The Nationals made pitchers their pick in nine of their first 10 selections in the first two days of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft. Assistant general manager & vice president, scouting operations Kris Kline said that was by design.
“We wanted to fortify our system with pitching,” Kline said. “That was the goal going in.”
Kline said this draft had a good mix of pitchers with “a lot of velocity and guys with secondary stuff.”
The Nationals selected six right-handers and three left-handers. The right-handers were, in order of selection: Wil Crowe, Brigham Hill, Kyle Johnston, Jackson Tetreault, Jared Brasher and Trey Turner. The southpaws were top selection Seth Romero, Nick Raquet and Alex Troop.
They also picked LSU second baseman Cole Freeman, their only position player in the initial two days of selections.
National crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales said they were able to acquire the different types of hurlers they were hoping to select to begin the draft.
“I think we’re happy with what we took,” Gonzales said. “We wanted pitching and we wanted some power arms and a mixture, like a balance of some guys that can really pitch. We got both. We feel good about it.”
Here is a rundown of most of these top selections:
Cole Freeman, Senior, LSU
Fourth-round pick (133)
5-foot-9, 175 lbs.
“He’s a senior. Really good player, good baseball player, can really run, good defender,” Kline said. “Really good hitter, not a big power guy. But a guy you’d like to have at the top of your order.”
Nick Raquet, Junior, William & Mary
Third-round pick (103)
6-foot, 215 lbs.
“The guy in the third round, Nick Raquet. Big fastball, up to 98 mph from the left side. He started the season as a reliever,” Kline said. “Worked his way in as the Sunday starter then the Friday guy. Nick’s got two breaking balls, he’ll show you above average with the slider and the curveball. Probably end up in the back end of the bullpen but power stuff coming out of the back, which is hard to find.”
Trey Turner, Junior, Missouri State
Tenth-round pick (313)
6-foot-1, 195 lbs.
“He was a kid that was the Friday guy at Missouri State and he got hurt early,” Kline said. “He already had Tommy John surgery (in April). You guys would be surprised how many guys have Tommy John surgery now. Amazing when the guys come in and talk about their players how it’s like an epidemic. He has really good stuff. We are going to rehab him the right way. He wanted to come to our organization. We have the right people to help him. That was an attractive part of it for him.”
Jackson Tetreault, Second Year/Junior College, State College of Florida Manatee - Sarasota
Seventh-round pick (223)
6-foot-5 170 lbs.
“We saw him really early and then (scout Buddy Hernandez) saw him several times,” Kline said. “More of a projection guy that shows you stuff now. Good velocity that he doesn’t maintain quite yet. But he has the ability to spin the baseball. Shows you an above-average curveball. And the velocity he throws it with, it’s easy (to) project on guys like that. He’s a tall, skinny kid. But he’s loose, so it’s more of a coordination thing and he’s going to be two or three years you’re going to see something pretty good out of him.”
Alex Troop, Junior, Michigan State
Ninth-round pick (283)
6-foot-5, 210 lbs.
“Troop is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound two-way player, super athletic kid,” said National crosschecker Fred Costello. “He’s one of the finalists for the John Olerud Award this year. Not only their Friday starter, but their No. 3 hitter. So got a chance there to have a guy that can get on the mound and who knows what can happen when he’s just a straight pitcher. It’s a big body guy that’s a really good athlete. Really excited about him.”
Can he be a two-way player in the major leagues?
“How about being a really good hitting pitcher,” Costello smiled.
Brigham Hill, Junior, Texas A&M
Fifth-round pick (163)
5-foot-11, 190 lbs.
“Brigham Hill is awesome,” Gonzales said. “He’s a strike-thrower. Real competitive. It’s a kid we’ve known since junior in high school. Played on an area code team that we take to Long Beach and the Friday night guy at Texas A&M for two or three years now. Just a guy we really wanted.”