DENVER -- Brady House was 12 or 13 years old when he attended a game at Nationals Park while in the area for travel baseball. On Sunday, the 18-year-old power-hitting shortstop from Georgia became a member of the Nationals as the No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.
“I just remember the atmosphere being electric,” House said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to going into this.”
House checks in as the fifth-best high-school prospect -- and No. 8 overall prospect -- in this year's Draft, according to MLB Pipeline. The Nationals had been watching House -- who would have been 17 if the Draft had been held in June this year -- develop since he was 14 or 15 years old. Based on what they had seen, they thought he could be off the board in the top six.
“We were super excited that he was there when we picked,” said Nationals assistant general manager and vice president, scouting operations Kris Kline.
House, who committed to Tennessee this spring, said he intends to sign with the Nationals if everything works out. The slot value for the Nats’ first round pick is $4,547,500 of their $8,770,000 bonus pool.
At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, he has raw power to all fields and a big arm from the left side of the infield. The Nationals were impressed by all the boxes he checks for them, which also include size, speed and bat speed. Given his size and strength, House said he has drawn comparisons to Rockies shortstop Trevor Story.
“That’s what I work towards every day, is just beating everyone out at short and just proving that I can stay at short,” he said. “That’s where I feel comfortable. That’s where my bread and butter is. I feel like I can stay at short for sure if I keep up the work there.”
House entered last summer as the consensus top prospect in the 2021 high school class, but he struggled at the plate after getting a bit too aggressive and swinging for the fences too frequently. He has since shortened his swing and returned to his old ways, turning in an impressive performance at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship last fall before dominating this spring at Winder-Barrow (Ga.) High School.
“I’d say my strength for sure is being able to hit for power and contact,” House said. “I do put some up in the yard, I put some balls out. But at the same time, I’m always out there getting extra-base hits. I’d say something I do have to work at is keep working on my side-to-side movement at shortstop. All these smaller guys, I’m going to have to work harder because I am bigger.”
Along with a powerful swing, House boasts an arm that pumps in 96 mph fastballs off the mound. That could lead him to transition to third base at some point in his professional career, where Kline believes he also could have the potential to win a Gold Glove Award.
“He moves different,” said Kline. “He moves very gracefully for a guy his size, and he’s got really good flexibility to his lower half. [He] catches everything, it’s smooth, it’s fluid. And then he’s got that -- on a 20 to 80 scale with 50 being average -- he’s got that 70 arm where he makes up for it if he needs it.”
House has plenty of experience playing on the big stage. He's long been a member of USA Baseball, dating to 2015, when he helped the U-12 team win the WBSC U12 World Cup in Taiwan. More recently, House hit .445 with five homers as a senior after hitting .653 in 15 games as a junior before COVID-19 cut the season short.
Washington will add to its future depth with remaining picks Nos. 47, 82, 112, 143, 173, 203, 233, 263 and 293. Looking at areas of need in their farm system, the Nationals’ top 30 prospects consist of six infielders, three outfielders, three catchers and 18 pitchers (13 RHP/5 LHP).
Day 2, which will span rounds 2-10, begins at 1 p.m. ET on Monday. The Draft will conclude with rounds 11-20 on Tuesday, starting at 12 p.m. ET. MLB.com will simulcast MLB Network’s broadcast and provide live coverage on both days.
“High school position players were kind of loaded up top, as you could see what happened there,” assistant director of amateur scouting Mark Baca said. “As far as the Draft goes, and I feel really good about it, it still gives itself a lot of flexibility as we continue tomorrow because there’s so much pitching. I think it’ll really turn out good for us as we continue the next few days.”