WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are always looking for ways to stock up on pitching depth, and they took advantage of what they believed was a strong Draft class for pitching on the first day of the 2017 MLB Draft.
The Nats selected right-hander Wil Crowe out of the University of South Carolina with their second-round pick, No. 65 overall, on Monday night. Scouting director Kris Kline said he was "extremely elated" to see Crowe fall to Washington.
"They had the other guy [at South Carolina] who was working his way up the board," Kline said, referring to right-hander Clarke Schmidt, who was selected No. 16 overall by the Yankees. "But this has always been the guy there."
Crowe, who was rated as the No. 44 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, was the Friday night starter for South Carolina this season. He posted a 3.41 ERA in 15 outings with 90 strikeouts in a team-high 92 1/3 innings. He helped lead the Gamecocks to victory in the Southeastern Conference Tournament against Missouri on May 25 by giving up one run on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts over six innings.
After just nine starts as a sophomore in 2015, Crowe underwent Tommy John surgery in April of that year and missed the '16 season. Despite this, he was still named to the 2017 Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List.
The Nationals have never shied away from taking pitchers that have undergone elbow surgery, including Lucas Giolito in the first round of the 2012 Draft as he was set to recover from the procedure. Kline said Crowe profiles as a mid-rotation starter, a strike-thrower with a mid-90s fastball and strong secondary pitches.
"Physical guy. Four-pitch mix. Above-average secondary stuff," Kline said. "The fact that he got to us where he picked, I'm extremely elated."
The Nationals took pitchers with both their selections on the first day of the Draft, choosing Crowe after going with left-hander Seth Romero from the University of Houston in the first round (25th overall pick). The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.