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.
HOUSTON -- Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer, Howie Kendrick had a two-run triple and the Washington Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time, 4-3 Tuesday night in a matchup of division leaders.
Washington's winning streak over the Astros dates to 2012. The Nationals have won 13 of 14 against Houston since 2011.
Kendrick's triple tied it in the third before the Astros went back on top with an RBI single by Josh Reddick in the bottom half. Anthony Rendon doubled with two outs in the fourth before the homer by Wieters, which landed just to the right of straightaway center field, gave the NL East leaders a 4-3 lead.
Tanner Roark (10-8) allowed six hits and two earned runs in 5 2-3 innings and Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.
Charlie Morton (10-6) gave up four runs in six innings for the AL West-leading Astros.
The Astros threatened in the eighth against Brandon Kintzler when Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles and the Nationals intentionally walked Carlos Beltran with one out to load the bases. But Max Stassi grounded into a double play to leave Houston trailing.
George Springer led off the Houston first with a single, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Reddick.
Beltran doubled off the wall in left-center field in the second and scored on a single by Derek Fisher.
When Max Scherzer was a teenager, he didn't know that one day he'd actually become a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He had no guarantee he'd make it to the majors, much less play in five consecutive MLB All-Star games.
All he knew was that he had the option to go pro as a kid or go to college, and back then, the Nationals' ace needed a contingency plan in case baseball didn't work out. Fortunately for Scherzer, it did, but he doesn't regret going to college at the University of Missouri, telling Santana Moss on CSN's "Route 89" going to school was a no-brainer.
"It was actually a really easy decision," Scherzer told Moss. "When you get drafted out of high school, you're going to be going into the minor leagues, and that can take three to five or six years — multiple years — in the minor leagues, and you're forfeiting your right to further your education."
Scherzer was drafted in the 43rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003, but he opted to play for Mizzou for three years, which turned out to be a great decision. The Arizona Diamondbacks then drafted him in 2006 in the first round as the 11th overall pick.
"A lot of times when you sign out of high school, you don't make it to the major leagues," Scherzer continued. "So I realize that your education — that's your safety net.
"You need to further your education in college, and if you do get drafted out of college, you're in a much better position to try to chase your dreams because if it doesn't work out, you still have one year left of school and that's much easier to obtain rather than try to go through four years when you're not coming out of high school."
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