Washington Nationals: Trevor Gott Deserves A Shot In The Bullpen

Feb 28, 2017; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Trevor Gott (26) delivers a pitch in the game against the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2017; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Trevor Gott (26) delivers a pitch in the game against the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

After a rough start in the minors, Trevor Gott has turned things around. It’s time he gets a call-up and shows what he can do in the struggling Washington Nationals bullpen.

The Washington Nationals acquired Trevor Gott in the Yunel Escobar trade after the 2015 season, and he was seen as a long-term contributor in the bullpen. A little over a year after the trade, Gott has yet to make a significant impact in the majors, but it’s time for that to change.

After getting off to a slow start in AAA, Gott has turned things around and has quickly become one of Syracuse’s most reliable relievers. Seven of his last ten appearances have come in the eighth inning, and he has done an outstanding job as Joe Nathan‘s setup man. What happens before and after Gott pitches, however, is another story, as Syracuse has dealt with the same bullpen struggles as the Nats.

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Ironically, what has made Gott successful is exactly what has caused the Nats relievers to struggle. Gott has excelled at throwing strikes and limiting walks.

The Nationals, on the other hand, have consistently fallen behind batters and given out way too many free passes. Gott currently has a 1.862 BB/9, which is considered great. However, his BB/9 is a bit inflated due to his slow start. In his last ten appearances, his BB/9 is even lower at just 1.500, which is considered excellent.

He also does a phenomenal job of keeping the ball in the ballpark.

In 19.1 innings, he has allowed just one homer. The Nats bullpen has allowed homers at an unbelievable rate, and rank as one of the worst bullpens in the league in this respect.

Gott also has a bit of a proven track record at the big league level. He pitched in 48 games for the Angels in 2015, and impressed while pitching to a 3.02 ERA. Last year, he fought through injuries and experienced mixed results in Syracuse, but still earned a call-up in September. In nine games with the Nats, he pitched to a 1.50 ERA.

If called up, he could find himself in his familiar setup role considering the Nats’ bullpen struggles. Assuming Koda Glover is the closer, the Nats’ current setup options are Matt Albers, Enny Romero, Shawn Kelley, and Blake Treinen.

Albers has been a pleasant surprise and was arguably the Nats’ most reliable reliever, but he has struggled lately. He has pitched in ten of the Nats’ 18 games this month, and overuse is a possible cause of his decline. Known for throwing strikes and pounding the zone, Albers has recently begun falling behind batters, which has contributed to his struggles.

Romero, a hard-throwing lefty, has been a decent acquisition for the Nats so far. His main problem is control, and sometimes it appears that he has absolutely no clue where his triple-digit fastball will end up. When he throws strikes, Romero can be an elite reliever, but he is not always able to find the zone.

Kelley, who many people thought would be the closer entering the season, has struggled in various roles, pitching to a 6.08 ERA. He has been extremely homer-prone, allowing six homers in just 13.1 innings. Before this season, the most homers he allowed in a year was just nine, which seems to be a sure bet to change this season.

Finally, Treinen, who began the year as the closer, has struggled mightily, pitching to a 7.78 ERA. His failures in the closer’s role appeared to have diminished his confidence and caused him to be a shell of his former self. Treinen was extraordinarily valuable last year while in a fireman’s role, and must find a way to revert to his 2016 form. Fortunately for the Nats, he has shown signs of improving lately.

The Nats don’t have very many reliable setup options, so it is definitely not hard to see Gott getting some opportunities in a setup role if he pitches like he’s capable.

It’s not given that Gott would succeed if called up, but he has pitched well in the majors in the past and has pitched well in AAA this year. Despite a slow start, he still has a 3.26 ERA for the season. In his last ten appearances, he has lowered his ERA over two points and has pitched very well.

Next: Koda Glover Gets His Chance

He is still young at just 24 years old so he has his entire career still in front of him. However, he is pitching well and the big league bullpen is among the worst in the league. Now is as good a time as any for the Nats to call him up and give him his shot.