Just yesterday I said Sammy Solis isn't a real threat to pitch in relief for the Nats. Today Zuckerman says "IN YOUR FACE!"
So which is it? Ignoring for a moment the elephant in the room that is the fact that Zuckerman actually talks to people on the team, what do all we know in cold hard facts lead us to believe?
He pitched well in Single A. He was limited a little bit coming back from injury, which is why he only logged 60 innings in 13 starts (14 appearances) but he did throw up some decent numbers - 3.32 ERA, 1.307 WHIP, 3 homers.
But he didn't pitch great or anything. 1.307 is good, but it's nothing special. Ian Krol put up a 1.317 in the majors last year. That walk number is too high (2.9) considering he struck no one out (6.2). It's enough to move him up to AA but to expect him to be in the majors soon?
Plus he's old. He turned 25 in August, a couple weeks after Strasburg did. How would you expect Strasburg to pitch in Potomac? Solis should be doing well in Single A where you are looking for 22/23 year olds to shine.
Of course, because he is old the Nats might want to push it. There is no reason to wait on Sammy to see what develops because in two more years he'll be 27 going on 28. That's not prospect age anymore and for the majority of players, it's the point where you start to decline.
And he is left-handed. We don't need to go over why the Nats want a lefty in the pen, do we?
But he didn't show any proclivity toward getting lefties out last year. Again, Single A lefties hit .284 / .333 / .432 off him. Not that that means anything definitive in the majors but it's something.
Of course he pitched much more impressively in the AFL. 29 IP, 2.17 ERA. His K/9 number was up to 9.0 and his BB/9 was down to 2.1. Those are the numbers you want to see.
Grain of salt though - guys strike out more often in the AFL than in Single A. At least this year, once every 4.16 AB to once every 4.61 AB. That's could explain a bit of the K increase.
Though they also walk more too. So that control increase is impressive.
Still AFL stats are so limited does it really say anything for a pitcher? It was only 30IP, which is just a good month. Pitchers with 19+ IP and ERAs under 3.00 the past few years:
2012 : Kyle Kaminski, TJ House, Justin Marks, Robbie Erlin, Seth Blair.
2011: Terry Doyle, Steve Johnson, Danny Hultzen.
2010: Marc Rzepczynski, Eric Hurley, Ryan Verdugo.
The guys in bold are the guys that would pitch in the majors the following year. Two notes : RZ pitched in the majors before the AFL, so I wouldn't count him, but Hultzen really could have gotten called up by now. He's legit. So let's say 3 out of 10?
This is all pretty pointless, to be true. All that matters is that when Solis starts pitching in AA does he do well or not. If he does, he gets moved up. If not, he doesn't. But if you want me to bet on it, I'm thinking Sammy doesn't help the major league team in 2014. And if the Nats are thinking about it as anything other than Plan D, well I don't know that I trust what they are doing.