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Nationals' Jose Ferrer Earns High Praise From Batting Champ



Lefthanded reliever Jose Ferrer earned a spot on the Nationals' 40-man roster largely on the strength of his fastball that’s mostly in the 96-98 mph range and tops at 100 mph with ride.

When he signed from the Dominican Republic in 2017, Ferrer was more known for his curveball.

Johnny DiPuglia, the Nationals' vice president and assistant general manager of international operations, joked that Ferrer lost his curveball in AA—not Double-A, but American Airlines.

“He was a weird evaluation because he had a good breaking ball, but then he lost it in the States,” DiPuglia said. “But now he has a big fastball and has really developed his body. He’s a physical kid.”

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Ferrer recorded a 2.48 ERA in 48 appearances over three levels this season. He struck out 78 and walked 11 in 65.1 innings.

The 22-year-old Ferrer opened the year at Low-A Fredericksburg, earned a Futures Game invitation while he was at High-A Wilmington and closed the season at Double-A Harrisburg. He saved two games in Low-A and nine in High-A.

Ferrer has a deceptive delivery that has impressed the likes of Nationals quality control coordinator Bill Mueller, the 2003 American League batting champion.

“(I was) watching batting practice with Billy," DiPuglia said. "He said, ‘Now this kid would be a tough at-bat.’ He hides the ball behind his back very well and comes at you quick.”

Ferrer now throws a plus fastball and an upper-80s changeup. He improved his breaking ball in 2022, but it’s more of a slider now.

In 2017, then-Nationals scout Moises De La Mota signed Ferrer for $100,000. Ferrer had only pitched in the Dominican Summer League and the Florida Complex League before 2022, but he passed every test.

“Jose is also a great person,” DiPuglia said. “He’s always in a good mood and has a smile on his face. But he’s on a mission. He knows what he wants to do.”

CAPITAL GAINS

— In addition to Ferrer, the Nationals added lefthander Matt Cronin, righthanders Jake Irvin and Jackson Rutledge, third baseman Jake Alu and outfielder Jeremy De La Rosa to their 40-man roster.

— The Nationals released lefthander Seth Romero, their 2017 first-round pick, after he reportedly was arrested for a DWI for the second time. Romero pitched in three games for Washington in 2020.

Cade Cavalli Photo By G Fiume Getty Images

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