Name: Tanner Roark
Position: Starting/Relief Pitcher
Heading into the 2013 season, Tanner Roark was thought to just be in AAA for the year. He was projected to be in the Syracuse Chiefs rotation and maybe get a call up in September. Originally a 25th round selection by Texas in the 2008 MLB Draft, Roark was traded to Washington in 2010. Just a little background, but he made a huge impact on the Nationals.
Roark started 2013 in Syracuse, posting a 9-3 record with a 3.15 ERA in 33 games. He started 11 of those games and complied 105.2 innings while striking out 84 and only walking 20. And in early August, Roark got the call. He made his major league debut on August 7th against the Braves and dominated in the bullpen throughout August. He finished with nine games pitched in the month with a 1.19 ERA in 22.2 innings. As September began, he began to start for Washington. In five starts, he was 3-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 31 innings. He finished the year with a 7-1 record and a microscopic 1.51 ERA in 53.2 innings while only walking eleven men in his work.
According to Fan Graph’s projections, it looks like Roark might get a shot at the rotation. The site says he will finish 10-10 in 37 games, 27 started, and throw 163 innings. Also, Roark will compile a 3.96 ERA while striking out 123 and walking 50. Roark’s strong point is the walks. He has kept them down and that is a main key to success for him. He had a 1.70 BB/9 rate in 2013 in the majors, and is supposed to go up to 2.76 in 2014. If Roark can keep the walks down, he can be a vital part at the back end Nationals’ rotation in 2014.