Washington Nationals 2015 Player Reviews: David Carpenter
By Ricky Keeler
One of the burning questions this offseason that Mike Rizzo has to address on this Washington Nationals team is how does he fix the bullpen. There is expected to be turnover in the ‘pen if Jonathan Papelbon is not on next year’s roster and if the team does end up trading Drew Storen. If that is the case, keep an eye on one of the players Rizzo acquired in one of his midseason trades that could play a factor in 2016.
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Back on June 11, the Nationals made a trade with the New York Yankees as they acquired right-handed reliever David Carpenter in exchange for second base prospect Tony Renda. Renda ended up hitting .270 in his final 73 games with the Yankees’ double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder. He had two home runs, 21 RBI’s, and a .328 on-base percentage.
Carpenter was acquired by the Yankees from Atlanta during the offseason, but struggled in the American League. He had a 4.82 ERA in 22 appearances and his 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings was the lowest in his career. However, as soon as Carpenter was traded to the Nats, he started to feel more comfortable in a league that he was very familiar with. Here is what Rizzo had to say about Carpenter at the time of the deal:
"“He’s a veteran guy with a good arm and a good track record. Familiar with the division and success in the division. Our scouts liked his stuff. His stuff is still really good.” (h/t James Wagner, The Washington Post)"
Carpenter only appeared in eight games with Washington this past season, but he only gave up one run over the course of six innings. One of the keys to that was that he relied on his fastball. According to Fangraphs, Carpenter threw his fastball 76% of the time (24% slider) and averaged 95 miles per hour on his heater.
While Carpenter showed good stuff, his season was cut short due to shoulder inflammation. He was placed on the disabled list on July 17 after he hurt his shoulder warming up in a July 12 game against the Orioles. He did pitch in three rehab games (one in Potomac, two in Harrisburg), but he would not pitch in another Major League game.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Carpenter is projected to make $1.5 million in arbitration next season. He is under the Nats’ control until 2018. If he is healthy, he can be a good addition to the bullpen full time because of his ability to pitch in different roles when you consider he used to be the setup man in Atlanta. While his grade isn’t high for this past season, it is a grade that could improve next season if Carpenter has a year like 2013 when he had a 1.78 ERA in 56 games to go with 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
Next: District Daily: Plenty Of Changes Coming For Nats