SAN DIEGO - If it seems like the Nationals have taken a boatload of Scott Boras clients with first-round picks over the last handful of years, well, that’s because they have.
Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin are all Boras clients who were made Nats first-round selections in the previous five drafts.
If it seems like the Nats have used a few high draft picks in recent years on players with injury questions surrounding them, well, that’s because they have.
Rendon dropped in the 2011 draft at least partly because of concerns over a shoulder injury. The Nats’ third-round pick in the 2011 draft, Matt Purke, also slid because of shoulder issues. And Lucas Giolito, Washington’s top pick in 2012, fell largely because teams were concerned about his right elbow.
Erick Fedde, who the Nationals took with their first-round pick (18th overall) in last night’s First-Year Player Draft, fits into both of those categories. He’s a Boras client, and he dropped in the draft because of an injury.
As my colleague Byron Kerr detailed last night, Fedde had Tommy John surgery just this Tuesday, a procedure that will lead him on a 12-18 month rehab process. The UNLV product (who went to high school with Bryce Harper) was projected by many draft experts as a top-10 pick prior to suffering the UCL tear, and the Nats feel confident that Fedde is going to make a full recovery.
Taking a player coming back from a serious injury is certainly a risk, but the Nats have been through the Tommy John process, oh, a time or two before. Giolito is back working his way up through the Nats’ system and is currently viewed as the organization’s top prospect, and the Nats feel Fedde can follow a similar rehab process.
The Nationals have a total bonus pool of approximately $5.275 million to sign their top 10 draft picks without being subject to any penalties, and the recommended slot bonus for the No. 18 overall pick is around $2.145 million.
It will be interesting to see how much of a bonus Fedde lands. He’s already had the Tommy John procedure and will be out for a while. Will Boras still push for top-10-pick money, or will the surgery allow the Nats to reach a deal at an amount closer to the recommended slot signing bonus?
Moving back to the big league roster for a second, this 10-game road trip that lies ahead will be an interesting test for the Nationals.
They’re riding a little high right now after winning five of their last six, including a sweep over the Phillies. Now, they need to quickly get acclimated to the Pacific time zone and prepare to take on the Padres (three games in San Diego), Giants (four in San Francisco) and then the Cardinals (three in St. Louis).
The Padres are currently six games under .500, but they send two talented right-handers to the mound these next two days - Tyson Ross (6-2, 2.62 ERA) tonight and Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.35 ERA) tomorrow.
The Giants are 19-9 at home this season, are 18 games over .500 and have the best record in the majors by a fairly wide margin.
The Cardinals ... well, they’re the Cardinals.
It’s far too early (far, far too early) to claim that this is any type of a statement road trip for the Nats. It will be, however, interesting to see how they come out of it.
Should this run of extra-base hits, solid defense and excellent starting pitching continue throughout the course of this trip, then things could start to get fun.