Koda Glover’s ascent up the Washington Nationals minor league ranks is continuing, as the right-hander made his debut at Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday.
With the scoreless inning from that outing, Glover’s season totals across three minor league levels include a 2.18 ERA and 12 K/9 rate over 33 innings pitched. While the Nationals knew that they may have found a potential prospect upon selecting Glover in the eighth round of last year’s draft, his performance this year has exceeded the highest of expectations.
The book on Glover following his professional debut last summer was that he could develop into a formable late-inning reliever, if his slider and changeup combination could compliment his fastball, which runs anywhere mid-to-upper 90’s. Both secondary offerings flashed the makings of being effective last year, but the Nationals have worked with Glover to generate more consistency from both pitches, particularly his slider.
Thus far, that effort has paid off. Glover began the season by throwing nine 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings over seven games at High-A Potomac, before moving on to Double-A Harrisburg. That transition proved to be a smooth one, as he fanned 29 batters while walking seven over a span of 22 1/3 frames before his latest promotion.
A few weeks ago, I noted that Glover could emerge as a possible bullpen option in the major leagues later this year. While there has not been a case in past seasons in which the Nationals relied heavily upon a second-half call-up for relief help during a pennant chase, Glover’s stuff combined with his mound presence—which is intimidating, given his listed 6’5” 225 lb. size—allows him to stand out from the rest of the system.
Ultimately, the question of whether Glover reaches Washington this year will be answered by the team’s needs over the coming weeks. Should the Nationals trade for a closer, Glover—if not a part of a trade—may still be called upon to give the team’s often-used late-inning relievers a break during the stretch run.
Another option could be to thrust Glover into a late-inning role, if the team is successful in filling the closer’s spot internally. Such a move would prevent a trade, but could stretch the current relief crops thin, necessitating the promotion of Glover.
In the meantime, Glover’s focus will have to be on carrying his success to the highest of the minors. Given how far he has come this year, he should be up to the task.
- Tuesday’s A-Ball All-Star Games yielded a pair of accolades for Nationals’ prospects. Hagerstown second baseman Max Schrock claimed the South Atlantic League All-Star Game MVP, while Potomac outfielder Andrew Stevenson received the same honors in the Carolina/California League showdown. Both players were profiled as part of my recent report on minor league All-Stars.
- Playing as the Northern Division’s starting centerfielder, Victor Robles went 1-for-3 in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Through the league’s All-Star break, Robles is batting .309/.410/.452 with five home runs and a 152 wRC+.