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Nats take SS, SP in first round of 2016 draft, get 3B in second round

Nats take SS, SP in first round of 2016 draft, get 3B in second round

The Nationals stayed within the family with their first pick in the 2016 MLB Draft on Thursday night by selecting high school shortstop Carter Kieboom with the 28th overall pick. Kieboom's brother, Spencer, is a catcher for their Double-A affilliate Harrisburg Senators.

With the 29th overall pick, the Nationals selected right-hander Dane Dunning out of the University of Florida. Dunning's Gators are still alive in the NCAA Tournament.

The Nationals then selected Sheldon Neuse out of the University of Oklahoma with the 58th overall pick in the second round. Neuse was both an infielder and closer for the Sooners this season.

"I think we got who we targeted," Nationals assistant GM Kris Kline said. "Beauty's in the eye of the beholder. We identified Carter and Dane early in the year and I think we feel really fortunate to get those guys. Then Neuse kind of fell in our lap. We really liked him too."

Kieboom, 18, hails from Walton High School in Georgia. He's listed at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and bats right-handed. He is currently committed to play at Clemson University, where Spencer also played.

"He's a very athletic high school shortstop that I think stays at shortstop," Kline said. "He has an advanced approach at the plate. Very good tools with some above average, some solid average. He's going to be a very good big leaguer. Good makeup. Just has a really good feel for the game. He's a baseball player."

Dunning, 21, is 6-foot-4 and throws a fastball in the mid-90s. He has a 2.95 ERA in 29 appearances, five of them starts, for the Gators this year. The Nats plan to develop Dunning as a starter and send him to the short-season Auburn Doubledays once he is signed.

Dunning was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 34th round of the 2013 draft out of high school, but didn't sign. He is currently a junior at Florida.

Kieboom hit .366 (37-for-101) with five home runs, 37 RBI, 24 walks, seven steals and 39 runs scored as a senior. He held a .504 on-base percentage and a .644 slugging percentage for Walton, which is located in Marietta, Ga. He was also an ambidextrous pitcher in high school.

Neuse, 21, hit .369 with 10 homers, five triples and 48 RBI on offense this season. As a pitcher, he held a 1.40 ERA with five saves in 14 appearances. He was an All-Big 12 selection in 2016.

Nats crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales explained Neuse's skillset:

"Good bat. He's got power. He catches the baseball. Hardly had any errors the last two years. Really good throwing arm. Super ballplayer. Great kid. Really love the makeup on him. Overall, good package there," he said.

Kieboom has the option of going to school at Clemson instead of signing, and Dunning and Neuse can return to college as juniors. Kline, though, believes the Nationals will sign all three by the July 15 deadline.

"I feel very confident that we'll end up getting them all done before the deadline," he said.

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.