Seeing Trevor Gott out of context, off of a mound -- with a jersey and cap on, yes, but otherwise in civilian clothes instead of a uniform this past weekend at Nationals WinterFest -- it's hard to imagine the diminutive, exceedingly polite, soft-spoken Kentuckian, with a southern lilt to his voice, throwing a 96 mph fastball, but the now-former Los Angeles Angels' reliever, acquired by the Washington Nationals last week, averaged 96.1 mph with his fastball over 48 games and 47 ⅔ innings in the majors last season.
Opposing hitters had a .217 AVG against his fastball. He told reporters in the nation's capital that it was, obviously, his biggest weapon.
"I'm heavy fastball," Gott said when asked about his repertoire. "I throw a slider/slurve and the changeup. I don't throw the changeup a whole lot, but it's coming along."
"Trevor Gott is a very aggressive, young, controllable right-handed pitcher," Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told reporters at WinterFest just days after acquiring the 23-year-old from the Angels (along with minor league reliever Michael Brady) in return for Yunel Escobar.
"He's got mid-to-upper 90s velocity," Rizzo said of Gott.
"He's got good movement on his fastball. We took a good look at his delivery and the way he attacks hitters and it was something that we really liked and we think that he's going to be a major factor for us, not only this year, but down the road too."
Gott said he hadn't talked to anyone with the Nationals about what role they expect him to fill.
"No, this is the first day I've met anybody. It's been three days [since the trade], no, we haven't talked about any of that stuff," he said.
Rizzo wasn't assigning any roles in December either.
"We'll go to Spring Training and see where it all works out," he said. "But it's another quality mid-to-upper 90s arm to go with several of the guys that we already have."
Was he acquired with the idea that he could, if not right away, one day be a late-inning option?
"That's always the hope for guys who have great arms and have the mentality to pitch later in the games," Rizzo said.
"He proved with the Angels that he's capable of doing it. We foresee putting him in the mix with our other bullpen guys that really have plus stuff and we feel good about the depth and the quality of guys that we have in there."
Gott said that he, and any reliever really, would welcome a chance to pitch high-leverage innings.
"I think all relievers' goal is to become a closer at some point," he said. "But that's a long-term goal, right now I'm just trying to fit in with the Nationals, wherever they want me and whatever I can do to help the team win."
Dusty Baker, the Nationals' new manager, said he hasn't seen too much of Gott yet, but he's relying on a number of scouting reports.
"I'm really depending on Rizzo and [Assistant GM] Bob Miller and people that know the Gott," Baker said.
"But my son told me, he said, 'Dad, the guy's got a big arm.' He thinks he's Assistant General Manager, because he knows all the players. I know most of them, but he knows all of them. Everybody says it's a great move."
Pitching coach Mike Maddux got a good look at Gott while both were in the AL West last season.
"I've seen Gott quite a bit in Anaheim," Maddux said. "Of course, at the end of last year, those guys in Anaheim they were pitching every day. So we saw Gott five days in a row at one point and bless his heart he was out there giving everything he had and that's the one thing you really admired about it, that here they were late in the year and he was giving it all he's got and then some."
Gott finished the 2015 campaign (4-2) with a 3.02 ERA, a 3.74 FIP, 16 walks (3.02 BB/9), 27 Ks (5.10 K/9) and a stingy .235/.310/.315 line against on the year.
He said he was excited about the new opportunity he'll get with Washington.
"I think it will be a good opportunity for me," Gott said. "Obviously the Angels did a lot for my career and gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues. But that's just part of the business. You get traded. And I'm really excited."