Everything to know about Nationals' 2020 Draft

June 12th, 2020

From four-year players to high schoolers, starters to closers, the Nationals added six players in this week's five-round 2020 MLB Draft.

The Nationals began the shortened Draft on Wednesday by selecting right-hander Cade Cavalli with the 22nd overall pick. The next day, they drafted righty Cole Henry (No. 55), shortstop Samuel Infante (No. 71), right-handed closer Holden Powell (No. 94), catcher Brady Lindsly (No. 123) and southpaw Mitchell Parker (No. 153).

Now what?
The signing deadline this year is Aug. 1. The Nationals have a pool of $6,647,700 to spend, and the assigned values for each pick are as follows: Cavalli, $3.03 million; Henry, $1.31 million; Infante, $884,200; Powell, $618,200; Lindsly, $464,500; Parker, $346,800.

The Nationals opened Day 2 with players who had options to consider. Henry is a Draft-eligible sophomore, and he could return to LSU to become a first-round talent. Infante had committed to play college baseball at the University of Miami. Both picks said on Thursday they intend to sign with the Nationals.

If a club exceeds its assigned pool, it faces a penalty. Teams that outspend their allotment by 0-5 percent pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. At higher thresholds, clubs lose future picks: a first-rounder and a 75 percent tax for surpassing their pool by more than 5 and up to 10 percent; a first- and a second-rounder and a 100 percent tax for more than 10 and up to 15 percent; and two first-rounders and a 100 percent tax for more than 15 percent.

Trend wrap
The Nationals followed suit by drafting a right-handed pitcher with their first pick for the third consecutive year. They added to their arsenal of arms by selecting pitchers with four of their six Draft picks -- three righties and one lefty. Among those players, their roles ranged. Henry was the Friday night starter at LSU, while Powell earned the second-most saves in UCLA history.

Three of the pitchers competed at four-year colleges, while Parker played for San Jacinto Junior College. The Nationals went with young talent by selecting 18-year-old Infante out of Monsignor Edward Pace High School (Miami Gardens, Fla.).

First-round fact
University of Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson gave Cavalli the green light to call his own pitches this season.

“He’s smart enough to look at, to go through the scouting report, read about the scouting report and attack the scouting report,” Johnson said. “Where it gets tough at times is, when you try to make those guys swing and miss. When you try to make them swing and miss, you get out of control. Once you get out of control, you’re done. I think that’s the biggest thing that Cade’s learned.”

Day 2 name to watch
The Nationals were excited when Henry was available to them at the 55th pick. Kris Kline, the Nationals' assistant general manager and vice president of scouting operations, described the 20-year-old righty as “a solid overall package.”

In a shortened 2020 season, Henry made four starts and went 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA. He also struck out 23 batters to six walks over 19 innings. Kline noted Henry’s delivery and command, as well as a fastball that reaches 97 mph.

“I see him as a quality No. 3, with a potential to be a two,” Kline said.

NDFA strategy
Heading into the 2020 Draft, the Nationals’ Top 30 Prospects list already featured 17 pitchers. There is only one first baseman on that list, though -- Drew Mendoza, who is projected to make his big league debut in '22. The Nats plan to explore all their options, as general manager Mike Rizzo discussed following Day 1 of the Draft.

“We’re going to sign players that we like,” Rizzo said. “We’ve got plenty of Minor League players in our system that we already like, so we’re not going to release those players to sign new players if we don’t like players in the 2020 Draft season as much or less than the ones that we already have.

“We have the freedom to sign all the players we want that we like, and we’re going to be very aggressive to do it. After the shutdown period, we’re going to be extremely aggressive to get the guys under contract that we really like.”

The last word
"What a tremendous group. I’m so excited and fired up to have all these kids in the system. This is a jackpot for me. We did great. The guys did a tremendous job." -- Kline