The Nats are desperate for some bullpen help. Tyler Clippard has been much worse over the last 2 weeks (although he’s not disastrous, just bad enough to be a problem in 1-run games) and Riggleman seems to be using Matt Capps for save-only situations. Some combination of English, Walker, Slaten and Burnett might be enough to keep games close. But there seems to be no method to the madness of putting those guys in. Riggleman is probably looking for a pitcher he can use every game in 7th inning, or in the 8th if he needs to rest Clippard. Today, Rizzo seemingly provided him that pitcher, by calling up Drew Storen.
So What’s the New Guy Got?
Ok, Storen isn’t really an unknown. He was the #10 pick in last years draft, a guy that all the draft analysts called a “signability” guy who went way too early. That was until he pitched in the minors. He dominated there, and people realized they got basically a major league ready reliever who could possibly close as soon as 2011. Last year, his first year in pro baseball, he dominated pretty much everywhere. Over three levels, topping out at AA, he pitched in 28 games, racking up 37 IP, with 49 K to only 8 BB and a 1.95 ERA. This year, he’s been even better. In 16 IP, he’s got a 1.12 ERA with 15 K and 3 BB.
The numbers are great, but what about his stuff? He’s got great control on a low to mid 90s fastball, that tops out somewhere in the high 90s. He’s actually got three other pitches, but his slider is much better than his curveball or his changeup. I’m not sure whether we’ll see much more than fastball/slider in an inning at a time. So according to all reports, he’s got some pretty nasty stuff, although there are some who see him more as a setup type than a top level closer. Either way, he’s still going to be a valuable addition to this bullpen.
More than just relief to the relievers, Storen seems like a herald. He is here ahead of the arrival of the king, as it were. It is maybe unfortunate for Storen, but it is hard to separate him from Strasburg. When you think of Drew, you probably think of Strasburg. Storen’s arrival announces the impending arrival of the best prospect ever, which will drive some excitement. Meanwhile, for all the televised rebroadcast Strasburg starts, there hasn’t been too much Storen coverage. But there will be a couple of weeks at least where Storen gets to show his stuff on his own. Check that out, it could be pretty impressive.