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

Nats 2019 Draft Class Wrap-Up


Rutledge is signed up and ready to go. Photo via BA

Jackson Rutledge is signed up and ready to go. Photo via BA

The 7/15/19 deadline has passed, and the Nats have their official Draft class.

The last two top-10 round players signed (CWS participants Drew Mendoza and Matt Cronin) signed with little fan-fare and suddenly we had Mendoza showing up in Hagerstown.  We learned later he signed an over-slot deal for $800k, about $181k over slot and using up basically every last penny of our 2019 bonus pool and the 5% cushion.   (nearly every penny; see below for what the Nats did with the leftover dollars): Here’s a summary of the top-10 picks and the over-slot guys counting against the cap:

RoundOverallNamePositionCol/HSCollege or CmtmStateBonus AmtSlot ValueSavings off of Slot?
117Rutledge, JacksonRHP (Starter)Col J2San Jacinto College North (TXTX34500003609700159700
394Mendoza, Drew3BCol JrFlorida State UFL800000618200-181800
4123Cronin, MattLHP (Reliever)Col JrArkansasAR4645004645000
5153Dyson, TylerRHP (Starter)Col JrFloridaFL500000346800-153200
6183Cluff, JacksonSSCol SoBYUUT20000026600066000
7213Peterson, ToddRHP (Reliever)Col JrLSULA220000208200-11800
8243Ydens, JeremyOF (CF)Col JrUCLACA1695001695000
9273McMahon, HunterRHP (Starter)Col JrTexas StateTX1526001526000
10303Pratt, AndrewCCol SrLubbock ChristianTX10000144100134100
11333Arruda, J.T.SSCol JrFresno StateCA250000125000-125000
13393Randa, JakeOF (corner)Col J2NW Florida StateFL300000125000-175000
14423Knowles, LucasLHP (Starter)Col J3Central Arizona CollegeAZ136980125000-11980

The Nats gave over-slot deals to:

  • 3rd rounder Mendoza
  • 5th rounder Tyler Dyson
  • 7th rounder Todd Peterson
  • 11th rounder J.T. Arruda
  • 13th rounder Jake Randa.
  • 14th rounder Lucas Knowles, who gets the $11,980 exactly left over after the Nats signed Mendoza.  It seems like they signed Mendoza, calculated their remaining dollars with the 5% cushion, and gave Knowles that number and he took it.

I especially like the 11th and 13th round deals: Arruda got 6th round money and Randa got 5th round money, so that gives our draft class some extra talent.

Meanwhile, under-slot deals given to 1st rounder Jackson Rutledge, 6th rounder  Jackson Cluff, and 10th rounder Andrew Pratt enabled these moves.  I’m especially surprised that Rutledge signed for under slot, after having fallen on most draft boards.  This usually indicates that a player will demand over-slot money, not accept under-slot money.  The team made just one Senior Sign/blatant bonus money move, the 10th round catcher Pratt.

Bonus Pool Accounting for 2019:

  • Original Bonus amount for top 10 rounds: $5,979,600
  • Bonus amount plus 5% cushion: $6,278,580
  • Total Bonuses given counting against the cap: $6,216,600
  • Total savings/space left: 0$ exactly.  As noted above, the final $11,980 went to Knowles.
  • Total known Bonus money paid, all rounds: $7,536,600

the Nats paid a slew of $125k deals in the 11th-20th rounds to secure all these Juco guys.

Biggest surprise signings:

  • 23rd rounder HS pick Michael Cuevas, who took the $125k to forgoe a Juco commitment and come on board out of HS
  • 13th rounder Randa, who got bought out of a SEC Mississippi State transfer commitment.
  • 14th rounder Knowles, who seemed like he was bailing until offered slightly more than $125k and signed.
  • 32nd rounder Dylan Beasley, a college Junior who took $50k to turn pro.

Biggest surprise non-signings:

  • none really: our 26th rounder college Senior Dupree Hart has yet to sign as of 7/9/19, and his twitter says he’s a “financial Advisor” with Northwestern Mutual, so he may be declining a pro baseball career.

All told, 29 of their 39 picks got signed.

Assignments for the class:

  • 12 to GCL, including several college seniors who are going to be way too old for the level
  • 5 who spent a few days in GCL then went to Short-A
  • 9 Straight to Short-A
  • 3 straight to Low-A: Mendoza, Cronin and Cluff; havn’t seen a draft pick straight to such a high level since Stephen Strasburg, unless i’m not remembering someone in particular





8 Responses to 'Nats 2019 Draft Class Wrap-Up'

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  1. Thanks Todd, great stuff. Didn’t know that story about Knowles.

    Mark L

    18 Jul 19 at 3:36 pm

  2. A few thoughts, while I wait for the game that we hope is really the first one of the beginning of the pennant race:

    I think Luke said that Mendoza and Cluff were the first Nat field players to start with a full-season team since Harper (not counting his AFL stint after being drafted), and then Zim before him. I’m sorta pleased that they’ve pushed Mendoza, as the organization desperately needs hitters, but there wasn’t much in Cluff’s background that argued for advanced placement, and indeed he has struggled. I’m sorta holding my breath on Mendoza, as his college jr. stats look a lot like Wiseman’s did, albeit with more walks.

    I thought part of the reason Rutledge fell in the draft was a signability question, yet he came in under slot. Curious. I’ve been underwhelmed thus far with what he’s done as a pro. Maybe he’ll pick it up in his second season, as Cate has, so I’m certainly not writing him off. But as of now, it looks like their last three first-round picks are a long way from making an MLB contribution.

    In an interesting move, they seem to be stretching out Peterson, who was a closer at LSU, so keep an eye on whether they convert him to a starter. Cronin has only been used an inning at a time thus far. With his advanced start and the MLB bullpen need, he’d be the one voted most likely to pull a Glover and possibly make the majors a year after being drafted. (NOT saying it WILL happen, just that they seem to be pointing him in that direction.)

    I’m interested to see what Knowles can do, and pleased that they could sign him. I like him and Willingham as draftees in the teen rounds who have a chance to do something. Randa as well from among the hitters.


    18 Jul 19 at 7:35 pm

  3. Kickin’ butt and takin’ names! Just four back in the loss column after Thursday. Plus the Stras homer/dance have to go in my top 10 most-fun things in Nats’ history.

    I’ve said since the offseason that the Braves don’t have enough pitching. Plus starting the series with a wet-behind-the-ears rookie wasn’t smart, no matter how highly touted he is. (And judging by his minor-league stats — 4.86 ERA in ’19 at AA — Wright is no great shakes right now.) Give the Nats credit for something they’ve been reluctant to do in the past — they totally lined up their top starters for the big series. They did blow a game in Balto they should have had, but that wasn’t the fault of the starter.

    So the pennant race is officially on.


    19 Jul 19 at 7:34 am

  4. Here’s a curious note while looking at the wild-card standings: everyone has been assuming that prime deadline targets across baseball will be several SF relievers plus Bumgarner. But the Giants are on a 9-1 run right now and are only 2.5 games out of the second wild card spot. If the Giants aren’t selling, then the deadline pitching market is going to be pretty tight.


    19 Jul 19 at 7:39 am

  5. As if we needed another reason to root for Anthony Rendon and hoping he signs soon.

    Mark L

    19 Jul 19 at 12:40 pm

  6. Ok, finally some action at the deadline. Who goes to make room for the new guys? Blazek the easy choice, and then I guess Sipp AND Grace?


    31 Jul 19 at 3:50 pm

  7. Blazek and Guerra DFA’d and Venters to 60-day to clear the third 40-man slot. Presumably, they will option someone to open the 25-man space, unless they’re going to DFA Grace or Sipp. I guess they can send Ross down for now.

    Of the traded, I only hated to lose Fletcher. Yes, he’s only a 14th-round pick who has gained a lot of value in just a year since being drafted. I think he’s going to make it, though. Guileau has made nice progress this year but is already 26. Johnston already looks like he’ll top out at AA.

    We’ll see how the guys in return pan out. Frankly, I’ve thought for a couple of years that Strickland might be a good fit with the Nats. With #3/34 and Werth now gone, there shouldn’t be any bad blood left. Hudson looks solid. Elias started the year as the M’s closer.


    31 Jul 19 at 7:48 pm

  8. New posted on the big trades.

    Todd Boss

    1 Aug 19 at 11:48 am

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