A good (early) morning from Washington Dulles International, where I'm waiting to catch a flight to San Francisco for Nationals-Giants tonight. I'm not going to lie - it was great to look at the forecast for the next week and see a series of high temps with "6" as the first digit. I don't mind summer temps, but it'll be a nice break from what's supposed to be a sweltering week in the D.C. area.
Anyway, as you probably know, the MLB First-Year Player Draft begins tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern, and for the first time in two years, there's some mystery involving the Nationals in the first round. The last two years, they've had the first pick, with slam-dunk choices in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. But this year, they're picking sixth, so they'll have to have multiple scenarios for the first round.
They've got three picks in the first 34, though, and it's not at all a bad year to have extra choices. This is seen as a relatively deep draft, at least at the top of the board, with the strongest class of college pitchers in years. A club source said last week the Nationals have a number of players on their board they'd be happy to get at No. 6, and they think a few of their top names could still be available for their second pick at No. 23. (And yes, it's draft day, so take that with a grain of salt.)
While there are plenty of pitchers that could help the Nationals' rotation, the name I'd keep an eye on is Kansas high school outfielder Bubba Starling. The 6-foot-5 Starling is seen as a center fielder, with the tools to lead off and the range to man the position in the majors. An outfield of Bryce Harper, Starling and Jayson Werth wouldn't materialize for a couple years, but if that scenario came together, the Nationals would have two extremely high-ceiling players to play next to Werth.
Byron Kerr talked to Baseball America's Jim Callis about Starling here. And Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo discussed him, as well as other draft picks, in his first MASNSports.com live chat with fans last Friday.
Time to pack up the computer before I get shut down. Talk to you from the Bay Area - or, if I have time, from my layover in Chicago.