Nationals Stock Up For the Farm System In Draft
The Nationals have managed to remain on top of the NL East this year thanks to a very strong pitching staff. And with that in mind, they decided to stay the course in this year's draft.
Of their 40 picks, 20 of them were pitchers with 14 lefties chosen. Notably, first round pick, Lucas Giolito from Harvard-Westlake HS was selected at the tender age of just 17. 17 years of age people!
He was projected as the Number One overall pick until a sprained ligament in his right elbow sidelined him for his senior season. But at 6 foot 6 inches and tipping the scales at 230lbs, Giolito is a hot prospect. In 70 1/3 innings as a junior, he went 9 - 1 with a 1.0 ERA, 78 strikeouts and a mere 26 walks.
Other notable picks:
•2B Tony Renda, California, Jr. (Round 2, No. 80 overall):Renda is a short infielder at 5-foot-8, but between that and his prowess at the plate -- Kline said he has the quickest bat in the Draft -- he has drawn comparisons to Dustin Pedroia.
•C Spencer Kieboom, Clemson, Jr.(Round 5, No. 174 overall):Kieboom hit only .250 as a junior, though the Nats drafted him primarily for his defensive prowess. Roy Clark, Washington's assistant general manager, called Kieboom "the best defensive catcher in the country."
•2B Jake Jefferies, Foothill HS (Calif.) (Round 34, No. 1,044 overall):Jefferies hit .347 with a .493 slugging percentage as a junior, though he might still be best known for his pedigree -- his father, Gregg, was a two-time All-Star in a 14-year career that included time with the Mets, Royals, Cardinals, Phillies, Angels and Tigers.
•CF Ricky Gutierrez, American Senior HS (Fla.) (Round 40, 1,224):The Nats' final pick of the Draft also is the son of a former big leaguer. Ricky Gutierrez played from 1993-2004, and as a member of the Houston Astros in 1998, he was the only player to get a hit off of Kerry Wood on May 6 -- the day Wood struck out 20 batters.