Nationals Arm Race

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

Tetreault: found gold or short term fluke?


Tetreault shows some serious promise. Photo via

The selection of Jackson Tetreault is the latest in a long line of Nationals decisions driven by signing bonus dollars paid years ago and 40-man roster status, as opposed seemingly to on-the-field performance. Is that a fair statement? Is it too early to tell? Lets explore.

The team gave no less than 13 starts this season to Joan Adon, allowing him to go 1-11 with a 6.97 ERA (which is dead last in the majors for any pitcher with greater than 50 innings pitched this year) before even considering the possibility that they might have a more competent alternative sitting in AAA in Tetreault. This is after Adon had a grand total of 18 innings north of A-Ball in his career prior to his MLB debut in Sept 2021.

So Tetreault comes up, gets shelled in his debut against a very good Atlanta team … then promptly throws two quality starts, pitching into the 7th inning in both of them (at home vs Philly, then on the road against Texas, so kind of hit-or-miss quality).

In other words, Tetreault now has as many quality starts (and has as many times pitching into the 7th) as Adon did this entire season. If he throws another QS in his next appearance, he’ll have matched Erick Fedde‘s quality start output on the year.

My simple question is this: how did the team not see this before now? Year after year this guy has competently pitched in our minors, moving up year after year. Never had 14 K/9 numbers or an ERA that started with a 1, but never really blew up at a level either. This year in AAA was more of the same: 12 starts, 4.19 ERA, 1.29 whip, .239 BAA.

He’s shown decent stuff; 94.7 avg fastball, has touched 97. He’s a 3-pitch guy; fastball, cutter, curve. The cutter seems to come in 89-90 and is more deception than movement, and the curve definitely is a curve, not a slider.

Here’s what BA said about him ahead of the 2021 season.

Ranked Washington Nationals #28 prospect in 2021
TRACK RECORD: Tetreault began his college career as a reliever at Division II Cameron (Okla.) before transferring to State JC of Florida, He struck out 105 batters in 80.1 innings as a sophomore and signed with the Nationals for $400,000 as a seventh-round pick in 2017. Tetrault cruised through the lower minors, but he hit a wall at Double-A Harrisburg in 2019. He logged a 4.73 ERA, had the highest walk rate and the lowest strikeout rate of his career.

SCOUTING REPORT: With a fast, whippy delivery, Tetreault is able to maintain the 93-95 mph velocity on his fastball, which still makes him a candidate for a starting role. His curveball is a work in progress, but it showed a later and sharper break in instructional league than it has in the past. His changeup is a fringe-average pitch. Tetreault is working on staying on the rubber longer and using more of the strength in his legs. His control is below-average.

THE FUTURE: Tetreault’s velocity might tick up with a move to the bullpen. With a questionable third pitch and control, that is his best avenue to the majors.

So, flash in the pan? Or is he here to stay?

Written by Todd Boss

June 28th, 2022 at 12:54 pm

14 Responses to 'Tetreault: found gold or short term fluke?'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Tetreault: found gold or short term fluke?'.

  1. I got to see Tetreault’s game against the Phillies in person. His stuff felt like it will play at this level — more than sufficient velocity, pounded the zone early and often (I wouldn’t say his control was below-average), and the FB-cutter combo kept batters off balance. He was basically a two-pitch pitcher, but it worked.

    But it’s still hard to get a broader read — the Phillies had already won the first four games of a five-game series, and at times felt like they were phoning it in. Then he got Texas, which isn’t an offensive juggernaut, and he’ll hit the Marlins next. But IMO he’s earned at least the rest of the season to learn against major leaguers and show what he’s got (and I have no problem with them giving an extended look to Adon — losing teams should take the opportunity to let guys develop at the major league level like the White Sox did with Giolito).

    It would be developmental malpractice at this point to send Tetreault down to give innings to Anibal Sanchez or Josh Rogers at this point.


    28 Jun 22 at 1:31 pm

  2. Well, Tetreault already has better career MLB stats than the 2017 1st-rounder, the immortal Seth “Calf Strain” Romero. Those were two of the NINE pitchers they took in the first 10 rounds (plus pint-sized Cole Freeman). So far, all they have to show for it is, um, well, they got a heck of a return for Crowe in Josh Bell.

    My prediction is that the best MLB pitcher they’ll get out of that draft will be . . . Alex Troop, who consistently has had better minor-league numbers than Tetreault. I’d love it if Tetreault turns out to be found gold, but a AAA ERA across two seasons of 4.04, with 1.28 WHIP, doesn’t look like the stuff of greatness. At the same time, even decent-ness would be an improvement. As Todd notes, the Erick Fedde bar is pretty low (not to mention the Corbin one).

    I don’t have a problem with guys like Tetreault getting an extended look for the rest of this lost season. I keep wondering whether Cavalli will appear now that we’re past the Super Two date. I do have a problem with what they did to Adon, though. That was developmental malpractice. He had hardly pitched above A+. At times he looked good enough to make you think that there’s something there, but he’s still a long way from MLB-ready.

    Actually, the Nat pick from 2017 who has the best career MLB WAR thus far is . . . Jake Cousins (Kirk’s cousin), who they RELEASED.


    28 Jun 22 at 2:16 pm

  3. I completely agree with NG.
    I don’t know the answer to Todd’s last line but it sure is fun to watch.

    Mark L

    28 Jun 22 at 2:17 pm

  4. KW, isn’t it ‘bad back’ Romero? Maybe I’ll just stick to ‘knucklehead’.
    He hasn’t thrown 1 pitch this year.

    Mark L

    29 Jun 22 at 9:08 am

  5. Mark, can we just shorten it to “Bad?” As most of you know, I hated that pick even before they made it. They’ve gotten every bit of what they deserved for making it. When your college teammates beat you up and the coach kicks YOU off the team, um, can a red flag be any redder than that?

    Romero is now 26 years old and probably won’t throw another pitch until he’s 27. He’s thrown a career total of 85.2 innings in a pro uniform. For comparison, Tetreault has thrown 456.1. Also, in his brief time in the majors, Romero totally sucked. His fastball didn’t even average 92, and it was straight and flat, and fat. Sigh.


    29 Jun 22 at 9:59 am

  6. the answer to the question is probably somewhere in between. if can he continue to refine his pitches he could remain as a starter, if not then a bullpen role would seem likely.

    the great ones continue to evolve and improve. the other 95% try to get the most out of what they have.

    as for Adon, I doubt he has been damaged. he has hopefully seen that his future will depend on better command, regardless of how many times he was told that.


    29 Jun 22 at 10:15 am

  7. I doubt that Adon has been “damaged,” either. It’s more that the whole exercise seemed pointless. It was like they were trying to justify having added him to the 40-man. I haven’t noticed them bringing up Antuna, though . . .


    29 Jun 22 at 10:56 am

  8. Thinking about Cole Freeman in the 2017 draft just reinforces my interest in guys like Melendez, DiChiara, and Elko. I mean, even if Freeman had completely panned out, what do you have? I frankly think he has maxxed out his potential by making it to AAA.

    Yes, they haven’t gotten much return from bigger college bats in Mendoza, Banks, Wiseman, et al. But if any of those actually panned out, you’d have a heck of a lot more than peak Renda, Kobernus, Neuse, et al. (all of whom basically peaked with an MLB cup of coffee).


    29 Jun 22 at 11:38 am

  9. Speaking of Antuna…..230/.368/.369 this year repeating High-A. Seems kind of close to his career minor league slash line of .236/.328/.368 doesn’t it?

    At the end of this year, the Nats are going to have to do some serious 40-man work to add back in the 10 guys they currently have on the 60-day DL … and I wonder if Antuna survives it.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 22 at 2:47 pm

  10. As I always say at Rule 5 time, it’s much, MUCH easier to pass a guy through the Rule 5 draft than it is to pass him through waivers when you need that 40-man space. Antuna never should have been added two years ago. That was an extreme miscalculation.

    With that in mind, I was just noting on Nats Prospects today that Rutledge and Denaburg will both become Rule 5-eligible this year . . . and both currently are pitching four levels below the majors. Guys higher up the chain and performing well like Jake Irvin and Alex Troop have already reached Rule 5 eligibility. So yes, there are going to be a lot of interesting decisions at season’s end.


    29 Jun 22 at 8:05 pm

  11. I don’t know, when I look at that roster there are so many players that seem disposable to me. now Antuna may be out of or down to his last option but I do not expect them to lose anybody that they really, really want to keep.


    29 Jun 22 at 10:31 pm

  12. I certainly agree that there are a lot of guys on this 40-man roster who are disposable. I’ve been saying that we look too much like the Orioles of the last few seasons, which is frightening just three seasons after a championship. When you waste a decade of drafts, though, this is what you get.

    With Antuna specifically, FanGraphs lists him with two remaining options. But he’s been optioned twice, in 2021 and 2022. So he should only have one left. He may have burned all of his options before he gets anywhere close to the majors.


    30 Jun 22 at 9:01 am

  13. since there’s no in Wilmington I’ve been limited in the times I’ve watched Antuna this year. he certainly flashes the hit tool that gives hope but he seems to give away too many at bats. if an early borderline strike call goes against him he expands the zone. I’m also not sure why they haven’t told him to stop switch hitting, his RH swing is nothing near his LH form. if something is going to click for him it better happen soon.

    at least he seems to be making (some) progress in LF.


    30 Jun 22 at 11:00 am

  14. Antuna’s splits

    vs lefties: .206/.243/.235
    vs righties: .232/.387/.389

    So, yeah better vs RH pitchers … but its not like he’s hitting .300 against them.

    Todd Boss

    30 Jun 22 at 2:41 pm

Leave a Reply