Here is what Roy Clark, the Nationals’ vice president of player personnel said in summing up the organization’s picks — Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, Kentucky right-hander Alex Meyer and Miami-Dade City College center fielder Brian Goodwin — on the first day of the MLB draft:
“These were three guys we identified very early as a scouting department. We didn’t think there was any way we’d get two of them, let alone three of them.”
Every team loves its draft picks on the day they make them, but the Nationals’ giddiness seems to be at least somewhat justified. In Rendon, they got the most polished hitter in the draft (and the top overall talent, according to Baseball America). In Meyer, they got a flamethrower they were considering taking at No. 6 at one point. And in Goodwin, they got a five-tool center fielder-leadoff man.
Yes, all three are Scott Boras clients — a coincidence, according to GM Mike Rizzo — which means we might witness three difficult negotiations as the Aug. 15 deadline approaches. But assuming all three players sign, this might someday be recalled as a day that approaches in significance the days the Nationals drafted Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
Here are some quotes from tonight’s news conference with Clark, Rizzo and scouting director Kris Kline:
Rizzo on Meyer: “He’s a big, power right-handed pitcher. He comes at it from an extreme downhill angle. [His fastball is in] the mid to upper 90s consistently and he throws a hard, wicked wipeout slider. We feel even as a college junior he has big upside left in his development, and he’s a guy we see as having chance of being front of rotation guy.”
Rizzo on Goodwin: “He’s a guy with five tools, a table setter with some power. He’s a plus-plus runner, a plus-plus defensive player and he has the abiolity to lead off.”
Kline on Meyer’s improvement since his sophomore year: “Just his ability to keep his delivery together. Right now he’s better out of the stretch. He gets a little methodical out of the windup. He has the chance to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. And in a worst-case scenario you have a [Daniel] Bard-type reliever with a better slider, and somebody you can bring in at the back of your bullpen.”
Clark on whether the team considered Meyer at No. 6: “He was definitely in our mix at six. He just kept getting better and better. We were really worried as to whether he’d be there at 23.”
Kline on Meyer’s stuff: “If you look at [No. 1 overall pick] Gerrit Cole’s stuff and this guy’s stuff, it’s comparable.”
Rizzo on the Scott Boras factor: “It’s coincidence. We’re taking the best players available on our board, and they happen to be represented by the same company.”
Rizzo on Meyer’s mechanics: “He just needs to smooth out his delivery, and we feel that with repetition and professional coaching — when he stays on his delivery his stuff is as good as anyone in country. ”
Kline on Meyer’s change-up: “It’s not a pitch he uses much. But it has a chance to be an excellent weapon for him. He throws it for strikes, but he gets away with that mid- to upper-90s fastball. He doesn’t really need it right now.”
Clark on Rendon’s ankle and shoulder injuries: “He’s going to take some time off. He didn’t want to take time off this season because he felt he owed it to his teammates at Rice.”