A quick glance on our high-end draftees from 2013 draft. As with other posts, I’ll put in the Keith Law and Baseball America ranking after the player name where appropriate (though as we’ll see, Keith’s top 100 quickly runs out of names).
Two other blogs are doing a far more in-depth look at these picks than I am here; definitely see Ryan Kelley‘s fantastic scouting reports on each pick at BaseballNewsHound.com and see Ryan Sullivan‘s excellent draft day blog coverage at NatsGM.com for more and better in-sight than what I’ve got here. Plus Tom Schad at MLB.com has posted nice per-player summaries for all the Nats picks. I’m just looking for a quick hit observation on our new guys.
- Rnd #1/#28 overall: In what would have been the Nats first round pick, the Cardinals selected Rob Kaminsky, a prep RHP from New Jersey. However at that point in the draft high-end prep lefty Ian Clarkin, pre-draft top-10 pick LHP Sean Manaea from Indiana State University and highly-regarded Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek (another guy who was seen as an upper-end 1st rounder earlier this year with fantastic stuff) were still on the board. Don’t you think the Nats wouldn’t have minded a shot at Manaea or Stanek at above-slot and then punted on below-slot guys the rest of the way (kinda what they did in 2012 with Lucas Giolito and a senior-heavy first 10 rounds)? Both Manaea and Stanek dropped just in the past few weeks because of short-term injuries and both seem like steals at the end of the 1st round. Man I would have liked to see one of these two guys added to the farm system. Was this worth the Rafael Soriano signing?
- Rnd #2/#68 overall: Jake Johansen, RHP from Dallas Baptist University. Keith Law ranked #63, Baseball America ranked #180. This is a classic Mike Rizzo pick; a big guy (6’6″) with a big arm (98-100mph on the fastball, sustained through out the game). Its almost like they’re trying to replace Alex Meyer in the farm system. Johansen’s college numbers leave something to be desired: 5.40 era this season, a career ERA > 6.00. Some have pointed out he has a very high BABIP on the year and that his conference is a hitter’s paradise; fair counter points). For a guy who throws so hard, he had surprisingly few Ks this year (75 Ks in 88 1/3 innings). His size and profile seems to trend towards an automatic reliever, but the Nats profile him as a starter. You can’t teach velocity right? The Nats execs are already on record saying that they’re drafting the tools and they believe they can coach him up. FederalBaseball has a nice writeup on him with good quotes and the Nats press release on the pick too. Masn’s Byron Kerr‘s write-up is here. Already some pundits questioning the pick (HardBallTalk). My thought? I would have liked to have drafted a polished guy with our highest pick, not a project. 6/8/13 update: already signed for slot value. Wow that was fast. Clearly smells like a pre-draft deal here.
- Rnd #3/#105 Overall: Drew Ward, prep SS/3B from Oklahoma. BA #88. Prep 3B who’s graduating a year early and with an Oklahoma commitment. I don’t think he graduated HS a year early so he could get to college; he’ll sign. Nice FederalBaseball writeup about him. Keith Law isn’t a fan.
- Rnd #4/#136 Overall: Nicholas “Nic” Pivetta, RHP from a New Mexico Juco. BA #155. The MLB scouting reports say he’s an upper 90s fastball in short spurts and may be headed for the bullpen. Sounds like a Rizzo pick to me. Are you sure we’re not drafting for need at the MLB level right now? :-). All signs point to reliever. Maybe we’re so happy with our High-A rotation right now that we’re just focusing on relivers who can go straight to AA and matriculate up the ranks with our current set of starters?
- Rnd #5/#166 Overall: Austin Voth, RHP from University of Washington. BA #260. Seems like an over draft, might be a signability pick, though Voth fits the profile of a good K/9 guy. He was the University of Washington’s friday starter, he was 2nd in the Pac-12 in strikeouts to #1 overall pick Mark Appel and had pretty good stats for a sub-.500 college team.
- Rnd #6/#196 Overall: Cody Gunter 3B/RHP from Texas Juco. BA #249. Could be another reliever, but likely was drafted to play the field. MLB.com’s writeup on him is here.
- Rnd #7/#226 Overall: James Yezzo, 1B from UDelaware. BA #290. You usually don’t like to draft 1B-only guys on NL teams, especially ones who are only 6’0″, but Yezzo clubbed his way to the CAA player of the year honor and hit .410 with power in a 3-big conference with some good baseball.
- Rnd #8/#256 Overall: David Napoli, LHP from Tulane. Not BA ranked. A weekend senior starter for Tulane with a great BA against for one probable reason; he seems wild as heck. 33 walks in 66 innings and FOURTEEN Hbps this year. He had a fantastic batting average against (.176) and was even better in H/9 against (5.32 hits per 9, 2nd in the NCAA this year), but that’s easier to do when you’re all over the plate. Looks like a loogy to me; undersized (5’10″ 180lb) and ok stuff (threw 87 in HS, reportedly can hit 93-94 in short stints). We’ll see.
- Rnd #9/#286 Overall: Jake Joyce, RHP from Virginia Tech. Not BA ranked. A prototypical round 6-9 pick; college senior, little leverage, will sign for below slot to save cash. Per the MLB.com story on him, a nats executive knows the family and made the recommendation. 95 out of the pen for Va Tech; you just hope that a reliever in college is going to be successful in the pros.
- Rnd #10/#316 Overall: Brennan Middleton, SS from Tulane. Say hello to Auburn’s starting SS this year.
First 10 round summary:
- Four college RHP who mostly project to relievers
- One college LHP who definitely projects as a reliever
- Three college infielders; a 1B, a SS and a 3B.
- One prep 3B who may be a tougher sign with a college commitment
So far, pretty typical Rizzo draft; college heavy with a focus on power arms destined for the bullpen. Is there one big name in this list to get excited about? Unfortunately not so far, but not having a 1st rounder and a crack at a big name (as described in the “possible 1st round missed” bullet point will leave a draft class wanting.