Tragic Number Update: Its over, we’re guaranteed #1 pick in 2010

By virtue of Pittsburgh’s 11-1 victory today over the LA Dodgers, the Washington Nationals are guaranteed the number #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft.  The Nationals have a 7 game “lead” on the Pirates for the worst record in the league this year with 7 games remaining.  This means that even if the Pirates lost their remaining 7 games and we (somehow) won our remaining seven games, we’d be tied for the worst record and Washington would get the number 1 pick by virtue of a worse record in 2008.

team W L pct ga tragic left last10 streak
Washington 52 103 0.335 - - 7 2-8 L-4
Pittsburgh 59 96 0.381 7 0 7 3-7 W-2
Baltimore 60 95 0.387 8 0 7 0-10 L-10
Cleveland 64 91 0.413 12 0 7 3-7 W-3
Kansas City 64 92 0.41 12.5 0 6 5-5 W-1

Congratulations. Let the Bryce Harper ruminations begin.

  1. #1 by SlowPitch63 - September 28th, 2009 at 16:18

    OK, there should now be no ambivalence. Let’s win out!

    Let’s play two!

  2. #2 by Berndaddy - September 28th, 2009 at 16:22

    This is when I wish we could trade out our pick and get one or two #1 picks and a #2 pick from someone…

  3. #3 by estuartj - September 28th, 2009 at 16:55

    Now we just need Bryce Harper to be the next A-Rod, Strasburg to be the next Roger Clemens and Storen to be the next…..oh never mind.

  4. #4 by DMCj - September 28th, 2009 at 17:12

    Does it really matter who’s on the team? Nyjer Morgan’s coming back, baby!

  5. #5 by mfeld - September 28th, 2009 at 20:08

    I honestly think we should pass on Harper if (and that’s a big if) there is a college pitcher available that is bonifide top of the rotation type with great stuff and command. I’d rather have a guy who can help us within the next couple years at a position of need, than a guy who will most likely help us 4 or 5 years from now at best at a position we already have some very good young talent at (Flores and Norris).

  6. #6 by RD - September 28th, 2009 at 20:30

    Flores hasn’t shown he can stay healthy, and Norris is a big question mark as a catcher.

    The draft shouldn’t be viewed as an instant gratification type of thing. You take the b est player period. Harper may or may not be that guy. Right now, it appears that he has the brightest future of the draft eligible guys.

    If he pans out, he could be up in 2 years. Not 4 or 5. He’s compared to guys like ARod and Justin Upton, and both were up as teenagers. Being that he’s a catcher and needs more time to develop between the ears, I wouldn’t predict that type of rise but it shouldn’t take him 5 years to get up.

  7. #7 by Mark L - September 28th, 2009 at 21:09

    The good news is the farm system has gotten better every year for 4-5 years now. It’s been long, slow slog after MLB’s disgraceful stewardship for way too long. With Jimbow gone, we can truly look forward to the next draft. I spent all last winter wondering how JB was going to screw it up. Like the people in charge now, this is much more fun!

  8. #8 by peric - September 28th, 2009 at 21:35

    Harper is probably a bigger question mark at catcher than Flores and Norris. He sure seems like another American League type where he can always fit in at DH if need be.

  9. #9 by RD - September 28th, 2009 at 21:46

    Maybe he outgrows the spot, but Harper has a lot more defensive ability than either Flores or Norris. Definitely needs work – He’s 16. But the athleticism and the arm give him traits Norris and Flores don’t have.

  10. #10 by joNAThan - September 28th, 2009 at 21:47

    From all accounts he is a good athlete, he’s not a Chris Marrero, so he should be able to play the OF and not be relegated to DH. If he emerges as the best pick, select him, sign him and let him develop. The Nats cannot afford to pass up the best player available, its not like they are one player away from a championship. Even if that was the case, you trade for a player or sign a free agent, you don’t draft the final piece.

  11. #11 by mfeld - September 29th, 2009 at 01:37

    RD…peric hit the nail on the head. Harper is a huge question mark, mainly because he is SO unproven. He’s only faced high school kids. Sure he has tremendous bat speed and hits the heck out of the ball in homerun contests, but can he hit even a minor league curve ball? Dukes has great bat speed and can sure hit the heck out of the ball when it’s straight too. But he’s not exactly tearing it up in the majors, not that Dukes won’t eventually.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to seeing what Harper can do in JUCO, but I would not draft him 1st overall based on what he has done to this point. He as a lot to prove to be the “no brainer” #1 pick. I personally feel it is stupid not to draft on needs, it’s just silly not to when your needs are so glaring. I know that we just can’t ignore bats, but right now I do feel with the young pitching talent we have (Lannan, Zimmermann, Strasburg, Storen and maybe even Detwiler), we are a couple good pitching veterans away from having a winning team and a couple more young stud arms away from having a penant race type team within 3 years. Just my 2 cents.

  12. #12 by Positively Half St. - September 29th, 2009 at 05:13

    Well, no matter who we get, it is in Rizzo’s hands. Ain’t nobody gets to choose before he does.

    We get to first see how Rizzo works the Rule 5 draft. That will be a lot more exciting, now that our choices are not so focused on the Reds.

  13. #13 by Scot - September 29th, 2009 at 07:45

    The choices appear to be: Bryce Harper (JUCO catcher), Anthony Renaudo (LSU arm) and James Tailon (prep arm)

  14. #14 by VladiHondo - September 29th, 2009 at 08:03

    I remember back in 2k1, the Twinkies were lambasted for passing on the consensus #1 and picking a local “signability” pick instead.

    Yeah, they regret signing Mauer and passing on Prior.

    So even if there IS an “no-doubt” #1, let’s give the team the flexibility to go for who they think is the best. We finally have a “real” GM, let’s use him – I’m willing to trust him. Personally, I want a BIG bat – some big bopper with high average, power, and good eye! Should be simple!

  15. #15 by longterm - September 29th, 2009 at 08:54

    Hopefully we hear less “signability” issues this year. I doubt he left high school early to play an extra year of JUCO.

    He wants to play professionally and will sign with the Nats.

    I’d make him an outfielder and bring him up before he’s 20.

  16. #16 by joNAThan - September 29th, 2009 at 09:01

    Most of the best hitters (and this is just off the top of my head, so I’ll grant that I could be wrong and probably am!) who achieve All-Star status never proved themselves in college, they came straight from HS–Mauer, ARod, Chipper, Griffey,…in fact it would be interesting to look at the last few years position players who made the All-Star team and see how they matriculated into the majors–via college or HS.

    The key is for Rizzo–and I have no doubt that he won’t–to do his due diligence, scout the top prospects and make a choice. If it’s Harper, fine, if someone else proves worthy, fine, but not selecting him because he is “not a need” or a HS kid is foolish.

  17. #17 by joNAThan - September 29th, 2009 at 09:03

    Also, does anyone know why Harper is in such a rush to be drafted? I’m thinking that the rumors of a slotting system like the NFL and NBA use in 2011 might have accelerated his entrance into the draft.

  18. #18 by cjrugger - September 29th, 2009 at 09:32

    joNAThan :Also, does anyone know why Harper is in such a rush to be drafted? I’m thinking that the rumors of a slotting system like the NFL and NBA use in 2011 might have accelerated his entrance into the draft.

    Yeah, he’s bored “playing” HS ball where he’s walked every time and no one tries to run on him. He wants to push himself, become a better player, and get paid. Not exactly a great mystery…

  19. #19 by Todd Boss - September 29th, 2009 at 10:44

    His last season in HS he hit like .650 or something. He had accomplished everything there was to accomplish at that level. I think that his move to JuCo was a great move.

    Top prospects along with those already mentioned (Harper, Renaudo, Taillon) include names like Sale, Brentz, Castellanos and Harvey. BA did a very early preview a couple weeks ago; link here:

  20. #20 by Berndaddy - September 29th, 2009 at 11:05

    In Rizzo we trust, right. Harper or who ever, I trust Rizzo with this one. BTW Harper is pretty talented but he’ll need some seasoning and if we do draft him we’ll probably sign him late 8/15 @ 12midnight ala Strasburg/Boras style. In my way of thinking ,he should have been in next years draft but we’ll get him earlier and start him grinding it in the fall in instructionals etc. timing is better this year. As far as will he hit major league curve bals etc. Come on people he just touched a wooden bat in premier competition for the first time this year. We’ll see what happens in JUCO and Rizzo will figure it all out for us… We sit back and relax….

  21. #21 by Pilchard - September 29th, 2009 at 11:08

    Got to take the best talent available, especially if the talent could be an all-time great. If Harper is anything close to the prospect that he has been made out to be, this is not even a close call.

  22. #22 by DJ - September 29th, 2009 at 11:46

    If Harper puts up good numbers from now until then, I’m all for taking him. But in an ideal world we’d draft him and sign him right away to get him going in the developmental process. Remember he’s younger than most other picks, so the sooner to get him started, the better for us, imo.

  23. #23 by TimDz - September 29th, 2009 at 12:49

    I asked this before, but I don’t know if I ever got a concrete answer:

    Is there anything (rule or otherwise) that would prevent Rizzo from talking with Boras regarding $$$ to ensure that Harper (if that is who is ultimately chosen) signs ASAP

  24. #24 by longterm - September 29th, 2009 at 12:57

    Discussing $ with Boras directly may estabish him as something more than an “advisor” to Harper.

  25. #25 by Andrew F. - September 29th, 2009 at 13:20

    You could give Boras and a team five years to negotiate a deal and it still wouldn’t be signed until right at the deadline.

  26. #26 by Todd - September 29th, 2009 at 13:22

    I can’t quote the rule, but baseball prohibits the team with the #1 pick to make contact (unlike the NFL).

    And yes, Harper would jeopardize his amateur status by holding anything more than “lawyerly advice” communications with Boras. Just as with Strasburg, the official press release that he had signed w/ Boras did not come out until after his playing days were over at SDSU.

    I would especially be careful were I Harper, because the NCAA lost a ruling earlier this year with respect to advisors and players and eligibility, and the NCAA is not used to NOT having its way in such matters. Details and for those interested.

  27. #27 by Pilchard - September 29th, 2009 at 13:27

    Agree that there is no scenario where Boras allows the top pick of the draft to sign before the draft deadline. That’s just how Boras rolls. Since Harper is so young, there is a greater disincentive for Boras to even consider agreeing to a pre-deadline deal.

  28. #28 by cjrugger - September 29th, 2009 at 14:08

    The MLB is as much, if not more responsible for the last minute signings as Boras. The commish will not let teams announce significantly above slot signings until the last minute

  29. #29 by peric - September 29th, 2009 at 14:37

    Have to wonder if we are overlooking the position prospects that appear to be developing from the GCL Nats? They have a guy that hit something like 50 points above everyone else in Eury Perez. Then there’s Destin Hood and some others?

    Pitching has improved across the affiliates but that has yet to translate to the major league level. Thus the need for veteran pitching for next year’s campaign?

  30. #30 by peric - September 29th, 2009 at 15:09

    How old is Alfre Despaigne? Maybe they should try to get him instead and just draft lots of pitching?

  31. #31 by peric - September 29th, 2009 at 15:12

    Never mind he was born in 1986. Based on his stats he looks major league ready … he would have to jump now I suspect? Having this guy either with or instead of Dukes in the outfield? Wow.

  32. #32 by BinM - September 29th, 2009 at 18:57

    The top prospect in the fall prior to draft isn’t always at the top of the board in June, particularly with High-School level players. Harper has probably been over-hyped to date; He certainly hasn’t been an “over-the-top” stud in the U-18’s to date (his 1st experience at a high level w/ wood bats).

    Let’s see where he falls out as spring 2010 plays out – he might get dinged up, or over-matched next season, even at the JuCo level.

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