Nationals select Strasburg with top pick in draft
AP Baseball Writer
SECAUCUS, N.J. – The Washington Nationals selected pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the first pick in baseball’s amateur draft Tuesday night.
Considered one of the most talented prospects in the event’s 45-year history, Strasburg went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA this season for San Diego State, leading the Aztecs to their first postseason berth since 1991.
Featuring a fastball that has been clocked at 102 mph, Strasburg leads Division I pitchers with 195 strikeouts in 109 innings. He was the only amateur on the U.S. Olympic baseball team that won a bronze medal in Beijing last summer.
“We are thrilled to select someone with the special talents that Stephen possesses,” Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “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.”
Signing the right-hander could be a challenge for the Nationals, however, because agent Scott Boras is sure to seek a record contract.
With the second pick, the Seattle Mariners chose North Carolina slugger Dustin Ackley, who has batted at least .400 for three consecutive seasons.
Regarded as the best hitter available, Ackley played mostly first base for the Tar Heels, but his impressive speed makes him a candidate to switch to center field as a pro.
It was Seattle’s highest pick since 1993, when the Mariners took Alex Rodriguez first overall.
The San Diego Padres picked Georgia high school outfielder Donavan Tate at No. 3.