Draft Report Cards: Washington Nationals
BEST PURE HITTER
|Washington rated Harper, Solis, Hague and Cole as top 50 picks entering the season, and was happy to land all four. Signing Ray was the last touch to a draft that the organization hopes goes well beyond Harper.
Bonus Spending: $11.9 million
: No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper (1) earns a lot of attention for his power, and his pure hitting ability helps bring it out. He trusts his hands, lets balls get deep and has present strength to hit with wood. He hit .443 in the spring with wood bats at JC of Southern Nevada. » BEST POWER HITTER
: Harper is a true top-of-the-scale power prospect, with strength and the ability to backspin the ball with power to all fields, from line to line. He has as much power as any player in the draft era. » FASTEST RUNNER
: The Nationals didn't draft any burners. Harper puts up some times that earn above-average grades, and he can handle center field, though he'll move to right. SS Blake Kelso (10) also is a plus runner. » BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER
: Harper's bazooka arm and range should make him an above-average defender in right, but SS Jason Martinson (5) has more value as a fluid shortstop who throws easy and has good infield actions.
: Scouting director Kris Kline saw RHP A.J. Cole (4) touch 97 mph this spring, and when Cole was on, he sat at 94 with some command and a good, downhill angle. Harper's Southern Nevada teammate, RHP Tyler Hanks (17), hit 97 in the past but was sitting 90-91 mph in instructional league. » BEST SECONDARY PITCH
: LHP Sammy Solis (2) commands his changeup, which has some tail and good sink, and has supreme confidence in it.
ODDS AND ENDS
BEST PRO DEBUT
: SS Rick Hague (3) had a rough year defensively, both in college at Rice and after signing. But he hit .317/.385/.477 in 199 pro at-bats, most of it at low Class A Hagerstown. OF Randolph Oduber (32) was MVP of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, batting .366/.434/.569 to lead that league in batting and slugging while finishing second in OBP. » BEST ATHLETE
: Harper and Martinson, who originally attended Texas State on a football scholarship as a wide receiver. » MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND
: 1B Russell Moldenhauer (24) was an unsigned third-rounder out of high school in 2006 but had a bumpy ride at Texas. He peaked with four home runs in the 2009 College World Series, after going homerless up to that point. Oduber is from Aruba, then attended Western Oklahoma JC. » CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS
: Solis, who will go to the Arizona Fall League. Harper will move exceptionally quickly for a player drafted at age 17. » BEST LATE-ROUND PICK
: The Nationals gave LHP Robbie Ray (12) $799,000 and love his loose arm and makings of three average pitches. HIs fastball has touched 93 and his changeup has polish. » THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY
: The Nats (and other clubs) expect RHP John Simms (39)—who was No. 2 overall pick Jameson Taillon's foil in high school—to push for the first round after three seasons at Rice.