Moving on, we’ll spotlight a couple of the pitchers from the Nationals’ early camp roster.
Right-hander Jake Johansen showed well in the Arizona Fall League to wrap up his season. In nine games for the Glendale Desert Dogs, Johansen posted a 2.13 ERA without a decision. He allowed 13 hits and three earned runs in 12 12/3 innings, with five strikeouts and three walks.
After making 30 starts in his first two seasons in the minors, Johansen has focused on coming out of the bullpen since 2015.
“He is a reliever,” Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba said. “Finished up the year really well in the fall league last year. The command of his fastball is better. He is controlling it in the strike zone more. Really making strides there.
“I think this is a big year for him just because of the fact that, at this point, hopefully see some better. Hopefully, we will see more confidence building off the experience out there in Arizona and continuing to have more of a consistent approach from outing to outing. We are pleased with where he finished off and hopefully he picks it up where he left off.”
Pitching coach Sam Narron told me the 26-year-old Johansen is continuing to work on a breaking pitch.
Recovering from an injury that kept him out of the 2015 season, 24-year-old left-hander Hector Silvestre also ended in the campaign on a positive note. His fastball appears to be back to its pre-injury status.
In his last 10 appearances, Silvestre went 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA, pitching for four different teams: the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, short-season Single-A Auburn, low Single-A Hagerstown and high Single-A Potomac.
“Last year was a rehab year for him, just getting him on the mound,” Scialabba said. “He started his rehab process in the Gulf Coast League. Showed the arm strength that he had before, had a feel for his changeup. Showed that he was healthy at the end and performed well. We are hoping he can take off this year, second year after surgery. Hopefully, it’s a year where we will see the old Hector Silvestre. He will pound the strike zone. He’s not afraid. He attacks hitters. It’s a big year for him, as well.”