If the Washington Nationals want to go shortstop again in the first round, one player to watch is North Carolina’s Logan Warmoth
Last season, the Washington Nationals selected shortstop Carter Kieboom with the first of their two first round draft picks. If they elect to go with another shortstop in this year’s draft, one name to watch is North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth.
Warmoth is in his junior season at North Carolina and is having a good season as the team is taking part in the ACC conference tournament. In 55 games, he has a slash line of .336/.410/.562 with nine home runs, 40 RBI’s, and 18 stolen bases.
This year, Warmoth has been one of the best base stealers in the ACC and he’s done it at an efficient rate. His 18 steals were the fifth most in the entire conference and he was only caught stealing three times. He doesn’t have much power, but he was second on the team in batting average to go with the high on-base percentage.
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To get more information on Warmoth, I spoke with Zach Pearson, who is the co-editor at the North Carolina site for FanSided, Keeping It Heel. Pearson told me more about how Warmoth’s success has led to a bounceback season for the Tar Heels:
"“Warmoth has been the glue for the Tar Heels offensively this season and a big reason why they have turned it around in 2017.While he won’t be a big home run hitter at the next level, Warmoth will give you his fair share of doubles and will show off the power from time-to-time. He worked hard on his game from 2016 to 2017. . If a MLB team is looking to add an all-around infielder to their roster, Warmoth is certainly one of the more intriguing prospects out there.”"
If you look at the mock drafts that are out there, Baseball America has Warmoth going 21st to the Orioles and says “some scouts compare him [Warmoth] to J.J. Hardy.” As for MLB.com, he’s not projected to go in the first round. Finally, 2080 Baseball has him going 22nd to the Blue Jays.
During his college career, Warmoth did play 15 games at third base during his freshman year, but he’s been primarily a shortstop for one of the best college teams in the country.
If Warmoth is still there with the 25th pick, it would be hard for the Washington Nationals to pass on taking him. But, at the same time, they did draft Kieboom last year and Sheldon Neuse (second round pick last year) can also play some shortstop.
Right now, the Washington Nationals have six shortstops in their top 30 prospects list according to MLB Pipeline. This includes players such as Luis Garcia, Yasel Antuna, and Jose Sanchez who have yet to play a game of professional baseball in the United States.
On MLB.com, they have Warmoth listed as the 21st ranked prospect in the draft, but he could move from one position on the middle infield to another. Here is what MLB.com had to say:
"“His instincts and quick hands help him make plays at shortstop, and he’ll get the chance to play there as a pro. With average range and arm strength, he’s probably better suited for second base.”"
At second base, Warmoth would have a better chance to move up in the Washington Nationals organization if he excels with his contact hitting and base stealing.
While it’s unlikely that the Nats would go with a shortstop in the first round for a second straight season, he would be a player to watch for at the later stages of the first round if the pitching targets they want come off the board early.