The Nationals' 2010 draft class is set, with 25 of their top 26 picks in the fold and all negotiations done. So how does it shape up?
General manager Mike Rizzo and his top scouting lieutenants - assistant GM Roy Clark and scouting director Kris Kline - had plenty of good things to say about it last night. In addition to Bryce Harper's $9.9 million deal, the Nationals shelled out $1 million for second-round pick Sammy Solis and gave fourth-rounder A.J. Cole $2 million. They also signed 12th-rounder Robbie Ray $799,000, meaning their total outlay last night was about $13.7 million. That's still $1.4 million less than they'll give Stephen Strasburg over the life of his contract, and in addition to Harper, it landed them three pitchers that Rizzo said had been first-round picks at some point this year on Baseball America's list.
"We went big-time upside pitchers with great talent," Rizzo said. "And to land two position players like Harper and (third-round shortstop Rick) Hague, and to sprinkle in not only a veteran, college, quick-to-the-big leagues type of pitcher in Solis (and) to get two of the brightest upside high school arms in the draft, we feel that Kris Kline and Roy Clark did an outstanding job."
Solis is likely to be the quickest of the three pitchers through the system, though it's a stretch to assume he would be in the majors before 2012. But Cole and Ray could be middle-of-the-rotation starters, and all three add an ability to miss bats to an organization that doesn't have many pitchers with that ability.
The Nationals also like Hague and fifth-rounder Jason Martinson, another shortstop from Texas State. This draft, though, will ultimately be judged on the players they signed on Monday night. Harper, obviously, is at the top of that list, and because of that, we won't get a good feel for the returns of this draft for several years. It certainly won't bring returns as immediate as last year's draft, which has already yielded two big-leaguers in Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen.
But Rizzo's first draft with his full scouting staff has plenty of potential, and the players he paid so dearly to sign on Monday night will determine its success.