Washington Nationals Prospect Spotlight: Brad Lord

The development of a pitching lab has led to fantastic progress and results for the Nationals' arms all throughout the system and at the Major League level. Today we are highlighting a fast-rising right handed arm that could be the next young gun to debut.
Baseball in America. Minor League Baseball. Rochester Red Wings V The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRide
Baseball in America. Minor League Baseball. Rochester Red Wings V The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRide / Tim Clayton - Corbis/GettyImages

Another Nationals minor league pitcher has made tremendous strides in the 2024 season; this time it's Brad Lord. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound 24-year-old right-handed pitcher was recently promoted to AAA Rochester, his second promotion in 2024. Across three levels this season, Lord is 9-1 with a 1.47 ERA in 79.2 innings pitched.

Unlikely Rise

Lord, a former 18th-round selection in the 2022 MLB Draft, transferred to South Florida for his final two seasons of college eligibility. His college statistics don't jump out at you; with a 5.25 ERA his senior season, the Nats still saw enough to select the righty in the 18th round. Brad was productive in his first professional season in 2023, recording a 4.04 ERA across 104.2 innings pitched with a 1.32 WHIP. His final nine starts of the 2023 season came in High A Wilmington, where he posted a 3.56 ERA, according to baseball-reference.com.

Lord began the season at A+ Wilmington for a single start then was promoted to AA Harrisburg. It was almost too easy for Brad, pitching to a 1.40 ERA in 70.2 innings with a WHIP of 1.03. Lord was promoted to AAA Rochester recently and has made one start, throwing five innings allowing nine hits and two earned runs, while striking out four and walking none. Averaging just under 10 strikeouts a game, Lord can generate a swing-and-miss. On the other hand, he averages just over three walks per nine innings, a tad high for a starting pitcher.

How far can he go?

Lord doesn't blow anyone away, as his fastball won't hit the high 90s, but he executes his pitches. His fastball has left-to-right movement with a slider as his main strikeout pitch. It's working for Lord to the tune of a 1.47 ERA. How sustainable is this production? It's not often we see minor league pitchers stay consistent all season, hence why they're in the minors. Can Lord be an anomaly? The right-hander could continue his tear into Rochester and force his way to the Major Leagues. Starting pitching has been a bright spot in D.C., but anything can happen over the final months of the season. Add the trade deadline to the mix and there are endless possibilities. Don't rule out a Major League debut for Brad Lord in the 2024 season. Most Nationals fans did not expect DJ Herz to be called up a few weeks ago and the same treatment could be given to Lord.

Plethora of Starting Pitching

MacKenzie Gore, Jake Irvin, Mitchell Parker, Trevor Williams, Josiah Gray, DJ Herz, and Cade Cavalli are all potential rotation candidates for the Washington Nationals. Add Brad Lord to this mix and that's eight candidates for a five man starting rotation. The July 30th trade deadline could shake things up in Washington, D.C. As it stands, Gore, Irvin, and Parker are seemingly locked into the 2025 starting rotation. Williams' contract expires this offseason and I wouldn't expect him back next season. Cavalli is on his way back from injury and hopefully will occupy a rotation spot. Gray will also return from injury soon, and the immediate results will likely determine his future role in D.C. Herz has flashed his strikeout potential but also shown his longball flaw as well as some inconsistency. Meanwhile, Nats fans are counting down the days when Corbin is out of D.C. Where does Lord fit in? He projects as a back-end starting pitcher, someone who takes the ball every fifth day and gets the job done. If the Nats cut ties with Corbin at the trade deadline, Lord could slide into his slot in the starting rotation. It's hard to see another scenario to get Lord innings in D.C. this season, but anything can happen.