October 17, 2019

Washington Nationals select two players on first day on MLB Draft

The Washington Nationals have often been at the top of the pecking order when choosing amateur players in the MLB Draft. On Monday, that was not the case, as the Nats didn’t have a selection in either the first round nor the “Competitive Balance Round A”.

In fact, their first pick came at No. 58 overall, which they used to select LSU junior centerfielder Andrew Stevenson. Then, at No. 69 overall, the Nationals selected Arizona high school outfielder Blake Perkins.

Stevenson, 21, bats and throws left, and is 6’0″, 185. He hit .356/407/458 in 59 games for LSU this season with 26 steals in 236 plate appearances. He’s led LSU in hitting the past two seasons. Stevenson is considered a plus defender but his arm is questionable.

Perkins, who bats and throws right, is 6’1″, 165 and considered by many to be the best athlete of Arizona high school players eligible for the draft. Perkins has committed to Arizona State. According to his Max Preps profile, Perkins hit .461 in 29 games for Verrado High School in Buckeye, AZ this year with seven home runs, 35 RBIs and 19 SBs.

Both player’s best tool appears to be their speed.

Washington Nationals sign first round pick Erick Fedde

TEAM FAILS TO SIGN SECOND ROUND PICK ANDREW SUAREZ OF U of MIAMI

The Washington Nationals signed first round pick RHP Erick Fedde, just moments before Friday’s 5:00 pm ET deadline, according to multiple reports.

Fedde’s signing bonus is $2,511,100, per Jim Callis.

Fedde, a right-handed starter from UNLV who played on the same high school team as Nats outfielder Bryce Harper, had Tommy John surgery two days before the draft.

The team issued a press release shortly after the deadline.

Suarez, a 21-year-old left-handed starter with a long history of arm problems, will return to the Univeristy of Miami for his senior year, the school announced via Twitter earlier in the afternoon. This marks the second time he’s been drafted without signing a pro contract. Suarez was the 57th overall pick in the draft, and as such, the Nats will receive the 58th pick in the 2015 draft as compensation for failing to sign their draftee.

The Nationals also did not come to terms with ninth round draft pick Austin Byler, a junior first baseman from the University of Nevada.

Washington Nationals 2014 MLB Draft Day Two highlighted by Nebraska HS catcher Reetz

The Washington Nationals selected eight players on the second day of the 2014 MLB Draft. Their first pick was Jakson Reetz, a high school catcher from Nebraska.

Below is the Nationals’ press release announcing their selections.

Jakson Reetz – Catcher – Norris (NE) High School / Firth, NE – 3rdRound (93rd overall)

At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Reetz is known as a hard-nosed competitor and a tremendous athlete behind the plate.  He was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Nebraska Baseball Player of the Year after hitting .487 with eight home runs, 37 RBI and 37 runs scored in 2014. Reetz was rated by Baseball America as the No. 62 overall draft prospect (No. 1 in Nebraska) in this year’s draft class. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Nebraska. When he inked with the Cornhuskers, he was rated the No. 28 overall recruit in the country, and was named a 2013 Perfect Game First-Team Underclass All-American.

Nationals Assistant GM & VP of Scouting Operations Kris Kline: “We’re very excited (about Reetz). He’s a high school catcher that we love. Power bat, (and) he’s got a great feel to hit. Catching skills are maybe a tick better than (Oakland A’s catcher and former Nationals prospect) Derrick Norris at the same time. We have the right people to help him progress in that area. I think you’re looking at an offensive catcher at the big-league level down the road.”

Robert Dickey – Right Handed Pitcher – Blinn (TX) Junior College / Austin, TX – 4th Round (124th overall)

Dickey helped lead Blinn Junior College to its first Junior College World Series since 1992, going 9-4 with a 2.74 ERA (26 ER/85.1 IP) in 14 starts for the Buccaneers. He struck out 100 batters while walking just 44. Entering the season, he was rated by Perfect Game USA as the No. 1 overall junior college prospect in the nation. He’s noted for strong makeup and mound presence. He signed a National Letter of Intent with Texas State University.

National/Midwest Crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales: “Robert is very excited to be a National. He’s a strong right-handed pitcher. Great body, great character, plus fastball and a solid curveball. We feel he’s going to be a starter. He expressed a lot of interest in wanting to play for us.”

Drew Van Orden – Right Handed Pitcher – Duke (NC) University / Manhattan Beach, CA – 5th Round (154th overall)

At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Van Orden leans on his fastball and slider command to get batters out.  He ranked 6th in the Atlantic Coast Conference in strikeouts (91) and paced the Blue Devil staff in innings pitched (87.1), strikeouts and games started (14). Van Orden went 6-5 with a 3.19 ERA (34 ER/87.1 IP) while allowing opposing hitters to post a .219 average against him in 15 games/14 starts during his senior season.  He was selected to the ACC All-Tournament Team after tossing his first career shutout in Duke’s 6-0 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament.

Austen Williams – Right Handed Pitcher – Texas State University / Fort Worth, TX – 6th Round (184th overall)

Williams was named All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team after finishing third in the conference in strikeouts (96) and tied for third in wins (8).  Standing 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Williams was 8-3 with a 3.65 ERA (40 ER/98.2 IP) in 15 starts for the Bobcats. He struck out 96 batters and hitters posted a .239 batting average against him.

Dale (D.K.) Carey – Center Fielder – University of Miami (FL) / Marietta, GA – 7th Round (214th overall)

Carey is seen as a plus defender and is considered one of the best pure athletes in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He stands 6-foot-2, weighs 207 pounds, and ranked second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in runs scored (53), as well as ranking fourth in hits (75). On the season, he led the Hurricanes in hitting .305 (75-for-246) and doubles (16) while clubbing seven home runs, 29 RBI and 16 stolen bases.  Carey was named Second-Team All-ACC following the 2014 season.

Kris Kline: “Dale was a kid we felt, when he was young, that he was going to be a really good player. He struggled throughout college a bit. We noticed that he simplified his approach, he slowed the game down. He’s a really good defender — throws well, runs well. It’s been encouraging to see him progress to the point to do what we feel he is capable of doing. We’re very excited to have him as part of our system.”

Jeff Gardner  –  Left Fielder – University of Louisville / Louisville, KY – 8th Round (244th overall)

A three-time All-Conference selection (Big East/American Athletic Conference) throughout his career, Gardner was named the 2014 AAC Player of the Year after hitting .326 with 20 doubles, nine home runs and leading the league with 67 RBI and a .551 slugging percentage.  He was a two-time AAC Player of the Week and was recently named a Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger Second Team All-American.

Austin Byler – First Baseman – University of Nevada-Reno / Peoria, AZ – 9th Round (274th overall)

Byler, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound first baseman, led the Mountain West Conference and ranked seventh in NCAA Division 1 with 14 home runs.  He also led the MWC in slugging percentage (.624) and total bases (138), while ranking fourth in on-base percentage (.420), runs scored (51) and fifth in RBI (47). Byler was a First Team All-Mountain West selection and a two-time MWC Player of the Week.  He hit .326 with 14 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs, 47 RBI and 51 runs scored in 57 games this season.

Matt Page – Left Fielder – Oklahoma Baptist University / Redwood City, CA – 10th Round (304th overall)

Page was a two-time NAIA First-Team All-American, two-time Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Year as well as the 2013 NAIA Player of the Year.  Standing 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Page hit .381 with 26 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, 84 RBI and 78 runs scored in 64 games played in 2014.  His 26 doubles were second-most in NAIA, while his 84 RBI were good for third.

Washington Nationals Draft Review: Risks Taken on Fedde, Suarez and Reetz Will Pay Off

At it again. Through day-two, the Washington Nationals front office has managed to come away with one of the best draft classes in terms of pick value and overall talent.

After selecting one of the NCAA’s elite pitching talents in UNLV’s Erick Fedde, they grabbed University of Miami southpaw Andrew Suarez  and star Nebraska high school catcher Jakson Reetz.

As they’ve done multiple times in recent years, the Nationals managed to get top talent at bargain prices by gambling on injury and signability. Fedde, their top overall pick and No. 18 overall, was one of the most dominant college pitchers in the Nation this season at UNLV. He posted a 1.76 ERA and struck out 82 batters in 76 innings while allowing only one home run and  21 free passes.

Fedde’s ERA and strikeouts ranked within the top 40 in the nation. And that performance follows two outstanding seasons with the Rebels, a Cape Cod League stint where he went 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 30.1 innings and two effective appearances for the 2013 Collegiate National Team over the summer.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals select pitchers with top two picks in MLB Draft

“Early in the year we had him certainly as a Top 10 guy and possibly even higher than that,” Nats GM Mike Rizzo said of their first round pick, RHP Erick Fedde

The Washington Nationals selected UNLV right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde with the 18th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. With the 57th overall pick, the Nats selected U. of Miami left-handed pitcher Andrew Suarez.

From the press releases:

Fedde:

The 6-foot-4, 180-pound junior is regarded as one of the top collegiate arms in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

A native of Las Vegas, Nev., Fedde went 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA (15 ER/76.2 IP) and 82 strikeouts in 11 starts for the Rebels this season.  He was named the 2014 Mountain West Pitcher of the Year and to the All-Mountain West First Team after going 6-1 with league-leading 1.60 ERA (10 ER/56.1 IP) in eight starts in conference play.

For his efforts during the ’14 campaign, Fedde was named a Louisville Slugger Second-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and named to the midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list.

The 21-year old entered the 2014 season rated as the No.12 pitching prospect and the No. 17 overall prospect in collegiate baseball, according to Baseball America.

Suarez:

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound southpaw went 6-3 with a 2.95 ERA (36 ER/109.2 IP) in 16 starts for the University of Miami in 2014. He struck out 87 while walking just 15 batters.  His 109.2 innings led the Hurricanes’ pitching staff and were second-most in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while his 87 strikeouts were good for eighth in the league.

A native of Miami, Fla., Suarez attended Christopher Columbus High School where he was named All-Dade County First-Team and an AFLAC All-American. He was previously selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Fedde was considered a top-15 talent in the draft but was available to the Nationals at 18 as Fedde underwent Tommy John surgery on June 3. Fedde will not be expected to pitch for at least a year.

Suarez required labrum surgery as a freshman at Miami due to a shoulder injury he sustained in high school.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo and Scouting Director Kris Kline spoke to the media following the Fedde selection, and naturally has glowing praise for their newest draft pick, while acknowledging the risk of selecting players with an injury history.

“You really do have to balance the risk and the reward,” Rizzo explained to reporters. “What we’ve looked at in the past, is that the upside has to really trump the risk of a player not coming back from injury. Usually we really weigh elbow injuries a lot more favorable than shoulder injuries, so that goes into it. And a lot goes into the character of the player and the type of makeup that he has. The rehab process is not a simple one, so you have to have the right character and makeup to go through it and to come out the other end better than when you started it.”

“We’ve known [Fedde] for a long time,” Rizzo said. “He went to high school with Harp [Nats OF Bryce Harper] and he said a lot of good things about him. And we talked to, obviously talked to his college coach and did an extensive background on the guy and like I said, we’ve known him, we feel comfortable with him and have known him, have a history on him, known him for a long time back to his early days at UNLV and also Team USA and his junior year at UNLV. So we felt we know the player well, we know the character and the makeup of the player and you could tell on the field he’s a very competitive, athletic, bulldog-type of mentality.”

“He’s a plus stuff guy,” Rizzo explained. “We’ve scouted him intensely over the last three years. He’s got two plus-plus pitches and his third pitch, the changeup is on the come. We think that’s going to be an above-average pitch. Big physical guy, and we had him towards the top of our draft board and we thought the risk of him rehabbing and coming back to pre-injury form was worth the draft pick.”

“I actually saw his first start of the year at UNLV, and it was really, really good,” Kline added. “I walked out of there thinking that we’ve got no shot at getting this player because he’s a Top 5-type guy. Through the sixth inning he was still 95-98 [mph]. He doesn’t throw anything straight. A lot of life, very heavy. Above-average slider, up to 88 and the makings and flashes of an above-average changeup. A lot of strikes. Very competitive guy. Looks a lot like, if you guys remember Jack McDowell, body-type, delivery, that type of thing with a little more fastball.”

The deadline to get draft picks signed is July 18. The allotted signing bonus for the 18th pick in $2.145 million. Fedde is represented by the Boras Corporation.

2014 MLB Draft Preview: Top 50 Prospects

The 2014 MLB Draft is coming up. The Astros are set to make the draft’s first pick in Sebaucus New Jersey this Thursday, at 7pm est.

After that the Astros, Marlins, White Sox, Cubs and the Twins will make the next four picks (2-5) and teams will continue selecting players until the night ends with the final pick (number 74 overall) of Competitive Balance Round B. The remainder of the draft will be held over the following two days.

The 2013 draft saw two gifted college right-handed pitchers–Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray–go in the top three picks. Kohl Stewart, an immensely talented righty out of high school, followed the duo only minutes later when he was selected at the number-four slot. The year before that, it seemed like there were enough stud shortstops (Carlos Correa, Addison Russell, Gavin Cecchini, Corey Seager) and centerfielders (Byron Buxton, Albert Almora, David Dahl, Courtney Hawkins) for every team that had a pick in the top 20.

This time around the draft class seems to be remarkably strong in left-handed pitching, from both the college and high school ranks. In fact, this class seems to deeper in high-upside pitching in general, compared to the past couple of years, and much lighter at premium defensive positions like catcher, shortstop and centerfield (at least in players that project to man those positions in the pro’s). There aren’t any Strasburgs or Harpers, but N.C. State southpaw Carlos Rodon has generated buzz on par with the amount that Mark Appel created during his own college career. The big flamethrower even hears comps to future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. So it’s a testament to this groups pitching depth that fellow blue-chip southpaw stars Kyle Freeland, Brady Aiken and Brandon Finnegan have the makings of even better professional pitchers. That’s if they pan out of course.

Despite the many flashy left-handed pitchers, the top draft selection might end up being a righthander out of high school. The Astros hold the first overall choice, and gunslinger Tyler Kolek matches up with their taste and needs perfectly. He’s arguably the top pitching talent, he doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his eighteen-year-old arm, he’s a native Texan that was born and raised on a ranch. He also might have the best fastball in the history of high school baseball. Needless to say, his profile and his Texas pedigree have earned him numerous comparisons to Hall of Fame pitcher and former Houston Astros ace Nolan Ryan. What makes the match even more perfect? Kolek’s favorite player is Nolan Ryan, who is now employed as a special advisor to ownership.

[Read more…]

Jake Johansen Looking like a Draft Steal for Washington Nationals

Back in June, when the Nationals used their top draft pick on Jake Johansen, I thought to myself “the Nationals amateur scouting department is at it again.”

Even now that they’re winning, and signing free agents tied to compensation picks, the Nationals are still managing to take home the best young talent in each years draft class. After raking in all-world prospects like Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman during their early, sub-500 seasons in DC, they’ve taken home Anthony Rendon, Brian Goodwin, Alex Meyer, Lucas Giolito with much weaker draft slots picks in recent years.

They’ve also used their scouting department to extract great value from areas most organizations traditionally struggle in. They found ace-level pitcher Jordan Zimmermann at UW-Milwaukee, a DII program, former P-Nats catcher and on-base machine David Freitas at U Hawaii (sent to Oakland in the Kurt Suzuki deal), and took top outfield prospect Michael Taylor in the 6th round of the ’09 draft, when few pro clubs were even giving him work outs. In the mid to late rounds of recent drafts, they’ve snagged top arms like Tommy Milone (10th round in 2008), Taylor Jordan (9th round in ’09), Nate Karns (12th round in ’09), Aaron Barrett (9th round in ’10), and Robbie Ray (12th round in ’10), as well as slugging first baseman Tyler Moore (16th round in ’08).

Essentially, while under new hard-slotting rules and with lesser picks and lesser resources in general at their disposal, the Nats are still able to get it done.

This June, saddled without a first-round pick because of an (ill-advised) Rafael Soriano contract, they still took home the draft’s most gifted young athletes. They got a 6’6″ flamethrower out of Dallas Baptist in the second round, and then took the utterly underrated and supremely-toolsy Drew Ward in the third round. They followed those two gems with a bunch of other great picks, taking Cody Gunter, a smart third-baseman with thunder in his bat, crafty little southpaw David Napoli, and PAC-10 workhorse Austin Voth.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals select RHP Jake Johansen with 68th overall pick in MLB Draft

With their first pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, No. 68 overall, the Washington Nationals selected RHP Jake Johansen, a 6’6″, 235 pitcher from Dallas Baptist University. Johansen was a starter in college, but with his big fastball and currently fringe-average secondary pitches he profiles more as a reliever in professional baseball.

Johansen was ranked No. 182 by Baseball America heading into the draft. Keith Law of ESPN.com had Johansen at No. 66.

As a junior, Johansen went 7-6 with a 5.40 ERA in 88 1/3 innings this season.

Nationals scouting director Kris Kline described Johansen as being similar to Josh Beckett, and that the team believes he profiles as a No. 3 starter, with a top fastball and a good feel for his secondary pitches. Kline believes Johansen has a solid-average breaking ball and a strong slider that needs to have better consistency.

Nats Assistant GM for Player Personnel Roy Clark thinks there are a couple of “quick fixes” that could turn Johansen into a quality starter very quickly.

“We think this guy is a great second-round pick,” Clark said, “and we think Rafael Soriano was a great first-round pick.” The Nats surrendered their first round pick in this year’s draft after signing Soriano as a free agent last off-season.

From MLB.com’s draft profile:

Built like the prototypical Texas right-hander, Johansen is Dallas Baptist’s Friday night starter. His results have been inconsistent this year and he has occasionally shied away from attacking hitters.   Though he has a four-pitch arsenal, Johansen is still learning how to pitch. He is still more of a thrower and must improve his command of his low-90s fastball. Johansen also throws a curveball, changeup and slider, all of which need more development.   Johansen may fit best in the bullpen as a professional, where his fastball would play up and he could concentrate on one off-speed pitch.

From the Nats press release:

The 6-foot-6, 235 lbs. Johansen cemented his status as one of college baseball’s top power arms after striking out 75 in 88.1 innings as a junior. Johansen went 7-6 with a 5.40 ERA in 15 starts and posted strong strikeout-to-walk (2.9/1) and walks per 9.0 inning (2.6) ratios. Twice during his junior campaign, Johansen posted double-digit strikeout totals (10 on both April 26 vs. University of Texas-San Antonio and February 22 vs. Mississippi Valley State).

In three seasons at Dallas Baptist, Johansen finished 13-7 with one save and a 6.03 ERA (99 ER/147.2 IP) in 46 games/23 starts.

Johansen is a graduate of Allen (TX) High School and participated in the Texas Scout Association All-Star Game in the Spring of 2011.

 

Washington Nationals MLB Draft Preview: Local Prospects and Hidden Gems

It’s draft day. For the Washington Nationals, that usually means that good things are in store.

In recent years, the Nats have turned losing records into top draft picks; and then those top draft picks into top prospects. Playing a lead role in their success over the past season-and-a-half, these top prospects have turned into all-world players.

After a half-decade’s worth of basement dwelling in the NL East, the franchise cleared out it’s once highly regarded front office, parting ways with GM Jim Bowden and president Stan Kasten. They replaced Bowden with his protegé Mike Rizzo, a guy that had spent his entire life in baseball–as a player, a scout, a coach and now a front office man. Since then, Rizzo has established himself as one of the wisest GM’s in the game, particularly in terms of the draft and player development.

Now, you might say that Rizzo’s success in the draft is largely a product of circumstance–his team earned first-round picks right when Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg were on the board. But as we’ve learned from teams like the Pirates–who took Dan Moskos over Matt Wieters, Madison Bumgarner, and Bryan Bullington over Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke– and the Padres–who selected Matt Bush over Justin Verlander and Bill Butler–over the years, part of the job is stepping up to the plate and coming through at the big moment, as well as working out a deal with a top prospect when your team’s track record puts you at the bottom of his list.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals sign first round pick Lucas Giolito just before deadline

The Washington Nationals signed RHP Lucas Giolito, their first round pick (No. 16 overall) in the 2012 MLB Draft, the team announced just before Friday’s 5:00 pm EDT deadline. Giolito, 18, is a 6’6″, 230 lb. right-hander that at one point was considered to be the best player in this year’s draft until a UCL strain limited him his final high school season. Giolito went 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings this season at Harvard-Westlake High School in Santa Barbara, CA. [Read more…]

%d bloggers like this: