District on Deck’s 2018 Report Card series continues to roll along. Koda Glover finally appeared to shake off his injury woes for the Washington Nationals.
The Washington Nationals bullpen is going to need a lot of work over the offseason to right the wrongs of 2018. Thankfully, Koda Glover finally looked like he was able to get healthy again towards the end of the season.
It was a long road back for Glover, who last pitched for the Nats on June 10th, 2017 due to shoulder inflammation. That injury lingered to begin the 2018 season, but eventually, he made it back to the bigs on August 10th.
Glover ended the year with a 1-3 record to go along with a 3.31 ERA, six holds and one save. He even wound up being one the high-leverage arms out the back of the bullpen after the Brandon Kintzler and Ryan Madson trades.
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The Positives for Glover
As it was in Adam Eaton‘s report card a couple of days ago, health turned out to be the number one positive for Koda Glover. Shoulders can be notoriously tricky for pitchers, and that proved to be the case for the right-hander who missed 14 months. Now seemingly healthy again, he’s got a good chance to reassert himself in the Nats bullpen.
Another one of the positives is that it appeared as if Glover was able to get his electric velocity most of the way back. In 2017 his fastball averaged 96.8 mph and his slider had a 93.6 mph average, while in 2018 his fastball sat at 95.8 mph and the slider was at 92.0 mph. Losing about 1 mph is understandable after such a long layoff, and with a full offseason of rest, he’ll have a chance to recoup a bit more for 2019.
Areas for Improvement
The big stat that jumps out on Glover’s final line is the ten walks surrendered compared to just nine strikeouts. He was the only Nats pitcher to record at least one strikeout to walk more batters than they struck out, both those rates were the worst of his career with a 5.5 BB/9 and a 5.0 K/9 last year.
A big reason behind the high walk and low K totals was that he couldn’t locate his bread and butter fastball and slider. He was only able to throw his fastball for a strike 57.6 percent of the time, while before this year, he sat at 65.3 percent in his career. His slider, on the other hand, dipped from a 70.8 strike percentage all the way down to 58.3 as hitters were less inclined to chase it outside the zone this year.
The Final Grade
While some of the deeper numbers around Glover’s season indicate that he may have been a bit lucky, we can likely put that down to rust. Some of the command and velocity could quite easily return next season with a whole offseason of rest behind him.
But back to 2018, it was good to have him available in a bullpen that needed fresh arms in the last month and a half. Overall, a somewhat positive end of the campaign for Koda Glover with room to improve and perhaps fulfill his potential as a high-leverage reliever. B-
Remember to keep an eye out for more Washington Nationals 2018 Report Cards during the upcoming weeks here at District on Deck.