With the 68th overall pick, their only one of the draft’s first day, the Nationals chose RHP Jake Johansen from Dallas Baptist University.
Johansen was ranked as the draft’s 66th-best prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law, but opinions obviously vary on him as Baseball America ranked him 182nd. He is most well known for his plus fastball, which sits between 93 and 95 but has reached 100. However, some scouts are concerned that he does not have an adequate secondary pitch, a claim with which the Nationals disagree. The Nationals’ scouting director, Kris Kline described his secondary offerings, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup, as “inconsistent” but seemed confident that his issues could be resolved with adjustments to his pitching mechanics. Many draft experts expect Johansen’s future to be in the bullpen due to his lack of secondary offerings, even though he was a starter in college. The Nationals disagree, and Kline projected him to be a #3 starter.
His numbers were not good despite facing weak competition, with a 5.40 ERA in 88.1 IP. The Nationals are unconcerned about his stats, and are confident that he has a high ceiling as a starter. When asked about his numbers, Nationals VP of player personnel Roy Clark said “We know he doesn’t have good numbers. If he had good numbers, he wouldn’t have got out of the top ten.” Johansen pitched in front of GM Mike Rizzo and other front office personnel at Nats Park recently, and the team claims to have been quite high on him since the spring. He was described as “a gem” if the team can make some “good, easy fixes” in his delivery.
Rounds 3-10 of the draft, in which the Nationals have a pick in each round, begin at 1pm.