Nats draft LSU outfielder Crews after Pirates take Skenes (updated)

Dylan crews

In the end, the Nationals didn’t get to make the choice for themselves. The Pirates did it for them.

When Pittsburgh went with right-hander Paul Skenes as the No. 1 pick in this tonight’s Major League Baseball Draft, the Nats made the easy decision to follow with his LSU teammate, award-winning center fielder Dylan Crews, as the No. 2 selection. In the process, the organization used its first draft slot on a position player for only the seventh time in 11 years, though for the third consecutive year.

The Nationals later selected another position player, University of Miami third baseman Yohandy Morales, with the first pick of the second round.

General manager Mike Rizzo, vice president of scouting Kris Kline and their team thought they might wind up having to choose between Skenes or Crews if the Pirates went for a potential cost-saving move and took Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford or Indiana high school outfielder Max Clark with the top pick.

That scenario, which was speculated all week, never came to fruition. Pittsburgh wasn’t scared off by the injury risk of a power pitcher like Skenes and went ahead and drafted the flame-throwing ace anyway.

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As draft day arrives, will Nats have to make the ultimate decision?

davey and rizzo sitting

Since they arrived in Washington nearly two decades ago, the Nationals have been in this position – owners of one of the top two picks in the Major League Baseball Draft – twice. In each case, they owned the No. 1 pick. And in each case, they drafted a generational talent whose name and reputation were already well-known throughout the sport.

Tonight, they’re back in this position for the first time since 2009-10, when they selected Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper and set a course toward an eight-year run of success and an eventual World Series title.

It’s not the No. 1 pick this time around. But if ever there was a year to have the No. 2 pick, this appears to be it. No matter who they end up with, the Nationals are going to draft a player every notable expert insists is good enough to be the No. 1 player selected in the country. Not to mention one who should find himself on a fast track to the big leagues.

“This pick could be somebody that changes us really quick, within one or two years,” manager Davey Martinez recently admitted. “It’s definitely exciting how this is all going to work out.”

There was little drama the last time the Nats were here. Everybody knew Strasburg was the choice in 2009, and everybody knew Harper was the pick in 2010. That’s not the case this time.

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Crews, Skenes or Langford: Three top experts weigh in


We are now only nine days from the 2023 Draft, one that not only features some of the best top-tier talent the sport has seen in a long time, but one that also sees the Nationals with one of the top picks for the first time in a long time.

The Nats don’t own the No. 1 pick like they did in 2009 and 2010, but if there’s ever a year to be satisfied with not owning the No. 1 pick, this is it. As many as five players are viewed by experts as No. 1 talents: LSU outfielder Dylan Crews, LSU right-hander Paul Skenes, Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford and high school outfielders Walker Jenkins and Max Clark.

Because they pick second, the Nationals are at the mercy of the Pirates, who have their choice of the entire field. Most experts believe Pittsburgh will take one of the two LSU stars who just won the Men’s College World Series, but there remain valid rumblings they could prefer Langford or one of the high schoolers because of the money they’d save and be able to apply to later-round picks.

The Nats have been widely connected to both Skenes and Crews, with maybe an outside chance they take Langford instead. There’s little buzz about them drafting a high school player with this pick.

So in all likelihood, general manager Mike Rizzo, longtime vice president of scouting Kris Kline and their team of evaluators are going to be selecting someone who played in last weekend’s much ballyhooed national championship series in Omaha. All possess elite skills, all are experienced and all are expected to reach the major leagues in short order.

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