The MLB Draft has come and gone, and the first players are beginning to sign on the dotted line. It's time for us to take a brief look at the Nationals Draft haul from top to bottom.
1st Round - #6 Anthony Rendon - 3B
Watching the draft unfold while monitoring twitter was fascinating, especially when Seattle shocked the baseball world by skipping over Rendon (and other bats) to take UVA Standout Danny Hultzen. It was well known that the D'Backs and O's were on the lookout for pitching, and it came as little surprise that the Royals drafted hometown hero, Bubba Starling. But things turned out in the Nationals favor as they drafted Baseball America's #1 prospect going into the draft, the Rice third baseman. As I wrote the other day, expect a long and contentious negotiation ending with a signature before the deadline.
Money Guess? $7 Million
1st Round - #23 Alex Meyer - RHP
The first thing that stands out is Meyer's size, the big right-hander is 6' 9" tall. And if you have ever seen a tall pitcher (think Randy Johnson, Jon Rauch, or Daniel Cabrera [please don't]) you know that they can be tough to hit against. In addition to the fear for the batter, it takes pitchers quite a long time to get comfortable with their body; Randy Johnson was extremely wild in the beginning of his career. After posting ugly +5 ERAs the past two years, Meyer was able to turn it around for his Junior year putting up a 7-5 record wit ha 2.97 ERA. He struck out 110 in just 101 innings while throwing 95-96 MPH with his fastball. Meyer was a target for the Nats with the 6th pick, so to be able to get him and Rendon is a quality first round.
Money Guess? $1.5 Million
Supplemental 1st Round - #34 Brian Goodwin - OF
Goodwin was considered to be the best athlete in the draft by Baseball America. Starting his college career at the University of North Carolina, Goodwin had to transfer to Junior College after academic issues wrecked his eligibility. Capable of playing all outfield positions, Goodwin has the ability to both hit for average and for power.
Money Guess? Slot
3rd Round - #96 Matt Purke - LHP
At the beginning of the 2011 NCAA baseball season, Matt Purke was considered to be a Top 3 player by most organizations only to have a shoulder issue derail part of his season. NCAA Freshman of the Year, Purke went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA in 2010 only to struggle in 2011. A ballsy move by the Nationals as Purke can re-enter the draft next year, credit must be given to Rizzo and company on this pick - now they only need to shell out the bills it will cost to sign him.
Money Guess? $6 Million.
5th Round - #217 Brian Durpa - RHP
More Rizzo college arms here. The Notre Dame senior has a solid fastball that can reach 95 MPH and a decent slider. Baseball America calls him on of the best senior signs to that point in the draft.
19th Round - #577 Hawtin Buchanan - RHP
Hawtin is a big high school kid that has a lot of potential, but has already committed to attend Ole Miss to start his college career in 2012. It is going to take some money to get the 6' 8", 230 pounder to break that commitment, but it is possible that the Nats can pull an AJ Cole/Robbie Ray and get a late round steal.
28th Round - #847 Ken Ferrer - RHP
Another College Arm, this time from Elon University, he has a fastball that can reach 94 MPH but struggles due to a lack of an "out-pitch".
30th Round - #907 Bryan Harper - LHP
The Nats picked several Scott Boras clients in the first few rounds, but didn't jump at the chance to take his son, Trent (represented by Scott's wife), instead drafting Bryce Harper's brother out of the University of South Carolina. Purely a tip of the hat move for the Nationals.
31st Round - #937 Josh Tobais - SS
Tobais is a "stocky" middle-infielder who Baseball America projects more at second base or center field. Chalk-full of potential, this North Carolina kid is committed to play ball for the Florida Gators and would be a tough sign.
Whew, Thanks to the amazing folks at Baseball America for making this recap happen. And to further analyze the Nats 2011 Draft haul, lets look to expert Jim Callis (once again, from Baseball America) for some responses (from his post-draft chat).
"It's hard to take Rendon when he's not 100 percent physically and when the only medical records you get are what the player and adviser are willing to give you. I understand that. I still think Rendon will be the best player from this draft in the long run."
"I understand why Rendon slid to 6, as mentioned earlier, but the Nationals may have gotten the best player in the draft for the third straight year."
"Impressive haul of talent, to be sure. They got a guy I thought was the best in the draft with the No. 6 pick (Rendon), a guy at No. 23 they would have considered at No. 6 (Meyer), one of the best athletes available (Goodwin) and a guy who entered the year as the third-rated prospect in the whole draft (Purke). My gut feel is that they won't sign Purke, but they'll still have had a very good haul."
Some kind words for the talent drafted by Mike Rizzo and company. Now is the hard part - using the Lerner's money to sign some of these impact, but tough-to-sign players by the deadline on August 15th. Stay tuned to Baseball America's 2011 Nats Database for updates on which players have signed on the dotted line.
Don't forget, it takes years to determine the value of any one draft class, but if the Nats top 4 picks all sign the Nats will be sitting pretty.
Well, CapBallers, what do you think of the draft class? Are you happy that they took some chances? Do you think Purke will sign? Share your thoughts in the comments!