Could the Washington Nationals look to draft an Oregon left-hander in the first round of this year’s MLB Draft?
The MLB Draft is just four days away and we are continuing to look at some possible first round picks for the Washington Nationals. While we did look at some position players, the Nats biggest need in this draft has to be pitching. There is one name that isn’t still in the NCAA tournament that can be a good fit.
When you look at Benjamin Chase’s most recent mock draft for Call To The Pen, he has the Washington Nationals going pitching and taking Oregon left-hander David Peterson with the 25th pick. Here is some of what Chase had to say about the 6″6 left-hander.
"“Peterson is a guy who has developed plenty of interest this spring as he’s shown tremendous ability to command all four of his pitches. He really doesn’t feature any pitch that anyone would consider double-plus, but each pitch works as above-average and will flash plus on its best days, and he knews well how to mix up all four.”"
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Even though Oregon finished seventh in the Pac-12 this year, Peterson was one of the best pitchers in the conference. He had 11 wins (tied for second in the conference), a 2.51 ERA (fourth), and 140 strikeouts (tied for first).
The impressive aspect about the strikeouts is that 32 of them were looking. Due to those good statistics, Peterson was named to the first-team All-Conference in the Pac 12.
This past season, the 21-year-old had three outings in which he struck out 14 or more. He even pulled a Max Scherzer when he struck out 20 Arizona State hitters in a complete game four-hit shutout back on April 28. Here is some video from that game via the Pac-12 Network:
Compared to his first two seasons with the Ducks, Peterson showed much better control of the strike zone this season. He had just 15 walks in 100.1 innings after walking 30+ batters each of the prior two seasons.
It has been ten years since the Washington Nationals drafted a left-handed pitcher in the first round. You have to go back to 2007 when the Nats drafted Ross Detwiler with the sixth pick and Josh Smoker with the 31st pick (now with the New York Mets bullpen).
Pitching should be a priority for the Washington Nationals in this draft, but it is outside of the normal trend for them to take a left-handed pitcher. With that being said, Peterson does have the strikeout ability where he can have success in professional baseball.