Here is an update on a couple of minor league pitching prospects who came to the Nationals via mid-season trades for veterans. They both attended and worked out at instructional league after the season ended.
RHP Andrew Istler
26 years old
5-foot-11, 175 lbs.
2015 Round 23, Dodgers
Andrew Istler was involved in the trade that sent right-hander Ryan Madson to the Dodgers. He pitched 29 games for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League. In his last 10 games, Istler went 2-1 with a 0.59 ERA. He surrendered only one earned run from July 29 to Aug. 30. Since the trade happened at the end of August, Istler did not pitch yet officially in the Nats system. Nationals pitching coordinator Paul Menhart got to see firsthand what Istler can do in instructional league the last few weeks.
“Andrew knows who he is for sure and is not afraid to attack hitters,” Menhart said. “He knows his stuff. He made a nice impression on all of us with his ability to throw the ball over the plate and challenge batters. His work ethic is outstanding. Gets everything out of his body.”
Istler’s fastball velocity was from 90 to 94 mph in Florida. He demonstrated solid control with Tulsa, striking out 46 batters and allowing only 13 walks in 57 innings.
RHP Jacob Condra-Bogan
24 years old
6-foot-3, 220 lbs.
2017 Round 32, Blue Jays
Jacob Condra-Bogan came to the Nats via trade with the Royals for outfielder Brian Goodwin on July 22. The imposing right-hander pitched in 11 games for high Single-A Potomac, going 1-2 with a 2.40 ERA and two saves.
Menhart said coaches focused on refining Condra-Bogan’s off-speed pitches while he was in instructional league.
“Condra-Bogan is a big-boned dude. He’s got big-boy muscles,” Menhart said. “His main focus while he was down here was to get more comfortable throwing his off-speed pitches. He definitely figured that out rather quickly, too, and he worked his tail off every morning trying to get into positions to be able to do that more effectively.”
Menhart said the organization has high hopes that Condra-Bogan’s fastball will get better, too, referring to the right-hander as a “mid-90’s mph guy with probabilities of being higher.”