Nats tap eight college players in rounds 3-10

Day 2 of the MLB draft is in the books, with the Nationals selecting eight more players that all should end up joining the system. If you missed my recaps on second rounders Andrew Stevenson and Bryce Perkins, you can read them here!

OF Rhett Wiseman, L/R, 6'0" 190 lbs, DOB: 06/22/94
Junior – Vanderbilt University
3rd round, 103rd overall

The Nats led off the second day of the draft with another outfielder in Rhett Wiseman. Like Andrew Stevenson and Blake Perkins, Wiseman is an athletic player who does everything fairly well across the board, with a lot of future 50's on his scouting report. Unlike Stevenson and Perkins, Wiseman profiles as a corner outfielder, but to his credit, he does project as an average fielder in left with better raw power than the other two.

After hitting a total of three home runs in his freshman and sophomore seasons, Wiseman has knocked 14 out of the park this season, pairing them nicely with double digit steals in the last two years. Several reports have noted his tendency to strike out when trying to hit for power, but he's still only struck out 18% of his career PA's, which isn't a horrifying stat. At this point, Wiseman looks like his upside is as a second division starter, but it doesn't look like he's a true impact prospect.

Baseball America: 88th overall
ESPN/Keith Law: not ranked
FanGraphs/Kiley McDaniel: 107th overall
MLB/Jim Callis: 120th overall
Best case scenario: Kole Calhoun
More likely scenario: Nate Schierholtz

RHP Mariano Rivera, Jr., R/R, 5'11" 155 lbs, DOB: 10/04/93
Junior – Iona College
4th round, 134th overall

You've probably heard of his dad, but Mariano Jr. made quite a name for himself in 2015. After walking 40 batters and striking out 64 over 106 innings in 2013 and 14 (1.6 K/BB), Rivera struck out 113 batters to only 27 walks in 85 innings (4.19 K/BB). The improvements can be largely attributed to a huge bump in velocity, going from the mid 80s as a freshman to the low 90s as a sophomore and boom, now he's sitting 92-95 and touching 97.

Rivera isn't without flaws; he's relatively new to pitching, with some minor mechanical flaws and generally unimpressive secondary stuff in his slider and splitter. For someone who has only pitched for a few years, he has surprisingly solid control, and his command should improve as he's used more out of the bullpen than the rotation. If he takes well to the system's pitching coaches, he's got an electric enough arm to come in to Enter Sandman in the 9th inning. Even if his secondary stuff doesn't develop as the team hopes, he still throws hard enough to be a middle reliever.

Baseball America: 142nd overall
ESPN/Keith Law: 93rd overall
FanGraphs/Kiley McDaniel: 196th overall
MLB/Jim Callis: 170th overall
Best case scenario: Kelvin Herrera
More likely scenario: Brandon League

LHP Taylor Hearn, L/L, 6'6" 215 lbs, DOB: 08/30/94
Junior – Oklahoma Baptist University
5th round, 164th overall

The first thing you'll notice when you see Taylor Hearn is that this dude is friggin huge. The second thing you'll notice is that he's also pretty good, compiling a 9-0 record, a .191 batting average against, and a 9.93 K/9. His control isn't perfect (4.62 BB/9), and his command has been knocked before as well.

Scouting reports have put Hearn in the low-to-mid 90s range, with a decent slider and easy, loose arm action. He could conceivably add more velocity with added muscle, as he's a pretty thin 6'6", so the Nats could have found some intriguing upside here.

Hearn was ranked by Baseball America as the #8 2015 draft prospect in the state of Oklahoma, and the top player that was not ranked in the BA Top 500. It's also worth noting that Hearn attended San Jacinto College from 2013-14, a school that the Nationals have scouted heavily over the past few drafts.

Baseball America: not ranked
ESPN/Keith Law: not ranked
FanGraphs/Kiley McDaniel: not ranked
MLB/Jim Callis: not ranked

LHP Matt Crownover, R/L, 5'11" 205 lbs, DOB: 03/05/93
Junior – Clemson University
6th round, 194th overall

Crownover is a pitchability lefty, commanding his 87-89 mph fastball and change well, with a developing curveball as well. When he needs to, he can crank his heater up to 93-94, but he can tire out quickly when trying to sit at those velocity levels. There's a chance the 2012 Tommy John survivor can hack it as a starter, he could move quickly through the organization as a LOOGY due to his ability to place the ball where he wants it. He did strike out 8.9 batters per 9 in 2015, so don't count him out just because he's smaller and doesn't throw super hard.

Baseball America: 344th overall
ESPN/Keith Law: not ranked
FanGraphs/Kiley McDaniel: not ranked
MLB/Jim Callis: not ranked

LHP Grant Borne, L/L, 6'5" 205 lbs, DOB: 04/06/94
Junior – Nicholls State
7th round, 224th overall

Borne is a three pitch starter with a solid combination of a sinker, curve, and change. Like with Taylor Hearn, the Nationals likely are hoping he can add some muscle and as a result, extra velocity.
He's got a ceiling as an interesting #4 starter, but even if he ends up in the bullpen, I'd hesitate against typecasting him as a LOOGY for now.

2015 was a standout year for Borne at Nicholls State, as he posted a 1.48 ERA and allowed no more than four runs in any game. He posted a 2.05 K/BB ratio and a 1.15 WHIP in 91 and 1/3 innings, striking out 84 batters. Borne has struggled with his control in stretches, posting a 5.86 BB/9 his freshman year, and over 9 BB/9 in both of the wood bat summer leagues he pitched in. That being said, he's walked 3.52 per 9 innings over his last two seasons at Nicholls State, so it appears progress is being made.

Baseball America: 348th overall
ESPN/Keith Law: not ranked
FanGraphs/Kiley McDaniel: not ranked
MLB/Jim Callis: not ranked

RHP Koda Glover, R/R, 6'5" 225 lbs, DOB: 04/13/93
Junior – Oklahoma State
8th round, 254th overall

Guys that can throw in the mid-to-upper 90s don't grow on trees. Glover threw 23 and 2/3 innings of 1.90 ERA ball, striking out 10.65 batters per 9 innings while only walking 2.66 per 9. He'll need to develop his secondary offerings, but could rise quickly through the system. Glover was ranked the #14 draft prospect in Oklahoma by Baseball America.

Baseball America: not ranked
ESPN/Keith Law: not ranked
FanGraphs/Kiley McDaniel: not ranked
MLB/Jim Callis: not ranked

1B David Kerian, S/R, 6'3" 200 lbs, DOB: 02/09/93
Senior – University of Illinois
9th round, 284th overall

The 2015 Big Ten Player of the Year carved out an excellent four year career at Illinois after being drafted by the Nationals in round 42 of the 2011 draft. Kerian spoke candidly about how the Nationals scout who originally drafted him in 2011 fought hard to get him taken again in 2015. The switch hitting infielder is willing to do anything to help the team out, whether it's playing all over the field (1B/2B/3B/OF), stealing bases (42 out of 54 in his career) or knocking the cover off of the ball (.367/.462/.667 with 16 HR his senior year). While most college seniors taken in this range are more organizational fillers, I think Kerian can become a decent prospect if he can stick at 2B or 3B.

Baseball America: not ranked
ESPN/Keith Law: not ranked
FanGraphs/Kiley McDaniel: not ranked
MLB/Jim Callis: not ranked

LHP Taylor Guilbeau, L/L, 6'4" 180 lbs, DOB: 05/12/93
Senior - University of Alabama
10th round, 314th overall

The Nats drafted a bunch of big pitchers with their top ten picks, but Guilbeau's arsenal is closer to 5'11" Matt Crownover than Hearn, Borne or Glover. He occasionally touches 90-91 mph, spinning a decent slider and adding a fringy changeup. Guilbeau improved upon his control in his senior season, dropping his BB/9 from 6.20 in 2014 down to 4.27 while raising his K/9 from 6.93 to 7.67. He was known at Alabama as a big game pitcher, and in 2012 became the first ever Crimson Tide freshman to take the mound as a starter on Opening Day.

Baseball America: not ranked
ESPN/Keith Law: not ranked
FanGraphs/Kiley McDaniel: not ranked
MLB/Jim Callis: not ranked

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