The Nationals have claimed left-hander Joe La Sorsa off waivers from the Rays, the team announced Thursday. La Sorsa, who was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay earlier this week, been optioned to Triple-A Rochester. The Nats had multiple 40-man vacancies after this week’s DFAs of Andres Machado and Erasmo Ramirez, so a corresponding move is not necessary. Ari Alexander of KPRC 2 in Houston first reported the move.
La Sorsa, 25, made his big league debut with the Rays this month, pitching 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball with three hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He’s had a nice showing so far between Double-A (three innings) and Triple-A (21 innings) so far in 2023, pitching to a combined 3.38 ERA with a 7.5% walk rate. La Sorsa’s 14.2% strikeout rate is well below average, checking in at less than half the 31.7% clip he showed between High-A and Double-A just last season. It’s a generally small sample, though, and La Sorsa’s 13% swinging-strike rate in Triple-A certainly seems to portend an eventual uptick in the strikeout department.
While La Sorsa has never ranked as a top prospect, he’s a controllable lefty with a nice minor league track record who has all three minor league option years remaining. He’s pitched 203 2/3 innings of minor league ball with a 2.87 ERA, fanning nearly four and a half times as many hitters — about a quarter of his total opponents — as he’s walked in that time. For a Nationals club with little stability in the bullpen, he’s an interesting potential long-term pickup who could eventually carve out a regular role in the relief corps.