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Mike Rizzo discusses upcoming MLB draft

On the day before what he called his "most favorite day of the season," Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo re-affirmed Sunday that the organization has made its decision on who it will select with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 MLB first-year player draft.

Rizzo was unwilling to reveal which player Washington will choose with the draft's first selection -- which will take place at roughly 7 p.m. Monday night -- and he said the team has not informed the player who will be selected, either.

But he also acknowledged the player's identity is "not the biggest secret in the world," a nod to the speculation that the Nationals will take College of Southern Nevada catcher Bryce Harper, who is widely described as the draft's top prospect. Though just 17 years old, Harper already has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which declared him "The Chosen One" and "Baseball's LeBron James."

Rizzo said the organization began the season "looking at about six or seven players that had a realistic chance of being (No.) 1." That number, he said, quickly dwindled.

"In my mind, I had the guy in mind for quite a long time, and it was to the point where he was going to have to lose the spot," Rizzo said. "It would have been hard for somebody to gain the spot. He would had to have lost the spot, and that hasn't happened."

Twenty-four hours after the Nationals make their pick, right-hander Stephen Strasburg -- last season's No. 1 overall draft pick -- will make his major league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Tuesday, Washington also will make selections in rounds 2-15 of the 2010 draft.

"I think Tuesday is a more exciting day than even Monday because we pick 1, 1, so we know who we're getting Monday," Rizzo said. "And then Tuesday starts a huge whirlwind day here in Washington, D.C., for a couple reasons. But day two [of the draft] is really where it's going to separate a great draft from a franchise-changing draft, so we're fired up about it."

Rizzo called the fact that Strasburg's debut so closely will follow the selection of another No. 1 overall pick "a coincidence," but he acknowledged that does not take away from the day's significance.

Tuesday "certainly is a huge day," Rizzo said. "Let's not sugarcoat this. It is a huge day in the franchise's history. You've got Stephen Strasburg making his major league debut, and you're picking rounds 2-15 in an important and vital draft that could have ramifications for this franchise for years. It's a huge day for us. We look forward to it with anticipation and excitement. The work has been put in, and we're hoping to really reap the benefits of picking 1,1, hopefully for the last time in our franchise."

By Steve Yanda  |  June 6, 2010; 1:27 PM ET
Categories:  Bryce Harper  
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Next: Game 58 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Reds


pick em good Mike, don't mess up!

Posted by: cabraman | June 6, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

With Harper as the consensus #1, the question runs to who is on the board in rounds 2-10.

Posted by: BinM | June 6, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

PIck them good and sign them fast.

Posted by: derwink | June 6, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo just said that Harper is probably the Nats #1 pick during the 4th inning break at today's game.

Posted by: dorseylaw | June 6, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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