Washington Nationals: Grading Koda Glover’s 2016 Season
By Ricky Keeler
Koda Glover has risen up through the Washington Nationals farm system. How do we grade his rookie season in the big leagues?
Back in 2015, the Washington Nationals selected Koda Glover in the eighth round pick out of Oklahoma State. In a little over a year, Glover found his way into the big leagues and was a key reliever during the month of September. Glover, who will be turning 24 in April, had a great year in the minors and had good moments in the big leagues, but he did not end his season on a great note.
Glover’s season started at high-A Potomac where he didn’t give up a run in seven appearances and had two saves in three chances. He was promoted to double-a Harrisburg on April 29. In 17 games with the Senators, he went 2-0 with four saves, a 3.22 ERA, and 29 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Less than two months later, Glover was pitching for triple-A Syracuse. Out of the nine appearances he had before his big league debut on July 20, Glover didn’t give up a run in eight of them. During his 16 appearances with the Chiefs, Glover had 24 strikeouts to three walks in 22 innings and he went 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA to go with a couple of saves.
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Due to his success at the minor league level, Glover got the call up to join the Washington Nationals bullpen on July 20. In his Major League debut against the Dodgers, the right-hander only needed four pitches to complete a 1-2-3 ninth inning. It was definitely the debut Nats fans were hoping for.
This season, Glover appeared in 19 games for the Washington Nationals. He had a 5.03 ERA and had 16 strikeouts to seven walks in 19.2 innings. Glover did give up three home runs, which equaled the amount of home runs he gave up at the three minor league levels combined (40 games).
When you look at Glover’s pitch arsenal, the velocity on the fastball stands out. He had an average velocity of 96.6 miles per hour (according to Fangraphs) to go with a slider, curveball, and an occasional changeup. Glover did not make the postseason roster due to a hip injury:
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Heading into 2017, the Washington Nationals are in need of a closer with Mark Melancon now a free agent. While I don’t think Glover is ready to be an everyday closer for the Nats, he figures to be one of the key relievers Dusty Baker turns to next season after trying to use him in high-leverage situations in September.