Note: I have updated the Draft Tracker for the 2021 draft, both the master board and the 2021 draft notes boards).
I have more details about signing bonus calculus and player notes/twitter accounts on the 2021 worksheet, in case you’re wondering why I separate them.
By now, you’ve probably heard about our picks and read a ton of responses in the commentary. Nonetheless, here’s some thought and insight into our 2021 picks.
Using various pundit draft board rankings (listed at the bottom for reference), here’s how our picks were thought of before the draft. Along with some commentary from me.
- 1st Round/#11 overall: Brady House, SS/3B Winder Barrow HS (GA). Law=11. MLBPipeline=8. BA=7. Fangraphs=9. ESPN=5. Prospects1500: 6
Thoughts: Discussed in a separate post here. Short version: great pick, great value for a guy who many pundits thought would go top 3-5. Based on where the pundits generally had House ranked, the Nats definitely seemed to get solid value even at the #11 spot in the draft.
- 2nd round/#47 overall: Daylen Lile, OF Trinity HS (KY). Louisville commit. Law > 100. MLBPipeline=80. BA=62. Fangraphs ~80. ESPN=47. Prospects1500: 70.
Thoughts: MLB’s scouting reports describe him as a gap hitter, but his size (6’0″) makes you wonder if he can develop power. Despite his understated stature, he’s apparently limited to LF because of a lack of arm strength? A curious pick, especially since he was projected more like a 3rd rounder. Is this a value pick to save on bonus money? I can’t imagine so; a HS player in the 2nd round isn’t taking a discount. Also, not for nothing … another prep player. Is Mike Rizzo gearing up for a possible rebuild by going young in the draft? A completely typical Nats pick (Brendan Beck, rhp from Stanford) went just a few picks later, a famous guy who you would have thought was a shoe-in for the Nats. Based on the scouting ratings, it seems across the board that the Nats overpaid for this pick. I thought one scouting report in BA was especially prescient: “Lile’s profile has been one that teams prefer to send to college where he will have a chance to prove his hitting ability.”
- 3rd Round/#82 overall: Branden Boissiere, an OF/1B from University of Arizona. Law > 100. MLBPipeline=159. BA=143. Fangraphs >100 . ESPN > 100. Prospects1500: 181
Thoughts: Seems like a slot-saver once again. Boissiere is 1B limited (listed as an OF but that was limited LF exposure early in his career). He can definitely hit though: slash line on the year: .369/.451/.506 but only 5 homers. Sweet swing, not a ton of power, Mark Grace comp. Another odd pick though in the grand scheme of things.
- 4th round/#112 overall: Dustin Saenz, a LHP from Texas A&M. MLBPipeline=189. BA=143. Prospects1500: 136.
Thoughts: The scouting reports list him as TAMU’s swing man for most of his career but was a weekend starter this year. He had decent numbers on the season; in 14 starts a 4.27 ERA, 1.26 whip, 104/23 in 84ip. I like those K/IP numbers a lot, especially since he’s pitching in the SEC. He had a couple of rough outings this season against top SEC teams (Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Arkansas all got to him), but he finished his SEC slate by pitching 8 innings of 2-hit ball against LSU. Scouting reports have him sitting low 90s and being undersized (5’11”). Seems like a bit of a slot saver yet again, but likely a decent lefty matchup reliever arm at the next level with deception. I’m beginning to wonder if the Nats promised Brady House … well, the house.
- 5th Round/#143 overall: TJ White, a prep OF from Dorman HS (SC). MLBPipeline= n/r. BA=360. Prospects1500: 346
Thoughts: Is Mike Rizzo sick today? he’s taken three high school players in his first 5 rounds after taking just a handful of prep players in the top 10 rounds in the last decade. White is somewhat unknown, but is listed as having 70 power at BA, a switch hitter, and is an Indiana recruit. Corner OF limited apparently, making him the third positionally challenged player the team has taken. Is he underslot? Maybe; if he’s ranked in the mid 300s at best, that’s a 10th round player projection. If they offered him anywhere close to slot he may take it.
- 6th round/#173 overall: Michael Kirian, LHP from Louisville. BA=274. Prospects1500: 262
Thoughts: Rizzo’s second college arm … and likely his second lefty reliever. He was a reliever for most of his Louisville career, transitioned to the rotation this year and struggled. His 2021 stat line: 4.80 ERA, 1.41 whip, 75/28 K/BB in 69 IP. He seemed to be doing fine in the rotation, but then had 4 straight starts against UVA, Clemson, Duke and UNC where he got shelled each week, then got dumped from the rotation for the rest of the season. He’s huge though: 6’6″ and the scouting reports say he creates deception and odd angles. Great; a loogy. More and more i’m thinking these are all underslot guys to pay House.
- 7th Round/#203 overall: Jacob Young, OF/2B from UFlorida. BA=354, Prospects1500: 200
Thoughts: A more slight guy (6’0″ and just 175) who played LF this year (to make way for the more “famous” Jud Fabian, but who is clearly a CF and also can play 2B. Listed as a speed guy with a solid hit tool, he started all 60 games for Florida this year and slashed .315/.385/.461 with 5 homers and 13/14 SBs. Not too bad; I mean, at least he had 5 homers. Per BA, he led the Gators in hits (80), doubles (16), runs (56) and stolen bases (13) this spring. Not a bad pick in the 7th round.
- 8th round/#233 overall: Will Frizzell, 1B from Texas. BA=418, Prospects1500=211.
Thoughts: Well, Frizzell absolutely destroyed at the plate this year; his slash line was .343/.451/.686 with 19 homers in 56 games. Lefty hitting 1B who BA says is a poor defender and may have to DH in pro ball. Well, lets let him hit his way up before we worry about where he’s playing. Despite his power, he’s listed as a plus hitter as well, so maybe the team has someone to push Drew Mendoza now. An excellent senior sign in the 8th round.
- 9th round/#264 overall: Cole Quintanilla, RHP from Texas. BA=300.
Thoughts: College reliever for Texas, led their staff in ERA on the year with an excellent 1.35 era/0.83 whip. 42/11 K/BB in 40 innings (26 appearances). So he projects as a middle reliever. BA notes “Quintanilla is the typical fastball-slider reliever with a 91-95 mph average fastball and a plus low-80s slider.” TJ surgery in 2018 (wouldn’t be a Nats draft if we didn’t draft someone who had TJ), but no issues reported. Decent senior pick at this juncture, can’t complain especially since he likely signs for a fraction of slot.
- 10th round/#274 overall: Darren Baker 2B from Cal Berkely. BA=187, Prospect1500=326
Thoughts: well, we drafted him in 2017, likely as a favor to Dusty Baker (who we summarily fired), and now we got him again in 2021. In the interim, he’s moved from SS to 2B. Lets see if its “third time’s a charm” about drafting a second baseman from UC Berkeley; we tried it in 2009 (2nd rounder Jeff Kobernus) and in 2012 (2nd rounder Tony Renda). Baker has almost no power (just 1 homer in 4 years in college) but has a ton of speed (top 10 in the nation in SBs) and is a plus defender at 2B. BA thinks he could play OF, but his arm is limited. Solid hitter (slashed .327/.402/.354). I suppose a 10th round senior sign who fills a spot of need (have you guys seen the 2B depth chart in the minors right now? Its MLFAs, NDFAs and 20th rounders).
top 10 picks Draft summary:
- 7 hitters, 3 Arms (wow)
- 3 prep, 7 college (wow)
- Of the 3 arms, all three likely projecting as relievers
- Of the 7 bats, two likely 1B, one CF, one 2B, two likely corner OF and House, who likely moves to 3B.
Conjecture on over/under slot needs in top 10 rounds
- Players who are likely commanding over-slot: House
- Players who are likely signing for slot: Lile, White, Young
- Players who are likely under slot: Boissiere, Saenz, Kirian, Frizzell, Quintanilla, Baker.
Draft Board Rankings
- The Athletic (Keith Law) 5/13/21 Draft Board.
- MLBPipeline (Callis & Mayo): Top 250 draft board.
- BaseballAmerica (Carlos Collazo): 2021 BA 500.
- Fangraphs (Eric Longenhagen): Fangraphs The Board top 100
- ESPN (Kiley McDaniel): MLB Draft top 150 Rankings 3.0 6/3/21
- CBSSports (R.J Anderson); 2/15/21 top 50 ranks. and his 7/2/21 top 50 ranks for comparison.
- D1baseball.com: 4/22/21 mid-season top 100 College draft prospects, 7/6/21 post-season top 150 College Draft Prospects
- PerfectGame: Jan 2021 Draft Class Ranks
- Prospects365 (Ian Smith): v2.0 of the board Jan 2021.
- Baseball Prospectus Top 50 Draft rankings (paywall).
- Prospects1500: top 350 draft prospects 7/9/21
- 2080Baseball: top 125 prospects