"We like to see guys playing other sports, ... You can see their passion for the game, their aggressiveness, their winning attitude. We go to high school all-star football games to see those kind of guys." - Roy Clark
Alex Meyer, Trevor Bauer...Bubba Starling. The talk started with the Nationals high on University of Kentucky starter Alex Meyer. Both ESPN.com's Keith Law and Baseball America matched the Nationals and Meyer up in the first editions of their mock drafts earlier this year. Baseball America's Jim Callis had UCLA's Trevor Bauer going sixth overall to the Nats in his 5/27/11 attempt at a mock draft. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo too, in an article entitled, "With days to go, Round 1 Draft projections", on 6/2/11 said the Nats will end up with Bauer. USA Today Sports Weekly Mock Draft said Trevor Bauer too...But after those reports, FOXSports.com reporter Frank Piliere (@FrankPiliere) reported via Twitter that there was, "Lots of draft buzz today obliterating much of my mock. Sources telling me the Nats have zoned in on Bubba Starling at #6." ESPN.com's Keith Law's 6/3/11 mock draft suddenly said the same, "If Starling's here, it sounds like he's their guy."
If he's available...With no decisions from any of the top 5 teams, the Nationals have no way of knowing who will actually be available when their turn to make a selection arrives on Monday. The USA Today Sports Weekly mock draft said that Kansas City will take Bubba Starling, the Gardner, Kansas-native because the Royals, "...can't pass on three-sport star despite Nebraska football offer." ESPN.com's Jason Churchill's look at the, "Best tools in the draft", concludes that Starling is the the "Best Defensive Outfielder", the "Best Athlete", with the "Best Throwing Arm" and says he's the "Fastest to the Majors" prospect amongst prep hitters.
MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr talked to Baseball America's Jim Callis this weekend for an article entitled, "Nationals draft preview: Prep OF Bubba Starling", in which Mr. Callis said that Starling, "...is well above average, with power and speed at the center fielder (position). He is a quarterback recruit for Nebraska. He probably would be a first-round selection as a pitcher because his arm is ridiculous, too." Baseball America's Mr. Callis' latest Mock Draft, published on 6/3/11 had the Nationals selecting Starling with the no.6 pick overall and waiting until the 23rd pick to select the U of K's Alex Meyer. ESPN.com's Keith Law has Meyer available at 23 too after he had the Nationals select Starling no.6.
The Nationals' Director of Amateur Scouting, Kris Kline, told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore in a late May interview for an article entitled, "In deep draft, the Nationals will focus on pitching", that though the Nationals were, "...going to really focus on pitching," in this year's draft, "We always just take best player available." Will Bubba Starling be available? Will the Royals pass on the high school right-hander/outfielder? It would go against D.C. GM Mike Rizzo's reputation, which has him preferring college arms, but it all depends on how the first five teams pick this year. If Trevor Bauer's available will the Nats add a quick-to-the-majors arm to the mix who could join Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann atop the rotation in the near-future?
According to Baseball America's Jim Callis in Byron Kerr's article,"The Nationals would be in a good position at that part of the draft if it comes down to pitcher Trevor Bauer or Starling." 30 hours and counting...until the first 1st Round pick at least. With the No.23 pick, the compensation for Adam Dunn signing with Chicago and the 34th pick (also a comp for Dunn signing) after the no.6 overall pick the Nationals are going to have a big day one way or another.