On Nationals' reliever Aaron Barrett's road to the big leagues

Mitchell Layton

It was a rough day at the plate for Giancarlo Stanton on Sunday. First Stephen Strasburg and then Aaron Barrett shut the Miami Marlins' slugger down. Barrett, Washington's 26-year-old reliever, has made quite an impression in the Nationals' first nine games.

[ed. note - "Every Friday morning throughout this season, assuming that they will continue to have us, Federal Baseball will be writing a post over at MASNSports.com's Nationals Buzz, "... as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest," writers to their site. I substituted the word "writers" for "bloggers" there. All opinions expressed are our own... A sample of our second post of the season follows... You can read the entire post HERE or through the link included below."]:

As spring training went on and pitcher after pitcher was reassigned or cut, AaronBarrett, using his impressive two-pitch arsenal, piled up scoreless outings. In late March, Williams once again singled the right-hander out for praise.

"When the situation called for it, he matched up well against the guys that were coming up we thought, and he's ready to pitch every day, so we got him out there..." - Matt Williams on Aaron Barrett's major league debut in NY

"He's been good," Williams said. "Every situation we've put him into, he's performed and that's all we can ask. He's been aggressive. He's commanded the strike zone and had quick innings, worked well. So, it's all good."

When spring training ended, Barrett had saved two games and put together 10 2/3 scoreless innings over which he walked none and struck out eight batters, holding opposing hitters to a .147 average. He'd also, somewhat surprisingly, earned himself a spot in the major league bullpen.

Barrett was thrown right into the fire in the majors. Williams brought the righty to New York for the opening series and sent him out to the mound to make his major league debut in the bottom of the ninth inning, a half-inning after the Nationals rallied to tie things up at 4-4 against Mets closer Bobby Parnell. Barrett threw an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced while showing no signs that the pressure affected him.

"We have confidence in all of our guys," Williams said when asked about putting Barrett out there for the first time in such a high-pressure environment. "When the situation called for it, he matched up well against the guys that were coming up we thought, and he's ready to pitch every day, so we got him out there. He did great."

• You can read the entire post over at MASNSports.com by clicking the link included below:

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