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2011 MLB Draft Review: Washington Nationals

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The Nationals have reaped the rewards of drafting 1st overall in the draft on consecutive years in which a generational type talent was available. This year, they drafted 6th overall and still were able to draft the player that was considered the top talent the majority of the last year. He slipped a little due to medical concerns and his lack of physicality, but I still believe he has the best bat in the draft.

With their top 4 picks, the Nationals drafted players that could be impact major league talents and that is what the draft is all about. I love what they did at the top and they even took a couple of exciting players later in the draft that could be impact talents. It looks like it has the potential to be a great draft for the Nationals.

Anthony Rendon was the consensus 1st overall pick for the majority of the last year. He had 2 pretty serious injuries to his ankle over the last 2 years as well as a shoulder injury that held him to DH most of the season. When he was on the field he showed above average defense at 3B and should have no issue staying there for a long time, as long as his shoulder holds up. If not, he may have to move to 2B, where he should have the athleticism to make that work, but it could take a little time. His bat won't take much time. He is a very polished hitter with the potential to hit .300 with 25 HR annually. He is not a burner but he knows how to run the bases and could steal a few bases.

Alex Meyer is a 6'9", 200 LB athletic right handed pitcher who has had a hard time maintaining his mechanics. This season things seemed to come together for him. He routinely throws 95-96 and can hit 100 on occasion. Along with that, he has an 85-89 MPH slider that is nearly unhittable at times. They are both MLB plus pitches right now and still have room for improvement. He also improved on his change this year as well and it looks like it could be a useful pitch at the major league level opening up the possibility of him being a starter,which makes him more valuable that a set up man or closer. He needs to be watched, because his mechanics could go haywire quickly due to his long arms and legs but he could also be a front end of the rotation starter.

Brian Goodwin was a supplemental pick after being talked about as a 1st round talent, or even as high as the top pick in the 2012 draft when he was a freshman at North Carolina. After he was suspended from North Carolina, he went to Miami-Dade JC and did well, but didn't dominate. Some people see him as a future power hitting, speedy center fielder with an above average arm. I see him as a light hitting, patient hitter with good but not great speed and average ability in center field but more likely a left fielder. He is a good upside pick in this spot. His hit tool will decide his value long term.

Matt Purke fell to the 3rd round and 96th overall. I saw him as the 3rd best prospect in the draft coming into the year but he had several setbacks and his velocity dropped causing concerns about his low arm slot and potential durability concerns to come to fruition. When he is healthy he throws from 91-94 topping out at 96 MPH. He has a really good slider that works better when his arm slot is a little higher than it was most of this season. It can be a plus pitch as well. His change can be another above average pitch and he has very good control when he is healthy. If his blister and back injuries caused his shoulder issue it may be correctable. His schedule in 2009 and 2010 did lend to potential injury in 2011, so if this isn't a long term injury, this could be the steal of the draft. I'm sure the Nats will watch him this summer to see how he progresses and decide whether or not to sign him.

Kylin Turnbull, the 4th round selection, is a little under my radar. He's a tall 6'4", 195 LB lefty who can throw in the low 90's and has a splitter and a slider that have potential to be average pitches but need work. He seems like a reach here to me but I could be wrong.

Matt Skole, the 5th round selection, is a 6'4", 230 LB third baseman. He's a solid hitter with a line drive swing that could generate a lot of doubles but I don't see him being a big power hitter. He could hit 15 homers or so each year and he can play adequate defense at 3B right now. He may have to move to 1B at some point but if he can stay at 3B, he could be a lower tier MLB 3B.

With 6 of their next 7 picks, they took college pitchers with good stuff. If they are lucky and scouted well, one or two could turn out to be starting pitchers or bullpen support. They seemed to focus on seniors. Monar was the only junior out of the group.

Deion Williams is a 6'3", 180 LB athletic shortstop who is good defensively and has a very good arm. He is very raw with the bat. He has signed already and is struggling. He will need time. I would bet he will repeat rookie ball next year and hopefully he will have shown some improvement by then. He may be slow to come around but he could be worth the wait.

Hawtin Buchanan is all projection. He's 6'8" and throws low 90's. He's athletic for his size and is definitely a project worth taking a shot on. He's committed to Mississippi and likely will end up there but if he can improve his breaking ball and continue to progress with his change, he could be a 1st rounder in 2014.

Josh Tobias
Tobias is a SS now, but I think his arm will relegate him to 2B. He is short and stocky and has a really quick bat. I don't think he could handle SS, 3B or CF as a pro but could be a LF. He is fast and can hit for power even though he is only 5'10" and 190 lbs. I could see him developing into a 20 HR, 20 steal kind of player but it will take a lot to sign him from his Florida commit.

Brett Mooneyham has good stuff but rarely has command. He throws 88-94 with a good breaking ball at times. He is a 6'5, 220 LB lefty who has a lot of potential but will likely return to Stanford for his senior season after missing most of this season with a finger injury.

Here are all their picks:

1 Anthony Rendon 3B Rice
1 Alex Meyer P Kentucky
1s Brian Goodwin OF Miami Dade CC
3 Matt Purke P Texas Christian
4 Kylin Turnbull P Santa Barbara CC
5 Matt Skole 3B Georgia Tech
6 David Hill P Vanderbilt
7 Brian Dupra P Notre Dame
8 Greg Holt P North Carolina
9 Dixon Anderson P UC Berkeley
10 Manny Rodriguez RHP Barry University
11 Caleb Ramsey OF Houston
12 Blake Monar P Indiana
13 Casey Kalenkosky 1B Texas St U
14 Roland Stubbs LF Walters State CC
15 Zachary Houchins SS Louisburg Col
16 Deion Williams SS Redan HS (GA)
17 Esteban Guzman RHP San Jose St U
18 Nicholas Lee LHP Weatherford College
19 Hawtin Buchanan P Biloxi HS
20 Josh Laxer P Madison Central Madison MS
21 Todd Simko LHP Texas A&M U Corpus Christi
22 Travis Henke RHP U Arkansas Little Rock
23 Khayyan Norfork 2B U Tennessee
24 Kyle Ottoson P Arizona State
25 Erick Fernandez C Georgetown U
26 Shawn Pleffner RF U Tampa
27 Robert Lucas LHP George Washington U
28 Kenneth Ferrer P Elon University
29 Sean Cotten C Tusculum Col
30 Bryan Harper P South Carolina
31 Joshua Tobias SS Southeast Guilford Greensboro NC
32 Billy Burns OF Mercer U
33 Trey Karlen 2B U Tennessee Martin
34 Calvin Drummond RHP U San Diego
35 Alex Kreis RHP Jamestown Col
36 Benjamin Hawkins LHP U West Florida
37 Derrick Bleeker P/OF Howard Col
38 Brett Mooneyham P Stanford
39 Peter Verdin OF Georgia
40 Stephen Collum OF Cartersville, Cartersville, GA
41 Bryce Ortega 3B U Arizona
42 David Kerian SS Bishop Heelan HS (IA)
43 Mitchell Morales SS Wellington Community HS (FL)
44 Matt Snyder 1B U Mississippi
45 Ritchie Mirowski RHP Oklahoma Baptist U
46 Tyler Thompson CF Florida
47 Timothy Montgomery LHP Rockmart HS (GA)
48 Michael Bisenius RF Wayne State
49 Hunter Cole 3B Dorman, Moore, SC
50 Tony Nix OF UC Riverside