Austin Voth's "little adjustments" fueled three-game win streak in Arizona

The Glendale Desert Dogs came back from a slow start in Arizona Fall League competition, finishing just a half-game from the title tilt. Surprise advanced to the championship and also won the season series with the Desert Dogs 4-2.

But the seven Nationals prospects in Arizona made the Saguaros work for that opportunity.

"At our low point, we were 6-12," said Glendale pitching coach Sam Narron. "We ended up 17-15. So we were 11-3 the last 14 games. That's pretty impressive considering all the restrictions that you have with regards to the limits in pitching, the limits on guys when they can play. Taxi squad guys that can only play twice a week. It really took everybody playing their best to do that. It was really fun to watch.

"It seemed like once our starting pitching got lengthened out, got back into shape, you sit out for three or four weeks you do lose some of that game shape, and then were able to go four or five innings, we started rolling as a team. Everybody contributed."

Voth-Throws-Syracuse-Sidebar.jpgOne of those key starters was Nationals right-hander Austin Voth. The University of Washington product did so well that he confirmed his induction to the 40-man roster and protection by the club against the Rule 5 draft.

We are getting a better understanding as to the many reasons why the Nationals are so high on Voth, 24, and his potential. He is able to locate his pitches for strikes which is critical for any quality starting pitcher. Voth also made nice in roads with his changeup for Glendale.

But the biggest statement Voth made was his resiliency. After a difficult few starts early in Arizona, he bounced back in a big way, finishing with three consecutive wins, highlighted by 15 shutout innings.

"It was a lot of fun to see," Narron detailed. "He had a rough first one. He actually pitched well in his second outing and then he had a pretty tough third start. He got touched up pretty good. He just made some real simple adjustments that he had been working on with his delivery. The kid has an uncanny ability to throw strikes and throw quality strikes. He's always done that.

"These little adjustments allowed him to do it easier and a little bit more consistently. He just took it and ran. Fifteen straight scoreless innings at any level is impressive, let alone in a league that is so offensive heavy. Some of those scores out there look like football scores at times because those offenses were so good. So for him to do what he did that last three starts was very impressive. He was awarded (Friday) by getting put on the 40-man roster. It was a special three-week span for him, good to see."

Getting these pitching prospects to solidify their changeups is always critical for ability to take that next step and be a viable major league candidate. Voth was able to make that pitch look like a fastball coming out of his hands. In 2-0 and 3-1 counts, it became a lethal offering that befuddled hitters.

"He was out there to really stress the changeup and he did. It became a very good pitch for him," Narron said. "The fastball has always been able to really locate that pretty well. The breaking ball has been an out pitch at times. They stayed the course and maybe got a little bit better."

Voth finished Arizona 3-2 with a 5.16 ERA, but 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in those final three starts.

He was 7-9 with a 3.15 ERA in 25 starts over 27 games for Triple-A Syracuse this season. Voth had 133 strikeouts and 57 walks. Voth will be one to watch in spring training.

"The changeup really came out in the fall league," Narron said. "He got a lot of soft contact on it when he was in hitter's counts. He used it early in the count to get quick outs so he could go those four and five inning stints. That changeup is going to be a good pitch for him moving forward."

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