Something I Never Thought I’d See

May 28, 2009

I’m not talking about the home run calls – another questionable call that went against the Nats. I’m not talking about how MLB.com said of last night’s game, “Santana dominates” due to his 11 Ks. I seem to remember seeing 6 BB and 3 ER in only 6 IP. That’s a 4.50 ERA, by the way, the very minimum of a quality start. That qualifies for dominant these days? Ok whatever.

No, I’m talking about how Cristian Guzman took a bases loaded walk yesterday from Johan Santana. That happened? Really? Going in to last night’s game, of the 171 players with 150 or more PAs this season, Christan Guzman was tied for last place in the league with 2 BBs. Johan Santana is 15th among active pitchers in the majors in lowest walks per nine innings.

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So Long Daniel, Is Nick Next?

May 27, 2009

On Trading Nick

According to everyone everywhere, the Mets are interested in trading for Nick Johnson. They’re not the only team, but with the loss of Delgado and their need to make the playoffs before everyone gets too old and they have to lean on a pretty barren farm system, they may be the frontrunners. According to Yahoo, there are actually some names associated with this trade, other than Johnson and Omar Minaya. These names include Jon Niese, Mike Antonini, Eddie Kunz and Bobby Parnell.

Parnell is the only even slightly established major leaguer. He’s 24 and has pitched great so far. This year he’s had 19 2/3 relief innings, a 2.29 ERA, 22 H, 9 BB and 16 K. He was the Mets #5 prospect according to Baseball America. They like his “heavy” fastball alot, saying he may have 3 plus pitches, and mention that if the Mets didn’t sign K-Rod he’d be a good candidate for closer. Baseball Prospectus ranked him at #9, seeing him as more of a potential set-up man. Also, both mention his fastball tops out at 97 mph, although Yahoo said he hit 100 on the gun in Fenway last weekend.

Kunz, the other guy ranked in both, falls in at #10 for both BA and BP. Read the rest of this entry »


Fixing the Nats

May 26, 2009

Tim Kurkjian wrote an article on Friday talking about how the Nats might actually have a future. Funny thing is, I was thinking all last week about ways to improve the team. Seriously, I was. Timmy didn’t steal my thunder by publishing a roadmap to the fix (other than wait for people to come up, trade Nick Johnson), he was talking more about the bright spots there now. I figured I’d take care of the roadmap by putting my thoughts on paper. Er, on screen. So, diving right in, is it possible to fix them? Well, not this year. The team can hit, and I still think there is a certain amount of correction in that bullpen, but they’re not a winning team. They could be, though, and one of the big reasons is their starting pitching. The young rotation is strong, and assuming they get Strasburg, it should look something like this going in to 2010:

Don’t get hung up on the order, that is more based on potential than how good they are now. In fact, if Detwiler continues to develop, the #6 overall pick in ’07 probably has more pure stuff than Zimmermann. Anyway, they have the starters. They also have the hitting. Currently 3rd in the NL in runs scored, they aren’t having problems on that end. But they need to take a few steps to make them more of a winner, and it can be done this offseason without sacrificing any of “the plan” to develop young talent from within:

  1. Spend $10 million and get a real bullpen. People say this is harder than it looks, and I’m sure it is. But there are guys out there that can throw. Some potential free agents are Kiko Calero, Octavio Dotel, Mike Gonzalez, John Grabow, Ron Mahay, Fernando Rodney, Scott Schoeneweis, Jose Valverde… there’s more than that, too. They need to get the right guys, but I submit that it can be done. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Roundup (And One More All Star Candidate)

May 22, 2009

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s plea to notice that there are Nats playing well, here is where you can actually vote for All Stars:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2009/ballot_reg.html

I just voted myself. Not for myself. That would be disingenuous.

Craig Stammen had a nice start yesterday. Not spectacular in the end, but if he was 21, he would have been taken out after the 6th inning and looked alot better. Of course if he was 21 and did that everyone would have been much more excited. Still, he pitched well, and looks to be a decent spot starter. And once the rotation fills out, isn’t that guy worthy of a shot at the bullpen? I mean, he throws strikes, that’s more than most of them can say.

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Vote Milledge? How ’bout Vote Zimmerman?

May 21, 2009

As you may have read last week, there are people out there who really want to vote Lastings Milledge in to the All Star game. Regardless of the reason – embarrassing the Nats, thinking it would hamper the NL in the game, just because it’s funny, I’m not gonna judge. If people want to do it, go right ahead. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work anyway. But I’m more concerned with getting in the guys who deserve to go. It’s a great personal accomplishment to get voted to the All Star game. Not only is it something that players are proud of, it helps them negotiate their salaries later on, and when they retire and are considered for the Hall of Fame, “number of All Star appearances” is always part of the application. So here are a few players who, in my opinion, genuinely deserve a vote, or at least consideration for it. I’m not going with alot of prose here, just the facts, and stats (up to yesterday: 5/20) compared to the competition – other players in the NL vying for the same spot.

Ryan Zimmerman – 0 All Star Appearances

.358/.416/.624, 10 HRryanzim
59 Hits  – 1st in the NL
34 Runs – Tied for 1st in the NL
.358 AVG – 5th in the NL
.624 SLG – 3rd in the NL
1.040 OPS – 4th in the NL

Rankings Among NL Third Basemen:
R – 1st (34)
H – 1st (59)
2B – 1st (14)
HR – 1st (10)
RBI – 1st (31)

AVG – 2nd (.358)
OBP – 3rd (.416)
SLG – 1st (.624)
OPS – 1st (1.040)

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Nats Plan to Draft for Realsies

May 20, 2009

The draft is coming up, and thanks to ineptitude (finishing in last place and not signing Crow) the Nats are the first team ever to have 2 of the first 10 picks. Alot of people, including those at Baseball America, thought that maybe the Nats would look to save some money with their 2nd pick. After all, some are saying that it might take $50 M to sign Strasburg. Well according to Jim Callis at BA, that aint the case:

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo contacted Baseball America to say that talent would be the only consideration for that latter pick, which won’t be protected by compensation a second time.

“We do not have to take a signability pick,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to take the best guy. We’re going to have 10 names up there on the board, and we’ll take one we like.”

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Manny Sees a Reason to Smile

May 19, 2009

Go ahead, dwell on the bullpen blowup. Talk about the bad defense. I’m over it. It’s happened too many times for it to be news, or even the slightest surprise. This isn’t a playoff team, and while those kinds of things are upsetting, they are easier to fix then… say… building a solid starting rotation. That’s why I’m much more interested in something else that happened last night. Something that might answer the question, “why is this man smiling?”

Manny Smile

It’s simple really…

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The Future Continues Tonight

May 18, 2009

Jordan Zimmermann hasn’t been pitching well (6.35 ERA), although his peripherals suggest that he has good stuff (K/BB: 2.91/1). But he’s up to take his lumps, figure out how to pitch to major league hitters (and pitch well in the first inning), and get himself ready to be a factor next year. Shairon Martis is pitching well, is somehow 5-0 on this team, and has shown that he is further along in development, even if Zimmermann’s got the higher ceiling. Strasburg isn’t on the team yet. In terms of young pitchers who may be part of the rotation in the future, one big name remains: Ross Detwiler.

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Congratulations are in Order

May 14, 2009

Yesterday was a rough day in the life of a Washington sports fan. May 13th, the Day of DC Sports Disappointment. Zimmerman’s hit streak has ended – which means the next time you’ll hear about the Nats on national news coverage will be June 9th. Then again a break until Strasburg signs. And of course, there was that other Washington team that also didn’t fare too well.  Some remarkable things came to an end yesterday, and after the initial lament, they are worth celebrating.

Ryan Zimmerman

Over the course of his 30 game hitting streak, Zim collected 50 hits. 19 of them were for extra bases – 11 doubles and 8 HRs. He hit .382/.427/.649, didn’t steal a base, struck out 23 times, scored 26 Runs and had 26 RBIs. His team went 10-19, and had a tie game that still hasn’t been decided. He brought national attention to the Nationals, and with that attention, I’ve seen more and more acknowledgment of several things.

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Back to the Future (of the Nats Pitching)

May 13, 2009

This gets revisted often, probably too often. But when you’re the worst pitching staff in the NL, it’s hard not to look down at the farm system to see how people are doing. Also, my assertion that with Zimmermann and Strasburg, you’ve gotta finding a third top flight pitcher would mean they could suddenly get very good pretty quick. Regardless, it’s also nice to see who might come up and pitch effectively, even if it’s not at the level of an ace. There’s news that the management has had a conversation with Cabrera, who knows what that means, but for now he’s still in the rotation. And, news flash, the bullpen continues to suck. So even though I’ve looked at this recently, let’s look at the latest numbers from some of these youngsters.

Ross Detwiler (AA)

Detwiler is potentially the top flight guy. At least he was drafted as such – the 23 year old was drafted 6th overall in the 2007 draft – and he’s a power arm lefty. He had a poor 2008 in the minors, although his second half showed promise. His stat this season are starting to look nice, despite not having a single win. In 27 1/3 IP, he’s got a 2.96 ERA, 28 H, 10 BB and 28 K. But he really struggled in one start. Not that you can do this, but take it out and his ERA plummets to 1.45. His periferals suggest he isn’t dominating at AA, he is giving up too many hits and walking too many. But he’s looking like he may be ready for AAA relatively soon, sooner than most thought coming in to 2009.

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