With Jason Parks leaving, the prospect team is rearranging, but remains more ambitious than ever.
Sometimes I forget how truly fortunate I am to work in baseball. I quit hearing the sound of the crack of the bat or the pop of the glove. I become numb to the smell of the freshly cut grass, the sound of the organ, and the roar of the crowd as the home team walks off with a win. Because, you see, not unlike many of you, my primary responsibility is to look ahead. My job is create the vision for a company and try to improve on what we have, build on what’s been developed, and help bring new and innovative content to an audience that demands it every day. So, yes, while I still get to a few dozen games a year, enjoy the warmth of Arizona after a long winter in New York, and watch countless games on MLB.TV, there are times when the game right now, at this instant, is not at the forefront of my mind.
But what I never, ever forget are the people I get to work with…the readers, the fans, the players, scouts, front offices, media colleagues, and of course, the staff here at Baseball Prospectus. When I first sat down to write this piece, my intention was to thank Jason Parks and introduce our transition plan for the BP prospect team. I will cover those topics shortly, but forgive me for a moment if I stray.
In the prospect world, we like to use the term helium for a player whose fictitious stock is rising fast, and perhaps no player in the minors had more helium this year than Dilson Herrera. His promotion to the majors serves as the culmination of an incredibly fast journey through three levels in the Mets system (and skipping over one).
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Updates on Michael Taylor, Victor Arano, Daniel Norris, and others.
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A look at Lucas Giolito in Lakewood brought back memories from 2012.
Lakewood is not what you expect when you think of minor-league towns. Just off a main road not far from a recently rebuilt Jersey Shore, Lakewood is not small town America. It’s overcrowded New Jersey, within commuting distance of our nation's biggest city, a place where it's go big or go home. It's not the kind of place you expect to see perspective-altering performances from 19-year-old kids in A-ball.
Time heals all wounds, but in Washington's case, it will also inflict them.
You’d think Bryce Harper’s comeback from his latest long-term injury would be cause for unbridled celebration, and in some contexts, it has been (see the standing ovation Harper received from the fans at Nationals Park before his first plate appearance on Monday). However, the 21-year-old outfielder’s return also been cause for consternation. Harper’s presence, coupled with Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing problems from third, have given the Nats more qualified position players than they have open positions, which has made everyone around the team wonder: Where will they put their surplus player(s)?
Most teams suffer from the opposite issue—too few productive players—so the Nationals’ quandary is an example of the proverbial “good problem to have.” Still, it seems as though there’s no easy answer, and so the discussion has staying power. Twice last month, two weeks apart, I appeared on MLB Network’s MLB Now; both times, Washington’s positional logjam was a featured topic, and both times, the panel was split over what manager Matt Williams should do. The discourse in print hasn’t been much more decisive.
The Nationals move into first place, Cole Hamels and Tyson Ross duel in Philly, plus more from Wednesday and previews for today.
The Wednesday Takeaway
Nationals starting pitchers have issued four walks over their last 10 games. Combined. That’s four walks in 71 innings and just one in their last 54. Giants starter Matt Cain walked four Nats in the first inning of last night’s game alone, including the first three who stepped into the box.
Jayson Werth hasn't been, as predicted, the worst signing of the 2010 offseason. Does he have a case for being the best?
When the Nationals signed Jayson Werth to a seven-year deal worth $126 million, back in winter 2010, the expectation was that they would come to regret the decision.
The reasons were obvious. Werth was a 31-year-old corner outfielder who was closer to good than elite. Moreover, the Nationals were closer to bad than average. Washington had gone five years since its most recent .500 effort, and in the previous season had won just 69 games. True, the Nats had an impressive array of young talent climbing the organizational depth chart, but it seemed Werth would be in his mid-30s and on the decline by the time those kids matured. All those variables factored into a rival general manager telling Ken Rosenthal that the deal was “Absolutely bat[flipping] crazy.”