With Stephen Strasburg’s recent placement on the disabled list, the Nationals need a starter for Tuesday, and Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com writes that it looks like Triple-A right-hander Austin Voth and Double-A righty Lucas Giolito (the game’s top prospect according to MLB.com and ESPN) are the likeliest candidates. Neither pitcher is on the 40-man, though Kerzel points out that the Nationals can create room simply by transferring Taylor Jordan, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, to the 60-day disabled list. Kerzel notes that Giolito could potentially force his way into the rotation in place of the struggling Gio Gonzalez even when Strasburg returns, but he also notes that Giolito is on an innings limit and figures to be capped just shy of 140 innings. He’s already tossed 71 frames this season, so turning to him for three full months of starts may not be an option. Kerzel runs down the cases for and against a Giolito promotion, and the analysis is well worth a look for Nats fans or prospect chasers in fantasy leagues.
More from the Senior Circuit…
- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny called backup catcher Eric Fryer a “pleasant surprise” and heaped praise onto the veteran backstop when speaking to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. However, as Goold notes, today’s expected return of Brayan Pena could spell the end of Fryer’s time on the big league roster, as the team hasn’t expressed a willingness to carry three catchers. Matheny called Fryer “an asset to our organization” and said he’s happy to have Fryer in whatever role possible, so it seems that even if he’s designated for assignment, the Cards will hope to retain him via an outright assignment.
- Goold also notes that the Cardinals had right-hander Seung-hwan Oh warming up in advance of a potential save opportunity in yesterday’s contest, but he took a seat once the Redbirds scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, thus erasing the save situation. The Cardinals, who over the weekend removed the struggling Trevor Rosenthal from the ninth inning, have an undetermined situation at the back of the bullpen. However as Goold points out, the fact that Oh was seemingly first in line could be telling of Matheny’s ninth-inning intentions. Oh has been brilliant this season, working to a 1.66 ERA with 12.1 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 in 38 innings. Those chasing saves in fantasy leagues can follow MLBTR’s @closernews Twitter account for updates on ninth-inning situations around the league.
- The Phillies activated Vince Velasquez from the disabled list today and will insert him into the rotation, with lefty Adam Morgan shifting to the ’pen, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re going to get a look at him in that role for the time being, which doesn’t mean he’s never going to start again for us,” said manager Pete Mackanin of Morgan. In 57 2/3 innings out of the rotation this season, Morgan has a 6.55 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9. However, he’s also an extreme fly-ball pitcher that has been highly homer-prone this season, which has negated his otherwise solid K/BB numbers.
- The Marlins continue to search for starting pitching on the trade market, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, but the organization also believes that there are better days ahead for lefty Justin Nicolino now that they’ve convinced him to stop throwing his cutter. Nicolino has limped to a 5.17 ERA in 10 starts this season, and while his cutter has indeed graded out as a negative pitch, so too has his four-seamer. From my vantage point, it seems optimistic to expect that change to alleviate the need for rotation help in a significant fashion. Over the past week or so, Miami has been connected to controllable arms Jake Odorizzi and Drew Pomeranz on the trade market in addition to a more short-term fix such as Bud Norris.