Dave Nichols from the Nationals News Network and myself teamed up to try and analyze tomorrows MLB First-Year-Player-Draft. While it is all but a lock that Steven Strasburg will go number one to our Washington Nationals, it is uncertain who the Nats will take with their 10th overall pick in the draft.
This could be the most important day in Nationals franchise history, lets take a look at what might happen.
The Nats had him out at the park the other day for a workout (with others, including Stanford RHP Drew Storen). He's big (6'4", 225) and strong. He was Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, going 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 92 innings. He struck out 98 and walked just 15, surrendering 80 hits. Number 10 is a little above his slot, so the Nats should be able to get him signed pretty quickly.
He throws a low 90's fastball with sink and a good slider. Like most college pitchers, he's got to work on his changeup, as he's relied on his hard stuff to get guys out over his career. Keith Law (ESPN) has him as the #48 overall prospect, but has him going to the Nats at number ten in his latest mock draft, as does Jim Callis of Baseball America. Hard to disagree with those guys; this looks exactly like what the Nats are looking for with the number ten pick: a signable, big-bodied pitcher with good talent.
Frankly, I'd like to see them take Grant Green (SS, USC). Green once was considered one of the top five picks in this draft, but is falling due to concerns over keeping him at shortstop. He's one of the top college bats in this draft, and while he doesn't project to be a big home run hitter, he has decent power, good patience and is an above-average base runner.
At 6'3", 180, Green is big for a shortstop, and people are projecting a move to third. But he's a good athlete and since the Nationals have a complete dearth of middle infield talent, he could be worth the effort to see if he can handle the position as a pro. Law has Green going at 12 to Kansas City.
The Nats Blog's endorsement on who the Nationals should take:
Aside from Steven Strasburg going number one, the top 10 is a complete mystery in this draft.
Will Dustin Ackley be taken second? Or will Alex White slip in there? Where will last years first round pick Aaron Crow fall? Will people be scared of his year off and age, or will he be in the top five?
A lot of the players that have been reviewed on my site as potential number 10 picks for the Nationals fall anywhere between number three and number 15 in various mock drafts. So actually predicting the pick may be hard to do, as it will completely depend on who goes in the picks two through nine.
There is a lot of posturing involved in the draft. Mike Rizzo, a former master scout, has been holding his cards close to his vest but has said some things that just ‘happened’ to be published by the Nationals MLB writer Bill Ladson. He’s told Ladson that they will likely take a pitcher, and Ladson just happened to mention Chad Jenkins as someone they are interested in.
The Nats Blog received a tip a few weeks ago that says differently, expressing that the Nationals had significant interest in outfielder Brett Jackson. It has also been reported they were heavily looking at Notre Dame’s AJ Pollack. This clearly goes against Rizzo’s statement about not wanting to take a position player.
What about the press for Chad Jenkins? Is it real or is it manufactured. I wouldn’t put it by the Nationals front office to push that story with Ladson to try and get someone earlier in the top ten to bite on Jenkins in order to let someone fall to them.
So predicting the pick for me is a wash. I can only give an endorsement and hope he’s still available.
Alex White is a guy who early one was projected to be a top three pick but has slipped in the past few weeks. Some mock Drafts have him falling as far as the 13th pick. If he is available, the Nationals should take him.
White was a strong prep-candidate who slipped in the draft after high school due to signability concerns. He took his talents to UNC and truly began to blossom.
After his freshman year he dominated the Cape Cod League for the Chatham Athletics, pitching 25.2 innings, striking out 31, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.10 ERA. His sophomore year was even more impressive for White in 2009. He threw 101 innings, posted a 2.83 ERA and struck out 113 batters. He led the nations in wins with 13 and was the ACC Pitcher of the Year.
White has a mid 90’s fastball, a plus slider and also mixes in a splitter. He is a power pitcher in the form of a Roger Clemens and could likely contribute in the Majors in less than two years.
Therefore my endorsement for the 2009 number 10 pick for the nationals, Alex White.