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2023 MLB Draft: Washington Nationals wrap up Day 2 of Draft; GM Mike Rizzo, Kris Kline + more...

Notes and quotes from Day 2 and Rounds 1-2 of the 2023 MLB Draft...

“There’s never a blueprint for when a player gets to the big leagues,” General Manager Mike Rizzo explained, after Washington’s Nationals selected the consensus top hitter in the 2023 Draft No. 2 overall on Sunday night.

“They make sure that we know that they’re big league-ready.”

The hitter in question, Dylan Crews, 21, out of LSU, was the “top-rated prospect in the 2023 Draft,” on MLB Pipeline’s list of eligible players for this year’s draft, and their scouting report on the player noted Crews, “… is a plus-plus hitter with plus power, and some evaluators are even more bullish on his bat.

“He’s an accomplished college player that played at the highest level you can play in the collegiate ranks,” Rizzo added.

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Photo by Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

“I think that he’s a guy that we’ll assess when he gets to camp. He’s played a long, strenuous, stressful season already, and we’re not going to force-feed him very hard this year.

“But he’s a player that we think, again, is going to be a big part of this group in the near future.”

“Dylan is potentially a guy that moves relatively quickly,” Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline told reporters at the end of Day 1 of the ‘23 Draft, “… and gets there, and is here in D.C. fairly soon.”

“He’s really an advanced hitter,” Kline continued. “When Dylan is locked in, he’s very skilled at driving the ball to right-center and working the middle of the diamond, and I think as he progresses in the minor leagues and at the major league level, you’re going to see him start to pull the ball more, and I think that’s where the power will start to come into play.”

Assessing the outfielder’s skill set for the reporter’s who gathered on a Zoom call after the Nationals’ top pick of 2023, Rizzo said Crews brings a “whole bag of tools” to the organization, and Crews noted it is his hitting he’s most proud of, but he said he’s also enamored with playing center field.

Wake Forest v LSU Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

“I take a lot of pride in fielding as well,” Crews said. “I love to just go out there and shag as much as I do hitting. I just take a lot of pride in that. I want to be a complete player.

“So, going out there, I could go shag out there for an hour if I wanted to, so I take a lot of pride in all my tools.”

When it came to making their top pick, after the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted the top pitcher in the draft, Crews’s LSU teammate Paul Skenes, Kline said the club’s scouts knew who they were going to select.

“We liked five or six guys that we kicked around but the Skenes kid and Dylan kind of separated themselves from the pack a little bit,” Kline said.

“Those were primarily the two guys that separated themselves from the group.”

“You’re picking that high it kind of takes care of itself,” he added.

“Most of the work actually went into pick 40.”

With the 40th overall pick, the first selection in the 2nd round, the Nationals picked the University of Miami’s corner infielder Yohandy Morales, 21, who was ranked at No. 20 on MLB Pipeline’s list of players in this year’s draft.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: JUN 02 Coral Gables Regional - Maine at Miami Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“YoYo, he’s a big strong, physical corner player,” Kline said. “Surprising speed for a guy his size [6’4”, 225 lb]. “He’s a tick above average runner. He’s a really good defender, he throws above average. And power at a corner spot. One of the loudest bats I heard this year. We were pretty happy with that one, to get him at 40.”

“I feel like Washington got two of the best college hitters in the draft, if I’m being honest,” Morales said when he too spoke to reporters on Monday.

“I’ve played with Dylan since I was younger, so I played with him a lot so that’s going to be a special group when we go out there and get ready to hit some baseballs.”

In 61 games and 278 plate appearances in 2023, Morales posted a .408/.475/.713 line with 13 doubles and 20 home runs for the Hurricanes.

The draft room’s reaction when Morales was still available at the end of the first round?

“Excited,” Kline said.

“We actually had him ranked higher than 20, so it worked out pretty good.”

Miami v Clemson Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Morales, like Crews, was a highly-regarded prospect out of high school who wasn’t drafted, “largely because of his commitment to the University of Miami,” as MLB’s Pipeline scouts noted in their scouting report on the infielder, but he too said he was happy with the choice to go to college and reenter the draft this year.

“I’m here right now, so it worked out pretty well,” he said. “I’m super-happy for the decision I made and I feel like it paid off. Going to Miami, obviously, my three years definitely helped my grow not only as a player, but as a person, so I’m super-thankful for the three years I got to go to Miami.”

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