CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (05/27)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Sean Noli... (05/24)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Nick Fran... (05/28)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Ma... (05/28)

May 28, 2013

The Call-Up

Nate Karns

by Mark Anderson and Bret Sayre

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

The Situation: Following a breakout 2012 season, Karns seemed destined for another full season in the minor leagues blocked by a loaded Washington rotation. With just one injury, though, things can change, and they changed to Karns’ benefit when Ross Detwiler injured his oblique, creating a need for another starter.

Background: After battling inconsistency at North Carolina State and Texas Tech, Karns’ draft stock plummeted in 2009, as he was routinely touched up throughout the spring. He was finally popped in the 12th round by the Nationals and signed for $225,000. Almost immediately after signing, Karns came up lame with a torn labrum and missed the remainder of the 2009 season and all of 2010. Back on the hill in 2011, Karns posted a solid 3.44 ERA in eight starts for the New York-Penn League’s Auburn Doubledays. His breakout came in 2012 with good health and monster showings at both Low-A and High-A.  On the season, he recorded a 2.17 ERA in 116 innings with just 70 hits allowed, 47 walks, and 148 punchouts. Karns has handled the jump to Double-A reasonably well this season, pitching to a 4.60 ERA in nine starts, allowing less than a hit per inning, and fanning 11 batters per nine.

Scouting Report: Karns is physically imposing, standing 6’5” and checking in around 230 pounds. He uses his height to generate a good angle to the plate, making his sinking fastball even more difficult to barrel consistently. Karns’ 93-95 mph velocity gives his heater better than plus grades, allowing him to miss bats and induce weak contact low in the zone. He compliments his primary pitch with a classic overhand hammer curveball that has earned plus-plus grades on occasion. The one-two punch provided by his fastball and curve can be deadly when he has control over both. However, Karns lacks a passable changeup and will likely always be a two-pitch guy. His delivery can get away from him at times, thanks to some effort throughout, but he does throw strikes. Karns doesn’t spot well and will never have the command or depth in his arsenal to profile as more than a no. 3 or no. 4 starter.

Immediate Big-League Future: Karns’ fastball-curveball combination could give major league hitters trouble the first time they see him. He is the best of the Nationals pitching prospects who are close to the big leagues, and if Detwiler’s oblique keeps him on the shelf for a while, Karns could find himself in the rotation for more than this spot start. —Mark Anderson

Fantasy Impact: Depending on the status of Ross Detwiler's oblique, this may just be a one-and-done start for Karns, who has continued to build on his strong performance from last season. He’ll face a strong offensive team in the Orioles, so this isn’t an ideal matchup, but the fact that he's getting the call bodes well for his 2013 value. The Nationals don’t have a farm system blessed with a plethora of arms at the upper levels of the minors, so Karns could lock up the sixth starter spot with a respectable performance.

As of right now, Karns is worth monitoring only in very deep mixed leagues (16-plus teams) and NL-only formats. If it looks like Detwiler will not be back for his scheduled start on Sunday, I would throw a couple of FAAB dollars at Karns. In dynasty formats, however, he could be worth grabbing in anything 14 teams and deeper. The potential is there for Karns to be a nice strikeout pitcher in the long term, but barring any further injuries, he'll be left out in the cold for this season, given the strength of the Nats' rotation. —Bret Sayre

Mark Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mark's other articles. You can contact Mark by clicking here
Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Scouting,  Nationals,  Nate Karns

1 comment has been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (05/27)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Sean Noli... (05/24)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Nick Fran... (05/28)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Ma... (05/28)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Wednesday, Jul...
Feature Focus: Pitch f/x Matchup Tool
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Deadlines and Syste...
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week 18
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Cardinals Vouch for Ma...
Premium Article Notes from the Field: July 31, 2014
Skewed Left: The Nomar Garciaparra Trade Tur...

MORE FROM MAY 28, 2013
Premium Article Punk Hits: Marco Scutaro Plays All the Hits
Premium Article What You Need to Know: The Halo Effect
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Tuesday, May 28
The Week in Quotes: May 20-26
Premium Article The Call-Up: Nick Franklin
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: May 28, 20...
Fantasy Article The Stash List: Don Mattingly's Post-Realism

MORE BY MARK ANDERSON
2013-05-30 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Alex Wood
2013-05-30 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Alex Colome
2013-05-28 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Nick Franklin
2013-05-28 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Nate Karns
2013-05-24 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Sean Nolin
2013-05-04 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Carlos Martinez
2013-04-30 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Marcell Ozuna
More...

MORE THE CALL-UP
2013-05-30 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Alex Colome
2013-05-30 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Alex Wood
2013-05-28 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Nick Franklin
2013-05-28 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Nate Karns
2013-05-24 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Sean Nolin
2013-05-22 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Kevin Gausman
2013-05-10 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Burch Smith
More...