Results tagged ‘ Hayden Jennings ’
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 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