Zim Hits #27, Mock Keeps Pitching

August 31, 2009

First, I’ve got to get something out of the way. On Thursday, I left town for a long weekend and Zimmerman hit his 27th HR. I never got the chance to post, so here, a few days late, I’m laying out the next pics in the Zimmerman March to 30 HRs uniform number gallery:

Vlad 27

27.marichal

Mock Continues

Now, back to the team. Actually, to Garrett Mock, who was last night the “hard luck loser” as they like to say. Well, maybe not that hard luck, he only went 6 IP and did give up 2 runs. So it’s not like he dominated, but he pitched pretty good once again.

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Livan, Expos Back

August 27, 2009

Rizzo and Kasten both mentioned they’d be signing a veteran starter to help protect the young arms. I didn’t think it’d be this season, and I certainly didn’t think it’d be Livan Hernandez. Someone who wasn’t good enough to hang with the Mets isn’t going to solidify this rotation much. Meanwhile, Livan is an ex-Expo. I don’t know if being traded away and returning counts, but I don’t like the whole Montreal continuity thing here.

I asked Shawn Hoffman of Baseball Prospectus during his chat about the idea. He doesn’t seem to think this move will pay off, at least not in the win category.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Livan to protect the young pitchers? Does this make sense? Was Rizzo worried that some meatball subs were gonna attack the clubhouse?

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Pictures from Blogger Day

August 26, 2009

Not much to say, Blogger Day II has been blogged about, and pictures have been put up by many others. But I’ve got some, too. Click on any image to view it full size.

Jim Riggleman was there answering questions like we were actually members of the media

Riggleman

-

As were Collin Ballester, Garrett Mock, and Josh Willingham

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Wow, Kasten Wasn’t Kidding

August 25, 2009

At blogger day (hey, I’m going to ride this as long as I can), Kasten made reference to the Arizona Fall League. For those of you that don’t know, the AFL is operated by MLB and many top prospects go there to tune up for next year. It keeps them competing against high-level pros, important for young guys, and often is a preview of who might do well in the majors next year. Kasten said the Nats were gonna send one of the best groups of prospects ever, and he wasn’t kidding. The rosters were just announced, check it out:

Stephen Strasburg – Heard of him? Yeah, ESPN’s gonna be pumping AFL starts, or at least highlights, into your football-filled brains this October. They’ll be his first professional outings, so you better believe they are significant.

Drew Storen – The Nats #10 pick this year, and ready to dominate yet another league on his way to the bigs, I guess. His ERA trends going from low-A to high-A to AA suggest by the time he gets to the majors, he’ll actually take runs away from the other team when he goes in.

Derek Norris – Considered the Nats other catcher of the future. And if he can’t catch, his bat suggest they find somewhere else in the field for him to play. If he can catch, he has a chance to be a real star in the majors.

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Blogger Day 2 Roundup

August 25, 2009

As mentioned in an earlier post, Sunday was Blogger Day II at Nats Park, and we were there. We got there around 11AM and were quickly brought in by Nats Director of Baseball Media Relations, Mike Gadza. We all squished inside the elevator and made our way to the press room, where manager Jim Riggleman had just finished his press conference with the real media folks. With us on the way was Bob Cohn of the Washington Times. You better believe I was quoted! As Kasten later said, it was a reporter doing a story on bloggers doing a story on baseball, and someone should write a blog about it.

We were given the opportunity to ask Riggleman some questions and without getting in to trying to quote, here were a few highlights:

  • He has been really happy with the hitting, their job is to establish consistent pitching now.
  • Hitting is great, it was hard to manage against the Rangers of the last few years. But those teams never sniffed the playoffs. But now the Rangers can pitch, and they hit much less, and they’re in the thick of the hunt.
  • It is a big concern for him to balance the workload of the young pitchers while getting good pitching so the team can win.
  • Media has changed drastically. Even when he was managing in a big city like Chicago, in the late 90s, there were 2 or 3 beat writes and a radio station. Certainly no blogging, and there just wasn’t as much scrutiny.
  • They are really working hard to improve the defense, going out and practicing before games, but this was actually Acta’s idea. The problem was under Acta, it rained so much early on, that they couldn’t consistently go out there.
  • He thinks Dunn has played well at first base. They’ve got to get him to read the ball a little better off of the bat, to help his range (the hole between 1B and 2B has been an issue), but he’s made all the scoops he should and has been energized by the switch.

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Zim Hits #26, ESPN Believes

August 24, 2009

Yesterday, while Brian and I were in the midst of doing alive blog during the game, Ryan Zimmerman hit his 26th home run of the year. Why is this important? Well, I’ve been screaming since 2007, when he hit 24 HRs at age 22, that Zimmerman was going to consistently be a 30 HR hitter. I was argued with, chided and mocked for my beliefs, but he just hit his 26th, and he’s still only 24 years old. So even though I posted it yesterday, in case you missed it, we continue with the Ryan Zimmerman Road to 30 HR uniform gallery:

bwilliams_26

boggs_26

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Live Blogging from Blogger Day… Live

August 23, 2009

Did I mention that we are, in fact, live? Ok, so here is how this is going to work. We’ll be putting in journal type entries throughout Sunday’s game, if you are watching the game, feel free to refresh to see updates. If this is Monday morning and you’re reading, like most people, refreshing is just silly and pointless. A writeup of the fun we had earlier in the day will come later in the week. For now, Nats Review blogger Charlie and super utility man slash beat reporter Brian will be updating this post with our thoughts

1:35 – (Charlie) – Just got a chance to speak with Rizzo and Kasten. A few interesting points – they think a few guys are nearing innings limits and that alone tells me that Detwiler and Martis will be getting starts this September. Plus the fact that they named those two in particular. They also said that there will likely be a free agent veteran pitcher signing in the offseason, but not a “number one” guy. More to add that veteran presence. First pitch…

1:36 – (Charlie) – Felipe Lopez gets a hearty boo from the crowd, nice to see.

1:41 – (Brian) – Ryan Braun’s numbers are simply ridiculous.  But he still grounds out.  3 up 3 down first inning for the Nats.  I think I need another soda…

1:47 – (Brian) – Worth mentioning: Manny Parra is batting 8th today for the Brew Crew with Alcedes Escobar batting 9th.  According to my cohort Charlie, this move makes sense according to some research Baseball Prospectus has done.  If a player has really low slugging but high OBP, they can’t really knock people in, but they can get on well enough to let the top of the order guys knock em in. Jason Kendall was one guy this made sense with.

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Zimmerman Hits #25

August 22, 2009

It’s been a little while, but The Zimmerman March to 30 HRs uniform number gallery continues. Last night, in a loss to Milwaukee, he hit #25. Enjoy:

barry-bonds-light_25

Thome_25


Live Blogging and More to Love on Rizzo

August 21, 2009

Sunday is Blogger Day II at the park. I’ll be there, hopefully doing some sort of live blog. So if you’re gonna watch Sunday’s game, check back in to the Nationals Review and hit refresh. You can see comments as we make ‘em, from all of our incredulous reactions at blown calls to excitement at Dunninghammerman home runs. Yeah that’s my new nickname for the middle of the lineup. Dunninghammerman.

One more reason to love Mike Rizzo, from Boswell’s column in the Washington Post today:

Yes, scouting, for that is Rizzo’s deep root system. For the last decade, baseball has had a debate between those baseball lifers with an eye for the game — like Rizzo’s dad and Boras — and the younger, polished, generally more educated “Moneyball” types.

“I’m a hybrid,” says Rizzo, who then does his ode-to-Sabermetrics riff about the value of knowing Value Over Replacement Player and WHIP. “My dad still doesn’t buy it. But there’s a place for it. Why not use all the tools?… it’s not that tough.”

For me, evaluation is about stats the way it is about makeup, build and character. There all just tools and pieces and measurements. If you ignore EITHER (SABR people who think character means nothing, and old schools scouts who think the “new” stats are worthless) you’re missing the whole picture. Good to see the new GM is the kind of guy who seems to embrace it all.


Yahoo Does Mean Yokel

August 20, 2009

According to Yahoo! Sports yesterday, Mike Rizzo was going to be replaced by Jerry Dipoto as the Nationals’ GM. Of course, according to Google, the first definition of the word “Yahoo” is “Yokel: a person who is not very intelligent or interested in culture.” I wonder if it’s coincidence that that’s the first thing that comes up on the competitor’s search engine? On to the subject at hand, and what’s most important: that rumor was false, and Mike Rizzo got the job full time as General Manager and Senior VP of Baseball Operations. And there was much rejoicing.

As I said yesterday, I’d hire Rizzo full time, so I’m happy. Having not sat in any of the interviews, not known truly that much about the candidates, from an outsider looking in, my instincts tell me Rizzo is the man for the job. So it’s good to see that the ownership liked what they saw, and envisioned great things from him. Probably his biggest flaw, not being slick with the media, is less important when you have a guy like Stan Kasten working the room. He’s biggest strength, scouting, is very important for a team like the Nationals, who are in the building process. He also seems to have a knack for knowing who can play good baseball as opposed to who is just a talented athlete, which is nice to see.

Again, as I’ve already said, most of all I welcome the stability. Rizzo’s been in place now for 6 months, so making him permanent feels like a formality, except for all that noise yesterday.

Speaking of  Promotions

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