When they signed Daniel Murphy to his 3-year/$37.5M contract this winter, the Washington Nationals forfeited the 17th overall pick in this coming June's Draft. They will, however, receive two compensatory draft picks for making qualifying offers to both Jordan Zimmermann (who signed with the Detroit Tigers in November) and Ian Desmond (who signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers on Sunday). With Desmond, the last player to receive a qualifying offer who was unsigned, off the market (finally!), and barring any trades of competitive balance picks, the order is now set for the 2016 MLB Draft.
Washington's top picks this time around will be the 28th and 29th overall selections.
After that, and again, barring any trades of competitive balance picks, the Nationals will have the 58th in the second round and the 94th pick in the third round.
Had they made qualifying offers to either Doug Fister (who signed with the Houston Astros) or Denard Span (who signed with the San Francisco Giants), the Nationals could have had four picks between the first and second rounds, but with the veteran right-hander and outfielder coming off injury-impacted seasons in 2015, they declined to make the offers, which were for 1-year/$15.8M this winter.
The Nationals didn't pick until 58th overall last season, when they forfeited their top pick to sign free agent right-hander Max Scherzer, but as GM Mike Rizzo explained last June, the Nats take the same approach regardless of where they pick.
"We talk as much about the top 10 players in the country as we do the 800th player," he explained.
"We’re watching film on every day. We’re looking at medicals and psychological tests on every single player and we’re going to line them up and when 58 comes, we’re going to pick the best guy that we see that’s available and hopefully we hit on a guy that helps us in the big leagues."
While he admitted that it wasn't as exciting when your top pick is as low as 58th like it was last June, Rizzo still said the Draft was his "Super Bowl":
"You don’t have the excitement of pick one or pick six or pick 29 but it’s still to me the Super Bowl of the season and we will be fired up for it."
So he should be super-excited about having their top picks at nos. 28 and 29 this June...
Check out the 2016 MLB Draft order below courtesy of @MLBPipeline on the Twitter: