The Washington Post

Nationals second-day draft picks: Drew Ward taken in the third round, Jake Johansen signs

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post) (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

[UPDATE, 6:35 p.m.] The Nationals announced the signing of their first choice, second-round pick Jake Johansen of Dallas Baptist University. After years of waiting until the deadline to sign coveted first-rouners, the Nationals signed the 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher less than 24 hours after drafting him.

>>> In the third round with the 105th overall pick, the Nationals selected Oklahoma high school third baseman Drew Ward, an 6-foot-4, 230-pound 18-year-old with standout power potential. Ward rearranged his class to graduate a year early and has committed to play in college at Oklahoma.

Baseball America ranked Ward, left-handed hitter, as the No. 87 overall prospect in this year’s draft. He went to Leedey High, which has a student body of less than 100 and plays in  the lowest classification of competition in Oklahoma. Taking a high school hitter diversified the Nationals’ draft haul following their second-round selection of right-handed pitcher Jake Johansen.

>>> In the fourth round, the Nationals added Mike Rizzo specialty — a tall, hard-throwing college pitcher. With the 136th overall pick, the Nationals took Nicholas Pivetta out of New Mexico Junior College. Pivetta, 20, went 9-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 13 starts this year. He stands 6 feet, 5 inches and his fastball has reached the upper 90s out of the bullpen.

Pivetta grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Baseball America rated him the No. 105 prospect available in the draft.

>>> The Nationals plucked yet another college right-hander in the fifth round, taking Austin Voth out of Washington with the 166th overall pick. Voth, a 6-foot-2 junior, was second in the Pac-12 in strikeouts this season, behind only first overall pick Mark Appel of Stanford. Experts say he has good control of his low-90s fastball. Baseball America ranked him the No. 260 available prospect in the draft.

>>> The Nationals went for another third baseman in the sixth round, taking Cody Gunter, a 19-year-old out of Grayson Community College in Texas. The Marlins took Gunter last year in the 19th round, but he chose not to sign after the Marlins refused to sign him for more the recommended slot value. He went to a junior college in order to get back in the draft. Gunter was also the closer on his college team. If he fails as a hitter, he could always try to make it as a bullpen arm. For now, the Nationals are focused on him only as a hitter. Baseball American rated him the No. 249 prospect available.

 >>> The seventh-round pick, No. 226 overall: first baseman Jimmy Yezzo, a left-handed hitter from Delaware. He batted .410/.453/.714 this year, laying waste to the CAA as he earned first-team All-America honors. Baseball America rated him the No. 290 prospect available.

>>> The Nationals nabbed their first college senior of the draft in eighth round in David Napoli, a 5-foot-10 left-hander from Tulane. This year, Napoli went 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA, and hitters batted just .176 against him. He struck out 53 and walked 33 in 66 innings. Baseball America did not  have him listed among its Top 500.

>>> The Nationals took another college pitcher in the ninth round, going for right-hander Jake Joyce out of Virginia Tech. He grew up in Collinsville, Va. The 6-foot right-hander went 7-1 this season with a 4.16 ERA.

>>> The Nationals wrapped up their first 10 picks with Brennan Middleton, a small shortstop out of Tulane. He batted .295 with a .372 on-base percentage and a .341 slugging percentage. He made just six errors all year.


Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.



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Barry Svrluga · June 7, 2013