Taylor Jordan could be close to another promotion. And that would be none too soon for Eastern League opponents.
The Nationals' No. 17 prospect pitched a four-hitter and struck out seven to outduel Jesse Biddle on Saturday as Double-A Harrisburg blanked Reading, 1-0, in the first game of a doubleheader.
Jordan (4-0) needed only 84 pitches to finish off his second career complete game and shutout. He did not walk a batter and has issued only five free passes since he was promoted from Class A Advanced Potomac last month.
"He was able to get ahead with his fastball, it's got a little sink to it," Senators pitching coach Paul Menhart said. "His changeup is a pitch that has developed into quite a plus pitch, with sink action, almost like split action. He was able to do that, both ahead and behind in the count."
The Fightin Phils threatened in the second on singles by Jim Murphy and Cameron Rupp, but Jordan struck out Anthony Hewitt to end the inning. In the sixth, Biddle reached on an error, took second on a sacrifice and moved to third on a base hit by Edgar Duran before Tyler Henson bounced into a double play.
Reading again put two men on in the seventh, but Jordan struck out Hewitt to end the game.
The 24-year-old right-hander has barely broken a sweat since moving up to Double-A, allowing four runs -- three earned -- on 21 hits over 32 innings. Including the six starts he made in the Carolina League, he's 6-1 with a 1.05 ERA and .208 batting average against.
"He's recently added a slider that's been a nice complement to those two [other pitches]," Menhart said, "just to give the hitters something else to think about, something going the other way. That's probably the biggest key for him to be a successful big leaguer. He can get away with two right now, but I think big league hitters will make that adjustment and he'll scuffle down the road."
Talk of Jordan being a Major Leaguer is remarkable, considering where he was a year ago. After undergoing Tommy John surgery late in 2011, the Brevard Community College product returned last season and posted a 5.13 ERA in 15 appearances across two Minor League levels.
"I think there's a very good chance for him to make it to the big leagues," Menhart said. "I see him pitching in the big leagues fairly soon. He's pretty polished. He holds runners well, he pitches well with runners on base, he moves the ball inside and outside. He needs to handle the bat a little better, but that's coming along better. There's still a few little things he has to do to make him completely ready for the big leagues.
"In his first full season after Tommy John, we as an organization and myself feel like he's progressed at a tremendous rate. He's put himself on the board as a guy you need to look at for a future spot in the big leagues."
Jordan outpitched Biddle, the Phillies' top prospect, who recorded his second complete game of the season. Biddle also gave up four hits, including Sandy Leon's solo homer in the seventh, and struck out seven.