WASHINGTON - In July of 2014, pitcher Gilberto Chu of Panama was signed to a minor league contract by the Nationals.
More than seven years later, the left-handed pitcher - who is only 23 - is putting up good numbers for Single-A Fredericksburg.
“He has been outstanding,” Fredericksburg pitching coach Pat Rice told Federal Baseball this week. “He has been a do-it-all for us. We worked him into the rotation” for part of the year.
“He is a three-pitch guy, but more than anything he has the ability to command a changeup. If you can command an off-speed pitch here you are going to have some success.”
A lot of guys have had multiple years off with injuries and the 2020 pandemic.
Chu did not pitch in 2020 due to the season being called off due to the pandemic.
This year, in his first 18 games, with three starts, he was 3-0 with an ERA of 2.91 with one save and a WHIP of 0.95.
“He came like he had been pitching the last two years,” Rice said.
“There was definitely some command issues early in the year with a lot of guys. I would say a majority of them ... we have to be able to command the baseball.”
Chu allowed just 12 walks in 43.1 innings and held hitters to an average of .192 in games through Monday.
Another international pitcher for Fredericksburg is Carlos Romero, 22, who is from Venezuela.
“He started for us when he came up from Florida,” Rice said. “He had a little bit of growing pains then he got on a roll as a stater, then we got Jackson Rutledge back and some other guys that started over him. We put him in the pen to keep his innings” in check.
Romero was 3-3 with an ERA of 5.63 in his first 12 games, with eight starts, for Fredericksburg this season.