Pitching the focus for Nats in Rule 5 Draft

Pitching the focus for Nats in Rule 5 Draft

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Nationals selected three players in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday. They took right-handers Elvin Ramirez and Brian Broderick in the Major League phase, and right-hander Michael Allen in the Triple-A phase.

Ramirez, who will get a chance to compete for a spot in the bullpen, went a combined 4-4 with a 4.16 ERA in 52 relief appearances with Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in the Mets' organization last year.

"He has a big arm, big fastball, a power slider and he finally figured out the strike zone," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "He looks very consistent with the strike zone. During the latter portion of the Minor League season [and during the Dominican Winter League], he has taken it to different level."

Broderick will compete for a spot in the back end of the rotation He went 14-7 with a 3.66 ERA in 26 games last season with Class A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization.

Broderick posted a 3.68/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (92 K/25 BB) and averaged just 1.5 walks per nine innings in 150 innings. Broderick posted an 11-2 record with 2.77 ERA in 17 games at the Double-A level and was a Texas League All-Star in 2010. He went 3-1 with a 4.39 ERA in six Arizona Fall League starts.

Broderick is 29-28 with three saves and a 4.06 ERA in 89 games during four seasons of professional baseball. He was originally selected by St. Louis in the 21st round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

As for Allen, he went 1-3 with three saves and a 6.75 ERA in 37 relief appearances last season with Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain in the Twins' system. He recorded 49 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings in 2010. Allen is 9-16 with three saves and a 4.41 ERA in five pro seasons since the Twins selected him in the 13th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

The Nationals also lost infielder Michael Martinez to the Phillies in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. He hit a combined .272 with 12 home runs and 56 RBIs with Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.