Washington Nationals’ Drew Storen Working His Way Back Into Dominant Form

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t look now, but Drew Storen is finally starting to look like Drew Storen that the Washington Nationals knew prior to this season.

That, as Nats fans already know, was the dominant shutdown reliever who collected 43 handshakes as the team’s closer back in 2011, a job that he seemed destined for from the moment he arrived in the big leagues. Ever since that one fateful day in October of 2012 essentially took that job away from him for good, however … let’s just say things haven’t been so rosy for the 25-year-old in 2013.

It’s perhaps starting to turn around over the last few weeks, though.

While it’s not particularly useful to read too much into the vulture save he recorded on Saturday against the New York Mets, Storen’s latest outing could be seen as something of a culmination of a streak of success he’s had, which has seen the 5.23/1.55 ERA/WHIP that he carried at the end of April tumble.

Now, no road to redemption is without its speed bumps, and it’s no different for the right-hander.

Fortunately, that bump over the last month has really been limited to one significant meltdown (three runs, four hits, one walk) on June 11. Outside of that little nugget of deja vu to the 2012 postseason, Storen has been rock solid since the end of May, and has not allowed an earned run outside of that one-inning disaster.

That’s now 15 scoreless outings in his last 16, with eight of those being the flawless type. In all, it gives him a 2.13/0.95 ERA/WHIP through the last 30 days of his season, and he’s been even better over his last seven outings, totaling six innings of shutout ball with a 0.83 WHIP and notching 10 strikeouts in that span.

In fact, the 9.37 K/9 through 32.2 innings of work currently represents a career-best mark for Storen, whose .3.78 K/BB also tops the 3.70 he had as a dominant closer with the Nats back in 2011.

Combine that with a career-best 14.0 percent line drive rate, and an already-2.6-runs-above-average changeup added to his retooled arsenal, and well … without making too many big prognostications, let’s just say that the Nats can probably look forward to having the old Drew Storen back as the season continues to progress.

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