2011 Draft Preview: The Top 5 For No. 6

A look at who the Nats might take with the #6 pick in the June draft

Today we have a guest column from Marcus Wyche, a student at George Mason University who’s been kind enough to take me up on my offer to write about the upcoming 2011 draft, which would otherwise get short shrift since I’m not a “draftnik.”  Today, Marcus breaks down the Top 5 candidates for the #6 pick. Tomorrow, we’ll see his Top 5 choices for the #23 pick. Without further ado…

By Marcus Wyche

Since we have two picks in the first round this year, I decided to do things a little differently. I’m going to list a Top 5 for our top two picks in the first round. I know, I know we have three first round picks but the last one is too far away to even guess. As a matter of fact, the players I’m listing for the second pick could be picked out of a draft-eligible hat and the odds are that the random guess is as good as mine.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has been preaching athleticism, pitching, and defense since he took over the team in 2009. In his first two drafts, the Nationals have favored big-frame, power-arm pitchers and have also avoided the super toolsy outfielders with little on-field results. Washington has spent more on the draft than any other team in MLB the past two years; obviously due in large part to #1 overall picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

Still, as the Nats continue rebuilding its farm system, I expect Washington to continue to spend a lot of money on the draft. A player’s “signability” should not be an issue. Nevertheless, I do believe Rizzo will also hedge his bets and pick one guy who is almost a sure thing to make it to the Majors (e.g. Sammy Solis, Drew Storen type) and another guy who is a high-risk/high-reward type(A.J. Cole).


Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole, and Matt Purke are all but guaranteed to go in the top three. Even if one of them falls lower, I doubt they will fall to number six with Orioles and Royals still picking in front of the Nats. But if any of them do, expect that player to be chosen.

  1. Jackie Bradley, OF – USC
    Competing in the SEC, he managed a 1.061 OPS last year with a .368 BA and helped his team win the College World Series. He only had 13 HRs but even if his power doesn’t develop, he should still make it to the majors just based upon his defense in CF.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2
  2. George Springer, OF – UConn
    Has one of the highest ceilings in the draft. Has gone 45/50 in SB attempts in his college career with 34 HRs and a great arm. He has more than his fair share of strikeouts and his plate discipline will be put to the test against advanced competition. Potential five-tool talent.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2
  3. Taylor Jungmann, RHP – Univ. of Texas
    Big guy (6-6, 220), power arm — just the type of pitcher Rizzo likes. Struck out 129 batters, with a 1.08 WHIP and a 9.68 K/9 last year in the Big 12. His fastball sits in the low 90s but he’s been clocked in the 94-95 range as well. Also features a spike curve ball and changeup in his repertoire.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2
  4. Bubba Starling, OF/RHP – Gardner Edgerton H.S. (Kansas)
    He’s already committed to play QB at Nebraska, so it will definitely take an over-slot deal to sign him. Starling doesn’t have the showcase pedigree like some of the other talented two-way H.S. stars, but his ceiling is higher than any H.S. position player in the draft, making him an early first-round selection.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2
  5. Daniel Norris, LHP – Science Hill H.S. (Tennessee)
    Lefthanders with a plus fastball are not easy to come by, especially so young. Norris has been clocked as high as 96mph and generally pitches in the low 90s. He also has a changeup. Unfortunately, young pitching is very volatile and the Nationals don’t have the best track record developing H.S. starting pitchers. Brad Peacock has been the most successful thus far.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2

Other names to consider: Sonny Gray, RHP – Vanderbilt; Matt Barnes, RHP – UConn; Trevor Bauer, RHP – UCLA

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of NationalsProspects.com. Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

23 thoughts on “2011 Draft Preview: The Top 5 For No. 6”

  1. Outstanding post. These are folks that I don’t know well, and this will be something that I refer to in my occasional forays into the “ping” of college baseball.

    Do you know if any of these guys played in any of the major wood bat leagues, especially the hitting prospects?

  2. Nice post!

    He needs positional pitchers but also positional prospects. He’ll likely be looking at top of the rotation starting pitching, first base (perhaps), catcher, and outfield. Have to admit they are still pretty short positionally. Getting better pitching wise except for the dearth of power pitching arms that start. Have to figure that is the #1 priority. And Rizzo and most of his scouts prefer college players near the top. Have to figure its the guy from Texas first.

  3. Please no HS pitchers…please! 😉

    I like Springer at our draft slot and I am not just saying that because I am originally from Connecticut and know the UCONN head coach, this kid has potential to be the real deal!

  4. Springer and Bradley played on Team USA (Collegiate), Bubba Starling played on Team USA 18U, but I think they use metal bats.


    BTW, I’m pretty sure the new collegiate bats will be used this year (BBCOR instead of BESR standard), to emulate the performance of wood bats. Make it safer for Ps and 3B and basecoaches.

  5. I don’t know anything about scouting baseball players but I read MoneyBall and I loved watching Torii Hunter since he was a Twin; that being said, I’d be thrilled if the Nats got Jackie Bradley.

      1. Awesome article. Wouldn’t have found that. Great look. So tricky about how you would go around copyrighting a statistic. This kind of guy belongs in some kind of academic research outfit where he can be his eccentric self and pursue problems of interest to him.

  6. Thank you everyone for the compliments….

    @souldrummer: Springer did as noted earlier and Bradley played there his freshmen summer as well(http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/b/jackie-bradley.shtml)

    @peric: there are a ton of college arms in this draft more than their are impact college bats. I think we’d be able to get a college arm later in the draft with one of our other two first round picks if need be.

    @markfd: I like Springer a lot too but unless he can stick in CF I don’t see us drafting him. Werth and Harper most likely have our corner OF locked down for the foreseeable future. Can’t see them using a top 10 pick on a corner OF.

    Here’s a BA draft chat that has a lot of good information too: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/chat/2010/2610683.html

  7. Thanks for your input, mwyche. More good information on an excellent baseball site. I notice Bradley wasn’t own the ‘chats’ top ten. Any significance to that?

  8. @Jackson Campbell: Not much, early top ten lists are very fluid he came out with that list off the top of his head in September. BA has Bradley as the number 6 College Prospect in their top 100 College Prospects heading into the season.

  9. Marcus: Nice summarization of the possibles. Looking forward to the options at #23 tomarrow.

    As an aside to Sue_D: Where did you find this kid? Sticking your nose into Journalism classes at GMU, or in the seats at the Phiz last year? Either way, nicely played.

  10. Just watched the MLB Network’s Top 50 prospects. Bryce Harper was ranked #3 behind Jeremy Hellickson at #2 and Mike Trout at #1. Very understandable given that he hasn’t had time to show anything beyond the AFL yet. They’re only concern was about his speed.

    Couple interesting Harper tidbits:
    Favorite players: George Brett and Pete Rose
    Toughest guy he’s faced: Julio Teheran.
    Favorite Food before games: Sushi

    He’s a character and he’s the guy who might bring some of the Ovechkin juice to the Nats if he’s close to as advertised.

  11. Marcus — I’m sorry to be late with this, but on behalf of all seamheads, welcome to our community! This is a wealth of information and I’m appreciative for the enlightenment, especially considering that, like Sue, I’m in the Sgt. Schultz category when it comes to the draft.
    This is the type of thing we’ll all come back to as the year unfolds.

  12. I stopped reading after this ridiculously stupid line “Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole, and Matt Purke are all but guaranteed to go in the top three.”

    WHAT? Do you realize it’s January? You don’t think the college (and HS) baseball season might change some of that, like it always does.

    1. So admitting you didn’t read the article in its entirety doesn’t make your comment little more than a knee-jerk reaction?

  13. Excellent article, great to see this kind of writing about the Nats. I’ll throw hometown southpaw Danny Hultzen into the mix as well. I remember him dominating HS games for St. Albans and getting drafted in the 9th round before going on to UVA. And as you can see from the stats, the domination has continued…

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