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Washington Nationals: 2010 Draft, If Not Bryce Harper?

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Washington Nationals' team President Stan Kasten* told the gathered internet media in a late August interview that he wanted to win every game the rest of the way because, as he explained shortly after having signed '09 No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg in tense, down-to-the-wire negotiations, "I do not want the no. 1 pick next year or ever again."

"Having said that," Mr. Kasten continued, "Do I think whoever we're picking would be a negotiation that goes down to the last minute? It's certainly possible until we fix the system the sensible way that it needs to be fixed like the NBA did a decade ago." As of now, the consensus no.1 overall pick in 2010 is Bryce Harper, a catcher currently enrolled in the College of Southern Nevada who's hyperbolically been called the "LeBron James" of baseball in a Sports Illustrated cover story on the then-16-year-old Harper that began all the hype. DC GM Mike Rizzo wasn't ready to commit to Harper when asked about the young prospect by Washington Post writer Chico Harlan for an article entitled, "Q&A with Mike Rizzo", wherein Mr. Rizzo was quoted stating that Harper, "...certainly hasn't separated himself like Strasburg did last year."

Suppose Bryce Harper, who came across as a little bold and overconfident (or maybe just a teenager) to some when he said in that original SI.com article entitled, "Baseball's Lebron" by Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci that his goals in baseball included, "Be(ing) in the Hall of Fame, definitely. Play in Yankee Stadium. Play in the pinstripes. Be considered the greatest baseball player who ever lived. I can't wait," doesn't pan out or decides that he doesn't want to play for the Nationals...Who else could end up as the Nationals' number one pick?

To be clear, you'll be hard-pressed to find a list of 2010 Draft prospects that doesn't rank Harper number one overall, whether or not the Nationals are willing to commit to Harper this early in the process, but there are a few other players who appear on just about every list that the experts suggest you keep an eye on this year:

• Drew Pomeranz - 6'5'', 190lb, LHP - University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) - '09 Stats: (8-4), 3.40 ERA, 16 GS, 95.1 IP, 85 H, 36 ER, 7 HR's (0.7 HR/9), 37 BB, (3.5 BB/9) and 124 K's, (11.7 K/9). 

-- Scouting Reports on Pomeranz: 

Project Prospect writer Lincoln Hamilton describes Pomeranz as, "...a 6-foot-5 lefty with smooth mechanics, a fastball that sits 92-93 mph and touches slightly higher, a devastating curveball and good command," who could, in Mr. Hamilton's opinion, "...have a long career as a No. 2 starter." MiLB.com's Jonathan Mayo describes Pomeranz in an article entitled, "10 names to watch for 2010 Draft", as, "...perhaps the best college lefty to look out for in 2010." 

• Anthony Ranaudo - 6'7'', 225lb, RHP - Louisiana State University (LSU) - '09 Stats: (12-3), 3.04 ERA, 19 G, 124.1 IP, 83 H, 42 ER, 15 HR's, (1.1 HR/9), 50 BB, (3.6 BB/9), 159 K's, (11.5 K/9). 

-- Scouting Reports on Ranaudo:

Baseball Rumor Mill writer, Knuckles, speculates, in an article listing the, "The Top Ten 2010 MLB Draft Prospects", that, "Ranaudo figures to be the first collegiate player drafted. He compliments a mid-90s fastball with a solid curveball and changeup. The only factor which may cause him to slide is signability - Scott Boras is his advisor." Ranaudo pitched the decisive game for the LSU Tigers, helping them win the '09 College World Series. Project Prospect's Lincoln Hamilton describes Ranaudo as making, "...the most of his height, coming nearly over-the-top and creating a lot of downhill plane on his pitches," and says, "...best pitch is his curveball, which should be an out pitch at the major league level..." MiLB.com's Jonathan Mayo says Ranaudo is, "...perhaps the best college right-hander in next year's Draft class," and Project Prospect's Mr. Hamilton concludes that, "The battle between Pomeranz and Ranaudo is extremely close, statistically the two were almost identical..."

• Christian Colon - 6'0'', 180lb, SS - Cal State Fullerton - '09 Stats: 62 G, (91 for 255, .357 AVG), 16 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 40 RBI's, 15 SB, 24 BB, 24 K's, .438 OBP, .529 SLG, .967 OPS.

-- Scouting Reports on Colon:

"...26 of his 91 hits (went) for extra bases"Project Prospect's Lincoln Hamilton writes of Colon, who, according to Mr. Hamilton, "...shows great contact ability, only whiffing 8.0% of the time last year,":

"Defensively he has a strong arm, solid range and outstanding instincts. Colon has always been seen as a very smart player who maximizes his abilities."

MiLB.com's Jonathan Mayo writes that Colon, "...was a freshman All-American and started every game for a Team USA team that went undefeated over the summer..." who might, Mr. Mayo suggests, "be a second baseman at the next level." 

LINKS: 

• DeepLeagues.com's, "2010 Mock Draft".

• Perfect Game USA.com's September '09 Top Prospects List.

• ed. note - (" * = Listen to the entire Mike Rizzo/Stan Kasten Blogger Q&A")