BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 20: General Manager Mike Rizzo of the Washington Nationals talks to the media before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 20, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
"We've done all the backgrounds and all the work on about 1,100 players in the Draft," Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told reporters on Sunday, "and we're going to rank them 1-to-100 and we're going to take the best player available." The Nationals have the 16th pick in this year's draft, so they'll have to wait and see what 15 other teams do before they decide on which player to take with the team's 1st Round pick. The Nats had three 1st Round picks last year, which they used to select 3B Anthony Rendon (6th overall), RHP Alex Meyer (23rd) and OF Brian Goodwin (34th). They just have the one pick this afternoon, and there are differing opinions among experts as to which players will be available to choose from when they're on the clock at some time around 8:30 pm EDT tonight. (That's the Nats' best guess at the time of the pick at least.) The Draft begins at 7:00 pm EDT.
In their latest Mock Draft, which is free to all, not just subscribers, Baseball America has the Nationals selecting Richie Shaffer, a 3B out of Clemson who posted a .336/.480/.573 line with 21 doubles and 10 HR's in 63 games and 232 at bats over which he walked (63 BB) more than he struck out (53 K's) in his junior year. In previous Mock Drafts, the BA writers had the Nationals taking ASU shortstop Deven Marrero and Duke Blue Devils' pitcher Marcus Stroman. ESPN.com's Keith Law had the Nationals taking 6'6'' Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha with the 16th pick, though he mentions Duke's Stroman as a "remote possibility" and also throws out a "crazy rumor" that you'll need a subscription to read about...
This was Mr. Law's 4th and final mock draft. Only one of the previous versions matched the Nationals up with a pitcher other than Wacha, when he had Mississippi State right-hander Chris Stratton going to the Nats in Mock v. 1.0. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo had the Nationals selecting ASU Sun Devils' SS Deven Marrero in previous mocks and says the same in his latest projections, noting that, "With the Nats building a contender, bringing in an advanced glove at a premium position might fit perfectly." Marrero, a cousin of Nats' 06 1st Round pick Chris Marrero, put up a 279/.335/.438 line in 2012 with 11 doubles, four triples and three home runs in his junior year with the Sun Devils after posting a combined .349/.390/.515 line in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
All the speculation ends tonight when the Nationals make their one and only selection of Day 1 of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. We'll be at Nats Park for the announcement and comments from D.C. GM Mike Rizzo (and if past years are any indication) Asst. GM Roy Clark and scouting director Kris Kline. It's time for the 2012 MLB Draft. Make your predictions for the Nats' 1st Round pick below and we'll update the evening's events here and in the comments section.
• 2012 MLB Draft Order:
- Houston Astros - Carlos Correa, SS - Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
- Minnesota Twins - Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County H.S.
- Seattle Mariners - Mike Zunino, C, Florida
- Baltimore Orioles - Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU
- Kansas City Royals - Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco
- Chicago Cubs - Albert Almora, CF, Mater Academy Charter, Hialeah Gardens, Florida
- San Diego Padres - Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake H.S. California
- Pittsburgh Pirates - Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
- Miami Marlins - Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State
- Colorado Rockies - David Dahl, CF, Oak Mountain H.S. (Birmingham, Ala.)
- Oakland Athletics - Addison Russell, SS, Pace Florida, H.S
- New York Mets - Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe High School - Lake Charles, Louisiana
- Chicago White Sox - Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carroll (Texas) H.S.
- Cincinnati Reds - Nick Travieso, RHP, HS.
- Cleveland Indians - Tyler Naquin, OF, Texas A&M
- Washington Nationals - Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake H.S. (Studio City, Calif.)