The closer situation for the Nationals has been in flux for a number of years. In 2013, they signed Rafael Soriano to a two year deal and after ineffectiveness, he was replaced by a combination of Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard in 2014. At the trade deadline in 2015, the Nationals traded for Jonathan Papelbon, a trade in which Rizzo “choked” on and at the trade deadline last year the Nationals traded young lefty Felipe Rivero to the Pirates for Mark Melancon, a half year rental. The off season would see Melancon sign with the Giants and major “whiffs” seeing Chapman and Jansen sign with other teams. This season, the Nationals are planning on using a combination of Shawn Kelly and Blake Treinen but I think Koda Glover is the closer of the future.
Drafted in the eighth round in 2015 from Oklahoma State, Koda Glover has moved through the Nationals system very quickly. He started 2016 in high A Potomac and by September he was pitching in Nats Park. In 56 innings in the minors in 2016, Glover had a 2.25 ERA and 0.946 WHIP with a SO/9 of 10.6. He has a wicked fastball that sits mid to upper nineties and a slider no one can touch. Batters hit a mere .091 against his slider. Take a look at this strikeout of Jose Reyes:
He saw his season end prematurely due to a torn labrum in his hip, which did not require off season surgery. Even with Kelley (injury history) and Treinen (ground ball pitcher but with a strange high HR/FB%) ahead of him, I think Glover will see the closer role by the end of the year.
Shelly Verougstraete is the Nationals writer here at Prospects1500. Even as a diehard Red Sox fan, and author of sabermetric based Red Sox blog greenmonsterbb.wordpress.com, the goal here is to keep you up to date with all the happenings down on the Nats farm. Shelly lives in Virginia and has many minor league parks (A to AA) close by. Let's Go Nats!
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