Feb 19, 2014; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) in spring training action at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Fister Draws Rave Reviews In Live Batting Practice


For the better part of three months, all we’ve been hearing about Doug Fister is how much he can help the Washington Nationals. How he can bring together a rotation stacked with young talent. How his playoff experience will be a huge factor for the Nationals in 2014. Before even throwing a pitch in his new uniform, Nationals fans and media members alike had already declared Fister as ‘the missing piece of the puzzle’; the savvy veteran who will help lead the team to the World Series.

Now, three months later, we’re finally seeing what Fister can do first hand. Sure we had access to all the video and stats we could have possibly wanted, but seeing him pitch as a National is ultimately what we’ve been waiting for since the team acquired him last December.

With today’s live batting practice, the first of the spring, Nationals players and coaches got their first look at Fister facing live hitters, and apparently, he lived up to the hype.

“He was throwing it from the sky, and it’s running at your ankles,” Anthony Rendon told Nats Insider’s Mark Zuckerman. “He was good. He’s phenomenal. He’s tall and lanky, but he’s fluid with it. He knows what he’s doing. He’s just so composed out there, and the ball just (dives) the last 5-8 feet.”

Rendon was not the only one talking up Fister today, as manager Matt Williams was also very impressed with Fister’s session.

The 30-year-old right-hander faced Rendon as well as shortstop Ian Desmond, and he was as sharp as a pitcher can be in February. Fister, whom the Nationals acquired in a trade with the Detroit Tigers early in the offseason, is known for using his filthy sinker to force ground balls. Today was no exception, as he managed to keep the ball on the ground for the most part, though he did allow a few big hits.

Ever since he threw his first bullpen session last week, Nationals players and coaches have had nothing but good things to say about the team’s biggest offseason acquisition. It’s not easy to live up to expectations when you are considered the ‘missing piece’ on a team that should have made the playoffs even before the trade. But if today’s session and the first ten days of camp are any indication, he may very well be that missing piece.

But like everything else about this team, only time will tell. Two weeks of bullpen sessions and workouts in no way show what a pitcher can accomplish during the regular season. We’ll be seeing a lot more of Doug Fister over the next five weeks, and come Opening Day (or a few days after), we’ll be seeing what he can really do for the ball club.

Until then, here’s a video of Fister forcing a bouncer from Anthony Rendon, something we’ll hopefully be seeing a lot of from Fister in 2014:

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