Monday, June 14, 2010

Taking a look at some of the Nats' 22 signed draft picks

Brian Oliver from Nats Farm Authority posted up the list of 22 players from the 2010 draft that have been signed by the Nats. Here's what I've dug up on the guys the Nats have signed from the top 19 rounds. I will continue to dig up as much info as possible on the rest of the guys the Nats signed throughout the week.

SS Jason Martinson (5th round-Texas State University)

Seiler (4/29/2010): "He's a fringe-average hitter with fringe-average power, and while that's fine for a college shortstop, he lacks the range to stay there as a pro, meaning he'll have to handle third base. He has an average arm, and he's an average runner, so he could be a nice third baseman if he calms his hands down a bit. The consensus now seems to be that Martinson might make for a solid four corners utility player in the pros, and that has some value. He's going to strike out, but he works the count rather well, and he should make for a solid bench presence with good makeup."

Seiler (6/8/2010): "Nationals get Jason Martinson. Interesting, but not a huge fan. BA higher on him than me."

Sickels (6/13/2010): "Has athleticism, good arm strength and some speed, but there are doubts about his hitting ability against good pitching."

Oliver (6/10/2010): "Another college SS who’s days are numbered. All scouting reports see him moving to 3B where he should be fine defensively. The bat is more gap power than HR-power. A start in Vermont may move him off of SS for Hague."

San Marcos Record (6/9/2010): "Martinson put himself into position to be the 22nd Texas State player drafted in the last 10 years with a tremendous junior season at the plate. He batted .321 with 55 RBIs and set a school record with a 23-game hitting streak. In the field, Martinson showed great range yet left a lot to be desired. He committed 21 errors, including five in a 6-2 loss against Nicholls State. 'He could be a nice (player) if he calms his hands down a bit,” Mack Ade, a New York Mets draft insider, said.'"

San Marcos Local News (6/10/2010): Only the 3rd Texas State player to ever be taken in the first 5 rounds of the MLB draft. The other two were Scott Linebrink and Blake Williams.

C Cole Leonida (6th round-Georgia Tech)
Seiler (2/19/2010): "I had a good chance to see Cole Leonida’s run tool on a ground ball that he tried to leg out, and I can firmly say that it’s well below-average, but it shouldn’t be an issue with Leonida’s positioning as a catcher."

Seiler (2/20/2010): "The secondary thing I noticed in the third was Cole Leonida’s slowness at getting down blocking balls in the dirt. He basically only put his glove between his legs one time, only dropping his knees to the ground after the ball had hit the mitt. That would be unacceptable at the next level, and combined with his occasional dropping of his arm angle on throws, he hasn’t shown me enough to be an adequate Major League starting catcher defensively."

Seiler (3/5/2010): "It’s becoming more apparent that Leonida’s slow bat speed and approach will limit him to being an organizational catcher at best."

Sickels (6/13/2010): "Good defensive catcher, but bat is questionable. Projects as backup receiver."

Oliver (6/10/2010): "A catcher known more for his glove/pitch calling. The bat will be the question."

Baseball Draft Report (5/14/2010, via NFA commenter PDowdy83): "Leonida does a lot of little things very well. His defense around the plate is a strength, and his power potential is second only to Tyler Bullock’s here on the latter half of the top thirty. Leonida’s impressive throwing arm, while at least big league average in strength and above-average in accuracy, could really stand to benefit from some mechanical adjustments to help with his release point. With good coaching that big league average arm could easily become consistently above-average. As a hitter he’ll probably never hit at or near .300 professionally, but his raw power could translate into double digit homeruns if given enough playing time."

Georgia Tech Official Site: "(Leonida's) Uncle Chuck Kniffin played in the Phillies Organization and has served as the pitching coach for both the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks."

Interview with the Denver Post (6/9/2010): "I’m really excited about it, because they’re a team that’s definitely going in the right direction. They’ve had, obviously, a good draft the last two years and they’ve got a lot of young talent. It’s also an organization where I could possibly move quickly because they don’t have a franchise catcher like (Jason) Varitek sitting in Boston for all those years. They’re still kind of on the up-and-up. It’s just a real good situation all the way around, and I’ve heard it’s a real good organization, so I can’t complain. I’m ecstatic."

RHP Aaron Barrett (9th round-Ole Miss)

Seiler (4/24/2010): "Aaron Barrett of Ole Miss is a big-armed pitcher that could be a 4th-6th round guy, if not a little higher."

Seiler (5/12/2010): "Barrett features a fastball that’s usually anywhere from 90-93, and his slider is a solid-average to above-average complement to it. He’s also mixed in a changeup that has flashed above-average, but he needs to really work on commanding all his pitches. He’s worked in a curve before, but it’s more of a show-me pitch, and it’s not Major League quality. He has improved in almost every facet of his game this year, and it looks like he’ll be one of the first senior arms off the board in the third to sixth round range." (My note-READ HIS ENTIRE POST!)

(6/8/2010): "Nationals get Aaron Barrett. What a steal."

Seiler (6/14/2010): "I really like the pick of Aaron Barrett in the 9th round. Could be a rotation arm for them."

Sickels (6/13/2010): "88-90 MPH fastball, good slider, erratic track record but has had bouts of impressive success."

5 Tool Talk (5/20/2009): "Barrett is a tall, big-bodied right-handed pitcher with an exaggerated, max-effort delivery. After compiling the Northwoods League top prospect list last summer, Barrett was the one player that led to a few people to email me and ask why I had left him off my list. He didn’t receive much support from league managers, at least outside of his own, but he also pitched out of the bullpen and wasn’t the easiest player to see perform...With his delivery I see his future in the bullpen, where his fastball-slider combination could allow him to close down the road."

NEMS360: "With low-90s velocity, Barrett has success with his fastball and change-up, but the slider is what he calls his out pitch. 'I can throw it any time for a strike, and if I throw it down and away I can strike the guy out.'"

Inside The Groove (5/8/2010): "A couple of Aaron Barrett’s favorite words are 'compete' and 'battle.' The Ole Miss starter had to do both on Saturday evening in route to a 3-2 Ole Miss victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks. However, Barrett didn’t use either word to describe the win that evened the series – and the SEC West lead. 'Attack,' Barrett said of his mindset before the game. 'I got away from that my last couple of starts. Instead of nitpicking, I just let them hit it and attack the zone.'"

SS Blake Kelso (10th round-Houston)

Seiler (6/8/2010): "Nationals get Blake Kelso. Slick-fielding shortstop."

Sickels (6/13/2010): "Scrappy infielder with athleticism and speed, but undersized body may make offense problematic at higher levels. Projects as utility type."

Oliver (6/10/2010): "For some reason, he reminds me of Steve Lombardozzi. No one blow-you-away tool but does all of the little things. I love these types of guys."

RHP Neil Holland (11th round-Louisville)

Seiler (6/8/2010): "Neil Holland is a sidearming right-handed relief pitcher from the University of Louisville. His fastball is currently a fringe-average offering that sits 86-88, and since he dropped his arm angle and is a rather diminutive pitcher, there isn’t any projection for more. However, he does a good job of spotting it, and that’s how he’ll have to pitch to succeed as a pro. His slider is now of the sidearming Frisbee variety, getting above-average grades and some funny swings from a few inexperienced college bats. He also throws an average changeup, and that’s the only thing that keeps him from being extremely hittable against left-handed hitters. He’s a potential eighth to fifteenth round pick with relatively modest upside."

Aaron Fitt (2/27/2010): "Holland, a junior who struggled with a higher arm slot for the first year and a half of his college career, was dropped down to the lower slot by Williams midway through last season. He took to it immediately, and Friday he ate up Michigan's hitters with a lively 87 mph fastball, a 73 mph Frisbee slider and a quality 73 mph changeup."

Louisville Official Site: "His hobbies include paintball, racquetball, ping pong, playing cards and hanging out with friends. Ocean's 11 and 13 along with Saving Silverman are his favorite movies. Likes to watch That 70's Show on TV. His favorite athletes are David Eckstein and Jerry Rice. Lists bread and butter as his favorite foods. Also likes to eat at Texas Roadhouse. Cheers on the Colts and the Angels. Listens to all kinds of music. His dream golf foursome would be Barry Bonds, Bill Gates and the Incredible Hulk."

RHP Chris McKenzie (13th round-San Jacinto College North)

Seiler (7/13/2009): "Another JUCO freshman, McKenzie will also probably pass over the Pirates’ offer in favor of another year at the JUCO powerhouse San Jacinto. I expected him to go late like this, as he’s got talent, but needs work and isn’t worthy of a large investment quite yet. He could emerge higher next year, as he probably will not sign." Note that this was from last year's draft when he was taken in the 35th round by Pittsburgh.

Oliver (6/10/2010): "Both guys (McKenzie and teammate/Nats 16th rounder Mark Herrera) could be starters, but are more likely relievers." (6/9/2010): "McKenzie went 7-1 last season with a 2.27 ERA. He also struck out 68 batters in 67 1/3 innings. He utilized a fastball that consistently was between 91-94 mph. McKenzie also has good control of his slider."

"San Jacinto College North manager Tom Arrington said both McKenzie and Herrera have been clocked at 97 mph this season. 'I think they are both projected to have even more growth in them,' Arrington said. 'They have very fresh arms and I like their stuff. I expect them to do very well on the next level.'"

C David Freitas (15th round-Hawaii)

Nothing from Seiler, Sickels or Oliver.

Hawaii Official Site: "The Sacramento, Calif., native finished the 2010 season with a .292 batting average, tying for the team-lead with 49 RBI. He also had 10 home runs, nine doubles and 43 runs scored. Freitas was named to both the all-WAC Tournament team and the all-NCAA Tempe Regional team."

Honolulu Star-Bulletin (3/18/2010): "Freitas has moved his way into the clean-up spot in the order and was one of the few UH hitters not to struggle against USC over the weekend. He had four hits in the series and is one of four different Rainbows with multiple home runs this season. 'No matter who you are, it takes a while to adjust to Division I pitching,' (Hawaii coach Mike) Trapasso said. 'With the pitchers we've seen, he hasn't put up the numbers he'd like to, but he's doing fine. Offensively he's going to be a guy that can produce runs for us.'

The work Freitas puts in goes far beyond the batting cages. He's had to learn the tendencies and strengths of 13 different pitchers as well as show the ability to keep runners from stealing bases at will. 'The defense work has been the toughest,' Freitas said. 'Trying to block the plate and other things that I've never done is different. Throwing, I've always been throwing, so that's OK.'

Freitas said he started playing catcher as a senior in high school. He spent the majority of his high school career as a pitcher and at first base. '(Junior college) is where I really became a catcher only,' Freitas said. 'That's where I really started playing (the position).'

RHP Mark Herrera (16th round-San Jacinto College North)
Nothing really from Seiler, Sickels or Oliver. Sickels did name Herrera as one of his "four others of note" but did not add anything to it. (6/9/2010): "Herrera, used primarily in a setup role for the Gators, was 2-2 with a 1.03 ERA and 37 strikeouts in only 26 1/3 innings. His top two pitches are also a low-mid 90s fastball and mid-80s slider.

Victoria Advocate (6/8/2010): "The Nationals liked what Herrera did during his sophomore season at San Jacinto and made the Cuero graduate the first pick in the 16th round and the 476th pick overall. 'They liked how durable I was,' Herrera said. 'In the regional tournament, I pitched three games back-to back-to back. They said I was really consistent and they liked what they saw.' Herrera transferred to San Jacinto from St. Mary's. He was used exclusively in relief and had a 2-2 record with two saves and a 1.03 ERA, while striking out 37 in 26.1 innings. Herrera threw consistently in the low- to mid-90s and reached 97 on the radar gun at the Junior College World Series."

RHP Tyler Hanks (17th round-College of Southern Nevada)

Seiler (5/3/2010): "Tyler Hanks, RHP, CC of Southern Nevada, Grade 1B1. In general, better players have a lower first number, a higher alphabetical second part (A is best), and a higher third number. For example, Bryce Harper gets a rating of 1A2. He will be drafted in the first three rounds, has a ceiling of a superstar, and has a 20 percent chance of reaching that ceiling (this includes chance of injury, etc.)." So basically Hanks should have been taken in the top few rounds, has a ceiling as an above-average pitcher and has about a 10% chance of reaching that ceiling.

Seiler (4/20/2010): "He's started three games, but most scouts agree that his long-term role will be in the bullpen, where he absolutely shines. That's due to an elite fastball that gets plus grades, sitting 92-95 while touching 97-98 regularly. He's really started to command that pitch this year, and that's why he's really jumped up boards. His secondary pitch is a solid-average slider that has been as high as 87 mph, but it gets better break in the 84-85 range. He doesn't use it as much as he'll have to in the pros, as he's been able to blow his fastball by hitters with ease this spring. That, and the fact that he's changeup-free, means that Hanks will almost certainly be a relief prospect in the pros, though a very good one."

Sickels (4/22/2010): "Scouts coming to see Bryce Harper play have gotten a look at reliever Tyler Hanks, owner of a 93-97 MPH fastball and an effective slider. Like many junior college pitchers he is still rather raw, but a team looking for a young arm with upside will possibly take a shot as early as the third round." Another "four others of note" pick by Sickels.

Oliver (6/10/2010): "Teammate of Harper who gained some traction given the circus surrounding the Nats 1st rounder. Nats will probably try him as a starter, but could develop into a hard-throwing option out of the bullpen"

2B Justin Miller (18th round-Middle Tennessee State University)
Not much out there. Hit .316/.361/.639 with 17 2B, 20 HR, 74 RBI and 54 R in 244 AB, which impresses me. 13:45 BB:K ratio doesn't impress me. 13 errors and a .953 fielding percentage don't look too bad.

CF Wade Moore (19th round-Catawba College)
Not a whole lot on Moore. Hopefully I'll be able to dig up more soon.

Salisbury Post (6/9/2010): "Moore, reached by phone on Tuesday night, said, 'Obviously, I'm ecstatic.' Moore was the 2006 Rowan County Athlete of the Year and turned down football scholarships to sign with N.C. State in baseball. He decided to transfer home for his senior season just to get on the field. He said he knew he could play at the major-league level, but added, 'Obviously, I couldn't leave it in the hands of N.C. State.' Moore has been working out for several clubs. He said the most interest came from the Nationals, Cubs, Giants and Braves. He worked out for six teams, showing them throws from the outfield and running the 60-meter dash. 'But I really felt, with the relationships I had with the area scouts, it didn't surprise me (being drafted by the Nationals).'

Moore led Catawba in most offensive categories. He finished his senior year with a .410 average to go with 16 home runs, 59 runs batted in and 20 doubles. He scored 77 runs. 'He came back a better player,' Gantt said. 'He gave us everything we expected. He helped us get to the regionals and that was the best thing. He helped the team.' Moore's run total was the fourth best total in a season at Catawba. His .790 slugging percentage has him ranked seventh in school history. Moore had 52 walks and a .542 on-base percentage, both of which are second all-time for a season."

I'd also like to point out that two of the names I trust the most in MLB Draft coverage, John Sickels from and Andy Seiler from, have said great things about this draft today. Sickels summed up his Nationals Draft Review today with the simple statement "Overall, I love this draft" while Seiler gave the Nats an A- grade and the #2 overall slot (behind the Red Sox).

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