Washington Nationals: Opening Day 2017 Roster Projection

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Feb 16, 2017; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; Washington Nationals teammates warm up during spring training workouts at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 16, 2017; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; Washington Nationals teammates warm up during spring training workouts at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

Vance Worley

If there were one pitcher that I would say has the best chance to make the roster as a non-roster invitee, it would be Worley. The former Baltimore Oriole signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals in January.

Right now, Worley is in a competition with A.J. Cole and Austin Voth for the long man spot that was held by Yusmeiro Petit (signed with the Los Angeles Angels). Worley appeared in 35 games for the Orioles (four starts) and had a 3.53 ERA.

So, why would Worley get the edge over Cole? Right now, Cole still has to serve a three game suspension from throwing behind Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang last September. If the Nats put Cole on the Opening Day roster, they would have to play a man down for the first three games.

If you look at Worley’s pitch arsenal, he doesn’t strike many hitters out. His 5.8 strikeouts per nine innings last year was the lowest he has had in a year in which he has appeared in more than ten games. But, as a long man, he wouldn’t necessarily have to rely on the strikeout to get hitters out.

That being said, if the strikeouts are going to be low, he can’t be putting runners on base via the walk (3.6 walks per nine innings last year). Since Cole and Voth have options and the Washington Nationals would probably like to keep them as starting pitchers at triple-A for now, Worley would make the most sense as the one non-roster invitee to find his way to the Opening Day roster.

 

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