Washington Nationals: EX-GM Bowden Touts Glover As Closer In 2017
By Ron Juckett
The ex-Washington Nationals GM Jim Bowden predicts Koda Glover will be the closer by June. Is he right? How can Glover in the job?
Will Washington Nationals reliever Koda Glover be the closer by June? Former Nats GM and ESPN’s Jim Bowden believes so.
Glover is the closer of the future, no question. With years of team control, he has a high upside at an affordable price. The question is, is he ready?
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In the minors, he was in more long situations rather than the high-leverage late games. Because the Nationals had Jonathan Papelbon and Mark Melancon at their disposal, there was no urgency to groom Glover into a closer. Instead—as is common—turning him into the setup guy was the decision.
If you find success in holding leads, the next logical step is saving them. Depending on what happens over the next few weeks in West Palm Beach, there is no reason Glover cannot earn the seventh- or eighth-inning position. His stuff is too good.
Forget his high ERA with the Nats last year. That 5.03 mark comes with surrendering home runs in limited innings. Earned Run Average is useful, but one bad outing in 19.2 innings cannot tell an accurate tale. Instead, try Glover’s BAbip of .214. Yes, the sample size is limited, but that is an outstanding number.
If Glover is to surpass Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen and—maybe—Joe Nathan for the role as Bowden suggests, bad things will need to happen. Unless Glover completely baffles hitters this spring, he will not have the job Opening Day. Add it up and you get failure from Kelley and Treinen.
Dusty Baker is not a believer of using youth in veteran situations. Glover has the potential, but all other options will need to be exhausted before the ball is given to him.
He features a 96-mph fastball and a slider Fangraphs has at 90. Both pitches are interchangeable with a curve and rare change tossed to keep hitters honest. He throws tons of strikes and owns good control. With Triple-A Syracuse last year, his K/9 rate was 8.3 while his BB/9 number was a stingy 1.1.
The makeup is there. As he gets used to pitching in a major-league situation, so will the confidence. Hard to believe last year he started with the Potomac Nationals in A-ball.
Although it is nice to see Bowden showing his support of Glover, what kind of shape will the Nats be in if Glover inherits the job mid-season? The division will be tougher this year. Experts believe it is a horse race between the Nationals and New York Mets for what team tops the National League East.
Glover can win the job outright now. The odds are long, but it is not impossible to think he gets the nod against the Miami Marlins to finish Opening Day. If he inherits the role by June, Washington will be in trouble with other needs waiting to get addressed.
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