Thursday, June 10, 2010

A belated draft recap

Sorry for the delay in getting this all together. I meant to offer this up sooner, but obviously there were a few things taking place on the actual major-league field the last couple days that superseded what took place in the draft war room.

Which isn't to diminish what Kris Kline, Roy Clark and an army of dozens accomplished this week. No draft in sports requires as much manpower, long hours or crazy schedules as the MLB draft does, and you could see in all those guys' eyes last night after Round 50 wrapped up just how draining the whole process is.

Kline, the Nats' new scouting director this season, was gracious enough to spend several minutes with beat writers yesterday after the draft concluded and discuss several of the notable picks that came after Bryce Harper was selected first overall. I'll present this as a complete list of all 50 draft picks, with analysis and comments from Kline below all the notable ones...

1. Bryce Harper, C/OF, College of Southern Nevada
I think you've already heard about this guy.

2. Sammy Solis, LHP, University of San Diego
Solis is a classic left-hander in that he doesn't have dominating "stuff" but he seems to get by with pitching guile. After missing most of 2009 with a herniated disc, Solis came back strong this season for the Toreros, going 9-2 with a 3.42 ERA. A 6-foot-5 native of suburban Phoenix, Solis throws his fastball around 90 mph and has a sharp-breaking curve/slider hybrid. Nationals front office executives, including Mike Rizzo and Bob Boone, saw him pitch in person two weeks ago while the Nats were playing in San Diego and came away impressed.

Kline: "He's totally fine, totally healthy, had a good year this year, didn't miss any starts. 88-94. Strike-thrower. He'll show you two types of curveballs, anywhere from 73-74 on the slower one. It's more of a slurve. And then he'll get out on top of one. That's the one he uses to finish guys off. He'll get that up to about 80. That's his go-to pitch. That's a good one. ... He's got a chance to have an above-average fastball, above-average breaking ball, and he's got a good feel for his changeup."

3. Rick Hague, SS, Rice
A 21-year-old Texas native, Hague put up big numbers in his junior year at Rice, hitting .340 with 15 homers, 55 RBI and a .591 slugging percentage. He did commit a whopping 23 errors in 62 games at shortstop. Played for the U.S. national team last summer.

Kline: "We're going to let Rick play shortstop in the minor leagues, let him play himself off the position. He'll probably end up at third, maybe second. He's got good hands, good actions. He can really throw. When he gets over to third base, I think he's got a chance to be an above-average defender. He lead Team USA in hitting. He's always hit. He started off really slow this year, as a lot of guys do when the draft year comes around, they get a little nervous. But he made a good comeback. We really like him. This is a guy we wanted from the beginning. We wanted him in the second round, but we took Sammy because I think it complemented Harper. Then to have Rick slide to the third round was an added bonus."

4. A.J. Cole, RHP, Oviedo (Fla.) HS
A potential first-round talent, Cole slipped this far because he's committed to the University of Miami. The Nationals will have to pay well above slot to convince him to sign, but if they can pull it off, they've got themselves a big-time pitching prospect.

Kline: "He has first-round stuff, up to 97. A lot of people say he throws a slider, but it's not. It's three different versions of a spike curveball. He's got a short one, a slurve and then he's got one that has some power and depth to it that finishes people off. The changeup was just OK for me when I was there, but our guys have seen an average changeup earlier. So you're talking about a 6-5 guy, a lanky-frame guy. He's got a lot of room to fill out. And two power pitches at 17. As far as signing him, we identified two [tough sign] guys we wanted to focus on. This is the guy we wanted, and that's the guy we got. He's sliding because of the money. I think Rizz will work on this one. There will be a few guys up there that will be Mike's focus: Harper, Cole, Solis will be a little battle. But we'll get them done."

5. Jason Martinson, SS, Texas State
Kline: "We really like him. This is a kid out of Texas State that was a football player that pulled a hamstring, then decided to play baseball permanently. ... This is the first year he played short full-time. This guy's got really good actions, high energy guy. When I saw him, he reminded me a little bit of Ian Kinsler. Tough guy, plays hard, gets after it. He's got good hands, can really throw. Not a power guy, but a line-drive, gap-to-gap guy who's got a little thump in his bat, too. He'll be an interesting guy to watch. I'm a former shortstop and not a very good one, but I was really impressed with how he played the position, with the limited time he has there."

6. Cole Leonida, C, Georgia Tech

7. Kevin Keyes, OF, Texas

8. Matt Grace, LHP, UCLA
Kline: "Matt is a reliever there, and that's only because they have a stockpile of starters at UCLA. Matt's 90-93. He's got great size. He's got tremendous presence on the mound. You look at him, and you feel like you're looking at a big leaguer. He'll show you an above-average slider, it'll be up to 82-83. This guy has the size, angle, good delivery, all starter-type actions. So we're going to make him a starter."

9. Aaron Barrett, RHP, Mississippi
Kline: "He could move quick. He's had success. He's been a winner."

10. Blake Kelso, SS, Houston
Kline: "High-energy guy. A good baseball player. A good makeup guy. I'm not going to compare him to him, but he's the same size and the same type of player to Ryan Theriot. He's going to be your overachiever-type guy. Just a steady-Eddie, good baseball player. More of a contact hitter. He's going to put the ball in play. He's not going to strike out. He's going to make you work for it and find a way to get on base. A really good 10th-round pick."

11. Neil Holland, RHP, Louisville

12. Robbie Ray, LHP, Brentwood (Tenn.) HS

13. Chris McKenzie, RHP, San Jacinto JC

14. Tim Smalling, SS, Virginia Tech

15. David Freitas, C, Hawaii

16. Mark Herrera, RHP, San Jacinto JC
Kline: "92-94. He'll show you a plus-slider. Big, strong, physical guy."

17. Tyler Hanks, RHP/INF, College of Southern Nevada
Kline: "Hanks has been up to 97 [mph] but that was early in the fall. But he's still flashing some 4's and a plus-slider. He's a big-bodied kid."

18. Justin Miller, SS, Middle Tennessee State

19. Wade Moore, Catawba (N.C.) HS

20. Chad Mozingo, OF, Rice

21. Connor Rowe, OF/RHP, Georgetown (Texas) HS

22. Cameron Selik, RHP, Kansas

23. Colin Bates, RHP, North Carolina

24. Russell Moldenhauer, DH, Texas

25. Christian Meza, LHP, Santa Ana JC

26. Christopher Manno, LHP, Duke

27. Sean Hoellscher, RHP, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

28. Joseph Rapp, RF, Chipola JC

29. Rick Hughes, RF, Marin CC

30. Timothy Kiene, 1B, Avon Old Farms (Conn.) HS

31. Jeremy Mayo, C, Texas Tech

32. Randolph Oduber, LF, Western Oklahoma State

33. Ryan Sherriff, LHP, Western Los Angeles JC

34. Rolando Botello, RHP, John Jay (Texas) HS

35. Robert Oliver, 1B, Wabash Valley CC

36. Wander Nunez, RF, Western Oklahoma State

37. Nicholas Serino, LHP, Massachusetts-Amherst

38. Nick Lee, LHP, Weatherford College

39. John Simms, RHP, The Woodlands College Park (Texas) HS

40. Alex Diaz, SS, John A. Ferguson (Fla.) HS

41. Kevin Cahill, RHP, Purdue

42. Taylor Stark, 2B, NW Rankin (Miss.) HS

43. Corey Littrell, LHP, Trinity (Ky.) HS

44. Bryce Hines, RHP, Hanahan (S.C.) HS

45. Jeffrey Bouton, RF, John T. Hoggard (N.C.) HS

46. Erick Fernandez, C, Georgetown

47. David Jarreld, CF, Goodpasture Christian School (Tenn.)

48. Brandon Miller, C, NW Florida State JC

49. Dimetrius Hatcher, OF, Patrick Henry (Va.) CC

50. Harris Fanaroff, LHP, Winston Churchill (Md.) HS


Anonymous said...

What the heck is with all the shortstops early?

Steve M. said...

Kris Kline said...There will be a few guys up there that will be Mike's focus: Harper, Cole, Solis will be a little battle. But we'll get them done."

Hague wasn't mentioned, so will he be easy?

I like that Kline said "WE'LL GET THEM DONE".

Bryce Harper and AJ Cole will be the 2 that they will have the most challenge to get signed I forsee.

Les in NC said...

Was there ever any thought to drafting Bryan Harper (he went in the 26th round to the Cubs)?

Lara said...

From Bratislava: So did anyone draft Harper's brother?

N. Cognito said...

Les in NC said...
"Was there ever any thought to drafting Bryan Harper (he went in the 26th round to the Cubs)?"

26th round is like drawing names out of a hat. If there was any thought to it, probably just because they drafted Bryce.

Anonymous8 said...

"Les in NC said...
Was there ever any thought to drafting Bryan Harper (he went in the 26th round to the Cubs)?"

Yah, the Nats drafted him out of High School and he opted for College.

swang said...

The cubbies got Harper's brother.

Steve M. said...

Swang - It was already established that the Cubs drafted Bryan Harper this week. The point was that Bryan Harper in 2008 was drafted coincidentally by the Washington Nationals.

Here was Bryan Harper's 2008 Draft Card:

Selected by Washington Nationals in 31st Round (931st overall)

Sean McNally said...

What the heck is with all the shortstops early?

Think about it - the best athletes you played high school baseball with played short and pitched. Stands to reason draft them, with the thought that you can always move him to a less-challenging position if he produces offensively.

Anonymous said...

Is Tyler Hanks kicking in part of his small signing bonus to Harper? I doubt he would have ever popped up on the radar screen except for all of the scouts watching Bryce play this year.

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