No. 2 Total:
Whereas it was actually one thing of a disappointment in the long run to complete with the worst document within the majors and never routinely get the highest total choose within the draft, this was the primary season with a draft lottery.
The Nationals, who completed 55-107, and the second and third-worst groups had a 16.7% likelihood on the No. 1 total choose, with the non-playoff groups from final yr within the combine and the highest six decided within the lottery.
Mike Rizzo and Co. in Washington’s entrance workplace ended up with the No. 2 choose within the 2023 MLB Draft, which — it’s not No. 1, a chance to select the highest participant on the board for the group, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a chance to get a participant who could possibly be an necessary a part of the reboot the membership kicked off on the commerce deadline in 2021.
So what’s going to the Nationals do with the No. 2 total choose?
“We’re going to attend and type of determine the place we’re at,” Rizzo informed reporters after taking part within the first MLB Draft Lottery on the Winter Conferences.
“We’ve achieved lots of work on it, we have now opinions on it at the moment, I simply don’t need to share them but, as a result of we’re up to now forward of ourselves.”
Rizzo and his scouts, in fact, have till July to determine which participant they’ll take at No. 2, and he mentioned they’ll take the identical strategy they at all times do, with the apparent benefit of solely having to react to 1 different workforce’s choice earlier than their very own prime choose.
“There’s not a lot of a distinction between like 1-2 or 6,” Rizzo defined of their strategy to scouting prospects from the 2023 draft class.
“We make use of the identical course of. Now if we have been 18th of twenty fifth, it’s a little bit totally different. However we’ll make use of the identical course of that we at all times do, we’ll line them up within the order that we like that. What this does: It eliminates your technique if a man will get picked off in entrance of you. We’ll solely have a type of conditions attainable, so that can assist our pre-draft preparation.”
The choose is the Nationals’ highest since they picked No. 1 total in back-to-back drafts in 2009-10 (deciding on first Stephen Strasburg after which Bryce Harper). They did choose fifth total final summer season, drafting Elijah Inexperienced, a 19-year-old outfielder who’s at present ranked No. 2 total of their system by MLB Pipeline.
“It provides us an opportunity to actually replenish the farm system,” Rizzo mentioned of the excessive picks’ significance for a rebooting membership. “And we not solely choose 2 within the draft, we choose 2 in every spherical*, which can be crucial. While you’re up that top in every spherical you’re seeking to get actually good, impactful gamers.”
[ed . note – “ * = Rizzo misspoke here (and we didn’t catch it). As noted in the comments below, the Draft Lottery decided the order for the first round, with the Nats getting the second overall pick, then they pick first in subsequent rounds.”]
Rule 5 – No. 1 Decide:
With the highest total choose of the 2022 Rule 5 Draft, Washington chosen right-handed pitcher Thad Ward, a 25-year-old, 2018 fifth Spherical choose by the Boston Crimson Sox out of the College of Central Florida who underwent Tommy John surgical procedure in 2021 however returned final season and made 13 begins, with a 2.28 ERA in 51 1⁄3 innings total between Florida’s Advanced League, A-ball, Excessive-A, and Double-A within the Sox’ system.
Ward then went out to the Arizona Fall League the place he, “… posted a 2.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 4 video games (three begins) through the Arizona Fall League season,” because the membership famous in a press launch on their Rule 5 choice.
Did Ward’s success within the AFL tilt the scales when the Nationals determined to pick out him with their first Rule 5 Draft choose in twelve years?
“It’s all within the analysis bundle,” Rizzo mentioned after the choice. “We had scouted [Ward] through the season the place we obtained the majority of our info. It’s useful within the Fall League since you’re getting type of your final take a look at him. All of that stuff helps and went into our decision-making.”
Rule 5 picks have to stay within the majors, in fact, or they need to be provided again to their unique workforce in the event that they don’t, so what has the Nats satisfied Ward’s able to pitching within the majors in ‘23?
“He has the components to pitch within the huge leagues,” Rizzo defined. “He has 4 pitches that he can command. He’s a aggressive man. He’s a beginning pitching candidate that we are able to stretch out and pitch a number of innings out of the bullpen, and we really feel snug with the truth that he’ll enable [manager] Davey [Martinez] to make the most of him all through the season and have an opportunity to maintain him.”
Contemplating he’s solely two years faraway from TJS, so the Nationals imagine they’ll be capable of use him judiciously and nonetheless hold him within the majors all season?
“It would definitely be a subject of dialog with the pitching workers and the coaching workers,” the GM in D.C. mentioned of how they’ll deal with Ward’s workload.
“We’ll monitor it and do what we have now to do to handle it like we at all times do.”
However the Nationals’ scouts love his stuff.
“We predict he’s obtained the makings of a swing and miss breaking pitch,” Rizzo mentioned. “His slider has been a superb pitch for him. His velocity I believe is getting again to pre-Tommy John ranges, so we expect there’s extra within the tank and a man we actually like and he was a man within the struggle room that was type of a consensus choose of a man that not solely — there’s a mix right here and a steadiness — we didn’t need to shoot the moon and type of handcuff Davey to get a uncooked younger participant, however you at all times like that upside of a man. So this man type of blends each of these.
“He’s obtained some upside, we expect he’s going to get a little bit bit higher, so there’s some type of safety that he’s obtained an opportunity to be there all yr.”