WASHINGTON – Mark Scialabba, assistant general manager, player development, hesitated to compare Holden Powell to Drew Storen – the latter a first-round pick of the Nationals in 2009 out of Stanford.
While Powell, 21, went in the third round and may take longer to get to the majors, there is one thing in common: both were closers in college so Powell won’t have to make an adjustment to that role at the pro level.
“He is someone that could pitch in a relief role and move through the system,” Scialabba said. “He was a closer at UCLA.”
Powell, a right-hander, was part of Instructional League in Florida after he was drafted in June.
“We followed him through the summer. There was some rust early on” when he arrived at camp, Scialabba said. “He threw some pens (in Florida). He throws strikes.”
Storen was in the majors less than a year after he was picked, pitching for the Nationals in May 2010.
Powell, from Visalia, California, went to Mount Whitney High before heading to UCLA.
He pitched three years for the Bruins, going 6-4, 2.52 in 69 games out of the bullpen with 23 saves.
Powell didn’t allow a run in eight games and 9.1 innings this past spring before college baseball shut down due to the pandemic.
“Holden Powell is the closer at UCLA,” Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline said on Day 2 of the 2020 Draft.
“This is present stuff with command. Very aggressive approach. Fastball is anywhere from 93-97, again, with life.”
“He’s got a present, above-average slider, so he’s got an out pitch,” Kline added.
“He’s got a changeup, he doesn’t use it that much. He doesn’t really need it right now.
“I think he’s in the role he’s always going to be in, and I think he’s going to have a lot of success in that role.”
Next: Infielder Sammy Infante, second round, Edward Pace High