A day after selecting two pitchers in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft, the Nationals continued to bolster their pitching staff in rounds 3-10 on Tuesday. Five of Washington's eight selections Tuesday were college pitchers, but the Nationals also added athleticism with their position player selections. The Nationals
A day after selecting two pitchers in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft, the Nationals continued to bolster their pitching staff in rounds 3-10 on Tuesday. Five of Washington's eight selections Tuesday were college pitchers, but the Nationals also added athleticism with their position player selections. The Nationals have $5,603,800 to sign their top 10 picks, the third-smallest amount in this year's Draft.
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The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.
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Round 3: RHP Reid Schaller, 21, Vanderbilt University
When Nationals area scout Jeff Zona watched Schaller pitch this past season, Schaller threw his slider between 96 and 98 mph, so the Nationals wanted to secure him in this year's Draft.
"I think this is going to be a steal," Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of scouting operations Kris Kline said. "You get a kid that's touching 100 mph and shows [an] above average breaking ball."
While Schaller was a middle reliever at Vanderbilt, Kline said the Nationals might want to turn Schaller into a starter.
Schaller is known for his fastball, which is arguably the best in the Draft. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound pitcher has impressed scouts by throwing as fast as 98 mph in short stints, even though he's battled injuries over the past three years.
Injuries were a factor in Schaller going undrafted out of high school, and Schaller missed his first year at Vanderbilt due to Tommy John surgery. This season, he's pitched just 26 2/3 innings, recording a 4.05 ERA with 36 strikeouts and eight walks.
Outside of his fastball, Schaller struggles with his breaking balls. While his slider can be sharp, Schaller rarely throws his changeup.
The Nationals have proven over the years that they're not afraid to take risks on prospects, and they again followed that trend with this selection. Schaller has the potential to develop into a dependable bullpen option down the line.
Round 4: RHP Jake Irvin, 21, University of Oklahoma
Before all of his games at Jefferson High School in Bloomington, Minn., Irvin was the only player on his team to shake hands with the opposing coach.
"Everyone can see size, but he's also an 'A' person," said Irvin's high school coach, Jim Gess.
Irvin is 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, but his looks may be deceiving since he's not a power pitcher. While his fastball peaks at 95 mph, his long arm action can affect the consistency and timing of his pitches.
Irvin has been a mainstay in Oklahoma's rotation for the past three years. Irvin put together perhaps his best season this spring, recording a 3.41 ERA with 115 strikeouts and 28 walks in 95 innings.
The Bloomington, Minn., native was invited to the Team USA Collegiate National Team tryouts last summer.
Round 5: OF Gage Canning, 21, Arizona State University
When Canning played at Ramona High School in Ramona, Calif., he sometimes left class so he could do extra work on the baseball field. Most of those times, school security called his high school coach, Dean Welch, to pull Canning away.
It's that work ethic that sets Canning apart, according to Welch.
"He will literally never take a rep off in practice," Welch said. "You always get his max effort."
Canning is known by scouts to be effective in an array of situations.
Canning has always been known for his stellar speed. This spring for Arizona State, he manned balls throughout the outfield while leading the NCAA in triples (11). He also hit .369.
The Nationals have shown that they're focused on adding pitching this Draft, so selecting Canning in the fifth round shows Washington is high on his upside and athleticism.
"Gage is going to play in the big leagues," Kline said. "For me, he's your classic overachiever. Plays like his hair is on fire, running around, Adam Eaton-type guy."
Round 6: RHP Andrew Karp, 22, Florida State University
Karp, who's been a mainstay in Florida State's rotation the past two years, nearly passed away from a car accident in 2014.
Karp broke his femur and pondered his baseball future. But after rehabbing, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound pitcher returned to the mound in 2016 and starred for the Seminoles.
Round 7: RHP Chandler Day, 21, Vanderbilt University
One of Day's defining college moments occurred in 2016, when one of his teammates drowned while they were fishing together. After remaining silent about the Donny Everett's death for about two years, Day detailed the experience in a piece for The Athlete's Guide earlier this month.
The Granville, Ohio, native has been a dependable bullpen option for Vanderbilt the past three years. This past season, Day held a 3.22 ERA in 36 1/3 innings as a closer. The Nationals might turn Day into a starter.
Round 8: C Tyler Cropley, 22, University of Iowa
Cropley participated in the World University Games with Iowa last year, and he was one of the best catchers in college baseball this past season, hitting .342.
"He's a really athletic catcher," Nationals special assistant to the general manager Terry Wetzel said. "He played a lot of different positions, but he's improving behind the plate. He's got all the skills."
Cropley became only the third non-pitcher the Nationals have drafted.
Round 9: RHP Tanner Driskill, 22, Lamar University
Driskill is the son of former MLB pitcher Travis Driskill. Travis appeared in a combined 57 MLB games with the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros from 2002 through 2007, finishing his career with a 5.23 ERA. He is now the pitching coach of a Houston Astros Rookie ball team.
Driskill wants to follow his dad's footsteps by reaching MLB. The 6-foot, 170-pound hurler posted a 4.00 ERA this past season.
Round 10: 2B Carson Shaddy, 23, University of Arkansas
Shaddy's father also played baseball at Arkansas. The 23-year-old starred in high school baseball in Arkansas and he put the University of Arkansas on the brink of the College World Series. Now, he'll have a chance to join the Nationals and bring that loyalty to Washington.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound infielder hit nearly .300 in three of his four college seasons.
"He's just a kid that can really swing the bat," Kline said. "We're not sure exactly where he's going to play, but if he hits like we think he's going to hit, we'll find a spot for him."
Kyle Melnick is an associate reporter for MLB.com.