Washington's first pick in this past June's Draft was in the second round, 68th overall, since the Nationals gave up the 33rd overall pick when they signed free agent closer Rafael Soriano to a 2-year/$28M deal in January. "Picking at the end of the draft like we are this year," GM Mike Rizzo explained, "we examined the draft pool this year and we felt that where we were picking and the talent pool that was out there and the chance to acquire a talent such as Rafael it was a good time for us to forfeit the pick." Rizzo also told reporters he was confident that the team could find talent throughout the draft.
"There [are] going to be impact big leaguers in this draft," the general manager said, "Our job is to find out which guys those are? Where are the hidden gems? And take them, and have our development staff develop them into big league players." With their top pick, the Nats selected 6'6'' right-hander Jake Johansen out of Dallas Baptist University. The Nationals were thrilled the pitcher was available when their first pick came around. "There's a lot of things to like about this young man," Nats' scouting director Kris Kline said after the top pick was made. "This is what we seek when we go out to the ballpark every day."
Kline and Assistant GM Roy Clark told reporters the Nationals had drafted a big power righty who had a mid-to-high-90's fastball, "hard cutter," that, "blend(s) into a slider," and above-average "power downer curve ball, who just needed to work out, "... a few minor mechanical issues," once they got the pitcher signed and working within the organization. In Johansen's first pro action, he posted a 0.85 ERA, a 2.77 FIP, 18 walks (3.83 BB/9) and 44 Ks (9.35 K/9) in 42 1/3 IP with the NY/Penn League's Auburn Doubledays. After a promotion to Class-A Hagerstown, Johansen had a 5.79 ERA, a 4.70 FIP, five walks (4.82 BB/9) and seven Ks (6.75 K/9) in 9 1/3 innings for the South Atlantic League's Suns.
The Nationals won't have to wait around nearly as long to make their first pick on June 5, 2014. The Nats finished 86-76 after their loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday in Chase Field. They'll have the 20th overall pick in next year's draft:
Mark your calendar: The #Nationals will have the 20th overall selection in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on June 5, 2014.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) September 30, 2013
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