Early camp continues with the Nationals’ first games coming up March 14 and 15.
Right-hander Koda Glover is picking up where he left off from last season. The 22-year-old is 6-foot-5, 195 lbs., out of Monroe, Okla., and pitched last season at short-season Single-A Auburn and low Single-A Hagerstown.
Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson has seen him during the season, at instructional league and now in early camp.
“He had Tommy John a few years ago,” Anderson said. “He didn’t pitch a lot the summer before we signed him just because he was taking the summer classes. They wanted to ease him into it. (Trying to) kind of get maximized as much as possible.”
Now Glover is beginning to super size his play with stifling stuff, including the introduction of a pitch he didn’t use that much last season. Anderson got to see this pitch in Glover’s bullpen session this week.
“He threw a fastball, slider, changeup, all quality pitches,” Anderson said. “He throws the ball 93 to 98, 99 mph. He has a really big arm. He really can bring it pretty good. This is what he showed us last year when he came in.
“He started throwing a curveball. He threw one of them last year and he threw couple of them during his bullpen. He came in a little bit late because he was a little bit sick, had a virus before arriving at spring training. He threw bullpen the other day and looked really, really sharp. He’s really intriguing.”
Anderson said Glover is throwing the curveball a lot more that he ever did in college. He said Glover has so many good pitches that he might graduate to a different responsibility in the pros.
“We’re seeing more (of the curveball),” Anderson said. “He was a closer out of Oklahoma State. With us, he just blew fastballs past guys. He would throw his changeup for fun almost. He would throw a slider to get them off that fastball at times. He started throwing that curveball, as well, so there’s four pitches that are playing. It is really intriguing for everybody to see that type of repertoire for a guy who’s been mainly a closer out of college.”
With four quality pitches, could Glover transition a starter down the road? A long reliever? Or stick to late innings?
Glover pitched in 19 games last season, all as a reliever, and amassed 30 innings with a 1.80 ERA. He notched 38 strikeouts with only two walks, demonstrating outstanding control.
It remains to be seen what responsibility the Nationals will want to give the eighth-round selection from 2015, but Glover is certainly displaying positive steps forward already in camp, and that spells good news as the regular season begins next month.