For the second year in a row, the Nationals have added just one player to its 40-man roster ahead of next month’s Rule 5 draft. That one player was Ben Braymer getting the call ahead of consensus pick of Sterling Sharp.
Braymer, who shared the “Pitcher of the Year” honors for the Washington Minors with Wil Crowe (eligible next year), split time between AA and AAA in 2019. In 13 starts for Harrisburg, the 18th Rd. pick from Auburn went 7-2 and posted a line of 2.51/3.37/0.97 across 79 innings. In 13 starts for Fresno, he did considerably worse (OK, fine: 0-6, 7.20/7.98/1.93 in 60IP).
The 25-y.o. Louisiana native becomes the fourth 2016 Draft pick to be added to the 40-man roster in 2019 (Jake Noll, Carter Kieboom, and Tres Barrera are the others). The two would-have-been-eligible 2015 HS picks were traded in 2018 (Tyler Watson) and 2018 (Blake Perkins). Both repeated High-A in 2019.
It would appear that GM Mike Rizzo, who loves RHRPs who throw 95+ the way a fat kid loves cake, is confident that Sharp will not make another team’s 2020 Opening Day roster, despite the limit increasing from 25 to 26 next season. Conversely, Braymer’s L/R splits are in line with what southpaws will need to be with the implementation of the three-batter minimum rule: effective against both sides of the batter’s box (.268/.250 BA against, L/R).
Last year’s Rule-5-deadline addition, James Bourque, pitched ⅔ of an inning in one (1) MLB game in 2019. He pitched 20⅓ IP in 14 appearances (3-0, 6SV, 1.33 ERA) for Harrisburg prior to his callup in May, then finished the 2019 season in Fresno with 43⅔ IP (4-1, 3SV, 5.56 ERA) in 33 appearances.
We now return you to the 2019-2020 offseason…