Pitchers highlight Nats' Draft board
Strasburg, pitching coach's son among 30 hurlers selected
WASHINGTON -- For the Nationals, who picked at the very top of every round in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Days 1, 2 and 3 were highlighted by pitching, pitching, and pitching.
Of the team's 51 selections, 30 were pitchers, including No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg and Stanford right-hander Drew Storen, who was signed to a deal on Wednesday.
Despite the lopsided results that leaned toward pitching, director of scouting Dana Brown echoed what acting general manager Mike Rizzo had said in the days leading up to the Draft: It was all about taking the best player available.
"The strength of the Draft happened to be pitching," Brown said on Thursday afternoon once the team was done picking. "We didn't set out to take all the pitchers. Each time you pick, as a staff, you just line the board up. You never know who is going to be available, and it just turned out that pitching was available."
One of the pitchers taken on Day 3 was Shane McCatty, son of Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty. The younger McCatty had an 11.89 ERA in his senior season at Oakland University, but the Nationals took a flier on him with the 1,012nd overall pick.
"I'm extremely happy," Steve said, adding that he never discussed the team taking his son before the Draft. "It's an opportunity and now it's up to him. As a parent, I'm thrilled for him."
The pitching coach gave the same advice to his son that he does to the Nationals' young rotation: "Go out, be aggressive and throw strikes. It's not about how hard you throw."
Along with the 30 pitchers, the Nationals selected six outfielders, nine middle infielders, three catchers and two corner infielders.
They took 30 college players, including seven from junior colleges, and 21 high school players.
"It's kind of how the board fell," Brown said. "Early, we always try to take the best player, and early on, it just turned out that the college players were the best players."
Brown said that the team hopes to sign 25-30 of the selections. While the organization filled in most of the Minor League rosters with picks from Day 2, it still found purpose on Day 3.
Nationals -- Top five selections
|1||RHP||Stephen Strasburg||San Diego St U|
|10||RHP||Drew Storen||Stanford U|
|50||2B||Jeffrey Kobernus||UC Berkeley|
|81||RHP||Trevor Holder||U Georgia|
|112||RHP||Anthony Morris||Kansas St U|
|Complete Nationals Draft results >|
"Today was a day of taking players that are high-ceiling players, that we're going to follow through the summer, with the possibility of signing a few of them," Brown said.
Who knows? Maybe a future Major Leaguer is in that bunch. Brown has seen it happen before.
"My best friend, high school teammate Eric Young, was taken in the 43rd round," Brown said. "Then he played  years in the big leagues."
Mark Selig is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.