The Washington Nationals announced this afternoon that they had called 23-year-old, 2015 8th Round pick Koda Glover up to work out of the Nats' bullpen. In addition to that promotion, the Nationals announced that they optioned last night's starter, Reynaldo Lopez, back to Triple-A, while designating left-hander Nick Lee for assignment to make room on the 40-Man Roster for Glover's addition.
Glover, a right-hander out of Oklahoma State, is just the second player from the 2015 Draft class to make the big leagues, league-wide, joining Chicago White Sox' 1st Round pick Carson Fulmer as the first two prospects from last season's draft to work their way up to the majors.
In two stops in the Nationals' system last season, Glover put up a 1.80 ERA with two walks and 38 Ks in 30 innings pitched between the New York-Penn League's Auburn Doubledays and the Class-A Hagerstown Suns.
Glover had already advanced through three levels of the Nationals' minor league system this season before he got the call to join the major league bullpen today.
He started the season at High-A Potomac, moved up to Double-A Harrisburg and the 6'5'' right-hander was then promoted to Triple-A Syracuse, posting a combined 2.18 ERA with 14 walks and 52 Ks in 45 ⅓ innings between the three affiliates.
Asked about the decision to promote the right-hander to the majors, Dusty Baker acknowledged this afternoon that he's not too familiar with Glover.
The #Nats have selected the contract of RHP Koda Glover and optioned RHP Reynaldo Lopez to SYR. LHP Nick Lee was designated for assignment.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 20, 2016
"You're asking me to comment on somebody I haven't ever seen," Baker said.
"I'm still kind of new to this organization. Like when [Reynaldo] Lopez walked in, I wouldn't have known him if I passed him on the street and Glover, I'd never seen him. So you'd have to ask our scouting department.
"I know I asked some questions yesterday of a couple of our scouts and also [GM Mike] Rizzo.
"Mike told me that he had really good stuff. And like I said, I haven't seen him, but I asked him when did he pitch and he said he had pitched later in games, set up and closed some games, and I heard that he has an attitude and I told him to keep that attitude and that's one thing that we need, is attitude."
Baker said he wasn't sure what role Glover would be used in out of the Nationals' bullpen, though he did say that you can earn your way into positions or different roles.
The move, Baker said, was in part out of necessity, to help the Nats' beleaguered bullpen, but also a result of the success Glover has had thus far as a pro.
"No. 1, he's here out of need and No. 2, like I said, I've never seen him pitch," Baker explained, "and until I see him pitch here then that's going to determine the length of time that he might be here, or when guys come off the DL, or whatever.
"I tell them all when they come here that, 'You don't necessarily have to go back.' If you perform well at a high level for a period of time then you've got a chance. So however long, I really don't know. I give all young guys a chance and it's up to them. All I can do is give you the opportunity and I tell them, just like I told young Lopez yesterday, I said, 'Hey, man, I was there in 2002 when [Francisco] Rodriguez was coming up with the Angels and he was a September call-up and then he ended up being a World Series hero.'"
His performance, Baker reiterated, could determine what role he finds himself in as things go along.
"Again, you know the minor leagues is one thing, the big leagues is something else," Baker said.
"Now you're with the best of the best. Preferably, I was taught, with the Dodgers especially, to bring, if you have the luxury, to bring a young starter in in long relief kind of, because that's probably the easiest role in the bullpen as long as you don't come in throwing gasoline on the fire already.
"But, we had a young Steve Howe that was out of Double-A that was a rookie with the Dodgers who came right in and was our closer, so it kind depends on the personality and you can earn your way to things, to different positions."
"I don't know, that's why I asked him," Baker said, returning to the topic of a potential role. "So evidently, at least in the minors he was -- and he's not a kid, he went to Oklahoma State and so we're getting a more refined player."
Through 75 ⅓ innings pitched in the minors, Glover has averaged 10.75 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9. Can he take advantage of the opportunity he's getting now to stake a claim to a role in the bullpen?
If nothing else, he'll give Dusty Baker a better idea of what he can do.