Archive for category Draft

No Drama

I have been remiss this year in providing a draft track of the top players in the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft. Last year, the discussion began and ended around RHP Stephen Strasburg who has done nothing to disprove the hype he received entering the 2009 season.

The player that bore that mantle this year was College of Southern Nevada catcher Bryce Harper. And much like, Strasburg, the 17-year old Harper has likely exceeded expectations. Over 58 regular season games for CSN, Harper batted 415/504/891 with 23 home runs and 68 RBI … all for a Junior College that played with wood bats.

Not to be outdone, Harper has put on a show in the playoffs where he shifted to an aluminum bat. He homered in his first game, hit for the cycle in his second game, went 2/5 with a three-run double, and hit four homers in his latest game for CSN … sending them to the JuCo World Series.

It’s pretty clear that Harper is the choice for the Nationals at #1 overall on June 7. Like Strasburg, he’s represented by Scott Boras, which means if/when he’s selected, do not anticipate a quick sign. He’ll most likely wait for the signing deadline of August 15.

(as an aside, here is an interesting article linking Harper’s coach at CSN to the Nationals)


Reports: Nats Likely to Take Harper First

It’s still 55 days away, but Ben Goessling of is reporting the Nats are likely to select 17-year old catcher Bryce Harper with the first pick in the 2010 draft.

Harper is currently hitting 422/516/891 with 15 home runs and 42 RBI in 39 games for the College of Southern Nevada.


Digging into the Draft

Everyone knows the name at the top of practically everyone’s list of 2010 draft prospects.

Bryce Harper. The 17-year old Harper is batting 408/500/831 over his first 20 games at the College of Southern Nevada, a junior college that plays with wood bats. Harper has six home runs and twenty RBI (also of interest, Bryce’s brother Bryan, an unsigned 2008 draft pick by the Nats, is 5-0 with a 1.52 ERA with 34K and 14BB over 23 2/3IP as a LHSP).

As of today, Harper is the prohibitive favorite to go first overall when the Nats select first overall in this year’s Rule 4 draft.

But it is not a slam dunk a #1 as Stephen Strasburg was for the Nats in 2009. Here are the other guys I am tracking as possibilities for the Nats pick in 2010:

  • HS RHSP Jameson Taillon: He has pitched in the upper-90s for Woodlands HS in Texas, hitting 99. While he has a legitimate shot to go first overall, I’m not sure if a Mike Rizzo led team would go with a HS RHP first overall (it would be the first time ever)
  • LSU RHSP Anthony Ranaudo: Entering the 2010 season, along with Taillon, Ranuado was the closest competition for Harper at #1 overall. Working in the low to mid-90s with above average control. But a stress reaction in his right elbow has limited him to just five innings so far. Not sure he’s still in the running for #1 overall, but someone might get a steal in the mid/late first round.
  • Georgia Tech RHSP Deck McGuire: Of any of the college arms, McGuire has the most Mike Rizzo feel to him. He throws a heavy 90+ mph fastball with a sharp curve. As of today, if the Nats were not to go with Harper, I’d think McGuire has the best chance to go #1.
  • Arkansas 3B Zack Cox: A draft-eligible sophomore, Cox is all about the power. His strike zone judgment is a concern, but the bat is impressive. With the chance to go back for his junior season, I’m not sure if he’s in the #1 overall picture.
  • Middle Tennessee State OF Bryce Brentz: I’ll let Andy Seiler describe Brentz in detail. He is a corner OF who is under consideration for a shot in center field (he also pitches). I’m not sure what it is about Brentz, but if the Nats want a bat and are not comfortable with the youth of Harper, I like the idea of Brentz at #1 overall.

I still think Harper is the right choice for #1 overall, those are just some other names I find intriguing.


2010 Upper-end Draft Prospect Reviews: Jameson Taillon

(Note: Brian has been gracious to allow me to continue to post here and there about nat-worthy topics).

With the high school seasons starting now that its late February (remember DC folks; not everyone in the country got 4 feet of snow) and the college seasons 2-3 weeks in, lets take a look at some of the big names in the draft.   I’ll talk about at least Harper, Taillon, Renaudo, Renden and McGuire.

While lots of pundits and readers already believe Bryce Harper is the presumptive #1 overall pick for the Nats, a lot can happen between now and June.  Harper might tail off badly, get hurt, decided he wants more money than Strasburg, etc.  So lets take a look at the top 4-5 names on most scouts minds.  This is the first in a series of articles focusing on the top draft prospects that the Nationals might be considering.

Jameson Taillon is RHP from The Woodlands High School in The Woodlands, TX (near Houston).  This big high school righty already has a big league body (6′6″ 225) and his fastball is already is “sitting” in the 95-97 range.  Wow.  Imagine how much better this guy can get if he continues to grow and gain strength on what is already a 70-75 fastball.  (Here’s Keith Law’s latest scouting post talking about Taillon, dated 2/26/10, and Jason Churchill’s latest scouting post dated 2/24/10, both ESPN insider only).  He seems like the next in a series of hard throwing big Texas kids along the lines of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Josh Beckett or Huston Street.  He’s verbally committed to Rice but there seems little chance he passes up on a major signing bonus.

Taillon’s problem: no right-handed prep pitcher have ever gone #1 overall, and the two lefty prep pitchers that did go #1 overall (David Clyde in 1973 and Brien Taylor in 1991) didn’t really turn out that great.  Clyde’s story is rather infamous; Texas took him out of a local HS #1 overall in 1973 and he was pitching for the team by late June.  Despite a fantastic debut he struggled (who wouldn’t with zero minor league time?) and made his last major league start when he was 24.  Tayler was even more infamous; signing with the Yankees after showing an upper 90s fastball in highschool and then destroying his left shoulder in a bar fight two years later.

Truth is, prep players are huge gambles no matter how much upside they have or how level headed they may be.  If you look at the Nationals’ HS draft picks over the past 4-5 years only one is really showing major promise (Derek Norris).  The likes of Hood, Burgess, Marrero, Englund, King, Willems, McGeary and Smoker have all struggled and disappointed, contributing to the lower rankings of our overall farm system right now.

That being said, in modern baseball circles a guy like Taillon has already done enough traveling and pitching in various competitions that one could argue that he is as prepared for professional baseball as any college guy.  Taillon has been on all-USA teams for years, was the leader of the under-18 team that won the World Championships down in Venezuela and has so many opportunities to pitch and compete in these “showcases” that he had to turn some down in order to stay eligible for his high school academically.

Taillon features very high on most draft boards (most have him 2-3, some have him #1 over Harper), but I cannot see the Nats taking him over Harper at this point.  Rizzo generally wants more polished, quicker to the majors players (read, College guys).  The Nats are now suddenly full of pitching prospects after 2009’s arm-heavy draft.  Some team just below us in the 2010 draft will take Taillon and possibly have the next Rick Porcello on their hands.  Possibly a team like Baltimore (drafting #3) since Pittsburgh seems to like college players as well.

What does NatsFarm think?


Rule 5 Eligiblility

This Friday is the deadline for teams to protect players from the December Rule 5 draft by placing them on the 40-man roster.

Once again, here are the Rule 5 details (courtesy of wiki)

  • Designed to prevent players from stockpiling too many younger players without a chance of competing for a spot in the majors
  • Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization’s forty man roster and:
    • were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; or
    • were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.

I have attempted to keep track of the R5 eligibles since the Nationals relocated to DC for the 2005 season on the DraftTrack.

A good rule of thumb is any player drafted out of high school in 2005 or earlier would be eligible for the R5 draft along with any player drafted out of college in 2006 or earlier.

Here is my best guess of a preliminary R5 eligible list:


POS Player Acquired Original DOB
UTIL Bynum, Seth 04NDFA (MTL) 04NDFA (MTL) 12/19/1980
OF Daniel, Mike* 05D (7-WAS) 05D (7-WAS) 8/17/1984
OF Davis, Leonard* 04D (8-MTL) 04D (8-MTL) 12/24/1983
OF Feirmant, Charlie 09minF/A 03D (4-MIL) 10/11/1985
MIF Heredia, Valerio# 07minF/A 04IFA (CHC) 3/14/1986
CA Ivany, Devin 04D (6-MTL) 04D (6-MTL) 7/27/1982
UTIL Jacobsen, Robby 06D (22-WAS) 06D (22-WAS) 8/30/1984
OF Lopez, Yhonson* 05IFA (WAS) 05IFA (WAS) 10/27/1988
OF Lowrance, Marvin* 04D (7-MTL) 04D (7-MTL) 7/16/1984
MIF Martinez, Michael# 05IFA (WAS) 05IFA (WAS) 9/16/1982
UTIL Nelson, Dan# 08minF/A 04D (13-STL) 2/12/1984
CA Nichols, Patrick 06D (16-WAS) 06D (16-WAS) 9/12/1984
IF Orr, Pete* 07minF/A 99NDFA (ATL) 6/8/1979
CIF Pahuta, Tim* 05D (18-WAS) 05D (18-WAS) 5/3/1983
CA Peacock, Brian 04Ddfe (34-MTL) 04Ddfe (34-MTL) 8/26/1984
OF Plasencea, Francisco* 04minF/A (WAS) 00IFA (MIL) 6/9/1984
CA Poppert, John 04D (17-MTL) 04D (17-MTL) 4/14/1982
CA Rooney, Sean# 06D (8-WAS) 06D (8-WAS) 4/12/1986
CA Solano, Jhonathan 05IFA (WAS) 05IFA (WAS) 8/12/1985
OF Valdez, Jesus 08minF/A 02IFA (CHC) 11/2/1984


POS Player Acquired Original DOB
SP Arnesen, Erik 06D (17-WAS) 06D (17-WAS) 3/19/1984
SP Carr, Adam 06D (18-WAS) 06D (18-WAS) 4/1/1984
RP De La Rosa, Ruben 05IFA (WAS) 05IFA (WAS) 4/2/1987
RP Engles, Terrence 04NDFA (MTL) 04NDFA (MTL) 11/12/1985
RP Estrada, Jesse 09minF/A 04D (31-CHC) 10/27/1983
RP Fabian, Robinson 09trd (COL) 03IFA (COL) 2/10/1986
RP Figuereo, Johan 04IFA (MTL) 04IFA (MTL) 3/2/1986
RP Garcia, Luis 09trd (LAD) 04IFA (LAD) 1/30/1987
SP Jaime, Juan 04IFA (WAS) 04IFA (WAS) 8/2/1987
RP Kensing, Logan 09Trd (FLA) 03D (2-FLA) 7/3/1982
RP Kimball, Cole 06D (12-WAS) 06D (12-WAS) 8/1/1985
RP Leatherman, Dan 08minF/A 06NDFA (MIN) 7/12/1985
RP Lugo, Chris 04D (28-MTL) 04D (28-MTL) 11/10/1986
RP Martinez, Carlos 04IFA (MTL) 04IFA (MTL) 3/30/1984
RP Matias, Randy 04IFA (MTL) 04IFA (MTL) 9/19/1986
RP Novoa, Yunior* 06minF/A 02IFA (CWS) 9/11/1984
RP Pena, Hassan 06D (13-WAS) 06D (13-WAS) 3/25/1985
RP Peralta, Carlos 07minF/A 04IFA (TEX) 7/29/1985
RP Perez, Julio 05IFA (WAS) 05IFA (WAS) 10/26/1987
RP Rodriguez, Osvaldo 08minF/A 03IFA (LAD) 6/10/1984
RP Severino, Atahualpa* 04IFA (MTL) 04IFA (MTL) 11/6/1984
RP Spradlin, Jack* 05D (8-WAS) 05D (8-WAS) 9/23/1984
RP Tanco, Federico 05IFA (WAS) 05IFA (WAS) 4/15/1986
RP Taveras, Jose* 05IFA (WAS) 05IFA (WAS) 11/10/1987
SP Thompson, Aaron* 09trd (FLA) 05D (1-FLA) 2/28/1987
RP VanAllen, Cory* 06D (5-WAS) 06D (5-WAS) 12/24/1984
RP Wilkie, Josh 06NDFA (WAS) 06NDFA (WAS) 7/22/1984
RP Zinicola, Zech 06D (6-WAS) 06D (6-WAS) 3/2/1985

I’m not 100% sure on the international free agents, but this is as good a jumping off point as anywhere.

The Nats are currently at 37/40 so the most they could protect would be three players. This has to be counterbalanced by having to consider having an open spot on the 40-man if they want to participate in the R5 draft (note: the Nats could always outright someone off of their 40-man roster if they wanted, someone like Zack Segovia or Jesse English).

With that thinking in mind, I would imagine the Nationals would realistically protect no more than two of the forty-eight players listed above and my pared down list would be the following ten guys:

  • IF/OF Leonard Davis
  • CA Jhonathan Solano
  • CA Sean Rooney
  • RHP Erik Arnesen
  • RHP Luis Garcia
  • RHP Juan Jaime
  • LHP Yunior Novoa
  • LHP Atahualpa Severino
  • LHP Aaron Thompson
  • RHP Josh Wilkie

Davis seems to have had his window close so I doubt he has a chance of protection. And, while the Nationals need catching depth at the higher levels, I doubt there is a concern a team will select either Rooney or Solano and keep them on the 25-man all season.

I have the same feeling about Arnesen, Garcia, Jaime, & Severino as I do the catchers. I don’t believe any team would use a 25-man spot on any of them. There is some upside there, but I believe the Nats realize there is little chance another MLB team will rush any of those guys to the majors (Arnesen being a possible exception).

That leaves … LHPs Aaron Thompson & Yunior Novoa along with RHP Josh Wilkie.

All three players have their own merit in protecting as potential members of the 2010 Nats bullpen (with Thompson still holding a shot in a future starter’s role).

But as I previously mentioned, I do not believe the Nationals will max out their 40-man roster by protecting all three arms. If you were to ask me who I would protect, it would be Thompson & Wilkie. While Novoa is an interesting guy, I’m going to bank that there will be other LH relief options on the market that would not have the same 25-man restrictions as a R5 guy would have.

Thompson, acquired from the Marlins for Nick Johnson, has some near term value as a long releiver out of the pen and potentially could grow into a back of the rotation starter for the Nationals later in 2010 or early in 2011.

As folks who frequent this site know, Wilkie is a favorite of mine. As an undrafted free agent in 2006, Wilkie has pitched his way into the prospect picture capped, to date, with a stint in the Arizona Fall League. I would hope the Nationals give Wilkie a shot as a RH option out of the pen in spring training.

This Friday we will know the answer.


BA Draft Report Card

Baseball America has their report card for the Nationals 2009 draft. It’s for subscribers, but here are the Cliff Notes.

Second rounder Jeff Kobernus gets the most accolades from the hitters drafted. This is not necessarily a surprise given that he was the highest of the three bats selected by the Nationals in the first ten rounds.

And even less surprising, first rounder Stephen Strasburg dominates the pitching accolades.

Twelfth round RHP Nate Karns and fourteenth round OF Noaya Washiya also receive mention.


Video of Strasburg

Stephen from SpaceCoastBaseball has the video of Stephen Strasburg from behind home plate.

Thanks for a much better view than what ESPN provided.


U-18 USA team captures Gold

The U-18 COPABE Pan Am “AAA” (18U) Championships finished up over the weekend in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and the USA team beat 7 time defending champion Cuba in the finals.

In the semi finals: USA crushed Panama 18-2 (box/gamer).  Philip Pheifer pitched a slaughter rule shortened 6 inning complete game and the top of the USA order came alive to destroy Panama.  Our 1-2-3 hitters Sean Coyle, Tony Wolters and Bryce Harper went a combined 8-11, scoring 10 runs and driving in 9 to pace the team.  Harper (playing CF) finally had the break out game we’ve been expecting, going 3-3 (with two walks thrown in), scoring 3 and driving in 5.  Harper displayed both power and speed with a double, a homer and two stolen bases.

In the Finals: USA d Cuba to win the Gold Medal 6-1 (box/gamer).  High end 2010 pitching prospect Jamie Taillon dominated the Cuban team, giving up 4 hits, 0 runs and striking out 16 in 7 2/3s innings to lead the US to victory.  USA’s hitters finally got to a tiring Cuban starter Julio Martinez, scoring all 6 runs in the 7th inning to claim the title.  Harper was behind the plate for the final and was quiet at the plate, with just a sac fly rbi to show for his 0-3 day.

The final stats for the USA team are here.  Harper finishes the tournament 10-34 with 4 doubles and 2 homers and enough extra base hits to lead the team in total bases.  .294/.375/.588 was his final line.  The breakout hitting star of the team is SS Manny Machado, who put up a .367/.472/.600 with 2 homers to put his name firmly on the 2010 draft map.

For a lot of these players, this was their first major competition using solely wood bats, and many struggled to put up the impressive numbers they are accustomed to with aluminum.  For those picking on Bryce Harper’s numbers; remember he JUST turned 17 (born 10/1/1992) and is still amazingly advanced for his age (hence his potential).


U-18 Championships: USA into Semis

The USA finished pool play 6-0 and are into the semis of the U-18 tournament being held in Venezuela.

The Semifinals are today: USA v Panama (who they destroyed 14-0 in pool play).  The other semi-final will be Cuba v Venezuela.

1st and 3rd place games tomorrow.  I’ll summarize the tourney once the championship game has been played in a final post with final stats for our guys.

Bryce Harper has really not looked very good at the plate in this tournament.  The team stats through pool play show that Castellanos and Machado are really the hitters driving this team.

Games 4-6 in pool play summaries are below:

Game 4: USA d Columbia 19-0 (box/gamer)in a mercifully shortened 7-innings.  Harper highlights: caught, batted 3rd, 1-5 with a homer and 3 runs scored.  Every USA position player had a hit in the onslaught.

Game 5: USA d Cuba 9-5 (box/gamer).  The USA finally played some tough opposition in this tourney and had to use a 6-run eighth inning to overcome Cuba.  Harper highlights: playing Catcher, went 0-5 with a run and an rbi.  It was a slopppy game; USA only had 5 hits and none of our big hitters really contributed to the win.

Game 6: USA d host Venezuela 6-3 (box/gamer).  Harper: 1-3 with a walk, playing CF and was replaced in the lineup later in the game.  Manny Machado was the star of this game, hitting his 2nd HR and reaching base 4 times.


Tragic Number Update: Its over, we’re guaranteed #1 pick in 2010

By virtue of Pittsburgh’s 11-1 victory today over the LA Dodgers, the Washington Nationals are guaranteed the number #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft.  The Nationals have a 7 game “lead” on the Pirates for the worst record in the league this year with 7 games remaining.  This means that even if the Pirates lost their remaining 7 games and we (somehow) won our remaining seven games, we’d be tied for the worst record and Washington would get the number 1 pick by virtue of a worse record in 2008.

team W L pct ga tragic left last10 streak
Washington 52 103 0.335 - - 7 2-8 L-4
Pittsburgh 59 96 0.381 7 0 7 3-7 W-2
Baltimore 60 95 0.387 8 0 7 0-10 L-10
Cleveland 64 91 0.413 12 0 7 3-7 W-3
Kansas City 64 92 0.41 12.5 0 6 5-5 W-1

Congratulations. Let the Bryce Harper ruminations begin.