The Nationals drafted yet another college pitcher in the 30th round, one they’re familiar with two reasons. First, they already drafted him, but didn’t sign him, out of high school in 2008. Second, he’s Bryce Harper’s older brother.
The Nationals selected Bryan Harper, a 22-year-old, 6-foot-5 lefthander who pitched for South Carolina this season. It’s possible, if they can sign Bryan quickly, that they could send him straight to Class A Hagerstown to play with Bryce and maybe offer him some family support. At South Carolina this season, Bryan Harper had a 5.40 ERA in 22 appearances, 21 of those as a reliever.
Bryce Harper wasn’t the only National with a family connection to this year’s draft. Ivan Rodriguez’s son, outfielder Ivan Dereck Rodriguez, was taken by the Twins in the fifth round of high school in Miami.
“His dream came true,” Rodriguez said. “Now it’s time for him to play ball.”
Rodriguez followed his son’s draft process closely and knew that the Twins were interested in him. “I was on this for days, talking to scouts,” Rodriguez said. “They called me before it happened.” But, he said, he never told Dereck, and so he was surprised when he learned he’d been draft.
“He was smiling and happy,” Rodriguez said. “He didn’t go to sleep for four days. He’s relaxing.”
One more Nationals draft note: In the 19th round, they selected Hawtin Buchanan, a flame-throwing, 6-foot-8 high school pitcher from Biloxi, Miss. who has a strong commitment to play for Ole Miss. Buchanan will be a difficult and expensive player to sign, but he offers vast potential.