Washington Nationals: Can Austin Voth rebound in 2018?


One of the most talked about names within the Washington Nationals organization in 2016 was Austin Voth. After a down 2017, can he return to his old self?

During the first half of the 2016 season, Austin Voth did nothing but impress in the Washington Nationals system. However, following a sub-par 2017, he looks to reassert himself as prospect Nats fans should keep an eye on.

In his first 14 starts in 2016, he compiled a 2.99 ERA and was missing bats with an 8.3 K/9. Then when Stephen Strasburg went down in late June, Voth seemed on the verge of a call-up. Only for top prospect Lucas Giolito to get the nod instead.

However, 2017 was a different story. A ghastly 5.94 ERA and 1.630 WHIP meant he ended up at Double-A Harrisburg. It was a complete disaster for the former fifth round pick.

More from District on Deck

There’s plenty of reason to believe that this was just some awful luck. When you you look into the stats, his BABIP ballooned from .279 in 2016 to .325 in 2017. That’s a crazy jump.

There is a small chance that this could be a trend in the wrong direction, as Voth’s repertoire is good but not great. But, several within the organization believe he can return to his 2016 form. That starts with a strong showing this spring.

The Nats right-hander has looked impressive in his two of his three appearances down in Florida. Although, these have come either side of a two-run clunker against Atlanta.

But, most importantly for Voth, he has yet to issue a walk. Control has always been his calling card, so this is a positive indicator that he can set the record straight in 2018.

Starting the season with the major-league club only seems possible if several pitchers are struck down with injury. A.J. Cole, Erick Fedde and Edwin Jackson all seem to be ahead of Voth in the pecking order right now.

But, as Nationals fans know all too well, injuries will inevitably happen. Meaning there is potential for a mid-season call-up if he can assert himself as a force in the Syracuse rotation once again.

Next: Difo's slump concerning

Voth should get at least a couple more appearances with the Nationals this spring while the favorites for the rotation build up their pitch count. So, if he can leave a lasting impression on Davey Martinez and the front office, it could benefit him the long run.