Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2012 Nats picks: rounds 2-15

Round 2 – 2B Tony Renda, California
Renda, a junior at Cal, does a lot of things right. He’s a good contact hitter who hits line drives, has surprising pop, runs pretty well and has a steady glove. The knock on Renda is his size; at 5’8”, he’s not a physical specimen and his short legs diminish his range at 2B, leaving something to be desired there. Just because he’s short doesn’t mean he’s a Dustin Pedroia, David Eckstein or Jamey Carroll clone, though; Renda can turn into an ML starter if he can stick at second base. #97 on Baseball America’s top 500 and #84 on John Sickels’ top 100.

Round 3 – LHP Brett Mooneyham, Stanford
The Nats snagged Mooneyham in the 38th round last year due to a finger injury that kept him out for the entire 2011 season. Mooneyham redshirted  last year for obvious reasons, so is still just a redshirt-Junior. When he’s healthy (and he doesn’t have lingering injury concerns) and consistent in his approach, Mooneyham is a lethal lefty with a fastball in the mid 90’s and good breaking stuff. The issue is that consistency, however; at 6’5”, Mooneyham often has trouble repeating his mechanics and for that reason he can lose velocity or control fairly easily. #120 on Baseball America’s top 500 and #87 on John Sickels’ top 100.

Round 4 – OF Brandon Miller, Samford
I’m a little surprised it took the Nats until their 3rd pick of the day to grab a college senior due to the supposed demands of Giolito. Miller is not your typical college senior, as he has excellent power and an excellent arm but is still considered raw and toolsy. He’s caught before in his career (at Georgia Tech) and could potentially move back there where he wouldn’t have to hit for average. Best case scenario is if he can stick behind the plate and knock out 20+ HR a year while hitting .240 or so and playing average defense. Should sign relatively quickly and cheaply. #314 on Baseball America’s top 500.

Round 5 – C Spencer Kieboom, Clemson
The Nats grabbed a true catcher in the 5th round in Kieboom. The Clemson junior was the #84 draft prospect as listed by Baseball America before the 2012 season and is an American-Dutch dual citizen. His relative drop in draft status was due to his mediocre season hitting (.250 with 3 HR), but his arm is considered his best tool anyways and his glove isn’t far behind.

Round 6 – OF Hayden Jennings, Louisiana HS
Jennings is small, fast and hit pretty well this season (.446, 13 HR). Perfect Game clocked his fastball at 87 MPH, so if he adds a few pounds he can have an above average arm. I can’t imagine that he’ll be cheap to buy out of his LSU commitment, but he went higher than expected, so a pre-pick arrangement could have taken place, espeically considering how high he was taken for a relatively unknown prospect.

Round 7 – RHP Robert Benincasa, Florida State
Still surprised that the Nats didn’t go with more seniors early, but Benincasa is an arm to watch. The Florida State junior was named a finalist for the NCAA stopper of the year award today and steadily improved his BB and K numbers during his time in Tallahassee. He was a stud this season, with 15 saves, a 1.29 ERA and a 48/5 K/BB ratio (wow!). Benincasa tops out around 94 MPH with a good sinking fastball and pairs it well with a solid slider. Very pleased with this pick.

Round 8 – SS Stephen Perez, Miami
The tools are there for the switch hitting Hurricane junior, but he hasn’t seemed to turn them together. Perez has above average power and speed to go with developing contact and defense, but every time something breaks right, something else breaks wrong (power but no contact, arm injury kept him from playing on the left side of the infield this year). Hit .247/.363/.435 in 2012 albeit with 18 steals in 22 attempts; needs to work on his contact, as 50 K in 186 AB just isn’t going to cut it in the pros…or 23 errors. #357 in Baseball America’s top 500.

Round 9 – RHP Derek Self, Louisville
Self is a pretty big boy who can dial it up to 95 or 96. The variations of his fastball (his sinker and cutter) are much better than his heater, which is below average despite being thrown pretty hard. According to Baseball America, he is the right kind of senior sign who "belongs in the top 10 rounds and still can be had at a discount." Scouting video from @alskor of @bullpenbanter. #279 in Baseball America's top 500.

Round 10 – C Craig Manuel, Rice
The Nats round out the slotted rounds with their third senior so far. The lefty swinging Florida native (who was born in Rockville, MD, h/t @nfa_brian), hit .291/.381/.348 in his career at Rice, starting 155 games over 4 years (and never less than 31 in a season). His plate discipline is beyond excellent (71 BB and 43 K in his college career) and he is considered to be a solid defensive catcher.

Round 11 – RHP Brian Rauh, Chapman
Without knowing Chapman University's baseball history too well, I am going to go out on a limb and call Rauh one of their best players of all time. In his three seasons at Chapman, Rauh has made the NCAA Division III All-America team all three times and has a 30-1 career record, 1.78 ERA and 355 K in 289 in his career at the school according to their press release. I'm a huge fan of his 122/29 K/BB ratio this year as well. Calling his college career dominant would be an understatement, and he should be a great addition to the system. In terms of his actual stuff, he can get into the low 90s with three secondary pitches in his slider/curve/changeup combo. #437 in Baseball America's top 500.

Round 12 – 1B Carlos Lopez, Wake Forest
Lopez' father Mike played collegiate football at Brown and raised his son who is built like a linebacker into a slugger. The senior hit .294/.412/.527 this season with 17 2B, 10 HR and 51 RBI (although he dipped to .250/.369/.389 in ACC play). His 36 BB to 36 K ratio is solid and he played solid defense at 1B (and has filled in at 3B/OF in the past as well). He does a lot of things pretty well, and could turn into a useful organizational piece.

Round 13 – LHP Elliott Waterman, San Francisco
The big (6'5" 230 lbs) junior lefty saved 7 games and put up a 2.36 ERA with 40 K and 12 BB in 45 and 2/3 innings. Waterman played for the Bethesda Big Train in the Cal Ripken League last summer and is slated to play for the same Green Bay Bullfrogs summer team that 11th round pick Brian Rauh played in last year (unless he signs quickly).

Round 14 – 1B/OF Jordan Poole, Chipola JC
The former Ole Miss player transferred to Chipola JC this year where he hit .329/.419/.541 this season with 15 doubles and 7 HR in 54 games. He struck out way too many times (55 in 170 AB) for my liking, especially given the competition, but there is always room to improve. He's got a ton of power, which is exciting for both me and for his mom, who likes to run up and down the aisles during games. In his high school career for Calhoun High School (where he played with former Nats supplemental 1st rounder LHP Josh Smoker), he hit 45 homers. Played for the Baltimore Redbirds in the Cal Ripken league last summer. 

Round 15 – OF Brandon Smith, California HS
The fast high school outfielder hit .429/.527/.688 in 25 games this year for Woodbridge HS in California. While it's impressive that Smith was 21/25 for stolen bases on the year, . He's committed to Grand Canyon University and should be relatively signable. He also plays for a school that wears the curly W logo (also h/t NFA Brian).


  1. Tim Flannery begs to differ regarding best player from Chapman University