With the Washington Nationals bullpen off to a bad start in 2017, could they look to upgrade in the draft with one of the top closers in college baseball?
When we were doing one of our postgame DoDcasts this week, one of our listeners asked on our Google Hangouts whether or not the Washington Nationals could address their bullpen needs in the draft.
That might have changed with the news that Erick Fedde is going to be a reliever for the rest of the year, but there are still good relief pitchers in the MLB Draft that will take place on June 12. One name to keep an eye on is Stanford right-hander Colton Hock.
Hock is in his third season at Stanford and currently has 14 saves, which is tied for the fourth most in all of division one baseball. He is 6-1 with a 1.90 ERA and has 31 strikeouts in 24 games (42.2 innings).
More from District on Deck
- Washington Nationals Minor League Spotlight: Robert Hassell III
- Washington Nationals Tuesday Q&A
- 3 Free Agents the Nationals Should Gamble On
- A Washington Nationals Christmas Wishlist
- Washington Nationals: Is Seth Lugo Still an Option?
While Hock doesn’t have a high amount of strikeouts this season, he does a good job in not giving up a lot of runs. He’s given up nine runs all year and six of those runs came in one outing against Oregon State on April 1.
If you look at the mock drafts, Hock is not a projected first round pick, so maybe the Washington Nationals can get him in later rounds. Plus, if you remember, they didn’t take Koda Glover until the eighth round back in 2015 and he’s in position to be their closer of the future.
This season, Hock has been the closer with the Cardinal, but he can also be a starter as well. The 21-year-old had two starts in his freshman season (2015) and he has had six starts in each of his last two seasons down in the Cape Cod League (Baseball Cube).
According to MLB Pipeline, Hock is ranking 93rd on their top 100 prospects list. Here is what they had to say about his fastball and how he could be one of those relievers that turns into a starter at the professional level:
"“He was up to 95 mph in the Cape, albeit early in starts, but he’s been mostly sitting 90-91 mph this spring, occasionally hitting 92-93 on the gun. Hock has the strength and body to be a rotation workhorse and a team that thinks it can help him refine his delivery might draft him in the top few rounds and send him out in a rotation.”"
In addition to his fastball, Hock has a breaking ball and changeup in his arsenal. Last year, the Nats took Dane Dunning in the first round and he had starter and reliever experience at Florida.
Another factor not to ignore here is that the Nats have taken a Stanford closer before in the draft. Back in 2009, the organization used the tenth pick on reliever Drew Storen. While Storen never got the clutch saves in D.C., you could say that pick turned out okay.
So, while you may not hear Hock’s name called in the first round, he may be a good pick for the Nats either at the end of Day 1 (first and second round) or in the early stages of Day 2. He could either develop as a starter or be a possible quick riser in the bullpen.