Nationals go after Division I talent as final draft day continues

Following the selection of Cody Gunter, the Nationals have made these selections:

At No. 226 in the seventh round, the Nationals selected University of Delaware first baseman James Yezzo, the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year. The 21-year-old Yezzo is 6-foot-1 and 190 lbs., bats left and throws right. Yezzo hit .410 and slugged .714 for the Blue Hens this past season.

At No. 256 in the eighth round, the Nationals picked left-hander David Napoli out of Tulane University. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder bats right handed and is 22. He was 5-3 in 15 games (10 starts) with a 3.00 ERA, 51 strikeouts and 33 walks in 66 innings. He tossed one complete game and his opponent batting average was .176.

Right-hander Jake Joyce out of Virginia Tech was the Nationals’ pick at No. 286 in the ninth round. The senior is 21 and went 7-1 with a 4.16 ERA with three saves in 30 appearances for the Hokies. He had 56 strikeouts and 30 walks.

At No. 316 in the 10th round, the Nationals grabbed another Tulane player, shortstop Brennan Middleton. The right-handed-batting senior hit .295 with eight doubles, one triple and 13 RBIs and his on-base percentage was .372. He scored 35 runs with nine stolen bases. He committed six errors in 56 games, for a .981 fielding percentage.

At No. 346 of the 11th round, the Nationals selected John Simms, a right-hander from Rice University. The 6-foot-3, 205 lb. junior has a 88-90 mph fastball, a changeup and breaking pitch. The Nationals will try to convince him to sign instead of returning to Owls for his senior season.

At No. 376 of the 12th round, the Nationals picked right-hander Andrew Cooper from Sierra Junior College in California. With the No. 406 selection of the 13th round, the Nationals went for right-hander John Costa out of Palm Beach Community College.

Twenty-year-old shortstop David Masters out of Central Arizona College was picked at No. 436 of the 14th round by the Nationals. At No. 466 of the 15th round, the Nationals selected 23-year old center fielder William Ballou from Marshall University. The left-handed-throwing and hitting prospect was originally drafted by the Pirates in in the 36th round of the 2011 draft.

Programming note: For Sunday’s doubleheader, the 1:35 p.m. game against the Twins will air on MASN2 HD, while the night game scheduled for 7:05 p.m. will air on MASN HD.

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