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The Red Report - Drew Storen

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Can the former Nationals’ closer have a bounce-back year in 2017?

Cincinnati Reds Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Fast Facts

Position: Pitcher
Bats: Both, Throws: Right
Height: 6’1”, Weight: 195

Drew Storen was born on August 11, 1987 in Indianapolis, IN. A product of Brownsburg High School, he was originally drafted as a senior by the New York Yankees in the 34th round of the 2007 draft. Opting to take the college route, Storen headed out west and attended Stanford University. He was a standout in his two seasons at Stanford, earning First-Team All Pac-10 honors each year. The decision to choose the college route proved worthwhile for Storen, as he moved all the way up to the first round where he was selected 10th overall by the Washington Nationals in 2009.

Organizational History

Storen’s trip through the minors was easy and quick. He signed as soon as he could after he was drafted in 2009 and reached as high as Double-A that season. He handled 2010 just as well, making only 13 appearances in Double-A and Triple-A before getting called up to the Nationals in May of that year.

His career in Washington was sort of a roller coaster. After collecting 43 saves in 2011 as the full-time closer, he had to miss the first half of the 2012 season after elbow surgery. He took the closer role in the 2012 NLDS, where he recorded 1 save and 1 win before blowing the save in the infamous game 5 against the Cardinals. He was relegated to middle-relief and setup roles in 2013 where he struggled, even getting sent to Triple-A for a brief period in July. After a great 2014 where he recorded a 1.12 ERA in 56.1 IP, he became the team’s full-time closer.

Storen was successful in 2015 as the closer. He recorded his best K/9 (11.0) and K/BB (4.19) of his career for a full season and collected 29 saves in the first half. The Nationals still believed they needed more relief out of the bullpen, so they acquired Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline and relegated Storen to the set-up role. He struggled in that role in only two appearances, and eventually ended his season after breaking his thumb by hitting a locker in frustration after giving up a home run to Yoenis Cespedes. He was eventually traded to the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the 2016 season.

It was a tale of two teams for Storen in 2016. While he was in Toronto, he was downright awful. In only 33.1 innings with the Blue Jays, Storen amassed a 6.12 ERA and a 1.590 WHIP, which was the worst of his career. He was dealt to the Seattle Mariners at the trade deadline and his fortunes immediately improved. He put up a 3.44 ERA in his 18.1 innings and dropped his BB/9 from 8.6 in Toronto to 7.9 in Seattle. He became a free agent after the 2016 season, where he signed a one-year deal with the Reds.

Career Stats

2016 Pitch F/X

Scouting

2017 Projections

Source IP ERA FIP WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR
Source IP ERA FIP WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR
Depth Chart 65 3.68 3.79 1.22 8.72 2.61 1.02 0.7
Steamer 65 3.8 3.87 1.26 8.55 2.8 1.07 0.4
ZiPS 55.7 3.56 3.7 1.19 8.89 2.43 0.97 0.5

Outlook

While he wasn’t quite at his 2014-2015 levels, Storen did pitch much better in the second half last season. Although some of that success could be chalked up to moving from a hitters’ park to a pitchers’ park, he still reduced his walks, home runs, and increased his ground ball % in the second half. This will be a trend that Storen hopes will continue in 2017, as he comes into a situation where he could either get traded to a contender at the deadline or leverage himself into a better contract for 2018 and beyond if he performs well.

Given the Reds’ situation in 2017, Storen will be given plenty of chances to see if the first half of 2016 was just a bump in the road. With the talented arms of Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen, a strong performance from Storen could help turn the league’s worst bullpen in 2016 to one of the better bullpens in 2017.