WASHINGTON -- In an MLB Draft the Nationals believed was rich with pitching, they stuck with that theme through the first two days, with nine of their 10 selections being pitchers and all of them coming from the college ranks.After trading away their top three pitching prospects this offseason to
WASHINGTON -- In an MLB Draft the Nationals believed was rich with pitching, they stuck with that theme through the first two days, with nine of their 10 selections being pitchers and all of them coming from the college ranks.
After trading away their top three pitching prospects this offseason to Chicago in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton, the Nats entered the Draft with an eye on restocking their pitching depth.
"We went in there looking, we wanted to fortify our system with pitching," said Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of scouting Kris Kline. "And that was the goal going in."
They began Day 2 by selecting left-hander Nick Raquet from the College of William & Mary with their third-round pick (No. 103 overall).
• Nats' 4th-round pick part of storied LSU tradition
Raquet, a junior, posted a 4.66 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings in his first season with William & Mary after transferring from North Carolina following his freshman year. He carries a low-90s fastball that can climb into the mid-90s, but it's offset by good breaking balls and an above-average changeup -- although he has struggled with command issues in the past.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo says Raquet almost certainty profiles as a bullpen arm who could settle in as a valuable left-handed setup man if he can consistently throw strikes.
The Nats also selected pitchers with their first two picks on Monday, choosing left-hander Seth Romero from the University of Houston in the first round and right-hander Wil Crowe from the University of South Carolina in the second round.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.
Round 4 (133rd overall): 2B Cole Freeman, Louisiana State University
Freeman was selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round in the 2016 Draft, but he elected to go back for his senior year. He is a strong defensive second baseman who was named to the 2016 SEC All-Defensive Team, and he is the Tigers' leading hitter at .327 and top basestealer with 18 as they prepare for the College World Series on Saturday. He also won a batting title in the Cape Cod League by hitting .374 last summer.
Freeman was also the latest player at LSU to wear No. 8, a tradition given to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of the program. Recent players who have worn the jersey and are now Major Leaguers include Detroit's Michael Mahtook and Houston's Alex Bregman.
Round 5 (163rd overall): RHP Brigham Hill, Texas A&M University
After not pitching much as a freshman and beginning the 2016 season in the bullpen, Hill took over as Texas A&M's No. 1 starter by April and developed into one of the best Friday starters in the SEC.
Hill has been a key rotation cog for the Aggies as they head to Omaha this weekend for the College World Series. He tossed a team-high 96 1/3 innings during the regular season, posting a 3.18 ERA while striking out 107.
MLB.com ranks his changeup as one of the best in college baseball, to go along with a low-90s fastball. He throws plenty of strikes, but there are concerns about his long-term viability as a starter. He also had Tommy John surgery as a high school sophomore, making him the second pitcher the Nats have selected in this Draft who has already had the procedure, including second-round pick Wil Crowe.
Round 6 (193rd overall): RHP Kyle Johnston, University of Texas
Armed with a pair of plus pitches in his arsenal in his fastball and slider, Johnston was a breakout in the California Collegiate League last summer, which included shutting down the U.S. collegiate national team for six innings last June.
This season was a bit uneven, after Johnston began the year as a starter, filled in the void with Texas in need of a closer and then lost command of the strike zone when he returned as a starter. So while the building blocks are there for him to be a Major League starter, he does struggle to repeat his delivery and to throw strikes.
Round 7 (223rd overall): RHP Jackson Tetreault, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
The first junior college player the Nationals have selected this year, Tetreault comes with a 2.58 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 15 games (14 starts) this year. Tetreault is seen by some as a potential sleeper whose fastball has climbed into the mid-90s at times this spring.
Round 8 (253rd overall): RHP Jared Brasher, Samford University (Alabama)
Brasher appeared in a bullpen role this season and posted a 3.74 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings, while his fastball touched the upper 90s. He comes from a rich college program that has had seven picks in the top 10 rounds since 2012, and 20 players drafted in the past seven years.
Round 9 (283rd overall): LHP Alex Troop, Michigan State University
Most scouts value his arm, but Troop was a true two-way player in college, which made him a finalist for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. He posted a 2.47 ERA with 83 strikeouts on the mound, and he also hit .321 with three homers at the plate, playing a combination of first base and serving as the designated hitter.
Round 10 (313rd overall): RHP Trey Turner, Missouri State University
Not to be confused with Trea Turner, the Nationals' speedy leadoff hitter and shortstop, this Turner comes to the Nats after striking out 22 batters in 13 1/3 innings this season out of the Missouri State bullpen.
Turner has experience as a two-way player at Crowder College in 2016, when he batted .370 with seven homers in his sophomore season.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.