|Jim Callis' Quick Take|
|This draft is exactly what the Nationals needed. It will add a lot of depth to the farm system, and there's a lot of quality as well. I like the pair of southpaws atop this draft, Missouri State's Ross Detwiler at No. 6 and Georgia high schooler Josh Smoker at No. 31, and I didn't think either would last that long. Outfielder Michael Burgess' has a lot of potential but also a propensity to swing and miss, but I like him a lot more at No. 49 than I would have in the true first round. Not a bad place to take a short. Righthander Jordan Zimmerman (second round) might have gone higher if not slowed by a broken jaw this spring.|
WASHINGTON--By the time the Nationals made the sixth pick, their top three hitters had been chosen. At that point, they were in agreement on which pitcher to take.
In its first draft with a beefed-up scouting and player development department, Washington took 6-foot-5, 185-pound lefthander Ross Detwiler out of Missouri State with the first of their five top-70 picks.
"All of our great evaluators that we have had complete consensus on Ross, where we selected him in the draft," general manager Jim Bowden said.
The Nationals took high schoolers with their two picks in the supplemental round--the 31st overall for losing outfielder Alfonso Soriano and the 49th for losing outfielder Jose Guillen. Calhoun, Ga., lefthander Josh Smoker, who warms up with six pitches and uses them all in games, led off the supplemental picks. Raw power-hitting outfielder Michael Burgess, from Hillsborough High in Tampa, went 49th.
At the top of the draft, the Nationals went with the third college lefthander among the top six picks.
"I think (Washington) is going to be the best fit for me out of any of the teams (picking around there)," Detwiler said. "They have a bunch of good position players that are young--a good core to the team. I think what they need overall is a few good pitchers, and I think I can work on helping them out with that."
Detwiler struck out 244 batters in 216 collegiate innings, many of them in cold weather like the Bears' season opener in February. Nationals vice president of player development Bob Boone and scouting director Dana Brown saw Detwiler strike out 13 in seven innings against Dallas Baptist in a game played in Frisco, Texas.
A star for Team USA and in the Cape Cod League last summer, Detwiler went 4-5, 2.22 with 110 strikeouts and 38 walks in 89 innings this spring for the Bears.
"When you're building a championship club, you need starting pitching and we feel like we have a lefthanded starter who's going to pitch at the top of the rotation," Brown said. "I'm really excited because when you're playing in the postseason you're going to need guys like this that you're going to be able to hand the ball to. Whether he ends up being a one, two or a three, we feel so strongly about his stuff."
Vice president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo said Detwiler has three quality pitches. The 21-year-old has a deceptive, whip-like delivery.
"He runs the fastball anywhere from 90 to 95 with a power spike curve and an above-average changeup," Rizzo said. "He pounds the strike zone and has had great success his entire career."
• The second of two players the organization received as compensation for Soriano was second-round righthander Jordan Zimmermann, the 67th selection, out of Division III third-place finisher Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The Nationals took shortstop Jake Smolinski from Boylan Catholic (Rockford, Ill.) High with their own second-round pick at No. 70.
• National crosschecker Chuck LaMar said the club's draft was dedicated to scout Doug McMillan, who died May 23 of natural causes at age 60, according to reports. McMillan, who scouted the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, worked for the organization for six years. His son Brett is a first baseman at low Class A Hagerstown.