With their picks at No. 23 and No. 34 — which they earned as compensation for the loss of Adam Dunn to free agency — the Nationals took University of Kentucky right-hander Alex Meyer, a 6-foot-9 flamethrower with a fastball that sits in the mid- to high-90s; and Miami-Dade City College center fielder Brian Goodwin, respectively. The draft continues Tuesday and Wednesday with rounds two through 50.
“These were three guys we identified very early as a scouting department,” said Roy Clark, the Nationals’ vice president of player personnel. “We didn’t think there was any way we’d get two of them, let alone three of them.”
After two drafts devoid of drama at the top — as the Nationals took slam-dunk choices Stephen Strasburg in 2009 and Bryce Harper in 2010 with the first overall picks — this year’s first round was full of intrigue, some of which now confronts the Nationals as they attempt to sign Rendon, who turned 21 on Monday, before the Aug. 15 deadline.
Among the questions: Why did Rendon, rated by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in the entire draft, fall all the way to No. 6 after spending much of the previous 12 months as the prospective top pick? And if his two previous ankle surgeries and a more recent shoulder injury — the latter of which limited him largely to designated hitter duty this season — were the main reasons, how satisfied are the Nationals of his health?
“Our medical staff has cleared his health,” Rizzo said, “and we felt that if that was the reason he fell to sixth, we’re satisfied in the [scouting] work we’ve done on him.”
Rendon was not made available to Washington area media on Monday, but during a brief interview on MLB Network, he said: “I’m feeling great. I have no [physical] problems right now. The injuries only made me stronger as a person.”
There will be other questions, as well: Do the Nationals have the stomach for a third consecutive deadline showdown with notorious super-agent Scott Boras, who represents Rendon, as well as Strasburg and Harper?
“We have a good relationship with the agent and a great relationship with the player and the family,” Rizzo said. “We’re optimistic as always that we’re going to get the guy signed.”
For that matter, both Meyer and Goodwin are Boras clients, as well, a fact Rizzo chalked up to coincidence.