Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats 2023 Draft Class Review Rounds 11-20


Can the nats woo 11th rounder Gavin Adams out of a FSU commitment to join the team? Photo via

Here’s my review of the remaining players of the 2023 Draft Class, rounds 11-20.

By the way, the Draft Tracker is now updated. There are three tabs of interest for the 2023 draft:

  • Main Draft Tracker tab: shows Nats draft picks dating to 2005
  • 2023 Draft Class Worksheet, where we have schools, commits, twitter feeds, and will track signing/bonuses
  • 2023 Local Draft Class worksheet; tracking all DC/MD/VA players.

For reference below, the major Draft boards in use here are.

However, I’m not expecting these 11-20th rounders to really be on these lists. If i can find scouting reports besides on MLB’s free site, i’ll list them.

11th round: Gavin Adams, JC J2 RHP from Indian River State CC in Florida. Drafted 315 overall.

Adams is the first pick in the 11th round, the round where teams routinely try to grab players who might command a bit over-slot, since so many players picked in the rounds 8-10 are under-slot deals, pushing guys into the 11th. It isn’t clear how much $$ the Nats are going to have free; out of their $14M and change bonus pool, i’m projecting about $14M just to their top three picks, leaving not a ton of room for the rest of the class. But Adams is somewhat highly ranked all things considered, ranking #242 on MLB’s board, #171 on ESPNs, #311 on BAs site. We’ve paid a couple of 11th rounder in the $250k range over the past few years, i’d expect something similar for Adams. Will he sign? Well, the Nats had all night and all morning to find someone who would, so we have to assume he’s signing for whatever number he was offered.

BA scouting report:

Adams drew some interest as a late target in the 2022 draft, but flashed better control early in the 2023 season with Indian River State JC in Florida before struggling later in the season. The 6-foot-3 righty has a big arm and good pure stuff with a fastball that gets into the upper 90s, as well as solid feel to spin a mid-80s slider. Control remains a serious question mark and he’s mostly pitched out of the bullpen at the juco level, with 19 walks in 26.1 innings and a deep plunge in the back of his arm stroke.

12th round: Travis Sthele, Junior RHP from U-Texas Austin. Drafted 345 overall.

Sthele looked like either a Sunday starter or a mid-week starter for UT Austin this year. 5.75 ERA but a decent BAA for college. Redshirt sophomore, he was a big-time recruit coming out of college but then missed his entire freshman year with injury. He’s been basically the same guy for two years now; I wonder if he’ll want to return to school to finish his degree as a RS Junior/4th year college student versus taking a $125k bonus to try the pros. This is also the kind of guy who might be looking at Texas’ recruiting class and saying to himself, “hmm, my rotation spot might be in jeopardy, maybe I should go pro.” Seems like he may be a tougher sign.

Here’s a 2019 perfect game scouting report:

Travis Sthele is a 2020 RHP/SS with a 6-0 200 lb. frame from San Antonio, TX who attends Reagan. Strong athletic build. Rocker step delivery with a pause at the gather point, high 3/4’s to over the top arm slot with some back shoulder dip, works down the mound well with his lower half and gets good extension out front. Low 90’s fastball, topped out at 93 mph, maintained his velocity very well from the stretch, fastball is mostly straight. Slider is a good pitch when he doesn’t overthrow it, stays on top of it well and it shows nice 10/4 depth at times. Firm change up with occasional fading life. Aggressive pitching style with power stuff and will use all three pitches. Excellent student, verbal commitment to Texas.

13th round: Liam Sullivan, Junior LHP from University of Georgia Drafted 375 overall.

Third college arm in a row, after drafting just two senior signs in the first 10 rounds. Sullivan looks like he was Georgia’s Sunday starter this season, but got shelled; 5.77 ERA in 14 starts. He did manage to beat LSU this year and went to the MLB draft combine, a good indicator that he’s ready to turn pro.

BA has him ranked #278. here’s their Scouting report:

Sullivan is a physical specimen with a 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame who works from a high, three-quarter slot and has advanced command of a deep pitch mix. He got hit around a bit in 2023 and posted a 5.77 ERA over 64 innings with a 25.6% strikeout rate and 11.3% walk rate. He throws a fastball at 90-91 mph that touched 95 this spring, and will also mix in a low-80s slider, mid-70s curveball and low-80s changeup. Sullivan’s changeup was the best swing-and-miss offering for him this spring, with a 44% miss rate, though his slider has traditionally been seen as his best secondary. It’s got solid horizontal movement with spin rates around 2,400 rpm. Sullivan is a softer thrower with a maxed-out frame that doesn’t offer much in the way of future projection, so he’ll need to be more precise with his fastball and rely on mixing and matching to keep hitters off-balance and stay off the barrel in pro ball. He has the upside of a reliable, durable depth starter.

14th round: Elijah Nunez, Junior OF from TCU. Drafted 405th overall.

Nunez is a lefty-hitting speedster CF from TCU, who was a major big-time prep recruit but has become overlooked in college. Slashed .289/.400/.414 this year, not a ton of power, some SB. He was TCU’s lead-off hitter and fared decently in the post-season, getting several hits in the CWS but going 0-5 his final game. Will he sign? Does he think he can improve upon his draft position with another year after his team made the CWS? Or does he look at the backlog of OF prospects in our system and say, “geeze maybe I try my hand next year with a different org.”

I can’t find any scouting reports on the guy other than scouting his bio and stat line from college.

15th round: Mikey Tepper, junior RHP from Liberty. Drafted 435 overall.

Holy cow, the Nats drafted someone local. Tepper looks like the Saturday starter for this year’s Liberty team that under-performed; he had decent stats, a .217 BAA but an inflated ERA. He’s a xfer into Liberty from Mississippi State, where he was heavily recruited. Is he sign-able here? Maybe, maybe not. People don’t generally go to Liberty as one-and-done’s … but a guy who’s already bounced around programs may be itching to move on.

Here’s a PG scouting report on him from 2019:

Mikey Tepper is a 2020 RHP with a 6-2 190 lb. frame from Fort Mill, SC who attends Fort Mill. Medium athletic build with good overall athleticism. Deep hooked arm action in back leading to a near over the top arm slot, has some spine tilt and will fall off to the first base side at times,, arm is very fast and loose. Fastball topped out at 95 mph early before settling down in the 89-92 mph range, mostly straight with occasional glove side cutting action, gets nice plane on his fastball when down on the zone. Curveball has serious depth and bite at times, can buckle knees with its bite and depth. Flashed a change up that could develop into a solid third pitch. Big step forward as he was only hitting 89 mph last fall. Good student, verbal commitment to Mississippi State.

In other news, another college arm in the 11-20 range; I’m sensing a pattern.

16th round: Austin Amaral, Junior RHP from Stetson. Drafted 465 overall.

Another round, another college arm. This time Amaral, who seemed to be Stetson’s Friday starter this season and had excellent numbers. 3.30 ERA in 15 starts. A little under-sized at 6’0″ (despite what the below scouting report says). I like this as a flier; he seems like the kind of guy who can succeed in the lower minors before running into a wall in AA. We’ll see.

2019 PG scouting report:

Austin Amaral is a 2020 RHP/ with a 6-1 190 lb. frame from Debary, FL who attends University HS. Athletic frame with room to fill out and add strength. Primary righthanded pitcher who only pitched during the event. Small side step into a leg lift above the belt. Longer arm path with good whip and arm speed present. Extended release out in front which aids some deception to the stuff. Flashes some hard arm side life on the fastball that topped out at 92 mph during this performance. Stays connected over the rubber well and can work the fastball to either side of the plate. Drops slot on the breaking ball with good bite and sweeping action. Garners chases out of the zone from righthanded hitters. Strong two-pitch mix with good feel and pitchability as well. Good student. Named to the PG Fall Top Prospect Showcase Top Prospect List. Verbal commitment to Stetson.

17th round: Merrick Baldo, RS Junior/Senior RHP from Loyola Marymount University. 495th overall.

Another round, another college arm. Baldo appears to have been LMU’s closer this year. 4.11 ERA. A redshirt Junior who missed a ton of time while in college and may be ready to move on. He was a decent prospect coming out of HS, projected maybe as a 2nd day draft kid in 2019, but hasn’t panned out. No Scouting reports to be found.

18th round: Nate Rombach, Senior Catcher, Dallas Baptist. 525th overall.

Well, you draft this many pitchers, you need someone to catch them. Rombach was a 19th round pick by Miami out of HS but went to Texas Tech instead. After two seasons there, he transferred to DBU, where he’s started the last two seasons. He’s technically a Covid junior but this is his 4th college season and seems likely to sign. His stats were ok this year; .288/.355/.455.

19th round: James Ellwanger, a prep HS RHP from Magnolia West HS (TX). 555th overall.

All you need to know here is that Ellwanger is the 107th ranked MLB draft prospect, and thus there’s no way this kid signs for $125k in the 19th round. So he’ll honor his commitment to Dallas Baptist University. Ellwanger doesn’t appear to be anyone’s cousin on the Nat’s staff, so maybe this is some area scout’s draftee b/c he didn’t get anyone else this draft.

20th round: Isaac Ayon, junior RHP from Oregon.

An interesting pick; Ayon was set to be Oregon’s Friday starter, when an undisclosed arm injury took hold .. and knocked him out of the entire 2023 season. News reports throughout the season seemed to indicate that he was close to returning, implying this wasn’t TJ or a surgery … but he never pitched.

Is he signable? Doubt it: a Friday starter for a major baseball program like Oregon should go a lot higher. He was also in their rotation as a starter and posted a 5.77 ERA, and something tells me he won’t want to leave college with that taste in his mouth. I don’t think he’s signing.

Quick draft summary by the numbers. Out of their 20 picks:

  • 17 4-year college, 1 juco, 2 HS
  • 9 hitters, 11 pitchers.
  • 8 College Seniors, 9 College Juniors, 1 Juco, 2 HS
  • 6 guys from Texas, 3 from Florida, 2 from Louisiana.
  • 14 from this cluster of southeastern states: FL, GA, LA, OK, TX
  • 2 guys who are highly unlikely to sign, maybe a couple more who might not either.
  • I expect 17 or 18 to sign

As mentioned in the last post, this looks to me like a 3-person draft. The Nats got themselves three 1st round talents, will probably go overslot on all three of them, and make the numbers work the rest of the way. All these college arms in the 11-20 range can get thrown against a wall to see who sticks as a reliever.

Written by Todd Boss

July 12th, 2023 at 9:24 am

Posted in Draft

46 Responses to 'Nats 2023 Draft Class Review Rounds 11-20'

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  1. I will move this forward from the last post.

    Here’s an extended conversation with KLaw taking Crews, Wood, Abrams, and Sykora:

    I sort of feel like we have Crews fatigue, both because we’ve been talking about him so long and because we had convinced ourselves that we were probably getting Skenes instead. It’s good to hear Law gushing about Crews. I know a number of pieces have included scout comments that he’s “the best college hitter since Bryce Harper.” I don’t know that he’s really a Harper comp, though, or “Baby Trout” as some have called him. He’s not that big and likely not a 40-homer guy. Among outfielders, I see him as more of a Mookie Betts or Andrew McCutcheon ceiling, with a Bryan Reynolds floor.

    We’ll see. Law has him in the majors by the All-Star break next year.


    12 Jul 23 at 10:04 am

  2. There was very little on the third day that excited me. Usually one or two guys catch my eye and look interesting to follow (Johnathon Thomas last year), but most of these look like real reaches. Several large pitchers who have a lot of K’s and no command. The Nats always think they can fix these guys but almost never do. You would think they would try something different and take some guys who don’t throw quite as hard but have low ERAs and WHIPs.

    Amaral had the best numbers of the third-day guys, isn’t quite as big, and comes from the school that produced deGrom and Kluber, for whatever that’s worth.

    Nunez is an interesting flyer, although as Todd says, the organization is oversaturated with outfielders. He looks like a Jacob Young type, with speed but not much pop.


    12 Jul 23 at 10:11 am

  3. There’s not much (beyond the “hey, maybe!” of Ellwanger) that gets my interest either. To be fair, if the players were that much more interesting, they’d have been drafted sooner. Stir them into the organizational mix and if something falls out (see, e.g., 24th round pick Jake Alu), GREAT!

    John C.

    12 Jul 23 at 3:04 pm

  4. FWIW, D1baseball did a draft recap and one of their main analysts (Aaron fitt, former BA guy) listed the Nats as having his “best haul” of the draft.

    The major reason I love Washington’s draft is because I think the Nationals nailed the all-important top four rounds. Obviously taking Crews at No. 2 was a no-brainer; the Nats had the enviable job of selecting whichever LSU blue-chipper was not selected by the Pirates with the No. 1 pick, and they did not overthink it. But landing Morales with the No. 40 overall pick was a coup; I think that’s a top-10 overall type of talent that the Nationals landed at the start of round two. No other team can match that impact with its top two selections, in my opinion.

    But the Nats also nailed their next two picks, getting a great value with Texas prep fireballer Sykora in round three, then landing an emerging five-tool talent who has performed in the SEC in Alabama outfielder Pinckney in round four. Pinckney was something of a late bloomer who just started to really harness his potential as a college junior, and I think his best days are still ahead of him — if his hit tool continues to mature at its current clip, he could provide huge returns in round four, because he has power, speed, arm strength and defensive ability in the outfield.

    I wasn’t as enamored with the rest of Washington’s draft, but I think the Nats did so well with the top four picks that it’s enough to put this crop high on my list. Once you get past the first four rounds, everybody is basically throwing darts anyway. But it feels like the Nationals have a chance to save enough money with picks 6-10 to make a run at signing 19th-round pick James Ellwanger, a highly ranked Texas prep arm with serious upside, and Gavin Abrams, a live arm from the juco ranks selected in round 11.

    Todd Boss

    12 Jul 23 at 5:14 pm

  5. Fitt really likes our #4 pick Pinckney in addition to top 3 …

    Todd Boss

    12 Jul 23 at 5:15 pm

  6. Interesting to see that he thought Morales was a “top-10 overall type of talent.” That’s quite a compliment. As I’ve said, I’m a little burned by guys like Mendoza and Banks, so until Morales shows up and truly starts looking like a 30+ homer guy, I’m not going to completely believe it. But I WANT to believe!

    Law thought Sykora might have been the best high school arm in the draft, so it really is a coup if Morales and Sykora pan out like that. Sort of the same concern, though: the Nats haven’t done well in developing high school/Latin starters in recent years. Hope Sykora also changes this trend.

    That’s a great view of Pinckney, who certainly put up numbers to support enthusiasm. Others say he has some funk in his swing and some known holes in his strike zone. (Rhett Wiseman flashbacks.) But I love taking a potentially toolsy guy like that in the 4th round. Why not? If he pans out, it’s a great deal.

    I just wonder where they’re going to find slots for all of their outfielders to play, and who is going to get preference. Rizzo said that Crews probably is going to start in Fredericksburg, so perhaps they promote Lile to make room. Green will keep playing, although he’s not doing much better than Quintana or Thomas. Perhaps Pinckney stays at FCL unless/until Crews gets promoted. They have big investments in Vaquero and Cox at the FCL level, so they need to keep playing. (Vaquero actually doing pretty well at .282, albeit with no power.)

    I’m intrigued by Dugas too. Who knows if he’ll become anything, but I like picking up guys like Dugas and Stehly, gamers who have played at the top level and can share some of that intensity with guys who’ve never had to compete like that for playing time.


    12 Jul 23 at 7:14 pm

  7. Also, it doesn’t take a huge amount of “panning out” to be worth something. McKenzie Mills brought the immortal Howie Kendrick (happy 40th today to the legend!). Kyle Johnston brought Daniel Hudson. D. J. Johnson was part of the Gomes deal.


    12 Jul 23 at 7:27 pm

  8. Keith Law has published his draft class recap per team:

    The Nats landed the No. 1 player on my board in outfielder Dylan Crews (1), taking him second overall and likely giving him at least full slot. Crews has had an incredible career at LSU, with a .380/.498/.689 line – if he’d gotten on base two more times when he made an out, he’d have had a perfect .500 OBP. He hits, he plays center, he’s a 55 runner, and he might end up with 20-25 homer power. Knowing the Nats, and considering his talent, he could easily start 2024 in Double A and see the majors inside of a year from now.

    Miami third baseman Yohandy Morales (2) had first-round buzz most of the spring and seemed to still be on some boards as the draft approached, but slid to the 40th pick. He has a big-league frame and swing, and he hits the ball hard when he gets to it. He’s also had trouble with fastballs up, and sliders down and away, and he’s probably going to end up in right field as he doesn’t have the footwork or instincts now for third. He’s still very good value where the Nats took him.
    Travis Sykora (3) was the first pick of Day 2 and probably where the Nats are putting any extra pool money they had lying around. He was probably the hardest thrower among all prep arms, touching 100 mph and sitting 96-98 mph with a plus splitter. He’s 6-foot-6, 220 pounds already, and he’s 19, so there’s less projection but also less needed. His arm can be late and that may be why he hasn’t found a consistent breaking ball.

    Alabama outfielder Andrew Pinckney (4) was one of the most intriguing college seniors in the class, as he’s very tooled out and showed he can hit velocity, homering off a Paul Skenes fastball in late April. He’s a 55 runner and can play all three outfield spots. He has a hard time with breaking pitches, though, and struck out too often for a 22-year-old with three years of SEC experience. Oklahoma State Marcus Brown (5) can play the heck out of shortstop but I don’t think he can hit anything other than a fastball; he posted a .273/.360/.469 line this spring for the Cowboys with 40 strikeouts and just 14 walks, getting an OBP boost from 16 times hit by pitch. Junior college right-hander Gavin Adams (11) is up to 98 mph and has power to his slider, with a loose arm and some room left to fill out his narrow 6-foot-3 frame, but working mostly in relief for Indian River State College, he walked 19 guys in 26.1 innings. He’s a Florida State commit.

    Todd Boss

    13 Jul 23 at 10:12 am

  9. Rizzo said on the Junkies that he only found out “minutes” beforehand that the Pirates were taking Skenes, so they really were kept guessing until the last minute, like the rest of us.

    Law gives pretty much what I mentioned about Morales, the worst-case scenario with the holes in his swing. Most others thought more highly of him. Several think he has the arm for 3B, although with House on the horizon, that’s not really a need area. The Nats are loaded with OFs, so it makes more sense that Morales ended up 1B/DH.


    13 Jul 23 at 12:49 pm

  10. Just read that picks #6-10 all signed for $20,000. That frees up a lot of money for the top 4 picks.

    Bleacher Report has only 3 teams with an A+ grade. Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Washington.

    Mark L

    13 Jul 23 at 3:41 pm

  11. And perhaps for Ellwanger as well?


    13 Jul 23 at 5:22 pm

  12. I think Ellwanger needs $2M. i don’t see them with that kind of space. I did a mock bonus analysis in the draft tracker and if you give Crews like $9.5M, Morales Slot or a bit higher, and Sykora $2M (which is what i think it takes), that doesn’t leave much.

    Btw, Baseball America just released a post-draft top 100 for all of baseball: Crews #4, Skenes #6. I’m not sure i’ve ever seen someone debut that high, even Harper/Strasburg.

    Todd Boss

    14 Jul 23 at 1:30 pm

  13. There’s already a lot of scuttlebutt about when the Nats should bring up Crews. First of all, he’s got to show up and blow through the minors, which is never a given. Wood currently is hitting .212 at AA, so it ain’t easy. I would assume that he’s about on the same MLB time line as Crews is.

    With the new CBA, team control is basically six years plus a little over a month, so the whole thing about bringing someone up in June is out the window. That’s probably a good thing, as it gives teams more incentive to start the season with their best guys. (There’s also apparently a draft pick incentive, which the Mariners got in this year’s draft. Could the Nats get three picks if they start the ’25 season with Crews, Wood, and House?)

    The only reason I could see for bringing up any of these guys before the end of ’24 is if — by some miracle — the Nats are actually in the running for a wild card spot. Considering how bad they are right now, that seems like a long shot.

    In fact, there’s not a lot of hope for improvement by the big club next season, unless they make some trades and/or sign a big free agent or two. Is it too early in the rebuild for such things? It’s hard to know.

    They should have some pitching reinforcement in ’24 with Cavalli and maybe Henry and Rutledge, although two of those three may not be 100% yet. There seems no reason to waste more money on guys like Kuhl, though. I’m still not completely sold on Irvin for when they’re contending, but he’ll do for now. Bennett might be on the near horizon by ’25.

    Would the Nats be better in ’24 if they brought up Crews and Wood for much of the season? Likely they would, but it’s still hard to see them contending yet. And it’s tough to see punting a mid-career season of those guys at the end of their team control for a likely non-playoff season at the front end of that control.

    So put me down for a wild spring training in 2025 when we could be hoping that Crews, Wood, House, Hassell, Bennett, and maybe a couple of the others (Morales?) are ready to make the big club.


    16 Jul 23 at 12:30 pm

  14. Crews call up; you call him up when he’s ready. Many pundits seem to think the Nats will do the Strasburg plan with him; AFL this fall, then straight to AA. I don’t buy it; i think he starts in High-A and earns his way up. That means a mid-season 2024 call up is highly unlikely.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jul 23 at 10:05 am

  15. I’m with KW–the target for “actually trying to compete for a playoff spot in the NL” ought to be the ’25 season. Prospect promotion decisions should be made accordingly. September ’24 callups with ’25 spring training being more likely for Wood/Crews.

    I also think this means that the Nats ought to shift dramatically their approach to free agency THIS offseason. The Nats have been operating mostly in the “one year FA deals” market since 2019. This offseason is the time to start looking to the future with free agent deals. I’d focus dollars on starting pitchers and hitters who can fill the corner OF/1B/DH spots. I haven’t looked at who will be a free agent this offseason (I think J. Urias will be available and I’d kick the tires on him as a starter notwithstanding the injury history).


    17 Jul 23 at 11:25 am

  16. Speaking of Morales, just signed for $2.6 million, $500,000 over slot.

    Mark L

    17 Jul 23 at 12:39 pm

  17. Callis now also reporting the $2.6M for Sykora. wow. let me go do some quick arithmetic in the draft tracker.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jul 23 at 1:01 pm


    OK, so doing some what-if analysis, given these 2 massive over-slot signings (neither of which was a surprise, mind you), here’s what I think has to happen:
    – Crews signs for $9.5M
    – Pinckney signs for 200k, about 460k lower than slot
    – Brown signs for 200k, roughly $264k lower than slot

    then it all fits. If Crews gets more, one of these two gets less. and Vice versa.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jul 23 at 1:03 pm

  19. Also noted that 13th rounder Liam Sullivan signed for $150k, or 25 OVER slot, meaning that we’re right on the edge of the mark.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jul 23 at 1:10 pm

  20. No way they give Brown $200K. He’s a light-hitting senior shortstop. He should be another of the $20K crowd, $50K if they’re feeling generous.

    Pinckney is a good player but doesn’t have a lot of leverage. He may get more than $200K, but I’d be surprised if it’s more than half of slot value.

    That’s a massive overslot for Sykora.


    17 Jul 23 at 1:40 pm

  21. I didn’t think Brown was a senior. Here’s his OK State profile: and here’s his PG profile:

    Yeah, HS grad in 2020, puts him as a true junior.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jul 23 at 3:28 pm

  22. You’re right, Brown’s a junior. And I’ve lobbied hard that they need some shortstops in the organization. He’s said to be perhaps the best-fielding one in the draft class. He’s not getting slot, but he may get more than I expect.

    That’s one of the big questions for the Nats as they try to get back to contention by 2025: is Abrams their shortstop of the future? In the interview with Craig Hoffmann that I shared, Law didn’t think that Abrams would be able to stay at SS. But the Nats have NO other options right now. Abrams is miles better at SS than Garcia is. He’s also still young and presumably working regularly with Bogar to improve. But unless they were to move House back to SS, they literally have no other near-future options. Bonus baby Armando Cruz is hitting .191 in A ball. He’s just 19, so not giving up on him yet, but he’s not exactly on the express path.

    (The Jeter Downs and Lucius Fox reclamation projects have NOT worked.)


    17 Jul 23 at 3:49 pm

  23. I should add that I have no concerns that the Nats will make the money work for the top 10 picks. They had all those deals agreed to before they drafted them. That’s a huge over-slot deal for Sykora, though, more than I expected. They wouldn’t be actually doing the signings with Sykora and Morales, however, if they didn’t know already what the slot savings are going to be with the others.


    17 Jul 23 at 3:53 pm

  24. Is Abrams the SS of the future? For now yes. There’s nobody coming up who profiles as a challenge to him. No-Body. Our SS depth in the minors goes like this:

    AAA – Richie Martin/Jeter Downs. nothing here, as the Downs pickup has not blossomed
    AA – Jackson Cluff/Lucious Fox. nope. Cluff home grown but he’s a career .207 hitter. Fox pickup experiment has not worked out.
    High-A – Jordy Barley with Jose Sanchez, Nick Shumpert as backups): Barley already demoted down from AA this year.
    Low-A: Armando Cruz; our big money 2021 IFA signing. Hitting .191 this year. couple of backups in Lawson and Rivero not notable
    FCL: Winder Diaz and Everett Cooper: Diaz demoted from Low-A, Cooper a 16th rounder last year.
    DSL: Edwin Solano a $1.3M signing in January. He’s hitting .103 this year so far. .103; that’s not a typo.

    So … yeah we have NOBODY coming in SS.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jul 23 at 4:00 pm

  25. Pinckney signed for $500K, $160K under slot. Nats posted that Brown signed, but doesn’t show the number yet.


    17 Jul 23 at 6:49 pm

  26. And that’s why I was jumping up and down about the Nats needing to use a higher pick on a shortstop. I’m pleased with the top guys that they got, but the potential of guys like Brown and Glasser seems limited.


    17 Jul 23 at 6:51 pm

  27. Back-of-the-envelope math says the Nats will have a hard time getting much beyond $9.25M for Crews. A real haircut for Brown would get them to about $9.4M, but that’s it. Chatter that he would get more than the 1/1 slot value of $9.72M isn’t happening.

    I’m pretty sure they’ll get Crews signed, but there won’t be anything left for bonuses for rounds 11-20. (Incidentally, those guys can now be paid $150K and it not count against slot, which is what Sullivan got.)


    17 Jul 23 at 8:45 pm

  28. Count against “pool.” The pool will be closed for the summer when Crews signs.


    17 Jul 23 at 8:46 pm

  29. Wow, they gave Marcus Brown $350K. Good for him for getting it — I don’t begrudge anything that these kids can get — but he wasn’t that highly rated. I was surprised that they passed on someone like Maui Ahuna, particularly when he fell into the 4th round.

    According to Ghost at NatsTalk, who has done the math in a lot more detail than I have, the Nats have $9,077,520 left for Crews. I really thought they were going to have to go higher for him. It truly will be an amazing job by the front office if they have managed to finagle that massive bonus to get Sykora in addition to getting the top pick signed.


    18 Jul 23 at 8:39 am

  30. The detailed math is on the draft tracker.

    I cannot find “proof” of $350k for Brown. however, if that’s the number, then we can now offer crews exactly 9052520. I’m not sure Ghost/Natstalk is factoring in that guy who got $150k, which means $25k against the pool, … that is unless i have the 125/150k 11th round and higher figure wrong.

    Todd Boss

    18 Jul 23 at 10:11 am

  31. You can now pay rounds 11-20 up to $150K. It’s no longer $125K. So that $25K doesn’t count against the pool.

    All in all, Crews is getting $9M and change. It would be a disaster of biblical proportions if he doesn’t sign, so we’re not even going to consider that possibility.


    18 Jul 23 at 10:18 am


    there’s 150k. could have sworn i saw another resource this year saying it was still 125.

    Todd Boss

    18 Jul 23 at 11:34 am

  33. I think even Law said $125K in one article but then had changed it to $150K by the next one.

    I will note that it doesn’t seem fair that the late-round picks can sign for that much, but the earlier-round picks are allowed to be squeezed down to $20K (or less). They can’t even buy a decent new car for that.


    18 Jul 23 at 12:11 pm

  34. Kiley McDaniel of ESPN has verified that 5th rounder Brown has received a $350,000 bonus.

    Mark L

    18 Jul 23 at 12:34 pm

  35. Gavin Adams, pictured at the top of this post, has indicated that he isn’t signing. Not surprising, although it is in a certain way since the Nats had the top pick on the 3d day of the draft and took someone with whom they didn’t have a deal. Seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity.


    19 Jul 23 at 12:34 pm

  36. KW, an 11th round pick isn’t THAT much of a wasted opportunity. My suspicion is that the Nats drafted Adams as an option for if there planned negotiations didn’t work out. When they did, the Nats didn’t need the option (and didn’t have $$ left over to exercise it anyway). That doesn’t mean that having the option was foolish or a waste. Sometimes you carry an umbrella and it doesn’t rain.

    John C.

    19 Jul 23 at 3:47 pm

  37. No, not that much of a wasted opportunity. And they may have thought that they might have little more left over from guys in rounds 4 and 5. Still, there are eight guys from the 11th who have already signed for $150K, including Drew Conover, taken the pick after Adams and ranked higher.


    19 Jul 23 at 4:41 pm

  38. Now just waiting for Crews to sign. Skenes in at $9.2M, agreeing to a $500K slot haircut. Crews wouldn’t have done that. It might end up costing him another $200K, but not really a big deal . . . we hope. He should be able to scrape by on $9M.


    19 Jul 23 at 5:49 pm

  39. I think most of us would have thought that the Nats would be lower on this chart of (lack of) draft-pick success:

    It’s worth noting that the Astros and/or the Dodgers have been in the last six World Series, and the Cards have been to the playoffs the last four years.


    20 Jul 23 at 11:41 am

  40. That chart has the Nats about where I’d put them, actually, although I acknowledge that the predominant (certainly the loudest) Nats’ fan narrative is that the Nationals are turrible at drafting and developing talent (along with the corollary that Rizzo, DM, and the entire coaching staff are incompetent buffoons). This analysis has them 15th out of 30 organizations. In other words not terrible, but not great either. That seems right to me.

    John C.

    21 Jul 23 at 11:39 am

  41. We now have confirmation of basically every expected signing except Crews:

    Pics 2-10, no 11, picks 12-18, no 19 or 20. About what i expected.

    With 350k confirmed, Crews looks to be getting 9,077,520.

    Todd Boss

    21 Jul 23 at 1:46 pm

  42. Down on the Farm list: i’d love to see the detail that went into it. Because startinng in 2014, yeah we have had pretty awful 1st/2nd round pick success. I’d like to know who actually has a decent WAR for us in those drafts.

    Todd Boss

    21 Jul 23 at 1:55 pm

  43. so, he’s definitely signed. Nobody has exact figure yet. Every press release says “around 9M.” Press Conference 3pm today.

    Todd Boss

    22 Jul 23 at 11:39 am

  44. KW, thanks for that interesting link about draft productivity. I’d love to understand the methodology better. Were players that failed to sign included? This might artificially inflate the Nats’ numbers, as several players in this period (Andrew Suarez, Stuart Fairchild and Andrew Nardi) produced positive WAR (a rare feat for the Nats) but never signed. Their WAR comes from being drafted in later drafts.

    Second, all of the Nats most successful draft picks have been developed by other teams. They are Jesus Luzardo (4.7 WAR), Dane Dunning (4.3 WAR), Jake Cousins (1.0 WAR). The Nats haven’t drafted a single other player to accumulate more than 1.0 career WAR (for the Nats or another team). It’s just those 3 players. The next most valuable player is a tie Andrew Stevenson and Ben Braymer have both collected 0.4 WAR in their careers.

    I simply cannot believe that that level of output is “league average”. That’s 3 players in 8 drafts to become better than replacement level. I understand that this exercise is weighted by draft position, so the Nats would naturally expect to get less value, having regularly picked in the latter half. But compare them to the Giants, another team that’s for the most part been drafting around the same place as the Nats in this period, and coincidentally very slightly worse at drafting according to this study. Here are their most successful draft picks: Bryan Reynolds (14.8 WAR), Logan Webb (11.9 WAR), Austin Slater (4.6 WAR), Steven Duggar (2.1 WAR), Patrick Bailey (1.5 WAR), David Villar (1.2 WAR). There’s also a handful more players that provided positive but sub 1.0 WAR. Thats very clearly a far superior haul compared to the Nats, so how have the Giants been WORSE than the Nats at drafting according to this study?

    Look too at the Yankees, another team never drafting in the top half. Here is a list of their most successful draft picks in this period (all draftees with WAR above 1): Jordan Montgomery (10.8 WAR), Garrett Whitlock (5.0 WAR), Trevor Stephan (2.2 WAR), James Kaprelian (2.2 WAR), Anthony Volpe (1.9 WAR), Ron Marinaccio (1.7 WAR), Hayden Wesneski (1.1 WAR), Taylor Widener (1.1 WAR). Another batch of players far better than the Nats draftees.

    Both teams are rated worse than the Nats despite clearly having significantly more success via the draft. It doesn’t make sense to me.

    Obviously this isn’t something you can’t answer, still having complained many times over at NatsProspects about the Nats bad drafting I was very familiar with the futility of our drafts, so it forced me to see if it was indeed “average” to produce 3 above replacement players in 8 years (forget for a moment that all threw have done so for teams other than the Nats). And, no, that’s not at all the case. I suppose I’ll take it up with the original author on his substance! But thanks for the thought provoking read!


    22 Jul 23 at 2:07 pm

  45. Will, thanks for doing the legwork. Dunning and Luzardo were the only ones who came to my mind who might have much positive WAR. Kind of hard to believe that after 102 MLB appearances, including 88 starts, Fedde ended up in the negative. (Also hard to believe that they stuck with him for so long.)

    My thought when I saw the chart wasn’t, “Gee, the Nats don’t suck at this as bad as we thought,” but “Damn, how bad must those other teams be to be worse than the Nats?” There’s definitely a market inefficiency here, one that a few perennial playoff teams have exploited, but not many.

    To the Nats’ credit, they’ve really turned over their developmental staff over the last couple of years. There’s always the chicken-egg question of whether the draftees were bad, or the development was bad, . . . or both.

    At the end of the listed period, Cavalli, Henry (if he can stay healthy), House, and Lile all look to have upsides. But there are already some real questions about Green (’22), Cox (’22), Infante, Boissiere, and other higher picks.


    22 Jul 23 at 4:07 pm

  46. Will’s right about the methodology being an issue. The authors explain it in part. They calculate average median WAR over the last 15 seasons for each pick, and then subtract that from actual WAR for picks from 2014-2021. But that’s ridiculous for picks from 2021. As they acknowledge:

    “You may be asking why most teams have negative values here. This is because we are using a relatively recent time frame (2015-2021) but still using the expected values for each pick.”

    It sounds like they’re looking at CAREER value of the pick but only have a few years of a player’s career. Even if they’ve tried to add some nuance, there’s still a recency issue. For example, a recent high school draft pick who hasn’t reached the majors (e.g.Jordan Lawler) but is a top 10 prospect has the same WAR as Seth Romero. But the Nats get more credit, because you subtract less from the Nats because Romero was a later pick.

    The silliness is obvious, again as the authors note, with the Orioles behind the Nats. Basically, if you look at the chart, all the teams who have had later draft picks are near the top, while teams who have had better picks are near the bottom. Again, because they are subtracting TOTAL pick value from a time frame that’s a fraction of that. That the Nats are in the middle of the road despite having later picks is something of an indictment of drafting/development. I bet this same analysis of these same draft years will look awful for the Nats 10 years from now.

    Bland Moniker

    23 Jul 23 at 11:51 am

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