The Four Nationals Draft Picks Most Likely to Succeed


The 2013 draft has come and gone, and now begins the exhaustive breakdown and analysis in minute detail of every prospect by team fanbases, in search of those drafted who will rise above the rest and one day don a big league uniform. The Nationals drafted a diverse group of prospects, split between high school, college, and junior college. There’s a number of dynamic players in this class, but a few appear right off the bat more likely to make all the way to the pros, and it’s not necessarily who you’d expect.

Moral could be higher at Nationals Park right now, but fans can take solace in the future. Photo: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Johansen

A team’s first pick always receives a disproportionate amount of attention, so let’s get the obvious out of the way. The Nationals traded away their first round pick, so they selected RHP Jake Johansen from Dallas Baptist in the second round with the 68th overall pick. Johansen looks the part of a major league baseball player at 6’6” and 235. Johansen has a very solid fastball with some command issues, and three serviceable off-speed pitches. . He signed a contract the day after he was drafted.  He’s the face of the draft class and has a bright future, but isn’t the only one,

John Simms

Drafted a bit of a ways down, Rice College RHP John Simms nevertheless has the track record to succeed in pro ball. The Nationals drafted heavily for power pitchers, but Simms isn’t like that. Although his fastball rarely tops 90, he has two solid off-speed pitches, and most importantly, has succeeded for three years at the highest level of Division One college baseball. He may not be a flamethrower, but you can’t put a number on his ability to produce outs. Simms has not signed at this time.

James Yezzo

Quick! Think of a word that rhymes with Yezzo. A .410 batting average plus 13 home runs and 64 RBIs doesn’t really roll of the tongue  but it got the attention of the Nationals. And rightfully so: The University of Delaware 1B led the Colonial Athletic Association in batting average, hits, doubles, RBIs, total bases, and slugging percentage. A Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American, the lefties’s ability to hit for power and average, coupled with stellar defense, make him one of the prospects Nats fans should be most excited about. Yezzo has signed a contract.

Lukas Schiraldi

The Nationals drafted 39 players in total, but my favorite might be one they took near the bottom. Lukas Schiraldi, a RHP out of Navarro College, will be on the fast track to the majors if he signs. Even if he doesn’t, keep your eyes peeled for Schiraldi in a few years, because he’s got an intangible statistically proven to make him more likely to succeed. Schiraldi is the son of former big league pitcher Calvin Schiraldi, and offspring of former pros are 800 times as likely to make it to the majors as an average kid. Bloodlines aside, Schiraldi was a star at Navarro College and projects to be even better once he fills out physically. Like his father did, Schiraldi has committed to University of Texas, but Nats fans should desperately hope he decides to enter the workforce instead. Unsigned (obviously).

These aren’t the four highest picks the Nationals made. But there’s other reasons to think each could in a few years play at the highest level.