After getting the top hitting prospect in the class and paying over slot for high talent, the Nationals 2011 draft was praised by most around baseball. They helped stock their farm system so much it was rated as the best in the game back in February. The groups best players, however, have got off to a rough start as two of their top three picks sit out with injuries. Overall though the class has shaped up well nine months since being drafted and some of the lesser names have emerged as names to keep an eye one in the future.Here is a look at their top picks from last year:Anthony Rendon, IF - 1st round, 6th pickRendon suffered a small fracture in his left ankle in the second week of April while playing at Class-A Potomac. It continues a long injury history for the young infielder who was only able to DH his last year in college because of a bum shoulder. Rendon wont miss the entire season, but getting helped off the field early in his first season was a huge setback to his development.Alex Meyer, RHP - 1st round, 23rd pickMeyer is the only top four pick of the Nationals 2011 class to be playing in the minors and currently healthy. The 69 flame-thrower out of Kentucky has made six starts for the Hagerstown Suns and has three consecutive solid outings. He has allowed just five earned runs in his last 16.2 innings and holds a 4.28 ERA on the season. His worst start came in his second outing when he allowed five runs in the first inning on April 12, but since Meyer has settled down and is second on the Suns with 33 strikeouts in 27.1 innings.Brian Goodwin, OF - CA, 34th pickGoodwin hasnt played in game since leaving one with a quad injury on April 9. The outfielder continues to recover, but had two home runs and eight RBI in just five games with the Hagerstown Suns. The Nats have high hopes for Goodwin to potentially slot in center field some day and hope he can get back on track soon.Matt Purke, LHP - 3rd round, 96th pickPurke is not injured right now but continues to work at extended Spring Training. He is expected to open with the Potomac Nationals and should be there relatively soon according to Mike Rizzo. Rizzo still has him down south to limit his innings this year as Purke has an injury history with his left throwing shoulder.Kylin Turnbull, LHP - 4th round, 127th pickTurnbull is the highest selected player from this class the Nationals have at the Class A Shortseason Auburn Doubledays. The pitcher has had trouble so far with a 5.12 ERA through his first four starts. He has allowed 22 hits and 11 earned runs in just 19.1 innings pitched.Matthew Skole, 3B - 5th round, 157th pickA big bat out of Georgia Tech, Skole has been the most pleasant surprise thus far out of the 2011 class. Skole leads the South Atlantic League with 34 RBI and 28 walks. His five home runs and .955 OPS are also both tops on the Hagerstown Suns. He is well on track to be a SAL All-Star and probably won't be with the Suns long into the summer.Taylor Hill, RHP - 6th round, 187th pickHill is also finding early success at Class-A Hagerstown with the starting rotations best ERA at 2.88. He is 3-2 on the year and has allowed just one home run and three walks in 25.0 innings pitched.Brian Dupra, RHP - 7th round, 217th pickDupra one of Hagerstowns other young starters and has kept an impressive 3.20 ERA in six starts this season. He has, in fact, allowed one run or less in four of those six starts and has yet to give up a home run. In his last three outings he has allowed only one earned run and just seven hits in total.Gregory Holt, RHP - 8th round, 247th pickHagerstown has used Holt in seven relief appearances so far and he has produced mixed results. He holds a 4.40 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched but has given up only one run in his last three games. He has improved on his ten appearances with Hagerstown from last season and seems to be getting better consistently.
Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer had a heated exchange in the Nationals dugout Friday night.
It was another not-so-great moment in an otherwise unspectacular season for the Nats so far.
Things like this often appear worse than they are based on what we can see, not hear, on television. In any case, it has fans and pundits talking about a perceived off-the-field issue instead of the actual game. There's nothing "good" about this, but there are important factors that are "bad" and ones that are "not bad."
Davey Martinez, Strasburg and Scherzer already said this has been settled and wasn't a big deal in the first place, but for a manager who's already faced some scrutiny this year for how he manages his pitchers, having two of them go at it in the dugout isn't ideal.
It also doesn't present the best optics for a team that came out of the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals need to build some momentum heading into the dog days of summer, and after a lackluster first half, this isn't how anybody would want to start the second half.
This was also Strasburg's first start back from a month-long stint on the disabled list. Ryan Zimmerman just rejoined the club as well. Things are shaping up to make for a solid second-half run, but all this does is detract from that.
The Nationals also just hosted the first All-Star Game in Washington since 1969. Having something like this happen in the dugout where everybody can see it takes away from some of that good publicity.
But there are also positives, or at least non-negatives, to take from this. Scherzer has always been ultracompetitive, and as the best pitcher on the staff, he needs to harness that into leadership. With Strasburg coming off a rough inning, Scherzer may have thought he needed a little tough love from a veteran. There's nothing wrong with that. Strasburg, to his credit, has never been one to focus too much on himself, so if there's anyone who can take something like this constructively, it'd be him.
This isn't Jonathan Paplebon fighting Bryce Harper for not running out a pop fly the day after the Nats were eliminated from playoff contention. These are two veteran guys who play the same position who are both competitive and want to win. It's akin to an older brother pushing his younger brother to do better. Strasburg even hinted at the family aspect after the game.
So, uh, what happened?— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) July 21, 2018
Strasburg: "It's part of family, man. You got to be in the family."
Davey: "We had a really good conversation. I'll just say that. It was addressed. Look, they're very competitive. Everybody is. I'm glad we talked. It's over. Let's move forward. These guys are professionals. We're good. I'm good that we had the conversation."— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 21, 2018
In the end, there's really nothing to see here. Frustration is part of the game. Talking it out is a part of remedying the frustration.
What really matters is tracking down the Braves and the Phillies. The Nationals can get started on that Sunday in the second game of a rain-shortened two-game series against the Braves.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS:
Following a dicey matchup between the Nats and Braves Friday night which featured a heated argument between Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals are getting a much-needed opportunity to regroup.
The Washington Nationals' official Twitter account announced that Saturday evening's matchup will be postponed due to inclement weather just after 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
The Nationals had planned to host "JMU Night" at the ballpark as a part of their "College Day" series, and due to more forecasted inclement weather Sunday, the Nationals decided to call the game off sooner rather than later.
The Nationals have yet to announce when the game will be made up.
Tomorrow's forecast obviously bad as well, which is probably why no makeup was immediately announced. Tough to see them trying to play 2 tomorrow, let alone 1. More likely scenario: Makeup Aug. 6, right before Braves are back in town for 3-game series.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 21, 2018
If Sunday's game is played as scheduled, Max Scherzer will start.
Both teams will skip today’s scheduled starters (Gonzalez, Newcomb) and stick with with tomorrow’s originally scheduled starters (Scherzer, Foltynewicz) ... if they’re able to play.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 21, 2018
This post will be updated when more information regarding a makeup date has been announced.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS:
- Scherzer and Strasburg: A public disagreement
- The Future of Bryce: A veil of uncertainty
- Second Half Preview: Nats roundtable predictions