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2022 MLB Draft: Washington Nationals select Elijah Green, OF, with No. 5 overall pick in 1st Round

With their top pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the Nationals selected outfielder Elijah Green out of IMG Academy.

MLB USA Baseball All-American Game Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

“It’s just a lot of guys doing a lot of hard work, a lot of travel, a lot of hours on the road,” Kris Kline, Washington’s Assistant General Manager & Vice President, Scouting Operations told MASN’s Dan Kolko of the work he and the rest of the Nationals’ scouting staff do to prepare before each year’s draft.

Multiple phone calls daily with Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Baca, talking about who they like, continuing a dialogue about who they think they might select, before they return to D.C. and meet with the rest of the Nats’ brass, and share their thoughts and build a draft board.

“We find a comfort-level with the player,” Kline explained. “We’ve been doing this together for so long now there’s a tremendous amount of, I would call it ‘continuity’ with the group, and we kind of know what each other is thinking and the types of players we’re searching for.”

Assessing the talent in the 2022 Draft, in which the Nationals held the fifth overall pick, Kline said it was a draft top-heavy in position players, with, “... young high school bats, college bats, it’s definitely a top-heavy position player draft this year.”

Picking as high as they were this season, their highest draft pick since they took Anthony Rendon 6th overall in 2011, after selecting Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper No. 1 the previous two years, Kline said, allowed them to narrow their focus to the top eight or so prospects in the country.

“You don’t approach it any differently, but it makes it easier because it condenses the group of players that you are talking about,” he explained.

“I think we’ve got it lined up pretty good,” Kline said.

“There will be a couple more days where we’ll go in there and go over it again, but I think for the most part we’re set with who we’re going to get — or have an idea of who we’re going to get.”

It also depended on what each of the four teams in front of them did.

Texas shook things up a bit with their unexpected selection of Kumar Rocker with the third overall pick.

With the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft, the Nationals selected outfielder Elijah Green, an 18-year-old, 6’3’’, 225 lb outfielder who was ranked by MLB Pipeline’s scouts as the No. 3 overall prospect on their list and the second-highest ranked outfield bat.

Here is what the Nationals wrote about their top pick in this year’s draft in a press release on the selection tonight:

“Green, 18, hit .462 (36-for-78) with 11 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 32 RBI, 15 stolen bases, 21 walks, 21 strikeouts and 40 runs scored during his senior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He posted a .592 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage en route to being named a First-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. He was a pre-season First-Team All-American selection by Baseball America.

“The 6-foot-4, 225-pound, right-handed hitting outfielder is ranked by as the No. 3 prospect in the 2022 First-Year Player Draft and by Baseball America as the No. 5 draft prospect. He is ranked by Perfect Game as the top high school prospect in the 2022 First-Year Player Draft, by Baseball America as the No. 2 high school prospect and as the No. 3 high school prospect. Among high school players, Baseball America cited him as the ‘best power hitter’ and ‘best athlete’ in the draft.”

What do you think about the Nationals’ top pick? An 18-year-old outfielder is likely not going to impact the major leagues for a while, but do you agree with the Nationals taking the top pick on their draft board as they always do? Thoughts?