Come Thursday night, Nationals fans will be waiting for a good while before the team makes its first selection in the 2013 MLB draft. The signing of closer Rafael Soriano means Washington has only the No. 68 overall pick on the first night, which will be televised by MLB Network.
Though the Nationals have the lowest bonus pool in baseball at $2,737,200, there should be plenty of talent available with the final choice in the second round. Since the Nationals first drafted in 2005, they have had two second-rounders make the major leagues in pitching stalwart Jordan Zimmermann and recent utility call-up Jeff Kobernus. Here’s a year-by-year look at whom the organization has taken in the second round and the best recent choices near No. 68:
2005: The Nationals had no second-round pick because they had signed third baseman Vinny Castilla as a free agent. (Best picks 60-75: Travis Wood, lhp, Reds, No. 60; Nolan Reimold, of, Orioles, No. 61; Chase Headley, 3b, Padres, No. 66; Yunel Escobar, ss, Braves, No. 75.)
2006: The Nationals were unable to sign right-hander Sean Black, the No. 59 pick who went to Seton Hall and is now at advanced Class A Tampa in the Yankees organization. They did sign No. 70 selection Stephen Englund, but the outfielder peaked at Class A Hagerstown. (Best picks 60-75: Wade LeBlanc, lhp, Padres, No. 61; Trevor Cahill, rhp, Athletics, No. 66; Justin Masterson, rhp, Red Sox, No. 71; Jon Jay, of, Cardinals, No. 74.)
2007: Jordan Zimmermann, the best second-rounder in Nationals history, went 67th overall as one of the compensation picks Washington received for losing outfielder Alfonso Soriano to free agency. The Nats also took third baseman Jake Smolinski with the 70th choice; he’s in Class AAA with the Marlins and was part of the deal that netted outfielder Josh Willingham and left-hander Scott Olsen in 2008. (Best pick 60-75: Zimmermann. At No. 76, the then-Florida Marlins drafted Giancarlo — then Mike — Stanton as a first baseman-outfielder.)
2008: After taking right-hander Aaron Crow, who went unsigned and is now with the Royals, the Nationals drafted outfielder Destin Hood with the 55th pick. He turned down a football scholarship to Alabama and is hitting .241 with a .292 on-base percentage and .352 slugging percentage at Class AA Harrisburg. (Best picks 60-75: Josh Lindblom, rhp, Dodgers, No. 61; Bryan Shaw, rhp, Diamondbacks, No. 73; Tyler Chatwood, rhp, Angels, No. 74.
2009: The Nationals landed California second baseman Jeff Kobernus with the 50th pick, after they had grabbed Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen in the first round. On May 25, Kobernus became the second Nats’ second-rounder to make his major league debut. He was hitting .333/.378/.420 with 21 stolen bases at Class AAA Syracuse after nearly making the Tigers this spring as a Rule 5 draftee. (Best pick 60-75: Jason Kipnis, of before moving to 2b, Indians, No. 63.)
2010: Left-hander Sammy Solis, taken 50 picks after No. 1 choice Bryce Harper, is back on the mound after having Tommy John elbow surgery last year. He has a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings at advanced Class A Potomac in three starts, including a five-inning stint Saturday. (Best picks 60-75, at least thus far: Drew Smyly, lhp, Tigers, No. 68; Andrelton Simmons, ss, Braves, No. 70.)
2011: Signing outfielder Jayson Werth meant the Nats didn’t have a pick in the second round, but they had a draft bonanza anyway. Washington took infielder Anthony Rendon sixth overall and hard-throwing right-hander Alex Meyer (who was dealt for center fielder Denard Span) 23rd. Brian Goodwin, a center fielder with .239/.349/.381 numbers this year at Harrisburg, was a supplemental first-round pick.
2012: Tony Renda, a Cal second baseman like Kobernus, signed for $500,000 as the 80th pick, $130,000 less than the projected figure from Major League Baseball. He’s hitting .297/.366/.434 at Hagerstown. (No major leaguers yet from 60-75, but former Georgia left-hander Alex Wood, the 85th pick, pitched a scoreless inning for the Braves in his big league debut Thursday night.)