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Nats select lefty-swinging Stevenson No. 58

LSU outfielder capable of batting leadoff and is known for his defense

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals were looking to add a left-handed bat to the Minor League system. And they did just that on Monday night, selecting outfielder Andrew Stevenson of LSU with the 58th overall pick (second round) in the 2015 MLB Draft.

The last position player taken by the Nats with their first pick was Anthony Rendon in 2011.

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

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The Nationals are adding depth when it comes to the top of the order, and Stevenson appears to be the team's tablesetter of the future.

This past season, Stevenson hit .356 with one home run, 21 RBIs, a .407 on-base percentage and 26 stolen bases as a junior. He's also a plus defender in center field, known for his diving catches. Stevenson has an unorthodox approach at the plate, but the Nats plan to tweak it if he signs.

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Stevenson is often compared to Eric Brynes, and it's one of the reasons the Nationals were interested in Stevenson.

"He's an extremely toolsy player. We're adding to our already fertile stable of athletes," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "You know our motto here. We go pitching, defense, athleticism, and certainly [Stevenson fits that need]. Stevenson is a guy who is a plus-plus runner. We've got him up to 70 or 80 on a 20-80 scale as far as speed goes. He's got the ability to steal bases. He's a terrific defensive center fielder. We think he's got the ability to be a leadoff type of guy in the future and a guy that adds to our athleticism and speed part of the game."

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Stevenson will continue to play this weekend as the Tigers have advanced to the College World Series.

"We love seeing our Draft choices play at the highest level with pressure on them in big games," Rizzo said. "This guy is no stranger to the national spotlight. He's been on ESPN many, many times for his exploits defensively. We're excited to see him play, and hopefully, they go a long way and he plays for a long time now and then we'll get him and fire him into our system."

Prior to the 2015 season, Stevenson was named a 2015 Preseason All-American by Perfect Game.

As a sophomore in 2014, Stevenson led LSU with a .335 average, which ranked eighth in the SEC, and he also collected seven doubles, five triples, 32 RBIs, 14 walks, nine stolen bases and 41 runs scored in 61 games. He earned SEC Academic Honor Roll and '14 SEC All-Defensive Team honors.

Stevenson also made an impression in the Cape Cod League. He helped lead the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to the 2014 Cape Cod League title, and he was named a Cape Cod All-League All-Star.

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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