"He never seemed to get too high or too low."
In an odd chain of events, the Washington Nationals placed righty pitching prospect, Darrell Rasner on waivers following the signing of Matt LeCroy. And, the Yankees were there to jump on the promising young righty immediately. New York able to add even more depth to their pool of pitching prospects while Washington further thinned theirs.
Considering their glut of older fringe, big league players on their 40-man roster, it is difficult to understand why the Nationals would let go a legitimate young pitching prospect like Rasner. Granted, this former 2nd round pick doesn't profile as a front of the rotation starter in the big leagues, but he does offer the potential to be a back end starter that can eat innings, throw strikes, and give consistent outings with each of his appearances.
Since he was selected in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft out of the University of Nevada, he has never overpowered anyone but he's always thrown strikes and been a model of consistency. In fact, he even did a solid job during his callup with Washington in 2005. In five appearances, Darrell compiled a 3.68 ERA, but did not give up any earned runs after his first big league appearance September 6th. However, despite his strong relief appearances, the 25-year old went nearly four weeks without pitching in a game at one point.
Some close to the situation felt that the Nationals, despite Rasner's strong 2005 campaign with Harrisburg and Washington, were somewhat disappointed in the development of the 25-year old's velocity. While they expected him to sit more consistently in the 90-93 MPH range, Darrell was more often in the 86-91 MPH range last season. But, perhaps Washington should have looked beyond the numbers on the radar gun and saw that the right-hander had found a comfort zone.
"The thing I hear more often than not from pitching coaches is that it’s not really about what pitches a guy throws, but what his demeanor is on the mound and how he deals with failure as well as success," Harrisburg broadcaster, Terry Byrom explained in a recent interview. "Darrell is the type of guy that every fifth day he is ready to go. And it didn’t matter if he’d gone through a couple of bad outings or great outings. He was always ready. He never seemed to get too high or too low, either during a game or between starts. He definitely has good stuff too. His fastball hit in the lower 90's and he has a curveball that he can throw for a strike at any time. With any player at this level, or any level, it’s all about consistency."
So, what did the Yankees gain by picking up Darrell Rasner? And, what did the Nationals lose? While the Nationals seemed disappointed that Rasner did not turn out to be a hard thrower with knockout stuff, most scouts agree that he is one of a rare breed that simply knows how to pitch. He knows how to pitch without the best stuff and without the deepest of repertoires. With that in mind, he profiles as a back end of the rotation starter or a strong middle reliever with his heavy sinker and good control.
In 2005, Rasner went 6-7 with a solid 3.59 ERA in 150.1 innings of work and proved to be a consistent workhorse for the Harrisburg Senators all season long. But, he had little opportunity to prove his worth at the big league level with his previously mentioned lack of appearances. And, make no mistake, it definitely bothered him. On the other hand, it would be logical to believe that he's going to have a hard time finding big league work wearing the pinstripes as well.
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