In the first round, the Nationals took Aaron Crow, and I talked about that as much as I could yesterday, I really don’t have any new info on him. There were, however, a few other picks, so let’s talk about them
The Nats second pick was Destin Hood, coming in at #55. Destin is a high school infielder with some raw power. According to Baseball America, he will be moved to the OF because of lack of arm strength to play infield. He has power and speed, and has been described as raw and electric, a very toolsy type player. He swings and misses too much, but when he does hit, it can be impressive. He won the Homer Derby at the Aflac All American Classic last fall. If he develops fully, he could be a middle of the order bat, but he has signed to play football and baseball at Alabama, so let’s hope there aren’t signability issues.
In round 3, Washington took Danny Espinosa, a SS from Long Beach State. While they took him with the 87th pick of the draft, BA has him only ranked at #141. He is considered a very hard working player that have average ability and really makes the most out of it. He played SS for Team USA last year, but may end up being moved to another infield position. He doesn’t have the best plate discipline but hits the ball well when he hits it, not necessarily home run power, but a good line drive hitter. BA also mentions that he has “a lot of attributes scouts love, including the knack to make those around him better.”
The Nats 4th round pick Graham Hicks is a left handed high school pitcher out of Florida. He was drafted as #121 but doesn’t rank in the BA top 200. Perhaps that’s because only a year ago he was threw his fastball around 85 mph. As he grew another inch, to reach 6’5″, he now consistently throws 90-91. As a lefty, that is the kind of velocity that gets you noticed, but what’s really intriguing is the possibility of him continuing to mature and adding a few more notches to that fastball. So despite being unranked as of last week in the top 200, he does have potential to do something interesting.
But their 5th pick Adrian Nieto, who went at #151, was ranked as the 74th best overall prospect in the draft. Nieto is a high school catcher from Cuba via Florida, who came to the US when he was 8. He is signed to play at South Florida so we’ll see if the Nats can sign him. He is a switch hitter and hits the ball well and with power as a lefty and a righty. As a catcher, he has a good arm but his other defensive skills are questionable. So it’s not positive he’ll stay as a catcher, but either way he can hit. He plays with “an ego and a swagger that should carry him to the big leagues.”
* The difference, by the way, between raw power and regular power is pretty simple. Regular power is when a batter knows how to square up the pitch well, hits with good contact, and hits the ball well most of the time. Raw power means the player is big and strong and uses his size. So that is maybe less likely to translate well, but if harnessed properly could lead to some serious power (which is like regular power, I guess, only better).
In other news
Last night, Redding has his 7th win of the year taken away from him, not that he really deserved one after giving up 5 ER including a no doubt home run to pitchers who had never gotten hits in the big leagues before. The finish was exciting, seeing Dukes come up and hit a game winning HR was incredible. I am always afraid that a slump could cause the team to lose him mentally, but to his credit he always seems to be up there fighting to get on base. Last night’s game could have been one of those moments that we’ll look back on and say “that’s when he really put it together,” but we’ll see. As for Milledge, I am happy that they are sticking with him even through the slump. But over the last month he’s batting .216/.283/.324, and he looks a little lost. Maybe batting him third in the lineup isn’t the best thing for him right now.