Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

What’s the best Pitching Staff you could make out of Ex-Nats?


Imagine tis guy in a Nats uniform? Photo via

Imagine tis guy in a Nats uniform? Photo via

It seems like every time I turn around, I see another ex-Nat pitching against us.  This past weekend our old friend Tommy Milone surfaced with the Mets to help lead his team to victory against us.

It got me wondering; what’s the best pitching staff of ex-Nats you could come up with right now?

Using a quick and dirty reference guide for depth charts at, and basically going off of memory of who used to be in our organization, here’s my starting five rotation members, how they were connected with us and how we parted ways.

  1. Rich Hill, LA Dodgers.  He of the near perfect-game turned to walk-off homer loss.  Hill was a MLFA signing in March of 2015, threw in 25 games of relief and then was given his release halfway through the season (he probably had an opt-out).  From there, he bounced to Boston before signing a one year deal with Oakland where he suddenly was an all-star starter.  Oakland flipped him to LA, and now he’s the #2 starter basically on the best team in baseball.
  2. Robbie Ray, Arizona.  He was a big-money draft-pick by us before the new rules came in.  Initially seen as a throw-in in the Doug Fister trade, Ray is now the one who “got away.”   Detroit moved him to Arizona in the 3-way Didi Gregorius move, and he’s slowly come into his own.  He made the All-Star team in 2017 and is one of the better starters in the NL this year.
  3. Marco Estrada, Toronto.  This one still amazes me; we drafted him in 2005 and developed him all the way through his 6-year free agency in the minors, with him showing little of what he now shows for Toronto.   After leaving Washington, he signed in Milwaukee and eventually became a solid rotation member for them, but became an all-star in Toronto.  I’m tempted btw to also put in Marcus Stroman, who we drafted out of HS as a short stop in 2009 before he went to Duke, learned how to pitch, and became a first rounder.
  4. Brad Peacock, Houston.  He’s got a 11.9 K/9 rate as a starter/swingman for Houston this year.  We drafted him under the old “draft and follow” rules in the 41st round in 2006, developed him to the majors, then flipped him in the Gio Gonzalez deal.  Oakland then moved him (as they’re apt to do) to Houston in 2013, where he’s pitched ever since.  2017 is easily his best pro season.
  5. Alex Meyer, Los Angeles Angels.  Our second “first round”pick in the 2011 draft (the “Rendon” draft), he was thought to be perhaps too big to start.  Initially the trade bounty sent to Minnesota for Denard Span, Meyer took for ever to develop, got flipped to Los Angeles and took til his age 25 year to even debut in the majors.  Finally in 2017 he’s showed some promise as a starter (though he’s missed time with a shoulder injury).

Honorable Mentions: Doug Fister, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Jordan Zimmermann, Nate Karns,  Tommy Milone, Nick Pivetta, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Vance Worley

Interesting.  When I started this post I thought it’d be deeper.  I struggled to pick the 5th starter over the list of HMs.  Would you take any of the honorable mentions over Meyer or Peacock right now?  Can you think of anyone I’m missing?  Giolito just had a nice start; do you take him over Meyer or these other guys?

Do we have any regrets about any of these guys getting away?  Probably not.  There’s no way we could have predicted what Hill would have become, and Ray was just a baby when he was flipped.  We knew we were giving up talent in Peacock and Meyer … just not knowing how long it would have taken to matriculate.  Estrada’s maturation was totally unexpected too.

As far as the honorable mentions go … i’m completely surprised Fister (and Milone for that matter) is still in the league.  Giolito/Lopez was giving up talent to get talent.  We seem to have dodged a huge bullet with Zimmermann.   Karns has never really been healthy enough to show us what he has.  Pivetta may eventually come back to haunt us, but his 24-yr old season showed he’s not quite ready for the bigs.  Latos and Arroyo are barely hanging on (Arroyo may have already announced his retirement).  Worley pitched against us a few weeks ago and beat us but overall his 2017 has been a struggle.

How about relievers?  Here’s my best seven ex-Nats relievers out there (feel free to remind me if I forgot someone):

  • Felipe Rivero: the big name on this list; he’s exploded onto the scene since being flipped to Pittsburgh in the Mark Melancon deal.  He’s got an ERA+ for 2017 of 345, a just ridiculous.  He’s my ex-nat closer.
  • Blake Treinen: flipped to Oakland in a classic “change of scenery” move and he’s been stellar from day one on the west coast.  Sub 2.00 ERA, 7 saves.  Will he stay at this level?  Hopefully for him, yes.
  • Mark Melancon: I know he’s struggled with injury this year, but he’s only 32 and should have plenty of more success.  I’ll take him as closer 1-A to Rivero on my Ex-Nat staff.
  • Fernando Abad: DFA’d in the 2013 off-season then flipped to our favorite trade partner for a non-prospect minor leaguer, Abad was subsequently stellar for Oakland the following season.  He’s been up and down since, but has also been stellar in Boston’s bullpen this year.  He’s one of my Ex-Nat Loogies.
  • Jerry Blevins: the guy who (I think) Mike Rizzo traded for 50 cents on the dollar because he took the Nats to arbitration in 2015.  He got hurt soon after the trade in 2015, but has given the Mets two very solid years out of the pen since.
  • Craig Stammen: that’s right; he’s not only back but has had a very nice season in San Diego’s bullpen.
  • Yusmeiro Petit: we signed him away from our nemesis San Francisco … and then he struggled badly enough to have his club-option declined.  He promptly signed with the Angels and has been quite effective in 2017.  He’s my ex-Nat long-man.

Honorable Mentions: Tyler Clippard, Matt Belisle, Michael Brady, Ian Krol, Drew Storen, Josh Smoker, Marc Rzepczynski, Zach Duke, Paolo Espino, Abel de los Santos, Matt Purke, Xavier Cedeno.

So, this is a much better bullpen than starting rotation.  Three closer-quality guys at the top and two quality lefties.  Both Stammen and Petit have been good this year.  There’s a long list of honorable mention Nat relievers at this ponit and there may be others who are sitting in AAA right now.



34 Responses to 'What’s the best Pitching Staff you could make out of Ex-Nats?'

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  1. I’d also throw out two guys who had extensive minor league careers before pitching very well in MLB this season: Richard Bleier and Austin Bibens-Dirkx

    Mick Reinhard

    29 Aug 17 at 10:40 am

  2. Great pulls Mick. I totally missed both. In fact, I didn’t even have Bibens-Dirkx in my note file.

    Todd Boss

    29 Aug 17 at 10:47 am

  3. I think Robbie Ray is the best player Mike Rizzo has traded. If you recall, a lot of the talking heads were very critical of the haul Dombrowski got for two years of Doug Fister at reasonable salary. Dombrowski’s defense was that he really liked Ray, who he was targeting in the deal (if that was true, why did Detroit give up on Ray so quickly?). If there was a time machine, I’d love to re-do that deal with Taylor Jordan+ in it instead of Ray. Still, even knowing what Ray turned out to be, it’s probably still a good deal from the Nats side for a couple of reasons: (1) Fister was a major contributor to a playoff team in 2014; and (2) Ray would have had a hard time breaking into a rotation that jettisoned a very good starter in Tanner Roark to the bullpen, so he probably would have been dealt at some point before he became good in the majors (though in this hypothetical world, we can imagine Ray bringing back the piece that would have kept the Nats in front of the Mets at the deadline in 2015; if Dombrowski liked Ray so much, maybe he would have taken Ray instead of Fulmer for Cespedes).


    29 Aug 17 at 10:50 am

  4. Here’s my reaction to the Fister deal with Ray at the time: . I called it a “steal” as did most pundits at the time.

    Specific to Ray; I noted that he had risen to AA as a 21-yr old but that scouting reports “at the time” seemed to indicate a limited ceiling. Obviously by 2015 those scouting reports were wrong; he was posting a 3.50 ERA in a hitter’s park in Arizona.

    Derek: I agree with your noting that Dombrowski sure seemed to give up on Ray quickly, getting basically Shane Greene for him in the 3-team trade a year later. Greene was awful as a starter but has been good as a 8th inning type guy … but you’d have to think Detroit wants that move back. But isn’t this kind of part and parcel of Dombrowksi’s MO? He destroys the farm systems he controls, always favoring MLB talent over prospects. In fact i read more than one analysis (like this one at nbc sports: that reported that Boston ownership specifically forbade Dombroski from trading anymore prospects after the total talent drain he had led over the last two years already.

    Todd Boss

    29 Aug 17 at 11:20 am

  5. To quote myself from 2014 (thanks to Todd’s link): “For there to be a down side to this, Ray would have to become the next Gio.” Maybe he will, although, he’s yet to show himself to be the workhorse that Gio is.

    Of course that statement was also based on the universal assumption that Fister would keep doing Fister-type things, which, once he got healthy, he did in 2014. Who started against Bumgarner in the only MadBum start the Giants lost in the 2014 postseason? Doug Fister, the guy with the 2.41 ERA, 1.079 WHIP, and 16-6 record that season. The guy we all wanted to sign to a long-term contract.

    Yeah, hindsight being much better than 20-20, we would have traded Jordan instead of Ray. But there was no reason at the time, or for the first season, to regret getting Fister.


    29 Aug 17 at 1:45 pm

  6. I’ve never been too clear with the Rich Hill-in-Syracuse saga in 2015, although in looking at the stats now, there’s a pretty clear story line. He threw 21.2 IP over nine games for Syracuse. He walked *21* guys in those 21.2 innings — TWENTY-ONE. He also struck out 32! He only gave up 12 hits. I’m pretty sure he had an opt-out, and that they didn’t keep him because of all the BBs. He went over to Pawtucket . . . and walked only 9 guys in 32.1 IP. Same league, same umpires, but BB/9 dropped from 8.7 to 2.5. Boston called him up, he was great, and the Dodgers made Rich rich.


    29 Aug 17 at 2:03 pm

  7. The Nats also drafted Marcus Stroman in 2009 — as a shortstop — but didn’t sign him away from Duke.


    29 Aug 17 at 2:05 pm

  8. Oops, I see you had the Stroman stuff in the post.


    29 Aug 17 at 2:07 pm

  9. In the “Marcus Stroman” category … I guess I should have also included these guys who we drafted but didn’t sign with us and went on to the majors:
    – Sam Dyson: we drafted him 19th round in 2006 out of HS; he eventually signed as a 4th rounder and is excelling for SF in the bullpen this year after being Texas’ primaroily closer last year.
    – Louis Coleman; we drafted him 14th round in 2008 (the Aaron Crowe draft), he’s in Arizona’s AAA team after several MLB years.
    – Chris Heston; 29th rounder in 2008 out of Juco; he got drafted by SF the next year and was a full tim starter for them a couple years ago; he’s hurt this year in the Minnesota system.
    – Hoby Milner: our 44th round pick in 2009; he eventually got drafted by Philly and debuted in their bullpen this year with good success.
    – Andrew Suarez: our 2nd rounder who refused to sign in 2014 is now in AAA for San Francisco in his age 24 season.

    Todd Boss

    29 Aug 17 at 3:17 pm

  10. Of those, the only real miss was Suarez, a total SNAFU not to sign the second-rounder. That 2014 Nats draft isn’t panning out well at all.


    29 Aug 17 at 3:25 pm

  11. At least 2014 has produced a major leaguer (Fedde). Look at 2013 right now.
    – no 1st rounder
    – 2nd rounder Johansen; massive bust
    – 3rd rounder Ward: hitting .237 while repeating AA and he’s rule5 eligible this coming off-season
    – 4th rounder Pivetta; made it to the majors …. for another team.
    – 5th rounder Voth; demoted to AA this year and clearly a DFA candidate to get off the 40-man
    – 6th, 7th, 8th,9th and 10th roudners all released
    – just 5 other guys remaining in the system … a couple at AA, a couple at high-A or in XST.


    Todd Boss

    29 Aug 17 at 3:34 pm

  12. Meh.

    I can’t get excited or even moved about 1) players who electively move in free agency (if Melancon wanted to move, he took a boatload of money, had a disappointing year, Rzcep took an obscene contract and was replaceable), players traded for enduring better parts (I think we are happy with the Gio Gonzalez trade), or understandable parts (Lobaton is not exciting, but of Melancon was still here we would be toasting the Karns trade).

    It’s more notable to set off those who got away as bad trades or minor league or even major league free agents. When the list gets pared to that, after Rich Hill it’s a pretty steep drop-off. This team sure has cut loose some solid lefthanded relief pitchers, and I think the sentiments of some here are borne of the Felipe Rivero longing more than anything.

    Meh. Enjoy the ride. 80 wins and hopefully Tyler Watson will not one day make this list.


    30 Aug 17 at 4:04 am

  13. Psst — Don’t tell anybody, but they’re getting the band back together . . . and have scored 19 runs in two games vs. a >.500 team. Everyone still seems optimistic that Bryce will make it back. It now sounds like Drew may not, rendering the Drew vs. Difo debate moot. I haven’t heard recent updates on Glover or Goodwin. Romero has been rehabbing at Syracuse and presumably will be activated on Sept. 1.

    Todd: Yes, and the 2012 draft as well. The ’12-’14 drafts are sort of the lost generation of the Nat organization. Thank goodness for a little international success that has produced Difo, Sanchez, Bautista, Marmolejos, Severino, and Lopez or there wouldn’t be much at all available to help from that generation.

    Fore: “Meh” — my feeling exactly. There’s no huge mistake here. Meyer and Peacock have taken forever to turn into anything, all while the Nats got great service from Span and Gio. Yes, Rivero looks great now, but he had a 4.53 ERA when the Nats traded him, and the “go for it” nature of the Melancon trade was worth the gamble. Rivero, it should be pointed out, was fruit of the Karns trade.

    I know there are some here (Karl has been MIA recently) who see criminal neglect in the string of lefty relievers who have departed for little or nothing, such as Abad and Blevins, but I have a hard time getting worked up about that.

    As for the starters, you know who would crack the list of former Nat starters above right now if he, um, hadn’t come back to the Nats? EJax. Dude is 5-3 with a sub-3 ERA. And he cost nothing.


    30 Aug 17 at 8:00 am

  14. Well, if we are analyzing the Nats history, I think it’s worth mentioning that they’ve traded a few major league pen arms with obvious talent and middling performances, who’ve immediately gone on to achieve success elsewhere. Rivero, Treinen, even abad fall into this category. We often label these kinds of guys ‘change of scenery’ candidates without delving into the reasons, why they don’t succeed here, but there now maybe a big enough sample to ask why the Nats don’t get the value out of these guys themselves. Is it Maddux? Dusty? Something organizational?

    I don’t know any of the answers but it’s a question worth asking. I’ll bet Rizzo’s team does.


    30 Aug 17 at 8:35 am

  15. Yeah, but if you’re going to say that, also give credit for whoever is getting insanely good and unexpected performances from guys like Albers, Gio, Jackson, and even Perez. The same “team” with the Nats got great performances from guys like Treinen, Kelley, and Solis last year but not this season. So it’s hard to know who has the magic, and why it works some seasons but not others.

    I wish Treinen well, as he’s a great guy by all accounts, but the games in which he’s pitching with the A’s mean absolutely nothing. It’s nothing remotely like pitching for a contender, much less closing for one.


    30 Aug 17 at 8:53 am

  16. Also, how screwed would you have thought we were if I had told you at the start of the season that on August 29 we would be playing a semi-contending team with an outfield of Lind-De Aza-Difo, Edwin Jackson starting, and Ollie and Albers as the relievers who would get the first call at the crisis point?


    30 Aug 17 at 8:57 am

  17. KW: agree. I’ve read a couple of analysis pieces out there that are noting quietly just how amazing it is that this team is still winning. They’re 6-4 in the last ten, 13-7 in last twenty and 18-12 in last thirty. Can’t beat that. 98 win pace and they’re getting everyone back now.

    Todd Boss

    30 Aug 17 at 9:11 am

  18. It is worth asking which of the ones that went away, or got away, were developmental failures. I would not count Abad in that group, because to begin with, the Nats picked him up off a waiver wire, and eventually traded him to the A’s. He did not bloom there, either. So his more recent teams have done something right with him.

    Blevins was an underappreciated trade, not a developmental failure.

    Cedeno was a quick trigger cut of a player the Nats had picked up off waivers.

    Treinen has a small sample size and is still the player we traded to get two components of a bullpen that has been the key to the Nats surge that has miraculously happened without Turner and Harper (and others).

    Hill got away. KW did well to point out that he learned to find the plate in Boston.

    Stammen developed just fine here. He has rescusitated his career post-injury. OK, has anyone seen Christian Garcia?

    Matt Purke developed for the Sox, but you can’t say the Nats were impatient with him. He got away. Estrada developed elsewhere — the light went on for him, just as it did for Hill, Steven Souza style. Bleier has made it.

    Spending another minute on lamenting Abel DeLos Santos toiling elsewhere, or Ian Krol, Drew Storen, or Yusmeiro Petit, is like lamenting the minor league draft of the great Adrian Nieto.

    When one considers that whom the Nats truly have developed to a higher ceiling (GioG, Ross, Roark, Solis, Rivero (whom they turned into a ML pitcher), and Enny, it feels pretty OK by me.


    30 Aug 17 at 9:22 am

  19. Todd,

    I share your dismay over the 2014 draft and referenced in an earlier thread the Nats utter failure in drafting college position players who make it — even as far as AA!!

    The 2014 position class illustrates this well. Interestingly enough, the best position prospect from that group is Jakson Reetz, plodding along at A+ but young for his level, because he was a…high school product.

    I bring this up because in the past couple of years, the Nats trade chips have often been flipped high school products – Ott, Mills, Watson. Moreover, the Nats highest producing position player from this draft has been Justin Connell, another HS player.

    The knock on drafting HS is that they are lottery tickets. But good scouting can identify talent and the Nats have some good scouts. Perhaps coaching the players up is more likely from a younger age (witness the Dominican surge) than from college products.

    Kieboom’s success raises the real question of whether the Nats should, going forward, husband draft pool resources to bring in as many unlikely fallers as they can from the HS ranks rather than college. i don’t know the right answer. But when I see how well the BabyLatinos have done in the GCL this year (THIS is the highlight of the farm system this year), I’m certainly changing my support of college heavy drafting.


    30 Aug 17 at 9:36 am

  20. My point is, college position players may be a lot closer to their developmental ceiling than otherwise appreciated. The spread between them and HS may be such that it is more worth it to capture an 18 year old and give top quality development and instruction from an early age rather than leaving it to colleges and their staffs.


    30 Aug 17 at 9:43 am

  21. I wonder if the 2017 college-heavy arm draft was just simply a way to try to get more players up the ladder more quickly, based on the large number of arms we’ve traded recently.

    Todd Boss

    30 Aug 17 at 11:03 am

  22. I agree with you. Trades and underperformance and injuries and a system-wide dearth in starting pitching.


    30 Aug 17 at 1:17 pm

  23. Well, it was a draft strong in college arms. The year before, it was a draft strong in high-schoolers, so the Nats took one.

    It’s hard to generalize, even year to year. Over time, college players pan out at a significantly better rate than HS ones. College pitchers in particular pan out better than HS ones. Yes, Kershaw and MadBum were drafted out of HS, but very high. Giolito was a very highly regarded HS arm, but people still aren’t sure if he’s going to be a major-leaguer, half a decade later.


    30 Aug 17 at 1:58 pm

  24. Nats should claim Nicasio. He’s having a good year, and they’d basically get him for free ($600k) without the need to trade a player. Never have too many arms. Someone higher up in the queue will probably get to him first, though.

    As for the earlier discussion, I think its clear that Rizzo/Nats have done well on balance. I do think the Rivera/Treinen situations were a [rare] case of mismanagement, however. I don’t think its a development thing, I think its a Dusty/Maddux issue. Dusty is good at many things, but while he’s not as bad as he was, he still isn’t good at bullpen management. Both of those guys were quality relievers that weren’t used in a way to maximize their success. I think Dusty is better managing older pitchers who are comfortable telling him exactly when they can and can’t be used.


    30 Aug 17 at 3:33 pm

  25. Giolito: turned 23 in July, and he basically lost two full years of development thanks to the surgery. Aaron Judge turned 25 in April …. and up until then was not by any means considered to be a sure thing. Sometimes it just takes time. Giolito’s last outing was pretty promising (7ip 3 hits, 3 walks zero runs), but the one before that was uglier. If you believe some scouts (keith law) he’s still working out mechanics changes that the Nats imparted. If you believe other scouts, he’ll never amount to anything. I feel like its going to be “Call me in 3 years” and then we truly pass judgement about whether the Nats over or under-paid for Adam Eaton in some respects.

    Todd Boss

    30 Aug 17 at 3:36 pm

  26. Treinen actually had the best year of his career working with Maddux in 2016. It seems pretty clear that Rizzo wanted him as the closer in 2017, over Dusty’s better judgment. What happened was exactly what Dusty feared. (And besides, he’s with the A’s, so we can always get him back!)

    I do think Dusty overused/misused Rivero, though.

    Speaking of Dusty and pitchers, he said in his pregame comments today that he’s thinking seriously about going to a six-man rotation in September. Sounds like a plan to me.


    30 Aug 17 at 5:11 pm

  27. Todd, you’re actually making one of my biggest points about HS draftees for me: it takes a long time, and a lot of development investment, to know what you’ve got. Byron Buxton, one of the hottest prospects forever, is in his sixth pro season and finally looks like he’s making it. Would he have been better off playing three years in college? Taylor is in his eighth pro season and finally looks comfortable in the majors. Souza didn’t even play in the majors until his eighth season or become a regular until his ninth.


    30 Aug 17 at 5:25 pm

  28. KW, I think your point is illusory. If a HS player doesn’t have it, he washes out no less quickly. Its when a player has something, but the question is how much he has, that extends the developmental trajectory. A guy like Haydon Jennings was a relatively high Nats pick and was out just as fast.

    If scouting is strong, the team can take a talent like Taylor that shows flashes and groom him better than any college can.

    Also, the way the Nats manage their draftees, a lt of the college players start out at GCL playing along high schoolers, and even if they are bumped quickly, most never get beyond Auburn. That’s one level up for players who are 2-5 (including redshirt) older.

    By the way, and this is for a later post, but it looks like the Nats really brought in a bumper crop of pitching talent with this draft. Records aside, these players have not even been refined by the instructional league, and underclassmen like Tetrault are coming in and really showing well. A year from now, the pundits who pass off scout tips as their own will catch up to the reality that the Nats have in fact restocked the cupboard. Good times ahead, and it ain’t just Romero (who will be a man to watch in 2018).


    30 Aug 17 at 10:15 pm

  29. Will be very interesting to see how Lopez and Giolito pan out. I think with Giolito, it wasn’t impatience for his detractors like me. it was just the disappointment that we were all sold 100 mph and we got 93 mph.

    He may develop into a good pitcher, but we were all expecting Thor like velocity. But they have to stop with the still working out mechanics that the Nat’s ruined nonsense.

    This Difo development is why I always argued against Espinosa. The unknown is often a better option than the known if the known is horrible in many respects. There is very little downside as you can always shuffle the young guys back down if they struggle in the short term. Difo should have been getting many of these ab’s years ago. It also shows you don’t have to absolutely crush AAA to be a useful MLB player. Some talents develop better in MLB.

    But wow is this brand of baseball so much more fun to watch than the million K’s Desmond- Espi era. Even our losses are less frustrating.

    Marty C

    30 Aug 17 at 11:50 pm

  30. Couple additional thoughts on Giolito.
    – velocity; he’s definitely not throwing as hard now as advertised previously. In his most recent start, 92.6 average, peak of 94.5 mph. By way of comparison, Tanner Roark’s average FB velocity in 2017 has been 92.9. But even as late as June 2016, in a scouting report at Fangraphs by Eric Longenhagen (so as to get away from the polarizing Keith Law opinion); he reported that Giolito as “sitting 93-96 and peaking at 99.”

    So … one of two things is going on. Either a) he’s dialing it back to maintain command and control, a completely understandable thing considering that he has generally gotten pounded at the AAA/MLB level, probably because MLB hitters can hit 99 with ease if its not located on a corner or dancing around with movement. Or b) he’s lost something from the TJ surgery and can’t get it back (which i doubt, since those 96,99mph readings were from mid 2016, well after his TJ recovery).

    Perhaps the Nats point was this: he *can* throw 99 but can’t be effective at that velocity. So if he has to “let up” all the way down to 93-94 to be effective … well you can find those kinds of guys more easily. Or perhaps they had given up attempting to work with him to get him to the ponit where he could repeat his delivery. Giolito is now basically the third “really big guy” (i.e. guys like 6’7″ or taller) that I can think of they’ve drafted with huge velocity but also big question marks about whether or not they could pan out as a starter due to their size. Jake Johansen couldn’t get out of A-ball, Alex Meyer is finally having some success as a MLB starter this year … his age 27 season. I know its an old scouting cliche that “big guys can’t repeat their deliveries well” but … boy it seems to come into play an awful lot.

    – Pitch selection; Giolito never threw one slider while with the Nats, but is throwing it more than 10% of the time with Chicago. And suddenly its one of his most effective pitches. Why did he never throw the slider in Washington?

    Todd Boss

    31 Aug 17 at 8:55 am

  31. Yes those mixed reports on Giolito are puzzling. But I would strongly suggest he wasn’t dialing it back on purpose Do you really think if you’re getting pounded in MLB at 92mph, that you’re not going to at least try your 99 mph a few times to see how it plays? Maybe some juiced up radar guns in his earlier reports. I guess the slider he avoided to not stress his elbow, but decided to pull it back out this year after his very slow start in AAA for the Sox. A “what do I have to lose” type play?

    Marty C

    31 Aug 17 at 9:41 am

  32. When they put Roark in the pen a couple years back, he purposely threw harder than he normally did because, well, that’s what one inning relievers do. As we saw, his natural movement went away, he didn’t have the swingback movement on his fastball and he lost effectiveness. He’s absolutely more effective harnessing his command at a lower velocity.

    I don’t think these young pitchers trying to make it upwards do much in the way of making their own decisions. I’m sure he’s worked with their pitching coaches and come up with the game plan to dial it back, to throw more sliders, etc.

    Todd Boss

    31 Aug 17 at 10:36 am

  33. Geez Todd… Can you just admit that Lucas did not have the ability to throw that hard last year? He was getting bombed in his starts here.

    And after everyone talking about his diminished fastball, he never thought, let me throw a really hard one? And instead listened to coaches he thought messed him up anyway to throw soft ALL the TIME?

    He is what he is, and I hope he gets it together. But please throw away your excuses and six year old scouting reports on him.

    Marty C

    1 Sep 17 at 9:36 am

  34. Marty; the scouting report i quoted was from June 2016. If you want to argue, then go to Fangraphs and tell their lead prospect writer, the highly respected Eric Longenhagen, that you think he’s lying in his posts.

    Todd Boss

    3 Sep 17 at 10:00 am

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