Austin Voth (pronunciation: \VOETH\), has a 3.55 ERA, 24 walks, and 72 Ks in 15 starts and 76 innings at Triple-A in the Washington Nationals’ system this season.
Voth, 26, is back in the majors with the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 Draft for the fourth, yes, the fourth time in 2018, and this afternoon he’ll finally make his MLB debut.
After three trips from upstate New York to join the Nationals and not pitch, he’s going to get his shot. He’s definitely excited.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while, so yeah,” Voth sort-of joked on Thursday in the visitor’s clubhouse in Citi Field.
He has his family in town after previous trips up to see him realize his baseball dreams went unrealized.
“I basically told them unless I’m starting you guys are just staying home, but yeah, they’re coming for Saturday,” he said.
The positive take from the fruitless call-ups over the first few months of the season is that he got comfortable with his teammates and get acclimated in a big league environment, even though he didn’t actually pitch.
“Yeah, it helps a lot,” he said, “just to hang out with the guys in the dugout, or in the bullpen for my case, and just be around them and get to talk to them, to know them a little better.”
He’s also getting an opportunity now in the midst of a strong run which has seen him post a 1.71 ERA over four starts and 26 1⁄3 innings in June, over which he’s held hitters to a .189 BAA, and go seven strong in his first July start, giving up just one run on six hits.
Coming off a tough 2017 campaign which saw him post a 5.94 ERA in 24 games and 122 2⁄3 IP across three levels of the Nationals’ minor league system, he’s turned things around and put himself in a position to get the opportunity he’s getting today.
“Last year was a down year for me,” Voth acknowledged, “and I really wanted to prove that I can continue to be that guy they can go to.”
He rededicated himself to his training in the offseason, and developed a new routine with the help of Cressey Sports Performance.
“They sent me to Cressey facility in the offseason and that’s where it kind of all started,” he explained.
“Started a new routine in the offseason, and it’s really helped me progress throughout this season and get back on track.”
As for what he changed?
“There were some minor tweaks that I had to make physically with my body to strengthen some parts,” he said. “Like my right glute wasn’t firing properly. I had a little like issue with my shoulder just needed to get worked out, basically just needed to be rubbed almost every day and get it worked on, but it wasn’t much, just making sure that I strengthen my body properly.”
He felt the results of the work pretty quickly once the regular season started with the Nats’ top minor league affiliate.
“I think it was the first game in Syracuse where my velo came back and all my pitches were sharp again, and I was like, ‘Okay, here we go, let’s do this.’”
What will he bring to the mound in Citi Field?
“Fastball, curveball, slider, change,” Voth said. Fastball, curveball mostly, those are my two pitches that I tend to go to early on. Changeup is still kind of a work in progress, so is the slider, but I wasn’t throwing the slider last year, it’s a pitch that I added in the offseason and I just kind of stuck with it because I’ve been getting some swings and misses and it’s another pitch that I can go just go to.”
More importantly, the discussion from here on out will be about how he pitches in the majors, not about him not pitching.
“They’ve been giving me crap for being here for so long and not pitching,” he said of his teammates, “so finally be able to pitch and they won’t have to get on me about that.”