The third up in a series of draft reviews is the Washington Nationals and their scouting director Kris Kline.
Follow the jump for a pick-by-pick analysis. The number before a pick is the round in which the player was drafted, and the overall pick number is denoted, as well.1. Bryce Harper, OF, CC of Southern Nevada, #1 Overall, 6'3''/205, Seiler Rating 1A2: The Nationals only had one pick to make here, and they made the right one. I know that's an understatement, but there's something to say for making the no-brainer decision. I don't expect Harper to sign until the 11 o'clock hour on August 16, and my guess is the bonus is in the $12-$15 million range. DOB: 10/16/92.
2. Sammy Solis, LHP, San Diego, #51 Overall, 6'5''/230, Seiler Rating 1C4: With the first pick on the second day of the draft, the Nationals got a quality arm that was squarely in my top 100, and I thought Solis was a strong supplemental first round candidate. However, he fell due to an injury history involving his back, and his stuff is more of a #3/4 starter's than a #2. He should sign sooner rather than later, but he is a sophomore-eligible, so he could wait it out if he wants to. DOB: 8/10/88.
3. Rick Hague, SS, Rice, #83 Overall, 6'2''/190, Seiler Rating 2C2: Hague had a rough start to his 2010 season both at the plate and in the field, and it got to the point that he was demoted from that position. However, he recovered, and it looks like he reached the point of deserving this draft slot. With some pop in his bat and good hands and an arm, he's better suited as a third baseman in the long run, so it remains to be seen if he can hit enough to stick there. I'm fine with this pick as long as they can ink him away from his senior year at Rice for a reasonable price. DOB: 9/18/88.
4. A.J. Cole, RHP, Oviedo HS (FL), #116 Overall, 6'4''/181, Seiler Rating 1B1: Cole looked like an early first round pick entering the spring, but he never really took off, and his stuff was down a little as the spring came to a close. That caused him to sink, and teams ended up not wanting to pay a prep pitching asking price at the end of the first round. This could end up being a steal here, and even though I think this will go down to the wire, I think he'll sign for something in the $1.5-2 million range. This could be quite a pick when combined with their first three. DOB: 1/5/92. Commitment: Miami.
5. Jason Martinson, SS, Texas State, #146 Overall, 6'1''/190, Seiler Rating 3D6: Martinson has a background as a football player, but a hamstring injury ended his football career at Texas State during his first season. He's a shortstop now, but like Hague, he profiles better for third base, though he could handle second base, too. He's a decent hitter, but he looks like a better fit as a utility player that has some speed, arm, glove, and bat. He's a doubles hitter, so power is his weakest tool. He signed for slot money and should be playing short-season ball shortly. DOB: 10/15/88. Signing bonus: $174,000.
6. Cole Leonida, C, Georgia Tech, #176 Overall, 6'2''/220, Seiler Rating 3D5: I watched Leonida play all year, and I admittedly am lower on him than a number of scouts. He has a good arm and improved over the course of the year behind the plate, and while he doesn't have much power, he improved at the plate, too. I had him going a little lower than this, but since he signed for average money already, this isn't a bad pick, as he could be a decent all-around backup catcher. DOB: 12/25/88. Signing bonus: $125,000.
7. Kevin Keyes, OF, Texas, #206 Overall, 6'3''/225, Seiler Rating 2C1: Keyes was looking like a potential top fifty pick in this class a little over a year ago, but he became out of shape in the summer playing on the Cape last summer, and he never really recovered. As you can tell by his frame, he's a big, powerful guy whose only above-average tool is his plus power, but he does everything else well enough to possibly be a starting right fielder. He's going to have to stay on top of his conditioning, but I like this pick for value here. His season just ended over the weekend, so I expect him to sign fairly soon, as he'd be hard-pressed to improve upon this slot next year. DOB: 3/15/89.
8. Matt Grace, LHP, UCLA, #236 Overall, 6'3''/190, Seiler Rating 3D5: Grace was part of a loaded pitching staff at UCLA this spring, and he filled a very specific lefty specialist role for them. He only really experienced success for the first time this spring, so this is a bit higher than where he was to start the season. He only has the stuff to be a lefty specialist at the next level, and this is exactly in the range I thought he'd go, so this is an average pick. UCLA's season is still going, so he won't be signing until it's done. DOB: 12/14/88.
9. Aaron Barrett, RHP, Ole Miss, #266 Overall, 6'4''/175, Seiler Rating 2C3: I admit that I like this pick a little more than I should. I see him as a potential #3/4 starter in the long run, as he's flashed three above-average pitches at times, though rarely in the same outing. Having been drafted three times already, teams generally like Barrett's stuff, but now it's up to the Nationals to get it out of him on a consistent basis. He signed for senior money in this slot, and that could potentially be a bargain, even if he eventually slides into the bullpen. DOB: 1/2/88. Signing bonus: $35,000.
10. Blake Kelso, SS, Houston, #296 Overall, 5'10''/170, Not Rated: Kelso is a slick-fielding middle infielder that has the tools of a utility player, but a work ethic of a starting shortstop. He runs well and fields well, but his hitting is a little light for the top ten rounds, and he was just outside of my Draft Notebook range, but this is a solid pick, as he could become a nice Major League utility infielder. He signed quickly, and he'll be playing in short-season ball shortly. DOB: 3/28/89. Signing bonus: $115,000.
11. Neil Holland, RHP, Louisville, #326 Overall, 6'0''/190, Seiler Rating 4D7: Holland struggled with a normal arm slot for a year and a half in college before being moved down to a sidearm delivery, and he's had success ever since. He's still only a potential middle reliever, and a righty specialist like most siderarmers, but that's valuable, especially since he signed so quickly. I'm just fine with this pick, as they still got a potential Major League bullpen piece this far down. He'll be pitching in short-season ball to start out this summer. DOB: 8/14/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
12. Robbie Ray, LHP, Brentwood HS (TN), #356 Overall, 6'2''/169, Seiler Rating 2C1: Ray steadily slipped in terms of draft stock all spring, as his fastball lost a little zip, and his secondary pitches weren't as sharp. However, as a skinny left-hander with a potential plus changeup, he is attractive enough to warrant interest, and the main thing that dropped him here was that he switched commitments from Vanderbilt to Arkansas in the middle of the season, and scouts thought he did so to slide into a starting rotation next year as a freshman. He's going to be very tough to sign, but I wouldn't be shocked if he did for high six figures money. DOB: 10/1/91. Commitment: Arkansas.
13. Chris McKenzie, RHP, San Jacinto JC (TX), #386 Overall, 6'3''/185, Not Rated: McKenzie was a late bloomer, and he didn't reach my radar until about April, when he was starting to take off in San Jac's rotation. He projects as a potential #4/5 starter with a plus slider, so we'll see if he continues to improve in pro ball. He was outside of my Draft Notebook list by just a fraction, but if I had to do it again, I'd include him, as this was a solid pick. He's already signed, and he's on the roster with the short-season team for the Nationals in Vermont. DOB: 12/6/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.
14. Tim Smalling, SS, Virginia Tech, #416 Overall, 6'3''/200, Seiler Rating 3C1: I got to see Smalling in person late in the year, and he immediately struck me as big for shortstop. However, he plays the position well, and with tools all right around average other than his power, which is below-average, he could be a starting shortstop as a fill-in during his prime. He hasn't signed yet, but as a 22 year old junior, he's better off doing so and getting started in his pro career. DOB: 10/14/87.
15. David Freitas, C, Hawaii, #446 Overall, 6'2''/225, Not Rated: Freitas is built similarly to Leonida in that he is pretty large for his position behind the plate. Noticing a trend yet? Freitas profiles as an organizational catcher rather than even a backup, but the Nationals must have seen something more, as he went 10-20 rounds higher than I thought he would. He signed right away, though, and he's on the roster for Vermont. DOB: 3/18/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.
16. Mark Herrera, RHP, San Jacinto JC (TX), #476 Overall, 6'3''/230, Not Rated: Herrera was teammates with McKenzie in the famous San Jac program, though he wasn't as much of a prospect. He has an above-average fastball, but he profiles as a middle reliever, as his slider is below-average, and he's a little on the bigger side physically. He signed right away, and while I don't like this pick as much as the others, he could still turn out to be a bullpen arm for them. DOB: 3/11/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.
17. Tyler Hanks, RHP, CC of Southern Nevada, #506 Overall, 6'2''/186, Seiler Rating 2C3: Hanks was a big-time relief arm on Bryce Harper's team, and I thought he'd be the first or second arm drafted from that team. However, he fell a little late in the year, though I still think this is an incredible pick for value and talent here. He has setup man stuff when he's on, and even though this is like Barrett in that I like him more than I should, I really do like this pick in all facets of my grading system. He signed quickly, and I expect him to be a solid pro. DOB: 3/19/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.
18. Justin Miller, 2B, Middle Tennessee, #536 Overall, 6'0''/180, Not Rated: Miller benefited from having Bryce Brentz on his team this spring, as he was thought more of as a late-round pick than a teens pick, but he jumped higher from the sheer number of views he got. He profiles as an organizational depth bat for the infield, and I don't see him as a future Major Leaguer. He signed right away, and I'm sure he'll join short-season Vermont soon. DOB: 11/28/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
19. Wade Moore, OF, Catawba (NC), #566 Overall, 6'1''/215, Not Rated: Moore was a senior corner outfield bat that projects as organizational depth, though he might have enough pop to eventually settle in as a shuttle outfielder in his prime. This is an average pick in this range, and he signed right away, so I don't see a problem with this pick. DOB: 12/27/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.
20. Chad Mozingo, OF, Rice, #596 Overall, 5'11''/190, Not Rated: Mozingo was teammates with Hague at Rice, and it appears that the Nationals like picking two or more players from a team. Mozingo has some fifth outfielder tools, and I think this is a solid pick, especially since he signed right away despite having a year left at Rice. That's a good read into signability. DOB: 9/3/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
21. Connor Rowe, OF, Texas, #626 Overall, 6'0''/175, Seiler Rating 5D3: Rowe has played a good center field for the Longhorns for some time, and even though his ceiling is as a fifth outfielder, his range in center field is good, and I like his chances of reaching the Majors with good makeup and a great work ethic. His season just ended, and I actually think he'll return to school for his senior year, but I could be wrong. DOB: 8/16/88.
22. Cameron Selik, RHP, Kansas, #656 Overall, 6'2''/245, Not Rated: Selik is a big-bodied reliever who profiles as a possible middle reliever arm, and he was just outside of my Draft Notebook list. He's going to have to stay on top of his conditioning, as he's already a little big, but I can see him moving quickly as a senior arm, as he's already signed. DOB: 8/25/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.
23. Colin Bates, RHP, North Carolina, #686 Overall, 6'1''/175, Seiler Rating 3D5: Bates has fringe-average stuff, but a lot of experience in a good program, and perhaps his best attribute is a rubber arm that can be used on a regular basis out of the bullpen. He has an injury history, having had thoracic outlet surgery, but I like this pick for value here, as he already signed. DOB: 3/10/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
24. Russ Moldenhauer, 1B, Texas, #716 Overall, 6'0''/200, Not Rated: Moldenhauer was a third round pick back in 2006 to the Angels, and he didn't sign. That was clearly a horrible decision in hindsight, as he's now finished his senior year without much success, and he doesn't have any tools that say he can be even a bench bat in the Majors. He'll be signing shortly, as Texas' season just ended over the weekend. DOB: 9/24/87.
25. Christian Meza, LHP, Santa Ana JC (CA), #746 Overall, 6'0''/185, Not Rated: Meza put together a great two year career at Santa Ana, and he held a Cal State Fullerton scholarship for next year. He doesn't throw anything that projects him as a future starter, but he has plus command of fringy stuff, so he could be a good bullpen arm. He signed right away, which slightly surprised me, but it's a good find here. DOB: 8/3/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.
26. Chris Manno, LHP, Duke, #776 Overall, 6'0''/170, Not Rated: This is a re-draft for the Nationals, as they took Manno in the 38th round last year. He started out slow this year, but with a smallish frame and fringy stuff, he's a middle reliever at best at the Major League level. I liked this pick a little more last year, as he didn't take a step forward this spring. He signed immediately as a senior, so we'll see how he does against wood bats. DOB: 11/4/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
27. Sean Hoelscher, RHP, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, #806 Overall, 6'3''/210, Not Rated: Hoelscher was under my radar a bit, as he transferred out of TCU kind of quietly. As a junior, he showed good enough stuff to profile as a possible number five starter, so this is a solid pick except for the fact that he's unlikely to sign. I think he'll be a higher pick, probably in the teens, next year. DOB: 11/15/88.
28. Joe Rapp, 1B, Chipola JC (FL), #836 Overall, 6'2''/225, Not Rated: Rapp is a big boy that played himself out of the outfield and third base, so he now profiles as just a first baseman. He has plus power, but he wasn't exactly a force at Chipola, so he fell from a possible teens pick. He has a commitment to UL Monroe for next year, and I bet he follows through on that. DOB: 11/27/89. Commitment: UL Monroe.
29. Rick Hughes, OF, Marin CC (CA), #866 Overall, 6'3''/225, Not Rated: Hughes is another big-bodied player, but he has enough athleticism to stick in a corner outfield spot. I had him as a possible late-round pick, so this isn't a bad pick, and he's currently considering committing to a four year school, which should happen fairly soon. DOB: 5/25/90. Commitment: None.
30. Tim Kiene, 1B, Avon Old Farms HS (CT), #896 Overall, 6'3''/232, Seiler Rating 4D3: Kiene was the best prep hitter in Connecticut this spring, but that's not saying a lot. He has plus power, but he has below-average bat speed and isn't very athletic, so he's going to have to produce at Maryland to be a top five rounds pick in 2013. I highly doubt he signs, but I could be surprised. DOB: 9/10/91. Commitment: Maryland.
31. Jeremy Mayo, C, Texas Tech, #926 Overall, 5'10''/194, Not Rated: Mayo was a solid defensive catcher at Texas Tech, and he fits the more traditional size mold than Leonida and Freitas. He still profiles more as an organizational catcher than anything else, but I could see him becoming a Major League backup in a thin year. He signed right away, so his pro career is starting soon. DOB: 6/17/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
32. Randolph Oduber, OF, Western Oklahoma State JC, #956 Overall, 6'3''/186, Seiler Rating 4D5: Oduber was a late-round pick by the Giants a year ago, and I thought he'd be drafted in the teens this year. However, after a late commitment to Oklahoma State, who raided the junior college level this year, dropped his stock. He has above-average raw power and can run, so he could go much higher next year if he figures it out. I don't think he'll sign. DOB: 3/18/89. Commitment: Oklahoma State.
33. Ryan Sherriff, LHP, West Los Angeles JC (CA), #986 Overall, 6'1''/185, Not Rated: Sherriff is a another left-handed arm that profiles best as a lefty specialist, though I think he's more of an organizational arm than anything. He doesn't have much stuff, and he's built a little too slightly to project as a starter. He signed right away, so we'll get to see how he fares against wood bats. DOB: 5/25/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.
34. Rolando Botello, RHP, Jay HS (TX), #1016 Overall, 6'3''/225, Not Rated: Botello is essentially already a finished product, and that's not saying much, as he has fringy stuff. He is already built like he's 28, so there isn't room to grow, but he's a decent follow for the next three years. I see a connection here between the Nats and Texas A&M-CC. DOB: 5/23/92. Commitment: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
35. Tyler Oliver, 1B, Wabash Valley JC (IL), #1046 Overall, 6'0''/230, Not Rated: Oliver is a powerful right-handed bat that gained attention with a huge statistical season while playing alongside early pick Mel Rojas Jr. at Wabash Valley. Oliver hit 30 home runs this spring, but since he's already 21, he signed immediately and should be a nice low minors bat for the Nats. DOB: 11/3/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
36. Wander Nunez, OF, Western Oklahoma State JC, #1076 Overall, 5'11''/174, Not Rated: Nunez was teammates with Oduber, and he was also a late-round pick a year ago. He can run and throw, and he's Dominican by Heritage, but with a year of eligibility left at Western Oklahoma, I expect him to return to school, where he could blossom into a top fifteen rounds pick next year. DOB: 6/27/90.
37. Nick Serino, LHP, Massachusetts, #1106 Overall, 5'10''/205, Not Rated: Serino is a short, squat left-handed reliever who I did see as a late-round pick, though he doesn't have the stuff to be any better than an organizational reliever. As a junior, I thought he might not sign, but he has, so this is a solid late-round pick. DOB: 10/25/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
38. Nick Lee, LHP, Weatherford JC (TX), #1136 Overall, 6'0''/180, Not Rated: Lee played as an outfielder in addition to pitching this spring, and he was one of the more successful freshmen in the state of Texas. He has an average fastball, but an above-average changeup, so I could see him finding his way into the top fifteen rounds next year. DOB: 1/13/91.
39. John Simms, RHP, College Park HS (TX), #1166 Overall, 6'3''/195, Seiler Rating 2C2: Simms was a great pitcher this spring, and he only fell due to a strong Rice commitment and a lack of a plus fastball. However, he has plus command and movement on all his pitches, and his slider is a strong pitch. I expect him to be an early pick in 2013 out of Rice. DOB: 1/17/92. Commitment: Rice.
40. Alejandro Diaz, SS, Ferguson HS (FL), #1196 Overall, 6'2''/180, Not Rated: Diaz is a talll, skinny shortstop with a Florida Gulf Coast commitment. He's a raw player, but he showed some Major League tools this spring, though not enough to warrant anything close to a high pick. I thought he'd go undrafted altogether, but he's a solid follow, since he doesn't even turn 18 until next month. DOB: 7/12/92. Commitment: Florida Gulf Coast.
41. Kevin Cahill, RHP, Purdue, #1226 Overall, 6'2''/205, Not Rated: Cahill is a solid college arm that was drafted after a decent senior year. He has fringy stuff, but he competes well, and he should be a useful low minors arm for as long as they need him. He signed right away, so he should be pitching in the short-season leagues soon. DOB: 10/20/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.
42. Taylor Stark, 2B, Northwest Rankin HS (MS), #1256 Overall, 5'11''/165, Not Rated: Stark was a late riser this spring, and I thought he might go in the early teens to a team that would buy him away from Mississippi State. However, his lack of elite tools dropped him, and even though he's a good runner and fielder, I don't think he'll be a very high pick three years from now, either. DOB: 10/7/91. Commitment: Mississippi State.
43. Corey Littrell, LHP, Trinity HS (KY), #1286 Overall, 6'3''/185, Seiler Rating 3C1: Littrell has started to mature physically over the last nine months or so, and I thought a team might take him in the fifth round and buy him away from Kentucky. However, he doesn't have top-end stuff, though he could be a #3 starter after maturing physically, as he has good command. He could be a solid contributor at Kentucky for the next three years. DOB: 3/21/92. Commitment: Kentucky.
44. Bryce Hines, RHP, Hanahan HS (SC), #1316 Overall, 6'1''/180, Not Rated: Hines is a smaller-framed pitcher, but he has #3/4 starter or setup man capabilities due to a decent fastball and a plus curveball. He's following early pick Asher Wojciechowski to The Citadel, and I think he could be a quality pick in three years. DOB: 3/19/92. Commitment: The Citadel.
45. Jeff Bouton, OF, Hoggard HS (NC), #1346 Overall, 6'1''/205, Not Rated: Bouton gained attention mainly due to his college commitment this spring, as he's a little rough around the edges. He doesn't have much projectability for strength, but he has good athleticism, and I'm sure he'll get a chance to go much higher after three years at UNC. DOB: 11/21/91. Commitment: North Carolina.
46. Erick Fernandez, C, Georgetown, #1376 Overall, 6'0''/194, Not Rated: Fernandez has been seen as a solid defensive catcher for some time, and he fits in nicely with the pick of Mayo, as they're more traditional defensive catchers in terms of size and strength. Fernandez will likely return to school for his senior year, and he'll be a solid senior sign a year from now. DOB: 11/30/88.
47. Lance Jarreld, OF, Goodpasture HS (TN), #1406 Overall, 6'1''/190, Not Rated: Jarreld was well below my radar, and that was due to his lack of tools and lack of college commitment. He still hasn't committed to a college, so I'm wondering what their Tennessee area scout saw in him, but it must be something. He won't be signing from what I understand. DOB: 9/9/91. Commitment: None.
48. Brandon Miller, C, Northwest Florida State JC, #1436 Overall, 6'1''/190, Not Rated: Miller was at Georgia Tech for his freshman year, but transferred out when it became clear that Leonida was going to be their catcher this spring. With a power bat and arm, he's probably just behind Leonida in terms of being a prospect, but he fell due to questions over his bat and commitment. He won't be signing. DOB: 10/8/89. Commitment: Samford.
49. Rashad Hatcher, OF, Patrick Henry CC (VA), #1466 Overall, 6'2''/190, Not Rated: Hatcher was a small school junior college player that had a solid sophomore season, though he wasn't highly sought after. He didn't have a college commitment, though, which meant he signed immediately. He's going to be the latest pick to sign in this class. DOB: 6/17/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.
50. Harrison Fanaroff, LHP, Churchill HS (MD), #1496 Overall, 6'2''/185, Not Rated: Fanaroff was a two-way player this spring, but he's much more promising on the mound, though as a potential #5 starter rather than anything more significant. He's going to do three years at a smaller program, so I'm sure he's going to be even well-known three years from now. DOB: 4/3/92. Commitment: Lehigh.
Now that you've had profiles for each of the 50 Washington National draft picks, let's explore why I gave them a Grade A- and ranked them as my second favorite draft class overall. First, I think there's absolutely something to say for making a no-brainer decision correctly. By drafting Bryce Harper, Mike Rizzo and team have made the correct decision that wasn't necessarily an easy one. Just ask Pirates fans what it's like to have a great player on the board and bypass them. But Harper isn't why I have this class rated so highly. The additions of Solis, Hague, and Cole put this class over the top for talent, balance, and execution. Solis could have gone higher, so they got a great arm. Hague was seen as a late first round talent at the beginning of the spring, and the tools are pretty much still there, so they could get a steal. Cole is the same way, and even though there's a chance he doesn't sign, I don't see them letting him get by as long as he's not asking for more than $3 million. They then proceeded to add a good number of potentially usable Major League pieces, both with pitching and hitting. I particularly like the picks of Barrett and Hanks, and they've done a nice job signing players off the bat. If they ink Keyes and Smalling, which I expect to happen, the balance is good. They couldn't afford to go after too many prep players after Cole, but I like the pick of Ray in case his price tag isn't as high as expected, and he's a nice backup in case Cole gets too expensive. The pick of McKenzie is also good, so I just generally like this class a lot. It's tangibly better than the Nationals' class behind Stephen Strasburg a year ago, as they had to go for signable players such as Trevor Holder way too early. I'll take Sammy Solis, Rick Hague, and A.J. Cole over Jeff Kobernus, Trevor Holder, and A.J. Morris any day. They graded an A for talent, A- for balance, and A- for execution, getting an A- total. Great draft and great decision-making team. With the Mets being the only large-market team in their division, given their total lack of commitment to the draft as a procurement arm, I can see the Nationals slowly sneaking up as a strong NL East team in 4-5 years. I know that's hard to see now, but if you look at the pieces they're adding, I like where they're going.
What do you think of the Nationals' 2010 draft?