WASHINGTON - There has been a professional milestone every month for Michael Kirian, 22, a native of Ohio.
He was drafted by the Nationals out of the University of Louisville in the sixth round on July 15, assigned to the Florida Complex League roster on August 18, and then on Tuesday promoted to low Single-A Fredericksburg.
Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Operations Kris Kline was excited to get Kirian where the Nationals did in this past July’s draft.
“We see him as a starter, ultimately in the end the kids are going to end up telling you what they are,” Kline said. “He’ll go out into pro ball his first year and probably piggyback with another guy just to get some innings and build him up, but I think he’s got options where he absolutely is a starter, you know, but he also has value coming out of the bullpen from the left side. This kid is a massive human being and a great arm, and he really, really competes, he reminds me of, it reminds me of what I saw from certain players in the years, like [Troy] Tulowitzki always looked like he belonged in the 1940s. [Kirian] rolls out on the mound and he looks like he was — he should be in a black and white movie. He’s just got that old school look to him.”
The lefty pitcher only threw 6.2 innings for manager Jake Lowery in Florida, appearing in four games with one start.
He was 1-0 with an ERA of 5.40, going two innings in a start on Saturday against the Mets and allowing no runs in two innings of work.
“Big, tall lefty that was a workhorse at the University of Louisville,” Lowery noted to Federal Baseball just hours after Kirian was promoted.
“What stood out to me during his time here was his ability to go right after guys, not afraid to pitch in the strike zone.”
“Projectable starter with room to grow!” added Lowery, a native of Richmond who was the Johnny Bench Award winner in 2011 at James Madison as the top college catcher in the country. Lowery played in the minors for Cleveland and Washington before making the move to the coaching ranks.
According to the Louisville website, the pitcher also considered Virginia and Virginia Tech, among other schools, while coming out of high school.
His sister, Taylor, played softball at Akron. He lists his favorite Major League players as Virginia native Justin Verlander and Bryce Harper.
This past spring in college he was 5-3 with a save and an ERA of 4.80 in 16 games with 11 starts.