Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats 2019 Draft: 1st and 2nd Day Reactions of top 10 picks


Mendoza is our 2nd highest 2019 pick out of FSU. Photo via the Daily Nole

Mendoza is our 2nd highest 2019 pick out of FSU. Photo via the Daily Nole

Here’s a first look at our top 10 rounds worth of draft picks, or where we stand after day 2 of the MLB Draft.

Overall, the mock draft pundits really nailed the top of this draft, perfectly predicting the first 7 picks.  Starting around pick 8 though, we started to see enough surprises/reaches that allowed the Nats to end up with a guy ranked as  high as #12 on most pre-draft boards at the #17 pick, pretty good value all things considered.  They also got pretty good “value” with their 3rd and 4th rounders.

How about the Nats picks?

RoundOverallNamePositionCol/HSCollege or CmtmStateSlot Value
117Rutledge, JacksonRHP (Starter)Col J2San Jacinto College North (TXTX3609700
394Mendoza, Drew3BCol JrFlorida State UFL618200
4124Cronin, MattLHP (reliever)Col JrArkansasAR464500
5155Dyson, TylerRHP (starter)Col JrFloridaFL346800
6184Cluff, JacksonSSCol SoBYUUT266000
7214Peterson, ToddRHP (reliever)Col JrLSULA208200
8244Ydens, JeremyOF (corner)Col JrUCLACA169500
9274McMahon, HunterRHP (starter)Col Jr.Texas StateTX152600
10304Pratt, AndrewCCol SrLubbock ChristianTX144100

Pick by Pick:  I’ve included draft board rankings if they’re ranked on the main prospect ranking sites I like (see links at bottom for the sources);

  • 1st Round/#17 overall: Jackson Rutledge, RHP from Texas Juco.  See stand-alone post on Rutledge for more.  Pre-draft Ranks: #15th by Keith Law, 12th by MLB, 14th by Baseball America, 13th by 20/80, 21st by Fangraphs.
  • (2nd Round/#57 overall): forfeited in the Patrick Corbin signing.   #57 pick ended up being Matt Gorski, a College Jr CF from Indiana U as selected by Pittsburgh.
  • 3rd Round/#94 overall: Drew Mendoza, 3B from Florida State.  Ranks: #55 on MLBpipeline, #84 on 20/80, #52 on Fangraphs, #75 on BA.  Was a 1st-2nd round prospect coming out of HS, is a huge guy (6’5″).  Left-handed hitting, big power guy.  67/65 K/BB ratio in 60 college games for a gaudy slash line of .320/.482/.631 with 16 homers.  Of concern: 15 errors in 60 games at the hot corner.  Seems like he’s headed to 1B.  Hey, as long as he hits.  I like the general rankings of Mendoza (50s to 70s) versus his draft spot (94), that’s almost a round worth of value.
  • 4th Round/#123 overall: Matt Cronin, LHP (reliever) from Arkansas.  Ranks: #74 Keith Law, #73 MLB, #99 fangraphs, #71 BA, #72 20/80.  Arkansas’ closer, posted 40/14 K/BB in 27 innings.  .163 BAA and a WHIP just above 1.00.  Reportedly hits 98 with little in the way of secondary pitches, so sounds like a lefty reliever all the way.  The Nats also drafted some reliever-only guys high up in 2018 (Reid Schaller was exclusively in the bullpen in college, but then did nothing but start in short season in 2018), so it remains to be seen how he’d be used.  As with Mendoza, lots of value here.  He’s ranked generally in the mid 70s by nearly every pundit but lasts until #123 in the draft.
  • (4th round comp/138 overall): also forfeited in the Corbin singing.  Actual pick at #138 was Darrell Hernatz, prep HS SS from Texas.
  • 5th round/#154 overall: Tyler Dyson, RHP (starter/reliever) from Florida.  Ranks: #123 BA, #142 MLB.  Hard throwing but wild starter who was a pre-season All American selection .. but ended up kicked out of U-Florida’s rotation.  It sounds to me like he’s a project; a two pitch guy who’s lost faith in one of them and thus gotten whacked around.  With refinement of a 2nd pitch, he’s a useful bullpen guy.  With the reclamation of a third pitch, he’s back to being an effective starter.  He’s a 1st round talent without the 1st round consistency.  An interesting risk pick here.
  • 6th round/184 overall: Jackson Cluff, SS draft-eligible Soph. from BYU.  He’s a bit older (he missed 2 years with a Mission), hence why he’s draft eligible sophomore.   BA reports him has being basically a utility infielder type, able to play 2B, SS, 3B, with decent hitting and good speed (12-for-12 SBs on the  year).   He is unranked by any service, making me think perhaps this is a slot-savings pick.
  • 7th round/214 overall: Todd Peterson, RHP reliever from LSU.  #218 on BA.  Reliever-only guy for LSU, sharing closer duties this year.  BA scouting report says he’s a 2-pitch guy with some inconsistencies.
  • 8th round/244 overall: Jeremy Ydens, corner OF for UCLA, college Jr.  BA scouting report says he made the All Star team in the Cape Cod league last summer, broke a finger early this season and barely played.  I wonder if he’s even signable here; slot value is $169k: I wonder if he’d roll the dice and return to school.  That being said, basically every player taken in the top 10 rounds has a pre-selection deal verbally agreed to, so there shouldn’t be any surprises.
  • 9th round: 274 overall: Hunter McMahon, a RHP starter for Texas State.  He’s a RS sophomore, so this isn’t a senior slot savings pick.  He was a weekend starter for Texas State with crummy numbers on the season, but some flashes of brilliance (a complete game with 11 Ks and 0 walks against Louisiana-Lafayatte for example).  BA has little to no scouting on the guy.
  • 10th round/304 overall: Andrew Pratt, college Sr C from Lubbock Christian.  This seems like the sole “senior slot” guy the Nats are taking and its a classic; senior from a small school with no scouting reports on any major service.  PG notes that he was committed to New Mexico out of high school; perhaps he transferred to the smaller school to maintain eligibility.  Kudos to saving bonus money and getting a college catcher.

First 10 rounds worth of picks breakdown:

  • 5 arms, 4 position players
  • 9 college (1 juco), 0 high schoolers.
  • Of the 5 arms: 2 starters, 2 relievers, and one starter-dumped-to-relief arm.
  • Just 1 slot-saving senior draftee; 10th round Pratt pick.
  • Heavy influence from major college programs: Florida, two from Vanderbilt, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Florida State.

Conclusion: I liked the Rutledge pick, based on the run on college bats ahead of it and the selection of Rutledge over other college arms that went just after him.  I like Mendoza, even if it seems like he’s destined for 1B.   Cronin & Dyson seem like relievers now, but with professional coaching perhaps can make a return to the rotation (much like last year’s Reid Schaller).   Ydens could be a good value pick, a guy who slid several rounds from his true talent thanks to hand injury this year.  Peterson, like the other two relievers, maybe uses some coaching to improve.  Cluff and Pratt seem like short-A utility guys.  I’m curious to see how McMahon fares against better competition than C-USA.  All in all, not a bad collection of picks given the lack of a 2nd rounder.

What do you guys think of it?

Draft Links of Use

  1. Mlbpipeline’s Draft Tracker for 2019
  2. All 10 rounds of slot bonus figures for 2019
  3. BA’s draft database with search options by team, state, etc. (behind a paywall)
  4. Perfect Game to get profiles on more obscure draftees.

Draft Rankings referred to within here:

13 Responses to 'Nats 2019 Draft: 1st and 2nd Day Reactions of top 10 picks'

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  1. I will move forward this link that had Dyson and Mendoza #s 4 & 5 overall in mock at this time last year:

    The fates of draft fortune are curious. Dyson struggled this season, but Mendoza had a good year at the plate but still dropped (not in the field).


    5 Jun 19 at 7:08 am

  2. I’ll also move forward my early reactions:

    Here’s my quick take on the Nats’ draft. I think it will be graded well, possibly very well, by the pundits because they got perceived value with their top three picks, by as much as a round with Mendoza and Cronin, and got sort of a fallen star in Dyson in the 5th.

    As I’ve stated above [in last post], my only real “problem” is with the philosophy. The Nats in recent years have found several pitchers in rounds beyond the 1st who have developed well. They’ve not done nearly as well with hitters not taken in the 1st. At some point, you have to draft for need. I would rather that they had taken someone like Hoese or Davidson in the 1st, then a pitcher in the 3d. Five of the next nine picks after Mendoza were college pitchers, so the Nats would have had their choice of a number of pitchers who were valued by the better teams picking behind them. Or they could have still taken Mendoza (although probably not if they had already taken Hoese).

    I think Mendoza has as much chance/potential to develop into an MLB hitter as anyone they could have hoped to have gotten in the 3d round. But I’ve been burned by getting excited by the “value” of the Wiseman and Banks picks to the point that, well, I’ll just have to be pleasantly surprised if Mendoza turns out to be significantly better than them.


    5 Jun 19 at 7:11 am

  3. For rounds 6-10, the only guys who look remotely interesting are Peterson and Ydens. The rest weren’t even particularly good in college, so I’m not sure why they’re seen as “projectable” in the pros. And yes, I fully understand that these rounds are usually for saving money to pay overslot to the higher picks. Their first three picks were all projected higher than they went, so they may all be looking for a little extra cash. Rutledge as a soph with a commitment to the U of KY has a little leverage, but I can’t see that Mendoza and Cronin do. They’d get very little if they go back and are senior draftees next year.


    5 Jun 19 at 7:17 am

  4. Minor quibble with the description of Ydens as a “corner OF”. He’s played a bunch of CF also, including was a Cape Cod league CF in the All Star game last summer. He looked really strong as a soph, so hopefully his falloff this year was just injury related and we can get him signed.


    5 Jun 19 at 8:27 am

  5. Dave: fair point on Yden. I coulnd’t really find a ton of info on him in my limited BA research but did read that he was playing “LF” for UCLA this spring, so fair point. All the better if he’s CF capable. Agree that he was great last year and that he’d be a great sign.

    Interestingly, I only see one “punt” of a pick, so it looks like the team has really got everyone to agree to slot, and maybe only have to go over on one or two guys slightly.

    Todd Boss

    5 Jun 19 at 8:51 am

  6. I said in the last post, I really liked not punting picks. Overall, this draft had amongst the least expectations for the Nats given the number of picks and pool size. Compared to those reduced expectations, they did well but I’d be surprised if there are any long term core pieces here.


    5 Jun 19 at 2:37 pm

  7. According to what I find on Baseball Cube, Pratt (10th round) actually played two years at New Mexico before transferring to a DII school. He his .326 as a frosh at NM and had a big year this season:

    This also shows him as a junior, although he’s turning 23 in July.

    I’m not sure there’s any total punts here. McMahon’s numbers aren’t very good, though. Must be a big guy with a “big arm,” although his K totals are nothing special.

    Ydens sounds a fair amount like Gage Canning, their 5h rounder last year. He progressed pretty quickly but has stalled at Potomac. Still, I’m happy to have anyone a year after the draft be at Potomac.


    5 Jun 19 at 2:47 pm

  8. Thus far this afternoon, the Nats have drafted pitchers who are 6-7/245, 6-6/225, 6-4/220, and 6-4/217. Not that they’re infatuated with size or anything . . . they just need hoops teammates for Rutledge (6-8/250).


    5 Jun 19 at 2:55 pm

  9. It will be big kudos if they can get Bryce Osmond signed. I doubt it but who knows


    5 Jun 19 at 8:37 pm

  10. Really hard to see that the Nats have the flexibility with their small pool to tempt Osmond, unless they had a deal for Rutledge for $2M or something (very doubtful). Still, with Osmond projected only as the 53d pick (, he shouldn’t be looking for the same level of money that someone like Allan would be.


    6 Jun 19 at 5:28 am

  11. Thanks Todd. I have no idea if we have something good here but it’s fun to take a look.

    Mark L

    6 Jun 19 at 8:36 am

  12. A side note on the big club: now won 9 of the last 11. Davey seems to have saved his job, and selloff talk has dissipated. The Phils and Braves didn’t get Kimbrel, and the Phils have lost Cutch for the season. The Nats are still 6.5 games back, but that’s a heck of a lot better than the -10 they were at the start of the streak. The streak has been fueled by offense, as the Nats have scored at least five runs in eight of the wins and scored four in the other one. The bullpen is still pretty shaky, though, and they have to make the decision on Rosenthal by Sunday–activate or DFA. He struggled again at AA last night.


    6 Jun 19 at 9:17 am

  13. […] reviewed the top 10 more in-depth in the previous post. Lets zip through the rest of the draft and do some quick commentary as needed.  I’m […]

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