Nats draft Strasburg No. 1

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We’ve known this would be happening for months, but it’s now official: Stephen Strasburg is the top selection in the 2009 draft, and he’s now property of the Nationals.

The pick was announced at 6:15 p.m. from MLB Network Studios in Secaucus, N.J. Strasburg, a right-hander from San Diego State, was not in attendance. He’s at home in Southern California and will be holding a press conference tomorrow morning at the offices of agent Scott Boras.

Thus will begin the back-and-forth dance between the Nationals and Boras. It’s sure to turn testy at times and feature several unforeseen twists and turns. One way or another, it will be wrapped up by Aug. 15. At that point, either the Nats will have signed Strasburg for anywhere from $10 million to $50 million, or they’ll be compensated with the second pick in next year’s draft.

“We are thrilled to select someone with the special talents that Stephen possesses,” Nats acting GM Mike Rizzo said in a press release issued seconds after the pick became official. “Those talents have long been on our radar, and Stephen’s domination at San Diego State and vast experiences gained with Team USA last summer have done nothing to change our thoughts about his abilities.”

Plenty more to come. I’ll put up another post soon updating the Nos. 2 through 9 picks, setting the stage for the Nats’ other first-round selection (10th overall). That pick should be made sometime around 6:50 p.m. or so.

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Mark Zuckerman

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