Nationals Emphasize Signability In New Draft Era





WASHINGTON—The Nationals demonstrated how much times have changed in one year based on their strategy on the second day of the draft.

Washington faces no beat-the-deadline, above-slot signing bonanzas this summer. Not after the organization drafted 11 college players and one junior-college outfielder with their 14 picks in rounds two through 15.

The Nationals were impressed with the hard-nosed play of California second baseman Tony Renda (second round), the athleticism of Stanford lefthander Brett Mooneyham (third), the power of Samford outfielder Brandon Miller (fourth) and the defensive skills of Clemson catcher Spencer Kieboom (fifth). Above all, they liked that those top picks could aid with the signing of first-round high school righthander Lucas Giolito.

Within two days of the draft, Renda, Miller and Kieboom had agreed to terms, while Mooneyham played in a super regional.

"Every round we were making telephone calls to see if guys would agree to the money we were offering," scouting director Kris Kline said. "If there are certain guys that were requiring too much money—mostly the high school guys beyond the second round—we just had to pass."

Giolito, a UCLA signee out of Studio City, Calif., was expected to command more than the $2.125 million suggested for the 16th pick. The Nationals can spend $4,436,200 on their first 10 picks, but could lose money or draft picks if they exceed that limit.

"I think we actually will either break even or come in a little under the wire in the end," Kline said.

Under the old rules last year, Washington spent $15 million in signing bonuses. The team's first four picks signed for nearly $9 million more than their combined slot recommendations.

"Obviously we weren't able to do what we did last year," Kline said, "and that's why we did what we did last year, because we had the foresight to realize this was our last draft to go at it the way we did."

CAPITAL GAINS

• Even with a rash of catching injuries in Washington, Triple-A Syracuse's Jhonatan Solano had his big league debut pushed back while he recovered from a back issue. The 26-year-old doubled off Marlins closer Heath Bell in his first at-bat.

• The high Class A Carolina League all-star team featured Potomac catcher David Freitas, who also earned all-star honors in 2010 (short-season Vermont) and 2011 (low Class A Hagerstown).