The 2021 First-Year Player Draft concludes today with the 11th through 20th rounds, as the Nationals continue to fortify their farm system with young talent.
With picks in each of the first 10 rounds, the Nationals have strayed away from their traditional approach of stocking up on pitchers by selecting seven position players and only three hurlers over the first half of this draft, headlined by high school shortstop Brady House with the No. 11 pick Sunday night.
“We accomplished what we kind of set out to do,” said vice president of scouting operations Kris Kline in a Zoom session with reporters after Tuesday’s selections. “We’ve always been kind of pitching-heavy. I think we filled some voids that we have in our minor league system, and our player development guys are going to be happy with what we’ve got. I know they’re looking forward to working with them.”
Breaking down the selections even further ahead of the final day of the draft, the Nationals have selected three outfielders, two first basemen, one second baseman, one shortstop, two left-handers and a right-hander. That includes concluding Tuesday’s selections with Cal-Berkeley second baseman Darren Baker, son of former Nats manager and current Astros skipper Dusty Baker.
So it will be interesting to see if the Nats continue to stock the farm system with position players or revert back to loading up on pitchers to close out this year’s draft.
They started by selecting two pitchers with their first picks of the day.
In the 11th round, with the 323rd overall pick, the Nats selected junior college right-hander Marc Davis out of Florida SouthWestern State College.
Davis, a 6-foot-3, 175-pounder, went 4-1 with a 3.34 ERA in 35 innings over 17 games (five starts) this season for the Bucs. The 21-year-old also recorded two saves and posted a 16.46 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate.
Over his three-year career, Davis went 6-4 with a 3.14 ERA, three saves and only two home runs allowed over 44 appearances (10 starts).
In the 12th round, with the 353rd overall pick, the Nats selected left-hander Andrew Alvarez out of Cal Poly.
Alvarez, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder, went 7-3 with a 4.08 ERA in 81 ⅓ innings over 16 games this season with the Mustangs. The 22-year-old only allowed three home runs while striking out 81 and walking only 31 batters.
Update: The Nats are continuing to add pitchers to start day three of the draft. With their 13th-round pick at No. 383 overall, they selected right-hander Mack Anglin from Clemson.
Anglin, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound redshirt freshman, is scouted as a hard thrower and weekend starter for the Tigers. This past season, he went 2-7 with a 3.99 ERA in 56 1/3 innings over 13 games (eight starts). He struck out 75 batters, compared to just 33 walks.
In his career at Clemson, Anglin went 2-7 with a 4.83 in 61 1/3 innings in 17 games, 11 starts.
With their 14th-round pick (No. 413 overall), the Nats selected left-hander Erik Tolman out of Arizona State. Tolman, a 6-foot-2, 193-pound redshirt junior, went 6-2 with a 3.29 ERA in 31 games (10 starts) over this three years at Arizona State. As a sophomore in 2020, he had 30 strikeouts in just 18 innings, holding opponents to just a .143 average.
His 30 strikeouts ranked fifth in the Pac-12 last year, and his 15.00 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate was second in the conference and 18th nationally.
Update II: The Nationals took their first position player of the day in the 15th round. With the 443rd overall pick, they selected outfielder Jaden Fein from San Diego State.
A redshirt sophomore in 2021, Fein was a four-time Mountain West Player of the Week (Feb. 22, March 1, March 8, April 19) and a second-team All-Mountain West selection. He hit .389 with four homers, 53 RBIs and 19 doubles this season.
However, the Nats went back to the mound in the 16th round. With the No. 473 overall pick, they selected right-hander Jack Sinclair from the University of Central Florida.
As a 6-foot-4, 170-pound junior mostly used out of the bullpen, Sinclair went 5-5 with a 4.77 ERA in 66 innings over 17 appearances this season. He struck out 42 while walking 26 and recording one save. Sinclair did toss six shutout innings of three-hit ball with five strikeouts in a start against North Florida on March 14.
Update III: Continuing on the mound, the Nats selected right-hander Brendan Collins from UNC Greensboro with their 17th-round pick, No. 503 overall.
Collins is an Olney, Md., native and went to Sherwood High School. He finished this season in Greensboro with a 3-3 record, 5.54 ERA and 51 strikeouts over 50 1/3 innings. He’s a 6-foot-4, 215-pound redshirt sophomore.
The Nationals took their first catcher of the draft in Steven Williams from Auburn with their 18th-round pick, No. 533 overall. He also brings some outfield experience as well.
Williams started 20 games at catcher, 20 in right field, four in left field and four as the designated hitter for the Tigers this season. He hit .247 with a career-best 13 home runs, 36 RBIs and a team-high 28 walks in his senior year and hit .265 with 36 home runs, 135 RBIs and a .380 on-base percentage over his career at Auburn. He became the first Tiger to reach 30 career homers since 2011.
Update IV: With their penultimate pick, the Nationals selected right-hander Riggs Threadgill from McLennan Community College in Texas with their 19th-round selection, No. 563 overall.
Threadgill appeared in 11 games at Louisiana State University between 2018-2019 before transferring to McLennan, where he went 3-1 with a 4.03 ERA in six games, five starts and one complete game. He only allowed one home run with a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 9.31 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate.
The 6-foot-4 hurler committed to transfer to Auburn in January.
And with their last pick of the 2021 draft, the Nationals selected catcher Elie Kligman from Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas in the 20th round, 593rd pick overall.
The 6-foot, 185-pound senior, who also played multiple infield positions and pitched in high school, has yet to commit to a college scholarship and hasn’t revealed which schools are recruiting him, though they are all known to be Division I programs.
The Nationals selected one outfielder, two catchers, five right-handers and two left-handers on the final day of the draft.
With 20 total picks in the 2021 First-Year Player Draft, the Nats finished with four outfielders, two first basemen, one second baseman, one shortstop, two catchers, six right-handers and four left-handers. So they finished the draft split evenly with 10 position players and 10 pitchers, seven of whom came on the third day.
They selected 14 players from four-year colleges, two junior college players and four players from the prep ranks.
The deadline to sign draft picks is 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1.
Teams are now eligible to sign non-drafted free agents, with that period starting as soon as the draft ended, which wasn’t the case last year. They can’t spend more than $20,000 on any non-drafted free agent and no leftover bonus allotment can be transferred to spend on those players.
The number of non-drafted free agents this year will likely be much smaller than last year because of the longer 20-round draft and teams having an 180-player total roster limit.