Washington Nationals 2023 MLB Draft Review


See Also: 2023 Draft Database

Draft Theme: Powerful, Toolsy Athletes.

The Nationals took the No. 1 player in the class when they selected OF Dylan Crews at No. 2. They continued to collect tools and athletic profiles when they selected 3B Yohandy Morales in the second round, RHP Travis Sykora—who was then the best player available on the BA draft board—in the third round and OF Andrew Pinckney in the fourth round. Crews is as tooled up as it gets, Morales has huge raw power and arm strength, Sykora has been throwing 100 mph since his junior year of high school and Pinckney has 55+ tools at every spot except the hit tool. 

Most Interesting Day 2 Pick: OF Andrew Pinckney, 4th round

Pinckney enjoyed a strong 2022 spring and summer, and followed it up with a career season in 2023 as a right fielder for Alabama. Listed at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Pinckney hit .338/.442/.645 with 18 home runs, 12 doubles and a career-high 13.9% walk rate. Pinckney has impressive athleticism and loud raw tools to go with his performance, though his production has consistently come with high strikeout numbers and an aggressive approach. He missed at a 32% rate this spring and has significant contact questions versus breaking balls and offspeed pitches, and will also expand the zone too frequently against all pitch types. He does have well above-average bat speed, which translates into hard-hit balls when he does make contact, with a strong 107 mph 90th percentile exit velocity and above-average power potential. He’s primarily played right field with Alabama but has impressive athleticism, above-average speed and plus arm strength that should allow him to play all three outfield positions and get a shot at center field to start his pro career. Pinckney has made impressive strides offensively each year in his college career and if he’s able to take a step forward with his pitch recognition and contact ability he has impact upside on both sides of the ball. Pinckney redshirted in 2020 and is old for the class as a 22-year-old on draft day.

Most Interesting Day 3 Pick: LHP Liam Sullivan, 13th round

Sullivan is a physical specimen with a 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame who works from a high, three-quarter slot and has advanced command of a deep pitch mix. He got hit around a bit in 2023 and posted a 5.77 ERA over 64 innings with a 25.6% strikeout rate and 11.3% walk rate. He throws a fastball at 90-91 mph that touched 95 this spring, and will also mix in a low-80s slider, mid-70s curveball and low-80s changeup. Sullivan’s changeup was the best swing-and-miss offering for him this spring, with a 44% miss rate, though his slider has traditionally been seen as his best secondary. It’s got solid horizontal movement with spin rates around 2,400 rpm. Sullivan is a softer thrower with a maxed-out frame that doesn’t offer much in the way of future projection, so he’ll need to be more precise with his fastball and rely on mixing and matching to keep hitters off-balance and stay off the barrel in pro ball. He has the upside of a reliable, durable depth starter.

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