In the most recent edition of Baseball America's newsstand magazine, BA writer and Executive Editor Jim Callis looks into the future (as the magazine as a whole looks back on Opening Day around the Minors) with an article entitled, "Rays youngsters to deliver second title in 2013", in which Mr. Callis spins out a scenario for the National League Division and Wild Card winners who'll fight for the right to face the Rays in the '13 World Series, which has Atlanta reclaiming the NL East crown from the Phillies, and the Reds rising to the top of the Central Division while the West goes to the Colorado Rockies who just took three of four in Coors Field from Mr. Callis' Wild Card winners in 2013, the Washington Nationals:
"...the Nationals will claim their first-ever playoff berth, thanks to No.1 overall picks Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Bryce Harper (2010), first-rounders Drew Storen (2009) and Matt Purke (2011) and veterans Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann."
(ed. note - "Matt Purke was the 14th overall pick by the Rangers last year, who failed to sign, joined TCU, and is (10-0) with 94 K's (10.99 K/9) this season in 14 games, 12 starts and 77.0 IP. Purke will reenter the 2011 Draft.")
Ryan Zimmerman debuted the year he was drafted as the Nationals' first 1st Round pick in 2005. Jordan Zimmermann, a 2nd Round pick in '07 who made his debut on April 20, 2009, is recovering from elbow reconstruction surgery and looking to return to the mound late this season. According to most experts, Bryce Harper's set to become the No.1 overall pick (the Nats' second-straight) on June 7th of 2010. Stephen Strasburg's debut is the source of endless debate at the moment, and the mystery as to when Drew Storen would arrive in the majors ended yesterday when he was called up to replace reliever Brian Bruney on the Nats' roster as they head to St. Louis for two with the Cardinals.
Storen's the focus of Baseball America Nationals correspondent Lacy Lusk's latest Organization Report as well, with Mr. Lusk recounting the 22-year-old former Stanford Cardinal closer's run-in with former Nats/Expos' closer Chad Cordero when Storen was a bat boy for the Cincinnati Reds. The Expos' 1st Round pick, 20th overall in 2003, Cordero appeared in just 19 games and threw 26.1 innings in the minors before making his MLB debut on August 30, 2003. Storen wanted to jump to the Majors last season, but instead threw 37.0 innings at three levels of the Nationals' organization, rising as high as Double-AA Harrisburg where he started the 2010 season as well, with 9.1 IP, before moving to Triple-AAA Syracuse where he threw 7.1 innings allowing a total of just 12 hits and 2 ER on 3 walks (1.62 BB/9) over 13 games combined at both stops in which he K'd 15 (8.10 K/9) and recorded 4 saves.
In a post game interview broadcast on MASN Sunday afternoon and included with MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling's report on Storen's call-up entitled, "Nationals to call up Drew Storen", the Nats' Skipper, Jim Riggleman, says Storen will be used by the Nationals, "...anywhere from that sixth inning throught the eighth, anywhere in there that we need him based on the availability of himself, the availability of [Tyler] Clippard, [Sean] Burnett, you know, everybody leading up to [Nats' closer] Matt Capps in the ninth." But the goal, as DC GM Mike Rizzo said when Washington selected the then-21-year-old Indiana-born reliever with the 10th pick of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, as quoted in Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin's 6/9/09 Nationals Journal post entitled, "Rizzo On Strasburg, Storen... and Crow", is for Storen to eventually become the Nationals' next (Flat-Brimmed) closer:
"He has the repetoire to be a starter, but we're going to keep him in the bullpen role. That's where he's most comfortable, and his makeup and character led us to that decision. He wants the challenge of having the ball in the ninth inning. .... He's a much quicker prospect to the majors as a closer prospect."
In an interview during the Nats' series with the NY Mets last week, DC GM Mike Rizzo spoke to 660 WFAN's Ed Coleman about both of the Nationals' '09 1st Round picks and what Storen's accomplished as he's worked his way up to the Majors a few days/weeks before Strasburg's set to debut, telling Mr. Coleman, "[Stroren's] been terrific since the day we signed him, he's gone on and zipped through the minor leagues," Mr. Rizzo said, "...through the Arizona Fall League, he hasn't stopped yet, and he's still peforming for us at a high level, you know, both of these guys are big pieces for us in the future and the future might not be as far away as people think." Looks like it actually starts tonight in St. Louis...