Washington Nationals: Top Predictions For 2017
By Ron Juckett
BLAKE TREINEN WINS THE CLOSER’S JOB
With Mark Melancon leaving for the San Francisco Giants and Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen not pitching in the home whites of Washington, the Nats need a closer.
Although the veteran Shawn Kelley is favored to win the job this spring, if the Nats do not sign a free agent, he faces a three-way audition with Blake Treinen and Koda Glover.
With Glover throwing the best stuff, his age and experience work against him. Treinen’s ability to produce ground balls and get needed strikeouts works in his favor. Treinen comes north with the role.
How long he holds the job is another story. Pressure will be immense on whoever gets the ninth inning and a couple early blown games will see the role shift to another pitcher or force a mid-season trade.
Watch who pitches the fourth inning multiple times over the first couple weeks in the Grapefruit League. He is the closer going forward. Although Glover will be groomed for the role in time, Treinen’s upside is as high.
The other advantage Treinen has is he is not an old recipient of Tommy John surgery as Kelley is. If they need someone for pressure pitching three games in a row, Treinen is in the best position to do it.