With their fourth-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft, No. 136 overall, the Nationals on Friday picked right-handed pitcher Nicholas Pivetta of New Mexico Junior College.
A British Columbia native, Pivetta went 9-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 13 starts last season, and was among the best junior college pitching prospects in the Draft. In his first year at New Mexico JUCO, Pivetta made 12 starts and finished with a 4-1 record and 4.83 ERA.
Pivetta also was a member of the Canadian Junior National Team (U-18) from 2009-12. He has reportedly signed a letter of intent to transfer to the University of New Mexico in September.
"He throws up to 95 mph, good projection guy," Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel Roy Clark said. "We feel real good about him."
At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Pivetta has an ideal pitcher's frame. The righty also has the stuff to back it up, including a fastball that reaches the high-90s in relief appearances, but mostly sits in the low-90s during starts. Pivetta also throws a solid curveball, which could be an above-average pitch in the future, and an inconsistent changeup.
Nationals crosschecker Mark Baca praised Pivetta's smooth delivery and aggressive approach. The 20-year-old could be a starter if he develops his changeup. Otherwise, he projects as a late-inning power arm out of the Nationals' bullpen.
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.