Washington’s Nationals made their highest draft pick since 2011 last night, when they took a high school shortstop, 18-year-old Brady House, with the 11th overall pick in the 1st round of the 2021 MLB Draft.
“It was great,” Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline told reporters after the end of the first round.
“I mean, you get excited about having an opportunity to pick one of the more elite players in the draft, and then getting a kid like this is exciting for the whole organization.”
Picking later in the first round, of course, is not the worst thing in the world.
“I’ll pick 30 every year, that means we’re doing pretty good at the big league level, so we’ll take that,” Kline said.
Looking forward to the rest of this year’s draft, Kline and Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Baca said they were excited about the possibilities heading into Day 2.
“I think depth-wise, lots of pitching,” Baca said. “I think we had — we have a lot of pitching, I think high school position players were kind of loaded up top, as you can see what happened there, so as far as the draft goes, and I feel really good about it, it gives [you] a lot of flexibility maybe as we continue tomorrow, because there’s so much pitching. I think it will really turn out good for us as we continue the next few days.”
How will the Nationals approach Rounds 2-10 today?
“Nobody knows how it’s going to play out,” Kline said.
“To Mark’s point, there’s a lot of pitching, a lot of velocity, it comes down to taking more pitchers, we’re going to focus on the guys with size and velocity and prioritize the kids that have a secondary weapon to put big league hitters away, commanding the baseball, but there’s a few good hitters left on the board, so we’ve got our eye on them.”
Day 2 of the 2021 MLB Draft gets underway at 1:00 PM ET on the MLB Network. We’ll update here with the Nationals’ latest picks...
2ND ROUND - NO. 47 OVERALL - OF DAYLEN LILE - TRINITY HS (Kentucky):
“I really like the left-handed bat,” MLB Network analyst Jim Callis said on the broadcast of Day 2 of the Draft.
“Very accomplished guy on the showcase circuit, hit lefties, tough lefties on the showcase circuit last summer. Got a really advanced approach at the plate. It’s a quick swing, he doesn’t try to do too much, he’s got some power, but he drives the ball to all fields. I think you’re going to see at least average power once he gets a little bit stronger and turns on some more pitches. Probably left field only, I think the speed of the arm will probably limit him to left field, but he’s got the bat to fit that profile, so this is a really nice advanced bat to get here in the second round.”
Lile was ranked 80th on MLB.com’s list of the Top 100 prospects in this year’s draft.
MLB.com Pipeline’s scouts described him as, “one of the best pure hitters in the high school class,” in their write-up on the left-handed hitting outfielder.
Via the Nationals’ PR team:
“Lile was 1st Team All-America by Baseball America.
“He hit .510 (45-for-88)/.648/1.284 with 10 doubles, eight triples, 14 home runs, 48 RBI, 35 walks, seven strikeouts and 52 runs scored during his senior season.”
3RD ROUND - NO. 82 OVERALL - 1B BRADEN BOISSIERE (U OF ARIZONA):
“This is a guy that can really hit,” MLB Network analyst Jonathan Mayo said.
“Left-handed hitter. An advanced approach at the plate, all three years that he was at Arizona. Drives the ball. Doesn’t strike out a ton, hasn’t been a ton of power, but this year started to uptick in terms of the extra base authority. Actually crushed left-handed pitchers, which is a good sign moving to the next level.”
“He can drive the ball to all fields, work counts and draws walks while limiting his strikeouts,” MLB’s Pipeline scouts write in their report on the first baseman, who was ranked 159th on their list of the top prospects for this year’s draft.
4TH ROUND - NO. 112 OVERALL - LHP DUSTIN SAENZ (TEXAS A&M):
“Left-handed pitcher, his money pitch is a slider,” Callis said.
“It’s got really good metrics, some of the best slider metrics in the entire draft, works against both lefties and righties, 90-93 [MPH], tops out at 95 on the fastball, has pitched in a variety of roles at A&M, not the biggest guy in the world, so maybe a reliever long-term.”
Saenz was ranked 189th on MLB’s prospects list for this year’s draft, with their scouts noting that he was, “... a useful swingman during his first three seasons at Texas A&M, Saenz finally got the chance to be a full-time starter in 2021.”
“Saenz relies heavily on his low-80s slider,” they added, “which has quality horizontal and vertical break and works against both left-handers and right-handers.”
5TH ROUND - NO. 143 OVERALL - OF T.J. WHITE (DORMAN HS, SC):
“A little bit of a sleeper high school pick,” Callis said. “He wasn’t a big name prospect, but area scouts were aware of who he was. The power is what you’re buying here. He was a switch hitter, he’s got legitimate raw pop from both sides of the plate. Is he an outfielder, is he a first baseman, we’ll figure it out, but he was drafted for the pop.”
6TH ROUND - NO. 173 OVERALL - LHP MICHAEL KIRIAN (U OF LOUISVILLE):
“He was one of the better lefty relievers in last year’s draft,” Callis said.
“I actually thought he was going to get drafted last year. He didn’t. He had the opportunity, he wanted to go back to Louisville, and he became a starter. I think he goes back to the bullpen in pro ball. He was a low 90s fastball, solid slurve in that role, his stuff backed up a little bit in the rotation this year.
“He’s 6’6’’, got kind of a difficult angle that’s tough on lefties. I see him as that reliever you use to get lefties out more than as a starter long-term at the next level.”
7TH ROUND - NO. 203 OVERALL - OF JACOB YOUNG - (U OF FLORIDA):
“He knows how to really steal a base, he’s got a good approach, sprays the ball to all fields, not a lot of power, maybe a doubles guy,” Mayo said.
“He played left field ... but he could play center, some scouts like him even better at second, and that’s where he played as a freshman, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Nationals, they drafted him as an outfielder, but give him some ground balls, see how it looks on the dirt, because if you can turn him into a speedy, table-settings second baseman, that could be pretty interesting.”
8TH ROUND - NO. 233 OVERALL - 1B WILL FRIZZELL (TEXAS A&M):
“We talked about there are guys that went back to school and had big years,” Mayo said.
“[Frizzell] hit a career-high 19 homers this year. I think guys have viewed him as more of a hit over power guy, but the 19 homers are certainly encouraging.
“He almost walked as much as he struck out this year, all SEC first-teamer in the best conference in college baseball. He’s an all-bat guy. You’re looking at maybe he can play first base, but he might wind up being a DH, so he’s going to have to hit.”
9TH ROUND - NO. 263 OVERALL - RHP COLE QUINTANILLA (U OF TEXAS):
“Quintanilla was a reliever for Texas,” Callis said.
“Helped them finish third at the College World Series. Had a really nice season. He’s a guy that’s not wow stuff, but he gets really good extension, and it helps it play up. He’s got an over-the-top delivery, it’s just a different look, seems like the ball gets on top of your really, really quickly, former Tommy John guy who has come back nicely, has pitched very well in his career throughout at Texas.”
10TH ROUND - NO. 293 OVERALL - 2B DARREN BAKER (UC BERKELEY):
“[He] started for four years at CAL,” Mayo said.
“Came on strong this year, good instincts, polished player as you might expect, not a lot of power but can get on base, good defensive second baseman, some people see a little Dee Strange-Gordon in him.”
[ed. note: “It’s the second time the Nationals have drafted Baker, who is Dusty Baker’s son. The Nationals drafted him in the 27th Round in 2017 out of high school, before he went on to college.”]