Independent voices from the TWT Communities
In three days, the Washington Nationals will make the 10th first-round draft pick in their short history. Six of those picks already have spent significant time inside the Nationals' major league clubhouse, leaving lofty expectations for those who follow.
"To get from the Dead Sea — below sea level — to going up Mount Everest, it's a long haul," Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner said of the team's farm system. "Doing it in just five years, patting ourselves on the back, it's pretty phenomenal."
Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo made his requirements in the team's search for a starting pitcher this offseason perfectly clear. He wanted a left-hander, someone who could throw 200-plus innings and who had a proven track record.
This year, there was no Bryce Harper and no Stephen Strasburg. There was no No. 1 overall pick deemed once-in-a-generation waiting until the clock struck midnight to relent, get paid record sums and join the Washington Nationals.
"If he's healthy — and the hip issue, unlike the back pain that affected his 2012 season, seems to be something Haren has had before but never had it affect his performance — he'd give the Nationals a devastating rotation," wrote ESPN.com analyst Keith Law. "Potentially giving them a 200-inning starter who adds value by avoiding walks and missing bats thanks to good command and an above-average splitter."