The baseball rebuilding in Washington appears daunting but the Nationals can take some hope from the quick turnaround of their neighbors just an hour or so north on Interstate-95, the rapidly ascending Baltimore Orioles.
Like the Orioles of a few seasons ago, the Nationals are trying to climb out of a W-L hole they virtually dug for themselves. The upcoming Major League Draft on July 9-11 presents the best opportunity to do just that and is also a chance for customers at VA sportsbooks to get a glimpse of the future.
Nationals Rebuild Began Soon After Championship
In the case of the Nationals, they’re in this rebuild position after an eight-year run of winning seasons that ended in a Word Series championship in 2019.
But after the confetti was swept up, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and things fell apart quickly for the Nats. Anthony Rendon, a team anchor, left in free agency. As Washington started losing games by the fistful, All-Star caliber players Trea Turner, Max Scherzer and Juan Soto were all traded, mainly for prospects.
So, the losses piled up and in 2022, the Nats had baseball’s worst record at 55-107. Washington wound up with the No. 2 pick in the 2023 draft by virtue of a lottery, behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Virginia sports betting apps are not keen on Washington’s chances this year, either. The Nats, in last place in the National League East at 25-36 and 12.5 games out of first place entering Friday’s games, have +25000 odds at BetMGM Sportsbook Virginia to win the division.
Nearby Orioles Provide Blueprint to Follow
Back when the Orioles had high picks, they used them to restock the minor-league pipeline and even get some immediate help, such as roster pillar Adley Rutschman, the top draft pick in 2019. It has worked so far. The O’s are in the thick of playoff contention in the American League East.
So, for Washington to get back on track in the NL East, who will be their likely choice in this draft?
Some of the best prospects playing in the NCAA Baseball Tournament and the 2023 MLB Draft is just weeks away. So BetVirginia.com – your home for the best Virginia sportsbook promos – developed hypothetical odds of who the Washington Nationals will select with their number 2 overall pick.
Odds On Nationals No. 2 Overall Pick In 2023 MLB Draft
Who Is Favored As Nationals Selection?
To end the suspense, BetVirginia.com is calling LSU pitcher Paul Skenes the favorite. But for the fuller picture, read on.
At the moment, the consensus on who the Pirates will select No. 1 overall is college outfielder Dylan Crews. He is a hitting machine at LSU; in 61 games this season, the college junior has batted .432 with 17 home runs and an OBP of .573.
He has helped lead his Tigers to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Baseball Tournament, where they host SEC rival Kentucky in a best-of-three series this weekend for the right to go to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Game 1 of LSU-Kentucky is at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday on ESPN.
Customers using the FanDuel Sportsbook VA can get LSU at -230 odds to beat the Wildcats.
The smart money generally eliminates the availability of Crews for Washington’s No. 2 pick overall. So the chalk selection for Washington at this point is Crews’ teammate, Skenes, the big right-handed starter.
Why LSU Pitcher Leads Odds Pack
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound 21-year-old has thrown 99.1 innings for the Tigers in 2023 with an ERA of 1.90, 179 strikeouts and just 17 walks. Skenes is 11-2 with LSU still playing in the NCAA postseason.
The junior, a transfer from the Air Force Academy, where he played in 2022, pitched in the Cape Cod League in 2021. He improved immensely on his strikeout-to-walk ratio from the 2-to-3 range to about 10.5 this season.
Our crystal ball sets the chances of the Nats selecting Skenes at 36.4%, which translates to moneyline odds of +175. You won’t see these odds at Virginia sportsbook apps, only at BetVirginia.
Skenes is certainly not a bad thought considering the Nationals had a team ERA of 5.00 in 2022, and 4.67 through 61 games this year.
Other Contenders For Washington
After Skenes, BetVirginia.com sees the most likely Nationals draft candidates to be high school outfielder Walker Jenkins, from South Brunswick, North Carolina (22.2%, +250 moneyline), and college outfielder Wyatt Langford, from Florida (20%, +400). Langford’s Gators are also playing in the 16-team Super Regionals, hosting SEC rival South Carolina this weekend with Game 1 tonight (6 p.m., ESPN2).
Florida is third on the odds board at +550 with BetRivers Virginia Sportsbook to win the CWS, behind Wake Forest (+250) and LSU (+500).
If Crews were to slip through, he becomes the next probable draft pick (9.1%, +1000) along with high school OF Max Clark, of Franklin, Indiana, at the same odds. We rate the chances of the Nats drafting anybody else at 4% (+2400).