Tom Milone and Brad Peacock, the Nationals’ top two pitching prospects at Triple-A Syracuse, were each pulled after pitching five shutout inning in separate legs of the Chiefs’ doubleheader with Lehigh Valley on Monday. And with Jordan Zimmermann coming out of the rotation this week, either one could be called upon to pitch for the Nationals on Saturday against the Mets.
Stephen Strasburg will make one final rehab start at Double-A Harrisburg on Thursday, meaning he’s out of the running to take the Saturday start, which seemed unlikely anyway. So the Nationals will need someone else to pick up Zimmermann’s spot, and they’ve talked about seeing both Milone and Peacock in the majors next month, anyway.
While both pitchers have been strong in Triple-A, the guess here is Milone gets the call for Saturday. He’s been at Syracuse longer, has been more consistent (Peacock has struggled at times with walking hitters) and he’s left-handed, which sets up better against the lefty-heavy Mets.
It’s possible we’ll see both pitchers this month, especially if the Nationals are trying to keep both from pitching too far into September, but Milone seems like he’s got a slight edge to get to the majors first.
The only thing that could put a hitch in this plan is roster considerations; the Nationals would have to add either pitcher to the 40-man roster, which is currently full, so they’d have to risk losing a player for Milone, Peacock or any other prospect that’s not currently on the 40-man. They have a couple pitchers who could be candidates to come off the 40-man roster, but it will be interesting to see what the Nationals do, if they do indeed want to put one of their prospects in the rotation this week.