Voth was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Monday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Voth was excellent over his three appearances in Grapefruit League play, tossing 4.2 scoreless innings and striking out five while walking none, but the 24-year-old wasn't seriously being considered for a rotation spot. Even so, Voth will likely reside near the top of the list if the Nationals have a need for another starter at some point this season, as he has little left to prove at the Triple-A level. He compiled a 3.15 ERA and 7.6 K/9 rate over 157 innings with Syracuse in 2016.
Voth finally began to develop a feel for his changeup last season, giving him the third pitch he feels he'll need to be successful in the majors, The Washington Post reports. "I've always had the change-up," Voth said, "but it's never been that good." He's never been a scout's darling as his fastball tops out at 92 mph, but much like Tanner Roark before him, Voth has been effective as he's made his way rung by rung up the ladder in the Nats' farm system. The 24-year-old right-hander looked good in Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Mets, tossing 1.2 shutout innings while striking out three including Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda, and with Max Scherzer's finger issue leaving his Opening Day status in question, Voth could well find himself as the team's fifth starter coming out of camp -- a role that would make him worth a late-round dart or reserve pick in NL-only formats.
Voth gave up a hit in a shutout inning of work during Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Twins. The 24-year-old is the primary competition for A.J. Cole in the battle to be the Nats' sixth starter this season, but the fact that Voth was the last pitcher out of the 'pen Sunday, while Cole got the start, suggests he's far behind in that battle. Voth should begin the season at Triple-A, but as injuries crop up in the big league rotation, he stands a good chance of making his MLB debut some time in 2017.
Voth was added to Washington's 40-man roster on Friday, MASN's Dan Kolko reports. As expected, the Nationals protected Voth from the Rule 5 draft. His minor league numbers are excellent, but it is a No. 5 starter's profile, as his fastball is just average and he lacks a plus pitch. Voth could be used as an emergency big league starter in 2017, although Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and A.J. Cole are all likely ahead of him on the organizational depth chart.
Voth will not be called up to start Tuesday's game against the Mets. The Nationals were deciding between Voth and Lucas Giolito for Tuesday's start, and ended up picking the 21-year-old phenom, Giolito, to make his MLB debut. Voth will remain in Triple-A Syracuse for now where he is 4-3 with a 2.99 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.
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