As a press release after Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft noted, the Washington Nationals, over the first two days of the First-Year Player Draft, selected a total of 10 players: six right-handed pitchers, one left-handed pitcher, one outfielder, one infielder, and one catcher.
Of those 10 selections, nine of them came from the college ranks and one from the high school ranks.
With help from the Nationals, MLB Network Draft analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, who offered their takes on all the picks during the live broadcast, and several members from the Nats’ front office, who spoke to reporters last night, here’s a look at all picks in Rounds 3-10 of the Draft.
NOTE: Quotes from the Nationals’ front office are from MASN’s Byron Kerr’s write-up on the conversation with Washington’s Assistant GM and other members of the staff in D.C. Check out Kerr’s full report on the first two days of the draft HERE.
3RD ROUND - REID SCHALLER - RHP - Vanderbilt:
NATIONALS: The Nationals kicked off Tuesday’s action by selecting right-handed pitcher Reid Schaller from Vanderbilt (TN) University with their third-round selection. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound redshirt freshman went 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA (12 ER/26.2 IP) and 36 strikeouts in 19 games (two starts) for Vanderbilt.
JIM CALLIS (MLB Network): “He’s super-intriguing, this is a guy who could have been drafted out of high school in Indiana a couple years ago, low 90s with the fastball, but he had kind of a series of nagging injuries and he was committed to Vanderbilt, and it’s hard to sign guys away from there, especially if they don’t go super-high in the Draft. Wound up missing his first year at Vandy, had Tommy John surgery, comes back this year, didn’t pitch a ton, but he was up to 98 mph, sat kind of 95-96 without much effort.
“Now he’s very raw, he’s show you a mid-80s slider that can be sharp, it can also be inconsistent. He really hasn’t used a changeup much, throws strike, but the command, he gets hit more than he should. He’s very much a work in progress.”
JEFF ZONA (National Crosschecker, East, Special Assistant to the General Manager) via Byron Kerr:
“He didn’t close for them, he didn’t start for them, but he worked in the middle innings. And when he came in, he was 96 to probably 98 mph with a hard slider, and sometimes pitchers like that, they’re hoping to maybe come back for the next year and establish a Friday night, Saturday night. And we just felt like it was time to jump him and take him now and get him into our system. We were fortunate to get him.”
KRIS KLINE (Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops) via Kerr:
“I think [Schaller] is going to be a steal. You got a kid that touches 100 mph, shows an above-average breaking ball. These guys see him as a starter. Solid pick right there.”
4TH ROUND - JAKE IRVIN - RHP - University of Oklahoma:
NATIONALS: In the fourth round, the Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Jake Irvin from the University of Oklahoma. The 6-6, 225-pound junior went 6-2 with a 3.41 ERA (36 ER/95.0 IP) and 115 strikeouts in 16 starts for Oklahoma. His 115 strikeouts were ranked 26 in the nation. Following his 2018 season, Irvin was named to the All-Big 12 First Team. He ranked first in strikeouts (63), opponent batting average (1st, .197) and ERA (6th, 2.94) among All-Big 12 pitchers.
CALLIS: “I think he’s more steady than spectacular, he’s kind of a more floor than ceiling guy ... but he’s been a starter since midway through his freshman year, kept that spot in the rotation, pretty consistent performer, I always felt like he was going to make a jump maybe velocity-wise. He’s athletic, he’s 6’6’’, kind of sits at 90-92, he’ll flash you 95, with some run and sink, the slider and the changeup, they’re okay, and I think that’s going to be the key for his development at the next level, is whether he can polish up those secondary pitches to get them better than average to pair with that fastball.
“He’s got a long arm action because he’s a big guy, and that maybe affects the consistency of those secondary pitches, but he still throws strikes, the control and command keep getting better, and there’s not a lot of effort in his delivery and he repeats it well.”
5th ROUND - GAGE CANNING - OF - Arizona State University:
NATIONALS: The Nationals selected outfielder Gage Canning out of Arizona State University in the fifth round. The 5-10, 175-pound junior hit .369 (87-for-236), Arizona State’s second-highest batting average of the season and fourth-highest among all Pac-12 hitters. He also had 37 extra-base hits, 45 RBI and 47 runs scored across 55 starts. Canning, who was named the Pac-12 Baseball Player of the Week for March 19, also received recognition for his 2018 junior campaign being named to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team and the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. He also ranked among Pac-12 hitters in hits (1st, 87), triples (1st, 11) and total bases (3rd, 153).
JONATHAN MAYO (MLB Network): “He’s always been a solid performer, he’s been a three-year starter at Arizona State and gotten better each year. Probably has put up his best numbers this year as a junior. Left-handed hitter, line drive approach, there’s some extra base ability. He’s got good speed, but hasn’t always been that good of a base stealer, so that’s something he can work on, but that speed has worked well in center field while playing in Arizona State.”
KLINE via KERR:
“Gage is going to play in the big leagues. For me, he’s your classic over-achiever, plays like his hair’s on fire, you know, running around, Adam Eaton-type guy. Can really run. He’s not going to be a power guy in the big leagues, but he hit for some power this year, I think he hit, for a career, 25 triples (over three seasons). He’s the guy you are going to have to tear the jersey off his back to get him to leave because he’s not going to do that. Good-looking kid and good tools.”
6TH ROUND - ANDREW KARP - RHP - Florida State University:
NATIONALS: In the sixth round, Washington selected right-handed pitcher Andrew Karp from Florida State University. The 6-1, 204-pound redshirt junior went 8-4 with a 3.97 ERA (36 ER/81.2 IP) with 97 strikeouts in 16 games (15 starts). He was one of two pitchers for the Seminoles to pitch two complete games this season. Karp’s eight wins for 2018 ranked third among ACC pitchers.
MAYO: “Good college performer, not overwhelming stuff, just throws a lot of stuff. Low 90s with the fastball, occasionally will touch a little bit higher, but he does have four pitches, and he’ll throw all of them for strikes, he mixes his pitches pretty well, and that’s enabled him to put up some increasingly good numbers...”
7TH ROUND - CHANDLER DAY - RHP - Vanderbilt:
NATIONALS: The Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Chandler Day out of Vanderbilt (TN) University in the seventh round. The 6-5, 175-pound junior went 1-1 with a 3.22 ERA (13 ER/36.1 IP) while striking out 45 in 18 games (three starts) for Vanderbilt.
CALLIS: “He’s a real curious case. Coming out of Ohio high school three years ago I think both Jonathan and I thought he had a chance going into that Spring to be a top two round pick, didn’t happen, he didn’t have a great Spring, and at Vanderbilt he’s never quite found that consistency. I would have thought he’d be a first-rounder after three years with the Commodores. You can still see the stuff, he’ll flash 94 at his best on the mound, lot more 88-92, he can show you a pretty good changeup, curveball hasn’t really come through for him. He’s just inconsistent. There’s still something there, especially 6’5’’, 180 if you can get him a little bit more strong.”
ZONA via KERR: “The other kid, Chandler Day, he was [Vanderbilt’s] closer. We think he can start, so we took a shot on him in the seventh round, which, like I said, Vandy is a great program. High competition, and they’re going to end up going maybe close to the (College) World Series.”
8TH ROUND - TYLER CROPLEY - C - University of Iowa:
NATIONALS: In the eighth round, the Nationals selected catcher Tyler Cropley from the University of Iowa. Cropley, a 5-11, 185-pound senior led the team with a .342 batting average (68-for-199) and had 20 doubles, nine home runs, 50 RBI and 43 runs scored in 53 games for Iowa. Among Big Ten hitters, Cropley ranked in the top 10 in doubles (T1st, 20), on-base percentage (5th, .449), slugging percentage (6th, .578), RBI (6th, 50) and batting average (10th, .342). He was named to the 2018 All-Big Ten First-Team.
CALLIS: “He’s one of the best senior-sign catchers available in this year’s draft. Very good receiving and blocking skills. He’s athletic, he’s tough, had a really nice year at the plate, more walks than strikeouts last time I checked. Has some pull power, swing can get a little bit long sometimes when he’s shooting for the fences, but look, you’re always looking for catchers, and this is a guy who definitely has the defensive skills to stick back there, the receiving stands out a little bit more than his arm. He’s got some enticing power too, it wouldn’t shock me if six or seven years from now we look up and Tyler Cropley is maybe a backup in the big leagues.”
TERRY WETZEL (Special Assistant to the GM) via KERR:
“[Cropley is] a really athletic catcher. He played a lot of different positions, but he’s improving behind the plate.”
9TH ROUND - TANNER DRISKILL - RHP - Lamar University (TX):
NATIONALS: Washington selected right-handed pitcher Tanner Driskill in the ninth round out of Lamar (TX) University. The 6-0, 170-pound senior went 6-5 with a 4.00 ERA (36 ER/81.0 IP) while striking out 51 in 17 games (nine starts). He tossed two complete games for Lamar during the 2018 season. Driskill, son of former MLB player Travis Driskill, received an All-Southland Conference Honorable Mention.
KLINE via KERR: “He was a senior. A slender, athletic kid up to 94 mph, but he has weapon in the split-finger that he commands really well. Good-looking kid.”
10TH ROUND - CARSON SHADDY - IF - University of Arkansas-Fayetville:
NATIONALS: In the tenth and final round of the day, the Nationals selected infielder Carson Shaddy from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. The 5-11, 185-pound senior hit .331 (55-for-166) with 24 extra-base hits, 43 RBI and 38 runs scored. Shaddy ranked among hitters in the SEC in slugging percentage (5th, .620), on-base percentage (12th, .430) and batting average (14th, .331). Shaddy was named First-Team All-SEC following the 2018 season.
CALLIS: “Fifth-year senior out of Arkansas, had a really nice year this year, slugged around .650 last time I looked at the stats. Surprising pop, bat really came on. He’s played all over the place, at second base, third base, outfield, catcher, so you might have some utility value with him, and again, you perform in the SCC you’re going to get an opportunity to play pro ball.”
KLINE via KERR:
“I saw him briefly. He’s a kid that can really swing the bat. Not sure exactly where he’s going to play, but if he hits like we think he’s going to hit, we’ll find a spot for him. Good-looking hitter, got a little power.”