Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nationals finally see a member of the 2006 draft class make MLB debut

It finally happened.

With a 92 MPH fastball over the heart of the plate, Cole Kimball emphatically announced that the Washington Nationals will not go down as the only team to never produce a major leaguer from the 2006 draft class.

While higher picks like Chris Marrero and Stephen King continue to flounder in the minors, Kimball, a 12th round pick out of Centenary College made his debut this past Saturday, May 14 in a 1-0 loss against the Florida Marlins, pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

Blessed with a mid 90's fastball and what broadcaster Ray Knight describes as "the best splitter since Bruce Sutter", Kimball made a quick rise through the Nationals farm system after a move to the bullpen.

Much had been made of the Nationals inability to produce a major leaguer from their '06 class; including on this very site. Of the Nationals draft picks in the first 10 rounds, which included two compensation picks (12 picks overall), only eight signed. Of those eight, only three remain within the Nationals system. Even more bizarre, two have retired, including 1st round compensation pick Colton Willems, who decided to give up baseball at the tender age of 21.

With Kimball now a part of the major league roster, one has to wonder who may be the next player from the 2006 class to make the jump to Washington. If this blogger had to take a guess, look for 1B Chris Marrero to make him MLB debut sometime later this season, perhaps in September when the rosters expand to 40 players. Outside of Marrero, and 41st rounder SP Brad Peacock, though, the future looks dim for the '06 class.

You can't hit a home run with all your draft picks; for Jim Bowden and the Washington Nationals, it appears as if the 2006 draft will go down as nothing more than a class with warning track power.

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