No. 2 Pick:
While he lamented the fact that his team did not get the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft after finishing with the worst record in the majors in 2022, since there was a Draft Lottery for the first time this year to decide the order of the top six picks, Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told reporters, after his club ended up at No. 2, he knew they would still get to add a high-end prospect to the mix after the Pittsburgh Pirates pick No. 1 overall.
“When you’re picking that high in the draft,” Rizzo said, “… it’s [because] something poorly has happened the year before, so you don’t relish that situation, but it gives us a chance to make an impactful draft pick. So, we’re excited, we’ve done a lot of work to begin the draft process, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Asked for his take on the 2023 Draft class at that point (in early December ‘22), the GM in D.C. declined to share his thoughts on the players available this time around.
“We’re going to wait and kind of figure out where we’re at,” Rizzo explained.
“Like I said, we’ve done a lot of work on it, we have opinions on it at this time, I just don’t want to share them yet, because we’re so far ahead of ourselves.”
He did, however, reiterate the fact that a No. 2 overall pick could make a significant impact on the organization after they picked No. 5 overall in the ‘22 Draft, selecting outfielder Elijah Green, 19, who is now the No. 2 prospect in the system.
“It gives us a chance to really replenish the farm system,” Rizzo said.
As for how the post-pandemic/shutdown scouting department in the organization is prepared to scout the 2023 class and develop the players they add, Rizzo said they’re in really good shape right now.
“I feel great about where it’s at,” he told reporters.
“It’s a good hard-working group who has done it for a long time, we’ve had great success doing it, and I anticipate us doing the same again.”
How has the process changed over the last few years, including all of the club’s new hires in player development last winter?
“I think we’ve introduced a more analytical approach to it,” Rizzo said.
“We have our analytical team involved in all the draft meetings, but as far as the grass roots scouting we still do it the same with a crosschecker system and a group of great area scouts, and we’re excited to put another group of really good, impactful players into the system along with the last two trade deadlines and the last three drafts, we feel really good about where our system is and we could see these players really ascending to the big leagues in the very near future.”
But still, it would have been nice to pick No. 1 overall, right?
“I’m good. I’ll live with it,” Rizzo said.
“No. 2 we’re going to get a really good player. No. 2 is a high pick, and I’m very comfortable with it. We’re going to get a very good, impactful player.”