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1st rd. picks Dunning and Kieboom excited to join Nats, get to work

1st rd. picks Dunning and Kieboom excited to join Nats, get to work

At this point the odds appear very good that both Nationals' 2016 draft picks will sign contracts with the team despite both having the option to attend college for the 2016-17 school year.

Shortstop Carter Kieboom, the 28th pick, can go to Clemson University in the fall to begin his collegiate career if he wants. Florida pitcher Dane Dunning, taken 29th, can return to the Gators for his senior season.

That doesn't seem to be in the plans for either player, as both expect to make their decisions soon. Dunning has already said he plans to sign. Kieboom expects to make the call in the next few days.

Both players are ready to get to work in the Nationals' farm system. And for Kieboom, there is cool opportunity to play with his older brother, Spencer, some time down the road. Spencer is currently a catcher with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.

"To be selected by the Nationals is very special. I've never been able to play with my older brothers just because how much older they are than me. Now to be given the opportunity to potentially play with Spencer in a few years, I think that'd be a very cool scenario for that to take place," Carter said.

Carter visted Spencer with the Senators when they were in Richmond to play the Flying Squirrels on June 3. He was in the area to work out for the Nationals ahead of the draft.

"I got to hang out on the field and go through the clubhouse. It just kind of gave me a heads up of what I'm walking into. The real difference is the diversity of the locker room. You've got guys coming over from all different angles," he said.

And how about that workout?

"I went up there and had a phenomenal workout. I hit very well. I was very sound defensively," he said.

Dunning didn't have quite as much evidence the Nationals would take him. He was surprised the Nats selected him in the first round and after getting off the phone with them, chose not to tell his parents so they could watch it develop live on television.

"I'm extremely blessed to be taken where I was at," Dunning said.

It's been a busy few weeks for Dunning in the leadup to the draft, as his Florida Gators are still alive in the NCAA Tournament. He is currently preparing to face the Florida State Seminoles in the Super Regional round.

Despite all that was going on, Dunning said it wasn't difficult to compartmentalize.

“Throughout the season I tried not to really think about the draft at all. I just kind of went out there and tried to win games for my team.  This past week, after regionals and all that, was really the first time I sat down and talked to my parents and talked to my advisor just about how the draft is going to play out. It hasn’t really been too hectic. I just had a short conversation about it. I've just been going about my business, just going to practice, working hard," he said.

Dunning, who pitched out of the bullpen for 24 of his 29 appearances this season with Florida, is thrilled the Nationals plan to develop him as a starter.

“Extremely grateful that they are fortunate enough to let me become a starter. I’ve always wanted to be a starter my whole entire life. Either way I’m really happy with with any decision, but being able to start is a dream come true," he said.

 

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm
 

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May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

The start of spring training is a glimmer of hope during the cold of winter. It means warm weather, cold beers and hot dogs at the ballpark are coming your way.

It's our first chance to get a taste of how our favorite team is shaping up for the 2018 season, and for those who are not quite into just the game itself, betting odds.

CG Technology, a Las Vegas sportsbook operator, has set the 2018 odds for each MLB team.

Specifically, how are things looking for the local teams?

RELATED: 2018 SPRING TRAINING REPORT DATES

Washington Nationals: 91 1/2 wins

The 2018 season is looked at by many as the last World Series run for some time for the Nationals and their core group of players. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez will become free agents after the 2018 season in addition to general manager and President of Baseball Operations, Mike Rizzo.

In 2017, the team won 97 games and went on to win the NL East, but couldn't make it past the first-round of the National League Division Series. In 2018, Vegas is giving the Nats 7/2 odds of taking the National League title. They are just behind the Chicago Cubs, who knocked them out of contention last season, at 4/1 odds.

As far as winning the World Series, Vegas is giving the guys an 8/1 chance of their first title, tied with the Cubs.

Baltimore Orioles: 77 1/2 wins

The O's finished the 2017 season with 75 wins, which could be considered somewhat of an accomplishment considering their pitching resources.

The same problem will occur in 2018 as the organization hasn't signed any new starting pitchers. Vegas is giving them 50/1 odds of taking the American League title and 100/1 odds of winning the World Series.

The lack of depth in their rotation will come back to bite them as division rival New York Yankees have 5/1 odds of winning the World Series and the Red Sox have 10/1 odds.

A below average season should be expected.

A few other standouts, good and bad, include the Miami Marlins at 500/1 odds of winning the World Series, the Kansas City Royals at 200/1 and current champions, the Houston Astros, at 6/1 odds.

RELATED: FORMER NATS PITCHER ARRESTED WITH MORE THAN 40 POUNDS OF SUSPECTED COCAINE