Nationals Arm Race

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

2019 Draft coverage; Overview of top Draft prospects


Rutschman is the clear 1-1 favorite. Photo via

Rutschman is the clear 1-1 favorite. Photo via

This is a review of the marquee names that have been in discussion for the top-end of the 1st round for the 2019 draft.  Since (especially high schoolers) guys constantly are moving up or down draft boards, each section is divided into two areas: those 4-5 names really in talks to go 1-1 overall (“1-1” means 1st round, 1st overall) and then those who have fallen to “just” being 1st or 2nd rounders.

By now, the top of the draft seems settled, but this post contains a slew of names that were once talked about as “top of the draft” talents but who have slipped.  Most of these names are back part of the 1st round/2nd rounders now, with some dropping to the point that they’ll honor college commitments and thus be 35th-40th rounders instead.

We’ll follow this up with a mock draft collection tomorrow; this is a good reference point for the names you’re going to hear day-1 of the draft.


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

  • Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State.  Switch-hitting Middle of the Order bat for the 2018 team, powered them to the CWS.  2nd team AA PG/Rawlings 2018 (behind Joey Bart).  1st team d1baseball AA 2018.  2018 USA Collegiate National Team.  Clear consensus 1-1 heading into 2019 spring season, and has stayed there, being almost guaranteed to go 1-1.
  • Andrew Vaughn, 1B California.  1st Team AA PG/Rawlings 2018.  1st team d1baseball AA 2018.  2018 USA Collegiate National Team, 2018 Golden spikes winner as a Sophomore.  Best  hitter in class.  Seems guaranteed to go in the 2-4 range.
  • Nick Lodolo, LHP, Texas Christian.  Supplemental 1st rounder in 2016 out of HS, 2017 freshman AA 1st or 2nd team.  3 year starter for TCU.  Mid-90s FB from left hand side.  #1 college arm, seems likely to go in the 6-8 range.
  • Alek Manoah, RHP West Virginia.  Huge 2018 Cape season vaulted into 1st round territory, huge guy with big arm.  Now #2 college arm in draft, perhaps #1 b/c of durability.  Likely going in the 6-8 range.
  • JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt.  Solid 2018 in Cape, rising star, corner OF.  Leading power hitter in d1baseball, has pushed his way into the top 5 discussion.

College Candidates who have fallen out of  1-1 contention

  • Jackson Rutledge, RHP San Jacinto JC.  Xfer out of 4-yr program (Arkansas) to become 2019 draft eligible.  Hits 97 from deceptive slot, could be sneaky 1st rounder, now mentioned as a top 10 pick.
  • Josh Jung, 3B Texas Tech.  3rd team AA PG/Rawlings 2018 as sophomore.   2nd team d1baseball AA 2018.  2018 USA Collegiate National Team, nearly hit .400 sophomore year, can also play OF.
  • Bryson Stott, SS UNLV.  2018 USA Collegiate National Team, staying at SS.
  • Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky; 2017 freshman All-American (2nd team d1baseball fresh AA in 2017).  Some elbow injury issues, but pitched well for team USA in 2018.
  • Hunter Bishop, OF Arizona State: helium 2019 guy, found power.
  • Michael Busch, 1B UNC.
  • Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri.  injured in 2018, true CF.
  • Graeme Stinson, LHP Duke.  big lefty, can be dominant, could be fast riser.
  • Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor.  2018 USA Collegiate National Team, performed well.  Still looks like top-10 pick b/c of position, but broke Hamate bone spr19.  Lots of pundits have him pegged as the Nats #1 pick.
  • Will Holland, SS Auburn.
  • Matt Wallner, OF, Southern Miss.  2018 USA Collegiate National Team.   Also pitches for Southern Miss; is their closer with upper 90s FB.
  • Logan Davidson, SS Clemson.  Combo of power and defensive ability to stick at SS.
  • Andrew Pallante, RHP for UC-Irvine.  2nd team AA PG/Rawlings 2018 as a sophomore.  2018 USA Collegiate National Team
  • Bryant Packard, OF ECU.  1st Team AA PG/Rawlings 2018.  2nd team d1baseball AA 2018.
  • Kyle Brnovich, RHP Elon.  1st Team AA PG/Rawlings 2018.  2nd team d1baseball AA 2018.  2018 USA Collegiate National Team.
  • Jack Little, RHP (closer) from Stanford.   1st Team AA PG/Rawlings 2018.  1st team d1baseball AA 2018.
  • Chase Strumpf, 2B UCLA.   2nd team AA PG/Rawlings 2018 (behind Kody Clemens).  2nd team d1baseball AA 2018.
  • Sean Mooney, RHP St. Johns.  3rd team AA PG/Rawlings 2018 as sophomore.
  • Grant Little, OF Texas Tech.   3rd team AA PG/Rawlings 2018 as sophomore.   2nd team d1baseball AA 2018.
  • Parker Caracci, RHP Ole Miss.  2nd team d1baseball AA 2018.
  • Zack Hess, RHP LSU via LCA in Lynchburg VA.  2018 USA Collegiate National Team, but really struggling as a starter, may be pushed down several rounds.
  • Mike Toglia, OF UCLA.
  • Carter Stewart, RHP Fla JuCo.  9th overall pick out of HS in 2018 enrolled in Juco, but stuff has faltered, costing him draft position in 2019.   Recently signed a pro contract in Japan, and no longer eligible in the draft.

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

  • Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS.  PG underclassman All-American as both soph and jr.   3rd Team USA today HS AA as a junior in 2018.  Son of Bobby Witt.  Oklahoma commit.  East Cobb Sox summer team.  At TOS 2018.  1st team Max Preps all-american in 2018 as a junior.  Likely going 2nd overall.
  • C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS (Alpharetta, Ga.) PG underclassman All-American as both soph and jr.  Alabama commit.  At TOS 2018.  Likely going in the 4-6 range.
  • Matthew Allan, RHP Seminole HS (Fla).  Evoshield Canes national team, PG underclassman AA all three years eligible.  Florida commit.  93-97 spring 19, rising up.  Top prep arm in draft?   Huge bonus demands may cause him to drop.
  • Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Oviedo, Fla.).  PG underclassman All-American as both soph and jr.  3rd Team USA today HS AA as a junior in 2018.   Florida commit.  At TOS 2018.  Best HS hitter in class?

High School guys in the 1st couple rounds:

  • Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary, Ill.  HS.  TCU commit.  91-93 on the mound.
  • Brett Baty, Inf from Lake Austin HS (Tex.).  Gatorade Texas state POTY as a junior in 2018, 1st team Max Preps all-american in 2018 as a junior.
  • Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside School (Seattle).  Helium guy summer 2018, smaller guy.  Canes summer team, UCLA commit.  Athletic guy, may be interesting argument.
  • Brennan Malone, RHP Matthews (NC) HS.   PG underclassman All-American as both soph and jr.  Up to 95 as 17yr old.  UNC commit.  At TOS 2018, hitting 97 now.
  • Rece Hinds, SS/3B, Niceville (Fla.) HS.  PG underclassman All-American as both soph and jr.   2nd Team USA today HS AA as a junior in 2018.  LSU commit.  Big power guy.
  • Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy (Statesboro, Ga.).  Helium guy summer 2018, up to 99 at events.  LSU commit.  Possible mechanics issues.
  • Jack Leiter, RHP NJ HS.  Son of Al Leiter, Vanderbilt commit, may be 4th best prep arm but will cost $$ to buy him out of Vanderbilt commitment.
  • Matthew Thompson, RHP Cyprus Ranch (Tex) HS.  PG underclassman All-American as both soph and jr.  TAMU commit.  Evoshield Canes National summer team.  At TOS 2018.
  • JJ Goss, RHP Cypress Ranch HS (Houston, TX).  Rising fast.
  • Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.).  PG underclassman All-American as both soph and jr.  UVA verbal commit.  East Cobb Astros summer team.  At TOS 2018.  polarizing prospect, some love him, some hat him.
  • Jerrian Ealy, OF Jackson Prep (Miss.) HS.  3rd Team USA today HS AA as a junior in 2018.   Ole Miss commit.  At TOS 2018.  2-way star, playing both Football and Baseball at Ole Miss.
  • Wesley Scott, RHP Woodcrest Christian (Cal.) HS.  Vanderbilt commit.  95 as a junior.
  • Sam Hliboki, RHP from Harvard-Westlake HS (Cal.).  2nd team Max Preps all-american in 2018 as a junior.
  • Logan Britt, OF All Saints Episcopal High School (Tex.)  TAMU commit.
  • Connor Phillips RHP Magnolia West High School (Tex).  LSU commit.
  • Matt McCormick, C St. Laurence (Burbank, Ill.).  3rd Team USA today HS AA as a junior in 2018.   West Virginia commit.  2nd team Max Preps all-american in 2018 as a junior
  • Joseph Charles, RHP The First Academy (Fla.) HS.  UNC Commit.  94 as a junior.
  • Nolan Hudi, LHP Calvary Christian (Clearwater, Fla.).  1st Team USA today HS AA as a junior in 2018.  TCU commit.
  • Geoffrey Gilbert, LHP Bishop England (Charleston, S.C.).  3rd Team USA today HS AA as a junior in 2018.   Clemson commit.
  • Carter Young, SS/2B Selah, Was.  At TOS 2018.
  • Jonathan French, C Parkview GA.  At TOS 2018.
  • GlenAllen  Hill Jr., OF Santa Cruz, Calif.  At TOS 2018.
  • Sam Ireland, SS from Mountain Vista HS (Col.).  State POTY for several publications in 2018 as a junior, 2nd team Max Preps AA.



Sources used to create this list

14 Responses to '2019 Draft coverage; Overview of top Draft prospects'

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  1. Rutschman basically pushed current Nat farmhand KJ Harrison out of catching at Oregon State. Harrison has caught two games for Potomac recently, though, an interesting and potentially significant development for the organization, considering how well Harrison’s bat has come alive this year after the trade from the Brewers (in the Gio dump).

    Harrison hasn’t caught enough for the Nats to influence the draft decision on Langeliers, though. And if Langeliers falls to the Nats, he makes a lot of sense. They don’t have much internal catching on the horizon, at least not MLB starter level. S. Kieboom and Read also have to be close to being out of options.

    No, no, no, a thousand times no to Matthew Allan. It’s seven years since Giolito was drafted. He’s FINALLY looking decent. Welcome to drafting high school pitchers. Maybe we’ll know about Denaburg in 2025. I begged/hoped they would take a look at Seth Beer. He’s position-limited, everyone said. Well, sure looks like the Nats need a 1B sooner rather than later. (Unless they move Soto, but they have NO OFs in the pipeline.) Hmm, Beer is currently tearing it up in AA just a year after the draft. Read that again, folks — excelling in AA RIGHT NOW. Denaburg is, um, perhaps getting ready to pitch in the GCL?

    So yeah, sure hope they’re looking at college hitters. Nats also said to have some interest in Jung if he falls to them. There are several college INFs with good bats in the 12-25 range or so, although Jung may be the best of that bunch.


    30 May 19 at 6:36 pm

  2. The Nats have no picks between #17 and #94. They also get no 4th round comp pick for Harper because they signed Corbin. Let’s add that their 2017 1st rounder has been a total disaster and is nowhere near the majors, and of course their 2018 1st rounder is a high schooler with a long way to go.

    Also, in 2017, the Nats invested an astounding 9 of their top 10 picks on pitchers. In 2018, it was 6 of the top 7. They’ve put almost nothing toward getting hitters. Nothing. For the 2016 draft, they’ve traded 4 of their top 6 picks. In 2015, the top pick was light-hitting Andrew Stevenson, who has “made it,” sort of, but looks AAAA at best, followed by the awful and since-traded Blake Perkins.

    Going back farther, the last Nat draftee to become an everyday regular was . . . Rendon, from 2011. Assuming C. Kieboom eventually makes it as well, that’s two starters from, um, eight drafts. Taylor (2009 draft) at times has been a regular. And of course there was that guy no longer with them who was 1/1 in 2010. That’s it, though, for a decade of (Rizzo) drafting, and two of those were 1/1 and 1/6.

    Anyway, sez here that they need to do something novel and find a hitter in the 1st round who can be an everyday player. Also, they should double Johnny DiPuglia’s salary, since he’s the only one who seems to be finding major-leaguers for them as director of international scouting.


    30 May 19 at 9:14 pm

  3. I’m seeing the Nats linked to a lot of college pitchers: George Kirby (RHP, Elon), Tyler Dyson (RHP, Florida), Nick Lodolo (LHP, TCU). I wouldn’t hate any of those, but it seems like the Nats need advanced hitter right now more than they do pitchers. They’ve got Fedde, Ross, and McGowin as younger starters who are sorta there, and Wil Crowe progressing nicely, with several of the 2018 arms also moving up well.

    With young hitters still in the minors, what have they got? Very little. C. Kieboom should be about ready. Garcia is ridiculously above his head at AA just turning 19 this month, but most think he’s an MLB talent. There are a few other guys doing interesting things, but if you had to bet on any farmhands becoming MLB regulars, um, those two are it at the moment. The OF list is particularly bleak, at least if you ignore 31-year-old Yadiel Hernandez.

    I would say if the Nats are truly drafting for need, they “need” catching and OF more than they need INF. Langeliers is really about the only 1st round catcher who could still be on the board at #17. If he isn’t, then what? For OF, I’m intrigued by Kameron Misner, but most draft boards have him farther down, around #30 or so. Still, he’s one of the best college OFs available.


    31 May 19 at 9:18 am

  4. There’s no way Lodolo gets to them; he’s top 10 in most mock drafts I see. Same with Manoah. I’ve heard zero people with Nats on dyson. Kirby i’ve seen a couple times … call me “meh” on him.

    Never draft for need. That’s like not drafting a SS b/c we have Trea Turner for 4 more years. Always draft BPA.

    Todd Boss

    31 May 19 at 12:18 pm

  5. Seth Beer; i heard a podcast recently where soemone said “Beer’s got questionable wood bad skills.” Uh, he’s crushing High-A and AA right now this year in his 2nd pro season and has a career minor league .934 OPS so far. I wish I could remember the pundit but damn. Ok so he’s a corner OF/1B type; uh so is Pete Alonso, so is/was Kyle Schwarber; two guys who got drafted much later than they should have and are now valuable bats for good teams.

    Todd Boss

    31 May 19 at 12:20 pm

  6. There seem to be more mentions of the Nats and Allan. Yikes. No, just no. Beyond the insanity of picking another pitcher who won’t contribute for half a decade, where do folks think they’re going to get bonus money to sign him? The Nats rank 25th in pool money, with less than a third of what the Snakes have.

    I agree that Lodolo should be gone by #17, and possibly Kirby as well. The only other college pitcher rated in that range is Zach Thompson. (Dyson really seems to have dropped, so not sure where the mock I saw got him up into the 1st round.) Anyway, Kirby and Thompson seem to be the ones who will be lurking around #12-18 or so. But I’d rather have a hitter.

    Need vs. BPA: lots of INFs in the Nats’ range: Jung (probably gone by 17), Wilson, Davidson, Hoese, and Busch, with Shewmake not too far down the list. I do think “need” comes into play if Langeliers is still on the board, but otherwise, pick the guy you think is going to be the best MLB hitter from among those listed here plus Misner. With Trea already entrenched at SS, I wouldn’t worry too much about defensive skills of the guys currently playing SS, as they likely would be moved. We need someone with an MLB bat.


    31 May 19 at 12:40 pm

  7. Allan has reportedly asked for $4M to buy him out of his college commitment. Nats would be fools to pay him $4M, so seem unlikely to go that route. They’re going to need to sign guys to slot thanks to the missing 2nd and 5th rounders unless they completely punt on picks 6-10. Latest mock i’ve seen has Nats getting Thompson from KY, another in the Nats M.O. of getting injured hurlers who fell due to injury. I think i’d be ok with Thompson.

    Even the best college player picked who shoots through the system is 2 years away. I mean, we’re midway through the 2019 season and just 4 players have debuted from teh 2017 class so far. that’s why you draft BPA versus need; who knows what the Nats Needs are going to be in 2021. Will we resign Rendon? Will Strasburg blow out his elbow? Will Kieboom turn into a super star or a dud? Will the team flip Soto and Robles for Mike Trout? just don’t know.

    Todd Boss

    1 Jun 19 at 7:05 pm

  8. Zach Thompson has had a very good season . . . but the Nats NEED position players more than they do pitchers. They’ve already got three LHP moving up well from last year’s draft in Tim Cate, Carson Teel, and Aaron Fletcher. They’ve also still got their 2017 #1 pick, who we assume will start next season at least at Potomac (err, Fredericksburg).

    With position players, what have they got, besides Kieboom? They have Garcia too young and struggling at AA, but that’s about it. They need an infusion of higher-quality positional talent more than they need another (wounded) arm.


    3 Jun 19 at 6:36 am

  9. KW

    3 Jun 19 at 8:33 am

  10. […] 2019 Draft coverage; Overview of top Draft prospects […]

  11. Any local players?


    3 Jun 19 at 9:26 am

  12. Yes there’s a few, but not really a ton of upper end talent. I’ll publish another post later today on local players to watch for.

    Todd Boss

    3 Jun 19 at 10:10 am

  13. By the way … basically every Mock now has Nats picking Allan and dealing with his $4M ask. $3.6M is the slot value.

    Todd Boss

    3 Jun 19 at 12:11 pm

  14. Keith Law was asked something similar (probably in reaction to Svruluga’s piece) and he challenged the premise, noting that the Nats got both Kieboom and Luzardo when they picked at the bottom of the 1st round in 2016. Which is a good point. I’ve gone draft by draft in this space in the past and pointed out fail years vs good years …

    Todd Boss

    3 Jun 19 at 5:00 pm

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