Late rounds can be just as productive
After Day 1, Nats searching for hidden talent in Draft
WASHINGTON -- What do the Nationals' Jason Bergmann, Willie Harris, John Lannan and Josh Willingham have in common? They were all drafted after Round 3 in the First-Year Player Draft.
While there wasn't any buzz when they were selected, they persevered and made it to the big leagues.
Take Bergmann and Lannan -- they were drafted in the 11th round by the Nationals/Expos in 2002 and '05, respectively. Lannan is the Nationals' No 1 starter on the staff, while Bergmann is making a contribution as a middle reliever.
"For me, I didn't have lofty expectations. I just came to the field every day and did what was asked of me with the best of my ability," Bergmann said. "It's just a matter of going out there and giving it your all. I have no regrets about playing baseball."
Harris, a 24th-rounder in the 1999 Draft with the Orioles, believes some of the best players get selected in the later rounds.
"I don't want to say the first round is overrated, but I would say 50 percent of the guys in the big leagues were low-round Draft picks or undrafted free agents," Harris said. "For guys drafted in the first round, it's good for them, but it does not clarify what type of player they are going to be at this level."
Willingham was a 17th-round pick in by the Marlins in 2000, and it took him four years to make his Major League debut.
"Everyone that is not a high pick wants a shot to play," Willingham said. "I took it one step at a time."
Nationals -- Top five selections
|1||RHP||Stephen Strasburg||San Diego St U|
|10||RHP||Drew Storen||Stanford U|
|50||2B||Jeffrey Kobernus||UC Berkeley|
|81||RHP||Trevor Holder||U Georgia|
|112||RHP||Anthony Morris||Kansas St U|
|Complete Nationals Draft results >|
After 111 picks on Day 1 -- including Round 1, Compensation Round A, Round 2, Round 3 and Compensation Round B -- the Draft resumed on Wednesday. The Draft will conclude on Thursday with the 31st through 50th rounds, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
MLB.com's coverage will include a live pick-by-pick audio stream, expert commentary and the exclusive Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, featuring statistics, scouting reports and video highlights.
Fans will not only be able to follow along every minute of the way online, but they'll be able to interact directly with Draft-eligible players and MLB.com Draft experts, among others.
The Draft Tracker will also feature the addition of Twitter, and the participation of "tweeters" such as MLB.com Draft expert @JonathanMayoB3, who will also be serving as on-air talent for all three days of the Draft; and reporter @LisaWinstonMLB, who will be writing the up-to-the-minute coverage for MLB.com.
In addition, MLB.com has created a Twitter account devoted to the Draft, where you can stay updated on every piece of info as it becomes available (@MLBDraft).
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.