- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2006

3:36 p.m.

The Washington Nationals dipped into the high school ranks for their two first-round selections in todays first-year player draft, selecting a hitter and a pitcher.

With its first pick, the 15th of the first round, Washington selected Chris Marrero, a third baseman from Monsignor Edward Pace High School in the Miami area.

Marrero once was considered the top high school position-player prospect. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, he projected as one of the best power prospects in the draft. He hit 12 homers and batted over .400 as a senior.

Marrero was one of 10 players who worked out for the Nationals last week at RFK Stadium.

With their second selection in the first round, 22nd overall, the Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Colton Willems from John Carroll High School in Fort Pierce, Fla.

A sturdy 6-4 1/2, 200-pounder, Willems went 7-1 with a .62 ERA and struck out 99 batters in 53 innings. His fastball topped out at 97 mph. Willems also has a backup plan, having signed to play at the University of Florida.

The annual baseball draft is a two-day event; you can follow it live at www.mlb.com.

John Taylor

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