Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Nats GO HIGH SCHOOL!!
June 6, 2006 is the first day of the 2006 MLB Baseball Draft. This is day one for the Lerner/Kasten Group in shaping the Washington Nationals for the near and long term future. Unlike last season, when the Nats had the number 4 pick overall and scored huge with Ryan Zimmerman (The Nats had no 2nd and 3rd round picks), many of the so called experts that follow the young talent say that 2006 is a down year for top prospects That being said, there is always someone good to be found.
The Nationals had 5 of the first 90 picks (Due to losing Esteban Loaiza and Hector Carrasco to Free Agency). Only the Braves and Red Sox had more picks during this opening phase of the draft.
Stan Kasten has stated he will build the farm system from the ground up, and from these first choices, he's not kidding. The Nationals GM, Jim Bowden, and Scouting Director, Dana Brown, went ALL HIGH SCHOOL for their first 6 picks.
With the 15th pick, the Nats chose Chris Marrero, a 3B/OF Power Hitting Slugger from Miami. Marrero is considered the best High School Hitting Prospect of 2006. The Nats with Bowden's philosophy of "pitching, pitching, pitching" passed on Kyle Drabek (Doug's Son) rated as having the best stuff of any available pitcher. Apparently many teams had off the field issues with Kyle. They also passed on North Carolina's, RHP, Daniel Bard. Both Drabek and Bard were considered to be top 7 picks overall by many scouts. Its interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years. Marrero was the best talent available to the Nats, at this point in the draft. 18 years old.
At 22, the Nationals chose Colton Willems, also from Florida. A 6'4" Right Handed Pitcher with 3 above average ptiches--fastball, curve, slider. Was terrific last year in the well respected, wood bat, Cape Cod League. 18 Years old.
At 59--the Nats chose Sean Black (Scouting Supervisor Brown's Favorite), a 6'3" HS kid from New Jersey who can hit 95MPH on the radar and he hasn't filled out yet. 18 years old
At 70--Bellevue HS'swashington state) Stephen Englund was chosen for his 6'3", 200lb body and his raw power. Don't know much else about him. 18 years old.
The Nats 91st chose is the most interesting of all the top 5 Washington Picks. SS Stephen King (No relation to the famous horror author)is a 5 TOOL PLAYER. Hailing from Winter Park, Florida, King can Hit, Hit with Power, Run, Throw(from the hole) and field with the best of them. He is an intruiging pick. Stephen's fall in the draft is due to leg injuries that has limited his playing time. 19 years old and a very interesting pick. The Nationals wanted Washington DC's Emmanuel Burress from Wilson High and Kent State University, but the Giants chose Emmanuel as a late first round pick. King was chosen to make up for Burress.
In the 4th and 5th rounds, the Nats chose 2 lefthanded pitchers, Glenn Gibson (Son of former Big Leaguer Paul Gibson) a High Schooler from New Jersey and followed that with Baylor University's Cory VanAllen, a one time top left handed pitching prospect that many scouts say hasn't improved himself over the past few collegiate seasons. VanAllen was a 3rd rounder that didn't sign in 2003 and now he's picked in the 5th. Obviously, this guy is a project. And, in the 6th round, the Nats chose, 21 year old, Zachary Zinicola---a burly 6'1" closer from Baseball Factory, Arizona State. A full time bullpen guy, showed well pitching under pressure in the College World Series.
Baseball Drafts are a total crap shoot and no one will really know the outcome of the 2006 draft until 3-5 years down the road. Except for Zimmerman, I am positive most Nats fans couldn't name one additional 2005 draft pick for Washington. Many good players,like Marcus Giles, Mike Piazza and Keith Hernandez were all drafted in rounds past 30. I was even picked in the 29th round (And look where I ended--sitting with you guys in Section 320). There are 50 rounds in this years draft. Many early rounders flame out and many middle and late round picks end up with the gumption to make it to the Majors.
The Nationals added 5 pitchers and 3 Power Bats to their farm system today. And one above average possible steal of the draft with Stephen King.
Of course, they all have to sign now.