Many predicted it, but few saw it coming until just before the draft. With the 10th overall, and their second pick in the draft, the Washington Nationals took right handed pitcher Drew Storen.
Storen is a rare draft-eligible sophomore out of Stanford who has been used almost exclusively as a reliever.
His freshman year he pitched in 31 games, posted a 3.51 ERA and struck out 50 in 56.1 innings pitched.
This his sophomore year, he appeared in 28 games earning a 7-1 record as a reliever. The righty had a 3.90 ERA on his way to seven saves and 66 strikeouts in 42.2 innings pitched.
Storen is considered extremely polished as a sophomore and very close to major league ready. His fastball is constantly in the low to mid 90’s and has decent life. It’s strong sinking motion induces lots of ground balls and forces batters to miss. His biggest problem he will have to correct however is that his fastball from time to time misses his spot, and when it misses it misses high which in college turns into hits and in the majors will turn into homers.
He also employs a changeup and a power slider, which serve to keep hitters off balance. His slider keeps batters eye’s guessing and helps improve his strikeout rate.
While no one questions his polish, or the fact that Storen was the best closer in the draft, many question his ability to get much better. Among scouts there is some serious question as to whether or not he has the stuff to be a MLB closer.
Some in fact, including Baseball Prospectus’s Kevin Golstein say that this may have been the biggest overdraft of the first round. He believes the only way the Nationals could save face is if he becomes a starter.
The truth is the Nationals did draft him way above where he was projected. Many believed Storen would get picked up in the compensation or the second round of the draft. Did the Nationals get something they needed? Yes they got bullpen help. Could he possibly help the club this year? Yes he is very polished. Was he easy to sign? Yes he already signed today.
The bottom line is with Storen the Nats knew what they were doing when they drafted him and they got what they wanted. Time will only tell if he’s as talented as the Nationals hope, or as talented as the scouts project.