Baseball America’s Callis believes Nats can get quality hitting at No. 16

One guy is a great fielder and has a strong arm. Another hits for average and has great hands. Still another is an outstanding teammate and leader, and despite not having incredible tools, somehow finds a way to get on base almost every time.

So which one should the Nationals select in tonight’s First-Year Player Draft? After all, the Bryce Harpers of the world don’t grow on trees.

“It is makeup,” Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel Roy Clark told me Sunday on 106.7 The Fan’s “Nats Insider.” “That is what we always look for.”

Clark knows a lot about makeup, having scouted players while with Atlanta, the team the Nationals faced in the weekend series - guys like Brandon Beachy, Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward.

The Nationals built their system on making those right moves, finding guys with good makeup. They have found pitchers like Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole, Robbie Ray, Brad Peacock, Danny Rosenbaum, Alex Meyer and Matt Purke. But they are also not afraid to go after position players like Anthony Rendon, Ricky Hague, Brian Goodwin and Matt Skole.

When selecting No. 16 tonight, will the Nationals go for a position player if there is a good enough one on the board?

Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis told me on “Nats Insider” there are always talented pitchers on the board, but there also are some position players that deserve consideration in the first round.

“I think the better value in all likelihood, unless (Duke’s Marcus) Stroman is there or they decide they don’t want him because he is 5-foot-9, is probably going to be a hitter, especially if all those pitchers go ahead of No. 16,” Callis said. “I think (Texas high school outfielder) Courtney Hawkins is probably going in the top 10. David Dahl, an athletic outfielder from Birmingham, Ala., would be a possibility.

“You are looking at some of the better college bats (at that spot). Richie Shaffer from Clemson, who is a third baseman or a corner outfielder in the long run, is probably the best all-around hitter in college baseball this year. I am not saying this is a coup like Anthony Rendon at sixth overall (in 2011), but usually the best college hitter in the draft goes higher than No. 16. He might be a guy (there). Some people like Steven Piscotty, who is an outfielder/third baseman from Stanford, who is more of a hitter for average than power guy. He is kind of the next best college hitter. He might be in the mix as well.”

But Callis also wanted to be sure to mention that there is another high school pitcher he knows the Nationals have been very high on pre-draft, from a place the former Atlanta executive Clark is very familiar with scouting talent in the past.

“Everybody knows that the Nationals love right-hander Lucas Sims,” Callis said. “Roy Clark is from Georgia. He knows Georgia better than anybody. It is almost so obvious. You keep hearing, ‘Lucas Sims, the Nationals love him.’ They could very well love him and take him at No. 16 or maybe it is an elaborate smokescreen. He is a high school kid from Snellville, Ga., who could have three plus pitches when it is all said and done.”

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