“He’s an interesting kid,” said Nationals pitching coordinator Paul Menhart. “Well beyond his years. He’s got the feel for three pitches. Tall, lanky, leverage-type pitcher. He throws the fastball, curveball and changeup.”
The Nationals have been impressed with how quickly Alastre has picked up English as a second language through their intensive Rosetta Stone language learning software immersion program. Menhart said Alastre was one of the fastest candidates, if not the fastest, to pass the program.
Menhart said Alastre’s experience in postseason play last season has paid big dividends. The kid has taken those experiences and gained confidence that his stuff is good enough to get guys out at the top rookie levels. Now he wants more.
Alastre’s fastball has been clocked at low to mid-90s. Last season, he went 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in nine games (six starts) for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nats. He notched 43 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings, with only 14 walks.
“His academic ability is well above average,” Menhart said. “He takes instruction very well. He applies instruction very well. He obtained some serious confidence pitching last year for that playoff team at the GCL level. For him to be a part of that and pitch for something really helped him develop mentally.”
Menhart knows baseball gurus have talked recently about the Nats top prospects being position players, a couple of years removed from the trade that sent off top young pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López and Dane Dunning. Now Menhart has a young pitcher, who arrived in camp at just 19 years and eight months, pitching above his age and level.
“It’s very refreshing,” Menhart said. “You look at the position players we have - guys like Yasel Antuna, Luis Garcia, Victor Robles and Juan Soto - (and) it’s nice to have a pitcher that can also be included in that group.”
Menhart believes Alastre deserves to be listed in the promising and up-and-coming category. It will be interesting to see where the right-hander ends up this season and how well he does.
* Positive updates continue concerning right-hander Aaron Barrett, who is recovering from a fractured elbow sustained during Tommy John rehab in 2016. Barrett, who hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2015, was part of early camp for the Nationals.
“He’s in the middle of some live BP sessions” Menhart said. “He had his first one (Tuesday) as a matter of fact, which went well. He’s got another one scheduled for Friday. It’s still quite a process before we get him into some games.”