In Round 2, Nats select Miami lefty Suarez

In Round 2, Nats select Miami lefty Suarez

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals added pitching depth to their farm system on Thursday night. With their 57th pick of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, the team selected left-hander Andrew Suarez from the University of Miami.

It was not the first time Suarez's name was put in the Draft. The Blue Jays, in fact, made him a ninth-round selection in 2011, but he didn't sign with them. Instead he attended Miami and suffered a setback.

Like their first pick, right-hander Erick Fedde, Suarez has a history of getting injured. Suarez had labrum surgery and missed most of his freshman year in 2012, but was back on the mound the next year. In 2014, Suarez was at his best at Miami. He went 6-3 with a 2.95 ERA (36 ER/109.2 IP) in 16 starts. He struck out 87 while walking just 15. According to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, Suarez's fastball tops out at 95 miles per hour.

By taking Suarez and Fedde in Thursday's draft, the Nationals are willing to take chances on players with a history of being injured. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has often said that character and a strong work ethic plays a role in drafting players such as Suarez and Fedde.

That was the case in Lucas Giolito and third baseman Anthony Rendon, two players who were hurt before they were drafted. Rendon had shoulder and ankle problems before he was taken in 2010 and Giolito tore a ligament in his elbow before he was taken two years later.

Today, Rendon is among the team leaders in runs scored, hits and RBIs and has a chance to participate in his first All-Star Game. Giolito has recovered from Tommy John surgery and is on an innings limit while pitching for Class A Hagerstown. He has an ERA under 3.00 recorded in eight starts.

How do the Nats balance the risk/reward when it comes to injured players?

"We don't take hollow chances. We do a lot of research. We do a lot of background checks. We work hand in hand with our medical team," Rizzo said. "We have very good success in rehabbing those types of players. Each situation is individual and different. "

The Draft continues today with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com pregame show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET. It wouldn't come as a surprise if the Nats use those rounds to select pitchers as the team can spend $5,275,700 this year.

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.