06/10/09 9:10 PM ET
Nationals sign reliever Storen
Right-hander from Stanford taken with No. 10 selection
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Storen will start his professional career at Class A Hagerstown and wear No. 26. Storen, who is considered a closer, was a 2008 Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and a First Team All-Pac-10 for Stanford University.
He was selected with the No. 10 pick. The Nationals took San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg with the No. 1 overall pick.
Washington had Storen rated higher over pitchers like Tanner Scheppers and Chad Jenkins. The Nationals were impressed with Storen when he came to work out for them at Nationals Park last week.
"He was the next guy on the board. We took the best player available," acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. "It just so happens that we spoke at length after we drafted him. His goals and aspirations matched up with our time frame. He wanted to sign right away and start his career. It had nothing to do with strategy or planning. He was next on our list and we plucked him."
Storen arrived at the Nationals' clubhouse at 3:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday. He was wearing jeans and a black and grey T-shirt before he put on his suit for the news conference. He would later throw out the first pitch before the Nationals faced the Reds. Storen threw the ball to Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
"I want to get going. I miss playing. We missed the playoffs at school. My arm is feeling great," Storen said. "I want to get that chance to help the Nationals this year."
Storen emerged as a premier closer in his freshman campaign with eight saves. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 34th round in 2007, but he did not sign. In 28 appearances in 2009, Storen was 7-1 with seven saves. In 42 2/3 innings, Storen permitted 18 earned runs on 34 hits with eight walks and 66 strikeouts.
"I like being the guy on the mound," Storen said. "I like being the big winner. I like being the man responsible for what's happening. It's something I really enjoyed doing at Stanford. I'm happy that I can carry that on."
Many believed that Storen would sign quickly because he has a chance to be in the big leagues this year. His advisor is Brodie Van Wagenen, the same person who represents Zimmerman and left-hander Jack McGeary. The deadline for the Nationals to sign Storen was Aug. 17.
"He wanted to start his career in a fast manner because he believes, as do we in Washington, the sooner he signs, the sooner that he can get to the big leagues," Rizzo said.
Storen is optimistic that he will get to the big leagues this year, but he needs to prove it in the Minor Leagues.
"My performance dictates what happens," Storen said. "I'm excited to get out there and hopefully prove to them I'm worthy of [going to the big leagues] and help the Nationals win in the big league level."
Nationals -- Top five selections
|1||RHP||Stephen Strasburg||San Diego St U|
|10||RHP||Drew Storen||Stanford U|
|50||2B||Jeffrey Kobernus||UC Berkeley|
|81||RHP||Trevor Holder||U Georgia|
|112||RHP||Anthony Morris||Kansas St U|
|Complete Nationals Draft results >|
Storen has been a Nationals fan since the franchise was known as the Montreal Expos. In 2003, for example, he was a bat boy for the Expos when the team visited the Reds in Cincinnati.
Storen got to know former closer Chad Cordero. It was Cordero who convinced him to become a reliever because Cordero made it to the big leagues the same year he was drafted in '03. In fact, Storen wore a flat brim Nationals hat that was similar to the one Cordero wore during his six years with the club.
"He was a college closer, and I ended up being a college closer," Storen said. "Ever since I met him, that's the guy I looked up to. I hope that is something I can do."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.