Jun 8, 2015, 11:01 AM EST
MLB Draft begins tonight – The 2015 MLB Draft starts on Monday night at 7 p.m. on MLB Network and MLB.com. The Nationals do not pick until 58th overall due to the signing of Max Scherzer this offseason, so if you plan on waiting up for their selection it could be a long night. A safe bet has the Nats picking between 11 and 11:30 p.m. They also select 69th overall on Monday.
Here are the particulars…
When: Rounds 1-2 (Mon., 7 p.m.), Rounds 3-10 (Tue., 1 p.m.), Rounds 11-40 (Wed., 12 p.m.)
TV coverage: Rounds 1 through Competitive Balance Round B are on MLB Network and MLB.com starting with a 6 p.m. preview show on Monday; Rounds 3-10 are on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. on MLB.com; Rounds 11-40 are on Wednesday at 12 p.m. on MLB.com.
Nationals’ recent first picks: RHP Erick Fedde (Rd. 1, 2014), RHP Jake Johansen (Rd. 2, 2013), RHP Lucas Giolito (Rd. 1, 2012), 3B Anthony Rendon (Rd. 1, 2011), Bryce Harper (Rd. 1, 2010)
Deadline for draft picks to sign: July 17
Top prospects in this year’s class: SS Dansby Swanson (Vandy), SS Alex Bergman (LSU), SS Brendan Rodgers (Lake Mary HS, Fla.), RHP Dillon Tate (UC-Santa Barbara), LHP Tyler Jay (Illinois)
Rizzo on this year’s draft – The Nationals are picking 58th overall, which is one of the lowest selections they’ve ever had in franchise history. In 2013 they picked 68th overall after losing their first rounder for signing Rafael Soriano. The Montreal Expos also picked 52nd in 1997.
Starting out so low on the board creates a different dynamic for the Nats, but general manager Mike Rizzo says it doesn’t change the team’s process:
“No, doesn’t change our approach a bit. We’re doing the same thing we’ve done since 1998 and Kris Kline, he takes the same approach. We talk as much about the top 10 players in the country as we do the 800th player. We’re watching film on every day. We’re looking at medicals and psychological tests on every single player and we’re going to line them up and when 58 comes, we’re going to pick the best guy that we see that’s available and hopefully we hit on a guy that helps us in the big leagues.”
“I don’t think it’s harder, because the process is the same. We’re so tedious and we do such a lot of background work and scout these guys so diligently that when our turn comes to pick, the guy that’s at the top of our board is the guy that we feel is the best player for us at that time. It’s just something that’s a little more boring because you don’t have the excitement of pick one or pick six or pick 29 but it’s still to me the Super Bowl of the season and we will be fired up for it Monday and we’re going to have a few long sleepless nights for the next couple of days to tweak the board and get it in the order we want it. When Monday comes, when the horn rings, we’ll be ready.”
The Nationals have drafted several pitchers in recent years who were already injured when they joined the organization. Both Fedde and Giolito were players who needed Tommy John surgery in their first years as professionals. Rizzo gave some insight on the team’s willingness to take those risks:
“They’re definitely case by case, and every injury is different. Every Tommy John case is different. We’ve passed on many guys that we feel are going to need or have had Tommy John. Like I said, we do our due diligence on all these players. And when there’s guys that we feel more confident than others as far as injuries go … It’s not a philosophy to draft a guy with an injury. That’s not what we’re looking to do. But when talents like Giolito and Fedde and those guys fall to you because of injuries, and the injuries are palatable for us, those are, we feel, opportunities to jump on guys that we would have no chance of getting without the injury.”
Nats go on the road – Losers of eight of their last 10, perhaps it is good timing for the Nationals to head out on a road trip. They get a change of scenery and begin with a two-game series at the New York Yankees, a team they swept in two games back in mid-May. They then travel to Milwaukee to play the Brewers, owners of the worst record in baseball. The Nats get them for four games before playing the Rays twice in Tampa.
Whether it be a coincidence or not, the Nationals have shown a tendency to have turning points on the road. Last August they used a near-comeback in Atlanta as a launching pad for a spectacular finish to the season. And on April 28 of this season they came back to beat the Braves… in Atlanta and that huge win seemed to carry over the the weeks that followed. Okay, maybe there’s something about Atlanta, but you get the point.
The Nationals have an opportunity here to get out of town and spend more time with each other as teammates. When I covered the Capitals, many of the veterans looked at road trips as good things when times were tough. They grew closer as a team when on the road and had less distractions outside the lines. We’ll see if this particular road swing has a similar effect on the Nats.
NL East Standings
Offensive game of the week: Danny Espinosa 6/5 vs. Cubs – 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
Pitching game of the week: Jordan Zimmermann 6/2 vs. Blue Jays – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, BB, 4 SO. 105 pitches, 69 strikes.
Quote of the week:
Anthony Rendon when asked ‘How did you hurt your oblique?:’
I think just hitting too many homers. What kind of question is that? I don’t know. It just happened.
Tweet of the week:
Padres pitcher Tyson Ross after traveling to watch his brother, Joe, debut for the Nationals on Saturday:
— Tyson Ross (@TysonRoss) June 6, 2015
MON – OFF/MLB Draft Rds. 1-2
TUE – 7:05 p.m. at New York Yankees (Scherzer)/MLB Draft Rds. 3-10
WED – 1:05 p.m. at New York Yankees (Gonzalez)/MLB Draft Rds. 11-40
THU – 8:10 p.m. at Milwaukee Brewers (Roark)
FRI – 8:10 p.m. at Milwaukee Brewers (TBA)
SAT – 4:10 p.m. at Milwaukee Brewers (Zimmermann)
SUN – 2:10 p.m. at Milwaukee Brewers (Scherzer)
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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