After getting the top hitting prospect in the class and paying over slot for high talent, the Nationals 2011 draft was praised by most around baseball. They helped stock their farm system so much it was rated as the best in the game back in February. The groups best players, however, have got off to a rough start as two of their top three picks sit out with injuries. Overall though the class has shaped up well nine months since being drafted and some of the lesser names have emerged as names to keep an eye one in the future.Here is a look at their top picks from last year:Anthony Rendon, IF - 1st round, 6th pickRendon suffered a small fracture in his left ankle in the second week of April while playing at Class-A Potomac. It continues a long injury history for the young infielder who was only able to DH his last year in college because of a bum shoulder. Rendon wont miss the entire season, but getting helped off the field early in his first season was a huge setback to his development.Alex Meyer, RHP - 1st round, 23rd pickMeyer is the only top four pick of the Nationals 2011 class to be playing in the minors and currently healthy. The 69 flame-thrower out of Kentucky has made six starts for the Hagerstown Suns and has three consecutive solid outings. He has allowed just five earned runs in his last 16.2 innings and holds a 4.28 ERA on the season. His worst start came in his second outing when he allowed five runs in the first inning on April 12, but since Meyer has settled down and is second on the Suns with 33 strikeouts in 27.1 innings.Brian Goodwin, OF - CA, 34th pickGoodwin hasnt played in game since leaving one with a quad injury on April 9. The outfielder continues to recover, but had two home runs and eight RBI in just five games with the Hagerstown Suns. The Nats have high hopes for Goodwin to potentially slot in center field some day and hope he can get back on track soon.Matt Purke, LHP - 3rd round, 96th pickPurke is not injured right now but continues to work at extended Spring Training. He is expected to open with the Potomac Nationals and should be there relatively soon according to Mike Rizzo. Rizzo still has him down south to limit his innings this year as Purke has an injury history with his left throwing shoulder.Kylin Turnbull, LHP - 4th round, 127th pickTurnbull is the highest selected player from this class the Nationals have at the Class A Shortseason Auburn Doubledays. The pitcher has had trouble so far with a 5.12 ERA through his first four starts. He has allowed 22 hits and 11 earned runs in just 19.1 innings pitched.Matthew Skole, 3B - 5th round, 157th pickA big bat out of Georgia Tech, Skole has been the most pleasant surprise thus far out of the 2011 class. Skole leads the South Atlantic League with 34 RBI and 28 walks. His five home runs and .955 OPS are also both tops on the Hagerstown Suns. He is well on track to be a SAL All-Star and probably won't be with the Suns long into the summer.Taylor Hill, RHP - 6th round, 187th pickHill is also finding early success at Class-A Hagerstown with the starting rotations best ERA at 2.88. He is 3-2 on the year and has allowed just one home run and three walks in 25.0 innings pitched.Brian Dupra, RHP - 7th round, 217th pickDupra one of Hagerstowns other young starters and has kept an impressive 3.20 ERA in six starts this season. He has, in fact, allowed one run or less in four of those six starts and has yet to give up a home run. In his last three outings he has allowed only one earned run and just seven hits in total.Gregory Holt, RHP - 8th round, 247th pickHagerstown has used Holt in seven relief appearances so far and he has produced mixed results. He holds a 4.40 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched but has given up only one run in his last three games. He has improved on his ten appearances with Hagerstown from last season and seems to be getting better consistently.
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history.
Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him.
During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.
In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons.
Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract.
On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.
#Nationals still have interest in both Wieters & Holland..but they are way over budget on Spring Training Complex making decision difficult— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) January 18, 2017
Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop.
It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series.
Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster.
Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.
The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda.
There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.
MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others