2015 MLB Draft: Washington Nationals Take Mariano Rivera’s Son As Part Of Day 2 Picks
By Ricky Keeler
After drafting two outfielders in the second round last night, the Washington Nationals used day two to focus mainly on acquiring young pitching. Of course, the headline pick on Day 2 (Rounds 3-10) came in the fourth round when the Nationals drafted Mariano Rivera Jr., son of the great New York Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera.
Rivera Jr. played his college ball at Iona University in New Rochelle, New York. This year, as a starter in his junior year, he went 5-7 with a 2.65 ERA in 14 starts. He held opponents to a .211 batting average and struck out 113 batters over 85 innings en route to winning MAAC Pitcher Of The Year. Rivera Jr. made a vast improvement on his 2014 numbers, a year where he went 2-6 with a 5.40 ERA in 13 starts.
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The Yankees drafted him in the 29th round last year, but they were not able to sign him. His best game this season came on February 28 against Lehigh, when he struck out 13 batters and gave up three hits in seven innings of work. He doesn’t have the cutter like his dad, but he can get the fastball up into the mid 90’s.
When the draft began, the Nats first pick on Day 2 was another outfielder. They chose Vanderbilt outfielder Rhett Wiseman. One of the things that the left-handed hitter is known for is his power. This season , he hit .318 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI’s. He had a slugging percentage of .566 and stole 12 bases in 14 attempts. He was selected by the Cubs in the 25th Round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Wiseman and the Commodores will be in the College World Series. If you want to watch Vanderbilt begin their quest for back-to-back titles in Omaha, tune in when Vandy takes on Cal State Fullerton Sunday night at 8 PM ET on ESPN2.
After grabbing Rivera Jr. in the fourth round, the Nats drafted left-handed pitchers from rounds five thru seven. In the fifth round, they took Taylor Hearn from Oklahoma Baptist University. He went 9-0 in 15 games (13 starts) this season with a 3.50 ERA. He struck out 71 batters in 64.1 innings and held opponents to a .191 batting average.
In Round six, the Nationals selected another lefty, Matthew Crownover out of Clemson. Crownover, who was the ACC Pitcher Of The Year this season, had Tommy John surgery in 2012. This past season, he went 10-3 with a 1.82 ERA in 16 starts, holding opponents to a .193 batting average. He did give up seven home runs, but had about a strikeout per inning. He does have excellent control. His career WHIP is 1.97, which is the third highest in Clemson history.
The Nats took left-hander Grant Borne in the seventh round out of Nicholls State. Borne went 6-5 this season with a 1.48 ERA in 91.1 innings of work. His control is the main weakness in his game. He had 40 walks this season, which was the most of any pitcher on Nicholls State. That being said, he did pick off four runners this year.
The Nats ended their string of left-handed pitchers by going with a right-hander in the eighth round. They selected Koda Glover from Oklahoma State University. Glover was mainly a reliever with the Cowboys. He went 2-2 with a 1.90 ERA in 23 appearances and had five saves. He struck out 28 batters and walked seven in 23.2 innings. He has a fastball that can get into the mid 90’s and a slider that goes into the early 80’s in velocity.
The streak of pitchers was snapped in the ninth round when the Nationals took a first basemen out of Illinois, David Kerian. This season, the switch hitter hit .367 with 16 home runs, 52 RBI’s, had a .462 on-base percentage, and walked 37 times. He led the Big Ten in home runs, RBI’s, and on-base percentage. He was fourth in walks and in the top ten in hits. By the way, on his Illinois profile page, the Big Ten Player of the Year said that his favorite player is Bryce Harper.
For their final pick of Day 2 (Round 10), the Nationals selected left-handed pitcher Taylor Guilbeau from the University of Alabama. He went 3-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 15 starts for the Crimson Tide this season. He threw a career high 92.2 innings and struck out 79 batters in his first full season as a starter. Guilbeau was originally a draft pick by the Yankees in Round 39 of the 2011 MLB Draft.
The 2015 MLB Draft will conclude tomorrow at 11:00 AM ET with rounds 11-40. You can watch the rest of the picks being made on MLB.com.