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.