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Washington Nationals 2020 First Round Draft Projection

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On Wednesday, Keith Law posted his 2020 first round draft projections for all of Major League Baseball on The Athletic. That article in its entirety can be found here.

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On Wednesday, Keith Law posted his 2020 first round draft projections for all of Major League Baseball on The Athletic. That article in its entirety can be found here.

The Washington Nationals first selection comes in the 22nd slot of the first round, tucked in between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians.

Law projected the Nats will grab Georgia Bulldogs’ pitcher Cole Wilcox, a draft-eligible Sophomore.

Wilcox is a tall, hard throwing right handed pitcher in the Southeastern Conference. When Wilcox graduated high school, he confirmed that he would honor his commitment to play baseball at Georgia.

Despite that, the Nationals decided to take a flyer on Wilcox in the 37th round of the 2018 draft, meaning they’ve already formed some semblance of a relationship and history with the 20-year-old pitcher.

Wilcox stands 6’5 and relies on a hard fastball and strong secondary pitches.

Law notes that there are some concerns about his fastball quality, despite its high velocity; his changeup plays well, while the slider needs to be fleshed out a little more.

For Wilcox’s 2018 Draft Profile, Tori McElhaney noted that his current player comparison would be Gerrit Cole, obviously high praise for the young pitcher, who was at the time a high schooler.

Prior to the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA baseball season, Wilcox was making waves throughout the baseball scouting world. He registered four starts, going 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA. He also struck out 32 batters over his 23 innings, while only walking two.

Additionally, he allowed opponents to hit only .209 against him.

He was a third-team preseason All-American, and was on the watch list for the Golden Spikes award, according to the Georgia athletics website.

Law also notes the Nationals’ history of being high on hard throwers, and he doesn’t expect that to change here, so long as Wilcox is still on the board once the draft clock turns to Washington.

In a baseball atmosphere where hard throwers are prioritized, especially in conjunction with effective secondary pitches, Wilcox seems like a strong pick.