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At No. 50 Overall, the Nats Select...

... University of California-Berkeley second baseman Jeffrey Kobernus, a 6-foot-2, 195-pounder. Bats right, throws right. His dad, who shared the same name, was a former pitcher who spent four years in the Oakland A's and Los Angeles Dodgers' farm systems in the early 1980s, making it as high as Class AA.

Baseball America calls the younger Kobernus "athletic," "projectable" and "one of the most versatile players in the nation." He has played all around the diamond, but settled in at second base this season, hitting .351/.385/.563 with eight homers and 17 stolen bases. In their most recent Top 200 Draft Prospects list, the industry bible had him rated at No. 91.

"While Kobernus does not have overwhelming tools in any one area," Baseball America says, "he is an athletic and well-rounded player who has the potential to fill any number of roles as a professional. Look for the organization that drafts him to start him out as a second baseman, with a move to third possible if he fills out his frame more."

Guys without overwhelming tools? Clearly, this is not your father's Nats Draft Day.

By Dave Sheinin  |  June 9, 2009; 9:25 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gwynn On Strasburg
Next: And Finally, With Overall Pick No. 81...


Jeff Kobernus -

Hitting ability: Kobernus has a quiet approach at the plate. He pushes the bat a little through the zone, but he's got excellent bat speed and can hit the inside pitch.

Power: It's slightly below average now, but projects as an average tool in the future.

Running speed: A plus runner, he's even better once underway.

Base running: Steals bases right now, but may not in the future.

Arm strength: He shows some arm strength.

Fielding: Has above-average defensive skills with good hands, and shows a good ability on the pivot turning the double play.

Range: Has very good range at second.

Physical Description: Kobernus is kind of like a taller version of Mark Grudzielanek.

Medical Update: Healthy.

Strengths: Good hitting skills; solid all-around defensive skills.

Weaknesses: He's not a premium bat and is a second baseman only.

Summary: Kobernus is not the kind of elite college bat scouts might be looking for, but then again, that doesn't really exist in this class. He's got a real chance to be a prototypical No. 2 hitter. He's a solid second baseman who really turns the double play well. He may not be that premium hitter, but he's got some solid attributes that should have him off the board fairly early.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 9, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Getting cheap apparently ...

Posted by: periculum | June 9, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Here come the galaxy of cheap ...

Posted by: periculum | June 9, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't know a lot about baseball prospects projecting into the MLB. But on the list of needs when it comes to infield guys 2nd base is the bigger hole, at least the games I have been to thats the case.

Posted by: alex35332 | June 9, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

2b? I thought Anderson Hernandez ... and Alberto Gonzalez has been looking good at the plate?

They probably need catching more given Jesus Flores injury. And they need a center fielder more ... don't you think?

Posted by: periculum | June 9, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

MLB need does not figure into drafting amateur players, especially after the first round. These guys are all too far away from the big leagues for it to make sense for a team to draft like that. If a guy shows he is a real prospect and is blocked at that point, the team either trades the prospect, or the guy who's blocking him.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 9, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh good - a non-elite player who projects to be Grudzialanek (a career 90 OPS+ ballplayer) and rated 91 overall.

Hey, anybody want to bet he's thrilled to get slot money for a #50 pick?

Certainly no room in the organization for Rich Poythress and his .459 OBP and .768 SLG at 1b.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 9, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

You know I'm a little disappointed too, but my disappointment is in the people here who are attacking the Storen pick with such vigor and maintaining that they have been lied to. Poppycock!

If you compare the actual first round picks with the experts projections you can see vast differences in team and media valuations. Not just the Nationals. Picking on Kieth Law here are some of the deltas (actual/Law/difference):

Matzek 11/3/8
Scheppers 44/3/41 (yes Law off by 41 picks)
Crow 12/5/7
Miller 19/6/13
Paxton 37/9/26
White 15/10/5
Davidson 35/14/21
Stassi (still not picked)/15/at least 35 off

My point, this talk of being lied to is way off base. There is no reason to believe this pick was motivated by anything other than the team's actual valuation of the player. How do you value a player? Talent, Readiness, Coachability, Cost, health, ability to improve. Rizzo has a pretty good record on all those fronts. What's wrong with that?

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 9, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I am gonna assume/hope Jeasus is back next season at catcher. And yes a CF would be another big hole but every game I go to I feel like I am watching the 2nd basemen stand like a statue out on D thats just my gut reaction.

Posted by: alex35332 | June 9, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I just logged in so sorry if this has been discussed. I watched both the MLB and ESPN telephone interviews with SS and he was never asked nor brought up the Nationals, just being the #1#1. That is a huge concern to me. I understand the Boras scripting but come on!

Posted by: sec218 | June 9, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Jeffrey Kobernus is a great pick. He is the kind of player the Nats need in their system, he is a "baseball player" not an athlete learning to play baseball.

Keep picking guys like this Mike!

Posted by: cabraman | June 9, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

#81: Trevor Holder RHP Bulldogs down in Athens GA.

Posted by: periculum | June 9, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

In additiona to Flores, the Nats have two very good catching prospects already - Norris and Nieto. They've got some pretty good pitchers. They have some decent outfielders, but they are pretty weak in the infield (other than Marerro and Espinosa). I agree teams should not draft for need in the MLB draft, but if you're picking between two pretty close players, picking middle infielders would be good.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 9, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

That's 3 pitchers ... hopefully that will help ...

Posted by: periculum | June 9, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

So far two pitchers known for throwing strikes and one infielder known for good fundamentals ...

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 9, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

They moved Solano up and Montz down ...

Posted by: periculum | June 9, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Three to one in the fifth inning ... another loss looming on the horizon.

Posted by: periculum | June 9, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I have been on the Lerner's and Kasten for being cheap but, I'm willing to give Rizzo the benefit of the doubt on the draft. He did a pretty nice job with the Diamondbacks and helping to stock their system.

We need some baseball players not athletes trying to learn how to play the game.

Here's to hoping these picks work out and to hoping the Lerner's crack open the checkbook to sign them and some impact FA's in the offseason.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 9, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Alright people, can we just trust Mike Rizzo a little bit? He's big on pitching and defense and I think he can spot a ballplayer better than any of us can.

Hopefully Kobernus and Danny Espinosa and give us a formidable up the middle defense in the future. While not Rollins and Utley, anything is better than Guzman and Belli/Hernandez/Gonzalez.

Posted by: von_bluff | June 9, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm staying positive. They appear to know the names and ages of all 3 draft picks, and every time I see Rizzo, his shirt has "Nationals" spelled correctly. I see progress from this organizatin....

Posted by: SwiftIT | June 9, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

This whole attitude about on the cheap is just wrong by my fellow fans. Part is signability, but realize most draft picks are not an immediate solution. If there are holes to be filled there is free agency as well. Look at MLB players of different teams and you will see very successful players that were not seen as stars when drafted.

There are 50 rounds in the draft! Part of it is a crapshoot! Bottom line our 2nd and 3rd round as well as our next few rounds have as good a chance of being impact players as does Strasburg. Not because Strasburg is not the most talented but with baseball ...blank happens... andthings happen. Look at the Cubs with Woods- not exactly as they had planned.

Posted by: DCsportfan3433 | June 9, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh good - a non-elite player who projects to be Grudzialanek (a career 90 OPS+ ballplayer) and rated 91 overall.

Hey, anybody want to bet he's thrilled to get slot money for a #50 pick?

Certainly no room in the organization for Rich Poythress and his .459 OBP and .768 SLG at 1b.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 9, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse


I guess you only looked at the hitting stats on Poythress and nothing else!! The guy is beyond slow at base running and fielding which is why he dropped into the 2nd round. His only chance is in the American League as a DH and the last time I looked, the Nationals weren't in the market for a DH!!!
If you are going to try to bash the Nats, at least do your homework!!

Posted by: dckidwell | June 10, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

The Nationals really needed to upgrade their defense. Pitching has been accented each year in the draft at the top and that's a good thing, but in the middle rounds the team needs to continue to select and develop guys who can play second, shortstop, center field and backup Jesus Flores at catcher long-term.

Posted by: leopard09 | June 10, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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