Former Big Leaguer Rob Whalen Returning to Washington
WASHINGTON, Pa. (February 10) - The Washington Wild Things have announced the return and re-signing of right-handed pitcher and former big leaguer Rob Whalen for the 2022 campaign. Whalen pitched parts of three seasons in the majors between the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners between 2016-18. He then signed with Washington in late 2021 after making a return to baseball last year.
Whalen pitched in four regular season games and three in the playoffs. In the regular season, he pitched his way to a 1.76 ERA in 15.1 innings. In that work, he allowed 15 hits and three runs (all earned) with 18 strikeouts. His best performance of the year came in one of three postseason starts. In game five of the Frontier League Division Series, Whalen was the lead cog to sending the Wild Things to the FLCS with his eight innings of shutout ball twirled in Québec. He fanned 11 Équipe Québec hitters and allowed just five hits on his way to being the winning pitcher.
"We couldn't be happier to have Rob back with us for another season," said manager Tom Vaeth. "To have Rob, to not only anchor the top of our rotation, but to be a mentor to our younger arms makes our organization stronger. Obviously being a former big leaguer it's easy to get caught up in what he can do for us on the field but probably even more important is the quality of person he is and what he brings to our clubhouse. I know having him made me a better manager."
The former 12th-round pick who was born in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and lives in Oviedo, Florida, said he's excited to return to Washington.
"I enjoyed every minute of my time here in 2021 and after coming up just a little shy of the championship, it was an easy decision to come back," said Whalen. "We have a great core of returning players and some great additions. [It's] time to run it back and chase that ring."
Whalen made his big-league debut in the midst of the 2016 season for the Braves, the same season he was named the organization's Double-A pitcher of the year. He also won the Mets' rookie-level pitcher of the year award in 2013. He made his debut against the Pirates August 3, 2016 and struck out five in five innings of work.
He ended up starting five games that season for Atlanta before being sent to the Mariners' organization in 2017. He appeared in two games (one start) for the Mariners in 2017 before pitching once for the big-league club in 2018. He retired from baseball following that season before making a comeback in 2021, starting with the Twins' organization before his time in Washington began.
The Wild Things will kick off their 20th Frontier League season May 13 at home against the New York Boulders. The full schedule is available at washingtonwildthings.com. Check out the roster as it gets announced by clicking here.