Washington Nationals Opinions: Could Blake Treinen Play A Key Role In 2015?


Even though the Washington Nationals addressed both their starting rotation and their bullpen over the winter, one of the more intriguing names to watch for the 2015 season has to be Blake Treinen. Last season, the 26-year old went 2-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 15 games (seven starts). This is one of the promising arms in the organization, but the question remains where to start Treinen when the 2015 season begins? Will it be with the Washington Nationals on April 6 against the New York Mets or with the triple-A Syracuse Chiefs on April 9?

So far this spring, Treinen has been working strictly as a reliever and has fared very well. In seven appearances, he has not given up an earned run and has struck out five batters and walked one. Plus, Treinen has not given up a hit in six of those seven appearances. Even with his success out of the bullpen last season (1.23 ERA in eight appearances), is there any room for him in the bullpen to start the year with Aaron Barrett, Craig Stammen, and Tanner Roark taking up those roles?

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This is an organization that is loaded with pitchers in their minor league system, so Treinen, in my opinion, should start as a starting pitcher at Syracuse. It would be Treinen’s second season playing for the triple-A affiliate. Last season, in 16 starts, he went 8-2 with a 3.35 ERA in 80.2 innings. His strikeouts per nine innings of 7.1 went up from the 6.5 he had at double-A Harrisburg in 2013.

Even though the right-hander pitched to a 4.41 ERA in eight starts after the all-star break, this is a pitcher with a lot of potential as shown in his record before the break, which was 5-0 with a 2.54 ERA in ten starts. According to Fangraphs, Treinen threw his fastball about 80% of the time, with an average velocity of 94 miles per hour.

From writing about the Yankees at Yanks Go Yard, I have seen what Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes’ careers looked like when they were constantly switched from starter to relievers. It’s always risky to do that, but Treinen might be one of those players who could fill both of those roles if Washington needed him to down the road.

However, according to an article in the Washington Post written by Chelsea Janes last week, Treinen said that: “taking each inning one at a time is something he believes will help him as a starter and as a short reliever.”

While I would like to see Treinen begin the year in the Syracuse rotation to continue to grow as a starting pitcher, fans should be prepared to see the young pitcher who was traded to Washington from Oakland in 2013 with the big league club at some point this season in either role.

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