Washington’s decision to sign free agent starter Patrick Corbin this winter, after he’d received a qualifying offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks, resulted in the Nationals forfeiting their second-highest and fifth-highest pick in the 2019 Draft and $1M of the international signing bonus pool.
So their top pick this season is at No. 17, and after that, the 94th overall pick is the next one for the Nationals, who have been hard at work preparing for what GM Mike Rizzo calls baseball’s “Super Bowl”, the 2019 MLB Draft, which gets underway tonight at 7:00 PM EDT.
“It’s one of the most important three days of the year,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports Junkies this past Wednesday of the work he and all of his scouts have done over the last year in preparation for the next few days.
“That’s how you build your team, and these guys have been on the road probably for the last six months, going home maybe two or three times a month in the last six months. We lock in the Draft Room right now, starting today, and we’ll be there till next Monday for 8-10-12-14 hours a day trying to grind it out, put the board together, and when it’s our turn to make the call at the pick 17 on Day 1, we’ll have the right guy in hand and hopefully he’s a impact big leaguer for us.”
“We have a wish list,” Rizzo said when asked about how many players the Nationals have been keeping an eye on.
“It’s not that large because of the baseball draft, we draft 40 rounds, and we probably sign 25 of those 40 players that we draft. We’ll have a wish list each and every round of guys that we’d love to get.”
MLB.com’s latest mock draft had the Nationals selecting right-hander Matthew Allan out of Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida, with Jim Callis writing that, “Allan’s talent belongs closer to the top 10, but teams are leery of high school right-handers, especially those with $4 million asking prices.”
According to Baseball America, the Nats have under $6M ($5,979,600) in their bonus pool for this year’s draft picks, and the 17th overall selection has a recommended slot value of $3,609,700.
ESPN.com’s Keith Law, in his Mock Draft 2.0, matched the Nationals up with Allan as well, writing that it’s, “[a]nother rumor that has picked up steam recently and fits Washington’s general trend of taking one of the most famous names on the board when they pick.”
Law had matched the Nats up with Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers in his first mock draft, noting the Nationals’ tendency to take big-name prospects who have fallen off due to an injury concern, off-field issues, or bonus demands.
“Langeliers came into the spring as a potential top-10 pick, but a broken hamate bone has ruined his spring,” Law wrote.
“At pick 17, we think we can get an impact big leaguer,” Rizzo told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier this week.
“We have a wish list for what we’d like to accomplish with that pick and with all of our other picks. As I’ve said many times, the three days of the Draft are arguably the most important three days of the year for an organization.”
When 16 other teams have made their selections, the Nationals will take the best player out there.
“It’s always the best player available,” Assistant GM and Vice President of Scouting Kris Kline told MASN’s Dan Kolko on Sunday.
“In a perfect world you want to take — you know I mean, for me college pitching is always a priority, because that’s what wins championships in the big leagues, front-line pitching.
“If that’s available, those are the guys that you covet.”
What will be available after 16 other teams make their selections? Rizzo and Kline will talk about the pick after the completion of the first round later tonight...