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Washington Nationals - 2022 MLB Draft - Rounds 3-10

Notes and quotes from Day 2 of the 2022 MLB Draft for the Washington Nationals.

At the conclusion of Day Two of the 2022 MLB Draft, Washington Nationals’ Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline and Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Baca broke down the day’s selections for Rounds 3-10 on a Zoom call with reporters, providing brief notes on some of the latest draft picks to enter the organization, all of whom they’re expecting to sign, and, as Baca joked, “they’re all big leaguers.”

Round 3 - No. 84 Overall - Trey Lipscomb - 3B - University of Tennessee:

Nationals’ Press Release: “Lipscomb hit .355 as a senior [at Tennessee] in 2022 while leading the Southeastern Conference and ranking fifth nationally with 80 RBI. He ranked in the top five in the conference in slugging percentage (2nd, .717), total bases (2nd, 180), home runs (4th, 22) and runs scored (4th, 68) en route to being named First-Team All-SEC.”

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kline: “He didn’t play much there, and just started to come into his own this year, and we saw him early, and Brian Cleary our scout kind of got [him] on the radar there, so we kept going back, saw him against Florida, saw him late in the year, and the one thing that you recognize with him is the swing is a little different, but he absolutely has the knack for centering the baseball. Athletic kid, there’s a plus arm in there when his feet are set up properly, he’s going to work on that a little bit. Hands are good. Runs okay. But looking at it, the kid’s got a chance to hit and hit for some power, and play a solid third base.”

“Had a great year, put up huge numbers. I’m not sure exactly what they were off the top of my head, but 21-22 homers, hit well over .300 — and just started out the year like that, and never let off the gas pedal.”

As Kline noted, Lipscomb didn’t play a lot early in his collegiate career, but both he and Baca said they liked the fact he took advantage of the opportunities the last two years.

Kline: “Just the fact that a kid that hadn’t played a whole lot and then finally gets an opportunity and runs with it, I think that speaks a lot about how this guy is wired. He never — he just stepped in and for someone who hasn’t played as much as he had, he sure looks advanced and confident, and he does the one thing that he’s going to need to do in the big leagues, and that’s hit, and he knows how to do that.”

Baca: “If you look at ‘21-’22, you see where he’s got more at-bats, so 2021 he hit, but you may have not seen the power, and then 2022, just more at-bats, and just his ability to be on the field and play every day things started to blossom for him.”

Round 4 - No. 111 Overall — Brenner Cox — OF — Rock Hill HS (TX):

Nationals’ Press Release:Cox hit .288 with eight doubles, three triples, four home runs, 19 RBI, 31 walks, 30 strikeouts, 26 stolen bases and 29 runs scored during his senior season at Rock Hill. He was ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 2 prep outfielder in the state of Texas. Following the 2021 season, Cox was named Texas AllState and a Second-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.”

Kline singled Cox out as one of the eight picks that really stood out for him when he was asked about the class of selections overall.

Kline: “I think the one guy that sticks out is the Cox kid. Big tools, can really run. Can throw as well. Sweet swing. He’s got some power. He was one of the kids that we brought to the workout here. It was one of those drafts where it was a position-player-heavy draft and so the pitchers you wanted, you either got them or you didn’t. You ID’d them early. Some of them were hurt, some of them were healthy and got hurt, some were hurt and got healthy, it was just one of those years, so the Cox kid stands out.”

“He throws extremely well, and super-athletic, and it’s I think he was listed as the second-best outfielder in the state of Texas, I’d say he was the first one, he just wasn’t recognized because he wasn’t on the circuit and the showcase, but there’s not an outfielder in Texas that has better tools.”

Baca?: “As a visual for him, you look at maybe a Johnny Damon, Jacoby Ellsbury look with him.”

Round 5 - No. 142 Overall - Jared McKenzie — OF — Baylor University:

Nationals’ Press Release:With their fifth-round pick, the Nationals selected outfielder Jared McKenzie from Baylor University where he is the school’s all-time leader in batting average (.389). In 2022, McKenzie was second in the Big 12 with a .383 batting average, 82 hits and 62 runs scored. He hit 10 home runs, 44 RBI, 14 doubles and four triples. McKenzie led Baylor with 134 total bases, a .626 slugging percentage and a .453 on-base percentage. He also produced 30 multi-hit games, tied for second all-time for a Baylor player in a single season.”

Kline: “McKenzie we took in the fifth round, we had him as a — way up on our list going in and felt like he kind of got away from what he did or does best, and hit the ball to left field, drive the ball the other way, and I think he kind of got a little draft-itis maybe, tried to pull the ball, hit the ball out of the ballpark, but he’s a really good looking hitter.”

Round 6 - No. 171 Overall — Nathaniel Ochoa Leyva — SS — Notre Dame Catholic SS:

Nationals’ Press Release: In 2022, [Ochoa Levya] hit .421 with four doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI. He posted a .558 on-base percentage and walked 13 times while striking out just five times. He was ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 1 prep shortstop in the province of Ontario and was a member of the 2021 Canadian Junior National Team. Ochoa Leyva participated in the 2022 MLB Draft League where hit .224 with three doubles, seven RBI, and stole two bases for the Trenton Thunder.”

Baca: “Very good athlete. Another. Great size for a kid. Young. He’s going to mature and be a really big kid. Really good tools. Can run, can throw. Not quite sure where he’s going to play yet, he plays shortstop, maybe he ends up at a corner, maybe even right field, he’s got impact with the bat, he’s got raw power, so as far as what we saw, especially at this workout here, we were really excited with him.”

Kline: “There’s an above-average arm in there, and he actually ran a tick above average for his size, which is pretty impressive. Pretty good athlete. Really good athlete.”

Round 7 - No. 201 Overall — Riley Cornelio — RHP — Texas Christian University:

Nationals’ Press Release: “In the seventh round, the Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Riley Cornelio from Texas Christian University. In 2022, he was 4-5 with a 4.68 ERA in 15 starts for the Horned Frogs. He struck out 77 in 70.0 innings and limited opponents to 63 hits.”

Kline: “Cornelio was — out of high school — was a potential first round pick, and a high-profile kid, and ends up at TCU. I saw him early in the year, he was up to 96 or [97]. Sinker-slider type pitcher, more ground balls than punch-outs, but a great arm, and a chance to start. Really excited to get him where we got where we got him.”

Round 8 - No. 231 Overall - Chance Huff - RHP - Georgia Tech:

Nationals’ Press Release: “With their eighth-round pick, the Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Chance Huff from Georgia Tech. As a junior in 2022, Huff was 5-4 with a 6.98 ERA in 16 games, 15 starts. He struck out 74 in 68.1 innings.”

Kline: “The Huff kid was a good size kid, and has a fastball tops out at 95, flashes of average secondary stuff, some things he has to work on delivery-wise, but a chance to start, and he’s — whatever how far that takes him may end up in the bullpen, but for now he’s a starter, but I thought that was a real nice late-round pick there.”

NCAA Baseball: Nashville Regional-Vanderbilt vs Georgia Tech Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Round 9 — No. 261 Overall — Maxwell Romero, Jr. — C — University of Miami:

Nationals’ Press Release: “Washington selected catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. from the University of Miami in the ninth round. Romero hit .272 with 15 doubles, 12 home runs and 54 RBI in 59 games in 2022.”

Round 10 -- No. 291 Overall — Murphy Stehly — 3B — University of Texas:

Nationals’ Press Release: “In the 10th round, the Nationals selected third baseman Murphy Stehly from the University of Texas. As a redshirt senior in 2022, he hit .367 with 23 doubles, a triple, 19 home runs and 61 RBI on his way to being named First-Team All-Big 12 and Second-Team All-America by Collegiate Baseball.”