2013 MLB Draft: Projecting Washington Nationals' Top 5 Needs

Michael Nargi@NargOnSportsSenior Analyst IMay 21, 2013

2013 MLB Draft: Projecting Washington Nationals' Top 5 Needs

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    The Washington Nationals have had tremendous results in their drafts in years past, especially since drafting Ryan Zimmerman in 2005.

    They have laid the foundation for a winning ballclub with top picks that include not only Zimmerman, but Ross Detwiler in 2007, Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen in 2009, Bryce Harper in 2010 and Anthony Rendon in 2011.

    With great depth in the minor leagues and top picks ready to break out for the Nats, where are their 2013 top draft needs?

5. Starters with a Healthy Past

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    The Nationals have taken a lot of pitchers who needed shoulder surgery during their young careers. Although no one can predict if a pitcher is going to need Tommy John surgery, the Nats do not have to gamble on guys who have a concerning medical history.

    In 2012 the Nats took Lucas Giolito. The Nationals knew what they were getting into when they signed him, according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Despite the health concerns, they went for it.

    Sure, it can happen to anyone, but why not draft someone with a clean track record and hope for more of a sure thing?

4. Second Baseman

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    The Nationals should look at drafting a second baseman considering Tony Renda is their only hope in the minors.

    The Nats' current second baseman, Danny Espinosa, has averaged more than a strikeout a game every season since he has been a major leaguer. This needs to be addressed in the upcoming draft if the Nationals feel as though Renda will not be ready any time soon.

3. Power Bullpen Arm

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    In a couple of years, the Nats bullpen might have a different look.

    For now, Rafael Soriano, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen give the bullpen great depth, but in a few years they might not have it. The time is now to begin looking for an arm in the pen that can overpower the opposition.

    Washington needs to find a player who can dominate with his velocity while being able to exhibit stellar control.

2. Outfield Help

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    Jayson Werth will not be around forever, and the Nats could use some outfield depth.

    If the Nationals had Denard Span last season, they might have been able to make the World Series. The last thing they want to do is be caught with a lack of outfield punch in a few years when Werth might no longer be on the Nats.

    The Nats need to be proactive and pack their farm system with enough outfield depth so one of their early picks will emerge as a great talent.

1. A Shortstop Who Puts the Ball in Play

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    Ian Desmond is striking out at an alarming rate and has been since he began his major league career. According to BaseballReference.com, Desmond's strikeout rate was 21.8 percent in 2011, 20.7 percent in 2012 and an embarrassing 24.1 percent in 2013. 

    Shortstop is proving to be a position that needs to see players put the ball in play. Entering May 20, the MLB average for shortstops' strikeouts on the season was 30, while the Nationals have had 43 strikeouts from their shortstops, worst in the MLB.

    Only one of the Nats' top 10 prospects is a shortstop, Zach Walters.

    Walters has averaged almost a strikeout a game in the minors, striking out 342 times in 363 games.

    Washington has to buck the trend and catch up with the rest of the league.