WASHINGTON - Brad Holman was born in Kansas City, went to college at Auburn in Alabama and the previous two seasons was a pitching coach in Syracuse and Fresno in the Washington Nationals’ system.
So when the former Major Leaguer needs some inside information on Virginia he turns to Nick Wells, a left-handed pitcher who has been with Holman at the alternate camp in Fredericksburg.
“He is my go-to. Sometimes on an off day, I will take a drive and see something. Nick is the guy I go to see if it is worth it,” Holman said.
Wells, 24, was born in Alexandria in 1996 and went to high school at Battlefield in Haymarket, Va.
He was drafted in the third round out of Battlefield in 2014 by the Toronto Blue Jays and has played in the minor leagues since then.
He is one of just a handful of lefties in the 60-player pool for the Nationals, who saw veteran reliever Sean Doolittle get injured Thursday night while pitching against the Braves here at Nationals Park.
Wells was pitching for Modesto in the California League in April 2019 when he was hit by a comebacker and broke his wrist.
That required surgery for Wells, who then traded on May 4, 2019 by Seattle to Washington for veteran pitcher Austin Adams. The injury limited his time in the Washington system, as he pitched in six games out of the bullpen last year for low Single-A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League and posted an ERA of 2.19 in 12.1 innings of work.
“He was limited last year,” Holman told Federal Baseball on Friday. “Since he has been here (in Fredericksburg), we have put him in a role where is a starter and we have him stretched out to five innings and about 70 pitches.
“He is a long, lanky lefty,” Holman added. “He can spin a breaking ball pretty well. He is reeling in his delivery where he is able to repeat it. He is a great competitor. He competes very well, sometimes to a fault. Some of the young guys try hard and sometimes it takes them out of their deliveries. He is getting better every day.”
Wells began his pro career with Toronto and then was traded to Seattle in 2015 for a deal that brought veteran MLB pitcher Mark Lowe to the Blue Jays. Wells has never pitched above the Single-A level.
In his pro career, he is 21-34 with an ERA of 5.20 in 108 games with 94 starts.