June 13, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Nationals place Trevor Williams on injured list, call up DJ Herz for first time in MLB

Nationals place Trevor Williams on injured list, call up DJ Herz for first time in MLB

The Nationals announced Tuesday that they have placed the right-hander Trevor Williams On the injured list for 15 days due to a strain of the flexor muscle in his right forearm. Left-handed DJ Herz He was called up from Triple-A Rochester and will make his MLB debut when he starts tonight’s game.

Williams is in the middle of a career year at 32 years old, throwing 56 1/3 innings of 2.22 ERA ball out of the Washington rotation. He achieved these results despite a below-average 21% batting average and a .270 average on balls in play and a meager 3.3% homer-to-fly rate — all of which point to a potential regressor. However, Williams’ performance thus far has been a major driving factor behind the Nationals exceeding preseason expectations and cruising into an NL Wild Card race that is largely populated by sub-.500 clubs at the moment.

The Nats did not provide a timetable for Williams’ return. That he’s dealing with a muscle strain rather than a damaged flexor tendon may be a silver lining, but that doesn’t preclude a notable absence in and of itself. Teammate Josiah Gray He is dealing with the same injury and has been on the shelf for nearly two months at this point. All injuries are different, and we don’t know how the location and severity of Williams’ strain compares to Gray’s, but Gray’s injury is evidence that Williams is hardly guaranteed a quick return to the mound.

The timing of the injury is particularly bad for both the team and Williams himself. If Washington were to hang around and make a Wild Card push, one would assume a healthy Williams would play a prominent role. Even if he sees his original ERA decline toward the neighborhood of 3.97 SIERA, he will still be a useful veteran presence on the pitching staff. And if the Nats fall out of the postseason picture, it’s easy to envision Williams becoming a sought-after trade chip. His injury casts a shadow over both scenarios.

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On a personal level, the timing is also bad for the pitcher himself. Williams is playing the second season of a two-year, $13 million contract and is scheduled to hit free agency at the end of the season. He has a $13 million guarantee in the 2022-23 season on the heels of a year spent primarily in a swingman role with the Mets. Had Williams hit the market a second time on the heels of two years as a starter — the second season was the best performance of his career — he would have been on track to get a bigger payday, even as he approached his age. 33 season. It’s still possible he can come back in a relatively timely manner, play well and make it to the end of the game, but the injury spoils his chances of doing so.

Moving on, the 23-year-old Herz will make his first big-league start less than a year after being acquired in the deal that sent him Jimer Candelario From the Nats to the Cubs. The 2019 eighth-rounder has had mixed results in the minors this year. On the one hand, Rochester’s 3.75 ERA and 27.5% strikeout rate are solid signs. Hirz, on the other hand, averaged just four innings per start and walked a staggering 19% of his opponents. Leadership has always been a weakness for the 6’2″ lefty; He has never walked fewer than 13% of his opponents in an entire season.

The Nats have already had a left-handed outfielder in his MLB debut and are dramatically exceeding expectations this season. They will be hoping Herz can follow in his teammate’s footsteps Mitchell Parker In this regard. Given the rebuilding state of the national team and the lack of pitching depth for other young players, Herz could have a fairly long runway to prove himself should Williams and/or Gray remain on the sidelines for an extended period. Highest probability Kid Cavalli He stands as a potential replacement, but is being carefully monitored when he returns from Tommy John surgery in 2023. Possibility Jackson Rutledge And choosing Rule 5 for last season, Thaddeus Wardboth are on Rochester’s 40-man roster but both have ERAs north of 6.00 in Triple-A this season.

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