The Nationals’ stud rookie reliever Aaron Barrett is without a doubt being bred to be their future closer. But when is the ‘future’?
Barrett has the kind of stuff even a casual baseball fan can notice as filthy. His fastball, that sits in the mid to low 90s, is the perfect setup pitch for his ridiculous slider that can/should be described as ‘unfair’. He’s pitched 4 innings of hitless baseball thus far, with six strikeouts and, most importantly, one walk. So, with a guy in the most enviable of all reliever roles currently that is coming off a season where he was in the top five in the NL in blown saves, and has put the club in questionable positions a couple of times already this year, why wait?
Simple: Rafael Soriano hasn’t screwed up yet this year. Sure, he’s lost a lot on his fastball, is leaving the ball up in the zone, and is giving up hits. He also has two strikeouts in every inning of work and has not given up a run. ‘Timely outs’ may best describe his year nine games in. As stressful as a figure he may be for fans, he has done nothing to disappoint.
Soriano does know he has a 0.25 WHIP on his ass, however. And inserting Barrett in a one run game in the 8th inning just to face the most dangerous batter in the opposing teams lineup (Giancarlo Stanton) is somewhat of a statement. Striking that hitter out may have been an even bigger statement.