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Nats land Perkins' promising bat at No. 69

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals used their second pick of the 2015 MLB Draft to add another top-of-the-order bat on Monday night. Center fielder Blake Perkins, whom the team selected with the 69th overall pick, fits that description.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at noon ET.

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Perkins just finished high school, and he looks ready to handle professional pitching. The right-handed-hitting Perkins batted .461 (41-for-89), with seven home runs, 35 RBIs and 51 runs scored in just 29 games during his senior season at Verrado High School in Buckeye, Ariz. Many observers considered him the best high school player in Arizona, and ranked him at No. 162 on its Top 200 Draft Prospects list.

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If Perkins signs, the Nats plan to turn him into a switch-hitter, and he has toyed with the idea of hitting left-handed. In fact, he worked out as a switch-hitter at Nationals Park recently, and hitting coach Rick Schu was impressed with what he saw.

"He's been doing that since he was a freshman in high school, but never really took it into the game," assistant general manager Kris Kline said. "He did it at the workout for us, and it was loose. Rick Schu liked it a lot. So that's going to make him a little more versatile."

Perkins is also a plus defender with a decent arm. It will be interesting to see if the Nationals can sign him, because he has already committed to Arizona State.

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"We take players that we feel want to play for the Nationals, and [we] really do our due diligence on their makeups and backgrounds and their signability," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We rarely draft a player if we don't feel confident to sign him."

Perkins has accomplished a lot in high school. He was named a 2015 Honorable Mention All-American and a West Region First Team by Perfect Game, and he was selected to the Arizona Republic All-Arizona Team for the second consecutive season.

Following the 2014 season, Perkins earned Division II First-Team All-State honors in Arizona, and he was selected to the All-Arizona Team by the Arizona Republic after hitting .551 (49-for-89), with 10 home runs, 30 walks and 60 runs scored in 30 games.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.
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