Nationals Arm Race

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

Archive for November, 2022

The Seth Romero Saga comes to an end

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Romero finally wears out his welcome with this team. Photo via milb.com

Lost in the busy week of transactions last week was my inevitable reaction post to the Romero release. Here it is.

Well, it finally happened. Former 1st round pick Seth Romero finally ran out of rope with the Nationals organization. The team summarily released him yesterday (well, ok put him on unconditional release waivers on the off chance some other idiot GM wants to trade for him) after he got his second DWI of the calendar year.

I thought this would be an excellent time to recap his baseball career.

  • Suspended from his Uof Houston team before his sophomore season due to “conduct detrimental to the team.” Also noted that he was in bad shape. But was then Reinstated (the talents always are, see Howe, Steve).
  • Suspended a second time mid-way through his Junior season for failing a drug test and missing curfew. Reinstated again because, well, Houston’s coach is paid to win games.
  • Summarily kicked off the team after his 2nd reinstatement after getting into a fight with a teammate. This was the last straw for college.

Despite these multiple issues with his college team, the Nats not only took him in the 1st round of 2017 … but gave him an over slot bonus. This, to this day, remains one of the most inexplicable decisions of Mike Rizzo‘s drafting career. Yes he got burned on the Mason Denaburg pick, yes he looks like he blew the Rutledge pick too … but giving an over-slot bonus to a guy who literally had no college team to return to and had zero leverage other than to go play Indy ball and return to the draft a year onwards.

So, now he’s a pro and you’d think he’d grow up right?

  • He throws just 22 professional innings in 2017, including six short-A starts with a (short sample size ugly ERA of 5.40).
  • He’s sent home from 2018 spring training for “multiple team rule violations,” and misses fully two months of the 2018 minor league season.
  • He finally debuts in 2018 in Low-A (a 1st rounder of his stature should have been in at least High-A in his first full pro season), throws 6 starts of 3.91 ERA.
  • He hits the D/L in early July, misses another 6 weeks.
  • Comes back mid-August, throws 2 innings, is removed from the game … and then three weeks later we find out he needs Tommy John surgery.
  • He misses the entire 2019 season recovering from Surgery.
  • Somehow the team decides to put him onto the 2020 60-man Covid roster, and he gets called up on 8/13/20. He throws exactly 2 2/3rds innings and gets shelled in the majors (not really a surprise; he had not pitched above A-ball).
  • Eleven days after his callup, we find out he has broken his Right hand. The official team word was that he “slipped on a stairway.” Cynics among us (including me) think its more likely he punched a wall.
  • In 2021, after not being assigned anywhere after spring training, with an injury that was never really made clear. He bounced around the minors, making 11 starts of varying success.

Ahead of the 2022 season, we learned that he was arrested in early January for DWI.

  • In 2022, the team just summarily put him on the 60-day DL with a “calf strain.” He eventually made a few AA 2-inning starts but seemingly had no pathway forward. He was activated in late August, just in time for the minor league season to be complete. He did not get a 9/1 callup (typically a defacto move for any health 40-man roster player, especially on a dead-last team).

And now this week we learned that he got his second DWI of the year, with the added bonus of possessing a “controlled substance.” Finally, finally, after all of this nonsense the team came to its senses and sent him packing.

Career Minor league stats: 31 starts across 4 seasons. 4.33 ERA, 149/44 K/BB in 97.2 innings. 1.39 whip

Career Major league stats: 2.2 innings, 13.50 era, 3.00 whip, 5/3 K/BB.

It is really amazing, honestly, how many chances this guy got. It’s also amazing just how bad he made this front office look for putting up with this for so long.

Written by Todd Boss

November 28th, 2022 at 8:14 pm

Posted in Majors Pitching

Prospects361 Nats top 15 list dropped

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Robert Hassell III is our new #1 overall prospect. Photo via NBC Sports Washington

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Yesterday we got our first Prospect list of the new season. Prospects361 is always an “early list,” and came out right around this time last year.

I capture every prospect list, and have for years, and keep them in an XLS i periodically upload to the Big Board. Once we get rolling on this season’s lists i’ll do the same.

For now, here’s the top 15 on Prospects361 list with some commentary:

rankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
2WoodJamesOF (Corner)
3GreenElijahOF (CF)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
5SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
6HouseBradySS/3B
7AntunaYaselSS/OF (Corner)
8VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
9De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
10LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
11CruzArmandoSS
12HenryColeRHP (Starter)
13BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
14CoxBrennerOF (CF)
15ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)

Here’s some thoughts.

  • Seven of these 15 players were acquired in 2022. Hassell, Green, Wood, Vaquero, Susana, Bennett, and Cox. It’d look even better if Abrams and Ruiz and Grey were still in here, but it does give you an idea of the huge talent influx over the past couple of seasons.
  • Robert Hassell seems like he’s going to be our new “#1 prospect on every list until he gets to the majors” going forward: in every list I’ve seen since his acquisition, he’s been #1 (or #2 to C.J. Abrams #1, who just needed a few ABs to lose his rookie eligibility).
  • I have to say … an OF comprised of our top 3 prospects on this list (James Wood in LF, Hassell in CF, and Elijah Greene in RF) sounds … pretty damn good. In 2023 they’ll be 21, 22, and 19 in order, and probably are starting in AA, High-A, and Low-A respectively … but man we can dream on a MLB outfield with all three positions manned by home grown top-end prospects.
  • Our top prospects heading into 2022, guys like Cavalli, and House, are pushed down a bit to 4 and 5. Cavalli probably won’t be on this list for long, having matriculated to the majors and projecting to be in the opening day rotation. House missed a huge chunk of 2022 with a Back issue (not something you generally attribute injury-wise to an 18yr old), which presumably explains his curious lack of power in Low-A this year.
  • Yasel Antuna, listed at #7. Come. On. Here’s the direct quote summarizing his 2022 season: ‘He showed an improved approach at the plate with plus speed and enough power to be a full-time regular at the highest level.” Really?? Lets break down this nonsense point by point:

“Improved approach at the plate?” Really? He hit a combined .215 this year. Ok, so he walked more. Congratulations; he had a combined .352 OBP this year, which was HIGHER than his slugging percentage.

“plus Speed?” He had 27 SBs this year, more than his career combined. Ok i’ll give him that.

“Enough power to be a Full time regular at the highest level?” He hit 10 homers in 99 High-A games in 2022. By way of comparison, he hit 12 homers in 106 High-A games in 2021. Both of those figures were good for Slugging percentages below .400.

So, what is he? A 6.0″ corner OF with some speed, a crap batting average, and some power. He can’t play CF, he no longer can play the infield. He’s undersized. Why does anyone think this is a major prospect at this point? Hassell, by way of comparison, had an OPS of more than 100 points higher in High-A this year, matched him for both homers and SBs in fewer games, had a BA 70 points higher, plays CF, and is two years younger. Now THATS an of prospect. Maybe that’s not fair, comparing Antuna to the #1 guy in our system … fine. Lets compare him to Jeremy De La Rosa, who was also an OF in Wilmington this year and who is ranked LOWER than Antuna: DLR had a higher combined BA, better OBP, better slugging, just as many homers, just as many SBs … plays CF instead of a corner, and is 3 years younger.

I just don’t get it. Why anyone ranks Antuna at this point is beyond me. Ok, enough on Antuna, moving forward.

  • Cole Henry dropped to #12: understandable. He may not ever pitch again.
  • Jake Bennett pops in here; he was an interesting one; he was left completely out of BA’s mid-season post-trade/post-draft rankings for this team, despite being our 2nd round pick in 2022. I’m super curious to see what he does in 2022, presumably in Low-A.
  • Brenner Cox was a polarizing draft pick last year … we have not had good success overpaying Prep kids in these areas of the draft before. We’ll see how he starts his pro career and hope for some positive figures in early 2022.
  • Mitchell Parker gets the last #15 spot. Why isn’t this guy higher? All he did was give the team 24 starts at High-A with 117/67 K/BB ratio in 100 innings and a 2.88 ERA. Perhaps the WHIP is too high (1.43). He’s still a lefty who misses a ton of bats.

Notable names missing out of this top 15:

  • Rutledge; Shocker. Our newest “guy who’s now inexplicably on the 40-man too early” doesn’t even make this top 15 list.
  • Carillo: man what has happened to this guy? He was ranked as high as 6th in our system upon his acquisition. Now he’s relegated to the bullpen and he can’t find the plate.
  • Ferrer and Cronin: new 40-man additions aren’t really top-level prospects, but valuable bullpen arms that typically get plucked in Rule-5.
  • Irvin: another who has lost the prospect luster (was once a top 10 guy for us pre-injury).

Written by Todd Boss

November 26th, 2022 at 8:31 am

Posted in Prospects

Rule-5 Draft Targets for Nats

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For more than a decade, the Nats have basically sat out the Rule-5 draft. In fact, the Nats have not taken a player in the Rule-5 draft since 2010. This is a good thing; it means the team has been good, has expected to compete, and has not had a “spare” roster spot they could tank on to hide a kid for a year.

Click here for complete Rule-5 draft (players drafted by us and drafted from us) for the Nats

That’s certainly not the case now. In fact, they’re in prime position to roll the dice on a couple of Rule-5 picks for 2023 to see what happens.

So, in the wake of teams protecting guys ahead of the draft, lets take a quick look at who’s available that might be useful to draft.

The boys at MLBpipeline.com did all the analysis for us, so relying heavily on prospect status to determine some rule-5 draft options … here we go (the “No. XX” in parenthesis is the prospect rank of the player in that team’s system)

  • Arizona’s Conor Grammes, RHP (No. 28): I only mention Grammes because he’s a DC-area kid and I used to play racquetball with his dad. He had abhorrent numbers in high-A this year but throws 100 and struck out 33 in 18IP. Can’t teach velocity.
  • Atlanta’s Victor Vodnik, RHP (No. 9): He was really solid in AAA’s bullpen this year as an 8th/9th inning guy. I’d rather have him than several of the RHP arms we have now.
  • Colorado’s Grant Lavigne, 1B (No. 13); Supp 1st rounder Prep pick in 2018, now 23 and just advancing to AA. 1B, good gap power, good eye at the plate (.400 OBP this year). We need at 1B after cutting Voit…
  • Detroit’s Austin Bergner, RHP (No. 15): completely dominated AA as a starter this year before struggling a bit in AAA. He had better AA numbers than Jake Irvin, just saying, and we certainly need starters.
  • Houston’s Jayden Murray, RHP (No. 12): Just acquired from Toronto, Murray also had decent #s in AA as a starter but may be more of a pitchability guy, with less than a 9 K/9 rate.
  • Kansas City’s T.J. Sikkema, LHP (No. 16): really dominant in High-A this year with a huge K/9 rate; he missed two full years due to Covid and injury but was a supp-1st rounder in 2019. Now he’s 24 and probably could be a level higher; he could be sneaky good for someone.
  • Los Angeles Dodger’s Jose Ramos, OF (No. 8): a #8 prospect in the Dodgers is probably like a #4 overall in someone else’s org, but Ramos probably is a little too young to stick. Only 21, only made it from Low- to High-A this year, with middling numbers.
  • Minnesota’s Misael Urbina, OF (No. 8): a 20-yr old in Low-A, not someone we need.
  • Philadelphia’s Erik Miller, LHP (No. 7): a lefty who crushed in AA and got promoted to AAA this year, who pitched against Nats affiliates all year, a 4th rounder out of Stanford… i like this as a possible pick. Especially since its from a divisional rival.
  • Pittsburgh’s Malcom Nunez, 1B (No. 12): a 21-yr old Cuban who hit 23 homers this year in AA. Can play 3B or 1B. Initially an IFA with St. Louis; was flipped to PIT as part of this year’s trade-deadline move for Jose Quintana/Chris Stratton (which makes his lack of protection super curious, since he was a big part of that trade). I like Nunez.
  • San Diego’s Korry Howell, OF (No. 9); Corner OF with decent numbers in AA; only mentioned b/c presumably Washington has already done a ton of due diligence on him.
  • San Diego’s: Jairo Iriarte, RHP (No. 10): big armed but wild 20-yr old Low-A starter.
  • San Diego’s: Noel Vela, LHP (No. 11); also a big armed but wild 20-yr old Low-A starter.
  • St’ Louis’ Inohan Paniagua, RHP (No. 13): really nice low-A numbers, but … Low-A.
  • Texas’ Antoine Kelly, LHP (No. 13), a nice lefty starter, former 2nd rounder, solid in High-A but struggled in AA. Seems like a stretch
  • Toronto’s Gabriel Martinez, OF (No. 8): really nice numbers as a 20yr old IFA rising up to High A, maintaining an OPS of .871 after promotion. Plays a corner OF despite only being 6.0 but has power.

There’s several names on this list who I could squint and see on the team, especially the relievers.

Post publishing: MLBpipeline also published a list of the best prospect per team available. Lots of the same names listed here mentioned, along with the excellent discussion in the comments.

Written by Todd Boss

November 21st, 2022 at 9:43 am

Posted in Rule-5

2022 Non-Tender Deadline Analysis

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I’m sure Voit wasn’t happy getting traded from a playoff contender to the worst team in the league. But now he’ll likely get to test the FA waters after a non-tender. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

November is always a busy month for transactions. You have the end of the season and the parting of ways of FAs, then the declaration of dozens of MLFAs, then Rule-5 roster machinations, and now the Non-Tender deadline.

This is another long-running piece we try to do here every year. Here’s known links for years past analysis: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

The non-tender decisions generally weigh options, salary projection, roster depth, and performance. So we’ll talk about all these factors for each player. Key resources to use during this analysis will include:

While it is true that the team could choose to non-tender pre-arb players this coming Friday (as they did last year with Mike Ford), they could do these moves at any time with any number of pre-Arb 40-man players who might be needed. I would have almost no problem DFA’ing any one of Fox, Palacios, Weems, Garrett, or Antuna right now. But they’re all pre-Arb players who aren’t even projected necessarily to make the 2023 active roster, meaning they’re costing the team a pittance. So we’ll skip those names for now.

Lets review every Arbitration-eligible player we have, in rough order of projected salary, and make some comments.

  • Voit, Luke: Acquired as a throw-in with the huge San Diego trade last season. Was on an Arb2 year contract of $5.45M but the Nats only had to pay the prorated amount of about $1.9M. Projects to $6.5M in 2023 salary. Two options left, so he could be optioned. He’s positionally limited to 1B or DH, is kind of a 3 true outcomes guy, with low BA, high Ks and decent power (22 hrs in 2022). The team has almost nothing invested in the guy and discovered Joey Meneses in 2022, a guy who plays the same position AND can play RF, who makes the minimum, and who drastically out hit Voit. Heck, i’d rather put Meneses at 1B and recall Yadiel Hernandez to bash it in RF in 2023. For me, a clear non-tender.
  • Robles, Victor. Here we go again. Another season, and another year of debating this guy. Nothing has changed from the last dozen times we’ve had this conversation: Its his third straight year of hitting at or below a .600 OPS figure but giving the team plus defense in CF (he’s a 2022 Gold Glove Finalist). He’s only 26 but already has 1675 MLB PAs, so its highly likely we have what we have in him at the plate at this point. He has an option left. He made just $1.65M this year but Cots projects him to $3.9M next. $3.9M is ridiculous for a 70 OPS production, no matter how good his defense is. Meanwhile, the team has Lane Thomas who gave above league average OPS production with power who can play CF, and just added a true CF to the 40-man in De La Rosa. We are after all pretty thin on the 40-man right now in terms of OF: Thomas, Robles, Call, Palacios, Antuna, and De La Rosa. If the season started tomorrow … are you really going to battle with Call or Palacios starting in RF? I hope not, and it lends me to believe the team will be looking at OFs in FA. What does that mean for Robles? Maybe if his projected salary wasn’t so high, you could make the argument to keep him. But not at $4M for what we’re getting. But I’m not the Nats, who have continued to give him chance after chance, so him getting non-tendered would be a shock.
  • Fedde, Erick: Another guy who comes up year after year. In 2022, he was awful, going 6-13 with a 5.81 ERA, a 5.15 FIP in 27 starts. That was good for just a 67 ERA+ figure. For that he earned 2.15M this year and is projected to earn $2.65M next. He has no options. Our working theory is that the team has kept giving him chances (as opposed to them cutting bait as they did with Austin Voth) precisely due to his signing bonus, and I continue to believe this is the case. That being said … if everyone is healthy Fedde looks like he’s 6th on the SP depth chart (behind Strasburg, Corbin, Grey, Gore, and Cavalli). But we know everyone is never healthy. Would you rather have Fedde instead of one of the rest of the possible SPs? Espino, Abbott, Adon, Irvin, Carrillo, Rutledge? Espino and Abbott were both swingmen and had medicore numbers on the year, but Espino proved he was much better in relief and seem to me to be better served in the bullpen. Same with Abbott; far better in the pen in 2022 than as a starter. So those guys don’t count. That leaves Adon (1-12 in 2022) and three guys who have never pitched in the majors. So, I hate to say it, but I think the team needs to tender Fedde to eat 2023 innings.
  • Finnegan, Kyle basically became our closer upon Rainey‘s injury, and performed adequately there. As a result of getting a bunch of 2022 saves, Finnegan’s price tag goes from a MLB minimum salary in 2022 to a projected $2.1M in 2023. No matter; he performed well, he’s our 2023 closer (Rainey had TJ surgery in August and likely misses most if not all of 2023), and you tender him.
  • Thomas, Lane: has been found money ever since we got him from STL in exchange for the fading Jon Lester. He hit above 100 OPS+ in 2022, plays all three OF positions, made the minimum last year and only projects to $1.65M this year. Easy Tender, could be our CF opening day starter if the team finally cuts ties with Robles.
  • Edwards, Carl was perhaps our best 2022 reliever after signing a MLFA deal, and now is inline to get a decent pay day as he exhausts his last arb year. Edwards’ career, by the way, is perhaps the most difficult options/arbitration case/service time player i’ve ever seen: he’s been outrighted multiple times, signed both major league and minor league deals, had multiple arb cases, played for 3 different teams in 2021 alone … to this day I cannot figure out which season counted as his third arb year, but here we are in 2022 and he’s facing his 4th and last arb case.
  • Rainey, Tanner: an interesting case. He had TJ on 8/4/22, so he’ll miss most of 2023, but he’s arbitration eligible and Cots projects him to nearly double his 2022 salary to $1.5M. Why pay $1.5M to a guy who’s not going to play and will just sit on your 60-day DL all year? If it was me, i’d non-tender him and immediately resign him to a minor league deal with a handshake agreement to do a call up on 8/1/23, with performance based bonuses. If he comes back and pitches a couple of months, then structure it so he gets more than the league minimum. But this way he stays with the team and rehabs with us. One would have thought the team would have tried to sneak him through waivers earlier and just flat outrighted him (as they did with other injured arms like Tetreault and Lee). Either way, he was so dominant in 2020 (and then so awful in 2021) that the team should roll the dice with him. Or not, and tender him and pay him as little as possible and throw him on the 60-day DL as soon as you can to free up the roster spot.
  • Vargas, Ildemaro: no analysis needed; the team already signed him for 2023, avoiding arbitration. Vargas played 3B primarily for the team after it became clear that Maikel Franco sucked, and was good. But Kieboom is healthy again, and the team added Alu, so my guess is that Vargas is signed on as one of our “backup middle infielders” for 2023, ready to plug in anywhere on the dirt as needed, while Kieboom/Alu compete for the starting 3B job.
  • Arano, Victor threw a ton of innings for us last year (appearing in 43 games). He wasn’t lights out, but he also wasn’t costing the team a ton. $900k last year, projecting to $1.1M this year; resign him and put him into the mix.
  • Harvey, Hunter was either our best or second best reliever in 2022 (with Edwards) after being claimed off waivers. Found gold again. His price tag for 2023 barely projects above the league minimum; no brainer to tender.

So, If it was me, i’d non-tender Voit, Robles, and make a side deal for Rainey.

My prediction for what the Nats will do? Non-Tenders for only Voit, keeping Robles, Fedde, and all the others.

Post-publishing Actuals? Amazingly the team cut bait with Fedde. Nats non-tender Voit and Fedde.


Nats Non-Tender history.

  • 2022: Nats non-tender Voit, Fedde
  • 2021: Ryne Harper, Wander Suero, and Mike Ford non-tendered, keeping Ross, Fedde, Voth, and Stevenson, all of whom I thought would get NT’d. By the end of 2022, Voth was waived, Stevenson outrighted, Ross injured, and Fedde awful.
  • 2020: No real non-tender candidates; all arb-eligible players tendered contracts at the deadline. Didn’t even write a post for the first time ever.
  • 2019, Just Javy Guerra, who was then re-signed to a combo MLB/MLFA deal a few days later and played for us for another couple of seasons. Glover retired, and the team tendered the questionable Taylor.
  • 2018, no-one non-tendered (Roark, Taylor, Solis all candidates in one form or another).  Solis negotiated a contract pre-deadline leading to his tender.
  • 2017: No non-tender candidates; all arb-eligible players tendered contracts at the deadline.
  • 2016: we non-tendered Ben Revere, waived Aaron Barrett before having to make the NT decision, and declined Yusmeiro Petit‘s option as a way of “non-tendering” him.
  • 2015: we non-tendered Craig Stammen, but kept NT candidates Jose Lobaton and Tyler Moore (eventually trading Moore after waiving him at the end of spring training).
  • 2014: we did not non-tender anyone, though a couple weeks later traded NT candidate Ross Detwiler to Texas for two guys who never really panned out for us (Chris Bostick and Abel de los Santos).
  • 2013: we did not non-tender anyone, only Ross Ohlendorf was a candidate, and in retrospect he probably should have been NT’d since he didn’t throw a pitch for the Nationals in 2014.
  • 2012: we non-tendered three guys (Jesus FloresTom Gorzelanny, John Lannan) in the face of a huge amount of arbitration players (10).
  • 2011: we non-tendered Doug Slaten deservedly, but tendered candidate Gorzellany.
  • 2010: we non-tendered Chien-Ming Wang, Wil Nieves, Joel Peralta.  We also outrighted 5 guys prior to the NT deadline, DFA’d two more in December, and DFA/dreleased four more guys prior to Spring training in a very busy off-season.
  • 2009: we non-tendered Scott Olsen, Mike MacDougal
  • 2008: we non-tendered Tim Redding, now the Pitching coach for our Auburn Short-A team, so I guess there was no hard feelings there 🙂
  • 2007: we non-tendered Nook LoganMike O’Conner.
  • 2006: we non-tendered or declined options for Ryan Drese, Brian Lawrence, Zach Day (it might have only been Day who was officially non-tendered)
  • 2005: we non-tendered Carlos BaergaPreston WilsonJunior Spivey.

Written by Todd Boss

November 17th, 2022 at 9:43 am

Post rule-5 Move Reactions

7 comments

Rutledge amazingly gets added to the 40-man. Photo via BA

So, in the wake of my big Rule-5 preview … i didn’t think the team was going to do much.

But they did a lot. Lets talk about the players added and the players removed.

Added:

  • Jake Alu inf
  • Matt Cronin lhp
  • Jeremy De La Rosa of
  • Jose Ferrer lhp
  • Jake Irvin rhp
  • Jackson Rutledge rhp

Alu: I thought Alu was a decent candidate for his AAA success, but was thinking perhaps the team would let him slide as someone who was perhaps seen as “undersized utility guy.” Clearly they favor him more, and this gives us more evidence that Alu is going to compete straight up with Kieboom this coming spring.

Cronin: So, in my preview I thought Cronin was the only “lock” to get added, based on his plug-n-play and his success in AAA. So, no surprise here.

De La Rosa: surprised he got added. The guy is only 20 and hit .197 in a few games in High-A. Yes he raked in Low-A; read that sentence again: he’s 20. Who is going to draft his guy and have him stay on a 25-man roster all year? I’m not doubting the guy’s ability, i just can’t believe someone would waste a roster spot on a 20yr old OF like him. If he was an arm? Sure. so we’re going to have at least one 40-man player in High-A next spring.

Ferrer: I didn’t think he was really a viable candidate since he was in High-A most of the year. Again, who would pick a guy who had only demonstrated he could succeed in A ball? Nonetheless, he’s here.

Irvin: Honestly, I didn’t think his AA numbers merited a spot. But, perhaps the Nats are thinking about his pedigree instead of his performance.

Rutledge: the most amazing selection of all. Reminder: he had a .4.90 ERA in LOW-A this year. This is entirely a protection based on protecting a big bonus and not the player on the field. You can generally count on one hand the number of 40-man players in A ball in a given year … and our team is set to have two of them in 2023. Amazing.

Now, lets be honest. I’m not “mad” about any of these additions. I’m always up for protecting our players instead of letting them go. I’m just kind of surprised that some of these guys got picked, knowing what we know about rule5.


Biggest surprises not to get protected? Millas of course, given our catching depth. Nobody else really; the only other guy i mentioned as being in the realm ofpossible to get protected was Brill.


Lets talk about who the team dumped to get here. Two days ago we were at 39/40 on the 40-man; now we have 6 new guys.

  • Seth Romero mercifully cut after yet another disgression: we’ll have a separate post-mortem post.
  • Tommy Romero dfa’d: no surprise here; he was perhaps 3rd or 4th on my list of “next guy to get the DFA.”
  • Jackson Tetreault: cut not because he merited it .. but because he’s hurt and thus passed easily through waivers. More importantly (and this is the exact same situation with Lee) … Tetreault was eligible to be outrighted against his will once he passed through waivers. So this (and Lee) were strategic outrights, knowing they’d be guaranteed to still be with the org. Well done .. and another example of how the roster rules continually screw pre-arb players in this sport.
  • Evan Lee: See Tetreault; Lee has a left flexor strain, a huge red flag for teams in the modern Tommy John happy era.
  • Yadiel Hernandez: The one that really shocked me. I mean, i had him possibly penciled in as the starting LF next season based on his bat. But then again, maybe this was a calculated gamble by the team to DFA a player who they could outright and control, as with Tetreault and Lee. The cuban sticks with the team but is bound for AAA once again, a situation that has to be a huge bummer for him.

Something tells me we’ll be seeing Tetreault, Lee, and Hernandez again. But not for a while. At least we retain them.

More interesting is why the team bothered to keep rif-raf on the 40-man like:

  • Fox, who went 2-28 in the majors and a middling .241 in the minors
  • Palacios, who posted a 46 OPS+ in a completely replaceable position.
  • Weems, who posted a 5.22 ERA in the bullpen as a RHP middle reliever.
  • Garrett, who gave up 7 runs in 9 innings
  • Antuna, who continues to have 9 lives, hitting .215 in High-A. He has one option remaining until finally this arrogant decision can be put behind us when, after he again flirts with the Mendoza line in the minors in 2023, he’ll be forced to be DFA’d thanks to the exhausting of waivers in the spring of 2024.

More moves have to be coming, including some non-tenders (a separate post on that forth coming as well), because the team has to get some reinforcements this off-season besides 20yr olds who hit .190 in high-A (ahem, De La Rosa). Right?

Written by Todd Boss

November 15th, 2022 at 9:04 pm

2022 Rule-5 Protection Analysis

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Cronin may be getting the 40-man call ahead of the rule5 roster deadline. hoto by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Its our Annual rule 5 protection analysis post!

This is our longest running recurring post. Every year, despite how little the rule-5 draft may actually matter, we’ve done this analysis, since we started writing this blog.

Here’s links to past years posts on this topic: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

Reminder on the guidelines here: any 4-year college-aged draftee from 2019 or before who isn’t already on the 40-man roster is Rule-5 eligible this coming December, and any high-school aged draftee/International Free Agent from 2018 or before is newly eligible this year, assuming they were at least 18 as of June 5th of that year.  There’s always a couple of guys who have specific birthdays that move them up or down one way or the other; i’ll depend on the Roster Resource rules and the Draft Tracker for exact details, but apologies in advance if I miss someone.

Wrinkle for this year; thanks to the massive spate of injuries the team faced in 2022, we had to dump players just to get all our 60-day DL guys back on the 40-man. So there’s not a ton of room there to add players right now. The team outrighted two players last week (Perez and Berrera) to get to 39/40 on the roster … is that a hint as to what they’ll be doing for Rule5? Probably.

If they want to do more Rule5 protection additions, they’ll need to do more DFAs/releases/outrights/non-tenders … right now I see six players who seem to have little to no value on the roster based on 2022 performance (Machado, Fox, TRomero, Palacios, Weems, Garrett) and another handful of arbitration eligible players who just don’t seem like they’re going to be worth their projected salary (Voit, Fedde, Robles), so there’s definitely room to make some drops to add some of the guys we’re talking about below. We’ll have another conversation later about non-tender/arbitration candidates; but don’t be surprised if one or more of them is dumped this week.

In the mean time, lets talk Rule-5 Candidates!

Vital resources for this analysis: the Big Board, the Draft Tracker, and Roster Resource.

Group 1: Newly Eligible 2019 draft College Players this year worth consideration for protection:

Hitters:

  • Millas, Drew, a 7th rounder by Oakland in 2019 and who we acquired in the 2021 trade dump, perhaps is the most difficult Rule-5 choice we face (certainly the MLBpipeline guys think so). He’s a known prospect and has solid defense, but slashed just .211/.280/.296 once he got to AA. We’re not exactly “deep” in catchers in the organization (rostering just three right now), but we also have two known opening day catchers right now without argument, so Millas’ 2023 goal will be to learn how to hit in AA, then push his way to AAA. Does that sound like someone who is a risk to get selected in the Rule-5 draft? Not in the modern game, where teams routinely start their backup C twice a week. There’s no way a guy who hit .211 in AA would be trusted to call MLB games right now. I’ll say he’s a slight, slight chance to protect but not really a candidate.
  • Mendoza, Drew: 3rd rounder, 1B/DH: he of course *should* be a Rule5 protection … but this 3rd rounder has been a huge disappointment in his career. He slashed .208/.288/.316 as a 1B/DH repeating High-A in his age 24 season. Not a protection candidate.
  • Cluff, Jackson: 6th round SS: socially promoted to AA this year, where he slashed .190/.278/.278. I’ve questioned why he’s still in the system, let alone why he got nearly 400 ABs in 2022. Not a protection candidate.
  • Pratt, Andrew: 10th round Senior sign, still hanging around despite a career BA of .183. God bless him; signed for $10k and probably wasn’t expected to make it to 2020 season, let alone rostered 3 years later. Not a protection candidate.
  • Arruda, J.T.: 11th round middle infielder who got an above slot bonus. Couldn’t cut it at High-A in 2021, got hurt early 2022 and had decent numbers (as one would expect) repeating Low-A. Not sure what his career outlook is, but not a protection candidate.
  • Dunn, Jack, a 20th round senior sign who, like Pratt signed for $10k and was mostly an afterthought, now sits on the AAA roster as a middle infield backup. Great career; not a threat to be protected.
  • Strohschein, Kevin, a 21st round senior sign, posted a .586 OPS in high-A this year. Great that he’s still hanging around, but not a protection candidate.
  • Alu, Jake presents an interesting case for protection. In 2021 he hacked his way into a promotion to AA, where he didn’t suck. Then in 2022 he posted an .830 OPS in AA showing some power, which led to a AAA promotion where he posted a very solid .323/.372/.553 figure with 11 homers in 59 games (!) while playing mostly 3B (with some 2B cover). Is he possibly pushing his name towards meriting a 40-man spot? I mean … if Carter Kieboom hits .200 yet again in spring training, does the team consider someone like Alu instead of a 31-yr old retread like Ildemar Vargas for 2023? I mean why not? That all being said, is he someone who another team would pluck and stick on their MLB roster all year? Maybe? The Nats signed Alu as a Senior for a pittance ($10K) and in the neanderthal accounting of MLB clubs that means they very little “invested in” him, but players who hit .300 in AAA don’t grow on trees (our team had just 4 who hit .300 this year … and two of them had fewer than 6 games to do so). Personally, i’d protect him just to see what you have, but I could understand why the team might roll the dice on a lower profile guy.

This list recently included names like Ydens, Martina, Renda, and Barrios but they were all released in mid-2022.

Pitchers

  • Rutledge, Jackson, our 1st rounder in 2019 and the guy who some pundits as recently as last off-season thought was a better prospect than Cade Cavalli, toiled to a 4.90 ERA, a K/inning and a 1.39 WHIP while repeating Low-A in 2022. Low-A. First round college sign four years out of college. Its patently ridiculous. On the one hand the entire baseball world knows he’s a 1st rounder and knows he can put up 7ip/3H/0R/10K starts. On the other hand, he’s got way, way too many 4ER in 5IP starts to be trustworthy. If he was putting up like 12 K/9 stats, maybe someone would take him as a flier for a middle relief RHP guy, but he’s not. He’s not protectable, but he’s also an asset the team may feel the need to “protect.” I’d be shocked if he was protected, but hey, they also protected a guy a couple years ago in Antuna who was this low in the minors.
  • Cronin, Matt, 4th round power Lefty reliever who pitched most of the year in the back end of the AAA bullpen, posting good numbers. This is the textbook definition of the kind of guy teams would pluck in Rule-5, make the 7th guy out of the bullpen, and see if they found gold. I think he’s a lock to be protected.
  • Dyson, Tyler, 5th round pick in 2019, missed all of 2020 with injury. Not a protection candidate, but a good arm to watch in 2023.
  • Peterson, Todd, 7th rounder in 2019, struggled with injury in 2022 and ended the year on the 60-day DL. Not a candidate to protect, and someone who I hope rebounds to prior form.
  • Ribalta, Orlando ended the year as a middle reliever in High-A with decent numbers, but isn’t a threat to protect.
  • Knowles, Lucas worked as an effective swingman all year in High-A, but shouldn’t be considered a threat to be picked even so. Perhaps next year if he can repeat this performance in AA.
  • Moore, Davis missed the entire 2022 season with injury.
  • Willingham, Amos, like a lot of arms in this list, pitched well for High-A this year. Hi-A 25yr olds drafted in the teens don’t generally make prospect noise, and Willingham is in the same boat.
  • Yankosky, Tyler posted a 1.78 ERA in 21 mostly 8th/9th inning relief appearances and was well on his way to a promotion, then he got hurt in mid June and did not appear again. Someone to watch for in 2023 for sure, but not likely to get plucked.
  • Stainbrook, Troy was yet another High-A middle reliever in 2022, posting a 4.75 ERA with more walks than IP. Surprised he’s still on the roster and might not make it out of ST 2023.
  • Alston, Garvin, a 37th rounder in 2019 by the White Sox who we got in a little reported trade in April (it was such a minor deal that it’s unclear what we traded to Chicago for him; money perhaps? ). Nonetheless he pitched great this year, posting a 1.96 ERA in High-A and earning a promotion to AA in August (where he got shelled). Probably not a protection candidate in 2022, but a player to watch for in 2023.
  • Shuman, Seth: a 6th rounder in 2019 by Oakland who came to us in the Gomes/Harrison trade during the 2021 purge. He was pitching quite well in High-A’s rotation, but left a game early in early July and never returned. Its unclear what the injury was, and we hope he returns in 2023. Not a candidate.

Group 1 Rule-5 Protection Candidates: Millas (slight), Alu (maybe). Rutledge (doubtful), Cronin (lock).


Group 2: Newly Eligible 2018 High School-age drafted players under consideration for protection

This section is always easy, since we rarely draft HS kids, but this year there’s a big name.

  • Denaburg, Mason. 1st rounder 2018. Made 13 starts in Low-A this year after multiple seasons of injury issues. Obviously not a candidate to get drafted despite his 1st round pedigree. Example 1-A of why drafting prep RH pitchers in the 1st round is risky.

Group 2 Rule-5 Protection Candidates: none.


Group 3: Newly Eligible 2018 signed IFAs under consideration for protection:

Note; we have a ton of 2018 IFAs on the big board; i’m not going to bother naming these guys unless they’re out of rookie ball, even if they’re mentioned on roster resource as someone to watch.

  • Rivero, Yoander: hit a combined .214 between low and high A. Not a protection candidate.
  • De La Cruz, Christopher: hit well in FCL, but then struggled in Low-A. Not a candidate.
  • Caceres, Bryan: 5.92 ERA in a full year in the Low-A rotation. Not a candidate.
  • Theophile, Rodney: destroyed Low-A in the rotation, then put up a 5 ERA in high-A. Not a candidate. Just got selected to play for Nicaragua though in the WBC, so he’ll get some exposure. Someone to watch.
  • Ferrer, Jose ; Great year as the high-A closer, earning two promotions and ending the year in AA. Lefty, but undersized. Definitely a breakout candidate for us in 2022, but would he get picked? Perhaps. A small risk if he’s left unprotected.
  • Pena, Bryan: 5.74 ERA in low-A, not a candidate.
  • Guasch, Richard; trade bounty from Oakland for Gomes/Harrison; did well in High-A while repeating but got shelled in AA. Not a candidate.
  • De La Rosa, Jeremy: Crushed in Low-A in 2022, slashing .315/.394/.515. Moved up to High-A and struggled. A solid prospect for sure, not yet a rule-5 candidate. Someone to watch in 2023.
  • Atencio, Jose: Eight starts in Low-A this year, decent numbers. Not a candidate, but is only 21 and could be a name to watch in 2023.
  • Ramirez, Aldo: trade bounty for Schwarber, but who missed the entirety of 2022 with injury.

Group 3 Rule-5 Protection Candidates: Ferrer (maybe).


Group 4: Rule-5 Eligible Drafted/Domestic hold-overs of note: these are players who were rule-5 eligible previously but who put together a nice 2021 and might need additional thought. They’re sort of organized by draft year, from 2017 to earlier. Note; draft signings from 2015 hit 6-year MLFA this off-season, so they’re not listed here).

  • Tim Cate, 2nd rounder from 2018. 5.31 ERA in 21 starts in AA in 2021, and was subject of much discussion around rule-5 last year. As it turns out, it was all for naught; in 2022 he got demoted to High-A, then upon his return to AA posted a 6.16 ERA. Ouch. Is he even a prospect at this point? Unsure; certainly he’s not going to get protected.
  • Alex Troop, 9th rounder from 2017. He missed nearly all of 2018 with injuries, so he’s gotten a late start. He was a workhorse in AA in 2022, a swingman with middling numbers but filling in. Not a candidate to protect.
  • Armond Upshaw, 11th rounder from 2016. Promoted to AA in 2021, where he hit .186. Missed the entire 2022 season with injury. Not a candidate to protect.
  • Matt Merrill, a 2020 MLFA originally drafted in 2017 by Houston. Pitched his way out of the High-A rotation and ended the year as a swing-man eating up low-leverage innings and nearly a 7 ERA. His time may be short with the org.
  • Cody Wilson, 13th rounder in 2018: hit a combined .124/.225/.164 across three levels in 2021 as a backup CF. In High-A as a 26yr old in 2022. Not a prospect.
  • Onix Vega, 20th round catcher from 2018: hit .233 in Low-A in 2021, then was the starter in High-A in 2022 with decent numbers. If we’re not protecting Millas, we’re certainly not protecting Vega.
  • Cole Daily, 22nd rounder from 2018: hit just .193 across several levels in 2021 as he was bounced around to provide middle infield cover for the lower minors. Hit .222 in High-A in 2022. Not a prospect.
  • Reid Schaller, 3rd rounder from 2018: decent numbers as a middle reliever in High-A and AA in 2021, then an ugly 5.70 ERA in 2022. Not a candidate.
  • Jake Irvin, 4th rounder from 2018. spent all of 2021 recovering from Tommy John surgery, then was babied in 2022 to build back up arm strength. Finished in AA with middling numbers; he’s someone to keep an eye on in 2023 for sure, but not likely a candidate to get protected at this point.
  • Carson Teel, 16th rounder from 2018: had a decent 2021 season, earning a promotion from AA to AAA as a long man/spot starter. Same thing happened in 2022; bounced around and mopped up innings. Not really a prospect, just an org arm.
  • Ryan Tapani, 21st rounder from 2018 who never appeared in 2022; unsure if he’s even still with the organization at this point.
  • Justin Connell, 11th rounder from 2017: starting corner OF for high-A in 2021, then promoted to AA in 2022. Despite being with us forever, he’s only 23, but has never garnered much prospect buzz. Not a candidate to be protected.
  • Trey Harris came to us in the 2022 trade deadline and was a 2018 draftee, so he’s Rule-5 eligible. He didn’t exactly light AA on fire this year (.630 OPS) so he’s not likely to get plucked.
  • Matt Brill was a minor league R5 draftee and 17D guy. In 2022 for us he was great in AA, struggled in AAA. Seems like an edge-of-the-40man roster RHP reliever, not a guy who will stick in the majors. Low risk to get picked.

Names released from this list in 2022: K.J. Harrison, Jacob Condra-Bogan, Cole Freeman, Alex Dunlap, Jackson Stoeckinger, Gage Canning, Jacob Rhinesmith, Kyle Marinconz, Andrew Karp, Chandler Day, Frankie Bartow

Names no longer eligible b/c they’ve made it to MLB: Evan Lee

Names now MLFAs: Nick Banks, Andrew Lee, Ike Schlabach

Group 4 Rule 5 Protection candidates: Irvin (not really), Brill (doubtful)


Group 5: IFAs: 2017 and older

Again, if the IFA isn’t out of rookie ball there’s no point in discussing.

  • Jordy Barley, SS, trade return from San Diego for Daniel Hudson. Hit .203 in High-A, not a candidate.
  • Wilmer Perez, C. the 2016 IFA was mostly a backup Catcher in high-A, hit .206. same for 2022.
  • Geraldo Diaz, C. hit .217 as a backup catcher in Low-A in 2021, then .254 in 2022 as the notional starter. Still not a candidate to be drafted.
  • Viandel Pena, SS. Hit .214 in Low-A in 2021, then a few points higher in High-A in 2022. Not a candidate to get drafted.
  • Ricardo Mendez, OF. Hit .227 in HighA this year. Not a candidate.
  • Leandro Emiliani, hit .165 between the GCL and Low-A in 2021, then .228 in High-A in 2022. Still not a candidate to be drafted, unclear why he keeps earning promotions.
  • Pedro Gonzalez, SP. was in the 2021 opening day rotation for Low-A, demoted after giving up 19 runs in 9 innings. In 2022, he again got shelled in low-A, this time as a reliever. Time is running out for Pedro.
  • Carlos Romero, RP. Pitched as a swing-man in 2021 Low-A, posted a 5.00 ERA and a 1.63 whip. Still in that role in 2022, but pitched to a 3.36 ERA with 97Ks in 72ip. Interesting. Still not a candidate to get picked, but someone to watch in 2023.
  • Karlo Seijas, SP. somehow stayed in the Low-A rotation the entire season, making 22 starts and pitching to a 6.84 ERA. Got absolutely shelled in 2022 in Low-A and is on the restricted list; may have been released.
  • Jose Sanchez, SS. The 2016IFA Hit .232 as the part time SS in low-A, somehow got to High-A in 2022, hit .231. Not a candidate.
  • Alfonso Hernandez, SP. The 2016IFA showed a ton of promise after a solid 2021 season, but missed the entire 2022 season on the DL.
  • Niomar Gomez, SP. the 2016IFA threw just 6 innings in 2021 and then missed the entire 2022 season with injury.
  • Wilson Garcia, a C we signed as a MLFA but who is Rule-5 Eligible. he’s 28, he raked as a DH only in AA this year, and of course i’d be shocked if he got picked. But he’s on here.
  • Luis Reyes, a 2013IFA who’s still hanging around. He got no less than 21 starts in our system between AA and AAA, a ridiculous indictment of our development system as of late (that we opted to give so many starts in AA to a 28yr old versus a prospect). not a candidate.
  • Francys Peguero: a 13IFA who’s still hanging around. He had a 4.89 ERA in AA this year as a 27yr old. Not a candidate.

Names lost from this list in 2022: Juan Diaz, Omar Meregildo, Malvin Pena, Jorge Hurtado, Andry Arias,

Names no longer eligible b/c they’ve made it to MLB roster: Israel Pineda

Names now MLFAs: Gilberto Chu, Gilbert Lara

Group 5 Protection Candidates: no one.


Group 6: Former 40-man guys who have been outrighted previously

  • Jake Noll, 7th rounder from 2016. Its unclear whether a guy who has been outrighted is R5 eligible, but Noll is now 28 and put up serviceable numbers in AAA. I don’t sense he’s a candidate.

Group 6 protection candidates: none.


So, who would I protect?

Summary of above:

Group 1: Millas (slight), Alu (maybe). Rutledge (doubtful), Cronin (lock).
Group 2: none
Group 3: Ferrer (maybe).
Group 4: Irvin (not really), Brill (doubtful)
Group 5: none
Group 6: none

So, who would I would protect?

Based on there only being one 40-man spot open right now, I predict we protect just one player:

  • Matt Cronin

If we had more … I would consider protecting, in order of likelihood:

  • Jake Alu
  • Drew Millas
  • Jackson Rutledge
  • Jose Ferrer

Post Publishing Results: Wow, they added SIX players! Cronin, Alu, De La Rosa, Rutledge, Ferrer, and Irvin. A couple of these were pretty big surprises to me.

Written by Todd Boss

November 14th, 2022 at 1:19 pm

Qualifying Offers out … this isn’t how the system is supposed to work

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Soon to be named MVP Judge headlines the 14 QO recipients . Photo via SI Kids online

The GM Meetings are underway, now that the little matter of the 2022 World Series is settled (sorry Bryce, still no title for you). And thus the 2022-2023 off-season is underway. We’ll have our regular content (things like Rule-5 protection analysis/predictions, non-tender deadline predictions, and of course prospects), but first up is the Qualifying Offer!

The player’s union really wants to get rid of it; the owner’s don’t really care since it operates as yet another safeguard on their payrolls. This past summer the owners offered to get rid of the QO in return for an international draft … which in my mind would likely kill foreign baseball in a number of countries. The union thankfully said no thanks, so here we are.

Here’s the 14 players who got a QO:

2022Aaron JudgeRFPSI Sports ManagementNew York Yankees1yr/$19M1919
2022Jacob deGromSPVC SportsNew York Mets5yr/$137.5M27.533.5
2022Xander BogaertsSSScott Boras/Boras CorporationBoston Red Sox6yr/$120M2020
2022Dansby SwansonSSExcel Sports ManagementAtlanta Braves1yr/$10M1010
2022Trea TurnerSSCAALos Angeles Dodgers1yr/$21M2121
2022Willson ContrerasC?? UnknownChicago Cubs1yr/$9.6259.6259.625
2022Carlos RodonSPScott Boras/Boras CorporationSan Francisco Giants2yr/$44M2222.5
2022Chris BassittSPPro Star ManagementNew York Mets1yr/$8.8M8.88.8
2022Brandon NimmoOFCAANew York Mets1yr/$7M77
2022Nathan EovaldiSPACESBoston Red Sox4yr/$681717
2022Anthony Rizzo1BSports OneNew York Yankees2yr/$32M1616
2022Joc PedersonOFExcel Sports ManagementSan Francisco Giants1yr/$6M66
2022Martin PerezSPOctagonTexas Rangers1yr/$4M44
2022Tyler AndersonSPGSELos Angeles Dodgers1yr/$8M88

Notice something about this list? They’re all Big market teams! Breakdown by team:

  • Yankees: 2
  • Mets: 3
  • Red Sox: 2
  • Dodgers: 2
  • Giants: 2
  • Cubs: 1
  • Rangers: 1
  • Braves: 1

I mean … there’s not one “mid-sized” or smaller market team here. its basically a list comprised of players from the largest markets in the land. By CMSA:

  • New York: 1
  • Los Angeles: 2
  • Chicago: 4
  • San Francisco: 5
  • Boston: 6
  • Dallas: 7
  • Atlanta 10.

That missing #3 spot? Yeah that’d be us. Washington-Baltimore CMSA is now the 3rd largest in the area, having recently overtaken Chicago.

the larger point is this: these are the sport’s biggest and wealthiest teams basically set to gain a bunch of extra picks because they happen to have a bunch of highly paid players on their rosters.

Now that being said … there are some obvious QO candidates and some guys who just got tagged in one who… are kind of a surprise. Lets categorize:

Players who will reject the QO and will get FAR more in AAV:

  • Judge, DeGrom, Turner, Bogarts,
  • These are all going to be major FAs this off-season, getting 30M or more a year.

Players who will reject the QO and who will get a bit more in AAV but longer term deals:

  • Swanson, Rodon: probably getting 5-6 years at $22-$25M per.
  • Contreras is the #1 catcher available and likely gets a 4-5 year deal at a tick above the QO.

Players who may struggle to get an AAV contract matching the $19.65M QO

  • Nimmo: interestingly he’s always had solid production but is “only” on a 1yr/$7M deal at the end of his arb years. Odd. He stepped up his power this year though and MLB trade rumors is projecting a 5yr $110M deal. We’ll see. Seems farfetched.
  • Eovaldi: he was decent this year, but not earth shattering while making $17M AAV. I could see him getting like a 3-4 year deal at $20M AAV.
  • Rizzo: 34yrs old, had a great 2022 in a lefty-hitter’s paradise in NY, but is 1B only. I can’t imagine him doing much better than his $16M AAV contract, and needs to be careful where he goes.
  • Bassitt is a serviceable mid-rotation starter with solid stuff. He’s the kind of guy you get in the 15th round of your fantasy draft and you look like a genius. He only made $8.8M this year, but seems set to get a decently sized contract right above the QO.

Players who may want to take that QO

  • Pederson: he blew it up in 2022, putting in a 144 OPS+ season after not really being effective at all the last few seasons. Is this enough for a team to sign him to a multi-year deal at $20M per? Doubt it: he clearly likes SF and he should take that QO to see if he can replicate 2022, then go back out on the market unencumbered in 2023.
  • Perez: he went from years of ERAs in the 4s and 5s to a 2.73 ERA season in 2022. He played for just $4M this year; he’s almost a lock to accept the QO since no other team is going to give up a pick for a guy who might regress to the mean.
  • Anderson: Like Perez, he went from a 4.81 ERA to a 2.57 ERA with the Dodgers, and after making just $8M this year seems a lock to take the QO and give it another go with Los Angeles.

Written by Todd Boss

November 11th, 2022 at 1:43 pm

2022 Patented NAR MVP Predictor

3 comments

A couple of years ago, in a pique of sarcasm, I wrote up an automated system for MVP voting. I should trade mark it. Lets see how my system works for 2022.

And with today’s announcement of the Top 3 finalists for each award, I thought i’d post my official MVP predictor piece for 2022.

This list of steps allows you to quickly pick the top 8-10 MVP vote getters in each league each season as a way to predict the award.
1. Make list of best teams in league/division winners.
2. Identify the “most famous” and/or Best hitter on each team.
3. Check WAR lists and league leaders for candidates not on winning teams, or “famous” players with solid seasons.
4. Add in incredibly dominant pitchers, especially if they’re from a team that doesn’t have a real dominant hitter.
5. Apply appropriate ‘weights” for East coast players over West coast, especially if the player is with New York or Boston (I call this the Media adjustment). Also weight small market players lower than larger market, more famous players.
6. Apply appropriate “discounts” for non-division winning players and those who have already won (I call this the “Narrative” adjustment).

Lets apply my system for this year.


NAR MVP Predictor for the AL 2022 MVP

#1/2: Best teams and their best Hitter:

  • New York Yankees: Aaron Judge
  • Houston: Yordan Alvarez
  • Cleveland: Jose Ramirez
  • Toronto: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  • Seattle: Julio Rodriguez
  • Tampa Bay: (nobody: you couldn’t pick their WAR leaders out of a lineup)

#3: Add in the following names based on WAR league leaders

  • Shohei Ohtani, Angels (2nd in WAR)
  • Andres Gimenez, Cleveland (3rd in the league in WAR, more than his more famous teammate Ramirez)
  • Mike Trout, Angels (8th in the league in WAR)
  • Carlos Correa, Minnesota (10th in league in batter WAR)

#4; Add in best pitchers

  • Alex Manoah, Toronto: #2 pitcher in bWAR, but for a playoff team.
  • Dylan Cease, White Sox: #1 pitcher in bWAR

#5 Add in Media adjustments

Ramp weight up for New York-based Judge, Increase weights for “famous” players Ohtani, Trout, Guerrero, Alvarez. Weight down Seattle and Cleveland players.

#6: Ohtani and Trout will lose points thanks to the Angel’s continued futility.

Results? Here’s my bold prediction on the AL MVP voting:

  1. Judge
  2. Ohtani
  3. Alvarez
  4. Guerrero
  5. Rodriguez
  6. Manoah
  7. Trout
  8. Ramierz
  9. Gimenez
  10. Correa

Perhaps in 2022, with Judge’s historic HR chase, his Triple Crown chase, and his 10+ WAR season, its a no-brainer. But Ohtani is arguably having a better season than he had in 2021, so you never know.

ACTUAL RESULTS: tbd (will add in post announcement and judge my predictions)


NAR MVP Predictor for the NL 2022 MVP

#1/2: Best teams and their best Hitter:

  • Los Angeles: Freddie Freeman
  • Atlanta: Austin Riley
  • New York Mets: Pete Alonso
  • St. Louis: Paul Goldschmidt
  • San Diego: Manny Machado
  • Philadelphia: J.T. Realmuto
  • Milwaukee: (nobody really)

#3: Add in the following names based on WAR league leaders

  • Mookie Betts: LAD
  • Nolan Arenado: STL
  • Francisco Lindor, NYM

#4; Add in best pitchers

  • Sandy Alcantara, Miami
  • Max Fried, NY Mets

#5 Add in Media adjustments

Ramp weight up for New York-based Alonso. Ramp up weight for the famous players like Machado, Gldschmidt, Betts, Freeman. Lower weights for Realmuto, Riley

#6: Alcantara loses points playing for loser Miami.

Results? Here’s my bold prediction on the NL MVP voting, which is significantly tougher to predict this year than the AL.

  1. Goldschmidt
  2. Machado
  3. Arenado
  4. Alcantara
  5. Realmuto
  6. Riley
  7. Freeman
  8. Betts
  9. Lindor
  10. Alonso

ACTUAL RESULTS: tbd (will add in post announcement and judge my predictions)

Written by Todd Boss

November 8th, 2022 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Awards