Nats 2006 Draft: Nothing to See Here

The high point of the 2006 Nationals
draft was that they drafted a guy named Burt Reynolds. Players
drafted by the Nationals in 2006 have combined to net a -0.4 WAR in
the big leagues. No, that is not a typo.

With 5 selections in the top 91 picks,
the Nationals could have rebooted their franchise much sooner with
good picks. Amazingly, the Nationals have gotten less ML value from
the 2006 draft than if they had selected no players at all (okay,
that’s not entirely true, as Brad Peacock was a major piece
in the Gio Gonzalez trade, which I guess counts for something).

  • Chris Marrero played in 31 games
    in 2011 for the Nats, hitting .248/.274/.294 and compiling a -0.7
    WAR. Out of the top 100 picks, he’s the only one to even sniff the
    big leagues.

  • RHP Colton Willems, the 22nd
    overall pick (compensation from the A’s for signing Esteban
    Loaiza), retired in 2010 after allowing 13 runs in 12 and 1/3
    innings in a little over a month at Hagerstown; he never progressed
    above A ball.

  • Second round RHP Sean Black
    slipped through the Nats’ fingers and ended up at Seton Hall. He
    was drafted by the Yankees in 2009 and is currently still in high A
    ball for them at 24 years old.

  • OF/RHP Stephen Englund was chosen
    with another 2nd round pick (compensation from the Angels
    for signing Hector Carrasco). He hit .188/.308/.252 in 195 rookie
    and A-ball games and converted to a pitcher for a few innings before
    getting suspended for PED’s in 2009. He was released in April of
    2010 and hasn’t played in affiliated ball since.

  • IF Stephen King also has a cool
    name, but has a career .234/.304/.352 triple slash in the minors and
    has only gotten as high as AA. He too was suspended in 2009 for
    PED’s. Insert “they weren’t working” joke.

Six big leaguers total came from that
Nats draft (only 3 signed in 2006, though):

  • the eternally young 1B Chris
    Marrero (still only 24 years old!)

  • RHP Cole Kimball, who could
    conceivably make it back to the DC bullpen this year

  • RHP Sam Dyson (did not sign, now
    with the Blue Jays)

  • OF Kristopher Davis (did not sign,
    now with the Brewers)

  • OF Tyler Moore (did not sign after
    being drafted by the Nats in 2005 or 06, but finally signed in 2008)

  • RHP Brad Peacock (signed as a
    draft-and-follow, traded to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez trade, then
    traded to Houston in the Jed Lowrie deal)

Now, the Nationals completely failing
in the 2006 draft isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If they were a
mediocre team in 2008 and 2009 rather than a bad one, they would have
missed out on the chance to take Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper
in the 2009 and 2010 drafts. And there weren’t a lot of players that one could say the Nats really missed on; the steals of the draft like Mat Latos (round 11), Desmond Jennings (round 10), Derek Holland (round 25) and Andrew Bailey (round 6) came in later rounds. Only a handful of players were drafted after Chris Marrero and still in the top 100 that I can really be upset about (mainly Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson, both of whom were drafted in the 2nd round). But it still would be nice to have
something to show from this draft besides a bench bat and a 27 year old
AAA pitcher.