After the Nats' first 1st round selection of the 2011 MLB Draft on Monday night, D.C. GM Mike Rizzo held a brief press conference to answer any questions reporters had about 1st Round pick Anthony Rendon, a third baseman from Rice, who was selected sixth overall by the Nationals. Mr. Rizzo then returned to the Nationals' Draft Room to make their second first round selection. The Nats took University of Kentucky right-hander Alex Meyer 23rd overall in the 1st Round and then selected outfielder Brian Goodwin out of Miami Dade College with the 34th pick. The 23rd and 34th picks were compensation picks the Nationals received in return for losing Adam Dunn to free agency. After their first three picks of 2011, Mr. Rizzo, Assistant GM and Vice President of Player Personnel Roy Clark and Scouting Director Kris Kline held a second press conference to discuss the team's selections...
D.C. GM Mike Rizzo on the 23rd overall pick, Alex Meyer: "He's a big power right-handed pitcher. He's got three plus pitches in the future. He's got two present plus pitches. He comes at an extreme downhill angle, he's mid-to-upper 90's consistently, and holds his velocity and throws a hard wicked wipeout slider. He's a guy that we feel that even as a college junior, has a big upside left in his development, and a guy that we see has a chance to be a front of the rotation guy."
Rizzo on the 34th overall pick, outfielder Brian Goodwin: "He's a guy with five tools. We see him as a top of the order table-setter with some power. He's got surprising pop in his bat, he's a plus plus runner, plus plus defensive player, we think he can hit at the top of the order and lead off. He's shown a propensity to have a high on base percentage, and he's a guy who's not afraid to take a walk and steal a base. He's your prototypical speedy, defensive, top-of-the-order center field prospect."
Kris Kline on Meyer's improvements: "Just the ability to keep his delivery together. Obviously a long-levered guy. He, right now he's better out of the stretch. He gets a little methodical from the windup, which is a good thing for him, it helps him to keep it together, and he's getting closer as far as that goes. Certainly this guy has a chance to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. Worst-case scenario, you've got a [Daniel] Bard-type reliever with a better slider and somebody that you bring in at the back of your bullpen that can dominate."
Roy Clark on Alex Meyer: "We've been tracking him since he was a high school junior, and he wasn't ready, he wasn't physically or mentally ready to go out then. He scuffled the first couple of years, but this year, he really started putting it together real well in the Fall, and this Spring he's been very good, and his last four or five starts were against some of the better or top college teams in the country, Vanderbilt, Florida, I believe LSU, and it was total dominance. Totally dominant. We feel think he's coming into his own and feel very fortunate to have gotten him."
Did you consider Meyer at the 6-spot?: Roy Clark: "Absolutely, I thought that he was definitely in our mix at six, and he just kept getting better and better and obviously it worked out good for us. But, we were really worried as to whether he would be there at , but what Kris said, we think he's got a very high ceiling."
Kris Kline on Meyer: "And just to answer that, back that up...Meyer's stuff, if you look at Gerrit Cole's stuff and this guy's stuff, it's very, very comparable. Both power guys, right now, Gerrit's just more durable, but this kid's gonna fill out and he already is, and he's made great strides from last year early in the year when we saw him at Coastal Carolina til now, just tremendous progress."
An overview of the first three picks?
Rizzo on Rendon: "Well, we feel that with our first pick, six, Anthony Rendon was, we felt, the most accomplished hitter in the draft. He was the most polished, with huge upside, a guy that has proven at the highest levels of amateur baseball that he can hit with power and hit for average. We feel that he's a Gold Glove type of defender. And just one heck of a player who's proved it at every level."
• D.C. GM Mike Rizzo on Anthony Rendon: (from post 1st Round interview with Mike Rizzo): "'We were pleasantly surprised that he got to us at six," Rizzo said. "Going into the draft season, he was projected to be the no.1 pick, the best college hitter in the game, and throughout the college season and the draft season he held onto that status, and as late as about twenty-four hours ago he was supposedly going one or two in the draft. So we're pleasantly surprised, we did a lot of work on him. We feel we know him very very well, our Vice President of Player Personnel Roy Clark actually drafted him out of high school for the Atlanta Braves and got to know him very, very well, so we've had a long relationship with him and his family and we feel really good about it."
Rizzo on Meyer/Goodwin: "Then we went with a big upside college pitcher [Alex Meyer] that we think still has some ceiling left. This guy is a tweak away from being a front-end of the rotation guy. You know, mid-to-upper 90's with a power slider and a good changeup and beginning to have a good feel of the pitch. And then we came back with a speedy top-of-the-order type of defensive center fielder that we think feel can lead off in the future.
"Again, they were 'best player available on the board' without caring about postition or where they fell. We just felt that these guys have impact possibilities and we took the most impactful players that we could at each pick."
• Alex Meyer on his own pitch selection (from post draft interview with Alex Meyer): "I feel like I throw a firm fastball that can range anywhere in the mid-to-upper 90's at times, and I think I have a really, really good breaking ball, which this last year at Kentucky worked really well for me. I felt like I could throw it whenever I wanted to, and had a lot of swing and miss with it, so it was a really good pitch for me, which it always has been. But the biggest addition I think has been my changeup that I've been throwing."
Meyer is a tweak away? Explain?: Mike Rizzo: "I think he just needs to smooth out his delivery and we think with repetition and with professional coaching, we feel that this guy, when he stays within his delivery, his stuff is as good as anybody's in the country and we feel that with the progress we've seen going from the fall to present today, we feel that if he continues to progress and develop at that level, he's just a few mechanical things away from holding his delivery together and when he throws strikes consistently his stuff will take him from there."
Meyer's changeup?: Kline: "It's not a pitch that he uses very often at this point, but it's going to be his third pitch, but it has a chance to be an above-average weapon for him. He's got excellent feel for it. He throws it for strikes, but he's getting away with his mid-to-upper 90's fastball, his slider is a present, well-above average pitch, so he doesn't really need [his changeup] right now, but it's a present pitch and he's going to have to use it in pro ball, but it's already there."
Concerns about Brian Goodwin's suspension from UNC/transfer to Miami Dade College?: Roy Clark: "As a graduate of the University of North Carolina, we did extensive research and feel very good, not only about what happened there, that's unfortunate, but we feel like those issues have been settled, no apprehensions at all."
Goodwin has played corner, you see him as a CF?: Clark: "He's played center field when we saw him down there." Kline: "At North Carolina he played the corners a bit, played some center field. In the Cape [Cod League] I saw him play center field. He played center field at Miami Dade this year, so I really haven't seen him play anywhere else much but center." Clark: "To reiterate what Mike [Rizzo] said, these are three guys that we identified very early as a scouting department, we crosschecked them extensively, and we didn't think there was any way we could get two of them much less three of them. So we feel very fortunate that we took the best players available, that [are] impact guys that are going to help us hopefully win championships down the road."
Mr. Clark, you drafted but didn't sign Rendon when you were with Atlanta, can you talk about his development since then? Clark: "Anthony, we drafted in Atlanta. We brought him in to a tournament there in Atlanta, a wood bat tournament, and he proceeded to go 11 for 13 with ten doubles with a wood bat against the best pitching in the country. Didn't stop there, absolutely dominant, not only in college, but in the summers. The only thing that stopped him was the shoulder and the ankle, and we feel comfortable that he's going to get a little time off. He didn't want to take time off this year, because he owed it to his teammates at Rice, he felt like, and he knew he was going to have to take some time off to get healthy, but he says he feels good and we're looking forward to having a healthy Anthony Rendon in the organization."
• Anthony Rendon on decision to play this season in spite of shoulder injury: (from post Draft interview with the Nats' first 1st Round pick): " I do want to be known as a team player. I do not want to be known as a selfish guy. I'm not a selfish guy, but I just needed to rest it, I needed to take time off, I needed to not do anything, and I didn't want to do that, I knew if I rested, if I took off maybe ten games or this or that, and I didn't play at all, you know, who knows what will happen, maybe we wouldn't have even been in the post season. I didn't want to do that to my team, I wanted to be out there everywhere I could."
How confident are you that you can get all three players signed?: Mike Rizzo: "As usual, we're going to try our darndest to get all three of them signed, and these are guys that we've identified and guys that we think are going to be big parts of the organization so we feel...I'm always optimistic we can get guys signed that's why we take them, that's why we do all this work to evaluate them and we feel that we are going to make every attempt to get all three of them signed and beyond.
Will you shut Rendon down for the rest of the season?: Rizzo: "We'll bring him in, we're going to assess him and by the time we sign him we'll probably be very cautious with him and have him ready for what happens after this. If we do shut him down for a couple of months and see where he's at and make sure he's ready for Spring Training next year if that's the case. But we're going to get our hands on him and have our medical people go over him again and assess where he's at and see what course of action to take."
Meyer and Goodwin, if they sign, where would they start in system? Rizzo: "We probably would do the same with them as we do with most of the signees, would sign in A-ball." Hagerstown or Auburn?: Mike Rizzo: "Depends on who we're talking about and it will depend on where we're at in the season and that type of thing. Those are a little difficult questions to answer, but they'd probably start at the lowest level at Hagerstown, and that's just a general feeling, that we usually send our more advanced college draft choices to that level."
• Press Release Notes On the Nats' Draft Picks:
• Anthony Rendon, 1st Round, 6th overall out of Rice: "Rendon hit .371 (253-for-682) with 46 doubles, 52 home runs, 194 RBI, 176 walks and 201 runs scored in 187 games spanning three seasons with Rice. Rendon posted a staggering on-base percentage of .505 during his collegiate career.
"The 21 year-old Rendon batted .327 and posted career highs with 20 doubles and an NCAA-leading 80 walks in 63 games this season. He is currently a semifinalist for both the Howser Trophy (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Associa tion) and the Golden Spikes Award (USA Baseball)."
• Alex Meyer, 1st Round, 23rd overall out of University of Kentucky: "Meyer, who stands an imposing 6-foot-9, 220 lbs., has three "plus" pitches: a fastball that approaches triple digits, a slider and a changeup. As a prep, Meyer was named an Aflac All-America, Louisville Slugger High School All-American and Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year. He was drafted by the Red Sox in 2008, but did not sign in order to attend Kentucky.
• Brian Goodwin, Supplemental Round, 34th overall out Miami Dade CC: "Goodwin batted .382 (60-for-157) with 11 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 37 RBI and 42 runs scored in 47 games with Miami Dade College in 2011. The left-handed hitting Goodwin posted a .492 on-base percentage and 16 stolen bases for the Sharks.
• Washington Nationals' 2011 Draft Results - Rounds 1-30: