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Washington Nationals’ 2020 Draft Class: What grade would you give this year’s class?

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How did Mike Rizzo, Kris Kline and Co. in the Nationals’ front office do in the 2020 MLB Draft?

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Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send 30 polls to plugged in fans from each team. Nationals fans, sign up HERE to join SB Nation Reacts.

Washington Nationals’ Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline broke down the Nats’ 2020 Draft Class after the completion of the second day of the two-day, five-round process earlier this month, which resulted in the club adding six prospects to the organization.

  • Round 1 - No. 22 overall - Cade Cavalli - Oklahoma
  • Round 2 - No. 55 overall - RHP Cole Henry - LSU
  • Round 2 Comp - No. 71 overall - SS Sammy Infante - Monsignor Edward Pace HS, FL
  • Round 3 - No. 94 overall - RHP Holden Powell - UCLA
  • Round 4 - No. 123 overall - C Brady Lindsly - Oklahoma
  • Round 5 - No. 153 overall - LHP Mitchell Parker - San Jacinto College North

“We felt really fortunate [about] having [first round pick] Cade Cavalli and [second round pick] Cole Henry get all the way down to us,” Kline said.

“Henry, the Friday night starter at LSU. Really good delivery. Command guy, big fastball that touches 97,” Kline continued. “He’s got life down in the zone. He shows the makings of a plus curveball. For Cole, I think he has the ability to spin it, he needs to learn how to commit to each one. And I feel it could be an above-average pitch. The changeup is above-average now.

“It’s just a solid overall package. I see him as a quality No. 3 with the potential to be a [No. 2 starter].”

Comp pick Sammy Infante, Kline said, has a, “lean, athletic, defined body. Twitchy. He’s got a high motor. High energy guy. Loves to play, you can tell. He’s always smiling. Just so much energy on the field, it was fun watching him. He has a good chance to stay at shortstop.

“He can throw. He’s a solid/average runner. He’s got a really good first step. His hands are really very good. He’s got a good feel to hit and there’s some power in there.”

“Holden Powell is the closer at UCLA,” the Asst. GM continued.

“This is present stuff with command. Very aggressive approach. Fastball is anywhere from 93-97, again, with life.

“He’s had outings where he’s pitched two and three games at a time, so the velocity doesn’t back up from game to game, and he’s got a present, above-average slider, so he’s got an out-pitch. 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.

“Lindsly is a left-handed hitting catcher. He’s an average receiver. He’s got a solid-average arm. It’s a loose, left-handed swing.

“Great makeup, character kid, strong body, and we’re glad to have him in the system as well.”

Mitchell Parker, Kline said, is a, “left-handed pitcher at San Jac Junior College in Houston.”

“It’s a funky, unconventional delivery, mechanics. It’s deceptive. It’s overhand slot. It’s 90-97, but he’s going to pitch around 92-93. And he’s got an above-average curveball.

“Right now he commands the curveball better than the fastball, you know, a little fine-tuning with the delivery, but again, all these kids need work. They’re all young.”

“What a tremendous group,” Kline concluded. “I’m so excited and fired up to have all these kids in the system. This is a jackpot for me. We did great. Guys did a tremendous job.”

We’ve featured the quotes above in other articles and written up Kline’s breakdown of the 2020 Draft class — which has been supplemented with undrafted free agent signings — before, and we’re rehashing all of the brief scouting reports from the Asst. GM because this week’s SB Nation Reacts polls asked fans of the Nats for their opinion on how the team did this time around in this year’s unique (because of the coronavirus pandemic) draft.

So what did voting members of the FBB community think of the Nationals’ top pick, Cade Cavalli?

The Cavalli pick gets a “B” grade, with “A” coming in a close second. No one thought it was a complete miss (No “D” or “F” votes).

And the 2020 Draft class overall? What grade do the defending World Series champions get for this year’s group?

[ed. note - “We’d just like to acknowledge here that we would totally have put the possessive apostrophes on “the Nationals’ first round pick” and “the Nationals’ draft class”, but we also acknowledge being nitpicky about that sort of stuff and occasionally misusing possessive apostrophes in what’s truly stubborn anger/arrogance that most people use them wrong. In this case (and in all cases, probably, if we’re honest), we think we’re right.”]

Keith Law seemed to like the Nationals’ 2020 Draft class when he wrote up a team-by-team analysis of this year’s picks recently, and he noted in a subsequent article that in Cavalli the Nats likely added what will be their No. 2 prospect (and top pitching prospect) behind only Carter Kieboom overall in the organization.

CBSSports.com’s draft analysis agreed with the majority of FBB’s SB Nation Reacts voters, giving the Nationals a “B” in their own breakdown of the 2020 Draft, with analysts Mike Axisa and R.J. Anderson writing that, “The champions went college-righty-heavy, taking Oklahoma’s Cade Cavelli, LSU’s Cole Henry, and UCLA’s Holden Powell.”:

“Cavelli and Henry could pitch in the middle of a rotation if they can stay healthy, while Powell has late-inning potential. The Nationals also popped prep shortstop Samuel Infante, who profiles as at least a spare infielder.”

With some time to look at and into the players the Nationals picked this year, what do you make of the club’s 2020 Draft class?

Where are you on these questions? If you didn’t participate in the FanPulse survey this week, you can still sign up above or HERE.