The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a Major League contract with left-handed pitcher Sam Clay on Wednesday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Clay, 27, joins the Nationals after seven seasons in the Minnesota Twins organization. He was a member of the Twins’ 60-player pool during the 2020 season, but did not appear in a game.
In 2019, Clay led all of Minor League Baseball in groundball rate (71.3%). He went 4-4 with 10 saves and a 3.25 ERA in 45 games between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Rochester, striking out 72 batters in 69.1 innings pitched. His 45 appearances were tied for the most among Twins Minor League pitchers, while his 10 saves were tied for third most in the organization. Clay tossed more than 1.0 inning in 28 of the 45 appearances and at least 2.0 innings in 17 of the 45. He posted a 2.11 ERA (9 ER/38.1 IP) and a .220 opponents’ batting average in his outings of at least 2.0 innings.
Clay did not allow a home run in 2019 and has surrendered just one home run in 188.2 innings pitched (122 games) since the start of the 2017 season. In 187 outings across six Minor League seasons, he has allowed just six home runs in 405.1 innings pitched.
A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Clay was selected by Minnesota in the fourth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Georgia Tech. In six Minor League seasons, he is 24-24 with 20 saves and a 3.97 ERA in 187 games.