Washington Nationals MLB Draft History And Projections
As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.
Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.
It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e. high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.
Here is a breakdown of the recent draft history of the Washington Nationals:
General Manager: Mike Rizzo (Since 2009)
Scouting Director: Eddie Longosz (Since 2016)
2018 Bonus Pool (Rank): $5,603,800 (28th)
2018 MLB Draft Order:
1st Round: 27th
2nd Round: 65th
3rd Round: 101st
4th-40: 27th in each round.
First Round Picks Since 2013:
2017: Seth Romero (25th)
2014: Erick Fedde (18th)
Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):
OF Bryce Harper (No. 1 overall, 2010) was the obvious No. 1 pick for the Nationals for the second year in a row (after Stephen Strasburg in 2009) and has lived up to the massive expectations that have chased him since he was in his early teenage years. When healthy, Harper is one of the best hitters in baseball. He won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year award, the 2015 NL MVP after leading the league in home runs, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS and OPS+ and he’s a five-time All-Star. Perhaps the most famous prospect ever is now a franchise player and one of the young superstars in the game.
Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):
The Nationals have been one of the more college-heavy clubs in recent years in the top five rounds, selecting 72 percent of their players in this span from four-year universities—the sixth-highest rate among major league teams.
That’s been especially the case since scouting director Eddie Longosz has taken over draft responsibilities in 2016. In the last two drafts, the Nationals have had 11 top-five round selections. Nine of those picks have gone to college players and just two (Carter Kieboom and Jesus Luzardo in 2016) have gone to high school players.
The 2017 draft saw the Nationals take almost exclusively arms, as the team chose college pitchers with nine of their first ten selections—looking to add pitching to a farm system that was in need of it. Still, Longosz took a number of position players in the 2016 draft—including current top prospects Kieboom and Daniel Johnson—so it isn’t as if Washington will be opposed to taking bats with its 2018 draft picks.
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Potential Draft Targets:
RHP Tristan Beck — Beck is a college righthander with four pitches that are above-average or better but a medical that could give teams some pause
1B/3B Triston Casas — Casas has plus-plus raw power and an advanced, patient approach at the plate with surprising athleticism in the infield
SS Jeremy Eierman — A tooled up college shortstop with a plus arm, Eierman also possesses plus speed and plus power
RHP Logan Gilbert — Gilbert has a heavy fastball that plays up with elite extension, and more projection remaining than other college arms
RHP Sean Hjelle — A towering, 6-foot-11 righthander, Hjelle has a preternatural ability to throw strikes despite the length of his limbs
OF/1B Greyson Jenista — Likely a corner outfielder at the next level, Jenista has easy plus raw power and good plate discipline to go with it
RHP Jackson Kowar — Lean, wiry and with a good frame, Kowar has an above-average fastball and plus changeup
OF Trevor Larnach — A powerful corner outfielder, Larnach has finally started tapping into his juice more regularly this spring
LHP Ryan Rolison — A high-floor college lefthander, Rolison shows a three-pitch mix including a fastball up to 96 mph with good life
OF/LHP Connor Scott — A plus runner with good feel for the barrel, Scott is developing power and has a plus arm with good chance to stick in center field—aka toolsy