Washington Nationals: A Look At The Newest Draft Picks

Tonight is the last four rounds and final comp round of the draft. The Nationals kept the ball rolling, adding more talent to a depleted farm system.

After taking a pitcher in the first round of the draft, the Nats followed it up by taking LSU’s ace Cole Henry.

In his two years at LSU, Henry went 6-3, with a 3.03 ERA, and 95 strikeouts in 77.1 innings. This past season, the righty went 2-1, with a 1.89 ERA, and 23 strikeouts in 19 innings.  At the end of his freshman year, he took over as LSU’s ace. He missed time in the past with elbow soreness, so that’s something to keep an eye on. He has a fastball that ranges from 92-96 and on MLB Pipeline’s 20-80 attribute  ranking, his heater was given a 60.

According to MLB Pipeline,

“Henry has the potential for three solid to plus pitches. His fastball usually runs from 90-94 mph and tops out at 96 with riding or sinking action, and he could add some more velocity once he gets stronger. His mid-70s downer curveball gives him a second plus pitch when it’s on, while his mid-80s changeup has some depth and continues to get better.”

After fears that Henry might go back to school if the Nats didn’t meet his slot demands, those rumors should be put to rest.

After taking back to back pitchers, the Nationals drafted their first position player in the draft, Sammy Infante. He played shortstop in high school but, might be more suited to man the hot corner. The team received this pick due to the departure of Anthony Rendon in free agency.  Committed to play college ball at Miami, Infante plans on signing with the Nats. After being drafted by the Nats, Infante told reporters via a zoom call,

“I believe I’m going to go play pro ball with the Nationals,”… “I think I’m ready, I’m healthy, I think they got a huge steal…and I can impact their organization significantly in the infield position.”

His stock rose over the last few months and might end up being a steal due to the limited tape available on him. According to Rotowire,

“A prep prospect from Florida, Infante rose his stock this spring by making improvements across the board to his already well-rounded skill set. While he lacks a standout tool, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Infante has showcased average to above average power and speed, but his ability to consistently make contact remains more of a concern. Infante grades out well enough as a defender to stick in the infield, though he may lack the range to be an everyday shortstop and could ultimately settle at second or third base.”

Washington followed this up by taking another pitcher in the third round, Holden Powell from UCLA.

Unlike Cavalli or Henry, Powell was a college reliever. He took over as UCLA’s closer his freshmen year and over his year and a half in the role, he racked up 26 saves. This was the second-most in school history behind only David Berg. Being a reliever could fast track him to the majors. Powell won the 2020 Stopper of the Year award, which is handed out to the best college reliever. He is projected to quickly move through the farm system and could eventually help a Nationals bullpen that had the second worse ERA in 2019, 5.68. In 9.1 innings pitched this season, he allowed only three hits, held opponents scoreless and had a 20/2 K/BB ratio.

In the fourth round, the Nationals drafted the Oklahoma catcher, Brady Lindsly. Lindsly was the college battery mate to the Nats first-round pick, Cade Cavalli.

The Oklahoma catcher was drafted as an under slot in order to pay some of the team’s other picks. He is projected to be a backup catcher and is known more for his defense than his bat.

With the team’s last pick, they took another pitcher (surprise surprise), Mitchell Parker from San Jancinto JC. Washington’s 2019 first-round pick Jackson Rutledge, was also drafted out of San Jan. This past season, Parker posted a 1.54 ERA in 13 starts.

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