2011 Draft Preview: The Top 5 For No. 23

A look at who the Nats might take with their second first-round pick (#23 overall)

Picking up where we left off yesterday, guest columnist Marcus Wyche breaks down the Top 5 candidates for the Nationals second first-round pick at #23 overall. Without further ado…

By Marcus Wyche

As I mentioned yesterday, while Rizzo has been favoring big-body, power-arm pitchers, he’s also shown a tendency to hedge his bets by taking a risk pick along with a safe bet. With the #23 pick, I’m envisioning a bit of a gamble.


  1. Alex Meyer, RHP – Univ. of Kentucky
    Another big guy (6-8, 205) with a power arm. Based just upon stuff, he could be drafter much higher than #23 but he’s been inconsistent with control and he’d be a good pick at this spot.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2
  2. Archie Bradley, RHP – Broken Arrow H.S. (Oklahoma)
    Another great high school athlete that has already committed to play QB for Oklahoma. Based on potential, he could be drafted much higher than this but could also fall due to his commitment to Oklahoma. He’s a power arm from the right side with a big frame (6-4, 225). He’s already been clocked as high as 95 mph.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2
  3. Michael Kelly, RHP West Boca H.S. (Florida)
    High ceiling high school pitcher. Already sits in the low 90s. Also features a changeup and curve ball in his arsenal.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2
  4. Blake Swihart, C – Cleveland H.S. (New Mexico)
    Nationals have had some success lately developing and picking H.S. catchers. Derek Norris is the obvious name but Sandy Leon has done well so far, too. Swihart is a switch-hitting catcher with developing power and a good arm behind the plate.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2
  5. Travis Harrison, OF/IF – Tustin H.S. (California)
    Scouts argue on where to project him in the pros. I’ve seen him listed as an OF/3B/1B. No one doubts this guy’s power from the right side. He’s a high- risk, high-reward player in the first round but we lack young power prospects in our farm system and he’d be a great addition, no matter where he plays.
    Learn More #1 (Video) | Learn More #2

Other Names to Watch: Dillon Maples, RHP – Pinecrest H.S. (North Carolina) HS; Jack Armstrong, RHP – Vanderbilt; Charlie Tilson, OF – New Trier H.S. (Illinois); Noe Ramirez, RHP – Cal State Fullerton

My picks for the Nationals would be Jackie Bradley and Travis Harrison. Washington right now lacks a truly viable CF prospect aside from Eury Perez and we have few high-school power bats in our system. Bradley would be a safe pick with a solid ceiling attached to him and should be in the majors within a year or two of being drafted. Harrison will be more of a volatile prospect, and will take longer to develop, but I like his ceiling and he could add a legitimate H.S. corner IF prospect to our system.

More Links To Follow The MLB Draft

MLB Bonus Baby’s Mock Draft

Five Tool Talk’s Mock Draft

My MLB Draft’s Mock Draft

Minor League Ball’s Mock Draft #3

A Scout’s View

Prospect Junkies’ Mock Draft

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.

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

  1. One of my twitter followers, Greg Schaum is suggesting Brian Goodwin from UNC, Zack Cone from Univ. of Georgia and Mike Mahtook of LSU as other CF candidates to look for.

  2. This post was worth it just for the fabulous picture of Linc! Thanks for the info, Marcus! And Sue … if I haven’t mentioned it before, you are doing one heckuva great job with this site. I’m sorry that Brian left NFA to follow his dream, but I am thrilled that you’ve taken the ball and are doing a great job running with it.

    Keep up the great work, everyone (and this includes the commenters, too!).

  3. Can’t see Rizzo and staff going high/prep school that high in the draft. This franchise can’t afford to unless its a “can’t miss” like Strasburg or Harper. They aren’t going to go high school until the third round or lower I would guess?

  4. I agree with peric I can’t see them taking a HS kid at 1-6 maybe 1-23 or the sandwich pick. I hope we catch a HSer projected in the 1st rd in the 3-6rds ala Cole from last year.

  5. Love the thought of Mhatook patrolling CF in the Nats organization, LSU produces quality players well prepared for the majors!

  6. Thanks again everyone for the compliments.

    @Sue: Totally missed out on Goodwin he’s definitely someone to look at it’ll be interesting to see what the FO thinks about his suspension. Here’s a good Cone write up: http://www.mlbbonusbaby.com/2011/1/8/1923345/draft-prospect-to-watch-zach-cone . Mahtook was a name I looked at while doing the write up.

    @Peric: Roy Clarks drafted high schoolers high in the draft(Heyward) and has had success targeting HS pitchers(Hanson). Plus I remember Rizzo being rumored to look at Trout with our tenth pick a couple years ago. I don’t think it’s outside of the realm of possibilities for us to pick a high schooler with one of our three first round picks. We have three first round picks to not take a risk on upside with one of them would be short sighted.

    1. Also initially when Rizzo took over we needed to draft a lot of College ball players because we lacked upper minor talent and Bowden’s high school first round picks had not developed. Now that our upper minors have more talent I believe we can afford to loosen the reigns a little bit and begin to take a gamble or two on high ceiling high school talent.

      1. I don’t think they have all that much talent in the upper minors. The dearth of starting power pitchers seems to be a real area of concern! When your two top starting pitchers (organization pitcher of the year and runner up) are soft-tossers (like Lannan) and not even ranked on your top ranked prospects list? I doubt that you can hold up Tom Milone or Danny Rosenbaum as examples of better starting depth in the upper minors? And Solis is right on the edge of being considered a “power pitcher”, and he too may end up in the bullpen in the long run? Its hard to say?

        The key point about Bowden’s high school power pitching arms. They either failed as starters and are now in the bullpen (Balester) or couldn’t even handle the low minors (Colton Willems/Josh Smoker/McGreary). They are generally very high risk.

        I could be wrong but if the talent is there I see Rizzo going for college starting power pitchers with all 3 of those top picks.

        1. I understand what you’re saying and do agree we could use more power pitching in the upper minors but we do have Solis and Peacock. With guys like Cole, Ray, hopefully we see N. Karns at some point this year and a couple other developing in the lower minors. On the hitting side besides E. Perez we have zero lower level hitting prospects that are even remotely on the map(I don’t count Harper in this discussion). Using one of our top picks to get a high cieling high school bat is needed in the system as well.

        2. Peric,
          I think you’re way too quick to give up on Smoker & McGeary. McGeary was pitching pretty well when he needed Tommy John surgery. Smoker is very young still and plenty of chances left in him.

  7. If Rizzo uses all three those top picks and then some later … he may be the one giving up on them. McGreary has had 4 years before the TJ (while he went to Stanford and met Dre Storen) and summers spent mostly in the low minors.

    Keith Law:

    the 2011 draft, one that features one of the top college pitching classes in memory and a potent high school crop to boot.

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