Scouting Hector Silvestre

Hector Silvestre                 LHP        Evaluated 6/4 & 4/19/17

Fastball (40/45)   Slider (40/40)   Changeup (40/45)   Command (50/50)

International free agent signee in January 2011 by the Washington Nationals; Born in December 1992, Silvestre will spend this entire season at 24 y/o.  Silvestre is a well-built and wiry strong 6-3 180lbs with little projection remaining.  He utilizes a relatively simple, 1-step and rock delivery with few moving parts and he repeats his mechanics fairly well both from windup and stretch.  Silvestre throws from a medium 3/4s arm slot and pitches from the extreme third base side of the rubber.  There is some deception in the delivery, especially for lefties, as he hides ball well with his body through his pitching motion.

3-pitch repertoire – Fastball (89-91mph, T92) has natural cutting action in toward righties, especially at lower velocities – Silvestre locates the fastball well low in the zone, but struggles to command above the belt; pitch generates swings-and-misses.  His slider (79mph-83mph) is rather inconsistent both in shape and quality, some flash late bite into the strike zone and others are rather loopy.  The changeup (82-84mph) replicates arm speed well and shows quality arm-side fade, but he struggles to throw it for strikes as it tends to drift outside the zone.

Silvestre is a well-built and polished left-handed pitcher with three decent but inconsistent offerings.  He is somewhat old for the High-A level and his lack of an above-average future pitch limits his ceiling.  Silvestre is a crafty lefty who competes and knows how to pitch.  Unless his offspeed stuff improves, Silvestre possesses the ceiling as a quality Triple-A starter who unfortunately stagnates in the upper minors.


Scouting Sheldon Neuse

Sheldon Neuse   3B/SS     Hagerstown Suns

Hit (40/50) / Power (50/55) / Run (45/45) / Defense (55/55) / Arm (65/65) 

Washington’s 2nd round pick, 58th overall, in the 2016 MLB Draft, signed for $900,000.  Born in December 1994, Neuse will spend the entire season as a 22 y/o.  Listed at 6-0 195lbs., Neuse looks a bit taller than listed and his body projects to add 7-10 additional pounds as he matures physically.  He has average to below-average speed, consistently clocking between 4.32 – 4.38 from home to first.  From mere observation, Neuse has quality makeup, constantly hustling in the field and seems popular with his teammates.

Defensively Neuse has spent time at both shortstop and third base this season for Hagerstown.  Neuse has a cannon-like arm, actually spending time as a pitcher in college at Oklahoma State.  It easily projects as a plus arm and is one of the strongest non-shortstop arms I have seen in many years.  Neuse has average to fringe-average speed and mediocre athleticism, making him profile more naturally at third baseman.  But the combination of his first-step quickness, soft hands and strong arm make him profile as an above-average defender at the hot corner.

At the plate Neuse is a right-handed hitter with impressive bat speed but struggles to find a consistent length to his swing, as it can get long when he tries to “sell out” for power.  He has noticeably attempted to cut down his swing this season, with positive results.  Neuse will flash above-average to plus raw power in batting practice and has begun incorporating the long ball into game action.  He displays intriguing power to right-center field, including the ability to hit it over the wall.  He needs repetitions to get more comfortable with the swing changes he is making, but Neuse projects as an average hitter with above-average raw power.

Neuse has an intriguing package of tools and is the type of prospect you appreciate the more you watch him play.  He should be an asset defensively at third base at the big league level due to his strong arm, soft hands and reasonable athleticism.  The primary concern in his profile is the hit tool, as he has struggled in the past consistently making contact and is attempting to refine his swing.  Not to mention trying to project how he will perform against pitching three levels above him.  That said he has quality bat speed, recognizes spin and has a game plan for each at-bat, three key elements for future success as a hitter.

Neuse profiles as an average to above-average 2-way third baseman, with the ceiling of a solid starting third baseman, and the most likely outcome being a versatile bench bat.  Neuse is not flashy, but is a quality left side of the infield prospect who should receive more helium in prospect circles.  He could see a promotion to High-A Potomac in the next 30-45 days and perhaps be major league ready late in 2019.

Scouting Mariano Rivera Jr.

Mariano Rivera Jr.           RHP        Evaluated 3x in 2017, Most Recently 6/6/17

Fastball (45/50)   Slider (40/45)   Changeup (30/35)   Command (40/40)

Washington’s 4th round pick in 2015, signed for $410,700; 23.5 y/o who is listed at 5-11 155lbs and looks smaller, appears to be wearing his older brother’s uniform; very little to no projection left.  Rivera’s a pure relief prospect, pitching exclusively from the stretch and utilizes an almost straight over the top arm slot.  He has a fast arm and a short arm swing.  His mechanics are not particularly smooth, as his medium leg lift leads into throwing off a stiff from leg and a significant head “whack” after foot strike.  Furthermore, he struggles repeating his delivery, hindering both his command and control.

3-pitch repertoire: Fastball (90-93mph, T94) shows late life and occasional arm-side action when he stayed on top; pitch flattens with little plane when he drops his arm slot.  The fastball “plays down” due to the lack of movement and command issues.  The slider (84-87mph) is extremely inconsistent – at the lower bands he struggles with his location and the pitch becomes slurvy.  At the higher velocities it works more like a cutter, sometimes moving away from the barrel and other times finding the heart of the zone.  Rivera will throw the occasional (81-83mph) changeup, but it is a subpar offering as he visibly slows his arm down, causing it to resemble a batting practice fastball.  I applaud the effort in trying to throw a changeup, but it needs significant improvement to be a major league offering.

Rivera has looked underwhelming in each of the outings I have seen this season.  It is concerning he is acting as a non-closer in High-A two years post-draft and struggling against younger competition.  He has good fastball velocity and shows the ability to spin a breaking pitch, but his lack of an above-average pitch and mediocre command limits his ceiling.  Considering he is a 4th round pick and the son of the greatest reliever in history, he will get more opportunities than similarly talented prospects.  However, Rivera profiles as a reliever who stagnates in the upper minors, with the best case scenario being he gets a “cup of coffee” in the major leagues.

Instant Analysis of the Washington Nationals Day 3 Picks

The Washington Nationals used the first 2 days of the 2017 MLB Draft to target college pitching, selecting nine college arms in their first ten picks.  Today on Day 3, I would anticipate the team continuing to target high-velocity pitchers, while also drafting some bats to fill out the lower level affiliates.  In addition, I would expect to see the Nationals choose a handful of “difficult to sign” prospects today, as they seemingly did not on the first two days and should have some surplus funds in their bonus pool to gamble on some players that have slipped.


11th Round  ->  Justin Connell OF American Heritage School, Florida HS

A Florida International commit, Connell has excellent speed and has been clocked in the upper-80s off the mound.  Assuming he signs, Connell should be an interesting package of tools for the Washington development staff to mold and develop.  He is the first high school player selected by Washington and only the second hitter chosen thus far.

12th Round  ->  Jackson Stoeckinger LHP College of Central Florida

Committed to the University of Kentucky, Stoeckinger had Tommy John surgery in 2016 and briefly returned to the mound this spring.  He is a 6-4 lefty with the ability to reach the low-90s with the fastball and spin a breaking ball.  He is extremely raw, but could be an intriguing prospect in a few years if he can develop.

13th Round  ->  Eric Senior OF Midland College

Drafted by Oakland in the 23rd round two years ago, Senior is a 6-3 180lbs athlete who possesses good speed, a powerful arm and some raw power.  He looks to be a toolshed but needs repetitions against higher competition to advance his skills.  This feels like a sleeper in this draft class.

14th Round  ->  Anthony Peroni Catcher Mercer County CC

Committed to the University of Delaware, Peroni has punished the competition this season, hitting .440 with 66 hits, 12 home runs, 22 doubles, 47 runs batted in, a .549 OBP and a .827 slugging percentage.  Also, his coach complimented his defensive ability behind the plate and his makeup in online interviews.  The Nationals have done a nice job developing catching the past few years, and I am eager to see Peroni play.

15th Round  ->  Bryce Montes de Oca RHP University of Missouri

This is an intriguing pick on Day 3, as Montes de Oca was selected in the 14th round out of high school and was projected to go well on Day 2 of this year’s draft.  Montes de Oca is a mountain of a man, standing 6-7 265lbs and might be larger than that – he also possesses a big fastball, sitting mid-90s and touching 97mph.  His off-speed offerings significantly lag behind, but will show promise on an inconsistent basis.  He pitches exclusively from the stretch in order to simplify his delivery, but he still has below-average (or worse) command.  In addition, he has had a past Tommy John surgery.  There are obvious warts, which explain why he is available, but this is a terrific package of raw tools to develop.

I am quite curious to see if Washington can sign him; if they do, they could immediately move him to the bullpen to see if this helps improve his command and curveball.  This is a terrific pick if the Nationals sign him.

16th Round  ->  Jake Scudder 1B Kansas State University

A senior, Scudder is the first senior the Nationals have selected so far today, more than a mild surprise.  After going undrafted last year, Scudder returned to campus this season and added the long ball, hitting 13 home runs this season.  He should sign quickly and might have a bit more upside than the typical senior first baseman.

17th Round  ->  Jared Johnson LHP Palm Beach State College

Baseball America says, “A 6-foot-3 southpaw who has shown advanced control with an 88-92 mph fastball, Johnson fanned 77 batters and walked 27 this spring with Palm Beach State in 69.1 innings.”

I wonder if this pick has anything to do with their new facility in West Palm Beach and their scouts lingering in that area during spring training.  This is another promising arm for the Nationals to develop.

18th Round  ->  Nick Choruby OF Texas A&M University

Their second senior selected, Choruby is an interesting college player with some tools, as he has above-average speed and the ability to play solid defense in center field.  He has a below-average arm and little power, but he can put the bat on the ball and get on base.  He has tremendous makeup and will be a nice addition to the Nationals’ lower minors.

19th Round  ->  Jonathan Pryor OF Wake Forest University

Another senior, Pryor served as the leadoff hitter for Wake Forest this season and performed well, hitting .354 with a .447 on-base percentage.  He played left field for the Demon Deacons, but could see action at all three outfield spots as a professional.  Pryor reminds me a bit of former Nationals’ draft pick and current minor leaguer Ike Ballou.

20th Round  ->  Jake Cousins RHP University of Pennsylvania

A senior from the Ivy League, Cousins has a projectable 6-4 180lbs body with the potential to still add weight as he matures.  Cousins has a promising 3-pitch arsenal, with a fastball in the upper-80s to low-90s, along with a quality curveball.  He should sign quickly and the fastball/curveball combination could lead him to a role in the bullpen.  Incidently, Jake Cousins is a cousin of Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins.

21st Round  ->  Leif Strom RHP Pierce College

Listed at 6-6 on the team’s website, I am not finding much information on him.  He has a very cool, role “65” name.

22nd Round  ->  Nelson Galindez LHP Haines City HS

A Florida high school lefty, Galindez is listed at 6-3 225lbs with a fastball that touches the upper-80s.  Again, I am struggling to find much information on Nelson.  As a high school prospect, he will be much more challenging to sign than many of the recent picks.

23rd Round  ->  Jamori Blash 1B Cochise College

The brother of current major league player Jabari Blash, Jamori is a monstrous 6-4 240lbs who hit .324 with 11 home runs and 41 runs batted in over 50 games this season.  He is a right-handed hitter who has hit 86mph off the mound in the past – considering the blood lines and these raw tools, he is an exciting pick in Round 23.

24th Round  ->  Tim Richards SS Cal State Fullerton

Richards is a senior who has been drafted twice before, first back in 2013 in the 40th round by Miami then last year in the 18th round by Minnesota.  Richards batted .301/.378/.449 with 4 home runs this season and should provide Washington with badly needed infield depth in the low minors this summer.

25th Round  ->  David Smith RHP Cal State Long Beach

A well-built 6-4 210lbs, Smith is a senior righty who posted a 2.01 ERA over 91.1 innings pitched this season.  Of some concern, Smith allowed 98 hits and only struck out 41 innings in those 91.1 innings.  The performance numbers and size are quite impressive for a 25th round pick – he should sign quickly.

26th Round  ->  Kameron Esthay OF Baylor University

Another senior (yes we’ve reached that point of Day 3), Esthay is a physical, well-built 6-0 225lbs outfielder with experience at first base who hit .283/.380/.488 with 9 home runs this season.  A left-handed hitter, Esthay profiles as either a first baseman or left fielder, with the potential to be a productive minor league hitter.

27th Round  ->  Darren Baker SS Jesuit HS California

Yes it is the son of Washington manager Dusty Baker and I am proud that I predicted this selection 2 weeks ago (though I did guess Round 38).  Baker is a talented baseball player and unfortunately, most remembered for the World Series incident at home plate with J.T. Snow.  He is committed to the University of California Berkeley and is expected to attend college.  However, being selected before Round 30 gives me pause that he might sign with Washington.

28th Round  ->  Nic Perkins Catcher Drury University

Perkins spent his first two seasons at the University of Mississippi before transferring to Drury for the 2017 seasons.  A large man at 6-4 230lbs, this right-handed hitter batted .355 with 8 home runs and 49 runs batted in this season.  He is a junior so he has eligibility remaining (I assume), but I expect him to sign quickly.

29th Round  ->  Alex Dunlap Catcher Stanford University

A senior backstop and right-handed hitter, Dunlap is listed as a stocky 6-2 215lbs.  Dunlap’s season was apparently cut short, as he only played 25 games for the Cardinal in 2017, hitting .274 with 2 home runs.  He has proven he can catch the premium velocity from the impressive stable of Stanford pitchers, and has had success in his 4-years at Stanford.  His injury obviously cost him a great deal.

30th Round  ->  Austin Guibor OF Fresno State University

Guibor is a senior left-handed bat who hit .311 with 5 home runs and 38 runs batted in this season.  He will add additional organizational depth in the outfield for Washington.

31st Round  ->  Jeremy McKinney RHP Indiana State University

Another senior college pitcher, McKinney is an undersized righty listed at 6-0 190lbs who posted a 5.40 ERA with 26 strikeouts against 21 walks in 25 innings pitched for the Sycamores this season.

32nd Round  ->  Phil Caulfield 2B Loyola Marymount University

A diminutive middle infielder who hits left-handed, Caulfield is a senior who hit .362/.438/.477 with 3 home runs and 9 stolen bases this season.  He has been a 1st team All-WCC selection in both of his seasons at Loyola Marymount.

33rd Round  ->  Adalberto Carrillo Catcher University of Southern California

Carrillo is a junior listed at 5-11 195lbs. and hit .281/.377/.472 with 7 home runs and 9 stolen bases this season.  He played some infield and catcher at USC and looks to be a conversion project for the Nationals.  He does have the leverage to return to school, so there is a chance he goes unsigned by Washington.

34th Round  ->  Bennett Souza LHP University of Virginia

Souza is a projectable 6-3 210lbs. lefty who worked exclusively in relief for the Cavaliers this season, making 24 appearances and pitching 33 innings, allowing only 25 hits and 15 walks against 44 strikeouts.  Souza has eligibility remaining and UVA does a fantastic job of keeping players on campus, so this is a situation to watch if he comes to terms with Washington.

35th Round  ->  Jackson Kramer 1B West Virginia University

Generously listed at 6-4 225lbs. (I’ll take the over) is a senior left-handed hitting first baseman who hit .270/.370/.472 with 11 home runs and 14 doubles this season for the Mountaineers.  This is another depth pick for the low minors of the organization.

36th Round  ->  Gabe Klobosits  RHP Auburn University

A massive 6-8 255lbs senior right-hander, Klobosits clearly wins the award for most difficult name to spell in this draft class.  For Auburn this season, Klobosits posted a 5.18 ERA in 33 innings pitched, striking out 20 against 11 walks.  His sheer mass makes him an interesting pick in the 36th round.

37th Round  ->  Cody Gratkowski 3B Fairhope HS

This is a legacy pick, as Gratkowski was announced as a relative of Nationals scout Johnny DePuglia.  Gratkowski possesses good speed according to his biography on Perfect Game, along with a commitment to Wallace CC-Dothan.  Typically I would dismiss this as a “favor to an employee” pick, but the fact he has only a community college commitment means he could be inclined to start in professional baseball.

38th Round  ->  Jake Boone SS Torrey Pines HS, California

Another legacy pick as Jake is the son of Bret Boone and the grandson of Nationals’ employee Bob Boone.  Jake is a 5-10 185lbs middle infielder with a college commitment to Princeton (impressive).  He is a right-handed hitter and also has experience on the mound.  I will assume he will be taking his talents to college, where he could develop into a top-10 round pick in a few years.

39th Round  ->  Kai Nelson OF Fieldston HS, New York

Nelson is listed at 5-11 170lbs. outfielder who has a college commitment to local Georgetown University.  According to his Perfect Game page, he has plenty of tools and is also an excellent student.  I would expect to see him reach college and revisit the draft in a couple years.

40th (and Final) Round  ->  Max Engelbrekt LHP Oregon State University

A 5th year senior on the #1 ranked team in the nation, Engelbrekt is a 6-3 204lbs. lefty who posted a 0.48 ERA with 18 strikeouts and 3 walks over 16 innings pitched this season.  His numbers and projectable body has me quite interested to see him in professional ball.


Thanks so much for joining me for this lengthy 3rd day of the 2017 MLB Draft.  If you have additional information on any of these players, or opinions on the Nationals’ effort the past three days, please comment in the comment’s section.