Darren Baker, 7 other Nats picks sign deals

Dusty's son, Darren Baker, joins Washington fold; Cavalli flashes 'great stuff'

July 21st, 2021

WASHINGTON -- A week following the 2021 MLB Draft, the Nationals have inked eight of their top 10 picks.

The newest members of the Nats’ organization include three pitchers, three outfielders and an infielder. Among them, one name is very familiar to the team: Darren Baker, the son of former manager, Dusty.

● OF Branden Boissiere (left-handed hitter): Third round, No. 82 overall, $600,000 ($744,200 pick value)

● LHP Dustin Saenz: Fourth round, No. 112 overall, $500,000 ($517,400 pick value)

● T.J. White (switch-hitter): Fifth round, No. 143 overall, $400,000 ($382,700 pick value)

● LHP Michael Kirian: Sixth round, No. 173 overall, $200,000 ($289,000 pick value)

● OF Jacob Young: Seventh round, No. 203 overall, $275,000 ($225,800 pick value)

● 1B Will Frizzell (left-handed hitter): Eighth round, No. 233 overall ($179,800 pick value)

● RHP Cole Quintanilla: Ninth round, No. 263 overall, $130,000 ($156,600 pick value)

● 2B Darren Baker: 10th round, No. 293 overall, $146,800 ($146,800 pick value)

The Nationals have not yet signed their top two Draft picks: shortstop Brady House (first round, No. 11 overall) and lefty-hitting outfielder Daylen Lile (second round, No. 47 overall).

Beyond the Top 10 picks, Washington also has signed: LHP Andrew Alvarez (12th round), LHP Erik Tolman (14th round), OF Jaden Fein (15th round), RHP Jack Sinclair (16th round), RHP Brendan Collins (17th round), C Steven Williams (18th round), RHP Riggs Threadgill (19th round).

Building the Minor League system doesn’t stop there, either. The Nats signed non-drafted players: 2B Robert Cruz, LHP Peyton Glavine (son of Hall of Famer, Tom), C Jarrett Gonzales, RHP Cody Greenhill, SS Gunner Halter, C Cole Hamilton, RHP Tyler Schoff, C Jake Sullivan.

Checking in on Cavalli

Last year’s Nationals Draft was headlined by right-hander Cade Cavalli being available with the No. 22 pick. This season, the hard-throwing Cavalli already has been promoted to Double-A Harrisburg and earned a selection to the 2021 All-Star Futures Game.

Entering Wednesday, the 22-year-old has a combined 3-4 record with a 3.08 ERA and 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings rate.

“His stuff is great, we can all see that,” general manager Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday. “He’s got four quality pitches, he throws extremely hard, he’s extremely poised, he’s got the build to pitch in the big leagues and to handle the rigors of it.”

In spite of his quick Minor League success, Cavalli was a two-way player most of his career. The development plan is for him to build up his experience on the mound before jumping to the Majors.

“He’s really new to the position of pitching,” Rizzo said. “He’s got great stuff, and he’s come a long way in a short period of time. … I think that all he needs to do is refine his stuff. To me, the difference again between pitching in the Minor Leagues and the big leagues is, you have to get people out in the strike zone in the big leagues because they don’t chase nearly as much as they do in the Minor Leagues. …

“When he’s logged more innings and has shown that he’s ready for the big leagues, we’re certainly not going to stand in his way. And we foresee big things in the future for him and a guy we’re happy we have, he and a handful of others down there.”