Draft tracker: Nats wrap up 2023 MLB Draft (final update)

The 2023 MLB Draft concludes on its third day this afternoon leading up to tonight’s All-Star Game.

Before we see if Josiah Gray gets to pitch in the Midsummer Classic, the Nationals have their final 10 picks to make, one to start each of the remaining rounds.

Through the first 10 rounds, the Nats have selected two outfielders, four infielders, one catcher, two right-handers and one left-hander. Righty Travis Sykora, the third-rounder, was the only pick out of high school, with the other nine coming out of college.

Vice president of scouting Kris Kline and assistant director of amateur scouting Mark Baca said at the conclusion of the 10th round last night that the Nationals are confident they will sign all 10 of their first picks, including Sykora, who has a commitment to Texas. And they’ve already started.

The Nationals announced this morning the signing of five of their picks from yesterday:

* Round 6 – 2B Gavin Dugas, LSU
* Round 7 – C Ryan Snell, Lamar University (TX)
* Round 8 – LHP Jared Simpson, Iowa
* Round 9 – RHP Thomas Schultz, Vanderbilt
* Round 10 – SS Phillip Glasser, Indiana

Any players drafted today can be signed for a maximum of $125,000. Any amount over that will count against the Nationals’ bonus pool, which is $14,502,400, the third-highest in the majors.

As was the case yesterday, this post will be updated throughout the day, so be sure to check back as the Nats finish this year’s draft.

Update: To start the day, the Nationals selected right-hander Gavin Adams from Indian River State College (FL) in the 11th round, 315th overall.

The junior college pitcher is listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds at 20 years old. 

The 242nd ranked draft prospect per MLB Pipeline, Adams impressed scouts with his size, long arms and “whippy body.” His 60-grade fastball sits in the mid-90s, touching a bit higher at times. An 84-85 mph slider has shown flashes of being above average, but it’s still a pitch in progress. While he’s been pitching almost exclusively in relief, he has rarely thrown his changeup.

In 13 games with Indian River State, he went 2-2 with one save, a 3.76 ERA, 1.405 WHIP and 44 strikeouts for a 15.04 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate in 26 ⅓ innings.

Adams projects to be a reliever with high upside in his professional career. He has a commitment to Florida State.

With the 345th overall pick in the 12th round, the Nationals selected right-hander Travis Sthele from the University of Texas.

The 6-foot, 198-pound redshirt sophomore is 21 years old from San Antonio. He missed his freshman year due to injury.

In 15 games (10 starts) with the Longhorns this year, Sthele went 3-5 with a 5.75 ERA, 1.574 WHIP, six homers allowed, 31 walks, 66 strikeouts and five hit batters. He had a 2.13 strikeout-per-walk rate and 9.7 K/9.

Update II: To start the 13th round, the Nats picked left-hander Liam Sullivan out of the University of Georgia with the 375th overall selection.

A big lefty at 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, the 21-year-old had a solid season for the Bulldogs.

In 14 starts, he went 5-2 with a 5.77 ERA, 1.453 WHIP, 14 homers, 33 walks and 75 strikeouts over 64 innings. He posted a 2.27 K/BB and 10.5 K/9.

Sullivan pitched a seven-inning complete-game shutout against No. 10 Kentucky in April, striking out eight with four hits and four walks, and earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors for the performance. He was also named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week and SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week after his gem against Princeton in which he threw seven scoreless no-hit innings with just two walks and a career-high 11 strikeouts.

He was the 278th ranked draft prospect per Baseball America.

The Nationals selected outfielder Elijah Nunez from TCU with the 405th pick to start the 14th round.

A 21-year-old junior, Nunez had a solid college career. The left-handed hitter slashed .289/.400/.414 with a .814 OPS, 59 runs, 69 hits, 17 doubles, two triples, three home runs, 36 RBIs, 36 walks and 60 strikeouts in 63 games. He also stole 20 bags in 22 attempts.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, he was named to the 2023 NCAA Fayetteville All-Regional Team, 2023 Big 12 All-Tournament team, a 2022 Honorable Mention All-Big 12 and 2021 Big 12 All-Freshman Team. He made all of his starts in center field.

Update III: For the 435th pick to start the 15th round, the Nats selected right-hander Mikey Tepper out of Liberty University.

A transfer from Mississippi State, Tepper is a 6-foot-1, 225-pound junior. His father Marc was a 39th-round draft pick by Cleveland in 1988.

In 16 games (15 starts) for the Flames, Tepper went 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA, 1.485 WHIP, 78 strikeouts, 46 walks, two home runs and eight hit batters over 65 ⅓ innings. He had a 1.7 K/BB and 10.7 K/9.

With the 465th pick to start the 16th round, the Nats selected right-hander Austin Amaral out of Stetson University (FL).

A smaller starter at 6-foot and 200 pounds, he led the Hatters with 15 starts, pitching to a 6-3 record, 3.30 ERA and 1.349 WHIP with 82 strikeouts and 40 walks. He only gave up two homers and threw eight wild pitches. He posted a 2.05 K/BB and 9.7 K/9. He was also named Second-Team All-Atlantic Sun.

In two starts with Trenton of the MLB Draft League, he gave up one run and one walk while striking out nine over five innings.

Update IV: The Nats’ 17-round pick and 495th overall was right-hander Merrick Baldo out of Loyola Marymount University.

Another smaller pitcher at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, the 22-year-old has been almost exclusively a reliever with the Lions. He went 5-3 with seven saves, 4.11 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 44 strikeouts and 10 walks over 35 innings. He posted a 4.40 K/BB and 11.3 K/9 as a redshirt junior.

Baldo did give up seven homers and hit three batters this year.

The Nats selected only their second position player of the day to start the 18th round with catcher Nate Rombach out of Dallas Baptist University as the 525th overall pick.

Rombach was originally drafted out of high school by the Marlins but did not sign and honored his commitment to Texas Tech. He was named a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American in 2020 and First Team Academic All-Big 12 in 2021 with the Red Raiders before transferring to Dallas Baptist.

In 47 games with the Patriots this year, he slashed .288/.355./.456 with a .810 OPS, 41 runs, 55 hits, 11 doubles, seven homers, 35 RBIs, seven stolen bases in nine attempts, 20 walks and 41 strikeouts. He threw out nine would-be basestealers out of 17 attempts from behind the plate. He also played first base.

Update V: We’re in the final stretch of this year’s draft. The Nats took their second high schooler of the draft in right-hander James Ellwanger from Magnolia West High School in Texas. He was their 19th-round selection, 555th overall.

The 107th ranked draft prospect per MLB Pipeline, Ellwanger impressed scouts on the showcase circuit last summer without showing a lot of velocity, sitting around 90 mph and topping out at 93. Then a month into his senior season he was in the mid-90s.

He ended his high school career with a 17-strikeout one-hitter in the semifinals of the Texas 5-A playoffs as Magnolia West won its first state championship.

Ellwanger’s 60-grade fastball now sits between 93-97 mph. His 6-foot-5, 195-pound stature should help him create more velocity as he continues to develop. His plus slider is in the low-80s, average curveball in the upper 70s and still developing changeup in the mid-80s.

During his senior campaign, Ellwanger pitched to a 1.30 ERA and struck out 124 in 76 ⅓ innings. He is ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 64 overall high school prospect, the No. 4 draft prospect from Texas and the No. 2 right-handed pitching draft prospect from Texas, second only to the Nats' third-round pick Sykora.

He has a commitment to Dallas Baptist.

With their final pick of the draft, the Nationals selected right-hander Isaac Ayon out of the University of Oregon at No. 585 overall to start the 20th round.

Ayon was slated to be the Ducks’ Friday night starter this year, but missed his entire junior season with a right arm injury.

In 2022, he led the team with 16 starts out of his 17 appearances. Over 87 ⅓ innings, he went 4-4 with a 5.77 ERA, 1.580 WHIP, 80 strikeouts, 29 walks, 11 homers and 12 hit batters. He had a 2.76 K/BB and 8.2 K/9.

He also pitched two complete games in 2022: A seven-inning game with three runs (one earned), five hits and seven strikeouts against UC Santa Barbara and a nine-inning complete game with three runs, six hits and 10 strikeouts against Arizona.

And that concludes the 2023 MLB Draft.

Today the Nationals selected eight pitchers (seven right-handers and one left-hander) and two position players (one outfielder and one catcher/first baseman). They took nine college players and one prep player.

Overall the Nats drafted three outfielders, four infielders, two catchers, nine right-handers and two left-handers. They drafted 17 players from the college ranks and two high school players.

Now the scouting department will turn its attention to the 2024 draft. Next year will be the second with the new lottery system, which dictates the Nationals cannot pick higher than 10th overall in the first round despite currently having the fourth-worst record in the majors.

A strong second half by the boys in 2023 could ease the pain of that.

Nationals select 10 players on the third day of th...
Recapping Nats' second day of MLB Draft

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