On the final day of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft, the Nationals took a couple of kids with awfully recognizable last names.
The Nationals drafted both Darren Baker (Dusty’s son) and Jake Cousins (Kirk’s cousin) amid their flurry of third-day picks that spanned 30 rounds.
Darren Baker, 18, is an infielder who hit .396 with a .476 on-base percentage at Jesuit High School in suburban Sacramento, Calif. He has already committed to play for the University of California and is expected to attend Berkeley this fall as a freshman, turning down the Nationals’ offer to sign after he was taken in the 27th round of the draft.
The younger Baker is spending his summer in Washington and is playing for the D.C. Grays of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.
Best remembered for serving as the Giants’ bat boy during the 2002 World Series, when he was only 3 and had to be rescued from a collision at the plate by J.T. Snow, Darren Baker has grown into a talented baseball player who admittedly still needs to fill out his slender frame.
Jake Cousins, meanwhile, was a surprise pick of the Nationals in the 20th round. A right-hander from West Chicago, Ill., he went 7-2 with a 3.15 ERA as a senior at the University of Pennsylvania and earned unanimous First Team All-Ivy honors.
Cousins’ cousin, as it turns out, is Kirk Cousins, quarterback of the Redskins. No word yet if that makes him a second cousin.
Update: The Nationals’ series finale against the Braves is not off to a rousing start. The Nats trail 6-2 after four innings, with Tanner Roark getting hit hard and not getting help from his defense.
The Braves scored three runs in the top of the first, getting RBI hits from Brandon Phillips, Nick Markakis and Matt Adams. They scored three more runs in the top of the third, the first a direct result of Jose Lobaton’s surprise (and errant) pickoff throw to first base. Kurt Suzuki then launched a two-run homer to left to complete the rally.
The Nationals got two runs in the bottom of the second after Brian Goodwin sent a pitch from Julio Teheran soaring down the right field line. It was Goodwin’s fourth career homer, all of them coming in the last 12 days.
Update II: This one has turned ugly. It’s 13-2 Atlanta at the seventh-inning stretch. Trevor Gott and Blake Treinen combined to give up six runs in the top of the seventh, an inning that included three walks and two wild pitches. At this point, Dusty Baker is just trying to get through the rest of this game in one piece and not burn up too many guys before their four-game series in New York. Frankly, if ever he was thinking about putting a position player on the mound, this would be the time.