’3″ RH hitter has his father’s combination of speed and power. Vanderbilt commit. By Jan 2022 had risen to #1 in class on BA’s board.
  • Termarr Johnson, 2B/SS, Mays HS, Atlanta, GA. Great defender at SS, 2B or CF. PG 14U POTY 2018. Undersized (5’8″ ??) but with smooth hit tool. Georgia Tech commit as of July 2021. BA ranks him #1, best bat in the class, as does MLB. Might not stick at SS, which would lower his draft stock.
  • Elijah Greene, OF (CF), IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. Transfer from NXL Academy (Windermere, FL). Currently the top prep player in the class and outclassing any potential college competitors for 1-1 per some shops, #2 per MLB. Miami commit. Big guy, corner OF projection but currently plays CF. Off the chart tools per MLB.
  • Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (Ga.) HS. Gatorade 2021 National POTY as a junior (!!) and #2 ranked player in the class behind Greene. 11-0, 0.35 ERA with nearly a 2K/inning rate his junior season. Vanderbilt commit.
  • Brock Porter, RHP, St. Mary Prep (Mi.). 97mph, great separation in velocity, Clemson commit.

High School guys whose stock has fallen:

  • Turner Spoljaric
  • Tristan Smith, LHP, Boiling Springs HS (S.C.). Clemson commit, mid 90s on FB, has regressed a bit since stellar 2020 summer.
  • Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy (Fla.). Ole Miss commit. Big guy 6’4″, funky mechanics that drop him slightly.
  • Jayson Jones, SS, Braswell HS (Tex.). Big Texas SS, Arkansas commit.
  • Tucker Toman, OF. switch hitter starred at 2021 Area Code Games. LSU commit, could be improving his stock.
  • Javier Santos Tejada, RHP, Albany (Ga.). undersized with power arm, Juco commit, excelled at Program 15’s Future Stars Series in october.


Written by Todd Boss

April 13th, 2022 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Nats in General

ProspectDigest Nats top 10 released


Armando Cruz gets high props with this list. Photo via

Even though the 2022 season has started, we’re still seeing pundit Prospect ranking lists trickle in. In fact, we still havn’t seen several major shops’ Nats list at this point, so we’ll continue doing these posts as they arrive.

Today, and its lead pundit Joseph Werner released his Nats top 10 list. .

Here’s some comments.

  • Ruiz at #1. I think Werner is following the Baseball America “rules” for eligibility, as opposed to MLBs. He’s still got Ruiz as being a prospect. Perhaps he wrote this list last fall (which may be true, given the fact that there’s mo mention of Vaquero).
  • He then has the same 2-5 names as most everyone else, in the same order: Cavalli, House, Henry, Rutledge.

After the top 5 is where his list gets, um, “interesting.”

  • Armando Cruz at #6. That’s the highest he’s been on any list since before last year’s trade deadline prospect haul. He’s an 18yr old who hit .232 in the DSL last year … this ranking is entirely on hype and scouting reports.
  • Daylen Lile at #7?? Wow, that’s way too high for his profile. I mean, everything has to go right for a 6.0″ slap hitter to make it, and his pro debut was awful (.219/.363/.250 in FCL last year). How is this guy higher than any number of other hitters we have in the system? Crazy. Plus, we now know he’s torn his UCL and is out for the entire 2022 season. So … yes perhaps late breaking news, but this list should have been adjusted.
  • Mitchell Parker at #8? This is the highest ranking I’ve seen anyone have for Parker. Look, I like Parker; but there’s no way I’d have him above Adon or Lara or Carrillo or Lee right now. Adon is in the majors for crying out loud. Lara’s got better stuff and is 3 years younger. Carrillo probably could be in the MLB bullpen right now, and Lee struck out 104 in 77 High-A innings last year.
  • Lara and Carrillo round out the top 10; don’t have any issues with those guys being around this range.

Nits: No Vaquero. they drafted him in January and its now Mid April. If you rank Cruz at #6 then you have to put in a guy who was older and better at signing time. Also, no mention of Adon despite him being in the MLB rotation.

Otherwise, not much else to note. I can’t see any other possible ommissions from this top 10.

Written by Todd Boss

April 12th, 2022 at 10:30 am

Full Season Affiliate roster Analysis


On 4/5/22, because for some weird reason AAA started 3 days before the rest of the minors, we got the Rochester roster announcement. Then, on 4/8/22, we got the other three full season affiliate roster announcements (click here for Harrisburg, Wilmington, Fredericksburg). H/T to Luke Erickson and for these links.

After several hours of furious XLS work, the Big Board is now up to date for these rosters. The 2022 big board features some new stuff from year’s past: i’ve now got links to every player ( links for minor leaguers, links for MLB players), plus i’m keeping track of Promotions/Demotions via color coding. So, Green right this moment indicates a promotion from their final resting spot last year while Red indicates a demotion from their final resting spot.

(Note: this was written before a couple of over-the-weekend transactions so there may be a couple of now obsolete-details here).

Here’s some macro observations per team by level:

  • AAA: 12 of the 28 man roster are home grown, which seems like more than in year’s past. That includes a big chunk of the positional players and rotation … but just one home-grown reliever. Interesting. Meanwhile, 2022FAs or Rule5 pickups account for another 12 of the team … and if you add in 21FAs/Rule5s it accounts for 17 of the players on the team. That’s a lot of newly acquired veteran FAs hanging out in Rochester. I wonder what the clubhouse culture is like.
  • AA: Also has an inordinate number of MLFAs/Rule5 pickups: 10 of the players are 22MLFAs or Rule5 pickups (counting Gushue perhaps unfairly). In terms of draft pedigree, not too many real prospects here either. Furthermore, 17 players on the roster were there at season’s end last year, meaning not a ton of upward movement here (see more on that later on in the Promotions/Demotions section). Slightly surprised to see some names repeating here, especially Cluff and Carillo, but i’m not shocked. Cate, the opening day starter last year, starts the season on the IL.
  • High-A: Almost entirely home grown or prospects acquired through trade; just two MLFAs here. Amazingly Mendoza is repeating the level, as is Antuna. He may be the sole 40-man roster player in all of the minors in A-ball right now. Two interesting arms here: Irvin finally back from TJ, and Parker continuing in high-A where he was promoted to mid-season. Pineda repeating as well; he’s only 22 but it seems like the prospect shine is gone.
  • Low-A: Entirely home grown roster, split evenly between IFAs (15) and the Draft (16) with a few NDFAs thrown in. two of the most important names on this roster (Rutledge, Denaburg): on the DL. Of course they are. But in the exciting column, nearly every young hitting prospect we care about is here: House, Boissiere, Infante, White, and Arias all stand to feature in the field here.

Lets do some promotion/demotion thoughts by level:

  • AAA promotions: Wilmer Perez and Cole Freeman. Freeman i suppose gets promoted to ride the pine, while Perez gets an inexplicable promotion from basically High-A, where he hit .206 last year, so i’m thinking this is short lived.
  • AA Promotions: Connell, Dunn, Gausch, Henry, Evan Lee. that’s it from last year’s end-of-season HighA roster. All eyes of course are on Henry and new 40-man member Lee, though i’m happy to see Gausch moved up. Connell and Dunn both seem like they’ll be bench pieces.
  • AA Demotions: Lara, Gushue, Flores, Fuentes. Getting demoted after spending most or all of 2021 in AAA is not a great sign. I’m not quite sure why Flores in particular is even still here, himself being a 2021 MLFA. Gushue lost out in the catcher numbers game presumably. Gilbert Lara only spent a couple weeks in AAA and probably should have always been in AA, so this is a harsh determination. Lastly Fuentes, who was so good in AA in 2019 but then got shelled in AAA last year. He’s only 24, and i’m hoping he’s more than just a middling org-guy right hander.
  • High-A Promotions: Baker, Barley, Gonzales, Vega, Sanchez, Cuevas, Merrill, Willingham, Kirian, CRomero, Knowles. That’s a ton of promotions from last year, to go with a ton that happened mid season in 2021. These guys move freely in the low minors.
  • High-A Demotions: Daily, Canning. Daily is a 25-yr old 1B/OF who hits in the low 200s now in A-ball; surprised he’s even still on the team. Canning slugged just .316 in AA last year; both are fighting for their jobs now.
  • Low-A Promotions: 14 of them from the FCL/DSL last year: Infante, House, Rivero, White, Arias, Cacheres, Ferrer, Gonzalez, Sinclair, Threadgil, Greenhil, Glavine, Ribalta. Makes sense and great to see so many names, especially young ones, pouring into full season ball.
  • Low-A Demotions: Just one: Junior Martina, a 3B who didn’t exactly light low-A on fire last year and is now back as a 24yr old.

Lastly, lets talk about who was left behind in XST after being on a full season roster last year. Every name here is someone to be concerned about, either because they didn’t make the team or because maybe they’re hurt.

  • 2021 AAA to XST: Alex Dunlop, Sterling Sharp, Andrew Lee, Nick Wells. Dunlop may be squeezed out of a catcher’s job with the acquisition last year of three guys. Sharp has now gone from 40-man roster to not making the AAA roster: one has to wonder what’s next for him. Lee and Wells were both long relievers in AAA; now what for both of them? (Note: Braymer was called up to replace an apparently injured Verrett two games into the season, but the concern for his place remains)
  • 2021 AA to XST: Kyle Marinconz, Armond Upshaw, Ryan Tapani. Marinconz gets pushed to XST when Lara gets pushed down from AAA to make way for … MLFA veteran signing Urena? odd. Upshaw might have run out of time; he and Canning both cut from the AA outfield. Tapani was decent last year; maybe he’s hurt.
  • 2021 High-A to XST: Catchers Andrew Pratt and Drew Millas. Paul Witt, JT Arruda, Ricardo Mendez, Alfonso Hernandez, Tyler Dyson. The catchers maybe are staying in XST to catch arms? Millas was an NRI this spring and was a valuable trade acquisition piece. Witt and Arruda are middle infielders who got beat out by Baker and Barley; understandable. They might be DFAs soon. Mendez probably got caught in the same OF shuffle that pushed down Canning. lastly two starters in Hernandez and Dyson that both pitched well last year, so maybe they have a knock.
  • 2021 Low-A to XST: Boone, Fein; not much to think here; perhaps they’re going to go back to the FCL.

Here’s to a fun 2022 minor league season!

Written by Todd Boss

April 11th, 2022 at 11:45 am

Posted in Nats in General

2022 Nats Season preview


Soto may be the sole bright spot for the 2022 season. Photo via

Short version of this post: we are going to be absolutely awful this year.

Longer Version….

At the end of Spring Training, the 2022 Nats are heading into battle with a 28-man roster that breaks down like the following:

  • 4 NRIs signed to minor league deals this past off-season (as per the most recent post: (Sanchez, Arano, Franco, and Strange-Gordon)
  • 2 Waiver claims (Fox, Murphy)
  • 8 players who are essentially rookies: (Ruiz, Thomas, Adams, Grey, Adon, Thompson, Machado, Espino)

And, despite playing this many brand new players … we’re NOT going to be playing either of our top two positional rookies (Garcia, demoted mid-spring, and Kieboom, who may miss the entire season with a blown UCL) or any of our top pitching prospects (Cavalli got lit up, Henry wasn’t even at Spring training, Rutledge was an NRI for some reason but, lest we forget, was in LowA last year, etc).

A huge chunk of our likely opening day lineup are guys signed to one-year deals, who have no history with the franchise and whom most fans couldn’t pick out of a lineup. We know who Nelson Cruz is of course, but could you name our starting infield? If i stood Cesar Hernandez, Alcides Escobar, Maikel Franco, Lucious Fox, and Ehire Adrianza in a row could you put the correct name with each face? Every one of these guys seemingly was signed with the 2022 trade deadline in their minds … the likelihood of ANY of these guys finishing the year with the Nats seems very slim.

Our rotation includes an NRI (Sanchez), a guy who I thought was going to get non-tendered (Fedde), a Rookie with one MLB start to his name (Adon), a $30M/year guy who looked completely lost the last two seasons (Corbin), and a promising prospect who has a career 5.48 ERA in 14 MLB games (Grey). Strasburg may not pitch until July.

If i’m reading the Big Board correctly, just 6 of our opening day 28 man roster was originally drafted and developed by Washington (Robles, Soto, YHernandez, Fedde, Adon, and Voth). A damning indictment of our last decade of drafting and player development, especially in the top 2 rounds.

Not that spring training records matter … but we finished 4-11 and were outscored by 28 runs in the process (nearly 2 a game).

Its going to be a long season. We have the defending WS champs, a Mets team that’s going to spend $300M on payroll this year, a Phillies team that had a softball beer league lineup of sluggers who might average 8 runs a game, and a Marlins team that, well who knows what they’ll do but it won’t matter because we’re likely losing 100+ games with this lineup.

Discuss. Is anyone out there really optimistic?

Written by Todd Boss

April 6th, 2022 at 12:04 pm

Posted in Nats in General

Spring Training 2022 NRI Disposition

one comment

Maikel Franco makes the team as an NRI and will start at 3B. Photo via

Thanks to the compressed Spring Training in 2022, we never did the navel gazing “which NRI may make the team?” after the team announced all its NRIs and MLFA signings.

But, now that the dust has settled, we did want to identify the NRIs and note which of them actually did make the team to have continuity with this analysis year over year.

Here’s past posts by year: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015.

Why do we care about NRIs? Because there’s a high likelihood we’ll see these guys either make the roster or get called up later on this year. And this year is no different. Since the 2015 season (not including 2022):

  • 9 NRIs have made the 25-man roster straight out of Spring Training (and Guthrie technically made it 10 since he got called up a few days later and was always intended to be the 5th starter in 2017).  Basically every year an NRI has made the roster for six seasons running.
  • 29 NRIs eventually played for the MLB team at some point that same season they were in spring training.

So its likely that we’re going to see a lot of these NRIs at some point in the future.  Like, on average at least 4-5 of these NRIs are going to play for this team in 2022.

So, who were the NRIs this year? By position:

  • Starters: Rutledge, Cavalli, Jefry Rodriguez, Anibal Sanchez,
  • Righty Relievers: Arano, Edwards, Garrett, Weems, Ramierz
  • Lefty Relievers: Avilan, Baldonado, Cronin, Fry
  • Catchers: Hermann, Millas, Pineda, Gushue
  • Infielders: Cluff, Franco, Noll, Sanchez, Dee-gordon, Urena, Young
  • Outfielders: Parra

So, Opening day NRIs to make roster and the circumstances behind each

  • Anibal Sanchez; 3rd starter. It became clear early in spring that Strasburg wasn’t going to be ready and we needed another starter that we weren’t necessarily counting on. Several of the existing starters on the 40-man roster (Lee, Romero, Carrillo) really had no realistic shot of making a MLB roster, which left just six healthy starters on the entire 40-man roster from which to choose. Sanchez pitched here before and signed on as a MLFA with the NRI, and he ended up winning a spot easily in the rotation.
  • Victor Arano, rhp reliever. When Harris couldn’t answer the call, there was a major spot opened up in the back half of our bullpen, and Arano siezed it. Arano was a pretty adept MLFA signing; the guy has a career 159 ERA+ and dominated for the Phillies as an 8th inning guy in 2018. He outpitched a slew of RHP relievers on our 40-man to earn a spot, essentially beating out Gabe Klobotis for the spot.
  • Dee Gordon-Strange, 2B and OF. When it became clear Garcia wasn’t making the team, the middle infield situation cleared up a bit. Then, When Adrianza got hurt, it became clear the team needed another middle infielder. Gordon-Strange’s positional flexibility will likely keep him on the roster for a bit.
  • Maikel Franco, 3B. This one is pretty clear. Kieboom hurts his elbow, the team needs a 3B, and they just happened to have one on a MLFA/NRI deal.

Which of the rest of the NRIs might we see this year? Quick speculation, but i’ll bet we see at least a couple more of the RHP relievers (Edwards, Garrett), perhaps a return for Baldonado, maybe a middle infielder like Cluff, certainly Parra at some point, and then Cavalli halfway through the season.

Written by Todd Boss

April 5th, 2022 at 6:18 pm

Posted in Nats in General