The Washington Nationals minor league system is littered with good pitching prospects that most teams would love to have in their own system. One prospect that has stood out in 2015 is right-handed pitcher Austin Voth, who is currently pitching at double-A Harrisburg. Voth was drafted in the fifth round in 2013 out of the University of Washington. The right-hander has a 3-5 record, 3.19 ERA, 90 strike outs and only 21 walks in 96 innings pitched this season.
Voth was phenomenal in 2014 at low-A Hagerstown and high-A Potomac, where it seemed like the righty couldn’t be touched. Then, he saw a call-up to double-A where he struggled mightily in just five starts. While in double-A, he struggled with his walk rate, where he had 4.2 walks per nine innings. That rate is what lead to his only struggles in 2014. However he finished with great numbers for his first full professional season. He went 7-7 with a 2.77 ERA, 133 strike outs and 38 walks in 126 innings pitched.
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Voth has redeemed himself nicely in double-A Harrisburg since struggling in 2014. In his most recent start on July 7, he went seven innings, gave up no runs on two hits, and struck out seven . In his last ten starts for Harrisburg, he has gone 1-3 with a 2.64 ERA, has 56 strike outs and only ten walks. Voth has kept his walk rate at two batters per nine innings in 2015 and that has lead to his success in Harrisburg this season.
His start on the seventh has been his longest since the 16th of June against the same team. the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants). In that outing, he went seven innings, gave up three hits, struck out three and only walked one. His next three starts after the 16th is when we saw two of Voth’s worst starts of the season. In those games, he struggled with his control and couldn’t get batters out.
During those two starts, he pitched a combined ten innings, gave up eight earned runs, walked four and struck out 13 batters. Somehow the right-hander only lost one of those starts and the start after those two games saw Voth still struggling with his control. However, he went six innings, he gave up five hits, walked three and struck out five in another no decision against Binghamton.
Harrisburg’s offense has really let Voth down in many of his starts as they continue to struggle to put runs on the board for many of their pitchers. If they could have scored a few more runs, there is a good chance that the right-hander would have three or four more wins this season.
Voth is a rising star in the Washington Nationals system and could even see time out of their bullpen come September. Until then, Voth remains the Nationals tenth best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.