Nationals select a pair of outfielders on first day of 2015 Draft

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by Kyle Brostowitz

The Washington Nationals selected collegiate outfielder Andrew Stevenson (Louisiana State University) with the 58th-overall pick, and outfielder Blake Perkins (Verrado High School) with the 69th-overall pick in the 2015 First Year Player Draft on Monday night.

Andrew Stevenson – OF – Louisiana State University

The speedy 6-foot, 184-pound junior is considered one of the top defensive center fielders in the Nation and one of the best hitters in one of the best baseball conferences in the country, the Southeastern Conference (SEC). He was selected in the second round as compensation for the Nationals not signing their 2014 second round pick.

“We’re adding to our already-fertile stable of athletes,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “Stevenson is a guy that is a plus-plus runner. We have him at a 70-80 (on a 20-80 scale) as far a speed goes. He’s got ability to steal bases. He’s a terrific defensive center fielder. We think he’s got the ability to be a leadoff type of guy in the future and a guy who adds to our athleticism and speed part of the game.”

Stevenson was named First-Team All-SEC following the 2015 season after ranking near the top of the league in batting average (6th, .356), hits (T6th, 84), triples (T6th, 5) runs scored (T9th, 53), and stolen bases (3rd, 26). A three-year starter in center field, Stevenson excels defensively and is a two-time (2014, 2015) SEC All-Defensive Team selection.

A native of Youngsville, La., Stevenson led LSU in hitting (.356) and on-base percentage (.407). He also recorded 12 doubles, five triples, one homer, 21 RBI, 16 walks, 26 stolen bases and 53 runs scored in 59 games for the Tigers. Stevenson will continue to play this weekend as the Tigers have advanced to the 2015 College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

“We’ve always liked him,” said Nationals Assistant General Manager & Vice President of Scouting Operations Kris Kline. “He does have the ability to center the baseball. He has good hand-eye coordination. He’s actually had more success with a wood bat, and that showed up in the Cape Cod League. He’s always had a very good feel to hit and the other tools — we love the athletic ability and we see him as an every day center fielder in the big leagues.”

Prior to the 2015 season, Stevenson was named a 2015 Preseason All-American by Perfect Game.

As a sophomore in 2014, Stevenson led LSU and ranked eighth in the SEC in hitting (.335) while recording seven doubles, five triples, 32 RBI, 14 walks, nine stolen bases and 41 runs scored in 61 games (59 starts). He earned SEC Academic Honor Roll and 2014 SEC All-Defensive Team honors following the season.

Following his sophomore season, Stevenson helped the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to the 2014 Cape Cod League title. He hit .327 with nine doubles, one triple, one homer, 16 RBI, 21 stolen bases and 30 runs scored en route to being named a 2014 Cape Cod League All-Star.

Stewart is a graduate of St. Thomas More High School in Lafayette, LA where he was named a 2012 Louisville Slugger High School All American and a Baseball America Third-Team All American. He also earned All-District and All-Acadiana honors as a wide receiver on the school’s football team.

Blake Perkins – OF – Verrado (AZ) High School

The 6-foot, 180 pound righty hit .461 (41-for-89) with eight doubles, eight triples, seven home runs, 35 RBI, 23 walks and 51 runs scored in just 29 games during his senior season at Verrado High School in Buckeye, Ariz. He posted a .583 on-base percentage, a .966 slugging percentage and a 1.549 OPS while striking out just 16 times. Perkins was selected with Washington’s second round pick.

“We’re going to give him the chance to switch hit,” said Kline. “He’s been doing that since he was a freshman in high school but never really took it into the game. He did it at the (pre-draft) workout for us and it was loose. (Nationals Hitting Coach) Rick Schu liked it a lot, so that makes him a little more versatile.”

Perkins was named a 2015 Honorable Mention All-American and a West Region First Team by Perfect Game and was selected to the Arizona Republic All-Arizona Team for the second consecutive season.

“I think the biggest thing about Blake is the athleticism and the passion and fire that burns on the field with him,” said Mark Baca, the Nationals’ Scouting Supervisor. “He’s got tremendous tools and is a really, really good athlete. The switch hitting obviously helps him with his speed. He’s a highlight reel. He’s a really good athlete and will progress well in this system.

Following the 2014 season, Perkins earned Division 2 First-Team All-State honors in the state of Arizona and was selected to the All-Arizona Team by the Arizona Republic after hitting .551 (49-for-89) with nine doubles, three homers, 10 home runs, 30 walks and 60 runs scored in 30 games.

The 2015 First-Year Player Draft will continue on Tuesday, June 9th at 1:00 pm ET.

1 Comment

Perkins did hit a switch hit an inside-the-park home run during Verrado’s last regular season game against Glendale.

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