Results tagged ‘ First-Year Player Draft ’
Of all the names you may hear tossed around in association with the Nationals this offseason, one is of particular interest. In the midst of the potential free agent singings and the large number of returning players on the Nationals roster, few will have as much impact on the decisions made regarding the future of the Washington outfield as a young man who will not turn 22 for another couple of weeks. Perhaps you’ve already heard of Brian Goodwin, but it is safe to say that you will hear much more in the weeks, months and, hopefully, years to come.
Most Nationals fans have only seen Goodwin once, as one of the two short-in-comparison draftees smiling in the shadow of Alex Meyer at a press conference at Nationals Park last summer. Goodwin is actually 6’1” and a shade under 200 pounds, a left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing outfielder with the defensive tools to project as a Major League-caliber center fielder. Goodwin began his 2012 campaign at Low-A Hagerstown before skipping a level and finishing at Double-A Harrisburg, a very advanced level for a 21 year-old position player. He swatted 26 doubles, launched 14 home runs and stole 18 bases in 100 total games, posting a combined .280/.384/.469 slash line in his first year of professional ball, showing the promise that made him the 34th overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Now Goodwin is showcasing his talents in the Arizona Fall League with fellow farmhands like Anthony Rendon, the third member of that draft class photo. Goodwin blasted his team-leading third home run in just eight games for the Salt River Rafters, where he has posted an encouraging early line of .294/.368/.618 while playing against some of the premiere prospects in the game. He reached base four times in Tuesday’s game, thanks to three hits, including that third home run.
Baseball America had Goodwin ranked as the number five prospect in the Nationals system going into last winter, behind only Bryce Harper, Rendon, Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole. In fact, Aaron Fitt and the BA staff stated that Goodwin “has the tools to be an impact center fielder who hits in the top third of a big league lineup.” It was high praise for a player yet to appear in his first professional game, but he has done nothing to dissuade anyone of that projection to date.
With Harper’s ascension to the Major Leagues coupled with Peacock and Cole’s departure in the Gio Gonzalez trade, one figures Goodwin will find himself battling it out with Rendon (who missed a good portion of the 2012 season with an ankle injury) for the organization’s top prospect rank heading into next year. His continued success in the AFL would certainly help those chances, and offer him an opportunity to compete not just with the great talent in the Washington system, but the cream of the crop from around the game.
Here at Curly W Live, we will be conducting a weekly review every Tuesday of all the storylines from the week that was. If you’re new to the site or have just been too busy to stay current with all the day-to-day action, this is your way to get caught up on everything going on with the team.
The Nationals enjoyed a rare mid-homestand off day, as they prepared for their final six games of Interleague Play for the 2012 season. With the break in the action, we took the time to fill you in on some of the top signees out of this year’s First-Year Player Draft. As Washington prepared to host the Rays in the opener of a three-game set on Tuesday, we reflected upon the striking similarities between this year’s Nationals club and Tampa Bay’s 2008 edition. Once the dust had settled from a 5-4 Nationals loss on Tuesday, the team rebounded with an athletic performance that led to a 3-2 victory on Wednesday. The Nationals then went out and won the battle of rookies named Moore, taking the series with a 5-2 triumph on Thursday.
From there, Washington traveled to the Beltway to the north for a rematch with the Orioles. The Nats couldn’t get much going against Jason Hammel on Friday night, falling 2-1 in the series opener. They rebounded behind Edwin Jackson, who took a perfect game into the fifth inning, in a 3-1 victory on Saturday to set up a second consecutive series to be decided by a pivotal rubber game. After leading 1-0 much of the way, the Nationals were unable to get the ball to Tyler Clippard for the ninth, as the Orioles rallied in the eighth for their second 2-1 victory of the series.
Tue vs. TAM: L, 4-5
Wed vs. TAM: W, 3-2
Thu vs. TAM: W, 5-2
Fri @ BAL: L, 1-2
Sat @ BAL: W, 3-1
Sun @ BAL: L, 1-2
Weekly Record: 3-3
With 40 rounds and over 1,000 picks, the MLB First-Year Player Draft can be confusing to follow. That was even more the case for the Nationals this season considering first-round pick Lucas Giolito joins current starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and second-round selection Tony Renda shares nearly the same name with 2011 first-rounder Anthony Rendon. If that wasn’t enough, third-rounder Brett Mooneyham was selected fresh out of Stanford University, while Brandon Miller, the player the Nats selected next, set numerous records in his time as a power hitter for… wait for it… Samford University.
To help clear it all up here is a more detailed look at those who signed from the Nationals top 10 selections.
Tony Renda: 2B, University of California, Berkeley
Renda, the Nationals second-round selection, was a junior playing second base for the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears. Where he truly excels, however, is at the plate.
“In our opinion, Tony has the quickest bat in the draft,” Nationals Director of Scouting Kris Kline said of Renda immediately after the organization selected him.
This season, Renda had a .342 batting average, five home runs, and 27 RBI. As a sophomore in 2011, he was named Pac-10 player of the year, and was selected as one of 50 players on USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award Watch list as the nation’s top amateur baseball player. Look out for Renda’s performance with the Short-Season Auburn Doubledays, as he takes his first step on the long ladder of professional baseball.
Brandon Miller: OF, Samford University
The Nationals selected Samford University’s school record-setting alumnus, Brandon Miller, with their fourth-round pick. In the 2008 draft, the Red Sox picked Miller, a high school senior at the time, in the 33rd round. A true power hitter in college, Miller led the nation with 23 home runs this season, and was 15th with 65 RBI.
Miller “has middle of the lineup power,” said Nationals Area Supervisor Eric Robinson. “[He] reminds me of our own Tyler Moore.”
Spencer Kieboom: C, Clemson
Spencer Kieboom (KEE-boom), a duel citizen of the US and the Netherlands, was the Nationals’ fifth-round selection. He struck out only 17 times in 204 at-bats this season. Kieboom was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List in both 2011 and 2012, and was an All-ACC Academic Team member in 2011. After signing with the Nationals, Kieboom sent the following thank you message to his fans on Twitter:
“These past three years at Clemson have been some of the best years of my life, Clemson baseball is and always will hold a special place in my life. I wouldn’t have traded these past three years for anything.”
Hayden Jennings, OF, Evangel Christian High School (LA)
While Jennings may not have had the same hype as Bryce Harper did going into the draft, he is another left-handed hitting outfielder who just happens to share the exact same birthday as Harper. Jennings hails from Shreveport, LA and the 19 year-old was set to head to LSU this fall until he signed with the team a week ago. Last Thursday, he was sitting at his kitchen table surrounded by his parents and three sisters, when he officially inked his deal with the Nats. Jennings joins the Nationals after leading Evangel Christian High School (LA) to a state championship during his junior season in 2011. He was named the Shreveport Times All-City Player of the Year and Class 2A Most Outstanding Player as a senior this season.
Derek Self: RHP, University of Louisville
Derek Self was the Nationals ninth-round pick out of the University of Louisville, where he pitched for four years. In his first three seasons with the Cardinals, Self had a 14-3 record in 70 appearances (15 starts). Following his junior season, Self was taken in the 27th round by the Oakland A’s, but opted to head back to school for his senior year, where he led the team with seven saves in 26 appearances out of the bullpen. While he started the 2012 season as the Cardinals set-up man, he eventually took over as the closer. In 2009, Self pitched the final three innings in Louisville’s College World Series Regional win over Middle Tennessee State, where he threw 27 of 29 pitches for strikes.
Craig Manuel: C, Rice University
Craig Manuel comes to the Nationals from Rice University, where he was the second of eight Owls selected in the 2012 Draft. This past season he was on the national watch list for the Johnny Bench Award as the best Division I catcher. In his four years with the Owls, Manuel led his team to four straight Conference USA Championships, four NCAA appearances and was error free in 463 attempts. But it wasn’t just behind the plate that Manuel excelled. He finished his collegiate career with a .291 batting average and 100 RBI in 209 career games.
“I think he’s one of the top catchers in Division I, and he may be one of the best situational hitters in college baseball,” Manuel’s Head Coach at Rice, Wayne Graham said.
The Nationals announced today that they have signed 23 of their 40 selections in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, including 10 of the top 14. The complete Draft list is below, with signed selections in bold. For detailed scouting reports on the Nationals top 10 selections, click here.
|1||16||Lucas Giolito||RHP||R/R||6’6||230||7/14/94||Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)|
|2||80||Tony Renda||2B||R/R||5’8||180||1/24/91||University of California-Berkeley|
|3||111||Brett Mooneyham||LHP||L/L||6’5||235||1/24/90||Stanford University (CA)|
|4||144||Brandon Miller||OF||R/R||6’2||215||10/8/89||Samford University (AL)|
|5||174||Spencer Kieboom||C||R/R||6’1||220||3/16/91||Clemson University (SC)|
|6||204||Hayden Jennings||CF||L/L||6’1||170||10/16/92||Evangel Christian Academy (LA)|
|7||234||Robert Benincasa||RHP||R/R||6’1||180||9/5/90||Florida State University|
|8||264||Stephen Perez||SS||S/R||5’11||175||12/16/90||University of Miami (FL)|
|9||294||Derek Self||RHP||R/R||6’3||205||1/14/90||University of Louisville (KY)|
|10||324||Craig Manuel||C||L/R||6’1||205||5/22/90||Rice University (TX)|
|11||354||Brian Rauh||RHP||R/R||6’2||200||7/23/91||Chapman University (CA)|
|12||384||Carlos Lopez||3B||R/R||6’2||220||1/18/90||Wake Forest University (NC)|
|13||414||Elliott Waterman||LHP||L/L||6’5||230||11/24/90||University of San Francisco|
|14||444||Jordan Poole||RF||R/R||6’3||210||9/11/91||Chipola Junior College (FL)|
|15||474||Brandon Smith||CF||R/R||6’3||195||5/1/94||Woodbridge HS (CA)|
|16||504||Ronald Pena||RHP||R/R||6’4||210||9/19/91||Palm Beach State College (FL)|
|17||534||Blake Schwartz||RHP||R/R||6’3||200||10/9/89||Oklahoma City University|
|18||564||David Fischer||RHP||R/R||6’5||200||4/10/90||University of Connecticut|
|19||594||Bryan Lippincott||1B||L/R||6’3||210||9/26/89||Concordia University (MN)|
|20||624||James Brooks||SS||R/R||6’1||185||10/12/88||University of Utah|
|21||654||Austin Chubb||C||R/R||6’1||220||4/17/89||Florida Southern College|
|22||684||Will Hudgins||RHP||R/R||6’4||200||2/12/90||University of Notre Dame|
|23||714||Casey Selsor||OF||L/L||6’1||190||2/23/90||University of Texas-San Antonio|
|24||744||Kevin Dicharry||RHP||R/R||6’4||200||11/27/89||University of Texas|
|25||774||Freddy Avis||RHP||R/R||6’2||195||11/3/93||Menlo HS (CA)|
|26||804||Skye Bolt||CF||S/R||6’1||170||1/15/94||Holy Innocents Episcopal HS (GA)|
|27||834||Cody Poteet||RHP||R/R||6’1||183||7/30/94||Christian HS (CA)|
|28||864||Hunter Bailey||SS||R/R||6’1||180||5/17/89||Oklahoma State University|
|29||894||Leonard Hollins||RHP||R/R||6’3||185||7/31/91||Chipola Junior College (FL)|
|30||924||Robert Orlan||LHP||R/L||6’1||200||9/28/90||University of North Carolina|
|31||954||Michael Boyden||RHP||R/R||6’1||180||6/18/90||University of Maryland|
|32||984||Michael Mudron||LHP||L/L||5’11||190||2/4/90||California State San Bernardino|
|33||1014||Mike McQuillan||2B||L/R||5’11||175||10/2/89||University of Iowa|
|34||1044||Jake Jefferies||2B||S/R||6’1||180||8/7/93||Foothill HS (CA)|
|35||1074||Cory Bafidis||LHP||L/L||6’1||190||8/22/90||Texas Wesleyan University|
|36||1104||Max Ungar||C||R/R||6’3||200||8/10/94||Charles E. Smith Jewish School (MD)|
|37||1134||Tyler Watson||LHP||L/L||5’11||160||6/9/93||Georgetown HS (TX)|
|38||1164||Jared Messer||RHP||R/R||5’11||185||7/14/91||Malone College (OH)|
|39||1194||Mitchell Williams||C||L/R||5’10||186||8/16/94||Coosa HS (GA)|
|40||1224||Ricky Gutierrez||CF||R/R||6’1||170||2/15/93||American Senior HS (FL)|
Here at Curly W Live, we will be conducting a weekly review every Tuesday of all the storylines from the week that was. If you’re new to the site or have just been too busy to stay current with all the day-to-day action, this is your way to get caught up on everything going on with the team.
Monday brought with it the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, in which Washington snagged prep right-hander Lucas Giolito with the 16th overall pick. Meanwhile, the Nationals returned home as they continued their stretch of 33 straight games versus east division opponents with a three-game set against the New York Mets. The teams went extra innings on Tuesday, as Ian Desmond became the first player since Cincinnati’s Art Shamsky in 1966 to tie a game three separate times in the 8th inning or later before Bryce Harper hit the first walk-off by a teenager since 1988 in a 7-6, 12-inning win. On Wednesday, Adam LaRoche homered in the first inning on his way to a four-RBI night in support of Edwin Jackson, as the Nationals won their second series in as many tries against the New York National League Ballclub. The Mets bounced back on Thursday behind a sparkling performance by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to salvage the final game of the set, 3-1.
Washington then hit the road for just the club’s second visit to Fenway Park in team history since the move from Montreal. Friday night, the Nationals recorded their first-ever win in Boston, using a superb team effort to back a 13-strikeout performance from Stephen Strasburg – on the two-year anniversary of his Major League debut – in a 7-4 victory. The team struck early on Saturday, jumping out to a four-run lead early, then hanging on late for a 4-2 victory thanks to some solid work by the bullpen. The Nationals then capped off the week with a Sunday victory for just their second full-series sweep of the year, as Tyler Clippard recorded his third save in as many days in a 4-2 final.
Tue vs. NYM: W, 7-6 (12)
Wed vs. NYM: W, 5-3
Thu vs. NYM: L, 3-1
Fri @ BOS: W, 7-4
Sat @ BOS: W, 4-2
Sun @ BOS: W, 4-3
Weekly Record: 5-1
The Washington Nationals head into a three-game series in Boston Friday night in a situation that surprises many on the outside of the baseball world. The Nationals reside in first place in the NL East, while the Red Sox pull up the rear of the AL East, albeit with a winning record of 29-28. Peripheral fans, who see Boston as a perennial playoff contender and winner of two of the last eight World Series, and the Nationals as a franchise with no winning seasons under its belt, might feel that the natural order of the game has been turned on its head this season. But really, that transformation began exactly two years ago, in what may arguably have been the most significant 24-hour period in the history of the young Washington franchise.
The first round of Major League Baseball’s 2010 First-Year Player Draft was televised on MLB Network, beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 7. The number one overall pick had been preordained for months, as the Nationals had made clear their intentions to select 17 year-old catcher/outfielder Bryce Harper out of Southern Nevada College, much the same way they had taken San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the first selection the year prior. They did so just a few minutes after 7 o’clock, and so began this defining 24-hour stretch.
Fittingly, Strasburg – after overwhelming batters at each of his Minor League stops – had been summoned to make his Major League debut the very next day. He took the field in front of more than 40,000 raucous fans at Nationals Park and turned in a performance for the ages, striking out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates, including the last seven batters he faced that night, to set a new franchise record.
While it was just a single game, and Harper was still unsigned, seemingly several years away from the Major Leagues, there was good reason to hope for a bright future as a Nationals fan.
Fast-forward two years, and here we stand, with Harper having just recorded his first Major League walk-off (and the first by a teenager since 1988), and Strasburg putting up All-Star-caliber numbers atop the rotation. It is only fitting that the two phenoms take their show on the road this weekend to one of baseball’s most hallowed grounds, Fenway Park, where Strasburg will face the Red Sox for the first time in his career Friday night.
It is amazing to think what a difference two years makes, but perhaps more so, the difference those pivotal 24 hours made – from a few minutes after 7:00 p.m. on June 7 to the same time on June 8, two years ago.
Meanwhile, Strasburg, Harper and the first-place Nationals will take the field a few minutes after 7:00 p.m. Friday night (7:10, to be exact), seeking their first-ever win at Fenway.
Game 54: New York Mets (31-25) vs. Washington Nationals (31-22)
RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-2, 5.60) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (1-3, 3.17)
Tonight, the Nationals are looking to secure a second win over the Mets in game two of the series at Nationals Park. After the 12 inning-long battle last night in which Washington used each of its relief pitchers, starter Edwin Jackson is toes the rubber for the Nationals tonight.
The Nationals notable selection of the second day of the MLB First-Year Player Draft was University of California-Berkeley second baseman Tony Renda. He hit .342 with 16 doubles, five home runs and 27 RBI as a junior in 2012. His 16 stolen bases led his club and ranked second in the Pac-12. For his efforts in 2012, Renda was named Third-Team TPX All-American by Collegiate Baseball as well as First-Team All-Pac-12.
With his game-ending hit in the bottom of the 12th inning last night, Bryce Harper became the first teenage to record a game-ending hit since 1988. With RBI in the 8th, 10th and 12th innings, Ian Desmond became the first big leaguer since Cincinnati’s Art Shamsky in 1966 to tie a game three separate times in the 8th inning or later.
The Nationals are 13-7 against NL East competition (4-1 vs. ATL, 2-3 vs. MIA, 4-2 vs. PHI, 3-1 vs. NYM) and their .650 intradivision winning percentage is tops in the NL East.
Hello everyone. Welcome to another big week here at Nationals Park.
Take a look around you. We have a full-fledged pennant race going on. And like many Nats fans, I have never had so much fun.
Just knowing that every game means something – every division game essentially constitutes two games – this race has taken my scoreboard watching ups and downs to new levels. Can you imagine this in September?
How about witnessing history on Sunday afternoon as Steve Lombardozzi and Bryce Harper became the first pair of rookie teammates in modern-day MLB history (since 1900) to begin a game’s first inning with back-to-back home runs.
These two young guys seem to provide a thrill or two every night. Even though the Braves came back to win Sunday’s finale, I took solace in knowing that Steve and Bryce are homegrown products. Is there anything better for fans than cheering for players unearthed, drafted and developed in your own system?
Lombardozzi is literally homegrown, as he hails from Atholton High School in Columbia, Maryland. Upon Lombardozzi hitting his first big league homer, I was able to congratulate his father, Steve, on his son’s big moment. His urge was to run out to the bullpen to get the ball, but I told him we had it under control.
Speaking of homegrown, on Monday night we drafted righthander Lucas Giolito from Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles with the 16th pick in the 2012 Draft.
In talking to Mike Rizzo, Roy Clark and Kris Kline, they conveyed to me that Lucas is the epitome of what a high school power pitcher should look like. He’s already 6-foot-6, 220 pounds and has not turned 18 yet.
Entering the new year, Lucas’ talents had him on a short list of players to be considered for the draft’s top overall selection. Lucas unfortunately strained his right elbow during his senior season at Harvard-Westlake. But he was immediately examined by some of this country’s foremost doctors who happen to reside in the L.A. area. We have been made privy to all of his medicals and felt totally comfortable calling his name at pick #16.
Then, in the second round, Rizzo took Cal-Berkeley second baseman Tony Renda, who is said to have strong offensive skills (he was the Pac-10 player of the Year as a sophomore) and even better intangibles. In the third round, we tabbed Brett Mooneyham, a lefty out of Stanford University who is 6’5″ and 225 pounds. Power pitching!
The beauty of this is that despite Lucas’ supreme talent, there is no urgency on our part. Remember, we have a fleet of young power pitchers in place for the next 4-5 years. Their names: Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmermann and Detwiler. So, when Lucas and his power arm are good and ready to ascend to the big leagues, we’ll find the space.
Most scouts will tell you that Day Two of the Draft is a much better reflection of a club’s scouting department and its depth than Day One, which is overflowing with high-end talent. I am always excited to chat with our scouts who really are the vanguards of the sport. There is no ‘tomorrow’ in this game without a scout nearby.
I am looking forward to getting up to Fenway Park this weekend as interleague play restarts. I am also even happier that Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann are slated to face Boston’s deep lineup. Should be a fun weekend test for Davey and the boys.
Reminder to get out and vote for your favorite Nationals as part of MLB’s All-Star Vote, whether it be at Nationals Park or online.
I have already punched a few ballots and am especially hopeful that Adam LaRoche can get some much-deserved traction. And don’t forget you can vote for both Harper and Lombardozzi as write-in candidates.
Enjoy the games everybody … and see you soon at Nationals Park.
The 2012 First-Year Player Draft is in full swing, with rounds 2-15 taking place on Tuesday. The Draft got started with a televised round one on Monday night, and will conclude with the final 35 rounds taking place on Wednesday. In the meantime, here’s a little more on the Nationals top 10 selections from this year’s crop.
1. RHP Lucas Giolito | 6’6” – 230 | Harvard-Westlake HS, North Hollywood, CA | 16th overall
See our complete breakdown of Giolito here.
2. 2B Tony Renda | 5’8” – 180 | University of California-Berkeley | 80th overall
The 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Renda has drawn Dustin Pedroia comparisons due to his surprising power at his size. A plus defensive second baseman, Renda hit .342 with 16 2B, 5 HR and 27 RBI in 54 games for the Bears en route to being named a 2012 third-team TPX All-American in 2012. Renda leaves Cal tied for fourth on the schools all-time career doubles list with 51. In 2012, he led the Golden Bears with 16 SB and 29 BB.
Scout’s Take: In our opinion, Tony has the quickest bat in the draft. He has always hit. He brings controlled aggression and a strong, compact swing. He has tremendous makeup and is a great kid. – Kris Kline, Nationals Director of Scouting
3. LHP Brett Mooneyham | 6’5” – 235 | Stanford University | 111th overall
Mooneyham was selected as a fourth-year junior out of Renda’s college rival, Stanford. The tall lefty was the Cardinal’s number two starter this season, following eighth overall selection Mark Appel (PIT). Mooneyham went 7-5 with a 4.26 ERA over 14 starts and was fourth in the Pac-12 with 90 strikeouts.
Scout’s Take: A plus athlete with a fastball that touches 97 to go along with a plus curveball and changeup. Mooneyham projects as high as a number three starter. His father, Bill, was a former Major Leaguer. - Kline
4. OF Brandon Miller | 6’1” – 208 | Samford University | 144th overall
A senior redraft by the Nationals, who also selected him in the 48th round in 2010 (the Red Sox selected him out of high school in ’08), Miller led NCAA with 23 HR while being named 2nd team Louisville Slugger All-America. He leaves Samford as the career leader in HR with 39.
Scout’s Take: A redraft out of Junior College, he has middle of the lineup power. Miller is a versatile catcher who profiles both at right field and catcher and has great makeup. His profile reminds me of our own Tyler Moore. – Eric Robinson, SE Area Supervisor
5. C Spencer Kieboom | 6’0” – 220 | Clemson University | 174th overall
A junior, Kieboom was rated the #84 prospect in the preseason by Baseball America. The backstop is a two-time ACC Academic Honor Roll member
Scout’s Take: We thought Spencer was one of the best defensive catchers in the country. He hit very well during ACC play. He’s a workhorse. – Nationals Assistant GM Roy Clark
6. OF Hayden Jennings | 6’0” – 170 | Evangel Christian Academy (LA) | 204th overall
Jennings logged a .439 batting average along with a 0.00 ERA in three pitching starts. The outfielder hit 12 home runs as a leadoff man, driving home 31 RBI and swiping a perfect 23-for-23 on the base paths. Jennings was an honorable mention All-American as a junior in 2011.
Scout’s Take: He’s a center fielder that can really run. He’s a plus defensive player overall and a leadoff hitter. - Kline
7. RHP Robert Benincasa | 6’1” – 180 | Florida State University | 234th overall
In 29 appearances in 2012, Benincasa allowed just five earned runs in 35.0 innings pitched (1.29 ERA), going 4-1 with a team-leading 15 saves along the way. He was named first team All-ACC, a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, a third team All-American by Collegiate Baseball ,and a finalist for Stopper of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Scout’s Take: He’s put up tremendous numbers this year. He goes 90-92 with a sinker and uses the slider as an out pitch. He’s a strike thrower with good command and good feel. He should progress quickly through the system. – Kline
8. SS Stephen Perez | 5’11” – 175 | University of Miami | 264th overall
While he may be better known for his fielding, Perez led the University of Miami with four triples, 18 stolen bases and 32 walks. He also ranked among team leaders in doubles (tied-second, 12) and home runs (second, five).
Scout’s Take: Perez is a switch hitter that displays some power from the right side. He’s a very solid, smart base runner. He is a slick fielder up the middle. He displays some flash, some flare, some excitement. - Kline
9. RHP Derek Self | 6’3” – 205 | University of Louisville | 294th overall
Selected in the 27th round as a junior by Oakland, Self returned for his senior year and led the Cardinals with seven saves in 26 relief appearances. The righty posted a modest 3.41 ERA, but his 23-5 strikeout to walk ratio bodes well, and only five of the 34 hits he allowed went for extra bases.
Scout’s Take: We’ve been watching him for two years. Has a hard slider and his fastball is 90-93. He began the season as Louisville’s setup man but eventually took over the closer role. – National Crosschecker Jeff Zona
10. C Craig Manuel | 6’1” – 205 | Rice University | 324th overall
Manuel showed a great eye at the plate, drawing 18 walks while striking out just 13 times his senior year. The backstop also logged a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage behind the plate.
Scout’s Take: He’s been a starter for 3 years and has handled all of their big pitchers. Very good receiver, very good thrower. His coach called him one of the best situational hitters in college baseball. – National Crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales
“With the 16th selection of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, the Washington Nationals select…”
There were months of planning and anticipation leading up to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig saying those words from the stage in New York City Monday night. And while the Nationals did not make headlines before the draft as they had in each of the past few seasons, they found a way to make some noise with their mid-round pick.
Coming off the first overall selection in 2009 (Stephen Strasburg) and 2010 (Bryce Harper), and a pair of first-round selections in 2011 (Anthony Rendon at #6, Alex Meyer at #23), the organization was out of the spotlight for the first time in a while. But they were able to find a pitcher who was talked about earlier in the year as a possible number one overall pick in right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito.
A 17 year-old from North Hollywood California’s Harvard-Westlake Prep, the 6-foot, 6-inch, 220-pounder has been clocked with a fastball as high as 100 miles-per-hour and possesses a sharp, 12-6 breaking ball in the mid 80s. His physical makeup drew comparisons to Roy Halladay from both Nationals AGM & VP of Player Personnel Roy Clark, as well as the MLB Network crew covering the draft. But a strain of his ulnar collateral ligament gave teams just enough pause for Giolito to fall to the Nats at 16.
After making the comparison to Halladay, Clark explained the pick thusly at the press conference on Monday night.
“A top of the rotation guy that you can get at 16? It was a no-brainier for us.”
Nationals EVP of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo detailed the reasons the organization was happy to add Giolito to the illustrious list of first-round selections since the franchise’s relocation to our Nation’s Capital.
“Lucas has the body, power arm, character and make-up to become a front-line starter in the big leagues,” said Rizzo. “This is the type of player, the type of ceiling, and the type of stuff we want in this organization.”
It will be up to Rizzo and company now to sign Giolito, who has a college commitment to nearby UCLA.
“This is one of those moves where five years from now you might look back and say, ‘even if he misses a year, what does it really matter?’” said MLB Network’s Peter Gammons during live coverage of the draft immediately after the pick. “The Nationals look like they’re going to be so good that they’re not going to have many shots at this kind of player.”
Love that pick. #nats—
(@keithlaw) June 05, 2012
With a rotation that already includes young hurlers like Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann under team control for the next several seasons, plus Meyer and Matt Purke developing in the pipeline, adding Giolito can only strengthen an already formidable collection of young power arms.
The 2012 First-Year Player Draft will continue with rounds 2-15 beginning at noon on Tuesday, and conclude with rounds 16-50 on Wednesday. Make sure to follow @Nationals on Twitter for updates on all the organization’s selections, along with exclusive quotes from baseball operations executives on the top 10 picks.