Live from the NatsGM Headquarters, we are BACK to Blog about today’s 2nd day of the MLB Draft, encompassing Rounds 2-15 in the draft. After the Nationals surprised everyone last night by selecting California high school RHP Lucas Giolito, it will be an interesting exercise today to see what the front office does with their selections today: will they focus strictly on college juniors and seniors who are easy to sign, or will they continue to draft the best athlete available regardless of signability. Either way, I will be taking you through all of the selections this afternoon, examining all of the Nationals picks in addition to highlighting some of the better and more interesting choices from other teams along the way. Thank you for joining me, and I want to encourage each of you to post your comments and questions in the comments section below, send me a message on Twitter @NatsGMdotcom, and email me at NationalsGM@gmail.com.
12:08pm - I am very curious to see what route the Nationals take in Round 2. There will be some intriguing names when they pick, and it will give us a great insight into how confident the team feels about signing Giolito. I will expound upon this question later this week, but I think GM Mike Rizzo and the Nationals scouting department made the right decision gambling on Giolito’s potential and their ability to sign him rather than selecting a safer college player with less ceiling. I could and will argue that Deven Marrero from Arizona State might have been a “better pick” but overall, the Nationals made an excellent selection last night at #16.
Houston Astros #61 - Nolan Fontana SS University of Florida
One of my favorite players in this draft, Fontana has impressive on-base skills, emerging power, and is a solid defender at shortstop in spite of his below-average arm. Great value at #61, and another nice pick by the Astros.
Baltimore Orioles #65 - Brandon Kline University of Virginia RHP
Another nice pick by the Orioles, who did a nice job adding LSU RHP Kevin Gausman in the 1st round and now add another polished college pitcher with Kline. Kline profiles better as a reliever as he has a strong fastball and breaking ball but little changeup right now. Nice value selection here in Round 2.
San Diego Padres #70 - Dane Phillips Oklahoma City University
The Padres just so consistently make excellent picks and Phillips is another example. A great hitter who led the Cape Cod League in RBI, he will need work defensively to stay as a catcher, but he has a solid arm and the skills to stay there, he just needs a ton of refinement and patience in the minors. Nice value here at pick #70 by San Diego.
12:28pm - Nationals are on the clock shortly and there are some nice names available, especially some college pitchers like Buck Farmer and Brady Rodgers. With their need to save some money in the next few picks, perhaps they select one of these players, or another collegiate arm.
Chicago White Sox #76 - Chris Beck RHP Georgia Southern
I watched this young man on the Cape last summer and he was VERY impressive, with good command and some excellent stuff, including a above-average cutter. He struggled this season, forcing him to slip to pick #76, but credit the White Sox for making a great pick grabbing this talented potential #4 starting pitcher.
Washington Nationals #80 – Tony Renda 2B University of California @ Berkeley
A small framed 2B with a solid ability to barrel up the baseball and has some emerging power, Renda receives criticism because his defense is not particularly impressive, but he can turn the double play and make the easy plays. Make no mistake, they drafted Renda because of his bat, and I like this pick by the Nationals. Good pick!
Atlanta Braves #85 – Alex Wood LHP University of Georgia
A pitcher I really like, as he is a lefty with a mid-90s fastball and an above-average changeup who needs to develop a curveball. Yes his motion is awkward and he has already undergone Tommy John surgery, but I think the Braves shift him to the bullpen as a professional and let him quickly move through the minors. Great pick by Atlanta late in Round 2.
New York Yankees #94 – Peter O’Brien Catcher University of Miami
Great pick here, as I thought he might go 30 picks higher as a relatively easy to sign college senior with a good bat and the chance, rather unlikely, to stay behind the plate. The Yankees love catching prospects and this was an excellent pick here in Round 2.
1:00pm – Another solid pick by the Astros by taking Arizona State RHP Brady Rodgers in Round 3… I think they shift him to the bullpen and he moves quickly through the minor leagues, and could be an asset as a reliever in a couple years. I really like what the Astros are doing so far in this draft.
Minnesota Twins #97 - Adam Brent Walker OF Jacksonville University
Some of the biggest right-handed power in this draft, Brent Walker suffers from swing and miss issues, especially on the inside part of the plate because of his long swing, but with some patience and work, I think Walker could be a power hitting corner outfielder in a few years. He has all the tools and is a great value in Round 3.
Multiple People via Email – “What type of bonus do you expect Lucas Giolito to command in order to sign, and do you think he will sign?”
I have received this question in various forms- Yes I do believe he will eventually sign, likely at 4:59pm on July 13th (I think that’s the signing deadline this year?), but I have a difficult time projecting what type of bonus he can command. Dylan Bundy received a $4 million dollar bonus at the #4 pick last year and Archie Bradley received $5 million as the #7 pick, but the Nationals have only a maximum $4,658,010 to sign their picks. I am going to predict he signs for $3,500,000 on July 13th.
Washington Nationals #111 – Brett Mooneyham LHP Stanford University
The Nationals drafted Mooneyham last summer as well, and they certainly want him as they have drafted him again in 2012. Mooneyham has a low-90s fastball and an impressive curveball with a massive frame with some projection to fill out remaining. He has struggled with injuries in his time in college, and he needs time in the minors to refine his delivery and polish his arsenal, but Mooneyham, a redshirt junior, has excellent potential and is a nice pick by the Nationals who must balance talent with signability the next few selections.
1:35pm – I would give the Nationals the grade of a B/B+ for the pick of Tony Renda and I would grade them a B- for the Mooneyham pick. Both are likely to sign and have the talent to warrant being selected in that general area. I think they select additional college arms in Rounds 4 and 5.
Baltimore Orioles #132 - Christian Walker 1B South Carolina
I know Walker’s profile is lousy as a 6-0 220lbs first base only player who hits right-handed, but I really like his quick clean swing and I think he could slug his way to the major leagues in a few seasons. This is a good pick by the Orioles in Round 4, who are having a nice draft thus far.
Kansas City Royals #133 - Kenny Diekroeger SS Stanford University
We discussed Diekroeger in Part 3 of our draft preview the other day, but Diekroeger has talent deserving of being selected higher than #133 overall, and if the Royals can get his swing back on track, this has the potential to be a terrific pick in the 4th round. Great risk vs. reward selection-
1:59pm - Taylor Dugas from the University of Alabama is going to be a outstanding senior sign somewhere in the next 25-50 picks as a good hitter than should sign relatively cheaply.
Washington Nationals #144 – Brandon Miller OF Samford University
A college senior with some power and a strong throwing arm, he is a former catcher and might profile better there as a professional. There is some talent here with Miller but he is a signability pick as his talent is not quite deserving for a 4th round selection. I understand this pick, but I wish the Nationals had chosen Taylor Dugas as a senior player rather than Miller. That said, this is a reasonable pick in Round 4 as he possesses 2 solid tools.
2:28pm – I am going to stick with my prediction and go with Taylor Dugas as the Nationals pick here in Round 5… If not, I think it will be another college senior, maybe a pitcher.
2:31pm - I am seeing on Twitter that the Nationals are talking about 4th round pick Miller as a potential catcher or that he profiles in right field as well. They also seem to really like his power. He might turn out to be an interesting senior sign after a few years in the minors.
Washington Nationals #174 – Spencer Kieboom Catcher Clemson University
A strong defensive catcher with a questionable bat, Kieboom, a junior, batted .250 this season with 3 home runs, so the Nationals scouts must believe his glove will help him up the minor league ladder. Kieboom is a junior that should be an easy sign, and is likely another pick the Nationals have made while keeping the idea of saving some money in mind. Many other players I would have liked in this spot, and I feel this is a questionable pick in Round 5.
2:55pm – Looks like the Nationals have decided to save some money in Rounds 3-5 to shift toward Giolito… A smart decision by the club-
3:14pm – Now entering the 6th round… I expect the Nationals will continue to draft college juniors and seniors, though I think they will take a few pitchers in the next few rounds, as they have shied away from them a bit thus far, aside from Mooneyham.
Baltimore Orioles #192 – Lex Rutledge LHP Samford University
I really like this kid’s power left-handed arm and curveball and if a team shifted him to the bullpen, he could be an asset as a reliever. In Round 6 to find a lefty that can throw 95mph and has an above-average breaking ball, that is a flat out steal. Another outstanding pick by the Orioles-
3:21pm - The Marlins just made a nice pick in Round 6 with Vanderbilt infielder Anthony Gomez, a consistent hitter who has a future possibly at 2B or as a utility guy in the majors. He has long been a personal favorite of mine, and he is a nice value at #197.
3:27pm - I am not St. John’s RHP Kyle Hansen’s biggest fan, but he is a terrific value pick by the White Sox at pick #201 in Round 6. I would be surprised if he did not spend some time in the majors if shifted to the bullpen in the future.
Washington Nationals #204 – Hayden Jennings Georgia HS OF
Jennings, a commit to Louisiana State, is the first high school player taken by the Nationals since taking Giolito in Round 1. A toolsy outfielder, it will be interesting to see if the Nationals can get Jennings signed away from Baton Rouge and how/if this effects their ability to sign their other picks. An interesting pick in Round 6, and a nice value selection-
3:39pm – Doing a google search on new Nationals selection Hayden Jennings, apparently he ran a 6.4 60-yard dash last year, which is incredibly fast, and he is 5-10 165lbs. center fielder. Sounds intriguing, I hope the Nationals can find a way to get his signature on a pro contract.
3:54pm – Nice to see Preston Tucker selected at the top of the 7th round by the Astros, he may not have a huge ceiling, but the pop in his left-handed bat gives him a chance to slug his way to the majors. Another nice pick by the Astros, they are having a nice draft thus far.
Washington Nationals #234 – Robert Benincasa RHP Florida State
A nice value pick here in Round 7, Benincasa has been a dominant late-inning reliever this year for the Seminoles with a fringy fastball and an above-average changeup and slider. Benincasa will likely return to the starting rotation in pro ball, but his future resides as a rather rare 3-pitch reliever. Good selection by the Nationals here at #234-
Milwaukee Brewers #245 – Hudson Randall RHP University of Florida
Randall will not overly impress with his stuff, but his above-average to plus command of the strike zone allows his fringy pitches to play up. I have watched him for 3-years at Florida and I believe he carves out a career as a strike-throwing #5 starting pitcher, or a middle reliever in the major leagues, which is a nice player in Round 7.
4:27pm – I was really hoping this Live Blog was not going to interfere with Happy Hour… Anyone have a good craft beer recommendation for me?
Washington Nationals #264 – Stephen Perez SS/2B University of Miami
A very talented athlete who shows flashes of top-3 round talent, but unfortunately his inconsistency has been maddening in his 3 seasons at Miami. He has a strong arm and has the athleticism to play in the middle infield, but the question is whether he will be able to hit. With his tools, this is a quality selection in the 8th round. I have liked the last few picks from the Nationals, and I hope they can add Jennings, Benincasa, and Perez to their farm system.
4:56pm – Luke Maile, one of my personal sleepers in the 2012 draft class, was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays at pick #272 – this is a great value pick in the 8th round and I predict Maile has a productive major league career.
4:58pm – A quick observation, but aside from 4th round pick Brandon Miller (who could himself end up a catcher), each Nationals pick through the top-8 rounds plays up the middle, either a pitcher (Giolito, Mooneyham, Benincasa), catcher (Miller and Kieboom), middle infield (Renda and Perez) and center field (Jennings). GM Mike Rizzo has focused his early round selections on these positions in the past, and thus far in 2012, he has continued this pattern.
5:02pm – Personal favorite Alabama OF Taylor Dugas finally gets selected by the Yankees in the 8th round; mark my words, while he may not be a major league starter, he will become a valuable major leaguer in his career. Great pick by the Yankees who continue to impress.
Washington Nationals #294 – Derek Self RHP University of Louisville
A quality senior sign with an impressive fastball in the low-to-mid-90s and an above-average cutter, Self projects as a solid 2-pitch reliever who induces plenty of ground balls. Self should move quickly through the minors and represents a nice arm that could come at a small discount. Good, quality pick in Round 9-
Washington Nationals #324 – Craig Manuel Catcher Rice University
A college senior, Manuel has a solid catchers frame at 6-1 205lbs. and batted .275 with 2 home runs in 2012. Manuel is known as a solid defender and should be a cheap senior sign, as the Nationals continue to try and conserve money throughout Day 2. Decent, but uninspiring selection in Round 10.
6:13pm - Nice pick by the Yankees late in Round 10 with Mississippi 1B Matt Snyder, who was drafted by the Nationals last summer, and returned to school this season and flashed some solid left-handed pop. Quality pick with some potential this late in Day 2-
6:30pm – Today’s draft sure has dragged on, rather unnecessarily at times… Looking forward to the more “lightning round” approach (Hi Jim Cramer!) in the later rounds.
6:35pm - Some interesting picks in the 11th Round: Taylor Rogers LHP from University of Kentucky went to Minnesota and has a nice left-handed arm and was impressive last summer on Cape Cod. Versatile NCSt. Shortstop Chris Diaz went to the Pirates, he’s a slick fielding defender with a sneaky decent bat, nice value. Both are players I expected to be selected earlier today.
Washington Nationals #354 – Brian Rauh RHP Chapman University
I do not know much about him but Baseball America likes him as a potential sleeper after a shift to the bullpen, as he has a nice pitchers frame and 4 pitches including a fastball, curve, slider and changeup. Rauh sounds like a reasonable pick here in Round 11.
Washington Nationals #384 – Carlos Lopez 3B Wake Forest
A senior right-handed hitter with a thick 6-2 220lbs. frame, Lopez led Wake Forest in hitting this season with a .294 batting average and was 2nd on the team with 10 home runs. He has quick wrists and some pop in his bat, making him a more intriguing senior sign than average, and should sign rather quickly.
Washington Nationals #414 – Elliott Waterman LHP University of San Francisco
I was fortunate enough to watch Waterman pitch twice last summer, as he was a member of the Bethesda Big Train summer league team. He has a huge frame, 6-4 or 6-5 with some room to gain weight, and he had a decent fastball, and the ability to spin a breaking ball. A junior lefty with some potential, Waterman has a chance to be a lefty reliever or LOOGY in a few seasons.
Washington Nationals #444 – Jordan Poole OF Chipola College
A sophomore right fielder who hit .340 with 7 home runs this season, there is little other information I can find about Poole on the web. Anyone care to help shed some light about Poole?
Washington Nationals #474 -Brendan Smith California HS OF
A toolsy 6-3 195lbs. right fielder in high school that was announced as a center fielder, I cannot find any information on the internet about this young man. As I said above with Jordan Poole, if anyone can pass along information about these two players, I would greatly appreciate it.
With that, Day 2 is complete! I want to thank everyone who joined me today for this Live Blog of the 2012 MLB Draft. I will be here again tomorrow Live Blogging the final 25 rounds beginning at 12pm, so I encourage you to return with your questions or comments. Thank you for reading!
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