Saturday, March 26, 2011

25 in 25: Drew Storen (#21)

In 5 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.

With just a work-week to go until Opening Day, these decisions are getting almost impossibly hard. Today, we're going with Drew Storen.

Why?: We struggled with this decision quite a bit for a few reasons. Drew Storen has really struggled so far this spring; he's sported a 10.38 ERA over 8.2 innings. Not exactly the steadfast strength and confidence you'd like to see in your team's closer. To make matters worse, Storen is young and still has plenty of minor league options left to spend some time Syracuse to work on his skills and create another open roster spot for Rule 5 picks like Broderick and Ramirez.

But ultimately there seems to be some belief that Storen has started moving in the right direction, and that will make the difference. The Nats want to see Storen against Major Leaguers. They saw what he could do against Minor League clubs last year, and he will get a lot more experience against the big clubs.

What to expect?: Expect Storen to start the year as "just another reliever." He will not be the de facto closer for a long while, maybe not this year at all. There are others, namely Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard, that seem more likely to claim the closers role more often. Further, Manager Jim Riggleman seems extremely satisfied with the Closer by Committee set up that the Nats used after losing Matt Capps at the trade deadline last season. This arrangement allows Storen to get some experience without overwhelming his arm, which will prepare him for when he eventually takes over the role full time.

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