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2024 CWS Coverage – Super Regionals review and CWS Preview

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We’re through the super regionals, and have a CWS field that is, frankly, stacked. It’s going to be a great CWS.

Resource links to help with this:

First, lets recap the Supers.

  • #1 Tennessee vs Evansville: Tennessee won game one 11-6, but the underdog shocked the #1 team in the nation in game two to force the deciding 3rd game. In the decided Tennessee turned it into a laugher, winning 11-1 to move on and avoid a massive upset
  • #8 Florida State vs UConn: Florida State came to hit in this series, winning the first game by the astounding score of 24-4, then holding on for a 10-8 game two to move on.
  • Kansas State vs #12 Virginia: UVA, who got hosting privileges as the higher seed, cruised to two straight wins to be the first team to punch their ticket.
  • #4 UNC vs West Virginia: UNC had a bone-chilling come from behind win in game one, blasting two homers in the bottom of the last to go from a one-run deficit to a walk-off win. In game two, Tar Heel Star Honeycutt scored both runs in a 2-1 squeaker to send UNC to Omaha.
  • #3 Texas A&M vs Oregon: TAMU held serve in game one despite losing its superstar Montgomery, then cruised to a 15-9 win to head to Omaha. I sense some sports cliche “do it for Braden” stuff going on here.
  • #6 Clemson v Florida: Florida upset the hosts in game one 10-6, then the two teams played an epic 13-inning thriller that featured a 3-run rally in the top of the 9th by Clemson to send it to extras, then a walk-off double from Florida in the 13th to send them to the CWS.
  • #7 Georgia v #10 NC State: NC State embarrassed Georgia on its home turf 18-1 in game one. Georgia rebounded to crush the Wolfpack 11-2 in game two, sending it to the decider. There, NC State held on with an 8-5 win to upset Georgia and head to Omaha.
  • #2 Kentucky v #15 Oregon State: Kentucky blanked OSU in game one 10-0, then won a close one 3-2 to move on.

Super Regional Predictions versus Actuals

  • predicted Tenn, FSU, UVA, UNC, TAMU, Florida, NC State, Kentucky
  • actuals: Tenn, FSU, UVA, UNC, TAMU, Florida, NC State, Kentucky

Not bad on my predictions: I went 8 for 8.

Stats/Observations of the 8 Super Regionals.

  • 6 out of 8 Super Regional Hosts to advance.
  • 2 regionals went to the 3rd/deciding game: Tennessee/Evansville, Georgia/NC State
  • Conference Breakdown of the eight Advancers: Four from the SEC, four from the ACC. Is anyone surprised based on the dominance of these two leagues this year?

So, your 2024 CWS Field (with original national seeds driving the teams):

  • Group 1 (1,4,5,8): #1 Tennessee, #8 Florida State, #12 Virginia, #4 UNC.
  • Group 2 (2,3,6,7): #3 Texas A&M, Florida, #10 NC State, #2 Kentucky

Clearly this is an ACC-SEC centric tourney, and interestingly the way the brackets bear out its mostly ACC teams in group 1 (except for #1 Tennessee) and its mostly SEC teams in Group 2 (except for NC State).


Performance of 1st Round projected players in the Super Regionals:

Here’s a quick run through just the 1st round projected players who were active, using primarily MLBPipeline’s draft rankings for candidates. They’re listed in rough order of the way they’ll likely go in the 1st round in July.

  • Charlie Condon: 3B/OF, Georgia: 0-3 with a BB in game one blowout loss. 1-4 in game 2, 1-4 with a solo HR in game 3.
  • Travis Bazzana 2B/SS: Oregon State: 0-3 with a BB in game one. 1-4 with a BB and 2Ks in game 2.
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP Florida: 2-4 with 3-RBI and HR in game one. 1-3 but with 3BB and another HR in game two while also getting the start and giving up 4ER in 5 2/3rds. Great super, but his bat is clearly playing more than his arm (consistent with scouting).
  • Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M: Walked in his first AB, then suffered a really bad-looking ankle injury trying to score later on in the inning. Twitter reports called it a “clean break” of his ankle. What a dagger of an injury for the player, a projected top-5 pick who likely falls in the draft because of this.
  • J.J. Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia: 1-4 with a R in game one. 0-4 with nothing in game 2.
  • Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State: 3-4 with 2R in game one blowout, 2-5 with 2R and 2BB in game 2.
  • James Tibbs, OF, Florida State: 2-5 with 2BB and 4RBI in game one blowout, 5-6 (!!) with 3R, 6RBI and a HR in the 12th inning in game two to win it. Talk about a performance.
  • Vance Honeycutt, CF, North Carolina: What a super regional for Honeycutt. 2-5 with 2R, 2RBI and the walk-off game winning HR in game one, then a leadoff HR
  • Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee: 1-3 with 2R, 2RBI and a HR in game one. 0-4 with 2BB in game 2.
  • Billy Amick, 3B, Tennessee: 3-4 with 3R and a solo HR in game one. 1-5 with a R in game 2.
  • Kaeleen Culpepper, SS, Kansas State: 1-4 with a 2RBI double in game one. 1-3 with a Sac fly in game two. Couldn’t do much to help.

Impressed: Caglianone, Honeycutt, Tibbs, Smith, Amick

Disappointed: Condon, Bazzana, Wetherholt, Moore, Culpepper


My CWS Predictions

Top half: Tennessee should get by FSU in the opener, while UNC-UVA seems like a coin-flip to open (UVA took 2 of 3 against UNC in regular season play, but it was on home turf). I’m a little worried about Tennessee’s struggles to get by Evansville, but UVA doesn’t scare me. I think Tennessee wins the upper half.

Bottom Half: TAMU lost 2 of 3 at Florida in the regular season and I sense Florida has a chip on their shoulder this entire post-season. NC State also seems like a destiny team, so i can see those two advancing early, with Florida surprising and coming out of the bottom-half.

Final: Tennessee over Florida for the title.

Written by Todd Boss

June 11th, 2024 at 9:45 am

Posted in College/CWS

2024 CWS Coverage – Regional Recap and Super Regional Preview

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The busiest weekend in Baseball has past; here’s a run down of the opening weekend of the College Baseball playoffs.

Resource links to help with this:

Quick Regional Recaps of the 16 regional action, ordered by National Seed super Regional matchup. that means, the pairs of regionals being reviewed (#1 Tennessee regional and #16 East Carolina regional) will determine that Super Regional. The eventual winning team is bolded.

  • #1 Tennessee Regional Recap: top overall seed Tennessee won their first two games without much fan fare to move to Sunday’s regional final. They cruised to the regional win by crushing Southern Miss in the regional final.
  • #16 East Carolina Regional Recap: this regional didn’t go anywhere close to the way people expected, with both top seeds ECU and Wake Forest losing to unheralded teams to open. This left us with Yesevage vs Burns in a loser’s bracket game unexpectedly, one where Yesevage outpitched his higher-ranked 2024 draft prospect to shockingly eliminate Wake Forest and its three-projected 1st round players 2-and-out. Meanwhile, #4 regional seed Evansville outslugged VCU to take control of the regional. ECU won twice on Sunday, including a 19-6 blitzing of Evansville to force the Monday winner-take-all game Monday, but Evansville held on to win 6-5 and move on as the rare 4th regional seed.
  • #8 Florida State Regional Recap: FSU held serve as expected, while Alabama shockingly went 2-and-out. In the final, Florida State won a winner’s bracket rematch against state-rival UCF to move on. They’ll host a super regional next weekend as a top 8 seed.
  • #9 Oklahoma Regional Recap: Host Oklahoma was shocked by #3 seed UConn and had to drop to the loser’s bracket, but they came back out and topped UConn late Sunday to force the Monday game. In that final, UConn showed up and Okla did not, winning 7-1 for the big upset.
  • #5 Arkansas Regional Recap: Arkansas was edged by unheralded Kansas State in the winner’s bracket, then went out meekly to Southwest Missouri State to become the first top=8 seed to lose. Kansas State took control and advanced to the Super Regionals without losing a game.
  • #12: Virginia Regional Recap: Virginia ground out close wins to advance to the winner’s bracket final, then dominated #2 regional seed Mississippi State to become the first team to advance to the super Regionals. They’ll have a great shot at hosting there too, thanks to Arkansas’ upset.
  • #13 Arizona Regional Recap: Host Arizona unsurprisingly went 2-and-out as the least-deserving host as West Virginia (led by 1-1 draft candidate Wetherholt) cruised into the regional final. West Virginia wasn’t really threatened the whole weekend and dumped Grand Canyon in the final to move on.
  • #4 North Carolina Regional Recap: UNC controlled red-hot LSU to get to the regional final, but the defending CWS champs would not go quietly, winning Sunday night to force the winner-take-all Monday game. In the final, in just an amazing game, UNC tied it in the 9th and won it in the 10th to oust LSU.

And, the eventual CWS Bottom Half:

  • #3 Texas A&M Regional Recap: TAMU edged its long-time rival Texas to take control of the regional, then completed a clean sweep of all three teams in the regional by finishing off Louisiana to advance.
  • #14 UC Santa Barbara Regional Recap: Oregon got a win over host UCSB to take control of the regional, then blanked them again to upset the Big West champs and move on.
  • #11 Oklahoma State Regional Recap: OSU bashed its way to the regional final, shutting down Florida 7-1 in the winner’s bracket. However, Florida came roaring back out of the loser’s bracket, toped OSU to force Monday winner-take-all. In that game, Florida, who many criticized for even being in the tourney, controlled a tight game and topped the hosts to move on.
  • #6 Clemson Regional Recap: The hosts edged Coastal Carolina in the winner’s bracket final to take control early. CCU, who had helped the shocking Vanderbilt team go 2-and-out in the post season at the hands of #4 seed High Point, fought back to the regional final but Clemson controlled them again to advance.
  • #7 Georgia Regional Recap: Host Georgia beat Army and then UNCW to take control of the regional. Georgia Tech had other things in mind though, beating UNCW to force an all-Georgia rivalry game for the super regional spot. The two teams went extras late Sunday Night but Georgia came out on top to advance to a super regional in Athens next weekend.
  • #10 NC State Regional Recap: South Carolina pulled a victory from the hands of defeat against JMU in the opener, but dropped the winner’s bracket win to host NCSU. JMU got its revenge and topped South Carolina to make the regional final, but dropped it 5-3 to the hosts. NC State moves on.
  • #15 Oregon State Regional Recap: Host OSU topped the Anteaters of UC Irvine in the winner’s bracket, and then were leading 6-4 in the 4th against the same team for the regional final when the rain came to push the final a day. On Monday when the game resumed, Oregon State pulled away from Irvine to move on.
  • #2 Kentucky Regional Recap: Kentucky won its first two games easily to move into the regional final. They finished off a neat sweep of its regional rivals and advanced to the super regionals.

Thus, your Super Regionals are ...

  • #1 Tennessee vs Evansville
  • #8 Florida State vs UConn
  • Kansas State vs #12 Virginia
  • #4 UNC vs West Virginia
  • #3 Texas A&M vs Oregon
  • #6 Clemson v Florida
  • #7 Georgia v #10 NC State
  • #2 Kentucky v #15 Oregon State

Stats/Observations of the 16 regionals.

  • 10 out of 16: Seeds/Hosts to advance, 7 of the top 8. So a rather Chalky weekend. The upsets weren’t terribly surprising: Arizona losing as the worst host was no shock, Florida moving on not a huge surprise either.
  • 4 regionals went to Monday extra game: ECU, Oklahoma, UNC, OSU,
  • Conference Breakdown of the 16 advancers: 5 from SEC (TN, TAMU, UGA, KY, Fla), 5 from ACC (FSU, UNC, Clemson, UVA, NC State), 2 from Big12 (KSU, WVA), 2 From Pac12 (Oregon and Oregon State), and 2 from elsewhere (Evansville, UConn). About what we’d expect.
  • Ten #1 seeds, Zero #2 seeds, Five #3 seeds (West Virginia, Kansas State, UConn, Oregon, Florida) and one #4 seed (Evansville) advance. That’s pretty amazing, but then again all these #3 seeds from major conferences were not exactly your typical 3-seeds.

Performance of 1st Round projected players in the Regionals:

Here’s a quick run through just the 1st round projected players who were active, using primarily MLBPipeline’s draft rankings for candidates. They’re listed in rough order of the way they’ll likely go in the 1st round in July.

  • Charlie Condon: 3B/OF, University of Georgia: Batting 2nd and playing 3B this weekend he went 3-3 with a double and a homer and 2 walks in the opener, 0-4 against UNCW in game 2, then 2-3 with 3 walks in game 3. That’s an OBP of 10-16 for the weekend.
  • Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State: from Leadoff spot, he went 2-3 with 2 walks, a solo HR, and 3 runs in game one. 1-4 but with a 2-run HR in game two, 1-4 with a walk in game 3. Not a bad weekend. Power and OBP.
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B/LHP Florida: On the mound he threw the opener: 5ip 4ER. At the plate hitting out of the #2 hole he went 1-4 with a HR in the opener, 2-4 with 2 walks, a 2b and another HR in game two, 0-4 in game three with a walk and a run, then 2-3 with a walk and a double in the decider. Not a bad series at the plate.
  • Nick Kurtz, 1B Wake Forest: 0-3 with 2Ks in the opener, 1-4 with 2RBIs in the second game. Very little impact as his team shockingly went 2-and-out.
  • Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M: Hitting 3rd and 4th and playing RF, Montgomery went 3-5 in game one, 1-4 in game 2, then 2-6 with a homer and 4RBI in the decider to earn regional MVP.
  • Hagen Smith, LHP starter, Arkansas: gave up 6 ER in 5 innings in a loss to Kansas State, then watched as his team was exited from the tournament despite being the #5 overall seed.
  • Chase Burns, RHP starter, Wake Forest: Labored through 5 innings (96 pitches) and gave up 4 runs in a no-decision in a highly anticipated matchup with Yesevage.
  • J.J. Wetherholt, 2B/SS, West Virginia: leading off and playing SS, in game 1 he went 0-2 with a walk and HBP, 0-4 in game 2, 3-6 in game 3. So, not a great regional.
  • Trey Yesavage, RHP, East Carolina: outpitched fellow 1st rounder Burns in the surprise loser’s bracket meeting between WF and ECU: 7 1/3 innings pitched, 1 hit, 1 run. 6/4 K/BB, 112 pitches. He may have made himself some cash on the weekend, and he’ll get another look next weekend as his team advanced to the Super Regionals.
  • Seaver King 3B/OF Wake Forest: 0-4 in the opener, 1-5 in the second game with a run. Not much.
  • Cam Smith, 3B, Florida State: 0-5 in the opener, 3-4 with a HR in game two, 1-2 with another HR in game 3 batting out of the #2 spot. Showed some power for sure.
  • Tommy White, 3B, LSU: Hitting either #1 or #2: 0-4 in the opener, 2-5 in game 2, 2-5 in game 3, 1-5 in game four, 1-5 in game five. Not a great series.
  • James Tibbs, OF, Florida State: 0-1 with 4BBs in the opener, 0-4 in game two, 0-4 with a walk in Game 3 batting #3 behind Smith. Not a great weekend for Tibbs, but he’ll get another shot next weekend.
  • Carson Benge, OF/RHP, Oklahoma State; as #2 hitter: 1-5 in game1, 2-4 with a HR in game2, 0-4 with three Ks in game3, 1-4 in the decider. He also got the start in game 3 (I didn’t know he was a 2-way player): giving up 5er in 5 innings against Florida.
  • Vance Honeycutt, CF, North Carolina: as leadoff hitter, 0-4 in opener, then 2-4 with HR and 4RBIs in 2nd, 0-5 with 3Ks in game3, 1-4 in the decider. Not very good.
  • Christian Moore, 2B, Tennessee: 2-5 in opener, 2-4 with 2 Walks in game 2, 0-4 in game 3 but with 2 walks. Batted Leadoff and was all over the base-paths all weekend.
  • Billy Amick, 3B, Tennessee: 1-3 but with a 3-run HR in the opener, 1-3 with another big HR in game two, 0-5 in game 3. Showed power as the #3 hitter in the lineup.
  • Dakota Jordan, OF, Mississippi State: hit a 3-run homer in the opener that essentially won the game for his team but also had a sombrero of Ks. Went 2-5 against UVA in a losing effort. Went 5-5 against St. Johns in the elimination game. Lastly went 2-4 and drove in his team’s only two runs in a 9-2 loss that eliminated them. Weekend line: 10-19 and playing a massive part in his team’s success.
  • Jurrangelo Cijntje, Switch-Pitcher, Mississippi State: had a decent start against UVA in the winner’s bracket final, going 7 and giving up 4 to keep his team in the game. Not a bad effort.
  • Kaeleen Culpepper, SS, Kansas State: 4-5 with 4R, 4RBI in the opener, 1-4 but with the decisive 3-run HR against Hagen Smith to seal his team’s win against Arkansas, then a 2-3 day with 2 walks in the regional final. 7-12 for the weekend with 5R, 7RBI batting third for his Super Regional team.
  • Jonathan Stantucci, LHP, Duke: has been on the DL for a month and made the Saturday start, but only went 2 innings. He sustained a rib injury in May.

So, Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Montgomery, Yesevage, Moore, Jordan, Culpepper impressed, while Kurtz, HSmith, Burns, King, Wetherholt, Amick, Honeycutt, Benge, and Tommy Tanks White probably cost themselves.


Super Regional predictions: Here’s what i think happens when these heavyweights meetup next weekend:

  • #1 Tennessee over Evansville. #1 overall team versus a 4-seed just happy to be there spells quick doom.
  • #8 Florida State vs UConn: UConn beat Duke handily and then Oklahoma twice, but never had to face the ace of either team by virtue of the way the regional worked out. FSU has better pitching.
  • Kansas State vs #12 Virginia: UVA likely gets the hosting duties here, which gives them a huge leg up and they move on.
  • #4 UNC vs West Virginia. Tough one to call. UNC looked a little vulnerable, but WVU wasn’t exactly challenged in this regional despite being a 3-seed. UNC to move on.
  • #3 Texas A&M vs Oregon: TAMU overpowers Pac12 opposition.
  • #6 Clemson v Florida: Florida has the #1 SoS in the country and gets the upset here.
  • #7 Georgia v #10 NC State; I like NC State’s chances.
  • #2 Kentucky v #15 Oregon State: Kentucky all the way .

Written by Todd Boss

June 4th, 2024 at 9:37 am

Posted in College/CWS,Draft

End of May 2024 Rotation Check-Ins

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DJ Herz is making some noise in AAA; could he get his MLB debut soon? Photo via Wash Post

Here’s the End of May check-ins on all our rotations, from MLB to FCL.

Each team will have the same items: current rotation, changes in the last month, observations, next guy to get promoted (if its in the minors), next guy to get cut, and then a few comments about relievers.

Important links for this analysis:


We’ll start with the Majors.

Rotation as of 5/31/24: Irvin, Gore, Williams, Parker, Corbin

Changes since end of April: none. Grey remains on the DL, but Cavalli has started rehabbing.

Rotation Observations: We continue to get unexpectedly solid production out of the rotation, given the fact that our opening day starter and #1 pitching prospect remain on the DL. Williams continues to be one of the best pitchers in the league, with a seasonal ERA of 2.22 and and even better 1.60 ERA for his six starts in May. He’s having a dream “contract year” season and hopefully fetches us a halfway decent prospect at the trade deadline, if not sooner (more on that later). Gore continues to come into his own, putting up a 2.60 ERA in his five May starts. Irvine’s May numbers were even better. Parker came back down to earth a bit in May after his stellar debut. Only Corbin continues to be awful, but that’s not really anything that we didn’t already know. The rotation collectively is sits 3rd in fWAR and 5th in FIP, and should only get better if and when we get back Grey and Cavalli.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Corbin. Same guy as at the end of April. One has to think that Corbin’s tenure will come to an end when Grey or Cavalli is ready to come back. They just can’t keep the deadweight on the roster anymore at that point. The harder question then becomes who is the NEXT guy to make way… say Cavalli comes back and Corbin gets cut. Then who do you demote for Grey? Right now its looking like Parker, but then they’d have no LHP starters. Maybe the timing will workout with a Williams trade to make room.

Bullpen comments: The pen generally continues to be a source of strength. You can’t ask for much more. Our four leading relievers all have ERAs under 3.00, and Floro has kept his under 1.00 through May. It’s hard to get decent returns for relievers, but I hope they can cash in a couple of these guys at the trade deadline.


AAA Rochester

Rotation as of 5/31/24: Adon, Rutledge, Watkins, Herz, Ward

Changes since end of April: None. Gsellman got a couple of spot starts, and middle reliever Zeuch got one spot start in a “bullpen game,” otherwise very little change so far in AAA.

Rotation Observations: None of the five starters had an especially awesome May to be honest. The best of them was Adon, who had a 4.13 ERA for the month to lower his seasonal ERA down to 5.63. That’s good to see, since he’s holding onto a 40-man roster spot. Watkins soaked up innings and that seems to be what the 31 yr old’s role will be this year. Herz walked nearly a guy an inning but got 3 wins in 5 starts by virtue of a .182 BAA and he remains probably the best of the AAA rotation. Rutledge’s stats were meh; 4.85 ERA. 1.50 whip. Nothing impressive there, though i’ll bet he remains atop the pecking order to come up for DH spot starts. Ward really struggled in May, putting up a 6.65 ERA in five starts.

Next guy to get Promoted: Herz, as he was last month. We have a surplus of healthy starters right now so it won’t likely happen, but next opportunity i’d like to see Herz out there.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Ward. He wouldn’t get cut, but I wonder how long he is for the rotation at this point. He turned 27 in January, he’s just not cutting it as a starter, and maybe he should move back to relief at some point. The team drug him all of 2023 on their active roster so they could keep him, but more and more that’s looking like it was all to save a middle reliever.

Bullpen comments: 40-man member La Sorsa had a stellar May and is a great option to call up if they need a bullpen arm. The only other 40-man arm in AAA is Willingham, who continues to be mediocre and may be in some trouble of keeping his roster spot once the team starts trading away its cache of relievers and they realize that non-40-man guys in AAA like Aldonis Medina (zero ER for the month) are worth a shot. Most of the guys in AAA bullpen had ERAs that started with a 5 or 6 for the month.


AA Harrisburg

Rotation as of 5/31/24: Luckham, Cuevas, Alvarez, Henry, Lord

Changes since end of April: Lara promoted up, replacing Henry, who hit the DL. Knowles made three spot starts in May but he also sits on the DL as we speak.

Rotation Observations: The AA rotation featured several stellar performances this month. Brad Lord, who was promoted up in April, went 5-0 with a 0.87 ERA in 5 starts, including a complete game shutout. Andry Lara, also recently promoted, made three starts and went 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA. That’s awesome to see, especially since he’s just 21 and had been somewhat mired in A ball the last couple of seasons while slowly watching his prospect status wither away. Lastly, Andrew Alvarez: 6 starts, 4 wins, a CG shutout with 2.72 ERA and a sub 1.00 whip.

On the down side, Luckham isn’t getting the swing and miss he probably needs to keep moving forward, and batters hit north of .300 against him to balloon his ERA to 4.88. Same with Cuevas, who is getting shredded right now to the tune of a 7.50 ERA in May. Knowles’ stats weren’t great before hitting the DL, and Henry’s one start went just 3 innings, so not much to go on for our former top 10 prospect.

Next guy to get Promoted: Alvarez. He was last years Nats POTY in the minors, he turns 25 in a couple of weeks and he’s a lefty. Might be time to see what he can do in AAA and see if he’s anything more than an org guy. I’d say Lord based on his May, but his April was so bad that now his season numbers are just average. Plus, there’s not a lot of room on the AAA rotation right now.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Luckham. But there’s a bit of rope here. They don’t have a ton invested in him as a 13th rounder, and he doesn’t turn 25 until the off season, but its put up or shut up time.

Bullpen comments: The bullpen just lost its best arm in Ribalta, recently promoted to AAA. Walters also got bumped up after putting up solid AA numbers. To replace them they promoted both Peterson and Grissom Jr from High-A, so too early to tell. Former closer Jack Sinclair was solid all month. Former flavor of the month Tyler Schoff got shelled this month: 6.75 ERA. Rule5 pick Daison Acosta and Holden Powell were both great out of the pen for the month and it’ll be interesting to see who gets the closer job. I’d like to see Powell (a relatively high draft pick) perform and contribute at the higher levels.


High-A Wilmington

Rotation as of 5/31/24: Atencio, Caceres, Young, Cornelio, Theophile

Changes since end of April: Lara got promoted, replaced by Atencio. Cavalli is there as of 5/31 doing rehab starts and stealing starts.

Rotation Observations: Not a lot to brag about in Wilmington’s rotation in May. The best performer was the newest guy Atencio, who in 3 starts had a 3.38 ERA and 14/3 K/BB. That’s decent for the 2018 IFA signing. Cornelio continues to put up mediocre numbers: 4.44 ERA for the month. Good enough to stick around, but not to earn any promotions. Caceres and Theophile both had ERAs in the 6s, and Caceres’ K/BB was just 14/12 in 23 innings. Young’s line was pretty similar; not a ton of swing and miss.

Seth Shuman, a sneaky good starter who’s been hurt forever, is now doing rehab starts in the FCL and could return here soon, likely bumping one of the lesser performers.

Next guy to get Promoted: Nobody. Last month’s candidate Lara indeed got promoted, but nobody here is really making a case to move up. Atencio is performing the best but he just got promoted into this rotation and needs some time.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Last month was Caceres; it still is. He’s 24, too old for the level, and is just not cutting it. Theophile may start worrying too.

Bullpen comments: Several bullpen arms had solid months. Matt Cronin got popped up from XST and has been solid; well he should be, being 26 and formerly being on the 40-man roster. He needs to get back to AAA. Wander Arias, a rule5 pick this past off season, was stellar and probably should be getting moved up soon. Carlos Romero gave up just 1 run in 11 innings. There’s a lot of crooked numbers elsewhere in this pen, and If we had more healthy arms i could see some moving up.


Low-A/Fredericksburg

Rotation as of 5/31/24: Sthele, Sanchez, Susana, Davis, Sykora, Polanco

Changes since End of April: Atencio promoted, replaced by Sykora and Polanco as they seem to be going to a 6-man rotation.

Rotation Observations: I’m treating this rotation as a 6-man rotation, even if what they really seem to be doing is giving certain arms a week’s rest each 6-day series. Nonetheless, we have 6 guys getting regular starts, so that’s what we’ll look at. Susana has been awful. 5 starts in May, 8.05 ERA, 1.84 whip. I’m not sure what the next step is with him, but his defenders are running out of excuses as to why he continues to underperform with triple-digit heat. Sykora’s debut so far has been great: 4.23 ERA but his peripherals are solid: 23/6 K/BB in 16IP, 1.20 ERA, .215 BAA. That’s great for our big-bonus prep draftee from last year, and its nice to see a high school Nats pick faring well. Marc Davis has had a solid May under the radar given the two higher-profile kids in this rotation.

On the down side, Travis Sthele, 12th rounder last year, has not been good. ERA north of 10, batters are hitting nearly .400 against him. Bryan Sanchez is only slightly less bad; he had an 8/14 K/BB ratio for the month but managed to keep the runs down as compared to Sthele. Polanco isn’t lighting it up in his spot starts but at least he’s not as bad as these guys.

Reminder of the Low-A DL: they almost have enough arms for TWO more rotations sitting on their DL: Amaral, Ramirez, Tepper, Aldonis, Tolman, Sullivan, Agostini, and Marquez, along with a couple middle relievers on the full season DL. That’s a lot of pitching depth. A couple of these guys are/were decent prospects too, which is one of the reasons we have so little pitching depth in our system.

Next guy to get Promoted: Davis, maybe? Sykora has the best numbers but there’s no way they’re putting him in High-A unless he nohits the league for a month.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Sthele’s days seem numbered in the rotation.

Bullpen comments: they have three guys in the back of the bullpen lighting it up right now in Bubba Hall, Thomas Schultz, and Matthew Bollenbacher. That’s a 9th rounder and two NDFAs, for you keeping score at home. Nothing like getting solid pro pitchers for $10k. Mason Denaburg has actually been serviceable this month in a long-man role: 3.78 ERA in 9 appearances. Maybe they give him another whirl in the rotation; has to be better than what they’re getting from Sthele, Sanchez, or Polanco.


Rookie/FCL Nationals

Rotation as of 5/31/24: Colon, Portorreal, Camilio Sanchez, Brayan Romero, “Farias”

Changes since End of April: none: the season started in May.

Rotation Observations: Despite it being the FCL, which normally is a playground for rehabbing players and XST stalwarts, the FCL rotation seems like it’s been pretty consistent since the season opened. A couple of the starts early on seemed like “tandem starts” where one guy went 3 innings then another guy went 3 innings, but the rotation has settled into what you see above.

So far, Colon has looked the best: 2.37 ERA albeit with not a ton of K/9 power. Portorreal’s ERA is decent but his BAA is .324; that’s not going to last. Romero’s peripherals are better than his ERA is, and lastly Sanchez has a 2.00 whip and a 9.50 ERA. Farias is in quotes as a member of the rotation b/c he made one start, got shelled, and hasn’t been seen since. His spot has been filled with rehabbers since: Brzycky, Cavalli, and Shuman have all made one start in FCL on rehab stints.

Interesting observation; on the FCL’s opening day, every single arm on the roster was an IFA. Every single one. They’ve added three MLFAs in the past couple of weeks who were domestic players, but it’s interesting to see how they’re using this roster right now. The lion’s share of the position players (14 of the 18 guys) are also IFAs. I attribute this to the fact that we don’t draft a ton of prep kids, so basically all our 2023 draft picks are starting at Low-A or higher.

Next guy to get Promoted: nobody; the two guys pitching “decent” are 18 and 19 respectively right now, and they’ll spend the whole season in the FCL.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Camilio Sanchez was an older 2022 IFA out of Panama, for not a ton of money, and he may get cut loose if he doesn’t turn it around.

Bullpen comments: All these arms are such small sample sizes (3-4IP each) its hard to make any judgements on the slew of arms in FCL.


That’s it for May 2024. Soon we’ll have the DSL roster to contend with.

Written by Todd Boss

June 2nd, 2024 at 10:44 am