(Kevin Keyes via John Sickels' Minor League Ball)
Since my last update, the Nats have signed 2 outfielders: 7th rounder Kevin Keyes and 32nd rounder Randolph Oduber. Keyes has been verified by the Nats official site. Oduber, on the other hand, has been reported on by Gastonia Gazette but not by the Nats yet. Once again, if you missed the earlier editions, here are parts one, two, three and four plus an extended look at undrafted FA signing Mike Gallo).
OF Kevin Keyes (7th round-University of Texas)
Keyes was widely seen as a top 100 player looking toward the 2010 draft, but weight and position issues tanked his value all the way to the 7th round. Keyes hit .311/.384/.550 with 15 homers in 63 games this year, with 27 BB and 46 K, even stealing 14 bases in 17 attempts. Thanks to NFA commenter David in Midlothian for pointing out his signing!
Sickels (6/13/10): "He has very strong power potential and a good throwing arm, but got fat last summer, lost athleticism and speed, and didn't get all of it back this spring, killing his defensive value and reputation with scouts."
Sickels (3/17/10): "Keyes doesn't run as well as he did when I saw him last year and he needs to be careful: if he picks up much more weight, he won't run well enough to play the outfield. That said, he did get a good jump and showed some legs with a successful steal attempt, so I don't think his speed is a lost cause as long as he keeps his conditioning up. I never did get a good read on his throwing arm and he wasn't significantly challenged on any of the defensive plays. His bat, however, looks special. He had the best power of anyone on the field, and he has a good hit tool too, showing he can pull the ball for power but also take the pitcher to the opposite field when necessary. He jumps on hittable fastballs, but will lay off curveballs and sliders he can't handle. Main weakness was against changeups: he will chase them, and toning that down will be necessary in pro ball. He makes an effort to work the count. I like him and see him as a possible supplemental round hitter."
Sickels (3/14/10): "He can pull the ball for power, or take it to the opposite field. He makes a good effort to control the strike zone and has plenty of bat speed. He's thickened up a bit and doesn't run quite as well as he did when I saw him last spring, but if he can avoid further weight gain I think he can remain in the outfield. I didn't get a read on his arm but will concentrate on that this afternoon."
Seiler (6/17/10): "Keyes was looking like a potential top fifty pick in this class a little over a year ago, but he became out of shape in the summer playing on the Cape last summer, and he never really recovered. As you can tell by his frame, he's a big, powerful guy whose only above-average tool is his plus power, but he does everything else well enough to possibly be a starting right fielder. He's going to have to stay on top of his conditioning, but I like this pick for value here. His season just ended over the weekend, so I expect him to sign fairly soon, as he'd be hard-pressed to improve upon this slot next year."
Seiler (4/29/10): "Keyes has been fairly well-known on the prospect scene for awhile, and he was a 26th round draft pick of the Rangers coming out of Connally High School in 2007. He didn't play much of a role during his freshman year, but he really turned some heads with an impressive sophomore year with the Longhorns. However, he imploded on the Cape, looking tired after a long season that included a trip to the College World Series. He ended up gaining weight, leading to a temporary assignment to first base in the fall. However, he's back in right field now, and he seems to have gained back some of the athleticism he lost over the last year-plus. He features above-average raw power and a fringe-average hit tool, and when he's at his best and in shape, he's an average runner. However, he's going to be a corner outfielder at any level, but he has a big enough arm to handle right field, while having average range. He's not having the best season, but he's still an attractive prospect, especially in a thin college class"
I asked Andy in his 6/19/10 All Questions Answered thread, "Do you think Kevin Keyes will ultimately be an ML starter, or do you think his lack of secondary tools will keep him from getting there?" to which he answered, "I don’t think he makes it, but he has the tools. His power is a true plus, but with his frame, it’s going to be hard to keep him in right field unless he stays on top of his conditioning. There are still questions about whether he can hit with wood, too."
Brian Oliver (6/10/10): "Guy looks like a linebacker. Big swinger = big homers and big strikeouts. Nats listed him as a RF but he has also played 1B. He should be fun to watch in a HR derby kind of way. Middle of the order guy for Vermont."
OF Randolph Oduber (32nd round-Western Oklahoma State)
The Groovin' Aruban hit .472/.526/.995 with 32 HR, 98 RBI and 49 total extra base hits in 218 at bats. His 25/27 SB success rate is encouraging as well. He struck out 46 times with just 21 walks, so there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Seiler (6/17/10): "Oduber was a late-round pick by the Giants a year ago, and I thought he'd be drafted in the teens this year. However, after a late commitment to Oklahoma State, who raided the junior college level this year, dropped his stock. He has above-average raw power and can run, so he could go much higher next year if he figures it out. I don't think he'll sign."
Seiler (7/18/09): "I liked Oduber more than his teammate Cotton who was picked twenty rounds higher by the Giants. Oduber’s got solid pro tools, and I thought the only thing that held him back from being picked in the top 15 rounds was the fact that he was a JUCO freshman. He is 20 already, but he won’t sign since he went so far down."
I'd like to see some international free agents sign with the Nats, but getting some guys like Hanks, Oduber and Nunez that we might not have expected to sign is nice, too.