The Future Of Tanner Roark

Everyone likes Tanner Roark.  He is the guy you cheer for as the underdog.  Roark was one of the players along with Ryan Tatusko going to the Nats at the trade deadline in 2010 for Cristian Guzman who was traded to the  Rangers.  Roark was a 25th round pick of the Rangers out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Fighting Illini.  Before long, Roark was in independent ball back in Illinois playing in the Frontier League. Roark went back to the Rangers A-ball in 2009 and had some success; however, he struggled in AA-Frisco in his first year there, and the following year was traded to the Nats.

The Nats placed Roark in AA-Harrisburg and he finished the season with a few starts and in his first full year in Harrisburg in 2011, Roark struggled with a 4.69 ERA which was his highest in all of his stops in the Minors. Roark had a good Spring Training on the Minor League side in Viera in 2012 which earned him a promotion to AAA-Syracuse where Roark showed some improvement.  Roark went to winter ball in Venezuela after the 2012 season and had some success and had another good Spring Training on the Minor League side in Viera, and in 2013 went into Syracuse as one of the best starters and got a callup from the Nats and debuted on August 7, 2013.

Roark showed star quality with poise and ability to adapt to any situation they put him in as a reliever and a starter.  Roark finished the 2013 season with the Nats sporting a 1.51 ERA and earned a spot in the vaunted 2014 starting rotation alongside Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez.  Roark, who seemingly came out of nowhere, was beating teams with great pitch location, movement, and keeping batters off-balance.  Roark won an incredible 15 games sporting a stealth 2.85 ERA and a modesty to go with his great smile. Roark was a fan favorite.

Then on January 21, 2015 out of nowhere the Nats signed Max Scherzer who was the gem of Free Agency and the math was easy to figure out that there would be 6 ace starters for 5 spots unless a trade was made.  No trade was made and Roark became the starter moved to the bullpen and this time around Roark could not repeat his success of 2013 in the bullpen.  Roark would also get some spot starts this season and his ERA was over 5.00 and his pitch location was no longer as pinpoint as it was before and his movement on his slider just wasn’t the same.  Roark wasn’t fooling many batters. Earlier this month Roark took the spot in the rotation that Joe Ross held and would pitch for redemption and impress Rizzo for a 2016 spot in the starting rotation.  It’s doubtful Roark impressed Rizzo much this season.

These post-game videos MASN POSTGAME VIDEO  just seemed to be the norm in another Roark game lost by the Nats who are now 4-6 in games he started this season.  No matter how Roark says he feels, the results overall haven’t been good.

Here is the Schoop Home Run today off of Roark on a fastball and look at the location on the video HR VIDEO  which was supposed to be outside edge and down:

There will have to be some questions leading into 2016 as to who joins the rotation with the 4 names below and will it be Roark’s job to lose or will Rizzo bring in a 5th starter and send Roark back to the bullpen?

  1. Scherzer
  2. Strasburg
  3. Gio
  4. Joe Ross


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