After five days of denials and juvenile posturing, the Washington Nationals formally announced last night that RHP Taylor Jordan will indeed replace Dan Haren in the starting rotation, starting this afternoon against the New York Mets.
It’s been a whirlwind season for the 24-year-old, who’s less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery and less than seven months removed from being exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Jordan’s success is well documented — 2-1, 1.24/1.02/2.46 in six starts for High-A Potomac; 7-0, 0.83/0.85/2.39 in nine appearances (essentially starts, one was following a rehab outing) for AA Harrisburg.
What remains to be seen is whether or not the lack of familiarity has been a factor in his success. In those 15 starts, he’s only faced the same opponent four times. Twice the opponent did better against him in the second start than in the first. Granted, he was still very, very good, but one cannot help but wonder if the Nationals are banking on this “lack of game tape” to succeed in the short run at the major-league while they either get Dan Haren healthy or arrange for a trade.
Which begs the question: Is this a showcase for Jordan as trade bait? It’s something brought up by a commenter, citing the September 2011 callups with Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock. That may be a stretch, but the trade deadline is 32 days from now…
As for the scouting report, Jordan throws the four-seam and two-seam fastballs (the former maxing out in the 95-97 mph range), an occasional slider and a changeup. Prior to his surgery, I spotted him throwing a curve, but that was three years ago and given the organization’s preference towards high heat and sinkers, it’s probably been shelved permanently.