Why Joe Bisenius is worth watching
The most intriguing player to watch over the Nationals' final 20 games may be reliever Joe Bisenius. How often does a veteran minor leaguer who can throw 98 miles per hour fall into a team's bullpen? Bisenius came to the Nationals from the Phillies before this season.
He obviously possesses the physical ability to pitch in the major leagues. There also is obviously something missing -- team do not look for reasons to keep pitchers once clocked at 100 mph in the minors. If Bisenius can bloom late and harness that one element, well, the Nationals could have something here.
"I think he's figured out what he needs to do," said Class AAA Syracuse Manager Trent Jewett, who watched Bisenius allow five earned runs in 16 2/3 innings at that level. "I think he's got a better understanding of himself, the way he needs to pitch. I saw him for a three-week period. I saw him search a little bit. Then I saw him find it."
Jewett felt good about what he saw from Bisenius in his first Nationals outing Friday night, when Bisenius yielded a single in a scoreless inning. Bisenius mixed in six sliders in 22 pitches, which Jewett believes is the key Bisenius. At times, Jewett believes, Bisenius relies too much on his blazing fastball.
"It boils down to, in short, not over-trusting his good fastball and trusting his secondary stuff," Jewett said. "If he pitches with his secondary stuff and throws his fastball, he's fine. But it can't be just that power, power, power mentality. There has to be a pitcher in there. I think he's found that. I think he's in a healthy frame of mind right now. I think he's in a good place. He's in a place now that sees all that he's capable of doing."