Garrett Mock was a big leaguer.
For parts of three seasons, Mock pitched for the Washington Nationals. Acquired by the Nats with Matt Chico from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Livan Hernandez in August 2006, Mock compiled a 4-13 record with a 5.17 ERA in 55 games, including 19 starts. He could always strike batters out (career 8.0 K/9), but his control was equally "impressive", walking nearly five batters per nine innings.
Mock won a job in the rotation in 2010 with a good spring training (and precious little competition), but was ineffective in his first start, giving up four hits and walking five in 3 1/3 innings in an 8-2 loss to the New York Mets. After that game, the Nats tried to send Mock back to the minors, but it was revealed that Mock had sustained an injury to his cervical spine on the right side of his neck, requiring surgery. He made a few rehab appearances in the minors at the end of 2010, going 1-3 with a 4.33 ERA in six starts across four levels of the minor leagues.
Mock, now 28, was hopeful that an off-season of rest and strengthening would allow him to throw better in the spring and compete for a job with the big league club in 2011 once again. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Ineffective during spring training, Mock was an early cut, optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on March 11. Mock was terrible for the Chiefs. In his three starts, he gave up 12 earned runs (9.53 ERA), nine hits and walked an astounding 17 batters in 11 1/3 innings, striking out 10. Mock was placed on the minor league seven-day disabled list April 22, then reactivated for one start for Class-A Potomac where he pitched well, going six innings and allowing just four hits and two walks, striking out six.
That earned him a trip back to Double-A Harrisburg, where he's been even worse. In two starts for the Senators, including last night's train wreck, he has pitched 7 1/3 innings total, allowing 11 earned runs on 12 hits and three walks, striking out just five.
In total, he's made six minor league starts across three levels this season. He's 0-3 with a 8.39 ERA, allowing 23 earned runs on 25 hits and 22 walks, striking out 21.
It appears that the accumulation of injury has taken its toll on Mock, to the point of no longer being able to be effective even at Double-A. Maybe something else is wrong with him physically. Maybe it's mental. Maybe it's nothing more than nature taking its cruel course. But with the wealth of starting pitchers in the Nationals minor league system right now, Mock is very quickly running out of opportunities to prove he still belongs.
Mock was once a promising prospect and made a handful of starts in the Major Leagues. We should all be so fortunate.