PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With only a few days left before the team breaks camp and heads back to Washington, the Nationals still have a few pressing questions left to answer, including one that has lingered all offseason.This special Opening Day preview Inbox begins with the question everyone has
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With only a few days left before the team breaks camp and heads back to Washington, the Nationals still have a few pressing questions left to answer, including one that has lingered all offseason.
This special Opening Day preview Inbox begins with the question everyone has been asking for months now about the Nationals, trying to predict who will begin the season as their closer.
As of Monday afternoon, I think it's going to be Koda Glover. At this point if they wanted to give it to one of the other two candidates -- Blake Treinen or Shawn Kelley -- I'm guessing they would have done it by now. But they continue to bring up Kelley's injury history and their idea of a closer as someone who can go multiple days in a row, and I think they think they can manage Kelley's usage easier in another role. Treinen has been great this spring, but they probably like him to dial up a double play when they need it, and he's too valuable in that role.
The organization is high on Glover. They said from the beginning he had the repertoire and the makeup to be a future closer and they do not seem to have any concerns about how he would handle it, even though he will just be 24 in April and pitched in just 78 games in his professional career. I think they are ready to give him the job.
I know innings totals are big deal for rookie starters. Not an issue for relievers? I believe Koda has never pitched more than 45 innings. Would a 60-inning season (w/ playoffs) be a concern for a reliever? -- Randy S., Alexandria, Va.
Sticking with Glover, I don't think it is a huge concern, at least not right now. It's something they will likely monitor as the season goes on, considering Glover, if healthy, will almost certainly throw a career high in innings this year and has never pitched a full season in the Majors.
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Is Trea Turner playing good shortstop this spring? He looks good to me. -- #TheRallyMullet, Chambersburg, Pa.
I'd say to have patience with Turner at shortstop. There are times where he looks like a natural and his athleticism and quickness are so good that he can pull off the spectacular. The tools are there as well and you can see why he could eventually develop into a pretty good shortstop.
That being said he is inexperienced. Most of his mishaps so far have been throwing errors because he has rushed himself when he had more time to make a play or did not set his feet. Those will come the more reps he has and the more comfortable he becomes in each situation. So there will be growing pains, even the best shortstops have them. But honestly, Turner will hit enough this year that I'm sure the Nationals can live with a few mistakes.
I was impressed with Erick Fedde, the team's No.2 prospect as ranked by MLBPipeline.com, this spring, especially after his final start against the Mets. Fedde will probably have some trade value if the Nats need to move him at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but he could also be a contributor if they have injuries to the pitching staff at some point in 2017. Manager Dusty Baker said Fedde was near the top of the list of potential pitchers they have to call on, and besides A.J. Cole, he seems to be the next most ready starter in their system. I'm not sure whether he will ever be a front-of-the-rotation starter or anything, but if he continues to develop, he could certainly become a stalwart of the Nats rotations of the future, which makes him a valuable player.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.