Karns, Davis Added To 40-Man Roster

Waiting deep into the night to make the announcement, the Washington Nationals added RHPs Nathan Karns and Erik Davis to the 40-man roster in preparation for next month’s Rule 5 draft.

Karns, of course, was the expected selection — the Nationals Minor-League Pitcher of the Year, leader in minor-league wins, strikeouts, WHIP, and opponent batting average, not to mention the mustache. Injuries delayed the 2009 12th-Rd. pick’s ascent, with shoulder surgery sidelining him for 2010 and limiting him to 13 appearances in 2011, in which he went 3-2 with a 2.28 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 59K in 55⅓ innings. This past season he went 11-4 between Hagerstown and Potomac with a 2.17 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 148K in 116 innings. The Texan native turns 25 on Sunday.

Davis was the wildcard pick. Even with the benefit of hindsight (i.e. Rizzo’s habit of favoring guys that he acquired), this is still a mild shock. As many of the beat writers pointed out, Davis’s strong showing in the Dominican Winter League — 3-0, 0.56ERA, 16K in 16IP — was likely a predicating factor for the move. After finishing 2011 with a demotion from Harrisburg to Potomac (and even worse numbers in High-A than AA), Davis turned it around in 2012 with a 8-3, 2.71, 1.247 pitching line overall, with 40 appearances for Harrisburg and eight in Syracuse. The Stanford grad/native turned 26 last month.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of NationalsProspects.com. Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

10 thoughts on “Karns, Davis Added To 40-Man Roster”

  1. Davis still feels like an odd pick. With only two spots left on the 40-man, I wonder if the Nats are going to designate one of the other RHRPs they have right after the R5 draft

    1. Cole Kimball, after a mediocre AFL, would seem to be the only one at risk in the short term. I have to believe they will want to see Henry in ST, and will want to keep Maya and Perry (if he has an option) in Syracuse at least until they sort out their 5th / 6th / 7th starting pitching options. It would be interesting to see if Cole would make it through waivers now (seems like I remember him getting claimed last time they tried).

  2. That seems to leave only Rosenbaum as a potential loss; you have to figure his lousy 2nd half is why they don’t think anybody will pick him.
    He’s at least 2-3 years younger than Davis.

  3. It seems that the Davis pick was made with the prevailing pre-rule5 thought in mind: “who on my minor league roster actually has a good shot of contributing on a 25-man roster all year?” A 26-yr old reliever with a strong AA showing seems like a safe bet.

    I didn’t think he’d be picked b/c of the prevalence of right handed relievers in AA with up-and-down numbers, but as Luke points out if he starred on a more evident stage (DWL versus bush leagues) suddenly the “word” can get out.

  4. Why did the Nats keep Maya on the 40 man roster? I thought they had pretty much given up on him? I believe that he is under contract for 2013. Does that influence the move? Or is it simply the need for depth in SP call-ups?

    1. Deadline for non-tenders is November 30th — yesterday was the deadline to put a player that wasn’t already on the 40-man. Per NationalsArmRace.com, the $8M white elephant may be eligible for a fourth option. If so, I’d expect him to stick around to be “inventory.” If not, I tend to doubt he’ll get cut loose because of that contract. Love to be wrong about that, but see Wang, Chien-Ming… Mock, Garrett… Chico, Matt…

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