Remember Victor Garate? Victor was the lefthanded reliever the Nats got from the Dodgers last September. I thought of Victor today while watching the movie "Christmas Story" on TBS for about the umpteenth time. There's a scene where Ralphie's dad needs to know the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew's horse for a contest he's entering, and his wife immediately comes up with "Victor."
Anyway, Victor the pitcher didn't make much of an impression last September in his big league bow. In 2 innings of work he allowed 5 earned runs on 5 hits and 3 walks,
Chalk it up to nerves. He's been much better in the minors, where he's got a 3.25 ERA in 154 appearances, mostly in relief. He turned 25 in September, and had spent just part of the '09 season as high as Double A ball.
Garate played in the Venezuelan Winter League more recently, with Leones de Caracas, where in 19 games he struck out 15 in 16.2 innings of work. He's a situational guy, and will likely end up at Syracuse in 2010.
A scout who regularly goes to Venezuela every fall saw Garate this month and was impressed with his ability to hide the ball. "He's very tough on lefthanded hitters," he told me, "and if he can improve the angle on his breaking ball, he's got some definite upside."
That's what the minor leagues are for.
And to all a good night.