Nationals Arm Race

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

2017’s Draft order is now finalized; Overall and Nats impact


Desmond was one of just three draft-pick compensation penalties of the FA signing period this year. Photo Drew Kinback/

Desmond was one of just three draft-pick compensation penalties of the FA signing period this year. Photo Drew Kinback/

When Mark Trumbo sulked back to Baltimore to take his massively under-market deal, he became the last Qualifying Offer (QO) -attached player to sign, meaning the 2017 draft order is now finalized.

This year, only three 1st round picks were forfeited due to QO-attached players:

  • Colorado’s 11th overall, forfeited inexplicably to sign Ian Desmond to a 5yr/$70M deal purportedly to play a position (1B) he’s never played before in a market that already had an abundance of 1B-only sluggers.
  • St. Louis’s 19th overall, forfeited to sign the long-rumored Dexter Fowler to man CF for them for the next 5 years.
  • Cleveland’s 27th overall, forfeited to sign slugger Edwin Encarnation and drastically improve upon the team that made it into extra innings in the 7th game of the World Series despite missing two of their three best starters in the playoffs.

This year’s signing period stands in stark comparison to 2016’s, when teams gave up no less than seven first round picks (and 11 overall) to sign players.  A weaker class, a larger number of teams already punting on the new season, plus knowledge that the new CBA lowers the draft-pick penalty may have had teams stay on the sidelines this off-season.

So, all that being said, here’s the new updated draft order for this June’s draft.   Here’s the first round and supplemental picks:

Orig First RoundUpdated First RoundTeamNotes
111. Twins (59-103, .364)
222. Reds (68-94, .420)
333. Padres (68-94, .420)
444. Rays (68-94, .420)
555. Braves (68-93, .422)
666. A's (69-93, .426)
777. D-backs (69-93, .426)
888. Phillies (71-91, .438)
999. Brewers (73-89, .451)
101010. Angels (74-88, .457)
1111. Rockies (75-87, .463)Forfeited to sign Ian Desmond
121112. White Sox (78-84, .481)
131213. Pirates (78-83, .484)
141314. Marlins (79-82, .491)
151415. Royals (81-81, .500)
161516. Astros (84-78, .519)
171617. Yankees (84-78, .519)
181718. Mariners (86-76, .531)
1919. Cardinals (86-76, .531)Forfeited to sign Dexter Fowler
201820. Tigers (86-75, .534)
211921. Giants (87-75, .537)
222022. Mets (87-75, .537)
232123. Orioles (89-73, .549)
242224. Blue Jays (89-73, .549)
252325. Dodgers (91-71, .562)
262426. Red Sox (93-69, .574)
2727. Indians (94-67, .584)Forfeited to sign Edwin Encarnacion
282528. Nationals (95-67, .586)
292629. Rangers (95-67, .586)
302730. Cubs (103-58, .640)
Potential QO Compensation Round
31. Jeremy Hellickson, PhilliesTook QO: draft pick compensation cancelled
32. Yoenis Cespedes, MetsRe-signed with Mets: draft pick compensation cancelled
33. Neil Walker, MetsTook QO: draft pick compensation cancelled
34. Mark Trumbo, OriolesResigned with Orioles, draft pick compensation cancelled
35. Jose Bautista, Blue JaysRe-signed with toronto, draft pick compensation cancelled
2836. Edwin Encarnacion, Blue JaysToronto gets pick
37. Kenley Jansen, DodgersRe-signed with Dodgers, draft pick compensation cancelled
38. Justin Turner, DodgersRe-signed with Dodgers, draft pick compensation cancelled
2939. Ian Desmond, RangersRangers get Pick
3040. Dexter Fowler, CubsCubs get pick
Competitive Balance Round A
31Tampa Bay

Note: i’ll do a separate post about the QO-attached players and their disposition, an annual tradition, later on.  Just three of the original 10 QO-issued players left their teams this year.  The last 6 picks are the Competitive Balance picks, which are annually a joke; Miami plays in a $2.4B stadium, Oakland resides in the 11th largest market in the country.

Here’s the 2nd round and supplementals:

Second Round    
371. Twins (59-103, .364)
382. Reds (68-94, .420)
393. Padres (68-94, .420)
404. Rays (68-94, .420)
415. Braves (68-93, .422)
42Pittsburgh (2016 compensation)Note: #42 pick == Pittsburgh for not siging #41st pick last year; insert when all is said and done.
436. A's (69-93, .426)
447. D-backs (69-93, .426)
458. Phillies (71-91, .438)
469. Brewers (73-89, .451)
4710. Angels (74-88, .457)
4811. Rockies (75-87, .463)
4912. White Sox (78-84, .481)
5013. Pirates (78-83, .484)
5114. Marlins (79-82, .491)
5215. Royals (81-81, .500)
5316. Astros (84-78, .519)
5417. Yankees (84-78, .519)
5518. Mariners (86-76, .531)
5619. Cardinals (86-76, .531)
5720. Tigers (86-75, .534)
5821. Giants (87-75, .537)
5922. Mets (87-75, .537)
6023. Orioles (89-73, .549)
6124. Blue Jays (89-73, .549)
6225. Dodgers (91-71, .562)
6326. Red Sox (93-69, .574)
6427. Indians (94-67, .584)
6528. Nationals (95-67, .586)
6629. Rangers (95-67, .586)
6730. Cubs (103-58, .640)
Competitive Balance Round B
69San Diego
72Kansas City
75St. Louis

Only one change in the 2nd round this year; Pittsburgh gets the 42nd pick for failing to sign its 41st overall pick last year (LHP Nick Lodolo, who is now pitching for TCU and makes TCU a very strong team for one who just made the CWS).

Lastly, here’s round three and onwards: just add 30 to each of the draft slots to get the rest of the overall picks:

3rd Round  
761. Twins (59-103, .364)
772. Reds (68-94, .420)
783. Padres (68-94, .420)
794. Rays (68-94, .420)
805. Braves (68-93, .422)
816. A's (69-93, .426)
827. D-backs (69-93, .426)
838. Phillies (71-91, .438)
849. Brewers (73-89, .451)
8510. Angels (74-88, .457)
8611. Rockies (75-87, .463)
8712. White Sox (78-84, .481)
8813. Pirates (78-83, .484)
8914. Marlins (79-82, .491)
9015. Royals (81-81, .500)
9116. Astros (84-78, .519)
9217. Yankees (84-78, .519)
9318. Mariners (86-76, .531)
9419. Cardinals (86-76, .531)
9520. Tigers (86-75, .534)
9621. Giants (87-75, .537)
9722. Mets (87-75, .537)
9823. Orioles (89-73, .549)
9924. Blue Jays (89-73, .549)
10025. Dodgers (91-71, .562)
10126. Red Sox (93-69, .574)
10227. Indians (94-67, .584)
10328. Nationals (95-67, .586)
10429. Rangers (95-67, .586)
10530. Cubs (103-58, .640)

Some overall draft thoughts:

  • Pittsburgh will have the 12th, 42nd, 50th and 73rd picks in the first two rounds.
  • Interestingly, the three teams that gave up 1st rounders all have supplemental 2nd round picks, probably factoring into their willingness to give up the 1st rounder.
  • The three teams that picked up extra 1st round picks (Toronto, Texas, Chicago) are all 2016 playoff teams.  I think the impact of the QO draft pick compensation system is now so far away from what it intended that it borders on the ridiculous.
  • Minnesota picks 1st, 35th, 37th and 76th.  It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the 1st overall pick, whether they go the safe route and pick someone like Jeren Kendall from Vanderbilt or whether they take one of the huge upside prep players near the top of draft boards right now (Hunter Greene or Jordan Adell).  Its pretty early for draft coverage though; check back in a few months for this.
  • Despite winning the world series, the Cubs will pick 27th, 30th and then 67th.  Three picks in the top 70 for the WS champion; the rich get richer.

Post-publishing note: MLB handed down the punishment in the hacking scandal and it costs St. Louis their first two picks; they now go to Houston.  This changes the above draft order by giving St. Louis’ 56th and 75th pick to Houston.  So Houston now owns the #15, #53, #56, #75 and 91st overall picks in this draft while St. Louis does not draft until the 3rd round, #94 overall.

Lastly, lets talk about the impact for the Nats and their 2017 draft:

  • We moved up three spots in the 1st round; now we pick 25th overall.
  • We then pick 65th and 103th.
  • After that, we pick 133rd and in 30 pick increments afterwards.  So 163rd, 193rd, 223rd, etc.

25th overall is still a good spot.  Here’s the 25th overall picks from the last few drafts (courtesy as always of

  • 2016: Eric Lauer, a solid LHP from Kent State who had a 1.44 ERA in 7 starts in the Northwoods league for his pro debut.
  • 2015: D.J. Stewart, a slugger from Florida State who posted an .837 OPS in the Carolina League this year.
  • 2014: Matt Chapman, a SS/3B from Cal State Fullerton who hit 36 homers between AA and AAA this year.
  • 2013: Christian Arroyo, a prep SS who hit .274 as a 21yr old playing full time in AA this year.
  • 2012: Richie Shaffer, a utility guy with some pop who has been up and down for Tampa Bay the last two years between MLB and AAA.
  • 2011: Joe Ross, who I think we’re all pretty high on even given his arm issues from last year.
  • 2010: Zack Cox, a solid hitting 3B who shot up St. Louis’ system and was flipped to Miami, where his career stalled at the AAA level
  • 2009: Mike Trout.  Yeah; Mike Trout was “only” the 25th overall pick.  There’s 24 teams who are kicking themselves for the next 20 years.
  • 2008: Christian Friedrich, who started all last year for San Diego but may be destined for the bullpen.
  • 2007: Aaron Poreda, who struggled in the bullpen for Texas and has pitched in Japan for the last two years.

So, generally there seems to be solid college players at the 25th overall, with some upside if you gamble on a prep kid.  That’s probably what we’re looking at in that range come June.


27 Responses to '2017’s Draft order is now finalized; Overall and Nats impact'

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  1. For years I tried to make myself feel better by thinking that the Nats got a discount signing Storen (to help pay for Stras) and couldn’t have afforded to buy out college from a HS kid like Trout. Then I looked it up. Storen signed for a $1.6M bonus, Trout for $1.215M. Storen did take “underslot” based on slot expectations by about $400K, FWIW. But considering that Trout took 1.2, he likely would have taken 1.6 to go earlier. The Nats just missed on him, like everyone else did.

    As to the overall point, yes, there should be a good player available at #25. We need hitters, power hitters . . . (is it too early to start the drumbeat?).


    20 Jan 17 at 11:21 am

  2. Trust me, I’m not second guessing the Nats on Trout. They were not looking for prep HS players. They needed a player in that Storen slot who was a lock to sign b/c they’d lose it otherwise right?

    Todd Boss

    20 Jan 17 at 3:44 pm

  3. Things are finally starting to happen on the free agent front, including the Trumbo re-signing that kicked off this post. Wally lost Feliz to the Brewers (look for him to be flipped at the trade deadline.) Valbuena signed with the Angels, so one of the good bench possibilities is gone. I was never sure he was a good fit with the Nats anyway since he can’t play SS.

    Speaking of guys who can, Rosenthal listed Difo among the myriad of potential 2B candidates for the Dodgers. That’s interesting. I wonder what they would offer. Since I’m not convinced that Difo is going to hit enough in the majors to even be a good utility option for a contender (his AA numbers are not inspiring), I wouldn’t be unhappy if they could get a decent prospect for him in a trade.

    I also thought it was curious that Drew wasn’t one of the names Rosenthal mentioned in connection with the Dodgers.

    Meanwhile, the Post has yet-yet-yet another Wieters-to-Nats piece. I hope they get a kickback from Boras every time they fan that flame. He’s got two other clients in Holland and Drew who make a lot more sense for the Nats than Wieters does . . . unless Wieters wants to sign for something like 2/$8M.


    20 Jan 17 at 5:35 pm

  4. Logan is a pretty good reliever. If they only have room for 1 more add, I’d say he is the biggest need. Next would be Drew. Given their apparent payroll constraints, I can’t see the flyer on Holland as a good gamble. If they had spare cash, then sure.

    I can’t imagine Difo has much trade value, honestly. Maybe he turns into something eventually, but he hasn’t proven anything yet. If they really need to offer up someone, and don’t want to part with their top 3, I’d say Severino is the next in line.


    21 Jan 17 at 3:22 pm

  5. Boone Logan is not a good reliever. He had a good season last year, sure – built on a ridiculous .221 BABIP that was 100 points lower than his career BABIP. He’s a reliever with a career 1.448 WHIP – blech. He’s a “buy high, regret later” player waiting to happen.

    John C.

    22 Jan 17 at 12:00 am

  6. I disagree. He is a high K lefty reliever with higher than you’d like B/9 and with average to good GB rates. He’s literally averaged more than 11k/9 for 5 years. If his walk rate was 2/9 instead of 3.5, he’d be looking at a 4 yr deal. The Nats don’t have enough K guys, imo, and it would be good to add one more, especially a lefty who can handle a righty. There were clearly better ones out there this offseason but at this point, he is still better than half the guys set to open in the pen.

    On another note, some prospect rankings are coming out and KLaw had the Nats at 22. That doesn’t mean that’s what they are, it’s just his opinion, but it’s consistent with how I see them this year. Low but with upside potential with all the Latin kids and recent draftees in low A or lower.


    22 Jan 17 at 8:38 pm

  7. In part it gets down to price, all the more so at this late signing date. Logan, Howell, and Travis Wood all made $6M+ last season. To the Nats, they would be worth around $3M. I haven’t heard Wood mentioned in relation to the Nats, but he was a Dusty-era Red, so don’t sleep on him.

    All in all, I’m more concerned about the bench than I am the bullpen. They’d get a lot of mileage out of Drew or Aybar for utility and Brandon Moss or Logan Morrison for 1B/LF.


    23 Jan 17 at 8:09 am

  8. On another note, with Ventura’s tragic death, the Royals are in need of a starter. The Nats have Cole and Voth. The problem is that on quick glance, I don’t see much the Royals have that would help the Nats too much. Hunter Dozier, maybe? He’s pretty highly ranked for them to give up for a back-end starter. He’s got enough power to consider as the heir for LF, though. I don’t know too much about their other prospects. I’d be nice to get Khalil Lee in a Nat uniform, but we’d want more than just Lee for an MLB-ready starter.


    23 Jan 17 at 10:02 am

  9. I don’t think that the Nats have the rotation depth to be trading away a potential starter, even a back end one.

    John C.

    23 Jan 17 at 12:04 pm

  10. John, I don’t disagree on the Nats’ shakiness beyond the starting five. At the same time, I don’t know that the Nats would be comfortable with having to turn to Cole as a regular rotation option, either. He’s struggled in his two big-league stints and wasn’t good at Syracuse last year (4.26 ERA, 1.33 WHIP). I’m pretty much to the point with him that if they can get something for him, go for it. For the record, this is not the same as my “he must go” attitude about Taylor, or my “it’s time for him to go” attitude about Espinosa before he was traded; it’s more “why keep him around if we don’t trust him, and why should we trust him”?

    Alternatives? Voth has consistently out-pitched Cole at AAA, for whatever that’s worth. I was surprised last year when the Nats bypassed him for Cole, Giolito, Lopez, and Latos. I hope he has a strong spring and gets consideration for sticking with the big club over Cole. I also have some hope for Jacob Turner, who is much younger than the Nats’ typical rehab projects, not much older than Cole. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sign a couple of others. Latos is still out of work, as is Medlen, who was really bad last year.

    Fedde isn’t ready yet but could be by midseason. He needs more seasoning in AA. He’ll be as ready as Giolito was by July. I know that’s not a ringing endorsement, but that’s all I’ve got.


    23 Jan 17 at 1:10 pm

  11. Agree with JohnC: They’ve needed at least 8 starters every year going back for the whole resurgence. Right now the first injury puts a guy with a 5.29 career MLB era in the rotation, the second puts a guy with zero innings above AAA.

    And they have a rotation with 2 major injury question marks right now (Strasburg, Ross). I’m hoping Fedde storms out of the gate and takes over the 6th starter title asap. Hopes and prayers after that.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jan 17 at 1:13 pm

  12. I wouldn’t mind the Nats taking a look at Blanton. It might be getting late enough that he’d take less than the $4M he got last year. I’d trust him a lot more with the long man/emergency rotation role than I do Cole. (And yes, he got creamed by the Cubs, but the Nats did very little against him.)

    As I said, Cole scares me as a regular rotation option, which is why I was interested in Tyson Ross. Is it overkill to worry too much about starters 6/7/8 when the majority of other clubs don’t have five viable ones? I don’t know.

    The Eaton trade seemed like a big organizational endorsement of what they think of Fedde. I don’t think they would have pulled the trigger on that deal if they didn’t have a lot of confidence in the upside of this guy. And I say that as someone who was a Fedde doubter until last season.


    23 Jan 17 at 1:54 pm

  13. Travis Wood would also be a good bullpen option who has considerable background as a starter as well.


    23 Jan 17 at 1:56 pm

  14. KW: good point about 6/7/8th starters. I have a little worksheet ranking rotations that i’ll probably publish soon, but its amazing how thin these rotations get. Consider even the “good” rotations out there: Cleveland’s #5 is Josh Tomlin; 4.40 ERA, 4.80 FIP last year. San Fransico is still clinging to hope that Matt Cain will be good (his ERA and FIP have both eclipsed 5.00 in the last two years despite pitching most of his starts in NL West pitcher’s havens).

    Speaking of starters and rotation rankings, hate to see another good young player die. I t hink Jose Fernandez’ death knocked down the Marlins rotation rank at leats 8 spots, and Ventura’s death knocked Kansas City down at least 5 spots in my rankings.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jan 17 at 2:08 pm

  15. . . . which is why it’s so surprising that legit starters like T. Ross and Hammel have draw so little interest overall. Maybe the medical reports on both guys are worse than is generally known.


    23 Jan 17 at 2:39 pm

  16. Has Chelsea been reading our posts?

    Anderson signed with the Cubs after this was posted.


    24 Jan 17 at 5:25 am

  17. Holland-Nats rumors heating up. He’s a price-point deal to me. If he can be had for less than $5M, go for it. The initial rumors months ago in the $10-12M range were way out of line with the risk involved.


    24 Jan 17 at 9:38 am

  18. Verducci compares Trea to . . . Rock Raines:


    24 Jan 17 at 12:57 pm

  19. And Holland to Rockies. Lots of weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Natosphere, but not particularly from me. I’ve been queasy all along about the Nats pursuing him. He threw 88-89 in his “showcase.” This is a guy who relied a lot on his 94-95. I’ve said all along that I wouldn’t be interested in him until his price got really low, and I didn’t think he would be contributing much until the second half.

    I like Treinen, Solis, and Glover at the back of the bullpen. I’m not particularly sold on Kelley, but he seems to know how to be effective and will have another year of recovery from TJ2 until his belt. I’ve said all winter that the Nats would only improve their back-end situation with one of the “big three” relievers, all of whom came at steep prices and long-term commitments.

    Now what? Do the Nats deal for another quasi-closer or just not worry about it? I think they would have had Colome or Robertson by now if their prices hadn’t been too high. Doolittle, maybe? Would he be any improvement, other than adding another lefty? Or would they be better off in investing in guys like Travis Wood and/or Blanton, as discussed above?


    25 Jan 17 at 2:26 pm

  20. I’ll be curious to see what Holland signed for. It does look like the Nate are maxed out on payroll. Maybe a few million left.

    I don’t mind missing Holland because his health makes him such a wildcard. But KW, I’m surprised how you evaluate the existing guys. I think kelley is head and shoulders the best one right now. I like Treinen and Sklis too, and am hopeful on Glover.

    But the remaining two or three are weak right now. If they do have payroll room and could add two of Blevins, Blanton and Boone, I think that would be a big help.


    25 Jan 17 at 3:18 pm

  21. The other, unrelated, observation is: I don’t really ‘like’ this team. Meaning that there aren’t a lot of them that I’ll go out of my way to catch. Must See TV kind of comment. There really are only three position players that I am enthusiastic for: Eaton, Murphy and Turner. I like, not love, Rendon. I’m getting tired of Bryce, believe it or not. Love watching their top 3 SPs , avoid Gio and am so-so on watching Ross. And there really isn’t a bullpen guy that I get excited by. Maybe Glover turns into that guy but he is t there yet.

    I also think this will be the last year for a while that they will be NL east favorites. I see Harper traded next offseason and more drastic turnover coming. Plus everyone else getting better.


    25 Jan 17 at 3:25 pm

  22. Looks like Holland is getting $7M guaranteed plus $3M in possible incentives this year and a chance for a lot more next year. Wow. Good for him. Good for Rizzo for saying no. For reference, that’s more than Tyson Ross got.

    I don’t love-love-love our ‘pen, but most of those guys (Kelley, Treinen, Solis, Glover) are as good or better than the ones who have been on the market after the big three closers. There was no need to overpay. Perez scares me, and my skepticism of Cole as the long man is expressed above. We’ll see where they go from here.

    Never say never, but I’d be shocked if Rizzo even talks with Blevins’ agent. They unloaded the dude over a $100K arb difference. There had to be some bad blood there somewhere.


    25 Jan 17 at 3:29 pm

  23. Gotta admit, I wasn’t regretful when Holland went elsewhere. And that’s a ton of money for a guy who wasn’t even throwing 90 in his workouts.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jan 17 at 7:49 pm

  24. Yep, I was shocked at how much Holland got. Rizzo probably was, too!

    I think some other dominoes will start to fall now for the Nats. My guess would be that Holland was the biggest-ticket guy on whom they were bidding, so they had to wait and see with him so they’d know how much they had left.

    They’ve got three slots open on the 40-man but also a good handful of guys who are DFA candidates . . . and Michael Taylor to trade. My shopping list: Drew (with Aybar as the alternate); Logan Morrison or Brandon Moss; Travis Wood; maybe Joe Blanton. I’d also try to bring Belisle back on a minor-league deal with ST invite. I’d take J. P. Howell over Boone Logan, but Wood over both of them.

    Also on the bullpen: the Nats have added some good young arms in Cordero, Adams, and Gott. If they get a couple of those pointed in the right direction, they could be significant additions to the bullpen. They’ve also got minor-league deals with a couple of lefties who’ll get long looks if they show anything: Collins and Cott. It will also be interesting to see if they have Jacob Turner in the hunt for the long man slot or want him stretched out in AAA as a starter. I’ll bet they’ll sign an Arroyo/Latos type or two as well. Maybe they can find the next Rich Hill! Oh wait, they did, and let him walk.


    25 Jan 17 at 8:15 pm

  25. I think money is a real issue. I wouldn’t be surprised in their last move is Aybar on a $1m deal, and another minor league deal with ST invite or two.

    Taylor’s not going anywhere, I think. He’ll beat out Goodwin for 5th OF


    25 Jan 17 at 9:01 pm

  26. Taylor is Danny Jr. — can’t make even a decent amount of contact, and can’t/won’t change. Drives me crazy. I sure hope Goodwin can beat out Taylor.


    26 Jan 17 at 5:15 am

  27. I agree with you but I don’t think the Nats do


    26 Jan 17 at 8:44 am

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