Nationals prospect Austin Voth gets on the fast track

Harrisburg Senators

On June 24, Austin Voth took the mound at Pfitzner Stadium for his first start at Class A Potomac. The crowd had come to watch Bryce Harper on rehab assignment, and it paid little attention to the right-handed starter making his debut at a new level. Voth allowed only two hits as he fired six shutout innings

“He looked great,” Harper said that night. “He’s doing well. I’m excited to see a guy like that. I had no clue who he was. To see a guy like that come out and pretty much carve, he did a great job. It was fun to watch.”

Teammates and fans at Potomac had little time to learn about Voth. He started the season at Class A Hagerstown, and he made the South Atlantic League all-star game, but he couldn’t pitch in the game because the Nationals sent him to Potomac instead. “It means everything,” he said at the time. After he made six starts in Potomac, the Nationals promoted Voth to Class AA Harrisburg. He will make his debut Tuesday night, barely more than a month after he debuted at Potomac.

Voth, a fifth-round pick out of the University of Washington in 2013, has dominated at every step in his brief career. Last year, working his way from the Gulf Coast League to Hagerstown in half a season, Voth punched up a 1.75 ERA in 46 1/3 innings. In 13 starts at Hagerstown this season, Voth struck out 74 hitters in 69 2/3 innings and pitched to a 2.45 ERA. He was even better during his short stay at Potomac, allowing six runs in 37 2/3 innings with 40 strikeouts and seven walks.

“I’m a guy that likes to attack the zone a lot,” Voth said shortly after his promotion to Potomac. “I use my fastball inside and out. I like to mix my pitches up when I get runners in scoring position. My favorite pitch to use is my fastball — just challenge hitters.”

Voth, 22, has excelled with an approach that’s advanced for his age. He touched 96 miles per hour with his fastball early this season, but most often he throws in the 90-91 range. But he commands his fastball with precision and can throw it to any quadrant of the strike zone, with movement. He’s toggled between using a slider and a curveball, and he settled on the curve because he can throw it more consistently for strikes.

MLB.com ranked Voth the Nationals’ 10th-best prospect overall and their No. 4 pitching prospect behind Lucas Giolito, Erick Fedde and Blake Treinen.

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.
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