A look at past unsigned Nats draft picks

Traditionally, the top 20 rounds of the MLB draft are the ones that matter. Sure, there are stories of great finds in late rounds (Mike Piazza - 62nd round in 1988, Mark Buehrle - 38th round in 1998 are two of many examples), but the chances of drafting and signing a stud in the late rounds are slim to none, especially after MLB reduced the number of rounds from 50 to 40 prior to the 2012 draft.

Even with 10 fewer rounds, teams still have more picks than they know what to do with, and often draft high school players in the last ten rounds without serious intentions of signing them. Perhaps they select them just in case one gets injured and wants to get paid $100,000 or so to rehab, or has a last-second change of heart about their signing bonus demands; signing these guys is still extremely rare.

Today's post is an exercise looking at where unsigned Nats draft picks of recent years stand in terms of the MLB Draft, both for guys eligible in 2015 as well as in future years.

2015 Eligible

LHP Andrew Suarez
Drafted 2014, 2nd round (57th overall) from the University of Miami
Currently attends the University of Miami
Draft eligible in 2015
#73 on Baseball America's top 200 draft prospects list
Supplemental 1st to 2nd round pick range - Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs (published 4/17/15)

Suarez is the biggest name on the list, as he turned down the Nationals' 2nd round money to return to Miami for his senior season. The move was a surprise, as Suarez has a well-documented history of injury, and seniors are generally low-balled in negotiations, as they do not have much leverage in negotiations other than going to play Independent ball.

It appears that Suarez bet correctly that he would stay healthy and improve his draft stock, as he's gone 7-1 with a 2.95 ERA, 8.41 K/9, 2.36 BB/9 and 1.26 WHIP. I would expect Suarez to go in the mid second round, a little before where he was selected last year; he will likely get less money than he would have last year, though.

OF Skye Bolt
Drafted 2012, 26th round (804th overall) from Holy Innocents HS (Atlanta, GA)
Currently attends the University of North Carolina
Draft eligible in 2015
#105 on Baseball America's top 200 draft prospects list
3rd round pick range - Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs (published 4/17/15)

The only reason Bolt fell to the 26th round in 2012 was his strong commitment to UNC.
The speedy, switch-hitting centerfielder with a cool name has a solid resume from his time in Chapel Hill, boasting a career .279/.391/.430 triple slash with 28 steals and 20 HR in 171 career games. What impresses me the most is his career 110 BB/98 K ratio. That's pretty good. He's struggled with his swings from both sides of the plate and has a strangely low batting average for a hitter with his speed (especially when you consider he's using a metal bat, not wood). I'm not completely sold on the bat, but he's got a shed full of above average tools, and it's hard not to go after somebody with his talent.

1B Austin Byler
Drafted 2014, 9th round (274th overall) from the University of Nevada
Currently attends the University of Nevada
Draft eligible in 2015
#97 on Keith Law's top 100 draft prospects list (published 5/13/15)
#114 on Baseball America's top 200 draft prospects list

Like Suarez, Byler surprisingly turned down slot money to return for his senior season, and like Suarez, he hasn't done anything to make his stock go down. Byler has an impressive .320/.502/.634 triple slash in 271 PA, with 13 HR, 66 R and 50 RBI and even 8 steals. His strikeout numbers aren't perfect (21.0% K%), but he's walking at an incredible pace to keep up with the K's (19.9% BB%). Look for Byler to go in the 4th-7th round range as an affordable senior sign who can potentially turn into a masher at 1B.

3B Josh Tobias
Drafted 2011, 31st round (947th overall) from Southeast Guilford HS (Greensboro, NC)
Currently attends the University of Florida
Draft eligible in 2015
#138 on Baseball America's top 200 draft prospects list

Who's got two thumbs and loves switch hitting infielders with pop? This guy. Tobias may not be the biggest guy (listed at 5'9"), but he packs some significant line-drive power. He's gotten better every year at Florida (OPS over the years: .639, .692, .808, and 1.006) and there's a pretty solid chance he can play 2B as a pro, where his bat will profile very nicely. Tobias is known as a hard-working player who gives every ounce of his energy to get better each day, and looks to be selected in the first ten rounds.

RHP Cody Poteet
Drafted 2012, 27th round (834th overall) from Christian HS (El Cajon, CA)
Currently attends UCLA
Draft eligible in 2015
#190 on Baseball America's top 200 draft prospects list

After two sub-par seasons to start his college career, Poteet has come into his own this year despite bouncing between the rotation and bullpen more than ever before. The righty has seen his strikeout rate soar (8.6 K/9, up from 5.61 last year) while allowing fewer hits and home runs than last year. He profiles as a reliever professionally, but his sinking fastball and above average curve are a nice 1-2 punch that can get advanced hitters out.

OF Clay Casey
Drafted 2014, 33rd round (994th overall) from DeSoto Central HS (Southaven, MS)
Currently attends Northwest Mississippi Community College
Draft eligible in 2015

Casey was originally committed to Ole Miss, but decided to take the JC route so he could re-enter the draft in 2015. The stocky outfielder has a robust .333/.468/.654 triple slash, including 12 HR in 201 plate appearances. Baseball America ranked him as their 221st overall player in the 2014 draft, and he hasn't done anything to drop much, so don't be surprised if the Nats draft him again in 2015, albeit much higher.

C Daniel Salters
Drafted 2014, 22nd round (664th overall) from Dallas Baptist University
Currently attends Dallas Baptist University
Draft eligible in 2015

The solidly built 6'3" catcher was a bit of an unknown when the Nats called his name last year in the 22nd round, but he's gaining respect as a catch-and-throw guy with a disciplined approach from the left side of the plate. Salters was a draft eligible sophomore last year due to his age (similar to Drew Storen in 2009), and is hitting .266/.379/.401 on the season. He'll likely go somewhere around the teen rounds.

IF/OF David Kerian
Drafted 2011, 42nd round (1267th overall) from Bishop Heelan Catholic HS (Sioux City, IA)
Currently attends the University of Illinois
Draft eligible in 2015

There's a lot to like about a switch hitter who hit .366/.452/.644 with 14 HR this year. Kerian has been a consistent producer in Illinois' lineup for three seasons now, but really took his game to another level in 2015, likely boosting his draft stock at the same time. He's athletic enough to play any corner position, and could be taken in the first ten rounds by a team trying to go over-slot on a different player. According to Kerian's profile on Illinois' official website, his favorite player is Bryce Harper, so he's Citizens of Natstown approved.

OF Brandon Smith
Drafted 2012, 15th round (474th overall) from Woodbridge HS (Irvine, CA)
Currently attends Grand Canyon University
Draft eligible in 2015

It's hard to be a corner outfielder without much power, so Smith has a tough road ahead of him. After a disastrous 2014 season where he only hit .235/.274/.270, he rebounded to a solid .348/.402/.478 triple slash, with 10 steals in 43 games this year. He'll likely go in a similar round in 2015 and has 4th OF upside, especially if he can add some pop to his 6'3" frame.

C Mitch Williams
Drafted 2012, 39th round (1194th overall) from Coosa HS (Rome, GA)
Currently attends University of Alabama-Birmingham
Draft eligible in 2015

2014 was a breakout year for Williams, as he hit .293/.411/.353 in 166 PA in his first taste of NCAA ball. 2015 has not been as kind, however, as he struggled along to a .143/.253/.200 triple slash in what appears to be an injury-shortened season. The promise he showed in 2014 should get him taken again if he has a clean bill of health.

LHP Jacob Hill
Drafted 2014, 40th round (1204th overall) from Orange Coast College (Orange, CA)
Currently attends the University of San Diego
Draft eligible in 2015

Projection is the key when drafting guys like Hill without standout college numbers. Despite allowing 30 runs on 31 hits and 28 walks in 28 and 2/3 innings this year, Hill will likely be drafted again because he's a 6'3" lefty who can strike guys out (30 K). Hill's coaches have considered him to be a late bloomer, with a solid fastball and good breaking pitch serving as a solid 1-2 punch against batters.

2B Jake Jefferies
Drafted in 2012, 34th round (1044th overall) from Foothill HS (Santa Ana, CA)
Currently attends Cal State Fullerton
Draft eligible in 2015

Things haven't gone as planned for the switch-hitting infielder after a somewhat promising freshman year. Jefferies has a career .227/.289/.284 triple slash in 408 plate appearances, showing very little power (16 career extra base hits) or speed (9 SB) in the process. The son of Gregg Jefferies is solid in the field, and will need his glove to carry him towards a professional career if his bat doesn't improve quickly.

RHP Freddy Avis
Drafted 2012, 25th round (774th overall) from Menlo HS (Atherton, CA)
Attended Stanford University
Draft eligible in 2015

Freddy Avis, ranked #56 overall by Baseball America in 2012, retired from baseball this year due to shoulder injuries.

2016 Eligible

SS Garrett Hampson
Drafted 2013, 26th round (796th overall) from Reno HS (Reno, NV)
Currently attends Long Beach State University
Draft eligible in 2016

There's a tradition of excellence amongst Long Beach State infielders, including the likes of Harold Reynolds, Bobby Crosby, Matt Duffy, Danny Espinosa, Evan Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki, and Garrett Hampson is looking to join that list. The shortstop was a top 100 ranked player by Baseball America during his draft year in 2013; he hasn't done anything to especially help or hurt that status, hitting .296/.368/.366 with 18 steals in 54 games this season after going .308/.346/.392 with 9 steals his freshman year. Hampson has a wide array of tools, from his plus speed to his rabbit-like instincts, and really only lacks power from his toolbox. He'll be taken in the top few rounds next year, barring an injury or some other kind of unforeseen event.

1B/OF Bryce Harman
Drafted 2013, 27th round (826th overall) from L.C. Bird HS (Chesterfield, VA)
Currently attends East Carolina University
Draft eligible in 2016

If you like really big outfielders, Harman is your guy, hulking out at a massive 6'6". Predictably, he packs some punch, with 14 home runs in his first two seasons for ECU. Harman's overall batting profile has been disappointing so far, though, with a .243/.343/.407 career triple slash over two seasons and a 45/107 BB/K ratio. You can't teach size, though, and with size often comes power, so he'll be a rare college junior upside play for a team in next year's draft.

RHP Andrew Dunlap
Drafted 2013, 33rd round (1006th overall) from Westbury HS (Houston, TX)
Currently attends Rice University
Draft eligible in 2016

While he's yet to see any game action at Rice, Dunlap has a very draftable arm, regularly sitting in the mid-90s and touching as high as 98 mph. He's a sturdy 5'11" and 215 lbs, and is relatively new to pitching, as he mostly caught in high school. He missed the 2014 season due to an arm injury and didn't play at all in 2015, but there's little information as to why not. If healthy, he could be drafted as a quick-moving bullpen arm.

3B Reid Humphreys
Drafted 2013, 36th round (1096th overall) from Northwest Ranking HS (Brandon, MS)
Currently attends Mississippi State University
Draft eligible in 2016

Mississippi State is still waiting for Tyler Moore's younger brother to turn his raw power into game power, but his 5 HR this year is a pretty solid start. The 6'1" infielder hit .247/.328/.389 in 46 games this year, but needs to show more with the bat if he wants to be drafted higher next year.

3B Caleb Hamilton
Drafted 2013, 38th round (1156th overall) from Woodinville HS (Woodinville, WA)
Currently attends Oregon State University
Draft eligible in 2016

Hamilton wasn't expected to be Babe Ruth with the bat, but a .230/.326/.289 triple slash is still pretty disappointing. He walked on to the Oregon State team and earned a starting spot his freshman year. He's known as a smart player who excels defensively, but needs to hit more if he wants to get drafted again.

2B Robbie Tenerowicz
Drafted 2013, 39th round (1186th overall) from Campolindo HS (Moraga, CA)
Currently attends the University of California - Berkeley
Draft eligible in 2016

Tenerowicz broke out last summer for the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods League, smacking an impressive 6 HR and putting together a solid .252/.346/.417 triple slash. He couldn't find that success this year for Cal, however, hitting .177/.238/.208 in 107 PA. Tenerowicz has battled through wrist injuries in his time at Cal, and if healthy could be draftable next year, assuming his bat is healthy as well.

RHP Shaun Anderson
Drafted 2013, 40th round (1216th overall) from American Heritage HS (Plantation, FL)
Currently attends the University of Florida
Draft eligible in 2016

Anderson, the Mister Irrelevant of the 2013 draft, is a big boy (6'5" and 235 lbs) and can bring the heat with a low-to-mid-90's fastball that can turn into something above average. He pairs it with a solid slider and a mediocre changeup. He hasn't had a ton of opportunities yet at Florida (only 36 innings pitched in two sesaons), but saw his peripheral numbers improve this year, with his WHIP and H/9 going down and his K/9 going up (although with a bump in BB/9 as well). He'll try and work himself into Florida's rotation next year, and could be on the radar as a draft pick in the teen rounds next year.

2017 Eligible

OF Elliott Cary
Drafted 2014, 32nd round (964th overall) from Clackamas HS (Clackamas, OR)
Currently attends Oregon State University
Draft eligible in 2017

The son of former ML pitcher Chuck Cary struggled a bit out of the gate in his true freshman season, but rebounded to hit .306/.382/.408 in conference games. Cary is an athletic outfielder who does pretty much everything besides hitting home runs. If he can add some bulk to his 6'3" frame, he could jump up 2017 draft boards, but he was already listed the 135th overall prospect by Baseball America in 2014 out of high school.

C Evan Skoug
Drafted 2014, 34th round (1024th overall) from Libertyville HS (Libertyville, IL)
Currently attends Texas Christian University
Draft eligible in 2017

Skoug, a lefty, hit a solid .274/.347/.413 as a full-time starter for TCU, an impressive line for a true freshman catcher. He's known more for his bat than his glove, but there is still room for him to grow defensively. Skoug was also a solid prospect going into the 2014 draft (ranked 96th overall by Baseball America), so two more solid years at TCU could conceivably put him into the top 3 rounds in 2017.

RHP Tommy Doyle
Drafted 2014, 35th round (1054th overall) from Flint Hill Prep (Oakton, VA)
Currently attends the University of Virginia
Draft eligible in 2017

The huge (6'6") righty struggled with his control in his freshman year at UVA, walking 16 batters in 18 and 2/3 innings. His velocity is relatively low for a pitcher of his stature (low 90s), but he could become a force on the mound with a couple extra ticks of velocity (assuming he could command it). Baseball America's 215th overall prospect in 2014 has the body and athleticism to shoot up the rankings when he's eligible again in 2017, provided he works out the kinks in his control.

LHP John Henry Styles
Drafted 2014, 36th round (1084th overall) from Episcopal HS (Bellaire, TX)
Currently attends Stanford University
Draft eligible in 2017

Styles is the opposite of Doyle, throwing with the other arm and standing seven inches shorter at 5'11". He's got an underrated fastball that sits just under 90 mph, but had few chances to throw it this year, with only five appearances totaling three innings in his freshman year (2 H, 1 R, 5 BB, 2 K). He'll need to improve across the board to get back on the map in 2017.

LHP Quinn Brodey
Drafted 2014, 37th round (1114th overall) from Loyola HS (Los Angeles, CA)
Currently attends Stanford University
Draft eligible in 2017

The Nats haven't had success drafting left handed Stanford commits out of high school (Jack McGeary, I thought you were the one), but by golly, they'll keep drafting them until one of them turns into something! His 3.48 era looks kinda shiny, but he gave up seven unearned runs in 10 and 1/3 innings, with 15 hits allowed, 10 walks and only four strikeouts. He was a solid prospect out of high school, though, and is sure to improve over his next two seasons at Stanford.

OF Stuart Fairchild
Drafted 2014, 38th round (1144th overall) from Seattle Prep HS (Seattle, WA)
Currently attends Wake Forest University
Draft eligible in 2017

Fairchild was my favorite of the unsignable HS bunch from last year, and was by far the most successful of the group. Fairchild hit .349/.429/.497 in 52 games for the Demon Deacons, knocking five home runs and stealing 12 bases. He's a solid all-around player with good instincts and tools in the outfield, and could work his name into the top few rounds if he continues to play well over the next two years.

OF Jon Littell
Drafted 2014, 39th round (1174th overall) from Stillwater HS (Stillwater, OK)
Currently attends Oklahoma State University
Draft eligible in 2017

There's nothing little about Littell, as he towers over opponents at 6'4". The big outfielder struggled in his first taste of college ball, hitting .226/.286/.269 in 29 games. The sample size is small, though, with just over 100 plate appearances, so it's too early to draw conclusions on Littell's hitting ability. His defensive acumen is solid, as are his baserunning skills, so he's still a decent all-around prospect.

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