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Updated: Nationals draft son of Yankees legend

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Updated: Nationals draft son of Yankees legend

The Nationals already had the sons of Cal Ripken, Jr., Tony Gwynn and Lenny Dykstra in their farm system, but on Tuesday they added another famous ballplayer's kid to the mix. In the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Draft, the Nats took right-handed pitcher Mariano Rivera, Jr.

He is, of course, the son of Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, considered by most to be the best closer of all time. Rivera, Jr. joins the organization after playing for Iona College in New York.

According to some reports, Rivera, Jr. has been clocked as high as 97 miles per hour on his fastball, but generally sits around 93-94. He is listed at 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds.

Nationals special assistant to the GM Jeff Zona recalled seeing Rivera, Jr. pitch for the first time:

"It was a day in Connecticut that I saw him. It was much the same as our scout who had tracked him. I mean, he sits mid-90s with his fastballs with a power, 80 mile per hour curveball. It was very impressive. He threw strikes. It was great to see him at that time of the year when you've almost been through the whole country and then you see that. It was just somebody that, for me, he was just one of my favorites. I think we got a good one."

Rivera, Jr. was drafted in the 29th round by the Yankees in 2014, but didn't sign. He went 5-7 with a 2.65 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 14 starts (85 IP) at Iona this season.

The Nationals drafted Ripken's son, Ryan, in the 15th round of the 2014 draft. They traded for Dykstra's son, Cutter, after the 2010 season. Gwynn, Jr. was signed before this season as a free agent.

Nationals assistant general manager Kris Kline talked about Rivera, Jr.'s pedigree after the team selected him.

"As scouts, any time we can go and watch a kid that has major league bloodlines, you look at the Boone family, there's something definitely to be said for that. It's a positive thing. The fact that Mariano's kid is as good as he is right now, I'm sure his father had a lot to do with that. He has the genes there. He's not a tall kid, but he's got big shoulders, long arms, big hands and that really helps as far as the durability for his size," he said.

The New York Daily News caught up with Rivera, Sr., the future MLB Hall of Famer, to ask him about his son getting drafted by the Nats. He said he was happy for his son and not disappointed he didn't join the Yankees.

“It’s a great organization,” Rivera Sr. said. “They have put a great team together. So hopefully they give him an opportunity to pitch and do what he’s capable [of doing] and do his best and help the team as much as he can.”

For analysis of the Nationals' other picks, go to our 2015 draft tracker.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.