2014 Nats Draft Class: No Bueno so far…

Just over six months have passed since the 2014 MLB draft, and 1st round pick Erick Fedde may have had the best professional debut out of the entire Nats draft class. Erick Fedde is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and did not pitch in a professional game of any sort.

The Nats were widely considered to have a pretty average class full of interesting pitchers and lacking hitters (especially since 9th round slugger Austin Byler did not sign). One half season of rookie/A-ball stats absolutely do not make or break a draft class, but the Nats’ draft class is off to an abysmal first impression here.

The standouts (I use that term pretty loosely):

  • C Jakson Reetz (3rd round, NE HS) – hit .274/.429/.368 in 155 PA with a dinger for the GCL Nats, but struggled behind the plate (23% CS, 7 PB, 6 E in 33 games). Also, where’s the power?
  • RHP Drew Van Orden (5th round, Duke) – In 12 games for the GCL Nats and Auburn, Van Orden’s ERA isn’t sexy (4.30), but his rate stats look decent (2.2 BB/9, 8.2 K/9).
  • OF D.K. Carey (7th round, Miami) – hit .348/.353/.357 in 184 PA for Auburn, with 6 steals in 8 chances and 3 home runs.
  • RHP Tyler Mapes (30th round, Tulane) – 1.14 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 6.1 K/9 in 23 and 2/3 innings for the GCL Nats and Auburn. Skyrockets to the top of the list for best performances by a 2014 Nats draft pick with a 2.67 K/BB ratio. Sigh.

The disappointments:

  • RHP Robbie Dickey (4th round, Blinn College) – meh debut between the GCL Nats, Auburn Doubledays and Hagerstown Suns. 4.15 ERA, 1.442 WHIP, 10.1 H/9, 2.9 BB/9, 6.0 K/9.
  • RHP Austen Williams (6th round, Texas State) – Might sound like a broken record, but was meh in 11 starts between the GCL Nats and Auburn, with a 4.36 ERA, 1.315 WHIP, 9.8 H/9, 2.1 BB/9, and 5.6 K/9.
  • OF Jeff Gardner (8th round, Louisville) – hit .206/.284/.427 in 183 PA for Auburn, with only 2 steals in 7 chances. Surprisingly hit 4 HR.
  • OF Matthew Page (10th round, Oklahoma Baptist) – hit .248/.331/.350 in 133 PA for Auburn, with only 1 HR. He does have a hamstring injury to partially blame for his struggles.
  • RHP Weston Davis (11th round, FL HS) – 9.92 ERA, 1.22 K/BB ratio in 16 and 13 innings for the GCL Nats. Yikes.
  • RHP Domenick Mancini (12th round, Miami-Dade College) – shiny-looking 2.45 ERA in 14 and 2/3 innings between the GCL and Auburn, but gross 4.3 BB/9 paired with grosser 5.5 K/9.
  • 2B/3B Austin Davidson (13th round, Pepperdine) –  .243/.296/.385 in 186 PA between Auburn and Hagerstown, with 3 HR.
  • RHP James Bourque (14th round, Michigan) – 4.00 ERA, 3.4 BB/9, 6.6 K/9 in 45 innings for the GCL Nats and Auburn.
  • 1B Ryan Ripken (15th round, Indian River CC) – .157/.218/.235 with a HR in 55 PA for the GCL Nats.
  • LHP Cole Plouck (16th round, Pima CC) – 3.55 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 6.4 K/9 in 12 and 2/3 innings for the GCL Nats.
  • OF Alec Keller (17th round, Princeton) – only played in 2 games due to a back injury, but went 1/10 in those two games for Auburn.
  • LHP McKenzie Mills (18th round, GA HS) – 5.87 ERA, 7.0 BB/9, 5.1 K/9 in 23 innings for the GCL Nats. At least we were expecting him to be a project.
  • OF Clay Williamson (19th round, Cal State Fullerton) – .236/.347/.283, 4/8 SB in 124 PA for Auburn.
  • OF Bryan Langlois (20th round, Pepperdine) – hit .237/.331/.289 in 176 PA across Hagerstown and Auburn. 4/5 on SB attempts, at least.
  • LHP Connor Bach (21st round, VMI) – 3.31 ERA in 32 and 2/3 innings for the GCL Nats and Auburn looks pretty solid! Oh crap, it’s paired with an 8.0 BB/9. Dammit. He’s limiting hits (6.3 H/9) and striking out some guys (7.4 K/9), at least.
  • 2B/SS Chris Riopedre (23rd round, ETSU) – hit .216/.227/.257 in 77 PA for Auburn. 15 K to 1 BB.
  • RHP Kyle Simmons (24th round, Texas Lutheran) – 5.03 ERA, 7.3 BB/9, 6.4 K/9 in 19 and 2/3 innings for the GCL Nats.
  • C Kyle Bacak (25th round, TCU) – hit .133/.212/.133 in 35 PA for Auburn and the GCL Nats and threw one scoreless inning for Auburn as well.
  • RHP Chase McDowell (26th round, Rice) – 5.01 ERA in 32 and 1/3 innings for the GCL Nats and Auburn. Only walked 4 batters, though! (but only struck out 5.3 per 9 innings).
  • 2B/SS Conor Keniry (27th round, Wake Forest) – hit .236/.328/.274 in 124 PA for the GCL Nats.
  • RHP Kida De La Cruz (28th round, Volunteer State CC) – 4.50 ERA, allowed 11 runs, 11 BB, 12 K and 19 H in 18 innings for the GCL Nats.
  • RHP DJ Jauss (29th round, UMass-Amherst) – 6.35 ERA, 0.92 K/BB for the GCL Nats.
  • RHP Sam Johns (31st round, Evansville) – 3.86 ERA, 1.4 BB/9, 4.2 K/9 in 25 and 2/3 innings for Auburn, Hagerstown and the GCL Nats. Played for almost as many teams (3) as he had walks (4), but he also allowed almost as many runs (11) as he had strikeouts (12).

So to recap, the 2014 Nats draft does not look that good so far. Not all is lost, of course, as Erick Fedde can still become a top-of-the-line starter, Jakson Reetz can add a C prospect to the Nats’ system (and while he’s at it, perhaps a C to his first name), and guys like Robbie Dickey, Drew Van Orden and Domenick Mancini can still turn their solid stuff into results. Not signing your 2nd rounder (LHP Andrew Suarez) or 9th rounder (Byler, who was considered by many to be a steal) obviously doesn’t help, but the Nats really went all-in with their budget on Fedde. The scouting department better hope that he turns out to be a stud, as they punted much of the rest of the draft to sign him.

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