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Nationals add two outfielders to begin 2015 draft

Jun 8, 2015, 11:44 PM EST

Jun 1, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers outfielder AndrewnStevenson (6) catches the ball for an out in the fifth inning against the Sam Houston State Bearkats during the Baton Rouge regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Alex Box Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

[Updated 12:05 a.m.]

The Nationals began the 2015 MLB draft on Monday night by selecting two outfielders, first with LSU center fielder Andrew Stevenson at 58th overall and then high schooler Blake Perkins at No. 69.

Stevenson, who just turned 21, hit .356 with one homer, 53 runs, 26 steals and an .865 OPS his junior year. His LSU Tigers advanced to the College World Series on Sunday and will be one of eight teams to play for the national championship in Omaha. Their first game is scheduled for Sunday, June 14 at 3 p.m.

Stevenson jumped up draft boards after his impressive showing in the 2014 Cape Cod League. In 44 games he hit .327 while recording 30 runs and 21 steals.

Stevenson hits and throws lefty, and is listed at 6-foot, 184 pounds. He is considered one of the best defensive outfielders in college baseball.

The Nationals were given the 58th selection as compensation for 2014 second round pick Andrew Suarez not signing. The Miami lefty went 61st overall to the San Francisco Giants in this year’s draft.

Perkins, 18, attended Verrado High School in Buckeye, Arizona. He throws and bats right-handed and is known for his speed. Perkins is currently committed to play at Arizona State University.

During his senior season at Verrado, Perkins hit .461 (41-for-89) with seven home runs, 35 RBI, 23 walks and 51 runs in 29 games.

  1. corkybb - Jun 9, 2015 at 12:08 AM

    In Rizzo We Trust.

  2. manassasnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 12:27 AM

    Both can be good.

  3. Andrew Wallace - Jun 9, 2015 at 1:55 AM

    Quick question. If we have multiple FAs leave this winter that reject QOs (I would think that jordan, fister, and Desmond would definitely reject a qualifying offer and maybe span too)…..then do we get 3-4 sandwich round picks in 2016 draft or is it limited to one compensatory sandwich round pick per team? (Even if more than one free agent leaves)

    • David Proctor - Jun 9, 2015 at 2:20 AM

      You get a pick for each free agent with a qualifying offer that signs elsewhere. So if we offer them to Span, Desmond, Zimmermann and Fister, we’d get four such picks.

    • David Proctor - Jun 9, 2015 at 2:20 AM

      You get a pick for each free agent with a qualifying offer that signs elsewhere. So if we offer them to Span, Desmond, Zimmermann and Fister, we’d get four such picks.

  4. laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 4:24 AM

    Looking forward to Ghost’s take on those two – both appear to be athletes with upside. I like Stevenson’s back story – a grinder who had to learn how to hit collegiate pitching – the kind of character and makeup guy Rizzo likes in his Nationals. His coach thinks he will hit better in the majors than he did in college, if he ends up with a team that can work on his mechanics. Great speed, a lefty bat with little power (sounds like a bigger version of Billy Burns or a younger version of Denard Span), and off-the-charts defensive ability in CF:

    http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2015/06/lsu_standout_andrew_stevenson.html

    The HS kid is committed to ASU, so we’ll just have to see if the Nats can sign him.

    • deftndumb - Jun 9, 2015 at 7:08 AM

      He’ll sign. He tweeted out thanks to the Nats for “changing [his] life.”

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 7:26 AM

        Great. Supposed to have 5-tool potential.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 7:52 AM

      Perkins was the guy they wanted all along and if you read my comments yesterday was the Nats were going for a top speed outfielder with a short swing and that’s what they got with Perkins. He also has gap power.

      Stevenson is that 4th outfielder type with upside. He has plus defense and a compact swing and showed great improvement against breaking pitches.

      2 solid picks and they got Perkins. They didn’t get the pitcher they wanted and passed on Andrew Suarez who was available.

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:08 AM

        Didn’t read yesterday’s comments Ghost. With the Nats not drafting until the 58th pick, or whatever it was, watched the US women’s soccer team take game 1 from the Aussies, instead. Hope Solo may be violent when drunk, but she sure can play that game. Fantastic athlete.

        Good to know they got the guys they really wanted. Do you know why they would draft Stevenson first, if Perkins was their guy, all along?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:55 AM

        Truth be told, I think they got nervous on Perkins even though nobody rated him as a 2nd rounder. I thought he was a 5th rounder. 3 months ago he was the last guy on the SB Nation list of top 300! To go from 300 to 58, I don’t know.

  5. natsfan1a - Jun 9, 2015 at 6:49 AM

    Stevenson does a nice webgem, too. 😉

  6. laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    Doesn’t mind diving headlong to make the grab – something Span rely does. I’ll bet the crew in Viera can’t wait to give that kid a grad school education in hitting. I suspect one reason they drafted him is because they think they can polish that raw talent into a finished gem.

    • Section 222 - Jun 9, 2015 at 7:47 AM

      Like they did with Destin Hood?

      I’m not going to get too excited about a high school player getting drafted in the second round. Maybe we find the needle in the haystack, but the odds are against such a pick turning into a star. And we’re talking five years from now anyway.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 7:56 AM

        This is the guy Rizzo wanted. Of course he’s a long-shot as are most High School kids.

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 7:58 AM

        “but the odds are against such a pick turning into a star..”

        Of course they are. That is stating the obvious. Destin Hood was not drafted by the Rizzo machine. Mike and his crew have more credibility than Bowden and company, who once drafted Chris Marrero in the first round with their top pick.

        In 2009, Rizzo’s first year as GM, he drafted Michael Taylor out of HS in the 6th round. See? There is a difference. Management counts and, in baseball, that goes double for a GM.

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    “@AdamKilgoreWP: The Astros, who play in one of the biggest markets, have been an embarrassment for years and MLB gave them a competitive balance pick.”

    Should we tell him the pick came via a trade with the Marlins.

    • laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 7:59 AM

      How embarrassing!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:04 AM

        Houston won the day. If they can sign all those players watch out. #2 pick Bregman can play 3rd, Cameron is a future star and their #5 pick projects well and that’s just their first 3 picks. Cameron was the #2 High School kid on most boards but is a Boras guy with big demands, sound familiar.

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:11 AM

        Houston has done alright for itself. Wish we had one or two of those bats.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:15 AM

        Houston needs a 1st baseman and Cole Hamels. They now have PTBNL to trade.

    • adcwonk - Jun 9, 2015 at 9:07 AM

      “a competitive balance pick.”

      What the heck is that? MLB decides that, if you’ve been a bad team for a while, you get an extra pick?! 😉

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 9:13 AM

        They better do away with it as only 2 team needs that and the Expos are one of them and the other is Tampa Bay.

        Even the Orioles get those based on how revenue is calculated since MASN profits aren’t counted and keep them as small market.

        You know the empty stadium game in Baltimore, that brings down their revenue and any money they receive from insurance doesn’t get counted towards team revenue.

        Oh yah, they still collect in revenue sharing! That’s a laugher!

  8. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    It looks like the Nats traded Billy Burns and drafted Billy Burns. Do they still have aluminum bats in the college game? If he can’t hit HRs with an aluminum bat I don’t know how he’ll ever hit one with a wooden bat. Every draft pick — except, of course, “generational” talents like Strasburg (?) and Harper — from #1 on down is a crapshoot. Hopefully they’re smart enuf to sign quickly and get their careers started. The “slot” values for these guys seem more than reasonable. How are you supposed to pay $900K to some high school kid with a fifty percent chance of reaching the majors four years from now?

    • natsjackinfl - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:09 AM

      Uhhh, the current bats used in college are nothing like the old aluminum bats used as recently as 3 seasons ago.

      And in case you missed the blurb on Stevenson making the all star team in the Cape Cod league last summer, they are a wooden bat league.

      Stevenson wasn’t drafted for his power. It is for his defense, speed and overall hitting ability.

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:17 AM

        Saw an MLB segment on the maple bats now in use in the MLs. It seems that there is a polymer coating that will prevent the bats from breaking off, like that one in Boston which badly hurt one of their fans. But the coating costs $1 per bat, and MLB did not want to pay for it!

        They can’t afford $1 per bat to protect their fans? WTH!

      • natsfan1a - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:27 AM

        That really [stinks] if so. Pony up, fellas. :-\

        “Saw an MLB segment on the maple bats now in use in the MLs. It seems that there is a polymer coating that will prevent the bats from breaking off, like that one in Boston which badly hurt one of their fans. But the coating costs $1 per bat, and MLB did not want to pay for it!

        They can’t afford $1 per bat to protect their fans? WTH!”

      • natsfan1a - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:33 AM

        Oh, and if protecting the fans doesn’t cut it, how about protecting your “inventory” on the field? Harrumph.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:33 AM

        Laddie, the teams buy the bats in the Majors except for when players want to keep them whereby the player buys them. In the Minors, the players are responsible for buying their lumber.

        The bat break problem is the whip trampoline effect of large barrel and narrow handle when you hit the ball off the end of the bat and the barrel end becomes a spear flying.

        The polymer as far as I know is more for the exploding bat when you hit it near the trademark and it shatters into pieces.

        If there’s technology to polymer handles the MLBer’s don’t want it as it will reduce the bend they desire.

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:48 AM

        “Laddie, the teams buy the bats in the Majors except for when players want to keep them whereby the player buys them.”

        Don’t doubt that, Ghost, but in the MLB segment they specified that it was an MLB decision not to go with the polymer coating – of course, MLB represents the owners. The bats with that coating were reported, by the MLB network, to have been field-tested successfully, but I don’t remember where that was done. They did not get into the specifics of how the players felt about the polymer bat, but the reporter (again, can’t remember exactly who it was) claimed that the polymer not only kept the bats from exploding, but also kept them from breaking into shards, like the one in Boston.

        Fortunately, that lady is recovering from that injury. But if she had been killed, it is likely that something would be done to protect the spectators from a recitation of that near-calamity. The Bosox are under a lot of pressure to at least extend the netting, or erect a synthetic shield to protect the fans.

      • Toot D. Blan - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:53 AM

        Players buy their own bats (which, if you recall, is why career minor leaguer Clint Robinson is known as “bat hoarder”) so if anyone rejected this idea on the basis of cost, it was probably the players union, not MLB.

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      Right about the crap shoot, of course.

      But HR power is generally a pleasant surprise in a CF, not a job requirement.

      PS – After hitting 2 HRs in ~1800 minor league PA, Burns has 2 this year in the majors.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      Theo is right in comparison that they traded Burns and refilled that spot.

      Are you saying you didn’t like the Blevins for Burns trade or as we call it now Den Dekker for Burns.

      BTW, all the High School standouts play in wood bat tournaments. It’s essential for College standouts to do the same. With BBCOR standards on the metal bats you also get a better sense for real power.

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:36 AM

        I didn’t like that trade, no, but I figured it wasn’t bad, at the time, because Billy seemed to be blocked by Werth, Span, Harp, Souza, and Taylor – i.e. he wasn’t; going to play anyway, or so it seemed at the time.

        Rizzo drafted Billy Burns in 2011 in the 32nd round of that draft. It seems like Rizzo’s crew can pick raw talent and develop it into ML caliber players. Wish we had Billy back in the fold, now. He has a current stat line of:

        .314/.356/.431, for an OPS of .787

        That compares very favorably with any outfielder the Nats currently have not named Bryce Harper, plus he is a lot younger than all of them, except for Bryce and MAT, and cheap, cheap, cheap.

        For once, it looks like someone (Billy Beane, of course) got the best of Rizzo, only giving up Blevins to get that guy.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:38 AM

        He was toolsy and the question was, could Burns hit MLB pitching. Kid is playing near All Star level on a last place team.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:36 AM

        I appreciate the clarification on college bats, and I do understand the value of the Cape Cod and other summer college-player programs. Still, nothing in the very limited information I have seen about Stevenson suggests more than minimal power. Players with a similar profile, e.g., Ben Revere, seem to peak quickly, lose their shine — and value at the major league level because their games are one-dimensional. (Phillies have been trying to trade or replace Revere almost since they got him.) There’s the occasional Brett Butler who does it so well he becomes invaluable — but those players are truly “generational.” I’m not against the choice, I look forward to seeing him at Potomac — and hopefully higher — some day but think the odds against him are a little higher than the usual for someone drafted in that spot.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:39 AM

        Stevenson wasn’t drafted for HR power. Who said he was?

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:39 AM

        For the aforementioned reasons, I don’t think den Dekker for Burns is such a bad swap.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:27 AM

        When the Burns/Blevins trade was made I don’t recall Sousa as being in the conversation. It was Goodwin and Taylor that were the examples as to why Burns had no chance in the Nats future.

        Theo, I don’t understand your thinking on denDekker vs. Burns, but everybody has a right to their own opinion.Personally, I seriously doubt that denDekker will ever contribute much on the ML level. Meanwhile, Oakland is bordering on giddy over Burns’ play.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:41 AM

        I agree with Joe. If and its a big IF that if Burns keeps it up that he will receive All Star consideration but since Oakland is in last could get skipped over.

        How did Beane pull that one over on Rizzo. That’s the shocker. Burns just needed the chance to shine and he’s doing more than that.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:09 AM

        Jerry Blevins was supposed to be the missing link that the Nats needed to advance to the World Series. In 2013 Davey was severely handcuffed with no LH relief pitcher, thus the justification of the trade when it was made. I thought the day the trade was made that we traded the wrong guy for the wrong guy. Not just because I liked Billy, but because I didn’t like Blevins. I said that Rizzo got Burned and Beaned by Billy Beene. Nobody seemed to agree with me at the time.

        The Nats insisted on Burns learning to switch hit to take advantage of his speed, and it has taken a couple of years to work out. Now, he is excelling from the left side. If the IF doesn’t play him in, he can bunt for a hit almost at will. Mark Harris worked a lot with him in Harrisburg, and his wife cried when learning of the trade. Now, Burns has been coached extensively by Rickey Henderson to fine tune his base running skills.When he gets on base, he tends to rattle the other pitchers big time and that is helping the guys hitting behind him. Defensively, he plays an OK outfield, but takes much, much better routes in CF than in the corners. His arm isn’t great, but he makes up for it with good form and rarely makes a bad decision as to where to throw the ball. Even in CF he could run better routes, but Bob Melvin raves about his improvement in that regard.

        I just don’t see Matt denDekker having that much upside. I hope that I am wrong. I often am.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:28 AM

        Glad you mentioned Burns intangibles. Prolific base stealers can mess with a pitcher and his timing and throwing less off-speed.

        That’s why I always liked Coco Crisp as a player who would rattle a cage.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 9, 2015 at 12:05 PM

        I think we don’t know what Burns will turn out to be. Likely with the Nats he would have been a fourth OF. So, at the time, it made sense to deal him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 12:57 PM

        I think what has some upset is Burns was worth more than just Blevins and long-term is correct on how to judge Burns to Burns. Short-term sample size can be deceiving.

  9. veejh - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:29 AM

    You mean, we didn’t draft more pitchers?

  10. nats128 - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    “Ghost of Steve M. – Jun 8, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    Rizzo is looking to add big speed to his farm in rounds 5 to 10 and find a Rendon with a short swing and a Taylor frame.”

    Looks like he found both in Round 2 to that exact description. Are you suprized he did that with the 2nd rounder.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:51 AM

      Perkins was the name on the Nats draft board and yes I thought he was a 5th rounder myself and in January he was a 10th rounder but Rizzo clearly moved him up based on what he knew.

      That’s who they were targeting and Stevenson was a bonus being available as his stock rose quickly as he was a solid 3rd rounder projected after last season.

      • nats128 - Jun 9, 2015 at 8:57 AM

        http://www.minorleagueball.com/2015/1/12/7528383/early-2015-mlb-draft-rankings

        Yep, off-season list had Perkins as the last man on the list at #300 which I guess if there was 30 per round that would be a 10th rounder.

        Stevenson was #85 on the list.

        Thats a dramatic climb for Perkins. Looks like he had a good Senior year of High School.

      • Danny - Jun 9, 2015 at 9:00 AM

        Doesn’t make much sense to me, because his stays were even better his Jr. year.

      • Danny - Jun 9, 2015 at 9:01 AM

        Stats*

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 9:16 AM

        Hopefully next year Perkins is a star in A ball and we are calling Rizzo a genius. Not sure why the itchy trigger finger but Rizzo saw several tools. Kid was in the DBacks backyard too and Rizzo was a Arizona guy.

      • nats128 - Jun 9, 2015 at 9:06 AM

        Baseball America this week posted Perkins as 6th best in the state of Arizona and 137th overall. How do you go from 137 to 69th? Thats a fringe 4th rounder or 5th round pick.

        http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/2015-state-draft-report-arizona/

  11. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 9, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    In terms of draftees reaching the majors, once you get beyond the first — okay maybe the second or third — round, I’m convinced you could pretty much just randomly assign draftees to teams and get about the same results. The odd 9th or 17th or 32nd rounder who succeeds in MLB isn’t so much about any given team’s scouting or draft acumen, but probably says more about that individual’s late-developing skills or the team’s player development process. The former can’t really be predicted, but the latter is indeed something on which the best organizations focus and to which they assign a high priority.

    • jd - Jun 9, 2015 at 9:43 AM

      Eugene.

      I agree with you. I am glad they drafted outfielders though. We simply don’t have any at any level. We used to have a black hole in the middle infield but we covered that with the Turner trade and the quick development of Difo. We still have no decent corner outfielders and 1st basemen with pop. The focus in prior years was almost exclusively on pitchers which is not a bad way to go and there seems to be a decent pipeline of arms which if most of them turn out well you can convert to position players via trade.

      • nats128 - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:03 AM

        Yes, no 1st baseman in the system except for Tyler Moore who is under team control for 5 more years.

      • Section 222 - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:32 AM

        TyMo is under team control for five more years? I don’t think so.

      • adcwonk - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:32 AM

        BR says (of Tyler Moore):

        “Signed thru 2015, Earliest Arb Eligible: 2016, Earliest Free Agent: 2019”

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:38 AM

        “Signed thru 2015, Earliest Arb Eligible: 2016, Earliest Free Agent: 2019″

        That’s three more, four if you count this year as one: 2015-2016-2017-2018.

      • wearenationals - Jun 9, 2015 at 1:48 PM

        What about 2018-2019? then, that would make it 5, if you include this year, yes?

    • natsdial8 - Jun 9, 2015 at 9:56 AM

      Well put Eugene- agree .

      All said draft is for the most part bit of a crapshoot in which the better organizations should do better long run.

      Thankfully under Mike Rizzo we are one of those better organizations .

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