- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 9, 2015

For the second time in three years, the Washington Nationals entered the first round of the draft without a first-round pick. Yet for the second time in three years, they feel confident that they were still able to select an impact player on the event’s first day.

On Monday night, the Nationals used the No. 58 overall pick on Louisiana State outfielder Andrew Stevenson, a tremendous defensive center fielder and left-handed hitter. With their second and final selection of the night, No. 69 overall, they chose another outfielder, Arizona high-school prospect Blake Perkins.

Washington forfeited its first-round pick in this year’s draft by signing Max Scherzer, who had turned down a qualifying offer with the Detroit Tigers, thereby ensuring that any team that signed him would have to relinquish its pick. The Nationals experienced similar circumstances in 2013 after signing Rafael Soriano. They used their only second-round pick that year to select right-handed pitcher Jake Johansen.

Stevenson, a 6-foot, 184-pound junior, is a three-year starter in center field for the Tigers, who will face TCU or Texas A&M in the College World Series on Sunday. The left-handed hitter is leading the team with a .356 average so far this year, along with 11 doubles, five triples, one home run and 26 stolen bases. He was recently named a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection.

A native of Youngsville, Louisiana, Stevenson is best known for his defense. He has been named to the SEC’s all-defensive team in each of the past two seasons.

Nine picks later, the Nationals selected Perkins, who has committed to play collegiately at Arizona State. Listed at 6 feet and 180 pounds, the right-handed hitter posted a .461 average during his senior season at Verrado High School in Buckeye, Arizona. He hit eight doubles, eight triples and seven home runs. He is also considered to be an above-average defender.

SEE ALSO: Nationals clubhouse not worried about latest poor stretch

Stevenson was listed as the 168th best prospect in the draft, according to Baseball America, while Perkins ranked 137th.

The third round of the draft begins at noon Tuesday.

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