THE NatsGM Show #111 – Matt Trueblood

THE NatsGM Show #111 has dropped and we are pleased to welcome from Baseball Prospectus and Penning Bull, Matt Trueblood!

On this episode Matt breaks down the upcoming National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals, including the strengths & weaknesses of each team, story lines for the series and expectations for Bryce Harper.  In addition, Matt gives his theories for why each team will win and lose this series, along with a prediction for the outcome.

Thanks to Matt for making his debut appearance, and to you for downloading – Follow the show on Twitter @Nats_GM and Subscribe to, Rate & Review our show on Apple Podcasts!

THE NatsGM Show #103 – Guest Bennett Brauer

THE NatsGM Show Episode #103 is now available and we are proud to welcome author at BP Toronto & former minor league executive, Bennett Brauer!

This week’s episode focuses on the business side of minor league baseball, as Bennett describes the differences between a major and minor league general manager and the relationship between the team and the parent organization.  Then our conversation shifts and he describes the importance of promotional items to minor league teams, and what a typical day is for someone working in a general manager capacity.  Finally Bennett gives some advice to those who might want to work in baseball and we play a game of “Rapid Fire”.

Thank you to Bennett for joining me this holiday week and to you for downloading!

Scouting The MLB Draft – Interview with Christopher Crawford

IMG_1528With the 2016 MLB Draft now less than 2 weeks away, I reached out to Baseball Prospectus writer and noted draft guru Christopher Crawford to ask him a few questions about this year’s prospect crop.  Even this close to draft day, Christopher was kind enough to spare some time to answer a few questions.

NatsGM – “So Chris, the place to start is your “big-picture” thoughts on this year’s draft crop – How is this class talent wise and what are the strengths and weaknesses of the class overall?”

C. Crawford – “It’s a frustrating class. One week you’ll look at this group and think it’s one of the best of the decade, the next you’ll compare it to some of the dreadful classes of the previous. The strength to me is in the outfield, there’s a couple of handfuls full of guys who can make an impact both at the prep and collegiate level. The weakness is pitching, particularly in college. This is the worst collegiate pitching class that I can remember in quite some time.”

NatsGM – “There are two high school arms getting plenty of attention this year, Jason Groome and Riley Pint – Thoughts on these two and whom do you prefer?”

C. Crawford – “Groome is the top player on my board. He’s a southpaw who has shown two 70 pitches in his fastball and a disgusting curveball, and he’ll complement them with a pretty solid change as well. He’s had some command issues and that whole suspension thing, but he’s still the guy I’d take 1.1. 

Pint has the best fastball of any pitcher — college or prep — eligible this year, and if you gear for that as a hitter, he can make you feel silly with a plus change. The issue is the delivery; there’s some effort, and I’m not sure it’s conducive to having starter command long-term. The upside is huge, but the floor is reliever, unfortunately.

NatsGM – “If you were the GM of each team inside the top-5, who would you take (not who do you think they will take) and why?”

C. Crawford – “I believe in taking the best player available approach, so if I’m Philly, I’m taking Jason Groome, if I’m Cincinnati I am taking Corey Ray, If I’m Atlanta I’m taking Delvin Perez, if I’m Colorado I’m taking Blake Rutherford and if I’m Milwaukee I’m taking Braxton Garrett. That will almost assuredly not be what happens, but that’s how I’d do it if someone were foolish enough to let me try.

NatsGM – “Let’s do some Rapid Fire Question –  Who is your favorite Day 2 prospect(s) and/or your personal cheeseball in this class?”

C. Crawford – “Really tough to say, but a guy I really like who will likely go on day 2 is Bo Bichette, a infielder who can really hit and gets rave reviews about his instincts. My favorite cheeseball is the kind with the nuts.

NatsGM – “Who is your favorite HS bat, Rutherford, Moniak or someone else?”

C. Crawford – “Delvin Perez. I get the immaturity questions, but in terms of just pure upside, he’s the best player in the class.

NatsGM – “Best catching prospect (long-term) in this crop?

C. Crawford – “It’s close, but I would have to say Matt Thaiss. He’s not a lock to stick behind the plate, but he can really swing the bat, so he doesn’t have to be an elite defender.”

Thank you so much Christopher.  I want to encourage everyone to buy his 2016 MLB Draft Guide available here -> https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/baseball-prospectus-mlb-draft/id1090576351?mt=11

Recapping the Baseball Prospectus Event at Miller Park

Miller Park

This past weekend while all of the Washington D.C. area was celebrating the magnificent accomplishments of Bryce Harper and Paul Pierce, I travelled to Milwaukee to attend the Baseball Prospectus event at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Before the event even started, Saturday afternoon I was fortunate enough to meet up with Baseball Prospectus members Jordan Gorosh and Nick Faleris. Jordan and I recorded a new episode of THE NatsGM Show, outside of a bar no less, in which we discussed scouting, Kris Bryant, and a few prospects. Look for this interview in the next few days on the site.

Following that interview Nick and I met up for an adult beverage and to discuss this year’s MLB Draft class, which has received mixed reviews from critiques about the overall level of talent available. Nick has promised to come on the Podcast before the June draft to analyze and discuss the top prospects available this year.

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After this, I made my way over to Miller Park in time for the start of the BP Milwaukee event. The session began with a Question-and-Answer session hosted by Milwaukee front office member Matt Kleine, who specializes in contracts and arbitration cases. While Matt had to be careful with how much he could say, for obvious reasons, he immediately grabbed my attention when he said “arbitration is about paying for past production, not what they will achieve in the future”. Another intriguing thing he mentioned was about how an arbitration case goes – in my mind I thought it was 2-3 lawyers, the player and the arbitrator in a small conference room. However, this is not the case, as Mike stated that there are often 50 or more people in the room when an arbitration case is heard, including representatives from other major league teams.

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One final point that caught my attention was when someone from the audience asked why it feels like the player and team fight over a relatively small amount of money in the general scheme of the overall payroll. Mike made a great point that arbitration is a consistent comparison of players, and each time you “give in” and pay the player more, you have now reset the entire pay scale throughout baseball. So it may not be the difference of $50,000, it is establishing a precedent for players in the future.

Next about 12 members from Baseball Prospectus formed a panel and held a casual Question-and-Answer session with the audience. Surprisingly, many of the questions focused on the Chicago Cubs, their prospects and their options this forthcoming offseason, no doubt because Cubs expert Sahadev Sharma was in attendance. In addition it was nice to hear from many of the new owners of the site, who all came across as very smart business men and passionate baseball fans. Finally, I was able to crowbar one question to the panel, asking them which players could make a monster jump up prospect rankings this year. Interestingly the names that were mentioned by the prospect team were Cubs Dan Vogelbach, Yankees Jorge Mateo, Boston’s Rafael Devers and Nationals prospect Wilmer Difo.

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After this 30-45 minute discussion, we then made our way into the stadium where we were treated to watching the game from the ATI club, which is directly behind the right field fence. Although the game was rather uncompetitive, a 12-4 victory for the Brewers, we were treated to Kris Bryant’s 1st major league home run and David Ross’ first pitching appearance in the major leagues.

In conclusion I want to publicly thank Baseball Prospectus for putting together such a terrific and unique experience in conjunction with the Milwaukee Brewers. I hope the new owners continue to have more events similar to this one, (DC would be a great spot) and I look forward to attending more get-togethers in the future. So long from Milwaukee!