Treinen with the Washington Nationals
|Oakland Athletics – No. 39|
Born: June 30, 1988|
|April 12, 2014, for the Washington Nationals|
|MLB statistics |
(through August 23, 2018)
|Earned run average||2.78|
|Career highlights and awards|
Treinen attended Osage City High School in Osage City, Kansas. He played for the school's baseball team as a freshman, but quit during his sophomore year as he developed prediabetes. He returned to the team in his junior year, with his fastball reaching 79 miles per hour (127 km/h). He enrolled at Baker University, where he played college baseball for the Baker Wildcats in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in 2007. He transferred to the University of Arkansas in 2008, but did not play for their baseball team. He attempted to walk on to the Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), but was denied the opportunity to try out. He began weight training.
During Christmas break, Treinen participated in a baseball training camp led by Don Czyz, a retired Minor League Baseball pitcher. Czyz recommended Treinen to Ritchie Price, the head coach of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits baseball team. Treinen transferred to South Dakota State University to continue his college baseball career with the Jackrabbits. He had to sit out in 2009 due to the NCAA's rules on transfers. By the time he was able to pitch for the Jackrabbits, his fastball averaged 87 to 88 miles per hour (140–142 km/h). The Miami Marlins selected Treinen in the 23rd round of the 2010 MLB Draft. Though Treinen was willing to sign, an MRI revealed shoulder inflammation, and the Marlins withdrew their offer.
The Oakland Athletics selected Treinen in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He signed with Oakland, receiving a $52,000 signing bonus. Pitching for the Stockton Ports of the Class A-Advanced California League in 2012, Treinen had a season he called "subpar" and "mediocre", in which he had a 4.37 ERA in 24 games pitched, 15 of which were starts.
Before the 2013 season, the Athletics traded Treinen to the Washington Nationals in a three-team deal, in which Washington also received A. J. Cole and Ian Krol, Oakland received John Jaso, and the Seattle Mariners received Michael Morse. With the Harrisburg Senators of the Class AA Eastern League, Treinen had a 3.64 ERA during the 2013 season.
The Nationals invited Treinen to spring training in 2014, where he impressed Nationals' coaches. He began the season with the Syracuse Chiefs of the Class AAA International League, and was promoted to the major leagues on April 12. He earned his first career win on June 29, making a spot start against the Chicago Cubs and out-dueling Jeff Samardzija in a 7–2 win. During the 2014 Washington Nationals season, Treinen appeared both as a starting pitcher and out of the bullpen, with his fastball clocked as high as 98 miles per hour (158 km/h). Treinen yo-yoed between the Nationals and the Chiefs throughout the season, appearing in 15 major league games (with a 2.49 ERA) and 16 minor league games (with a 3.35 ERA).
For the 2015 season, Treinen started the year in the Nationals bullpen, with the off-season acquisition of Max Scherzer creating a crowded rotation picture. Manager Matt Williams, dealing with injuries to his veteran relievers, began inserting Treinen into high-leverage, late-game situations in early April, occasionally setting up for closer Drew Storen. He also cracked 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) with his sinker for the first time in his major league career during the first half of the season.
Treinen remained with the Nationals for much of the year, posting a 3.86 ERA with a 2–5 record with 65 strikeouts for the season. He was optioned back to Syracuse on June 20 after struggling with command for the first half of the season. Upon being recalled the next month, Treinen told The Washington Post that being sent down "was probably the best thing that could have happened" in allowing him to work on his approach. However, even late into the season, Treinen was noted for struggling to retire left-handed batters, ultimately giving up the final run of the Nationals' season on a solo home run by left-hitting New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson in a 1–0 loss to the eventual World Series runners-up on October 4.
Treinen rebounded from an uneven 2015 campaign in the Nationals' 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA on the year and sharply narrowing his platoon splits versus left-handed hitting. He credited veteran teammate Matt Belisle and the Nationals' new pitching coach, Mike Maddux, for helping him improve his craft, while Maddux described Treinen's progress over the course of the season as "puppy dog to bulldog". Treinen led the National League in groundballs induced with 65.9% on the season and ranked highly in inherited runners stranded and soft contact created, among other metrics. Treinen was frequently used in situations in which another Nationals pitcher had allowed one or more baserunners and manager Dusty Baker was seeking a double play ball, a role in which he excelled with his high-90s sinker. He remained with the Nationals for the entire year, working exclusively out of the bullpen, and made his first playoff appearance for the team, being credited with the win in Game 2 of the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and taking the loss in Game 4.
With the departure of Mark Melancon to free agency, the Nationals named Treinen their closer for the 2017 season. On Opening Day, Treinen pitched a perfect inning in the top of the ninth against the Miami Marlins with two strikeouts to end the game, earning the save, the second of his career. However, the Opening Day performance was the first and last clean inning Treinen would pitch in the entire month of April. He gave up an earned run while notching his second save of the season on April 5 against the Marlins before blowing a save against the same team the following day. After just a couple of weeks as the closer in which he posted a 7.11 ERA, Treinen was removed from the role in favor of Shawn Kelley and later Koda Glover.
Treinen enjoyed some notable success in his old role as a setup man and double play specialist in June, with the batting average on balls in play against him gradually regressing toward his career norms. However, with both Kelley and Glover on the disabled list, fellow setup men Enny Romero and Matt Albers unavailable, and acting manager Chris Speier in need of a reliever to close out the ninth inning of a 4–2 game against the Chicago Cubs on June 29, Treinen was called upon for his first save opportunity since being demoted from the position of closer. He proceeded to give up three earned runs for a blown save loss as the Cubs came back to win 5–4.
Return to Oakland
On July 16, 2017, Treinen was traded to the Oakland Athletics, along with Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo, for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. At the time of the trade he was 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA and 3 out of 5 save opportunities converted in 37 appearances, but he quickly established himself as the A's closer, converting 13 of 16 save opportunities after the trade. In early September, Treinen took three losses in a row and nearly had a fourth against the Houston Astros, but the A's rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth to walk off, and Treinen got credited with the win instead.
In the 2018 season, Treinen became part of a dominant 1-2 punch in the back of the bullpen for the A's, along with rookie Lou Trivino. He rode a line of 5-1 with a 0.79 ERA and 23 saves in the first half of the season to his first career All-Star appearance. Treinen's ability to pitch more than one inning at a time made him an even more valuable weapon, having done so in seven of his saves.
Treinen is married to Kati and owns a bulldog, Maxx. Treinen is a devout Christian.
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