The long Nationals nightmare has been put on hold as Dan Haren was placed on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder after his latest terrible start on Saturday afternoon. Haren didn't seem to indicate that it was a major issue, but he landed on the list, nonetheless. The Nationals now must find someone to replace his spot in the rotation tihs coming Friday against the Mets.
Sources tell Tom Schad of MLB.com that right-handed prospect Taylor Jordan very well may be the guy. Jordan was the Nats ninth-round draft pick in the 2009 amateur draft. He ended up having Tommy John surgery in September 2011 to replace a damaged ulnar collateral ligament, and in his first full season back from the surgery, he's absolutely dazzled.
Jordan made just six starts at Single-A Potomac to start this season before the Nats decided they wanted to see what he could do at Double-A Harrisburg, and he's been even better since his promotion. In eight games, seven of them starts, with Harrisburg, Jordan has posted a 0.73 ERA and a 0.755 WHIP. He hasn't given up a home run, and he walks only 1.5 batters per nine innings. He's posted a 2.28 FIP, showing that it isn't just luck that's helped him get great results.
So far at Double-A, Jordan's put up a 5.25 strikeout to walk ratio, which would be better than any current Nationals starter. Obviously, this is at least partially attributable to facing minor league talent, but combined with the low 1.5 BB/9 mentioned earlier, it shows that he's not afraid to attack the strike zone and opposing hitters.
In the interest of full disclosure, Byron Kerr of MASN Sports tweeted that he's hearing that Jordan is scheduled to make his start tonight in Harrisburg. However, earlier this season many reporters were told that Nate Karns was just skipping a day prior to being called up later that day.
Calling up Jordan would make sense for the Nationals in a few ways. Davey Johnson is happy with Ross Ohlendorf's performance out of the bullpen, and it allows him to have a true long reliever to accompany Craig Stammen. This way, Stammen could be used as his second long reliever or for middle relief in a tough spot. Nate Karns' performances at the MLB level didn't seem to indicate he was ready for another chance, and most other top prospects in the farm system are currently dealing with injuries.
If you've been frustrated for the tough start to this Nationals season, these kinds of debuts are the things that can help you get through the disappointment. I'm certainly hoping that Schad's source is correct and that we'll see Taylor Jordan make his debut on Friday in New York.