Craig Stammen likely put to rest concern over his elbow on Monday when he held the Mets to two unearned runs over four innings. Today manager Jim Riggleman gave a nod to Stammen noting “it’s a good bet” that the 26 year old would make the rotation.
Last season Stammen made 19 starts for the Nationals going 4-7 with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. He logged 105.2 innings at the big league level. He pitched 9.1 innings this spring and had not allowed an eared run since his first appearance. In total he allowed 9 hits, 2 walks and struck out 8 to go along with a 2.89 ERA.
While Stammen pitched well this spring his pursuit of rotation spot was aided by the struggles of Scott Olsen who has yet to regain his velocity and form following shoulder surgery. The final straw for Olsen’s chances were cast when he allowed 6 runs and 12 hits in 4.1 innings against Detroit on Tuesday.
Jason Marquis, John Lannan and Garrett Mock are all assured rotation spots while Livan Hernandez appears on his way following a five inning performance against the Mets yesterday.
Stammen relies on solid control while his strike out numbers are unimpressive. He’s done a fair job of keeping the ball in the yard and has done a good job of not killing the bullpen in his minor league career.
Stammen, much like Mock, ultimately may be keeping a spot warm for top prospect Steven Strasburg who was optioned to the minors earlier this month. The Nationals figure to call Strasburg up by the end of spring so Stammen and Mock will have to show who wants to be in the rotation more.
It’s unclear what the Nationals will do with Scott Olsen. They will have to option him down to the minors in hopes he can work his way back or simply release him.