The Nationals have called up prospect Nathan Karns to start in place of Ross Detwiler against the Orioles on Tuesday. Detwiler was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday retroactive to May 16.
While the Nationals have stockpiled pitching depth at AAA, Chris Young has struggled to a 7.76 ERA and, according to Davey Johnson, Ross Ohlendorf will be unavailable.
Karns was the 2012 Minor League Player of the Year in the Nationals organization, posting an 11-4 record with a 2.16 ERA in 24 appearances (18 starts) split between A-level Hagerstown and High-A Potomac. Karns also posted an impressive 11.5 K/9 ratio, which is a testament to his hard fastball and curveball, which many scouts call his “out pitch.”
Despite Karns’ success, it’s interesting that the Nationals decided to call him up this early, as he’s made just nine career starts above A+, all coming this season. His numbers (4-2, 4.60 ERA) have been average, but Karns has still managed to post impressive strikeout totals (11.9 K/9 ratio, 3.35 K/BB ratio), so perhaps the Nationals are trusting that his “stuff” will carry over to the big leagues.
Karns will go against Orioles phenom Kevin Gausman, who made his own major league debut just last week against the Toronto Blue Jays. Gausman gave up four runs over five innings, but did show poise on the mound when things got rough even if the box score didn’t say so.
Both teams will have young, high-potential power arms on the mound on Tuesday night, and it should make for a very exciting game.