Since the first day they arrived in town, the Washington Nationals promised that restocking the team’s depleted farm system would be their top priority.

And since that first draft in 2005, the team has been stocking their farm system with talented young pitchers. Then general manager Jim Bowden said that was the way to do it. “You draft as many pitchers as you can find,” Bowden said, “and then trade the excess for position players. Pitching prospects are always worth more.”

And for the most part, it has worked. Two members of the Nationals’ current starting rotation—John Lannan and Craig Stammen—arrived in that very first amateur draft six seasons ago.

But we have stopped watching for the quantity and are now transfixed on the quality, specifically last year’s first round picks Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen. Because of them, Nationals’ fans have stopped looking for the next John Lannan or Craig Stammen, players who were never heard of until they first donned Washington’s “Curly W” cap.

But they are there. And though it’s important that “can’t miss” prospects succeed, it is far more fun when the late-rounder’s come out of nowhere and help solidify the team. Late-rounder’s like Daniel Rosenbaum .

Rosenbaum was drafted in the 22nd round of last year’s amateur draft, an afterthought pick if ever there was one. He had a good-enough career at Xavier University, but certainly he was nothing special. If he wasn’t a left-hander , I doubt he would have even been drafted.

As a 21-year-old, Rosenbaum dominated the Gulf Coast League last season. He started 11 games, crafting a fine record of 4-1, 1.95, allowing just 7.1 hits and 2.2 walks per nine-innings while striking out 9.2.

That said, Rosenbaum was pitching against 18-year-olds. The Nationals would need to wait until this season when, playing for Class-A Hagerstown, he would compete against players of similar age and experience.

Turns out he’s pitching even better.

In 47 innings, Rosenbaum is 1-1, 1.52, allowing 7.1 hits and 1.3 walks per nine-innings while striking out nearly eight per game.

He’ll likely be promoted to Class-A Potomac by the all-star break.

So while it’s fun to watch players like Strasburg and Storen inch their way towards the major leagues, it is players like Daniel Rosenbaum , players who came out of nowhere, who can make a good team great.

Here’s hoping that Daniel Rosenbaum joins John Lannan on that list of players who came out of nowhere to make a difference for the Washington Nationals.

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