TANNER B. ROARK
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   RHP
Home: N/A Team:   BLUE JAYS
Height: 6' 2" Bats:   R
Weight: 235 Throws:   R
DOB: 10/5/1986 Agent: Matt Colleran
Uniform #: 60  
Birth City: Wilmington, IL
Draft: Rangers #25 - 2008 - Out of Univ. of Illinois
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G IP H SO BB GS CG SHO SV W L OBA ERA
2008 FRN So. Illinois   3 10 23 11 9 3 0 0 0 0 2   21.41
2008 AZL AZL-Rangers   7 12.1 9 11 3 0 0 0 0 2 1   0.73
2008 CAL BAKERSFIELD   12 30 27 37 13 2 0 0 1 1 3   3.60
2009 TL FRISCO   5 17.2 17 9 7 4 0 0 0 1 1   4.58
2009 CAL BAKERSFIELD   29 86.2 68 91 27 9 0 0 0 10 0   2.70
2010 TL FRISCO   22 105 113 75 33 17 0 0 0 10 5   4.20
2010 EL HARRISBURG   6 36 35 33 9 6 0 0 0 1 1   2.50
2011 EL HARRISBURG   21 117 125 92 39 21 0 0 0 9 9   4.69
2012 IL SYRACUSE   28 148 161 130 47 26 1   0 6 17   4.39
2013 IL SYRACUSE   33 105.2 85 84 20 11 0 0 2 9 3   3.15
2013 NL NATIONALS   14 53.2 38 40 11 5 0 0 0 7 1 0.202 1.51
2014 NL NATIONALS $506.00 31 198.2 178 138 39 31 1 1 0 15 10 0.239 2.85
2015 EL HARRISBURG   1 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0   4.50
2015 CAR POTOMAC   1 4 3 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0   0.00
2015 NL NATIONALS $530.00 40 111 119 70 26 12 0 0 1 4 7 0.279 4.38
2016 NL NATIONALS $543.00 34 210 173 172 73 33 0 0 0 16 10 0.228 2.83
2017 NL NATIONALS $4,315.00 32 181.1 178 166 64 30 0 0 0 13 11 0.254 4.67
2018 NL NATIONALS $6,475.00 31 180.1 181 146 50 30 0 0 0 9 15 0.262 4.34
2019 AL REDS $10,000.00 21 110.1 119 108 38 21 0 0 0 6 7 0.273 4.24
2019 AL ATHLETICS   10 55 61 50 13 10 0 0 0 4 3 0.279 4.58
2020 AL BLUE JAYS $4,444.00 11 47.2 60 41 23 11 0 0 0 2 3 0.309 6.80
Personal
  • In high school, Roark led Wilmington High in Illinois to two state championships, in 2003 and 2005. And he was named MVP of both of those tournaments.

  • On his 2003 high school football team, Tanner led the team to a class 3A state runner-up finish as quarterback and free safety.

  • Tanner went to the University of Illinois and majored in sports management. Roark was a second-team all-Big Ten Conference performer as an Illinois sophomore before leaving the team for academic reasons.

  • During the offseason before 2013 Spring Training, Tanner went 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in six starts for Margarita in the Venezuelan Winter League.

  • Muhammad Ali is his favorite athlete, because he always stood up for what he believed in.

  • Although Roark is one of the talented pitchers on the Nationals, a few years ago it seemed doubtful he would ever have a big league career. He was with Triple-A Syracuse and having his worst season of his professional career. Roark was blaming everybody but himself. He would get upset over the littlest things. If there were a couple of bloop hits, for example, Roark would get upset.

    It seems hard to believe Roark had that attitude with Syracuse because as a member of the Nationals he is shy and humble around the local media. He always talks about his family in Illinois. But then Roark had a heart-to-heart talk with assistant general manager Doug Harris, then-manager Tony Beasley and then-pitching coach Greg Booker. The trio told Roark to start thinking about making each pitch and not worry about anything else. Roark can't control what happens behind him. You might as well not worry about it.

    "I was being selfish, I guess," Roark admitted. "Little things would happen—bloop hits. I would be getting it in my own head and saying, 'Why is he getting on?' I was trying really hard. We all sat down, it was an emotional meeting. We talked it through. I never went through anything like that before. It was good for me. That's what turned my career around—the mental aspect of the game."

    Said Harris, "It was about his understanding who he was, what he needed to do to be successful. Tanner did a terrific job, taking and applying [what we said]. He was in a funk. He really did a nice job battling his way out of it. He really found himself."

    The talk even helped Roark change his life off the field. "I'm not letting little petty things get to me," Roark said.

    Roark worked hard during the off-season of 2012 and had his best season in 2013. That made him a candidate for the Nationals' rotation this year, and he was on the Opening Day roster after teammate Doug Fister suffered a strained lat before the start of the regular season. Now, Roark is an integral part of the rotation.

    "He has a terrific understanding of who he is and what he needs to do to be successful," Harris said. "That was probably the biggest thing that got him over the hump. He finally began to trust who he was and that he was capable of getting people out with his stuff." (Ladson - mlb.com - 5/1/2014)

  • Tanner is not like most other pitchers. After winning his first start of the 2015 season at Wrigley Field, he was a bit taken aback when it was suggested he might have reacted negatively to the move to put him in the bullpen. Roark wouldn't even concede that he took the mound with something to prove.

    "No," he said. "I go out there and I try to do my job—when it's in the bullpen or when it's starting. I'm not worried about strikeouts. I'm worried about getting outs, getting quick outs so we can get back in the dugout and swing the bats and get runs. That's all I worry about. That's my mentality." 

    Roark's teammates certainly appreciate how he has handled the situation, which was brought on by the free-agent signing of Max Scherzer in the offseason to top a quality starting staff. "You have to tip your cap to him," center fielder Denard Span said. "When we signed Max, Tanner was the odd man out. On 29 other teams, he would be in their starting rotation. He's done whatever the team has asked of him. He's closed a game, he's set up a game, he's been in long relief, and today he came up huge for us with a big start." 

    Whatever the team needs. "I started all last year, so just get back to that same mentality," he said. "Prepare the way I usually prepare and work hard before my next start and be ready to go by game time."

    That's one thing manager Matt Williams says he never has to worry about: Roark will be ready when called upon. "It just doesn't matter to him what the role is," the manager said. "He's anxious to get the ball whenever we can give it to him. It doesn't matter if it's one inning or five innings."  (Jackson - mlb.com - 5/25/2015)

  • Tanner and his wife had their second child, baby girl Kennedy Grey. (Emert - mlb.com - 6/21/2015)

  • January 2017: Roark committed to play for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

  • March 24, 2017: Tanner has played in the postseason, and he said the atmosphere in the World Baseball Classic matched that intensity. Roark returned to Nationals camp fresh off Team USA's championship run in the Classic and raved about his experiences. He pointed specifically to their matchup against the Dominican Republic in Miami, which will go down as one of the best games in the history of the Classic, as one of the experiences he enjoyed the most.

    "I think the game in Miami was by far the loudest game I've ever been a part of," Roark said. "And coming in with a runner on first, it was absolutely insane. It was the loudest. And the dome was open. I can imagine if it was closed, how much louder it was with drums and horns. Every pitch . . . it was crazy."

    Roark did get considerable in-game action considering he got the start for Team USA in the championship round game against Japan. But the Nats capped him at 50 pitches, which he turned into four efficient, scoreless innings, after he had not faced live hitters in the nine days leading up to that start. And even though he struggled in his 1 1/3 innings against the Dominican Republic, Roark credits that experience for teaching him how to stay calm during big moments.

    "I think the Dominican game helped me relax a lot more, too," Roark said. "Just to breathe. If you don't breathe, you die. It's crazy, but it's true if you think about it. If you get up there and you don't breathe normally, you can't focus. You can't do all the right stuff. That's what helped out." (J Collier - MLB.com - March 25, 2017)

  • June 1, 2018: When the weather warms up, it means it's time to go outside and play—as Tanner Roark and his 8-year-old daughter, Madison did. Tanner's backyard baseball game with his daughter was slapstick comedy gold. Their game of choice, unsurprisingly, was a two-person game of baseball ... and it's clear Madison's a ringer. MLB.com's Jamal Collier pointed out that Roark was showing this video around the Washington clubhouse, as he's clearly pretty proud of the highlight clip. Just a textbook swing by young Madison, who, you may recall, visited her dad at his job and wrote up the Nats' lineup card a couple years back:

    Roark not fielding his position cleanly is an outlier as far as his skills on the mound are concerned. After all, he's known much more for this sort of thing than what transpired in his backyard with Madison. But then again, she just made some really good contact. The summer months are for making memories, and the Roarks certainly did with this backyard baseball game. (A Garro - MLB.com - June 1, 2018)

  • September 16, 2018: Roark's wife Amanda  gave birth to their third child and first son, Eli.

  • December 12, 2018: The Reds and Nationals pulled off a deal of righthanders, with starter Tanner Roark heading to Cincinnati in exchange for reliever Tanner Rainey. If you're like most people, you probably heard about this deal and wondered (either to yourself or aloud, whichever is your style) if this was the first Tanner-for-Tanner trade in MLB history. Turns out, that's exactly the case.

    Five players with the first name of Tanner have played in the majors in MLB history, and two of them were just traded for each other. Roark and Rainey comprise 40 percent of the five Tanners to appear at the MLB level in league history. The others—Tanner Scheppers, Tanner Scott and Tanner Anderson are the other three—have not been traded for each other, so this is a big deal. (A Garro - MLB.com - December 12, 2018)

            TRANSACTIONS

  • March 2008: Roark signed with independent Southern Illinois of the Frontier League.

  • June 2008: He signed with the Rangers after they chose him in the 25th round of the draft, out of the University of Illinois. 

  • July 30, 2010: The Nationals sent 2B Cristian Guzman and cash to the Rangers, acquiring Roark.

  • January 13, 2017: Tanner and the Nats avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year, $4.3 million contract.

  • January 12, 2018: Tanner and the Nationals avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million.

  • December 12, 2018:  The Nats traded Roark to the Reds for RHP Tanner Rainey.

  • January 11, 2019: Roark and the Reds avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $10 million.

  • July 31, 2019: The Reds traded Roark to the A's.

  • October 31, 2019: Tanner chose free agency.

  • December 11, 2019: The Blue Jays and Tanner agreed to a two-year deal for $24 million.
Pitching
  • Roark has an 89-95 mph four-seam FASTBALL and an 86-90 mph two-seam SINKER. Tanner has an 88-90 mph CUTTER. He also has a 75-78 mph CURVEBALL, an 84-87 mph SLIDER, and an 83-85 mph CHANGEUP.

  • 2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 17.4% of the time; Sinker 44.8% of the time; Change 10.1%; Slider 14.9%; Curve 12.7%; and Cutter .2% of the time.

    2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 20.4% of the time; Sinker 36.1% of the time; Change 11.9%; Slider 14.7%; Curve 15.1%; and Cutter 1.8% of the time.

    2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 19.3% of the time; Sinker 40%; Change 12.1%; Slider 12.5%; his Curve 14%; and his Cutter 2.2% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 92.1 mph, Sinker 91.8, Change 83.9, Slider 85.5, Curve 75.2, and Cutter 89.8 mph.

    2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 25.3% of the time; Sinker 30.4%; Change 9.7%; Slider 17.4%; his Curve 12.9%; and his Cutter 4.3% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 92.4 mph, Sinker 92.2, Change 84.4, Slider 86.2, Curve 76, and Cutter 88.2 mph.

    2020 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 33
    .5% of the time; Sinker 19.8%; Change 13.4%; Slider 15%; his Curve 14.8%; and his Cutter 3.6% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 91.2 mph, Sinker 90.8, Change 81.4, Slider 84.3, Curve 73.5, and Cutter 86.9 mph.

  • August 7, 2013 Major League debut: The 26-year-old Roark certainly made his family proud, overcoming nerves and ignoring the crowd to allow just one hit over two scoreless innings.

    "It was great," he said. "It's exciting. Very nerve-wracking. All in all, I'll take it."

    Tanner also made one of the most impressive plays of the game with one on and one out in the sixth. After Braves starter Kris Medlen popped a bunt straight into the air, Roark lunged, caught the ball, and threw to first base for the inning-ending double play.

  • Tanner says he has no preference for starting or relieving. "As long as I'm up on the mound and I can compete and pitch, that's all I worry about," he said.

  • In 2013, Roark pitched with a different mind-set and really put his pitching game together. He maintained focus and his preparation for the game was excellent. He was really very locked in. And he did not shy away from contact, pitching fearlessly.

    Plus, Tanner was the 2013 King of the Called Strike. In 2013, hitters swung at 54.8 percent of the pitches he threw in the strike zone, according to FanGraphs. Alone, that means nothing. With context, it amazes. In 2013, no pitcher who threw at least 50 innings coerced hitters to take a greater percentage of pitches in the strike zone than Roark.

    “I never noticed,” Roark said. “That’s a cool stat.”

    Tanner's called-strike exploits may only be statistical noise gleaned from a small sample size. But it seems more likely the number of called strikes Roark earned revealed something about his style. Trained eyes could tell his stuff confused hitters.

    “Guys got a lot of bad takes against him," teammate Jayson Werth said.

    In 2013, Roark began throwing his two-seam fastball with great effectiveness and frequency. From the pitcher’s perspective, the pitch moves down and left to right. He improved the movement and control of the pitch. Against righthanded hitters, he could start the pitch outside the plate and make it dart over the corner. To lefties, he would throw the pitch at their hip and watch it swing back over the plate.

    “It’s deceiving,” Roark said. “I feel like I’m getting better late movement, because my mechanics have gotten better. I’m just staying through the ball well. Also, I’ve become more educated about the game, watching hitters, how they react to certain pitches. That’s a big thing, too."

    Roark also developed a feel for changing his delivery. From the stretch especially, Roark can vary his motion. On some pitches, Roark takes a particularly quick step to disrupt a hitter’s timing. The ball seems to surprise the hitter—by the time he wants to swing, it has already gone over the plate.  (Adam Kilgore - Washington Post - 3/25/2014)

  • 2018 Improvements: Keeping it simple is what Roark said he is trying to accomplish. He has a tendency to get too pumped up and rock back on his windup, throwing off balance.

    "Stuff gets out of whack, so now I'm just standing already sideways on the rubber going forwards, backwards. It's kind of like a momentum thing," Roark said. "I've seen pitchers do it, and I wanted to try it and see how I felt. Simple is always better."

    Roark used to stand on the rubber and face the hitter when no one was on base. He would turn and lean and reach back before delivering. Now, he stands with his back foot on the rubber, as he might in the stretch, comes set, and steps laterally back with his front foot before loading over the rubber and pushing forward. In other words, he is now using a modified (and simplified) wind-up.

  • April 13, 2019: When the Reds had an off-day to enjoy in Monterrey, Mexico, their starting pitcher vs. the Cardinals had one fundamental work-related issue. Tanner Roark needed to throw—his usual ritual the day before a start—but the team was not going to Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey until game day. No problem. Roark found a spot at the team hotel. He and Sean Marohn, the club’s strength and conditioning director, long-tossed inside a courtyard.

    “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Roark said. “I always feel like I have to—if I have a start and there’s a day off, I have to throw just to get moving around. It was a week since I threw. You got to keep things loose.”

    Tanner decided that the hotel courtyard was much more scenic than a bullpen. #MéxicoSeries

    Roark and Marohn were not unlike kids playing catch in a neighborhood. Unlike a bullpen or outfield, there were plenty of windows that could get smashed around the courtyard if they weren’t careful.

    “That was the lucky spot, and I was able to throw,” Roark said. “I told Marohn not to miss the ball, and I made sure he was by a wall, so no glass was broken. The first couple of throws are always iffy. You don’t know where they’re going sometimes.” (M Sheldon - MLB.com - April 14, 2019)

  • June 8, 2019: Roark gets 800th K and throws 1,000th inning.

  • December 18, 2019: Roark’s first taste of free agency couldn’t have gone better.  Toronto was the first club that reached out to Roark as he entered the process, and the one that came away with a new addition to its rotation.

    “They knew what they wanted and they wanted me,” Roark said. “And it was exciting to have someone want you like that. This is my first time through free agency, so it’s pretty exciting and I’m excited.”

    Roark had been a target for the Blue Jays throughout the free-agent process because of his durability and reliability, something the club covets after a season that saw them roll out 21 starters, including plenty of young rookies and openers. Roark, 33, has made 30 or more starts in each of the past four seasons, posting a 3.99 ERA over that span.

    “What keeps me on the field is I work hard,” Roark said. “It can be a long, arduous season, repetitive travel-wise, the mental part of it can just crush you. But working hard and doing what you need to do to prepare yourself for every fifth day, that’s the biggest thing. The stuff in between the starts is the real work. The fifth day is the actual enjoyment of it all, of all the work that you put in those previous four days and then you’re rewarded with the start, to go out there and hopefully kick some butt.” (K Matheson & A Brudnicki - MLB.com - December 18, 2019)

  • At the beginning of the 2021 season, Tanner had a record of 76-67 with an ERA of 3.83.  He had given up 140 home runs and 1,107 hits in 1,148 innings.
Fielding
  • Roark is extremely quick, exhibiting impressive range. Tanner is a true athlete who just happens to be a pitcher.
Career Injury Report
  • None.