Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Round 21: Austin Chubb, C, Florida Southern

Florida Southern Bio
The Skinny On Sports' Q&A

Sean's one sentence analysis:
The Nats grabbed another college senior with an intruging talent, this time grabbing a catcher with a lot of pop in his bat.

Other analysis and notes:
Chubb flashed some nice power in his senior season at Florida Southern, leading the team in doubles with 17 and placing second in HR with 8. His plate discipline took a step back (8 BB/27 K this year, 13/12 last year), but it's hard to pass up guys that can man the tools of ignorance and hit with power. He hit .322/.415/.330 in the Florida Collegiate Summer League last year and went 2-2 with a HR and 4 RBI in his professional debut.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Round 20: James Brooks, SS, University of Utah

(via James Roh, Provo (UT) Daily Herald)
Utah Bio
James Brooks tags on the Australian Baseball Digest

Pre-draft rankings:
#10 prospect in Utah by Baseball America (not in top 500)

Sean's one sentence analysis: This Australian isn't your average SS, with nice pop and defense but poor plate discipline.

Other analysis and notes:
Middle infielders with pop are hard to find, so I like this pick, especially in the 20th round. Brooks hit .303/.361/.333 in 10 games for the GCL Nats before moving up to Auburn, where he's only 1/19. At 23 (24 in October), he needs to start hitting (and hitting for power) if he wants to move up the organizational ladder. His 2 BB/14 K ratio so far isn't helping, either, but all of this is in an extremely small sample size period (15 total games), so take it with a grain of salt.

Brooks was the Pac 12 leader in doubles this year with 21 and was 5th in the league with 10 HR. He was second on the Utes in batting average (.304), third in OBP (.363) and first in slugging percentage (.529).

From Bubba Brown, the Utah Daily Chronicle, 4/19/12: “I don’t know,” Brooks said of his power surge. “I was trying to put my finger on it the other day, but honestly I don’t know. I think I might be more selective at what I’m swinging. There isn’t any magical secret that I have.”

Utah's official site had a short 10 question Q&A with Brooks last March.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Round 19: Bryan Lippincott, 1B, Concordia University, St. Paul

(H-W photo/Steve Bohnstedt via the Quincy Herald-Whig )
Concordia Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis:
Lippincott's solid all-around game that excelled against a lower level of competition (NCAA Division II) will be tested in the pros, but I believe he'll be able to hit enough to keep moving in the Nationals system.

Other analysis and notes:
Lippincott led all of DII baseball in batting average (.494) and was second in OBP (.594) and third in slugging percentage (.864) this season. The lefty batting infielder dominated both on the field and in the classroom (4.0 college GPA while majoring in finance) and if baseball doesn't work out for him, he's already got a job lined up as a financial advisor. Lippincott's excellent plate discipline leads me to believe he'll fare well against stronger competition than he faced in college.

From Concordia's draft day press release: "He finished his career as Concordia's all-time leader in hitting with a .428 career average in 161 games played as a four year starter. He also set career marks in runs (170), doubles (63) and triples (12) while finishing second in hits (254), RBI (165), total bases (425) while finsihing in the top-5 in stolen bases (41), slugging percentage (.715), on-base percentage (.497), home runs (28) and walks (69)."

From an interview with D2 Baseball News:
"What do you know about the Nationals organization? BL: I know that it is hands down the best organization in professional baseball. The Nationals are leading the NL East and they are committed to winning at every level within the organization." Love this guy.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Round 18: Dave Fischer, RHP, University of Connecticut

(from UConn's official site)
UConn Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: Fischer has the potential to surpass the low expectations generally given to mid-round senior signs, as he throws 94 MPH and has room to add muscle and as a result more velocity.

Pre-draft rankings:
Ranked #4 in lower New England region by Baseball America (but not in top 500 draft prospects).

Other analysis and notes:
The senior finally got a grasp of his command in 2012, going 5-6 with a 3.47 ERA in 80 and 1/3 innings for UConn, allowing 27 walks (and in the meantime dropping 1.2 off of his career BB/9) and striking out 68 hitters.

He was drafted by the Angels out of high school (44th round, 2008 draft) and by the Giants after his junior year (30th round, 2011 draft).

Here is a story from 2008 about his experience being drafted out of high school.

Fischer pitched 4 no-hit innings for Auburn in his last start. The linked article gives a little insight to how he approaches pitching and what he throws.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Round 17: Blake Schwartz, RHP, Oklahoma City University

(via Rich Tortorelli/Sooner Athletic Conference)

Oklahoma City University Bio
Minnesota State-Mantako Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: The senior righty used excellent control to subdue opponents during his college career and will need to lean heavily on it to succeed in professional ball.

Other news and notes:
2011 Northwood League Pitcher of the Year
#1 pitcher in the Northwood League (College Summer Ball)

Schwartz transferred from Minnesota State-Mantako to Oklahoma City University for his senior season due to financial reasons. He dominated at both during his college career (and basically everywhere he pitched). In his 4 college years between MS-M and OCU, he went 35-9 with a 3.34 ERA, 8.39 K/9 and 1.88 BB/9.

"Schwartz went 10-2, 2.20 at Division II Minnesota State-Mankato, and his good control of an 88-92 mph fastball should help him dominate NAIA competition." - John Manuel, Baseball America Small College Preview (1/31/2012)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Round 16: Ronald Pena, RHP, Palm Beach State JC

(via College of Charleston's official site)
College of Charleston Bio

Pre-Draft Rankings: #410 in Baseball America's top 500

Sean's one sentence analysis: Pena  has the ability to turn into a right handed power arm but needs to develop his secondary stuff and control his fastball.
Other news and notes:
Pena attended College of Charleston for his freshman year but transferred to Palm Beach State JC for financial reasons. He was planning to head back to CofC until he signed.

Pena has projectible size and still has room to put on some muscle. He hit 95 MPH for the first time during a JC tournament this season. His control doesn't appear to be as awful as Baseball America makes it sound (4.14 BB/9 this season) and according to his coach, it vastly improved as the season progressed.

"The 6-foot-3, 201-pounder touched 94 mph and can sit in the 90-92 range. His curveball and changeup have their moments. His command is below-average and just throwing strikes can be a challenge." - Baseball America

Friday, July 6, 2012

Round 14: Jordan Poole, 1B/OF, Chipola JC (FL)

(via Dustin Kent/Jackson County Floridian)

Ole Miss Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: Josh Smoker's high school teammate hit .340/.425/.573 this season and has some intriguing power potential from the right side of the plate.

Other analysis and notes: Attended Calhoun HS in Georgia with Nats farmhand LHP Josh Smoker and spent a season at Ole Miss before transferring to Chipola JC, presumably over playing time concerns. Despite only being 20 years old, Poole was sent to Auburn after signing and is hitting .297/.341/.405 in his first 42 PA of pro ball. Strikes out way too much, and will have to cut down on the K's if he wants to move higher in pro ball.

Lydia Senn of the Calhoun Times had an interview with Poole during his senior year of high school in 2010 (full story here)

Chase Parham of Rebel Grove (and had a nice story about Poole, his break-out end of the 2011 season for Ole Miss, and the role his family plays in his game.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Posting delays

Hi everyone,
I still plan on doing a draft profile for every 2012 Nats draft pick (signed picks first, followed by the ones that got away). The storms in the DC area have thrown off my plans, as my power has been out at home. I will try to get a post done Thursday and get back on track with at least one every weekday.

Thanks for reading!
Sean Hogan

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Round 13: Elliott Waterman, LHP, San Francisco

(Greg Moore/USF's official site)
San Francisco Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: Waterman's funky delivery is tough on lefties, and he has a solid chance to move through the organizatioon as a future LOOGY.

Pre-draft rankings:
#16 in CSN Bay Area's top 50 Northern California MLB Draft Prospects

More analysis and notes:
The big lefty was an effective closer for the University of San Francisco Dons this season, throwing 45 and 2/3 innings of 2.36 ERA ball. I'm impressed by his 40:12 K:BB ratio as well. He also pitched for the Bethesda Big Train last summer.

Steve Langsam of Waterman's hometown newspaper, the Martinez News-Gazette, interviewed him about his career at USF and his transition to pro ball on 6/14/12.

Waterman signed with the Nationals for $100,000, which is the maximum teams can spend past the 10th round without counting against the team's overall bonus pool.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Round 7: Robert Benincasa, RHP, Florida State

(Bob Thomas/
Florida State Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis:
The Florida State righty put up beastly numbers to go with solid stuff and could make his way to the DC bullpen in a few years.

Pre-draft rankings:
#216 in Baseball America's top 500

Other news and notes:
His 15 save junior season for Florida State, which included a 1.35 ERA, 56 K and only 7 BB in 40 innings, earned him a spot on Baseball America's first team All-American list. Benincasa was even more of a beast in ACC play, throwing 19 innings of 0.47 ERA ball with 31 strikeouts and 4 walks.

"He’s put up tremendous numbers this year. He goes 90-92 with a sinker and uses the slider as an out pitch. He’s a strike thrower with good command and good feel. He should progress quickly through the system." - Nationals scouting director Kris Kline

"He made seven starts the previous two seasons and has a solid 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame and clean arm action that could return him to a starting role as a pro. He has mixed in a solid-average split-changeup but generally pitches off his 90-92 mph fastball, which regularly hits 93-94 and has good sink, and his slider, an above-average pitch with late action and decent depth." - Baseball America

"Benincasa has the best arm on the (Florida State) staff, with a 90-94 mph fastball with good sink and an above-average slider, helping the 'Noles go 36-1 when leading after seven innings." - Aaron Fitt, Baseball America, 6/1/12

Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times wrote a great article about Benincasa being drafted out of high school in 2009.

According to Baseball America, Benincasa signed with the Nationals for $145,000, which is $300 under the slotted amount for the 234th overall pick.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Round 3: Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Stanford

(Kevin Johnson/San Francisco Chronicle)
Stanford Bio
2011 Nats Draft bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: The lanky lefty has big league strikeout stuff (9.88 K/9 in college) but struggles repeating his delivery and with control at times (5.87 BB/9 in college).

Pre-draft rankings:
#120 in Baseball America's top 500
#87 in John Sickels' top 100
#43 in Matt Garrioch's pre-season college top 100
#30 in College Baseball Daily's top 100 (December 2011)

Other news and notes:
"It's hard for scouts to get a good read on him because his stuff has been up and down throughout his college career. He has a knack for spinning a breaking ball, switching between a curveball and slider this season, and shows a decent changeup. The biggest concern with Mooneyham is his control." - Baseball America

"A plus athlete with a fastball that touches 97 to go along with a plus curveball and changeup. Mooneyham projects as high as a number three starter. His father, Bill, was a former Major Leaguer." - Nationals scouting director Kris Kline, 6/5/2012.

"Very inconsistent, but overpowering at his best, and paucity of high-ceiling lefties will make him attractive to many teams." - John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/1/2012

Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball rates Mooneyham as 35 present (below average), 60 potential (above average).

"I’m not a huge fan of third-rounder Brett Mooneyham, but he has flashed enough interesting stuff at times that he was hard to pass up in that range of the draft." - Mark Anderson, Baseball Prospect Nation, 6/11/2012

"Primarily a FB-CH guy that needs work with his SL. Potential as number four or five starter with durable body and inning-eating possibilities. Has some breakout potential given raw physical gifts, but he’s a long shot to be better than a back-end guy. Given mediocre breaking ball, limited potential as a reliever." - Mark Anderson, 4/23/2012 (click the link for the full scouting report, it's very in-depth and worth a long look).

Mooneyham signed for the 111th pick's slotted amount of $428,500.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Round 12: Carlos Lopez, 3B, Wake Forest

(Wake Forest's official site)
Wake Forest Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: Bat speed/power combination makes him an intriguing guy, but needs to prove it again in the pros.

Pre-draft rankings:
#36 prospect in the state of North Carolina by Baseball America
#47 hitter in the ACC by Rob Ozga/Baseball Draft Report
#60 third baseman by Ozga

Other analysis and notes: Lopez hit .268/.379/.521 in his four seasons at Wake Forest, and vastly improved his plate discipline during his senior season (36 BB/36 K in 2012, 65 BB/152K in his first three seasons). He doesn't have any plus tools, but does everything pretty well across the board without any glaring holes in his game. Lopez is athletic enough to play any of the corner IF/OF spots and has a solid arm.

"Carlos is as good of a pure hitter as anybody I have ever coached and will step right into professional baseball and be successful from day one. He can play first base, third base and a corner outfield position. I can see him advancing very quickly because of his versatility." - Wake Forest head coach Tom Walter, 6/5/2012 (via Stephen Wright/Wake Forest's official site).

"Consistent above-average performances with the bat; very quick wrists helps him generate above-average bat speed and raw power; difficult player to project because he’s seen almost universally as a really good college player without much of a pro future." - Rob Ozga, Baseball Draft Report, 5/13/12

"The ninth-year senior (could be just me, but it feels like he’s been around forever) is a consistent hitter who has above-average raw power. I don’t think his bat is quite good enough to overcome his other less than thrilling tools, but he’s a darn productive college player any way you look at him." - Rob Ozga, 2/8/12

Lopez' signing bonus is unknown to Baseball America at the moment.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Round 11: Brian Rauh, RHP, Chapman

(Richard Matamoros/Chapman's official site)
Chapman Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis:
Rauh likely projects as a reliever in professional ball, with a fastball that reaches the low 90s and three secondary pitches that are decent but unspectacular.

Pre-draft rankings:
#437 in Baseball America's top 500
#4 in Baseball America's Division III top prospects (1/31/12)
#93 in Baseball America's top California prospects

Thoughts from the community:
Rauh utterly dominated his opponents during his three seasons at Chapman, going 30-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 11.06 K/9. This year, he held opposing batters to a .159 batting average against. I'm a huge fan of his 122/29 K/BB ratio this year as well.

"He pitches from a high slot, and most of his stuff seems to go north to south. He works in the 88-91 mph range and flashes an average (but inconsistent) slider, a serviceable downer curve and changeup with sink." - Baseball America

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Round 10: Craig Manuel, C, Rice

(Smiley N. Pool, Houston Chronicle)
Rice Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis:
He'll never hit for power, but the defensively sound catcher has a keen ability to get on base and put the ball in play.
Thoughts from the community:
The lefty swinging catcher hit .291/.381/.348 in his career at Rice, starting 155 games over 4 years (and never less than 31 in a season). His plate discipline is beyond excellent (71 BB and 43 K in his college career) and he is considered to be a solid defensive catcher.

"Manuel isn't especially toolsy, but he's a lefthanded-hitting catcher with a tremendous work ethic. (He is a) good receiver with a decent arm." - Baseball America

"He’s been a starter for 3 years and has handled all of their big pitchers. Very good receiver, very good thrower. His coach called him one of the best situational hitters in college baseball." - Nationals national crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales

Manuel signed for $25,000, which is $100,000 below the slot amount for the 324th overall pick.

Round 9: Derek Self, RHP, Louisville

(Eric Sorenson/College Baseball Today)

Baseball-Reference Louisville Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis:
The Louisville righty has more potential than a standard Senior sign and could develop into a late inning bullpen arm.
Pre-draft rankings:
#279 in Baseball America's top 500

Thoughts from the community:
Self is a pretty big boy who can dial it up to 95 or 96. The variations of his fastball (his sinker and cutter) are much better than his heater, which is below average despite being thrown pretty hard. For someone with pretty good stuff, he's got really low strikeout numbers (23 K's in 31 and 2/3 innings this season, 141 K's in 215 and 1/3 innings in his career), but the Nats' minor league pitching coaches could be able to tweak him into a pitcher who knocks out more batters. In the Cape Cod League in 2010, Self threw 43 innings with a 2.30 ERA, only striking out 17 but with a miniscule 3 BB allowed as well.

"The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder's fastball has gone from 87-91 mph to 92-95 and his so-so slider has transformed into an 87-88 mph cutter. Self doesn't miss a lot of bats, but he doesn't beat himself with walks and he generates groundout after groundout." - Baseball America

"We’ve been watching him for two years. Has a hard slider and his fastball is 90-93. He began the season as Louisville’s setup man but eventually took over the closer role." – Nationals national crosschecker Jeff Zona

Scouting video from @alskor of @bullpenbanter.

Self signed for $25,000 according to Baseball America, which is $101,700 less than the slot amount for the 294th overall pick.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Round 8: Stephen Perez, SS, Miami

(from Miami's official site)

Miami Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: It's hard to find middle infielders with Perez' talent past the first or second round, but turning his talent into performance will be a project.
Pre-draft rankings:
#357 in Baseball America's pre-draft top 500
#47 on's top 50 draft prospects (November 2011)
#54 on Matt Garrioch's pre-season top 100 college draft prospects

Thoughts from the community:
Good talent is hard to find, and Perez could be a steal in the 8th round. His junior season at Miami was not a great one, as he hit .247/.363/.435 with 23 errors, 50 K and 32 walks. Perez struggled to make contact in the Cape Cod league last season as well, but did take a bunch of walks to strengthen his triple slash to .233/.370/.300 (albeit with a 27/44 BB/K ratio). He will hit for better power than a .067 ISO in the pros, but needs to make more consistent contact and strike out less for lasting success. His first game for Auburn is a microcosm of his career at Miami: 2/4 with a 3B, a HR, an error and a strikeout.

Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball listed Perez's floor as a 35 and his ceiling as a 50 (40 being average).

"Miami had high expectations for Perez, but he has not lived up to them in three seasons. He has solid-average power and some feel for hitting, and his defensive tools should make him an average defender at short. His inconsistency has proved maddening to coaches and scouts, however." - Baseball America

"He is silky smooth on the diamond, with lightning quick hands, and plus arm strength, clocked at 89 mph across the infield. Perez has some hotdog in his game, and will try to make the flashy play at times leading to errors. Small and not overly projectable, he has shown a little more pop this spring, but that isn’t a big part of his game. The bat, especially from the right side, continues to be a work-in-progress, but he will get drafted for his defensive ability alone" - JaysFanToronto, Minor League Ball FanPost, 4/19/2012

Perez signed for $100,000, which is $33,000 less than the slotted amount for the 264th overall pick.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Round 6: Hayden Jennings, OF, Evangel Christian Academy (LA)

(Val Horvath Davidson/The Shreveport Times)


Sean's one sentence analysis:
Jennings can really fly, plays solid defense and has a better arm than is advertised, but can he handle a higher quality of pitching?

Thoughts from the community:
The most common comments I am find about Jennings are about his 6.4 second 60 yard dash, which is really fast (like Billy Hamilton fast). Regardless of the quality of competition, you have to be impresssed with 23 stolen bases in 23 attempts. Perfect Game clocked his arm at 87 mph, so it's better than fringe-average in my opinion. His .446 batting average and 13 HR at Evangel Christian are pretty solid, so it really will be interesting to see whether or not he can hit in pro ball.

"He’s a center fielder that can really run. He’s a plus defensive player overall and a leadoff hitter." - Nationals scouting director Kris Kline, 6/5/2012

"He's a 60 runner with solid-average defensive tools...who lacks physical projection. He has a fringe-average arm and fringy gap power." - Baseball America

According to Baseball America, Jennings signed for $100,000, which is $74,900 less than the MLB slot amount for the 204th overall selection.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Round 5: Spencer Kieboom, C, Clemson

(Jeff Blake/The State)
Clemson Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: Kieboom's defense is much better than his offense at this point, but don't sleep on his ability to make contact with the bat.

Pre-draft rankings:
18th in Baseball America's top South Carolina prospects

Thoughts from the community:
Hit .265/.337/.343 in his 3 year career at Clemson with an impressive 47/37 BB/K ratio. Known as an excellent defensive catcher, Kieboom threw out 31% of would-be base stealers, with only 6 errors and 4 passed balls in his career.

"A team that thinks Kieboom can handle the bat may roll the dice on him as he is a sound defender with a good arm." - Baseball America

"We thought Spencer was the best defensive catchers in the country. He hit very well during ACC play. He's a workhorse." - Nationals assistant GM Roy Clark (via @NationalsPR 1 and 2)

"The Nationals should be able to push him aggressively to High-A by the end of the 2013. He’s a quality defensive catcher with a chance to be a true plus behind the dish, and if you believe in the upside of his simple, compact swing, he could be more than just a backup." - Mark Anderson, Baseball Prospect Nation, 6/11/12

"Good defensive tools have blossomed and he is now considered a plus thrower and plus defender; has a ready for the National League 8-hole hitter approach – smart enough hitter to know when not to swing when the pitcher is pitching around him." - Rob Ozga, Baseball Draft Report, 5/13/12
Kieboom signed for a $200,000 bonus, which is $33,400 below the slot recommendation for the 174th overall pick.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Round 4: Brandon Miller, C/OF, Samford

(Associated Press via The Citizen)

Samford Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: Miller's upside is higher than a typical senior sign, but his floor is lower as well; with an excellent power/arm combination, he could turn into a solid ML catcher if he improve his technique behind the plate.

Pre-draft rankings:
#314 on Baseball America's top 500

Thoughts from the community:
Miller was previosly drafted by the Red Sox (33rd round, 2008) and the Nationals (48th round, 2010) and has played at Georgia Tech and Northwest Florida CC before as well.

"(Miller) has two plus tools with righthanded power...and a 65 arm on the 20-80 scouting scale. He's made more contact this spring but isn't a big bet to hit for average." - Baseball America

"A redraft out of JUCO, he has middle of the lineup power,” Eric Robinson, Area Supervisor for the Southeast region, said, via the @NationalsPR Twitter feed. “Miller is a versatile catcher who profiles both at [right field] and [catcher]. Great makeup. His profile reminds me of our own Tyler Moore.” - Mike Fiametta,, 6/5/12

"Outfielder Brandon Miller could be an interesting pick given his impressive raw power. He has a right-field profile both offensively and defensively and the Nats could push him quickly through the system because of his refined approach to the game." - Mark Anderson, Baseball Prospect Nation, 6/11/12

"Miller has some decent raw power and profiles as a right fielder at the next level." - Coast 2 Coast Prospects Nationals draft review

According to Baseball America's draft database, Miller signed for $100k; his slotted amount was $311,700.

Round 2: Tony Renda, 2B, California

(Icon SMI via ESPN)
Cal Bio

Sean's one sentence analysis: Don't let his height (or lack of it) fool you; Renda has average or better tools across the board.

Pre-draft rankings:
#97 in Baseball America top 500
#84 in John Sickels' top 100
#91 in Jonathan Mayo's top 100
#79 in Matt Garrioch's pre-season top 100 (college players only)

Thoughts from the community:
"Scouts love his ability to hit and his grinder mentality...he projects to hit for solid average with power to the gaps. He's not flashy (defensively) and has just modest range, though he makes the plays he's supposed to make and can turn the double play." - Baseball America
"Renda is a favorite of scouts due to his ability to exceed his physical tools." - John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 6/10/12
"Undersized but scrappy, has some pop, draws inevitable Dustin Pedroia comparisons." - Sickels, 6/1/12
"(Renda's) plus bat speed allows him to spray line drives to both gaps. Though undersized, he has more power than one would think, especially to the pull side. He’s a solid-average runner, though his instincts and aggressiveness allow that to play up on the basepaths. Just because he’s a second baseman doesn’t mean he can’t defend. He has a very good arm and range, anticipating and positioning himself well." - Jonathan Mayo,

"In our opinion, Tony has the quickest bat in the draft. He has always hit. He brings controlled aggression and a strong, compact swing. He has tremendous makeup and is a great kid." - Kris Kline (Nationals' scouting director), @NationalsPR (Tweet 1 and Tweet 2), 6/5/12

"Second baseman Tony Renda is an unheralded player but he does offer considerable potential with the bat and could be an under-sized offensive dynamo." - Mark Anderson, Baseball Prospect Nation, 6/11/12
"Best Potential (amongst 2B) – Tony Renda (Washington): Renda is a hitting machine that draws unfair comparisons to Dustin Pedroia. He’s undersized and doesn’t stand out defensively, but his bat is his meal ticket and it’s for real." - Anderson, 6/5/12

"Renda is the kind of guy who constantly 'plays above his tools.' He's not a big guy, but he has solid bat speed and projects average power for a middle infielder at the next level. The all-time hit leader at his California high school, the alma mater of Barry Bonds, Renda has shown he can hit at every level and is an interesting follow as a second baseman." - Coast 2 Coast Prospects Nationals draft review
"Renda is not the toolsiest of middle infielders, but he seems to get the most out of what he has, which will take him a long way. Comparison at the plate: Justin Turner." - Coast 2 Coast Prospects scouting report

Renda was the #79 college prospect on Matt Garrioch's preseason top 100 post on 1/25/2012. Garrioch listed Renda as having a 35 floor and 50 ceiling on in his 2012 MLB Draft Prospects by Region: California post on 5/9/12.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

2012 Nats Picks: Rounds 26-40

26 – OF Skye Bolt, Georgia HS
Probably the coolest name in the draft (no offense to Brock Dykxhoorn), Bolt is just what he sounds like: a speedster. His game is incredibly raw, and it would likely help his development greatly to say no to the Nationals and head off to UNC (which he’ll undoubtedly do anyways). While he’s fast, his speed-related game is not that great; he’s a poor base-runner and takes questionable routes in center field. The fact that he switch hits is always a positive, but he has little present or useful power at this point. If everything breaks right for him at North Carolina, he could turn into a Brian Goodwin-type of prospect, but he needs to refine his game greatly between now and the 2015 draft. #214 in Baseball America’s top 500.

27 – RHP Cody Poteet, California HS
Another guy that could benefit from 3 years in college, Poteet throws the ball hard and has a surprisingly polished changeup for a prep pitcher. The UCLA signee throws both a curveball and a slider, but needs to work hard to control both breaking balls. His fastball, while relatively fast for a high schooler (touches 94-95) lacks movement and will be average at best at higher levels. Poteet, like Bolt and Avis, can come back  in the 2015 as first round picks if they learn how to correct their flaws, but I think Poteet has a higher probability of becoming polished than Bolt. #189 in Baseball America’s top 500

28 – SS Hunter Bailey, Oklahoma St
Another senior and another up the middle player. Bailey hit .275/.380/.324 in his senior year for Oklahoma State with 32 BB and 30 K. He has very little power, but is said to have a slick glove. The son of former Dodgers farmhand Chuck Bailey.

29 – RHP L.J. Hollins, Chipola JC
The submarining JC righty went 10-4 with a 3.67 ERA in his 2 year career at Chipola JC. He improved across the board from 2011 (6.28 ERA, 25 BB/24 K in 38 and 2/3 IP) to 2012 (2.35 ERA, 27 BB/64 K in 76 and 2/3 IP). He was originally signed to pitch at Southern Miss, but changed his mind and ended up at Chipola JC for unknown reasons.
@LJprettyboy21 (inactive since last September)

30 – LHP R.C. Orlan, North Carolina
Orlan isn’t going to become more than a LOOGY, but he’s excellent in that role. He’s got 2 solid pitches in his deceptive fastball and slurvy slider that can help him get lefties out with ease and is improving with his cutter and curveball. This year at UNC, the Deep Run HS (Glen Allen VA) native had a 2.01 ERA and more than 6 strikeouts per every walk. In the Cape Cod league last summer, he threw 19 innings of 2.84 ERA ball, striking out 23 while allowing 11 walks and 11 hits. Fell to the 30th round after sustaining an arm injury on June 3rd; Baseball America writer Nathan Rode opined that he was an expected top 15 round pick before the injury. #425 in Baseball America’s top 500.

31 – RHP Mike Boyden, Maryland
After struggling through a year at George Washington, a year at Northwest Shoals CC and his junior year at Maryland, Boyden blossomed as a senior in 2012. He finished the season with a 3.35 ERA and maintained his 1 strikeout per inning pace from 2011 while dropping his BB/9 from 8 to 4.2. The La Plata native isn’t a fireballer, but finds a way to overmatch batters anyways.

32 – LHP Mike Mudron, Cal State San Bernadino
Mudron isn’t a flamethrower either, but gets by with good control and offspeed pitches. He went 6-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 59 innings pitched, striking out 53 while walking 47 (and throwing 14 wild pitches). Mudron appears to be tough to hit (44 hits allowed in those 59 innings) and even tougher to hit the ball hard off of (0 HR, 7 extra base hits allowed), so he’s still salvageable as a pitcher despite the poor command.

33 – 2B Mike McQuillan, Iowa
The all-time leader in singles in Iowa history hit over .329 in all four of his seasons, finishing his career with a .345/.440/.444 triple slash (.354/.489/.438 his senior year). Improved his base stealing (22 for 38 in his first 3 years, 14 for 18 this year) and fielding (.959 career fielding percentage, .977 his senior year) throughout his time at Iowa. Another Northwoods League guy, McQuillan hit .286/.395/.403 in the wooden bat summer league last year with an impressive 34 BB to 31 K and 12 stolen bases in 15 opportunities. He’s not a super small guy at 5’11”, 175 and is good enough across the board to keep moving up as his stats allow.

34 – 2B Jake Jeffries, California HS
The son of former big leaguer Gregg Jeffries is a pretty refined hitter as high schoolers go. The switch-hitting infielder (listed as a 2B in the draft but played 3B in high school) was recruited by San Diego State, UCLA, USC and Pepperdine before settling on Cal State Fullerton. His commitment to Fullerton won’t be easy to buy out, so we shouldn’t expect to see him in the organization unless the Nats redraft him in 2015.

35 – LHP Cory Bafidis, Texas Wesleyan
Bafidis pitched at Midland College in 2010 and Texas Tech in 2011 and attended Texas Wesleyan in 2012. In 2010 for Midland, he threw 16 and 2/3 innings, gave up 15 earned runs and 27 hits, striking out 11 and walking 17. His 2011 season for the Red Raiders wasn’t much better, as he only threw 2 total innings across 6 games, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits with 2 BB and 3 K’s. I can’t find anywhere what limited him to 18 and 2/3 innings over the last 3 years, so he’ll be a great mystery to me.

36 – C Max Ungar, Maryland HS
The Bethesda high schooler (Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School) is pretty big for a catcher (6’3” 195 lbs) and appears to be committed to Denison University. Interesting note – The campus of CESJDS is named after the Ted and Annette Lerner, according to the Jewish Daily Forward.

37 – LHP Tyler Watson, Texas HS
The list of Georgetown High's all-time great pitchers is pretty impressive, including 2011 Brewers first round pick Taylor Jungmann. Watson, armed with an 87 mph fastball and some tricky offspeed stuff, is a long-term project that needs to add size and velocity. He's a better pitcher than a thrower at this point, and with advanced stuff (albeit unlikely for him to add it) he could be a true prospect. His dad, Gene Watson, is a scouting coordinator with the Kansas City Royals and he's committed to pitch for Kansas next year. College is the best fit for his development, so he'll almost certainly end up at Kansas.

38 – RHP Jared Messer, Malone
Messer's stuff isn't going to blow you away (tops out around 91 MPH, but he has very good command and a solid grasp on how to pitch. In 14 starts and 84 innings, Messer went 9-4 with a 1.50 ERA, 8 complete games and 3 shutouts. His 68 H and 15 BB allowed make his WHIP impressively land just under 1.00 and he struck out almost 1 batter per inning. Messer is only the third Malone player to ever be drafted.

39 – C Mitchell Williams, Georgia HS
Hit .400 with 4 HR and 19 RBI at Coosa HS this season. Signed to play at the Marion Military Institute, a JC in Alabama, so he could be signable.

40 – OF Ricky Gutierrez, Florida HS
The son of former Chicago Cub Ricky Gutierrez and a 2 start UConn football recruit as a WR, Gutierrez will almost certainly bypass the Nationals and head to sunny, warm Connecticut (wait, what?). You have to assume he's fast since he's playing DI football, but I can't find anything else on his other tools.
Ricky Gutierrez, SR's twitter: @RGutie

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

2012 Nats picks: Rounds 16-25

Round 16 – RHP Ronald Pena, Palm Beach State JC
Decent size (6’3” 201 lbs) to go with a fastball that reaches 94 MPH. Secondary pitches inconsistent, but very good at times. Control called poor by Baseball America, but 35 BB in 76 innings (4.14 BB/9) isn’t close to the worst I’ve seen lately. 2012 stats are good (2.72 ERA, 9-2 record) and suggest that he was much better than his competition and/or the quality of competition was poor. Played at College of Charleston his freshman year and will head back there if he doesn’t sign; C of C head coach Monte Lee called him a candidate to be a weekend starter in 2013. #410 on Baseball America’s top 500.

Round 17 – RHP Blake Schwartz, Oklahoma City University
The Minnesota native started at Minnesota State – Mankato before transferring to Oklahoma City University for his senior season. Schwartz was listed by College Summer Baseball as the #1 pitcher in the Northwoods League in 2011, where he went 6-1 with a 1.71 ERA, 75 K and 15 BB in 63 innings. In his 4 college years between MS-M and OCU, he went 35-9 with a 3.34 ERA, 8.39 K/9 and 1.88 BB/9.

Round 18 – RHP Dave Fischer, Connecticut
Fischer is a tall guy at 6’5” with room to add a little weight and as a result perhaps add some velocity onto his already 94 MPH fastball. The senior finally got a grasp of his command in 2012, going 5-6 with a 3.47 ERA in 80 and 1/3 innings for UConn, allowing 27 walks (and in the meantime dropping 1.2 off of his career BB/9) and striking out 68 hitters. We’ll see him in the Auburn bullpen pretty soon I’m sure. Ranked #4 in lower New England region by Baseball America (but not in their top 500).

Round 19 – 3B Bryan Lippincott, Concordia St. Paul
Another college senior, another small school guy. Lippincott had a 4.0 GPA in college (and he didn’t major in something BS like I did, it was in finance). Hit .428/.497/.715 in his 4 years of college and improved across the board each year. I like the power/speed combination (averaged 7 HR and 10 SB per year) and plate discipline (69 BB/62 K). If baseball doesn’t work out for him, he has a job lined up with Minneapolis Financial Group as a financial advisor (but they’ve graciously agreed to work with him if/when he got drafted).

Round 20 – SS James Brooks, Utah
The Australian Ute hit .372/.415/.583 in his junior year in 2011 and .304/.363/.529 in his senior year this year. Brooks showed more speed than power in 2011 (3 HR, 11 SB) but did the opposite in 2012 (10 HR, 1 SB). His plate discipline is a huge concern (30 BB/104 K over 2 years), but the power in the middle infield is a plus. Not sure how Brooks Laich will feel about an Australian baseball playing counterpart who goes by Brooksy, but a little competition never hurts.

Round 21 – C Austin Chubb, Florida Southern
Another senior? Sure, why not. Chubb spent 2 seasons at the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota before transferring to Florida Southern for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.With a .295/.368/.485 triple slash during his junior year (5 HR in 132 AB, 13 BB/12 K) and a .291/.339/.539 in his senior campaign (8 HR, 8 BB and 27 K in 165 AB), it is apparent that he can handle the bat fairly well. His arm needs work (only threw out 5 out of 55 attempted base stealers this season), so he could be a candidate to move to 1B.

 Round 22 – RHP Will Hudgins, Notre Dame
Another another senior? Sure! The great nephew of former Senators pitcher Jim Pearce (h/t @NFA_Brian) had a pretty solid career at Notre Dame; the article from Notre Dame's web site states that only two pitchers in Notre Dame history had a lower ERA than him with more innings pitched. 2012 was the only year in which Hudgins started, but his performance was better than ever; in 15 starts, Hudgins went 5-3 with a 2.06 ERA, 90 K and 24 BB in 96 and 1/3 innings. The Richmond native went to Douglas S. Freeman HS and his father played basketball for VCU.

Round 23 – LHP Casey Selsor, Texas-San Antonio
First of all, the dude's got some awesome flow. Maybe that's why the Nats drafted him twice (they took him out of high school in 2008). His numbers as a hitter this year (.302/.358/.471 with 10 triples and 17 SB) were far more impressive this year than as a pitcher (5.55 ERA, 43 BB/54 K in 84 and 1/3 innings), but he was the Roadrunners' staff ace in 2011 (2.90 ERA, 38 BB/79 K in 99 and 1/3 innings). It will be interesting to see what the Nats end up doing with the athletic lefty/lefty, as he has a bunch of useful tools for both the mound and the field.

Round 24 – RHP Austin DiCharry, Texas
DiCharry was very good as a freshman in 2009 (2.28 ERA, 59 K and 28 BB alolowed in 59 and 1/3 IP). Then shoulder injuries struck; he threw 27 and 1/3 innings his sophomore season in 2010 and just 1 inning during his 2011 junior year. He got healthy enough to throw 20 innings as a senior and pitched well with them, finishing his time in Austin with a 2.25 ERA a 9.0 K/9 and a 2.25 BB/9.

SB Nation Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation had a nice "Senior Salute" to Dicharry last month and Crawfish Boxes, an Houston Astros SB Nation blog had an in-depth draft profile on him as well. Looks like a very interesting choice with a decent amount of upside if he can stay healthy. Big if, obviously, and shoulder injuries are pretty scary for pitchers..

Here's how the conversation between the 8 straight senior picks and the Nats likely went:
Scout: We really like your (arm, batting average, jean size, facial hair, lack of an arrest record). Here's $1000 and a Wendy's coupon book. Want to join our organization?

Round 25 –  RHP Freddy Avis, California HS
Avis almost certainly won't sign, but it's a good idea to take a couple of solid HS guys as the Nats did in rounds 25-27 to throw the excess slot money saved by drafting conservatively in rounds 2-10 in case Giolito doesn't sign. The Stanford commit throws in the mid 90s with a decent curveball/change combination that will be helped by some time in college. Avis was ranked #56 in Baseball America's top 500.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2012 Nats picks: rounds 2-15

Round 2 – 2B Tony Renda, California
Renda, a junior at Cal, does a lot of things right. He’s a good contact hitter who hits line drives, has surprising pop, runs pretty well and has a steady glove. The knock on Renda is his size; at 5’8”, he’s not a physical specimen and his short legs diminish his range at 2B, leaving something to be desired there. Just because he’s short doesn’t mean he’s a Dustin Pedroia, David Eckstein or Jamey Carroll clone, though; Renda can turn into an ML starter if he can stick at second base. #97 on Baseball America’s top 500 and #84 on John Sickels’ top 100.

Round 3 – LHP Brett Mooneyham, Stanford
The Nats snagged Mooneyham in the 38th round last year due to a finger injury that kept him out for the entire 2011 season. Mooneyham redshirted  last year for obvious reasons, so is still just a redshirt-Junior. When he’s healthy (and he doesn’t have lingering injury concerns) and consistent in his approach, Mooneyham is a lethal lefty with a fastball in the mid 90’s and good breaking stuff. The issue is that consistency, however; at 6’5”, Mooneyham often has trouble repeating his mechanics and for that reason he can lose velocity or control fairly easily. #120 on Baseball America’s top 500 and #87 on John Sickels’ top 100.

Round 4 – OF Brandon Miller, Samford
I’m a little surprised it took the Nats until their 3rd pick of the day to grab a college senior due to the supposed demands of Giolito. Miller is not your typical college senior, as he has excellent power and an excellent arm but is still considered raw and toolsy. He’s caught before in his career (at Georgia Tech) and could potentially move back there where he wouldn’t have to hit for average. Best case scenario is if he can stick behind the plate and knock out 20+ HR a year while hitting .240 or so and playing average defense. Should sign relatively quickly and cheaply. #314 on Baseball America’s top 500.

Round 5 – C Spencer Kieboom, Clemson
The Nats grabbed a true catcher in the 5th round in Kieboom. The Clemson junior was the #84 draft prospect as listed by Baseball America before the 2012 season and is an American-Dutch dual citizen. His relative drop in draft status was due to his mediocre season hitting (.250 with 3 HR), but his arm is considered his best tool anyways and his glove isn’t far behind.

Round 6 – OF Hayden Jennings, Louisiana HS
Jennings is small, fast and hit pretty well this season (.446, 13 HR). Perfect Game clocked his fastball at 87 MPH, so if he adds a few pounds he can have an above average arm. I can’t imagine that he’ll be cheap to buy out of his LSU commitment, but he went higher than expected, so a pre-pick arrangement could have taken place, espeically considering how high he was taken for a relatively unknown prospect.

Round 7 – RHP Robert Benincasa, Florida State
Still surprised that the Nats didn’t go with more seniors early, but Benincasa is an arm to watch. The Florida State junior was named a finalist for the NCAA stopper of the year award today and steadily improved his BB and K numbers during his time in Tallahassee. He was a stud this season, with 15 saves, a 1.29 ERA and a 48/5 K/BB ratio (wow!). Benincasa tops out around 94 MPH with a good sinking fastball and pairs it well with a solid slider. Very pleased with this pick.

Round 8 – SS Stephen Perez, Miami
The tools are there for the switch hitting Hurricane junior, but he hasn’t seemed to turn them together. Perez has above average power and speed to go with developing contact and defense, but every time something breaks right, something else breaks wrong (power but no contact, arm injury kept him from playing on the left side of the infield this year). Hit .247/.363/.435 in 2012 albeit with 18 steals in 22 attempts; needs to work on his contact, as 50 K in 186 AB just isn’t going to cut it in the pros…or 23 errors. #357 in Baseball America’s top 500.

Round 9 – RHP Derek Self, Louisville
Self is a pretty big boy who can dial it up to 95 or 96. The variations of his fastball (his sinker and cutter) are much better than his heater, which is below average despite being thrown pretty hard. According to Baseball America, he is the right kind of senior sign who "belongs in the top 10 rounds and still can be had at a discount." Scouting video from @alskor of @bullpenbanter. #279 in Baseball America's top 500.

Round 10 – C Craig Manuel, Rice
The Nats round out the slotted rounds with their third senior so far. The lefty swinging Florida native (who was born in Rockville, MD, h/t @nfa_brian), hit .291/.381/.348 in his career at Rice, starting 155 games over 4 years (and never less than 31 in a season). His plate discipline is beyond excellent (71 BB and 43 K in his college career) and he is considered to be a solid defensive catcher.

Round 11 – RHP Brian Rauh, Chapman
Without knowing Chapman University's baseball history too well, I am going to go out on a limb and call Rauh one of their best players of all time. In his three seasons at Chapman, Rauh has made the NCAA Division III All-America team all three times and has a 30-1 career record, 1.78 ERA and 355 K in 289 in his career at the school according to their press release. I'm a huge fan of his 122/29 K/BB ratio this year as well. Calling his college career dominant would be an understatement, and he should be a great addition to the system. In terms of his actual stuff, he can get into the low 90s with three secondary pitches in his slider/curve/changeup combo. #437 in Baseball America's top 500.

Round 12 – 1B Carlos Lopez, Wake Forest
Lopez' father Mike played collegiate football at Brown and raised his son who is built like a linebacker into a slugger. The senior hit .294/.412/.527 this season with 17 2B, 10 HR and 51 RBI (although he dipped to .250/.369/.389 in ACC play). His 36 BB to 36 K ratio is solid and he played solid defense at 1B (and has filled in at 3B/OF in the past as well). He does a lot of things pretty well, and could turn into a useful organizational piece.

Round 13 – LHP Elliott Waterman, San Francisco
The big (6'5" 230 lbs) junior lefty saved 7 games and put up a 2.36 ERA with 40 K and 12 BB in 45 and 2/3 innings. Waterman played for the Bethesda Big Train in the Cal Ripken League last summer and is slated to play for the same Green Bay Bullfrogs summer team that 11th round pick Brian Rauh played in last year (unless he signs quickly).

Round 14 – 1B/OF Jordan Poole, Chipola JC
The former Ole Miss player transferred to Chipola JC this year where he hit .329/.419/.541 this season with 15 doubles and 7 HR in 54 games. He struck out way too many times (55 in 170 AB) for my liking, especially given the competition, but there is always room to improve. He's got a ton of power, which is exciting for both me and for his mom, who likes to run up and down the aisles during games. In his high school career for Calhoun High School (where he played with former Nats supplemental 1st rounder LHP Josh Smoker), he hit 45 homers. Played for the Baltimore Redbirds in the Cal Ripken league last summer. 

Round 15 – OF Brandon Smith, California HS
The fast high school outfielder hit .429/.527/.688 in 25 games this year for Woodbridge HS in California. While it's impressive that Smith was 21/25 for stolen bases on the year, . He's committed to Grand Canyon University and should be relatively signable. He also plays for a school that wears the curly W logo (also h/t NFA Brian).

Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 Nats draft wrap-up: Day 1

2009: Stephen Strasburg
2010: Bryce Harper
2011: Anthony Rendon
2012: Lucas Giolito

2 were slam dunk 1st overall picks. 2 were viewed as potential 1st overall picks before dropping due to injury concerns. All 4 were considered among the most elite talent in their respective drafts (and in most cases were the most elite players involved). Strasburg and Harper are already doing great things in the Majors. Can Giolito follow them, or will his injury further plague him like Anthony Rendon?

Giolito will be far from a slam dunk to sign, first of all. He has a strong commitment to UCLA and was thought to have been seeking #1 overall money. The Nats can't pay him anywhere near that, but could cut costs in rounds 2-10 by taking a bunch of junior college players and college seniors with little leverage and signing them for $50-100k. The Nats will likely be able to cut enough elsewhere to give Giolito an offer in the $3.5 mil range. Will he accept?

Some notes and quotes on Giolito:

"He had hit 100 mph in his last outing before the injury and would sit 93-98 in most outings, showing better late life on the pitch and better command within the zone, losing some of his former tendency to give up hard contact on fastballs in the zone. His curveball is sharp and he changes its shape, throwing some with typical two-plane break and others with shorter more slider-like action, mostly in the 83-86 mph range. He'll flash a changeup but it's clearly his third option, probably the main thing he'll need to work on in pro ball. Giolito might have been a candidate to go first overall before a tender elbow ended his high school season in March; tests were uniformly negative, showing no ligament or tendon damage, and he's expected to be able to throw for teams before the draft." - scouting report (more to the scouting report if you click the link)

"Giolito has a golden right arm. His fastball sits firmly in the 93-95 MPH range, and was clocked at 100 MPH during his first start of 2012. The ball explodes out of his hand, and flat-out overpowers opposing hitters. Beyond his heater, Giolito is armed with a nasty breaking ball and a game-worthy changeup. He throws his breaking pitch with variable velocity. He’ll drop it in the zone for knee-buckling strikes at 80-84 MPH early in the count, and will spike it in the dirt at 86-88 MPH and wipe-out opposing batters when he’s ahead, with two strikes." - Ryan Kelley, Baseball News Hound (more to the scouting report if you click the link)

"This Southern California native combines a great frame and a fluid delivery with some of the best stuff in the draft class, including a fastball that has touched 100 MPH, a strong power curve and a changeup that has shown potential. At 6’6 220 lbs, Giolito will be able to add some weight to his somewhat wiry frame, which should allow him to add velocity to his already impressive arsenal." - Chase, Padres Prospects

Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball estimated Giolito's chances of going to UCLA as 50/50 on May 25.
Garrioch's thoughts on Giolito: "He tips his curve. He has imperfect mechanics but he has #1 starter potential. Only about 10 guys in the minors have that potential, maybe less. That is why he is #1 (on my board)."

Bullpen Banter has 4 videos of Lucas Giolito in their extensive video index.