Washington Nationals: Austin Voth gets back on track in 2018

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: Austin Voth #50 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Nationals Park on September 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: Austin Voth #50 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Nationals Park on September 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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We’re into the final week of 2018 Report Cards for each of the Washington Nationals. Austin Voth is next, who seems to be back on track in his career.

As our 2018 Report Cards series winds down with the final few players, we look at Washington Nationals starter Austin Voth. The right-hander finally seemed to get his career back on track in 2018 after a couple of down seasons.

Voth only made four big league appearances last season, two of them starts, while producing an underwhelming 6.57 ERA. The sample size is definitely too small to read too much into that figure, as overall in 2018, including the minor leagues he impressed.

Below, we look at both the positives and the negatives from Voth’s 2018. Obviously, the lack of major league time means we had to also look at his minor league season too.

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The Positives for Voth

Voth’s performance in the minor leagues in 2018 seemed much more in line with what the team had previously seen when he was knocking on the door of the majors back in 2016. In the minors in 2017, Voth had a dismal 4-12 record to with a 5.94 ERA and 1.630 WHIP. But in 2018, he got back a 4.37 ERA and 3.89 FIP with the Syracuse Chiefs in 2018 and once again will be waiting in the wings should the Nationals need a depth starter.

Part of the reason Austin Voth was able to bounce back this year was due to regaining the velocity on his fastball. After dipping into the high 80s with his fastball last season, he was able to get back up the low 90s in 2018, averaging 91.4 mph in the big leagues. If he can keep his velocity up again in the future, he should be able to push for a big league spot again in the near future.

Areas for Improvement

While he did get his velocity up, Voth’s overall arsenal still isn’t all that intimidating. To go with that low 90s fastball, he has a slider that averaged 86.4 in 2018, a changeup at 85.5 mph and a curveball averaging 78.4 mph. While one of his strengths is his command and being able to limit walks, his stuff is always going to limit his ceiling to a number 4th or 5th option in the rotation at best in reality.

Unfortunately, with that limited arsenal, it means that when his command isn’t there on a particular day, he can get hit hard. Among Nationals pitchers who pitched at least 10 innings, Voth had the second lowest soft contact percentage at 13.2, just ahead of Trevor Gott. He also had the highest medium contact percentage with 63.2 percent which will, in turn, is going to result in death by hits, and innings snowballing on him. This is why it’s paramount that he harnesses his control more often than not, as that can turn that medium contact into hard groundballs, or lazy flyouts.

The Final Grade

In reality, there just wasn’t a large enough sample size at the major league level to made huge judgments on Austin Voth. He got roughed up by the New York Mets and Colorado Rockies, but he was also dominant against the Mets the second time he faced them.

What we did see though, is pretty much what we would’ve expected when he first really popped up on the radar in 2015. He had his deceptive delivery with good control in order to make the most of sub-par stuff. C

AUSTIN VOTH. C. . SP. Washington Nationals

dark. Next. Trea Turner - 2018 Report Card

Remember to keep an eye out for more Washington Nationals 2018 Report Cards during the upcoming weeks here at District on Deck.

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