WASHINGTON -- The Nationals capitalized on a 2017 MLB Draft flush with arms to help fortify the pitching depth in their organization. They saw numerous pitchers who had high velocities, good breaking balls and the chance to have an impact on future rotations.Washington has been one of the most successful
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals capitalized on a 2017 MLB Draft flush with arms to help fortify the pitching depth in their organization. They saw numerous pitchers who had high velocities, good breaking balls and the chance to have an impact on future rotations.
Washington has been one of the most successful teams in the Majors in recent years, largely built on the strength of its pitching staffs. So after an offseason where that pitching depth took a hit -- when they traded away their top three pitching prospects to the White Sox -- the Nats used this Draft as a bit of a reboot.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Nine of their first 10 picks through the first two days were pitchers, and they leaned heavily on college players, who made up each of their first 10 picks. Half of the 40 total players the Nationals selected were pitchers (12 right-handers and eight left-handers) and 27 of the 40 players came from four-year colleges and universities, compared to six high school players and seven from two-year colleges.
• Cousins' cousin drafted in 20th round
"It was a targeted group," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We thought this year it was a pitching-strong season for the Draft year."
Washington used its first-round pick to select left-hander Seth Romero from the University of Houston. The pick carried some risk considering Romero was dismissed from the program in college, which negatively affected his Draft stock. But the Nationals were comfortable they could hold Romero accountable for his actions and believe they got a pitcher who was talented enough to be selected in the top 10.
Scouting director Kris Kline was elated about their second-round pick in right-hander Wil Crowe and was equally excited when lefty Nick Raquet fell to them in the third round.
After focusing on pitching for the first two days, the Nationals wanted to shift a bit during the final day on Wednesday, as Kline said their main concern would be to try to find players who project to be able to contribute to Washington someday.
"[We tried] to find players who we feel are big leaguers," Kline said. "There's some in there."
Washington did have a few notable names from Day 3. In the 27th round they selected Darren Baker, the son of manager Dusty Baker. Darren is committed to play at University of California, Berkeley, a commitment he is almost certain to honor. In the 38th round, the Nats drafted Jake Boone, who is the son of former second baseman Bret Boone and grandson of Bob Boone, the Nats senior advisor to the general manager.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.