After Anthony Rendon fell to the Washington Nationals with the No. 6 overall pick, they made two more selections on the first day of the MLB First Year Player Draft.
With the 23rd pick, the Nats selected Alex Meyer, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Kentucky. Meyer, 6'9", 220, is said to have the best pure stuff in the draft, and a "plus-plus" slider. He has a big fastball that sits 93-96 coming from a three-quarter slot and a "wipeout" slider at 83-86 with late, hard tilt. His command and control are works in progress, but there were very few better raw arms in this draft. Additionally, Meyer was an SEC Academic Honor Roll choice after both his freshman and sophomore years.
Meyer struck out 110 this season in 101 innings, ranking eighth in UK single-season history (9.8 per game). Meyer ranked ninth in the NCAA in strikeouts. He went 7-5 with a 2.94 ERA for Kentucky. Some draft pundits think Meyer is better suited for the closer position with his mid-nineties heat and devastating slider, but an equal number think he will develop enough control to remain a starter. What isn't debated, though, is the quality of his arm.
Nats GM Mike Rizzo described Meyer as a big power pitcher with three plus pitches in the future, including his changeup in the discussion. Rizzo said Meyer holds his velocity well into starts and he has a chance to be a "front-of-the-rotation" starter. Kris Kline, Nats Director of Scouting said that worst-case scenario Meyer profiles as a dominant arm at the back of the bullpen.
With the 34th pick, the Nationals selected Brian Goodwin, outfielder from Miami Dade College. He played his freshman year at UNC but left the program after he was suspended due to academic issues, but the Nationals said they did "extensive research" on the player and are assured any "issues have been settled."
The speedy outfielder has tremendous speed and is a terrific defender at center field, with the projection to develop power at the top of the order.
Rizzo sees Goodwin, 6'1", 190, as a "prototypical, top of the order, defensive-minded" table setter. Independent scouting describes Goodwin having a very good eye to go with great bat speed.
Nationals Vice President of Player Personnel Roy Clark said that the Nats drafted the best player available with each of their picks, and said the team would have felt "lucky" to have landed two of the three they did on this first day of the draft.
All three selections are represented by Scott Boras.