Brad Meyers Returns

October 31, 2012

Today the Yankees returned Rule 5 pick from the Nationals, Brad Meyers. In order to keep him, he had to be on the 25 man roster all year. Instead he was on the DL all year except for one rehab game in the minors. So the Nats got him back and he was optioned to Syracuse. If you remember, a few people were a little upset that they didn’t protect him by putting him on the 40 man (thus preventing any team from taking him in the Rule 5 draft), especially after the success he saw in 2009 and 2011. Let’s first take a look at what he did there.

In 2009, at age 23, after being in the minors for a year and a half (he pitched late in the summer he signed), he showed some real promise. He started out in High-A Potomac, and he succeeded, as most former college pitchers should. He also spent 1/3 of his season at AA, which is a much bigger challenge, and succeeded there as well. In 48 IP in AA, he struck out 43, only walked 11, and had a 2.25 ERA. His numbers in high-A were better than that, and he was named the Nats Minor League Pitch of the year. But he hurt his foot in the offseason, and didn’t start the season. He only was able to make 6 starts before re-injuring it (or realizing it wasn’t fixed, perhaps), but in those 6 starts he was very good – 35K/7BB in 30 2/3 IP with a 1.47 ERA.

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2011 Looks a Little Different Now

August 27, 2010

It was revealed today that Stephen Strasburg needs Tommy John surgery. Disappointing for sure, but it is at least a reliable surgery with a reliable recovery time. If this was shoulder surgery or something else, he might never throw 99 again. Instead, we miss a year of him when we need him least, assuming that 2011 wasn’t going to be a playoff year anyway. And he should come back the same guy, the chances are in the 80-90% range, maybe even higher now. But he does miss a year of development that would help him be a better pitcher in 2012. So it’s time to quit your crying about this. If you’re only into the Nats for Strasburg, see ya in 2012. If you’re not, let’s see what this means for the team. The recovery time likely has him starting the 2012 season. The Nats can really focus their efforts on building for 2012, instead of 2011. What does this mean for next season?

  • Josh Willingham is trade bait. His injury means he won’t be easy to move in the offseason, but his contract ends in 2011. After that, to extend him would mean a long term deal for a 33 year old outfielder who is good but not spectacular. I doubt they’ll want to keep him.
  • The Adam Dunn contract situation takes on a new color. No longer will they be getting him for 3 or 4 years of contention. Instead, with 2011 being another “getting ready” year, they may feel he isn’t worth the signing. They could play someone else in the meantime until more 1B options are available.
  • Chris Marrero may have taken Dunn’s place as the 1B for the “good” team. He’s batting .295/.352/.454 in AA Harrisburg this year, and another solid year in AAA puts him in the majors. Unfortunately, Rizzo will have to make a decision on Dunn before he knows what Marrero will be. Read the rest of this entry »

A Look at the Top Prospects

March 1, 2010

Baseball Prospectus came out with their list of the Nationals Top 11 prospects. They did it over the weekend, thinking nobody would notice, but I saw it. Suckers.

You can check out the actual list on the link, or look below this line:

Five-Star Prospects
1. Stephen Strasburg, RHP
2. Derek Norris, C
Four-Star Prospects
3. Drew Storen, RHP
4. Danny Espinosa, SS
Three-Star Prospects
5. Ian Desmond, SS
6. Michael Burgess, OF
7. Eury Perez, OF
8. Jeff Kobernus, 2B
9. Chris Marrero, 1B
10. Juan Jaime, RHP
Two-Star Prospects
11. Paul Demny, RHP

Then they get into the review of each guy – which you can’t see. I’m not going to reproduce everything they say there. You can buy a subscription for that. But a few highlights for each guy, just because you may not have even heard of some of them.

1. Stephen Strasburg – Surprise suprise. Just to remind you, the mention that he his a fastball that’s 95-98 mph and “touches triple digits regularly.” He’s also very very accurate, with a “plus-plus” power breaking ball that “can be an absolute wipeout offering.” His downside is apparently his “problems” with the media. I think that’s crap, in my opinion, he wasn’t overwhelmed by that first press conference, he was a little surprised and joked about it. That doesn’t show makeup issues to me.

2. Derek Norris – The much talked about catching prospect is their other 5-star guy, whatever that means. It’s his bat that people love, a catcher that can hit and has patience and power. He’s also got a great arm, but he’s still not a great defensive catcher. He’s got a few more years in the minors.

3. Drew Storen – Pretty good first draft for Rizzo, they rank this guy here. Of course, he was the 10th overall pick, and it may show more of the issues with the farm system before he took over… Anyway, they love his command and control on his 92-95 mph fastball. They don’t think he’s gonna be a great closer, but could be pretty good, although some see him topping out as a setup man. Either way, valuable addition to the bullpen.

4. Danny Espinosa – BP sees him as a good all around player, with nothing particularly outstanding about any of his skills. That being said, they also noted “Espinosa just plays the game right.” They mention he takes walks, plays good defense, runs the bases well, has good power and “his high baseball IQ leads to excellent jumps defensively.” Whether or not he’ll hit enough to play in the majors remains to be seen. But if there’s something to be excited about, it’s the thought of a double play combo of him and…

5. Ian Desmond – We had a glimpse of him last year after a great minor league season and he hit a homer in his first AB. That doesn’t squash the questions about his power, but it does quiet them. He has a “rocket arm” but still makes the “good plays and then boot routine ones.” His bat may not be all there yet, we’ll know soon if he starts on the bench with DC or plays every day with Syracuse.

6. Michael Burgess – This is the Nats big time power prospect, he didn’t look great last year. That being said he still knows the strike zone, can mash the ball, and fields well. This year will be a big indicator of what they have from the guy.

7. Eury Perez – News to me as well. But he hit .381/.443/.503 at rookie ball last year, so he is a bit of good news out of their Dominican Republic debacle. He a toolsy guy (which isn’t a bad thing, even though Bowden hearted tools) who is fast but also has some power, but he’s very raw. That being said, he can hit, has the opportunity to continue to impress and won’t be rushed. 20 years old is still young, especially coming from overseas, so he’ll have time to develop.

8. Jeff Kobernus – This was the Nats first pick after Strasburg and Storen last year, and he didn’t play much last year due to injury. He’s speedy and athletic, with good defense and has “a quick, line-drive bat to spray balls to all fields with occasional gap power, and a possible ceiling for more.” Not sure if more power will ever get there, and he doesn’t walk that much, which could be bad as he moves up levels. He’ll have time though, as you figure he’s blocked for a bit by the Espinosa and Desmond. Unless of course, he starts really impressing.

9. Chris Marrero – Once considered one of the truly top prospects in the system (and probably a 5 star guy at times) he has fallen off recently. But after a broken leg in 2008, he came back last year to well in high-A and pretty good in AA. He’s got power and hits the ball well, but besides that it is not pretty. Can’t field well, stuck at first base, and not a great defensive one at that. He’s kinda like a slow version of their current first baseman, and when that contract ends, if he’s hitting good enough, he may get a shot at the big leagues. He’s gotta do something in AA first, though.

10. Juan Jamie – Another bright spot out of the Dominican, he throws a blazing fastball, with some action and he “is an aggressive pitcher who tries to blow away every hitter.” Unfortunately he doesn’t have much beyond that, and he’s still pretty raw despite turning 23 this coming August. He probably doesn’t have enough pitches to start, so look for them to eventually move him to relief. He’s got to get some work outside of short-season teams, but he could move quickly if things work out well for him.

11. Paul Demny – Oh good ol’ Paul Demny… yeah, I didn’t know the name either. The Nats took him in the 6th round in 2008, and his numbers in 2009 weren’t anything to make you notice him (5.14 ERA). But despite being inconsistent he has a good fastball and slider, and has made some impressive starts. They see him as having a back end of the rotation ceiling, although he may be tried out in relief soon as well.

Rounding out the list but not expounded upon were Destin Hood, Justin Maxwell, Bradley Meyers, and J.R. Higley, so how bout I give you a little bit on each.

12. Destin Hood – He’s still young, he’s raw and he’s got power. He’ll only be 20 this year, and I picked him as my LFer of 2014 when I did that exercise. People will be paying alot of attention to what he does this year.

13. Justin Maxwell – The Maryland grad has potential to be like Mike Cameron… low AVG, decent OBP, big power, lots of Ks, very good CF. Hasn’t shown that he can reach that potential and the clock is ticking.

14. Bradley MeyersAnother surprise pick to my Nats of 2014 preview, it’s nice to see some amount of validation. He is not young, not raw, but had good really numbers in A and AA last year. BP mentions he has good command and control, and potential to show up in the back end of the rotation.

15. J.R. Higley – One of the Original Kings of Comedy… er… I mean a toolsy outfielder who is turning 22 this year. He was selected in the 8th round in 2008 and hit well in his brief time at Hagerstown last year. Hasn’t shown a ton of power yet but has taken walks and hit for average. Let seem him do it more in high-A, and he might get a shot to move up to AA Harrisburg this year.


Not Livan Us Alone

February 25, 2010

If it was anyone else with his numbers, I’d be surprised the Nats signed him. What do the Nats need from a 35 year old starting pitcher who had a 5.44 ERA last year, a 6.05 ERA the year before? It’s not like he’s a recovery-from-injury project, someone with upside to do something much better. Those numbers are probably around what you’re gonna get from him, so why? Because the person we’re talking about is Livan Hernandez, and he apparently signed a lifetime contract with the Expos that this franchise still can’t get out of. Whenever he’s out of a job, someone here brings him back.

The problem with bringing Livo in to round out the rotation, in every sense of that phrase, is that he’s completely unnecessary. I know that people will say his numbers are a bit deceiving. His 5.28 ERA over the last 4 years doesn’t reflect the number of quality starts he had. The combination of very good games and very bad games inflate his numbers. To them I say, if he had enough good games, it would balance out. Instead, the last few years have been just plain bad:

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The Washington Nationals 2014 Lineup

November 13, 2009

Now that the offseason has begun, let the speculation begin. This is the 3rd annual “Nationals in 5 years” lineup, and it’s something I really enjoy thinking about. Of course, I’m judging prospects and predicting that there are no free agent acquisitions, both ridiculous for me to do. Unfortunately my goal of getting this out before BA does their’s didn’t work out this year, so feel free to accuse me of stealing from them. Just make sure you accuse them of stealing from me last year. Not that our lists are the same. Regardless, here’s my team based on the current farm system, and alot of  guessing:

The Position Players

C -Derek Norris – Last year, I had Flores in this place. And I think Flores still has a future for this team. But Norris is really impressing everyone, and 5 years will give him time to establish himself and work his way up. So don’t think of this as a knock on Flores, more of a nod to Norris. Norris had a great year, hitting .283/.413/.513 at single-A Hagerstown with 30 doubles and 23 home runs, leading the league in OBP and finishing 2nd in HRs. He was named the minor league player of the year by the organization. The 20 year old prospect also garnered other recognition, as Baseball America named him the #2 prospect on the Nats, the #4 prospect in the Sally league and the player of the year for the organization.

1B – Chris Marrero – His presence here was more doubtful last year, after the injuries of 2008. But he has recovered nicely and put together a strong 2009 season. Baseball America’s statement that his “best tool is his plus-plus raw power to all fields” is pretty enticing, and he’ll have to hit with power, because he will swing and miss, and he’s not a great fielder. But he’s got ability, and if they can develop him in to the true power hitter that they think he can be, he’ll be an asset for sure. For what it’s worth, he’s also crushing the ball in the AFL this year.

2B Read the rest of this entry »


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