- Drew Storen (Washington Nationals)
In 2014, Drew Storen was a top-five (non-closing) relief pitcher, probably even second-best. This means that I have faith in him, but not too much just yet. Storen was the closer for the Nationals in 2011; but a knee surgery kept him out of 89 games in 2012, he lost the job to Tyler Clippard, followed by Rafael Soriano these past two seasons. Storen is coming off minor hand surgery, but will be ready to go come Opening Day.
Storen is a groundball pitcher who gives up quite a few fly balls. His GB/FB ratio of 1.6 is not as good as some, but he has proved that, with a stout defense behind him, these numbers will more than suffice. Batters hit fly balls against Storen at a rate of 32.9%, but the balls never seem to travel far. A home run to fly ball ratio of 3.8, and only giving up two homers in 2014 will put Storen in the top tier of his position.
Storen mostly splits time between four pitches: a sinker, a slider, a changeup, and a fastball. The Nat’s new closer doesn’t get many strikeouts, but when he does the changeup is his best option. Over the last five years, Storen’s slider has truly developed, and should be seen more in the upcoming years.
Since 2007, the Nationals have had seven different yearly leaders in saves (one being Storen, 2011), but Storen has a chance to end that streak, and go on one of his own.