Crews' college coach on Nats' newest prospect

Dylan Crews Jay Johnson

Dylan Crews will soon arrive at the Nationals’ spring training facility in West Palm Beach and start getting acclimated to his new organization. It will be a two-way street of him getting to know his new coaches and the coaches getting to know their new player.

Someone who already knows Crews well as a player and as a person is his college coach: LSU head coach Jay Johnson.

Johnson, who attended Crews’ introductory press conference on Saturday donning a purple sports coat, was beaming while talking about the second of his former players who went Nos. 1-2 overall in this year’s draft.

“I think it’s the combination (of) that's an elite player, that’s an elite person,” Johnson said of Crews to a group of gathered media members at the conclusion of the press conference. “I think if you stack up his three seasons of college performance, you’d be hard pressed to find anybody any better. But there’s this humility that he plays with, this edge that he plays with, this ability to lift everybody up and make everybody else around him better on top of these baseball tools that show up every single day to help his team win. I mean, it’s a truly special player. After not going number one, there was really no decision, probably, for Washington to select him.”

Johnson’s first head coaching job came in 2014 at the University of Nevada. After two seasons with the Wolfpack, he accepted the gig at the University of Arizona, where he coached for six seasons before leaving to become the head coach at LSU in 2021.

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Recapping Nats' second day of MLB Draft

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The Nationals made eight picks between the third and 10th rounds of the MLB Draft yesterday. They’ll conclude this year’s draft with 10 picks this afternoon, spearheaded by vice president of scouting Kris Kline and assistant director of amateur scouting Mark Baca.

Of their first 10 selections, the Nationals 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.

“I think we did a super job,” Kline said on a Zoom call with reporters after the 10th round last night. “Everybody in there making our pool money work to the best of our ability and that kind of translated into three first-round picks at the top of our draft. So it was a good day. Good first two days for us. So pretty good.”

Because of the high number of college players and even with the lone high schooler, the Nationals feel confident they will sign all 10 of their picks from the first two days: “Yeah, we feel confident we'll have that all taken care of,” Kline said.

A lot has already been written about the No. 2 overall selection and No. 40 pick Yohandy Morales, both of whom are two of the next top Nats prospects.

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Draft tracker: Nats kick off Day 2 of 2023 MLB Draft (final update)

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The 2023 MLB Draft continues with Rounds 3-10 this afternoon and the Nationals are set to kick everything off with the first pick of the third round, 71st overall.

The Nationals, of course, lost to the Pirates for the No. 1 overall pick in the inaugural MLB Draft Lottery despite having the worst record in the majors last year by five games. But the draft’s subsequent 19 rounds revert back to the traditional order of worst-to-first, meaning they will have the first pick in each remaining round.

With the No. 2 overall pick last night, the Nationals selected Louisiana State University outfielder Dylan Crews, widely considered to be one of best prospects – if not the best prospect - in this year’s draft as the Golden Spikes Award winner.

“He's got a great skill set,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “I think he's a guy that's going to fit right in here and be one of the leaders of the core group of guys that's going to be part of the next group of championships that we have here."

To start the second round, the Nats selected University of Miami (Fla.) third baseman Yohandy Morales with the 40th overall selection. The Nationals were surprised the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder was available to them that late, as he was ranked as MLB Pipeline’s 20th best draft prospect.

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