Prep Baseball Report

Draft Forecast: Washington Nationals

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

Washington NationalsTEAM: Washington Nationals
PICK: 27 (Slot: $2,472,700)
POOL: $5,603,800

2017: Seth Romero, LHP, Houston (25th overall)
2016: Carter Kieboom, SS, Walton HS, GA (28th overall)
2015: Andrew Stevenson, OF, Louisiana State (58th overall, 2nd round)
2014: Erick Fedde, RHP, Nevada-Las Vegas (18th overall)
2013: Jake Johansen, RHP, Dallas Baptist (68th overall, 2nd round)

HISTORY: A lot of teams aren’t afraid to gamble, but the Nationals have become known for it. In 2017, they took LHP Seth Romero (Houston) with their first pick, despite his multiple suspensions and ultimate dismissal from his college team. In the third round of 2016, the Nationals selected LHP Jesus Luzardo (Stoneman Douglas HS, FL), who had a stellar start to the spring, but had Tommy John surgery midway through the season. They took another TJ patient in 2014 in RHP Erick Fedde (Nevada-Las Vegas), who had the procedure the month before the draft. In 2012, it was RHP Lucas Giolito (Harvard-Westlake HS, CA). Giolito was injured in the spring and tried to rehab it, but eventually had TJ after signing.

FORECAST: RHP Mason Denaburg (Merritt Island HS, FL) and RHP Kumar Rocker (North Oconee HS, GA) had their springs interrupted by injuries, though they both came back and don’t seem to be facing anything serious. However, it could be tough to squeeze them in a $5.6 million bonus pool. LHPs Ryan Rolison (Mississippi) or Shane McClanahan (South Florida) are healthy, but could potentially slip. The top prospects on the PBR Draft Board around pick No. 27 include SS Jeremy Eierman (Missouri State), RHP Tristan Beck (Stanford), RHP Logan Gilbert (Stetson), RHP Blaine Knight (Arkansas), RHP Adam Kloffenstein (Magnolia HS, TX) and RHP Grayson Rodriguez (Central Heights HS, TX).

Mason Denaburg, RHP, Merritt Island HS, FL
PBR Draft Board:
FB: 60/70            SL: 55/70            CH: 50/60
Denaburg is an athlete-turned-baseball-player and a legitimate two-way prospect. He has put his focus on the mound and it has shown in the results. The mechanics have simplified and are compact and sound. The arm is very quick and works with little effort. He flashes big velo early, but is still learning to harness it. He shows the ability to adjust and pitch at 91-93, touching 94 when needed. The breaking ball continues to flash plus with hard, late break. (Doug Freeman)

Find Denaburg's full report in the Draft HQ.

Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS, GA
PBR Draft Board: 10
FB: 60/70            CB: 60/70            CH: 20/50
Rocker looks like a defensive end, standing about 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 and 240-250 pounds. He pitches with tremendous ease and the plus fastball just explodes out of his hand with downhill plane and excellent life from a high-3/4 slot. He commanded the pitch down in the zone for most of the night, quickly adjusting if one got away from him. To make matters worse for hitters, his curveball was on point. It’s a power pitch, sitting 82-85 with hard downer break and depth. A couple opponents somehow made contact with it, but it’s a swing-and-miss, 70-grade offering. (Nathan Rode)

Find Rocker's full report in the Draft HQ.

Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State
PBR Draft Board: 25
HIT: 30/40            POWER: 40/55            SPEED: 60/60            DEFENSE: 45/55            ARM: 50/60
Eierman is a strong-bodied, super athletic infielder. He started the season slow at the plate, but now looks to be locked in. He showed an improved approach with much better balance than last summer. He’s a pull hitter with plus raw power. He shows an above average to plus arm and will likely remain at shortstop, though he could profile as an offensive second baseman as well. He’s a plus runner with good acceleration and his speed impacts the game. (David Seifert)

Find Eierman's full report in the Draft HQ.

Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
PBR Draft Board: 26
FB: 50/55            CB: 55/55            SL: 50/50            CH: 50/60
Beck is tall, lean and wiry at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds. He mixed four pitches for strikes with a cross-body landing and high-3/4 slot. He occasionally dropped closer to a 3/4 slot. His fastball sat 90-93 mph, occasionally touching 94 and one 95 on a 3-2 pitch that was up and well out of the zone. He generated occasionally swings and miss, but that was mostly due to his pitch mix and not excessive life or pinpoint command. His first changeup was at 83 and plus. It had great bottom and good hand speed. All the other changupes were 80-83 with more average quality and movement. The curveball was his best breaking ball, showing good shape and depth in the 75-79 range. He also mixed in a sweeping slider/slurve at 80-84. (David Seifert)

Find Beck's full report in the Draft HQ.

Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson
PBR Draft Board: 27
FB: 50/55            CB: 45/45            SL: 45/55            CH: 40/50
Overall, Gilbert is an athletic pitcher with a proportional frame, long legs and long arms. There is a little wrist wrap/curl in his separation, but the arm works free and easy. When he gets to extension with the fingers on top, there is tilt on the fastball. He showed velocity early, sitting 92-95 mph and settled in at 91-92 mph. He competed, despite not having his best command and being up in the zone. Both breaking balls are average at best and will need to improve. At times, they blended together. (Doug Freeman)

Find Gilbert's full report in the Draft HQ.

Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas
PBR Draft Board: 28
FB: 45/50            CB: 45/50            SL: 50/55            CH: 45/50
Knight is a highly competitive righty with a slender frame and good pitchability. During the regular season, he won matchups against Casey Mize, Brady Singer, Ryan Rolison and Sean Hjelle. He worked at 90-93 early in the game, touching 94-95. The slider can show plus, but worked more average at 80-84. He also throws a curveball that flashes average at 73-75 and a changeup at 80-81. (David Seifert)

Find Knight's full report in the Draft HQ.

Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Magnolia HS, TX
PBR Draft Board: 30
FB: 50/60            CB: 50/60            SL: 50/60            CH: 50/60
Kloffenstein works from a high-3/4 slot with a quick arm stroke. His fastball got up to 95 a couple of times but was mostly 92-94 through the first three innings. He had great command of four pitches with all of them coming from the same window. He features a changeup that he throws with fastball arm speed, heavy depth, and some fade. He used his changeup more the first time through the order, but did flash a couple of sliders with 11/5 shape at 84 mph. He also works in the occasional curveballl with more 12/6 shape at 79-80. (Toby Bicknell)

Find Kloffenstein's full report in the Draft HQ.

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS, TX
PBR Draft Board: 32
FB: 50/60            CB: 55/60            SL: 50/60            CH: 40/45
At 6-foot-5, 210-pounds, Rodriguez has a strong, long-limbed frame. He works from a high-3/4 slot with a low-effort delivery and a long, clean arm swing. His fastball sat at 96 in the first inning, touching 98 mph once. In the second inning his fastball ranged from 94-97. He locates well to his glove side, occasionally coming in to right-handed hitters. He used a big breaking curveball with 11/5 shape and good depth early in the game at 74-78 mph. His slider was his third best pitch for the first three innings with flat, inconsistent spin at 81-83 mph. But the pitch got better from the fourth inning on, and he went to it more often for swings and misses with sharp spin, and late, short 10/4 bite. (Toby Bicknell)

Find Rodriguez's full report in the Draft HQ.

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