It may just be an up and back, but Nathan Karns got the call this afternoon to make his MLB debut tomorrow night against the Baltimore Orioles.
Earlier this afternoon, there was a clue when Nathan Karns was bumped from his scheduled start today vs. Reading to tomorrow with Caleb Clay taking his place at the last minute. Others felt like the short outing of Chris Young yesterday was a hint, however, that seemed unlikely given how ineffective the veteran had been in seven starts (9HR, 50H in 32IP).
Karns has been up and down all season long for Harrisburg, posting a 4-2, 4.60 ERA mark in nine starts but includes outings of five, six, and seven runs surrendered (two of those coming in his last three starts) as well as a 13K, two-hit, seven-inning complete game on April 20th. He’s also given up five HRs in nine starts, after having three career longballs surrendered in 171⅓ innings prior to this season.
Two years removed from labrum surgery, Washignton’s 2009 12th-round pick put together a career year in 2012, going from from the Hagerstown Suns bullpen in April to the Nationals’ Minors Pitcher of the Year in September to a spot on the 40-man roster in November.
He’s a two-time watchlist player and longtime subject of speculation in the comments — heard but not seen for nearly 18 months before he emerged in Auburn in the summer of 2011, when he blew away the GCL with 26K in 18⅔ innings and then posted a modest 3-2, 3.44 mark in eight starts for the Doubledays.
The Nats No. 5 prospect per Baseball America features a fastball that can touch the mid-90s, a hard (low-80s) curve and a changeup that most scouts say will make or break him as a starter. If he can’t harness it, the feeling is that he’ll still have great upside as a late-inning relief option, a la Christian Garcia.