Nats' first outfield pick a defensive gem

Nats' first outfield pick a defensive gem

In his first three seasons at the University of Miami, center fielder Dale Carey, whom the Nationals selected with the No. 214 overall pick in the seventh round of the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, made a name for himself with breathtaking diving catches. Yet his hitting ability lagged far behind his defensive prowess, as he posted averages of .271, .271 and .192 in 2011, '12 and '13, respectively.

In each of those three seasons, Carey didn't hit more than two home runs or compile more than 24 RBIs.

But in his senior season with the Hurricanes, Carey added offensive production to his bag of tools, which made him a viable pick for Washington on Day 2 of the Draft, which concludes on Saturday with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.

"He struggled throughout the course of his college career," vice president of scouting operations Kris Kline said. "But as of this year, the thing we noticed was how he simplified his approach and his setup. He's calmed things down and slowed the game down offensively."

The 6-foot-2, 191-pound Carey batted .305 with seven home runs, 29 RBIs, 16 stolen bases and a .405 on-base percentage in 2014 at Miami. He also ranked second in the ACC in runs with 53 and fourth in hits with 75.

"He's always been a really good defender," Kline said. "He throws well. He runs well. As far as the bat goes, it was encouraging to see him progress, to do what we feel like he's capable of doing. And we're actually really excited about having him as part of our system. He's got power, so you're looking at a guy that I think, at the low, is an extra player at the big league level, but potentially could be an everyday outfielder."

Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.