The Washington Nationals continued drafting college pitchers with most of their picks on Day 2 of the 2017 MLB Draft.
Yesterday, the Washington Nationals made eight selections on Day 2 of the 2017 MLB Draft. After taking two pitchers on Day 1, pitching continued to be the main theme of this draft as seven of their eight selections were college arms. The organization has drafted more pitchers in the first ten rounds than any draft in the last five years.
As I wrote about Monday afternoon, pitching needed to be addressed in this draft because the team doesn’t have many Major League ready arms at the upper tiers of the farm system due to the winter blockbuster trade with the White Sox. Plus, only five of their top 30 prospects on MLB Pipeline were pitchers.
Before we get to the arms, let’s talk about the lone position player the Nats have taken so far. In the fourth round, they drafted LSU second baseman Cole Freeman. Freeman was drafted in the 18th round last year by the Dodgers, but elected not to sign.
In 2016, Freeman transferred to LSU after playing his first two seasons at Delgado Community College. He hit .374 in the Cape Cod League last summer and carried that success into the season. In 65 games, he hit .327 with two home runs, 41 RBI’s, and had an on-base percentage of .431.
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Freeman also stole 18 bases, which was tied for the second most in the SEC and was hit by pitches the most times (21). You can watch Freeman and the LSU Tigers play Florida State Saturday night (8 p.m ET, ESPN) in Omaha at the College World Series.
One round later, the Nats took a pitcher who wil also be in the CWS and that was Brigham Hill from Texas A&M. The 21-year-old right-hander was a starter this season after pitching in the bullpen the last two years. He went 8-3 with a 3.18 ERA and had 107 strikeouts in 16 starts.
Hill was eighth in the SEC in strikeouts, but he has walked over 25 batters in each of the last two seasons. With that being said, despite some control problems, MLB Pipeline wrote that he has “a plus changeup that ranks among the best in college baseball.” The Aggies will be taking on Louisville Sunday afternoon in Omaha (2 p.m ET, ESPN).
If you were looking at the best name out of these picks, look no further than Missouri State right-hander Trey Turner (taken in the tenth round). Turner played just one season with the Bears and played two positions.
Turner had seven relief appearances and struck out 22 in 13.1 innings. Plus, he also played six games in the outfield. But, he is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery:
Sticking with the two-way player theme, the Nats took Michigan State left-hander Alex Troop in the ninth round. Troop made 14 starts this season for the Spartans and went 8-3 with a 2.47 ERA and struck out 83 batters in 83.2 innings. Also, he played some first base and hit .321 and had an on-base percentage of .444.
The day began when the Washington Nationals took William & Mary left-hander Nick Raquet in the third round. After being a reliever at North Carolina in 2016, Raquet was a starter with William & Mary. This year, he had a 4.66 ERA and walked 45 batters in 77.1 innings. But, he did have 95 strikeouts and scouting director Kris Kline talked about him as a reliever:
During round six, the Nats took right-hander Alex Johnston from Texas. Johnston had 39 walks in 12 starts this year with the Longhorns. With that being said, his .235 opposing batting average against was one of the lowest in the Big 12 conference this year.
For their other two picks, the Nats took right-hander Jackson Tetreault from the State College of Florida Manatees and Samford right-hander Jared Brasher.
Brasher was a reliever with Samford this year ater having 55 walks as a starter in 2016. This past season, he had 46 strikeouts in 33.2 innings, but the walks were a little high (30). As for Tetreault, he had 105 strikeouts this year in 80.1 innings, but his walk rate is also a concern (40 walks).
All in all, the Nats have stuck with the pitching theme and have picked all college players with their first ten picks. Tomorrow, they will finish up the draft with rounds 11-40. You can watch the draft on MLB.com at noon ET.