Right-hander Austin Voth has put together a very solid first year with short-season Single-A Auburn. This week he was rewarded with an invitation to join the low Single-A Hagerstown. He was called up the same day as teammate Jake Johansen.
Voth has gone 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in seven starts for the Doubledays. He has an impressive 42 strikeouts to only four walks in 30 2/3 innings. He began the season with the GCL Nats, so his combined numbers total is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 35 2/3 innings, 46 strikeouts and four walks.
With Johansen and Voth both having so much success in short-season play, and both getting called up at the same time, Auburn manager Gary Cathcart said the two right-handers are both very good and project well, yet they just go about their craft in different ways.
"(Voth) did it a lot easier than Jake did," Cathcart said. "The velocity is not as much. But to me he was as impressive and on some occasions more impressive than Jake. His precision, the way he did things.
"He is probably at this point a little more polished than Jake as far as pitching. He has got different stuff than Jake. The two are entirely different pitchers."
Cathcart said the Nationals' fifth-round selection Voth is one of the best he has seen in getting ahead of hitters early in at-bats.
"Strike one all the time," Cathcart said. "Always pitching ahead. Really aggressive, can really command his fastball. Really impressive how he did it. Two totally different personalities. He doesn't say very much. About a 6-foot-2 right-hander. Just real precision. One word I thought of him and the way he performed was a lot of precision. Strike one. Ability to throw the breaking all over the plate. Does a great job with the running game. Quick to the plate."
Cathcart also noticed something else about Voth that bodes well for a long run in the pros. Voth has the innate ability to turn it up late in his outings because he knew he was going to be capped at five or six innings. Similar to a marathan runner, Voth was able to save something for miles 24 through 26 and it was too much for opponents to handle in the late innings of his starts.
"The thing I like about him, and the thing (pitching coach) Sam Narron liked about him most was at this level he was a five-inning guy," Cathcart said. "He knew that he couldn't go past that at this level. He was hitting 92,93 mph and then his last couple of innings he would kind of step on the gas and hit 94, 95 mph. It was freaking impressive."
The result was ugly swings by opposing hitters.
"They didn't take very good swings off of him at all," Cathcart said. "A lot of strikeouts. A lot of late life on his fastball. They looked like they were swinging underwater against him a lot. Really impressive."
The organization is monitoring Voth and his innings totals. For the University of Washington as a junior, Voth threw 105 1/3 innings, sixth most in school history. He pitched in 17 games with 15 starts.
"He had a lot of innings this year," Cathcart noted. "He had a heavy work load at Washington. We have kept his innings down a bit. He will go to instructional league."
And with many of the team's within the organization reaching for the playoffs, Cathcart believes Voth could be a spot starter in a crucial situation.
"I talked to (Potomac manager) Brian Daubach about him," Cathcart said. "He could probably go up to any one of those clubs and pitch a playoff game. That is how impressive his command is. You look at the walk totals and the hits. He just didn't have a lot of base runners. He was kind of the poster child to teach the young guys here about getting first pitch strikes. He was 80 to 90 percent first pitch strikes. Looking forward to see what he turns in to."