Washington’s Nationals made eight picks between Round 2-10 on Day 2 of the 2019 MLB Draft, after making just one selection on Day 1, and in spite of the fact that Kris Kline, the Nats’ Assistant GM and VP of Scouting, said that it was not a deep draft in terms of quality pitching, the Nationals picked pitchers with four of the seven selections after taking right-hand pitcher Jackson Rutledge with their top pick on Monday (No. 17 overall).
Through 10 rounds, the Nationals have selected four right-handed pitchers, one left-handed pitcher, one outfielder, two infielders, and one catcher.
We wrote up a couple of the Day 2 picks in separate posts, but we will include them all here with quotes from MLB.com analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo’s comments on each pick along with notes from the Nats’ press release on the players the drafted today.
ROUND 3 (94th pick) - Drew Mendoza - 3B:
Press Release: The Nationals kicked off Tuesday’s action by selecting third baseman Drew Mendoza out of Florida State University in the third round. Mendoza hit .320 (66-for-206) with 12 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, 55 RBIs, 65 walks, and 59 runs scored during his junior season at Florida State. He earned First-Team All-ACC honors after leading the conference in walks [and] on-base percentage (.482) and ranking tenth in slugging percentage (.631). His 65 walks ranked third in all of NCAA Division 1. Mendoza entered the 2019 First-Year Player Draft rated by MLBPipeline.com as the No. 55 draft prospect and by Baseball America as the No. 75 draft prospect.
Mayo: “It’s power and more power, it’s definitely there. Left-handed, he’s got home run pop that’s going to work at the next level. He draws walks, which helps, but there’s a lot of swing and miss. He kind of had an up and down year this year, this is a guy that was a solid high school prospect, but he had a strong commitment to Florida State.”
ROUND 4 (123rd pick) - Matt Cronin LHP:
Press Release: “In the fourth round, the Nationals selected left-handed pitcher Matt Cronin out of the University of Arkansas. Cronin went 1-0 with 12 saves and a 2.00 ERA (6 ER/27.0 IP) en route to being named a Third-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Second-Team All-SEC. He recorded 40 strikeouts and a .163 opponents’ batting average (15-for-92) during his junior season in 2019. In his three collegiate seasons with the Razorbacks, Cronin recorded 26 saves, second most in school history. Cronin entered the 2019 First-Year Player Draft rated by Baseball America as the No. 71 draft prospect and by MLBPipeline.com as the No. 73 prospect.
Callis: “This is a guy who is a pure reliever, and he’s one of the best in college baseball, so he can get [to the majors] pretty quick and if you like spin rates, you love Matt Cronin, because he’s got outstanding spin rates on both of his pitches. A 92-96 MPH fastball gets tremendous carry up in the strike zone, it’s one of those fastballs that seems like it rises, and then when you’re trying to deal with that, he has an over-the-top curveball, that could be a true hammer, in the mid-to-upper 70s, there’s effort and recoil in there, so you’re not going to make him a starter, Arkansas never really tried to do that. Had trouble throwing strikes early in his career, but he [did a] better job as a sophomore, regressed a little bit this year. If he can throw strikes he can get to the big leagues very quickly.
“You’re not [entertaining] any idea of making this guy a starter, you’re saying go out there, do what you do, go after guys with that fastball and curveball and you’ll go as quick as your strike-throwing ability takes you.”
#Nats Kris Kline says Jackson Rutledge and matt Cronin could be fast movers— Byron Kerr (@masnKerr) June 4, 2019
ROUND 5 (153rd pick): Tyler Dyson - RHP:
Press Release: The Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Tyler Dyson in the fifth round. He went 3-2 with a 4.95 ERA (24 ER/43.2 IP) and 34 strikeouts in 11 games (nine starts) for the University of Florida in 2019.
Mayo: “This was a guy who a year ago at this time, or even over the winter, we had pretty high up as a guy who could be the next in the lineup of A.J. Puk, Alex Faedo, Brady Singer, and Jackson Kowar [coming out the University of Florida].
“He just had a combination of inconsistent performance and then an injury that shut him down for a little while. He lost his spot in the rotation and then wasn’t used that much, but if they can get him sort of straightened out, he’s shown flashes of a fastball up to 97, he’s shown flashes of a plus slider, there’s even a little feel for a changeup even though he doesn’t use it really that often. He doesn’t drive through the ball enough, I think if they can fix his delivery, he’s probably a reliever profile, but it’s a really good arm that just kind of lost his way this year.”
ROUND 6 (183rd pick): Jackson Cluff - SS:
Press Release: In the sixth round, Washington selected shortstop Jackson Cluff from Brigham Young University. Cluff hit .327 (65-for-199) with 20 doubles, three triples, four homers, 56 RBIs, 37 walks, 12 stolen bases and 57 runs scored in 53 games during his sophomore season at BYU. He was named to the West Coast Conference First-Team and twice earned Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Week honors during the 2019 season.
Mayo: “He is a draft-eligible sophomore, but he’s 22 because he came back from his Mormon mission, so he’s a little bit older, maybe treat a little bit more like a senior. Is a good athlete, kind of doubles, gap power, can play short, maybe a tick above average runner, really good makeup, is a combination of good skill, tools, and that makeup and work ethic.”
#Nationals select SS/INF Jackson Cluff (BYU) with their 6th Round pick, #183 overall. Missed last two years on church mission, returned to hit .340/.473/.539 as 22 y/o sophomore. His father was a 4th RD pick in 1989. #OnePursuit— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) June 4, 2019
Video c/o Perfect Game. pic.twitter.com/0Zj162IMub
ROUND 7 (213th pick): Todd Peterson - RHP:
Press Release: The Nationals selected Louisiana State University right-handed pitcher Todd Peterson in the seventh round. Peterson went 5-2 with three saves, a 3.83 ERA (19 ER/44.2 IP) and 40 strikeouts in 28 games (one start) for the Tigers in 2019.
#Nationals select RHP Todd Peterson (LSU) with their 7th Round pick, #213 overall. Physical 'pen arm that had an up and down spring but finished strong. FB sits 92-94 and touches 96-97 range backed by hard breaking ball. #MLBDraft #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/Ei7ZhhEkzD— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) June 4, 2019
Callis: “He was a guy who if everything had gone well for him this Spring could have been a 3rd to 5th Rounder, and he hasn’t had a good Spring. He’s up to 97, he can have a pretty good curveball, but he really hasn’t had a feel for the curveball this Spring that he’s shown in the past. He’s tall, as you can see here, 6’5’’, 220, so he can get some plane on his fastball, but he’s just been hit more than he should, not necessarily even really a problem throwing strikes this year, but he’s just been more hittable than he really should be with that kind of stuff, so we’ll have to see what happens for him at the next level, but there’s a good arm in there, you know that, you’ve seen it in the past, you just need more consistent results, so that’s what scouting says, ‘Here’s a guy that throws 97, player development, turn him into something.’”
ROUND 8 (243rd pick): Jeremy Ydens - OF:
Press Release: In the eighth round, the Nationals selected outfielder Jeremy Ydens out of the University of California-Los Angeles. Ydens hit .250 (19-for-76) with six doubles, three homers, 11 RBIs, seven walks, five stolen bases and 15 runs scored in 20 games for the Bruins in 2019. As a sophomore in 2018, he was named an All-Pac 12 selection after finishing the season in the top ten in the conference in slugging percentage (.558), on-base percentage (.421), hits (76), and doubles (17).
#Nationals select OF Jeremy Ydens (UCLA) with their 8th Round pick, #243 overall. Athletic 6-foot-2 outfielder w/ hit-first offensive profile, batted .300+ in back-to-back PAC 12 seasons. Missed time this year w/ finger injury. 40th RD pick in '18 as an elig soph. #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/ptt7bTk1YM— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) June 4, 2019
Mayo: “This is a guy who unfortunately missed a ton of time because he got hit by a pitch and broke a finger early in the year after having a very good Cape Cod League. He was a draft-eligible sophomore last year and was picked by the Diamondbacks in the 33rd round so there was some anticipation. Really is an athletic guy, good feel to hit, can hit line drives to all fields, probably a corner outfielder. There’s some raw power there, he’s going to need to learn to learn to tap into it.”
ROUND 9 (273rd pick): Hunter McMahon - RHP:
Press Release: Washington selected right-handed pitcher Hunter McMahon from Texas State University in the ninth round. McMahon went 5-5 with one save, a 4.72 ERA (46 ER/87.2 IP) and 71 strikeouts in 17 games (14 starts). The 2019 season marked his first season at Texas State after transferring from Coffeyville (KS) Community College.
Callis: “Hunter McMahon is a red-shirt sophomore, 6’3’’, 185, former Tommy John guy, has had Tommy John in his past, but it’s a good arm action, he’s up to 94, sinking and boring action on the fastball, he’s got good life on the changeup too, and a curveball in the upper 70s with some nice break on it as well, so he’s kind of interesting.”
ROUND 10 (303rd pick): Andrew Pratt - C:
Press Release: “In the tenth and final round of the day, the Nationals selected catcher Andrew Pratt out of Lubbock (TX) Christian University. Pratt hit .358 (64-for-179) with 16 doubles, 13 homers, 54 RBIs, 37 walks, and 47 runs scored in 52 games during his senior season.
He was named First-Team All-Heartland Conference after leading the league with a .483 on-base percentage and tying for the conference lead with 13 home runs.”