It’s still early, but it seems there’s something potentially special happening with the pitching staff in Class AA Harrisburg. Last night, right-hander Brad Meyers continued his assault on the Eastern League. He pitched eight innings, the longest outing by any Nats minor leaguer this year, and allowed one run on four hits and no walks, striking out seven. Meyers, 25, has struck out 31 batters in 29 1/3 innings and walked none.
One more time: Meyers has struck out 31 and walked z-e-r-o.
He’s not the only member of the Senators rotation grabbing serious attention. Right-hander Brad Peacock has allowed four earned runs in 24 innings while striking out 28 and walking three. Peacoack, 23, showed signs he could be dominant last year at Potomac and Harrisburg – he went 6-11 with a 4.50 ERA, but struck out 9.4 batters per nine walk walking 3.0, a very good 3.15 ratio.
Minor league stats only tell you so much, but the kind of domination Meyers and Peacoack are exhibiting is telltale. Also, both have the stuff to back it up. Meyers doesn’t throw his best fastball harder than the low-90s, but Mike Rizzo has talked up his “pitchability” – he can command all four of his pitches, with a slider that stands as an out pitch. Peacock wowed scouts at the Arizona Fall League last year, when his fastball touched 96 during one-inning stints. (He pitched in relief in order to keep his innings total down.) He can sit at 94 mph.
Both Meyers, a fifth-round pick in 2007, and Peacoack, a 41st rounder in 2006, have more to prove and more seasoning to be done before it’s time to start thinking about getting them to Washington. But their early-season dominance has certainly made the Nationals more optimistic about their futures. Neither projects as a No. 1-type starter, but both could eventually become a No. 3 or No. 4 member of the Nationals’ rotation. With their performance early in the year, both have certainly demanded attention be paid.