An early look at the Nationals’ 2011 draft picks

Good morning, NatsTown. Getting a bit of a late start today after staying up late for the iPhone presale last night. After all the advice I got about smartphone purchases, I ultimately decided to get the Verizon iPhone 4 now, rather than waiting for a new one. The logic went like this: First, nobody knows whether the next iPhone will be 4G, what improvements it will have and whether Verizon will even get the first crack at it. And second, I’m really impatient.

Anyway, I was just looking at the Nationals’ picks for the 2011 draft, now that their compensatory pick for Adam Dunn is set. That pick will be the 34th selection in the draft, or the first of the sandwich round, and means the Nationals will have three picks in the first 34 choices of the draft. They, of course, have their own No. 6 selection and the White Sox’s first rounder (No. 23 overall) as part of their compensation for the Dunn signing.

The Nationals will give up their second-round pick (No. 63 overall) to the Phillies as compensation for the Jayson Werth signing. So essentially, they gained a first-rounder and moved their third selection up 29 slots.

In case you’re wondering, the 23rd selection last year got a $1.7 million bonus, and the 34th pick got $775,000. As we saw with the Nationals’ draft this year, though, the team has no problem going over slot to get players signed.

For the Nationals, this could be an especially good year to have multiple draft picks, too. There’s a good group of college pitchers at the top of the draft - a Mike Rizzo specialty - and this year’s crop of players is projected to be one of the deepest in several years;’s Keith Law tweeted this week it’s the best class since he got involved in scouting, and also said there could be as many as 20 players in this draft that will end up on lists of the game’s top 100 prospects.

The Nationals typically lean toward college players anyway, but I’d expect them to move in that direction this year as they try to infuse their system with a set of prospects who can move through the system quickly. They believe they’re going to have a window to compete from about 2012-15, so they’ll be trying to ready reinforcements for that push.