Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Irvin Money


At the very least, 2024 might be the year that homegrown pitching finally begins to inherit the Nationals' rotation.

It was difficult for a while, though. There would be homegrown starters, guys like Tanner Roark and Erick Fedde, but all the stars of the show were people like Max Scherzer, Doug Foster, Gio Gonzalez, Anibal Sanchez and Patrick Corbin, all of whom came in trades or as free agents. It was really just Strasburg that was a homegrown ace. A couple years ago they tried Cade Cavalli, and he is steadily approaching 'whatever happened to him?' territory despite only pitching 1 MLB game. 

But in 2024, the Nats have been sending actual products of the farm system out there, and it's been working out. With no offense meant towards MacKenzie Gray and Trevor Williams [and lots of offense meant towards Patrick Corbin], the best work of the season so far have come from people like Jake Irvin and Mitchell Parker, both homegrown. Irvin's got a 3.12 ERA and a 1.027 WHIP, and he's only been heating up more and more as the season's gone on. Same with Parker, who's 4-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 10 starts. Parker has seemed to go right from the minors to a solid mid-rotation arm, and I think the Nats just need guys like that right now.

D.J. Herz is an interesting case, because he is a rookie getting starting opportunities but he's a product of the Chicago Cubs, who dealt him to Washington last year in a quiet deal for undisclosed compensation [probably a loose end in the Jeimer Candelario deal]. So Herz isn't a Nats product, and you can tell he isn't...because he's gotten walloped in his first two starts. Yes, he'll likely mellow out, but it's not the first impression the Nats were hoping for. In fairness they can probably just go 'look he's technically not our guy'. 

The homegrown mentality still hasn't completely taken over the lineup though, as it's really just Luis Garcia and Jacob Young and a bunch of other people's guys. Yes, some of them are very good, like C.J. Abrams and Jesse Winker, but you can tell there's still a lot of work to be done, and several of the people who were supposed to have strong years, like Keibert Ruiz, Lane Thomas and Eddie Rosario, really aren't impressing people so far.

So I'd call the onset of homegrown pitching an improvement, but it's gonna take more than that for this Nats team to really stand on their own in this division.

Coming Tonight: He was once one of the most important players in the game. Now he's...still good, but far less unique. 

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