As the Washington Nationals noted in a press release on their waiver claim of St. Louis Cardinals' 2008 6th Round pick, pitcher Eric Fornataro, last November, the right-hander enjoyed success in the Cards' system in two seasons in which he was used exclusively as a reliever.
Fornataro posted a 2.39 ERA and a 3.19 FIP in 67 ⅔ IP out of the bullpen at Double-A Springfield in 2012 and a 2.57 ERA and a 4.27 FIP in 56 IP as a reliever at Triple-A Memphis in 2014, where he earned 15 saves in 44 games.
Fornataro was added to the Nationals' 40-Man roster when he was claimed, but the 27-year-old was designated for assignment last week when Washington announced their one-year deal with veteran right-hander Casey Janssen.
This afternoon, the Nats announced that Fornataro was outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse and given an invitation to Spring Training:
The #Nats have assigned RHP Eric Fornataro outright to Triple-A Syracuse. Fornataro has received an invitation to MLB Spring Training.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 9, 2015
Fornataro made his MLB debut last season, posting a 4.66 ERA and a 3.13 FIP with a walk and three Ks in 9 ⅔ IP out of the Cardinals' bullpen.
The righty was (4-5) with 20 walks (3.21 BB/9) and 35 Ks (5.63 K/9) in 44 appearances for the Cards' Triple-A affiliate in 2014.
In limited time in the majors with St. Louis, Fornataro featured a sinker that averaged 92.7 mph (and induced a lot of grounders, 51.4% GB%) and a fastball that sat at an average of 86.8 mph.
The now-former Cardinals' prospect gives the Nationals another hard-throwing power arm in the system, which Nats' GM Mike Rizzo said this winter was one of the areas of strength in the organization.