Oct 30, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2014: 25
How acquired: 9th round pick, 2009 draft
MLB service time: 93 days
2013 salary+bonuses: $490,000
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2017, free agent in 2020
2013 Stats: 9 G, 51.2 IP, 59 H, 27 R, 21 ER, 11 BB, 29 SO, 3 HR, 1.355 WHIP, 1-3, 3.66 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 0.7 WAR
Quotable: “He’s still very young at it, but he showed that he belongs up here.” — Davey Johnson, on Taylor Jordan
2013 analysis: A virtual unknown in the Nationals’ farm system when the season began, Jordan began turning heads at Class A Potomac, where he posted a 1.24 ERA in six starts. That earned the right-hander a promotion to Class AA Harrisburg, where he continued to dominate, going 7-0 with an 0.83 ERA in nine games (eight starts).
When the Nationals needed a fill-in starter June 29 in New York, they summoned Jordan, who wound up taking the loss but allowed only one earned run in 4 1/3 innings. He wound up staying in the Nats’ rotation through mid-August, starting nine games, allowing two or fewer earned runs five times and appearing mature beyond his years.
This being his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, Jordan was on the same type of innings restriction every other young pitcher in the organization has been on under similar circumstances. So with a minor back strain bothering him anyway, the Nationals decided to place him on the DL and thus shut him down after 51 2/3 big-league innings, 142 total innings between the majors and minors.
2014 outlook: Jordan’s performance in limited big-league time certainly earned him a chance to compete for a roster spot next spring, but the Nationals will have to decide whether he’s best served pitching every fifth day for them or whether he could use a bit more seasoning in the minors (he’s still made only 24 career appearances above low-Class A, including his major-league starts).
Jordan has the stuff to get big-league hitters out, but he does need some refinement. His mechanics (especially the way he throws across his body) are a scout’s nightmare, though team officials are reluctant to tweak those at this point. Jordan can overcome those concerns by working to repeat his delivery in perfect form every time he throws the ball, which will help his heavy sinker become more consistently effective. He also needs to work on his slider and changeup, making sure he has three quality pitches, which will allow him to pitch deeper into games and retire opposing hitters the third time he faces them on a given night.
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