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It only seems like Haren is pitching against the Nationals, but in fact he was facing the Cards last night.
Statistical arguments aside (I know, non-stats based arguments seem ill-fitting here), is there a player in all of baseball more driven to excel than Harper? If effort, preparation, intensity, drive, etc. count for anything, he may well exceed even optimistic predictions for his 2013 season.
Sleeper - Wilson Ramos
Wow, a 10 game regression for the Nats. Guess that's payback for beating the stuffing out of the 2012 projection.
The NL scout critical of the Soriano signing should consider that Storen is not being displaced in the Nats' pen, but rather whoever the weakest member might be - H-Rod perhaps? And for a team that has few obvious weaknesses, the 'pen was one where improvement was possible.
The Nats rotation is almost fully comprised of of six-and-out guys. Every member of the 'pen will be fully utilized and Drew will likely get even more high leverage opportunities than when in the close role full-time.
I would think that showing the greater metro area population would be more meaningful than that of the immediate political entity in play.
For example, while Norfolk may only have 242,628, the greater Virigina Beach/Norfolk/Newport News area is overall the 36th largest metro area with 1,671,683.
I saw Manny plenty as a Nats fan, and it was clear to me that he failed to inspire passion. His calm, inward demeanor simply doesn't permit him to push the right buttons to motivate players to give maximum effort. And if the other team is playing harder than your team, you have an uphill climb.
Lannan in his debut in Strasburg's rotation spot - 5.2 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, no runs.
One point of clarification - Zimmermann is the reference point for Strasburg's innings limit. Zimmerman plays third base and presumably not under any innings limit.
I don't know if "happy" is the right term, but as a Nats season ticket holder I appreciate the club has clearly and consistently communicated its intentions from the start of the season, and stuck by its own best judgement.
He is expected to make two more starts, then be shut down until 2013 spring training.
"...in September the team may have to weigh its 2012 title hopes against the future of its pitching rotation."
Obviously this is where we find ourselves today.
Doug, do you have any more recent observations of Stras' delivery that might indicate fatigue or lack thereof?
Zimmermann (two n's)has been experiencing some shoulder discomfort, though there's no indication at present the Nats plan to do anything other than offer early relief in games and perhaps an occasional extra day off, given the flexibility they have in their remaining schedule.
Any of the "creative" ideas for what the Nats could have done to have Strasburg available to them in the playoffs (short of ignoring medical advice and their judgement on his overall limits) invariably involve reducing innings pitched during the regular season, and reserving them for a playoff opportunity.
Of course, having Stras in the rotation from the beginning of the year is one of the significant drivers in getting the Nats to where they are today. Just how were they to get to his point in the season 4 games up for the division, without his full effort season to date?
Perhaps if the Nats' pitchers stopped getting on base, they could improve their team baserunning stats.
2012 Astros, meet 2009 Nats.
Really cool, thanks!
Nice to see Clippard and Stammen get some love.
A couple of additional observations regarding common threads between the Donnelly ejection in 2005 and last night's game - The umpire in both contests was Tim Tschida, and the final pitcher for the Angels in 2005, throwing 2/3 of an inning, was Joel Peralta.
The Donnelly incident was fueled by Jose Guillen's contempt for his former club, and featured bench clearing discussions and a dramatic 2 run homer later by Guillen. As I recall Guillen said later he believed Donnelly had a file in his glove, though only pine tar was found. As the protest was being made by manager Frank Robinson, Donnelly paid a quick visit to the 2nd baseman, and if he had a file he had a brief window to pass it off.
Last night's affair was tame by comparison.
He was protecting his teammated from substandard product
The Nats are now projected at 88.0 wins versus the Braves at 87.8, and yet the Braves playoff odds are 66.9% vs 61.8% for the Nats. How can this be possible?
Hilarious. 4-wheel drive is probably going to remain a niche dimension of fielding, though, as long as the global warming thing keeps snow games at bay.
The HR he smoked off Tommy Hanson in the 1st inning yesterday is going to improve on that 42nd fastest off the bat mark. What a rocket.
Worth noting that the Nats would have had six in the top 101 if not for dealing 3 for Gio Gonzalez.
Ah, thanks. I thought I must have been missing something.
I'm thinking that giving Matt Stairs 250 PA's for the Nats this year was just a way of finding out if any Nats followers are paying attention. I would be stunned if an Indy team gave him that kind of playing time, and I am 100% sure he gets zero PA's with the Nats this year.
You don't sign Jackson for $10m if you really believe you have nothing to lose. Sure, the lineup is still weak but the pitching gets better seemingly by the day.
It will interesting to see the PECOTA projections when they come out next week. This is a 2011 80 win team that is on the improve and this (and the Lidge) signing says - "we think we can win now".
Marrero suffered a torn hamstring and isn't projected to return until around mid-season, so the issue with who starts at Syracuse (Moore vs. Marrero) is resolved for the time being.
Non-sustainability really hasn't served the Marlins so poorly throughout their history. Two W.S. titles in their short history is pretty impressive.
Now KC, or Pittsburgh - those are sustainable models.
Rendon will be kept in the Florida Instructional League at least initially, to build arm strength and work on his throwing motion, as reported by The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore today. The Nats have designated infielder Zach Walters to take his place.
I guess I'm one of those low IQ types too, because I'm pretty excited to be headed with my family down to Pfitzner Stadium this Friday to catch the Potomac Nationals in action. We've got great seats behind home plate at $10ea, it's Ian Desmond Bobblehead Night, Destin Hood's ripping the cover off the ball, and, oh yeah, Stephen Strasburg is going to pitch up to 3 innings.
Would I be smarter if I stayed home? If I didn't check the spelling of his name before posting? Honestly, I don't really care. See ya at the Pfitz.
First time in the history of the list that the Nats have ranked above where their raw record would put them?
He's got a thin skin, and he's being baited by opposing teams relentlessly. Still, a reminder that it's more than his offensive prowess that will dictate when he progresses to the next level. His defense, and his maturity, also need further development.
Morgan vs the Marlins, 9-1-2010. There is so much going on here I don't know where to start. Maybe in the middle? After Morgan bowled over Marlins catcher Brett Hayes the night before (injuring Hayes in a clean, but very physical play), Chris Volsted plunked Morgan in the 4th inning. Apparently if plunked, you are supposed to go quietly to first base, but Morgan taunted the Marlins by promptly stealing 2nd AND 3rd. Volsted then later threw behind Morgan, Morgan charged the mound and the melee ensued. Highly entertaining stuff, strongly recommend the video, but keep in mind there was a lot going on before the fight itself.
Note that Morgan had his first homer of the this season June 4, off of.....Chris Volsted. Huge history there.
The incident didn't quite rise to the level of Jose Guillen's episode with the Angels in 2005, nor Nyjer Morgan's taking on the Marlins in 2010, but when the D-Backs come to DC later this season there may be unfinished business.
Longtime Nats fans (if there is such a thing) remember well that it was really the D-Backs' Lance Cormier who started it all on the home opener at RFK in 2005 when he intentionally plunked Vinnie Castilla, who committed the offense of having had a homer, triple and double before his at-bat vs. Cormier.
June 30 to July 5? Maybe this is the PECOTA quotes section I've stumbled into here.
What does Michael Morse have to do to get on the radar screen at 1st? Perhaps surgery for LaRoche will get it done.
Espinosa appears to be adjusting quite nicely, including being the only player to homer off both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee this year.
An understandable mistake. If you knew the Giants scored only 2 runs, while walking 9 Nats (including 4 in one inning) in addition to hitting 3 more batters, you would pretty much assume the Nats had won the game.
Fortunately for the Expos, they have a really nice core of top talent - Sizemore, Lee, Phillips, who they can build around for the next decade and who will attract fans excited to see such great skills on display.
It doesn't matter if the ballpark is actually drab or not. It's the Nationals, and throwing in a gratuitous insult or two is de rigueur. Plenty of other parks are no better, but Goldman's references are more about earning a few snickers with a cheap shot, or three in this case, than they are about informing and educating readers.
Matt, I have a small question - which Beltway do you refer to in your article title?
For those not familiar with the region, Baltimore and Washington each have their own "beltway", and they do not intersect.
So the argument is that the Nats signed Werth (or a top free agent TBD) a year or two too early? Perhaps, but I think the Nats simply viewed him as a relatively long term solution to a position of need, a player good enough to win with when other complimentary players are ready to contribute. The Werth signing alone will not prevent them from further augmenting the roster with outside talent when they appear poised to compete.
Signing Werth was never about winning in 2011, nor would meeting Rizzo's goal of getting a top of the rotation starter via trade have been about 2011 either. But Werth should still be a well above average player in 2012-2014, when emerging prospects Espinosa, Norris, Ramos, Marrero, Harper and Stras may well give the Nats a core they can win with.
I'm not sure why Werth wouldn't be able to keep his beard, just as Guzman, Young and others before him have. Sure enough, he arrived at the Nats' spring training home in Viera with it coming in strong. Maybe worth a bump past the Giants to 14th?
It was revealed today that Werth has a full no-trade clause in his contract.
I would have thought Steve Lombardozzi would have made at least the "nine more" list. In all however, very well done. I've seen a number of those players at Potomac and your overall assessments, the good, and the bad, seem to be on the mark.
On Jesus Flores, does anyone think he'll ever be able to throw well enough to catch again?
With regards the Lannan discussion, not sure what all that's about. The only Rodriguez on the Nats roster is Pudge, are we to see some comparability between what Pudge negotiated with Houston in 2009, to Lannan with the Nats two years later? Something doesn't make sense here.
Arguments for trading players at the deadline usually presume that the offered packages are superior to what the team might net from a few more months of the player, plus draft picks if the player's offered arbitration. We heard similar shrill criticism of the Nats when they failed to dump Soriano a few years ago, instead offering arbitration and signing Jordan Zimmermann as one of the two compensatory picks. Fans never hear what great prospects a team could have had instead, so presumably you have some inside knowledge of what the Nats didn't get? Else, how can you conclude they should have dealt Dunn?
As for the knowledge expressed by the fans around you, presumably these were not the ones who bussed down from the Philly area (killing kegs en-route) and I trust you were treated at least as civilly as an opposing fan might be treated in Philly, a reasonably attainable threshold.
Hammer's still under club control for another year, his last for arbitration.
Hey, what about me? I'm almost ready!
- Ross Detwiler
No discussion of what a team drafting him in 2011 might offer? If he thinks he's going to get a better deal from the Orioles, Astros, or Pirates, and is willing to sacrifice a year of earnings ability to get it, then by all means go for it.
If not, Aaron Crow II?
Will, regarding the Nats being potential buyers despite being out of contention, is it too early to forecast them being out of the race? This morning's playoff odds report has them at a 20.86% chance of making the playoffs. I would have to conclude as of today, at least, the Nats are clearly IN contention.
While hitters may view bases as incremental progress on the way to scoring, Livan views them as useful holding areas where he can stash batters he would prefer not confronting directly, while he sifts through the lineup looking for better opportunities. He simply has no qualms whatsoever about pitching around certain hitters to get to those he'd rather face, and walks are an inevitable byproduct of this strategy.
It is 100% certain that Jason Maxwell will not be on the Nationals roster opening day, nor at all this season. Jason has not played in the majors since the 2001 season with the Twins.
On the other hand, Justin Maxwell at least stands an outside chance of being called up to the Nats this year, if he can start making contact with the ball.
There have been faint rumblings out of the Nats' organization (ie unattributed comments) as to potentially trying Storen out as a starter, but he's been groomed as a closer since college and is on record as saying he's very comfortable in that role. It's also possible the Nats selected Drew at least in small part because of positional need. On a weak team last season, the bullpen stood out for its futility.
Sounds like the kid's really got his head on right. I particularly enjoyed his rejection of the typical expectation that "wouldn't you really rather play for the Yankees?"
Could it be that playing for a "winner" does not make one so? Or, that contributing to turning a team around is a greater achievement than riding the coattails of the already successful? Novel ideas, to be sure.
Regarding the Nats' Flores, he's reportedly not even able to throw 60' yet, so it unfortunately looks like the Nats are set at catcher with Pudge and Nieves for the foreseeable future.
Olsen is also nowhere near 100%, though he would presumably join the team if and when he's back to full speed. The sad truth is that both of these guys' careers are on the precipice.
Will, in an article in the Wash Post this morning by Chico Harlan, Jesus Flores seems quite unhappy with the chain of events that led him to ultimately have surgery for a SLAP tear to his throwing shoulder. Any thoughts on Flores and how the Nats' medical staff handled his situation?
"Flores questioned why the Nationals, headed by team doctor Wiemi Douoguih, failed to initially detect the labrum injury.
"Stupid," he said. "You're the doctor. You tell me one thing, and it was labrum. . . . I was getting worse every day; I wasn't getting better. And I was telling them, 'Hey, I'm not feeling good. Something is in there, something is in there.' And they kept saying, 'Don't worry; don't worry, you're gonna be fine. It's tendinitis, it's tendinitis.' Then they send me to Dr. Andrews. He wanted to see the MRI [exams], X-rays, everything, instead of just moving your arm around."
Peter, Hondo only played in Griffith as a visitor, for his entire Nats career the team called RFK home. Still, your point remains valid, RFK was also not a home run friendly park. Nonetheless, Howard is reported to have hit 24 HR to the upper deck in his career there.
Many is the Nats fan who has been fortunate enough to run into Hondo around town, and you get the same guy who we hear in this interview - warm, generous to a fault, eminently approachable, and genuinely appreciative of the fan adoration he so richly has earned.
How did Hondo enhance his performance? In his words, "How can you wheel that lumber tomorrow if you don't pound that Budweiser tonight?"
I would have thought that 2nd baseman Adam Kennedy would have made this edition, bumping Guzman back to SS and Ian Desmond to either a utility role or AAA.
I would also think that the chances of Logan Kensing actually seeing the inside of Nats Park this summer are between slim and none. If he does, however, the 75 win projection is wildly over-optimistic.
I knew the Nats' hot start wouldn't last, from 82 wins to 76 in only a week, how the mighty have fallen.
Of course 76 wins seems a lot more reasonable, and it's clear there's been quite a bit of cleanup work, including a bullpen update for new players (and bye bye Ron Villone).
One doubt I have - Willie Harris has never attained close to 544 PA's nor a VORP of +21.1. Over the last three years he's averaged 403 PA's and his last two years, his best, has VORP of +10.8 and +10.6. Just can't see getting that much out of him.
I will also add that I'd be very surprised if Ron Villone were brought back. Perhaps he's a replacement level placeholder?
As a Nats fan, I think this looks great!
However, the realist in my notes that 2009's team severely underperformed PECOTA. PECOTA seems to undervalue bullpen performance (or lack thereof), and is defense even factored in at all? I'd say there's plenty of downside risk to 82-80, and very little upside.
As things stand now, only two rotation slots are nailed down for the Nats - Lannan and Marquis. That leaves 3 more that are wide open for spring training achievers, which absent another signing would come from Balester, Martis, Martin, Stammen, Chico, or Detwiler. By mid-late season Zimmermann could be ready to return.
If Strasburg dominates spring training, would the Nats bring him north for the start of the season, or would contract or developmental considerations trump milking his arm for all it's got?
Still, the talk show hosts will go on about "how does it feel to know you're going to be a Marlin for the next four years?" They give the politically correct answers, but must know the probable outcome.
Regarding Johnson's announced agreement with the Marlins, if one takes a quick look at his severely back end loaded contract and considers the history of the Marlins, one could surmise that he has at most 2 more seasons as a fish before he'll be dealt. By then, his and Ramirez' also back loaded contract will total more than some recent total Marlins team payrolls have.
It seems to be the commonly shared wisdom that if a team be bad, enough to preclude it from reasonably contending, that any move it should make towards improving (aside from draft, sign and develop) is completely wasted and the sign of a delusional front office, or even one that seeks to delude its fans.
Thank you Christina for so eloquently failing to support that notion. As regards the Nats, the Lerners and the club itself certainly have the resources to put a reasonable product on the field without in any way compromising an aggressive strategy of drafting and developing quality talent.
Riggleman seems unwilling to contrast his managing style from Acta's, but he compares very favorably.
Riggleman addressed fielding woes by implementing regular practice sessions devoted to improving defense. His crisp, efficient in-game roster management was of particular benefit to a beleagured bullpen. And perhaps most importantly, Jim made it clear to each player what expectations were, what their role and responsibilities would be, and held them accountable for effort and results.
The team improved significantly following the change in manager last season, and while roster turnover certainly had some impact, it was obvious that Riggleman brought a consistent, professional approach to managing the club that was previously lacking.
Nano, Nick has 424 PA's already this year, 13th among 1st basemen. Perhaps he's not ready to be called the new "iron man", but what would be the basis for your over/under at 60 more?
Nick's power is way down following his wrist injury, but he still has the eye and the patience at the plate, enough to give Hanley a few more opportunities than he'd otherwise be getting.
A couple of minor corrections for the Nats' analysis; Mattheus doesn't have shoulder issues, rather he's recently undergone Tommy John surgery on his elbow, and Thompson has been pitching in AA this year, not AAA.
Very entertaining, Christina, and the platooning idea for Nick isn\'t too far fetched, if it would keep him off the DL long enough to get a solid offer for him. As a Nats fan, I dream of Dunn and Johnson together for a whole season of glorious torment of opposing pitchers, but know that is just a dream. Sigh.
I often see the Nats taking the draft picks for Soriano (Zimmermann, Smoker)cited as a failure of Bowden, but without knowing what he was offered, how can that judgement be made? The truth is, we are in an era where the value of top prospects is on the ascendancy, and the value of impending free-agent rent-a-players are in decline. Are we so sure that was a management failure?
Thin gruel perhaps, but for Nats fans faced with the increasingly likely prospect of having Anderson Hernandez starting at second base this season, it has been encouraging to see that he\'s continued his tranformation back to being a legitimate prospect, finally having escaped Mets purgatory.
Interesting that you would have Ryan Zimmerman green, given his surgical repair to a small tear in the anterior labrum of his left shoulder. Yes, he came back effectively afterwards, but it would seem to me his very aggressive defensive play, featuring fully extended dives onto his glove side, would render him quite vulnerable to further incident.
Can you conceive of any possible reason the union might oppose relaxation of a rule that expands the marketplace for players?
Regarding Bowden, you said \"the farm system\'s track record for generating talent is getting worse on his watch instead of better\". I find this to be quite debatable. Just a year ago his praises were being sung for having resurrected the BA ranking from 30th to 9th in a single year, on the heels of their #1 rated 2007 draft. Recall the Nats drafted very aggressively, and signed all 20 of their top 20 picks.
Yes, they deserve some blame (Hendricks Bros. really botched this one too) for the failure to sign Crow in 2008, but that pick is deferred, not lost, and all signs (such as remarks made by Kasten and Bowden at Fanfest last weekend) point to them making a full court press effort to draft and sign Strasburg in June.
The farm system was barren when the Lerners bought the team, and it\'s going to take a while for it to be completely flush with talent at all levels. Note the P-Nats high A championship this past season - the lower levels are thriving and that talent is working its way north, and the commitment is in place to secure top talent in the forseeable future.
So Kevin, does McGeary\'s decision to devote full time to baseball starting this season (as revealed in Will Carroll\'s interview with Bowden/Rizzo) have implications for McGeary\'s ranking?
\"Club president Randy Levine told Michael Schmidt of The New York Times that the entire sport benefits when the Yankees go to the ATM. \"
Yeah, I\'m sure the Orioles or Royals or Nats really benefit a lot by being outbid for top talent, that way their fans can just kick back and wait for the Yankees to come into town, and save money they would otherwise spend on watching their own team win.
I\'ve never heard so much sanctimonious BS as what has been spewing forth from NY the last week. Enough already.
\"Catching is often a hot commodity in the Rule 5, but the catchers picked rarely stick.\"
Just an observation, it seems Bowden is so poorly regarded generally that he gets scant credit for his occasional wins, but stealing Jesus Flores from the Mets was an excellent move.
It appears BP is consistent in truncating Jordan Zimmermann\'s final \"n\".
\"The Nationals are finishing up their fourth sub-.500 season since the move\"
The Nats finished 81-81 in their first season in Washington, which is not sub-.500, albeit barely.