Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked after the first day of this year’s two-day, five-round MLB Draft, about how the club would approach the free-for-all signing period that was to follow, during which all of MLB’s teams were free to sign as many of the undrafted players as they could, for a maximum of $20,000.
“We’re going to sign as many players as we like that we can sign,” Rizzo explained.
“There’s no limit to the amount of players that you can sign to a contract. But we’re going to sign players that we like.
“We’ve got plenty of minor league players in our system that we already like, so we’re not going to release those players to sign new players if we don’t like the players in the 2020 draft season as much or less than the ones that we already have.
“We have the freedom to sign all the players we want that we like and we’re going to be very aggressive in doing it.
“After the shutdown period we’re going to be extremely aggressive and get the guys under contract that we really like.”
The shutdown period was for 48 hours after Day 2 of the draft was completed.
“We’re going to do our due diligence right away,” Director of Scouting Eddie Longosz said after Day 2.
“I think it’s still going to be a really good playing field for us. I mean, it’s going to be tricky, and it’s going to be really competitive ... but we’re really prepared too.
“I mean, all our area scouts have done a phenomenal job over the last couple weeks getting to know these players.
“They’ve done Zoom meetings, FaceTimes, we’ve taken advantage of everything we have technology-wise, so we have a confidence-level with a lot of these players even at the bigger schools too.”
On Wednesday morning, the Nationals officially announced the signing of nine undrafted free agents.
Here are the scouting reports included in a press release from the Nationals on the newest additions to the organization:
• Zach Brzykcy - RHP; 6’2’’; 225 lbs; DOB - 7/12/99; Virginia Tech:
Nationals: “Brzykcy, 21, made seven appearances out of the bullpen, striking out eight batters in 6.0 innings pitched during his junior season in 2020. As a sophomore in 2019, he struck out 37 batters in 23.1 innings across 22 appearances out of the bullpen.”
• Zach Cornell - OF; L/L; 6’2’’; 225 lbs; DOB - 12/18/97 - Southeastern University (FL):
Nationals: “Cornell, 22, was Baseball America’s Preseason NAIA Player of the Year entering the 2020 season. In 27 games, he hit .519 (56-for-108) with 12 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 12 walks, 44 RBI and 43 runs scored. Cornell transferred to Southeastern University after three seasons at Middle Georgia State University where he was the 2019 Southern States Athletic Conference Player and NAIA Second-Team All-American in 2019.”
• Jackson Coutts- 1B; L/R; 6’3’’; 230 lbs; DOB - 9/1/98 - University of Rhode Island:
Nationals: “Coutts, 21, hit .451 (23-for-51) with seven doubles, four homers, 12 RBI, eight walks and 15 runs scored in 13 games during his junior season in 2020. His .824 slugging percentage ranked ninth in the nation, while his .451 batting average ranked 14 th prior to the cancellation of the season. A native of Orono, Maine, Coutts hit .302 with a .373 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage in his three-year collegiate career.
• Gio Diaz - SS; R/R; 5’11’’; 170 lbs; DOB - 2/9/99 - St. Mary’s College (CA):
Nationals: “Prior to the cancellation of the 2020 season, Diaz, 21, ranked sixth in the West Coast Conference with a .396 batting average (19-for-48) in 13 games. He struck out just two times in 53 plate appearances while recording one double, two RBI, eight runs scored and four walks during his junior season in 2020.”
• Landon Dieterich - OF; R/R; 6’5”; 215 lbs; DOB - 5/5/98 - University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (TX):
Nationals: “Dieterich, 22, went 8-for-39 (.205) with one double, two home runs, four RBI, five walks and nine runs scored in 13 games during his senior season in 2020. As a junior in 2019, he was named American Southwest Conference All-Conference after leading the team with a .312 batting average.”
BREAKING NEWS— UMHB Baseball⚾ (@crubaseball) June 22, 2020
Our very own Landon Dieterich has signed a professional contract with the Washington Nationals!!! pic.twitter.com/Tetgj8VqpK
• Brian Klein - INF; L/R; 5’11’’; 190 lbs; DOB - 6/1/98; Texas Tech University:
Nationals: “During his senior season Klein, 22, hit .391 (27-for-69) with 10 doubles, one homer, 15 walks, 13 RBI and 20 runs scored in 19 games. His 10 doubles led the Big 12 Conference and ranked second in the nation. Following the season, Klein was named Second-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and prior to the season, he was named to the 2020 Golden Spikes Award (top amateur player) preseason watch list.”
• Quade Tomlin - SS; L/R; 6’1’’; 185 lbs; DOB - 2/11/02; Liberty Christian Academy (VA):
Nationals: “Tomlin, 18, was rated by Perfect Game as preseason First-Team All-Region and the No. 8 prep prospect (No. 2 shortstop) in the state of Virginia entering the 2020 First-Year Player Draft. Tomlin hit .420 (29-for-69) with five doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 47 RBI and 40 runs scored in 26 games during his junior season in 2019 when he was named Virginia High School League State Player of the Year. He is the son of former Major League pitcher and former Nationals Minor League pitching coach, Randy Tomlin.”
• Ray Torres - C; S/R; 5’11’’; 190 lbs; DOB - 4/9/00; San Jacinto College North (TX):
Nationals: “Torres, 20, hit .444 (20-for-45) with six doubles, two triples, six walks, 12 RBI and 15 runs scored in 13 games during his freshman season in 2020. He was originally committed to play baseball at Louisiana State University, but chose to attend San Jacinto College.”
• Edward Ureña - RHP; R/R - 6’3’’; 185 lbs; DOB - 3/21/99; Western Oklahoma State College:
Nationals: “Ureña, 21, appeared in four games (three starts) as a sophomore in 2020, posting a 2.51 ERA (4 ER/14.1 IP) with 21 strikeouts and four walks. He went 6-1 with a 4.06 ERA (23 ER/51.0 IP) in 16 appearances (one start) as a sophomore in 2019.”