After a pitching-heavy start to their 2018 MLB draft, the Washington Nationals rounded out their haul Wednesday with a strong and varied corps of position players. The pitchers didn’t stop coming, and make up 23 of the 40 players Washington chose overall, but the Nationals drafted four outfielders, three catchers, and seven infielders in 30 rounds Wednesday.
Per usual, in part because of signability, in part because of polish, the Nationals chose far more college players than high schoolers, with 33 of their 40 picks having played college ball. They took Florida Atlantic outfielder Cody Wilson in the 13th round. They chose Cole Daily, Notre Dame’s starting shortstop, in the 22nd round. They grabbed Cal Poly shortstop Kyle Mariconz in the 24th round, and Wichita State shortstop Trey Vickers in the 30th round. As a rule, the Nationals tend to seek players who play up the middle, since they can generally translate to other positions better than those who begin on the corners.
Early on Wednesday, they chose several promising pitchers from power conferences, including a former teammate of last year’s first-round pick Seth Romero: Houston standout Aaron Fletcher, who won AAC pitcher of the year honors two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery. They chose two South Carolina Gamecocks, righties Graham Lawson and Ridge Chapman. They chose University of Miami closer Frankie Bartow and small-but-effective Oklahoma State lefty Carson Teel. They took a local product, too, choosing McLean High School and Shenandoah University righty Colin Morse in the 26th round.
Per usual, the Nationals dedicated a few later picks to familiar faces. Their 38th-round pick, Arizona Christian University pitcher Bobby Milacki, is the son of former Syracuse pitching coach Bob Milacki. Their 40th-round pick, high school hurler Michael Menhart, is the son of pitching coordinator Paul Menhart.
They also took a chance on a few high school players that will likely be unsignable, a move made just in case, perhaps to express interest ahead of a future draft. They selected highly touted high school first baseman Alex Binelas, a Wisconsin high schooler currently committed to Louisville. Their 36th-round pick, pitcher Bo Blessie, is committed to Nebraska. They drafted MLB.com’s 19th-ranked draft prospect, Georgia high school righty Cole Wilcox, in the 37th round. Wilcox reportedly had made his intentions to play at the University of Georgia clear to teams by requesting a massive signing bonus. The Nationals won’t be able to pry him away from that commitment.
A complete list of Nationals draft picks can be found below. The next step is to start signing players, a process that plays out over the next few weeks, and always includes a few surprises.
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