Welcome to “Get To Know a Nat.” There are currently 39 men on the 40 man roster, and we’re going to give you the straight scoop on all of them! Not sure where to start with player and season previews? Not ready to jump into heavy metrics? Just want to get to know the players, what they do, and what to expect from them in 2013? Then you’ve come to the right place!
There are 39 men on the overall roster, but only 25 of them will be on the bench in Washington come April 1. The other 14 will start their season in the minors, and may come up to fill in from time to time-possibly as late as when rosters get expanded in September.
As such, this is our second weekly preview of guys we expect to start in the minors this year. If one of them does get called up, we can do a full preview then. But this should give you just enough to go on for the time being.
Let’s get started shall we? Last time we looked at hitters, today we’ll look at hurlers.
Christian Garcia DOB: August 24, 1985
From: Miami Florida
Prospective Role: Possible Starting Pitcher Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Signed by Nationals as Free Agent in 2011
Last year Christian Garcia came in for a few relief appearances and nearly blew the doors off the building. He averaged a 95 mph fastball, and managed to mix in curves and change-ups too. The Nationals liked him to maybe be a sixth starter this year, for when regular starting pitchers missed an outing. Currently, however, he is on the DL with a forearm strain, and so any talk of him being the extra starter is out of the question for now. Given the injury, he’ll likely start in the minors somewhere until he gets right (if he gets right). Later in the year he may get a chance to prove his mettle to the big league club.
Nathan Karns DOB: August 24, 1985
Twitter: @NathanKarns (unverified)
From: Arlington, Texas
Prospective Role: Currently Starting Pitcher Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Drafted by Nationals in 2009.
Karns has had a very quiet, but successful, run in the minors for the Washington Nationals. Drafted in 2009, Karns spent his first few years recovering from a labrum injury (including surgery). 2011 was the first time he really pitched all year, and his 148 strikeouts, 11 wins, and 2.17 ERA were good enough to earn him the Nationals pitcher of the year award. Not a bad year in Potomac.
He’s a fastball pitcher with decent velocity, can throw a curveball for a strike and is working on a change-up too. He’s not really close to ready yet, so expect to see him in Harrisburg at year’s start. Pop Quiz: Why carry a guy on the 40 man roster who isn’t close to ready for the big leagues? If you answered “Protecting him from the Rule 5 draft” you are correct, very smart, and likely read our post about it from earlier this year.
Yunesky Maya Medizula DOB: August 28, 1981
From: Pinar del Rio, Cuba
Prospective Role: Long Relief Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Signed with Washington in 2010
Maya was an experiment that didn’t work out. He had a very good career in Cuba, winning a handful of gold medals with their national team. After defecting and joining the Washington Nationals, however, he never panned out. Maya only made 5 minor league starts before joining the Nats proper in 2010, but his combined 15 appearances for Washington never amounted to much. He signed a four year deal with the Nationals, which is probably why he’s still on the team-but he didn’t make the trip up in 2012, and I wouldn’t count on seeing him in 2013 either.
Yunesky Maya gets his money one way or the other, so if he continues to disappoint he might be designated for assignment and let go-just to make room on the roster.
Ryan Keith Perry DOB: February 13, 1987
From: Pomona, California
Prospective Role: Reliever Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Acquired via Trade with Tigers in 2011.
Speaking of experiments gone wrong, Perry made his debut in 2011. He’s 1-0 as a starter, but that’s a fluke of how the stat is calculated. His 10.13 ERA is from seven games and eight innings pitched. That means he gave up more than one run per inning he pitched, and he barely pitched more than one inning at a time. Spring Training in 2013 hasn’t fared much better for Perry, so he too is a long shot to make it to Washington proper this year.
Matthew Taylor Purke DOB: July 17, 1990
Twitter: @MattPurke47 (unverified)
From: Spring, TX
Prospective Role: Currently Starting Pitcher Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Drafted by Nationals in 2011.
Matt Purke had a rough year last year. His first year in low-A Hagerstown yielded an 0-2 record with a 5.87 ERA and just over 15 innings pitched. Then he spent the rest of the year trying to get healthy, before ultimately shutting down the season for shoulder surgery. It was these types of health problems that eroded Purke’s draft stock, allowing him to fall to the Nationals in the third round. He did sign a major league deal which put him on the 40 man roster immediately, and he sits there now. Both the Nationals and Purke hope that they can just pretend like 2012 never happened, allowing him to start afresh in 2013-likely in Potomac.
Erik R. Davis DOB: October 8, 1986
Twitter: @edavis19 (unverified)
From: Standford, California
Prospective Role: Starter transitioning to a Reliever Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Acquired via Trade with San Diego in 2011.
I would like to be the first to announce that the decided nickname for Erik Davis (a panel of Nats experts were involved) is “Mini-Clip” because he is, essentially, Tyler Clippard 2.0. Goggles? Check. Hat pulled down over them a little? Check. Finger lick after a pitch? Check. Even his stance, his wind-up and his delivery all mimic Tyler Clippard-and there is a chance he will mimic Clippard’s success too.
Like Clip before him, Davis is also transitioning from starting to relief. He was added to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, and did very well in his outings with Harrisburg, and pretty good in Syracuse last year. Its a stacked bullpen this year for the Nationals, but I think Davis is fairly close to getting a shot to play for the Nats-if he was a lefty, I’d say he’d be a shoe in to at least be up for a cup of coffee this year. As it stands, Davis will simply have to continue to impress in the minors and be ready if he gets the call.
Cole Kimball DOB: August 1, 1985
From: Brooklyn, New York
Prospective Role: Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Drafted by Nationals in 2006.
Cole Kimball is another of the Nationals minor league pitchers trying to get healthy. He tore a rotator cuff in July 2011 after only appearing in 11 games. After surgery, his 2012 campaign was marred by lagging effects of that procedure and the injury, appearing in only 6 games total over four of the Nationals minor league teams. This year he seems to be doing much better, and is impressing coaches with his performance so far in Spring Training. If, as he says he is, he is 100% healthy, the Nationals will finally find out of Kimball can deliver like they think he can.
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