Potential September Callups

August 27, 2012

September is approaching fast, and normally with the Nationals, it’s when we can turn our attention back to the downtrodden team and see some young prospects get a shot with the Major League club. Instead, this year the Nats will be entering September as perhaps favorites to win the division, let alone grab one of the two wild card spots.

But that doesn’t stop the roster from expanding, and it doesn’t stop the minor league season from ending around Labor Day, so we’ll still get to see a youngster or two. Remember that in order to be a September callup, a player has to be on the 40 man roster. I will use today’s 40 man and assume it won’t change by the weekend, but of course it probably will. Here’s a few guys to look out for:

Probably

John Lannan – Heard of him? He’s a lock to get called up, especially considering he’s first in line to fill in for Stephen Strasburg once the ace gets shut down.

Corey Brown – He had an incredible season in the minors, he’s a strong defensive CF, and he’s already hit his first Major League homer this year. Hopefully he’ll get to play some more – maybe to rest a seemingly fatigued Bryce Harper once in a while.

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2011 Ends, So Does Rebuilding

September 29, 2011

Last night, while many baseball fans were watching an incredible end to the regular season with the excitement of the playoffs starting 2 days early, the Nats were finishing up their season. They had a good game, winning 3-1, and a promising one in that Stephen Strasburg pitched very well – 6 IP, 10 K, 1 H, 2 BB and 0 ER. They not only finished the 2011 regular season, but they should have finished their final season of true “rebuild”.

Look who they already have written in the lineup next year, and some of their stats:

C – Wilson Ramos, 23 years old, .779 OPS , rookie
2B – Danny Espinosa, 24 years old, .737 OPS, 21 HR, rookie
3B – Ryan Zimmerman, 26 years old, .798 OPS (.846 after July 2)
SS – Ian Desmond, 25 years old, .294/.342/.422 after July 5
1B/LF – Michael Morse, 29 years old, .910 OPS
RF – Jayson Werth, 32 years old, 20 HR, .264/.349/.445 after July 18
SP – Stephen Strasburg, 22 years old, 24 IP, 4 ER, 24 K, 2 BB, returned from TJ
SP – Jordan Zimmermann, 25 years old, 3.18 ERA, 4.0 K/BB
SP – John Lannan, 26 years old, 3.70 ERA
RP – Tyler Clippard, 26 years old, 1.83 ERA, 88 1/3 IP, 104 K, 26 BB
RP – Drew Storen, 23 years old, 2.75 ERA, 75 1/3 IP, 74 K, 20 BB

Werth’s track record of success, couple with his 2nd half, suggests he’ll be fine next year.The only real question mark in that group is Ian Desmond. Everyone else seems to be ready to produce and win games.  Ross Detwiler, only 25 years old, is a lefty who at times looked unhittable, and finished the year with a 3.00 ERA in 10 starts and 5 relief appearances. Throw in potentially Chien-Ming Wang, Brad Peacock and Tom Milone, and the pitching looks very strong. This is no longer a rebuild, this is a young team with strong players at almost every position. They aren’t “potential” guys, they are guys who have produced in the majors.

The biggest hole to fill is in center field. They also might invest in another starting pitcher, but they’d probably have to go after a true front line guy to make it worth shoving one of the younger guys aside. First base is a question, too – Chris Marrero and Adam LaRoche could produce at first base, but neither is one you’d count on. I could see them finishing 2012 with Morse as their first baseman, and leave the other corner outfield spot for Bryce Harper.

Nobody expects them to win 100 games next season. Bryce Harper probably won’t start the year with the team, and may not see action until September, if that. But this team is no longer looking to fill dozens of holes. Next seasons results cannot be written off to another year of rebuilding, they have to win games, and they should start being a serious contender for the playoffs within the next 2 seasons.


A Night for the Kids

September 7, 2011

Last night was a night for the prospects and prospect-lovers in Nats town. Stephen Strasburg had a great night in his return from injury slash 2011 debut. But there was much more to the night than that. The team was filled with youngsters, and had a conspicuous lack of older players. The average age of the team last night, including all the relievers, was barely over 26 years old. If you haven’t figured out that they are a team of the future, here’s some strong evidence.

11 of the 17 players last night were 26 or younger. That’s a young team right there. And, in this case, it’s a promising team. That should make you feel good. Now let’s take a look at how some of these youngsters did last night.

Stephen Strasburg

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Minor Leaguers We Might See in 2011

January 12, 2011

The Nationals’ roster is relatively set going in to spring training (pitchers and catchers report in less than 6 weeks!), with a few possible exceptions. We don’t know if they plan on keeping 3 catchers assuming Flores can play. We think that Livan, Lannan and Zimmermann are penciled in as starters, and that Detwiler, Maya, and Marquis get to fight over the remaining two spots. There are some questions about the bullpen, but it was strong last year and most of those guys remain.

All this being said, there are some holes remaining in the lineup. The middle infield positions are solid but not occupied by guys who have yet proven themselves to be great players. The outfield has questions outside of RF, including whether the center fielders can hit, and whether the left fielders are full time players. Even at first base, the new acquisition is thought to be solid, and he’s a late season hitter, but he’s coming off a bad year, and his assumed slow start will bring questions of decline.

Meanwhile, the starting staff is rather fluid at the moment. I can’t be assured that anyone is guaranteed after a month or two of poor performance. So the rotation, while relatively complete for this season, is not on solid ground. All of this means that there is a chance for guys to shine in the minors and get a chance in the big leagues.

Here are a few that might fit the bill:

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Winter League Stats

November 4, 2010

Just wanted to give a little heads up. As you may know, the winter leagues are in full swing. Not just the Arizona Fall League, either. There is the highly regarded Venezuelan League, in addition to the Mexican Pacific League, the Dominican League, and the Puerto Rican League. The folks at MLB.com are doing something very nice to us fans this season, they are recording the stats in ALL of these leagues. Not only that, they even have a page that shows you all Nationals’ players stats in the winter leagues.

Keeping in mind that some are harder than others, here are a few players of note from the league so far:

Danny Espinosa (.282/.343/.343, 38 PAs) Arizona Puerto Rico (thanks, Nate!) – He’s hit well and he has taken a few walks, which is encouraging. He could use a few extra base hits, but power is the one thing we know is there.

Michael Burgess (.222/.265/.311, 48 PAs) Arizona – He’s struck out 15 times and just doesn’t appear to be ready to play at this level. He is still only 21 so try not to get too worked up., but this isn’t a good sign.

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Nationals of 2014

October 4, 2010

Now that the offseason has started, let the speculation begin. This is the 4th annual “Nationals of the future” lineup, and it’s something I really enjoy thinking about. I have decided to go with Nats 4 seasons ahead instead of 5, just because 5 is so far out, 4 seems more reasonable. Of course, I’m judging prospects and predicting that there are no free agent acquisitions, both ridiculous for me to do. Here’s my team based on the current farm system, and alot of  guessing:

The Position Players

C -Wilson Ramos – Last year, I had Derek Norris here. The year before that, it was Flores in this place. Ramos did pretty well with the major league club this year, and although his lack of patience is worrisome, he is still only 22, so his .250/.283/.364 must be taken with that in mind. He’ll probably have a full season to really prove himself, and a slight improvement on the average and the patience could suddenly make him look like a starting catcher. As it his, he can probably hit better than any of the backups they’ve had in the last few years.

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Defense Not Dunn

September 9, 2010

There are multiple reports that the Nats may be done with Dunn after this year. The rumors started up yet again with this Washington Post article from Tom Boswell, where he wrote

Adam Dunn is done in Washington… The Nats have decided. Not formally. Not finally. But for practical purposes, with 22 games left in the season, time has made the decision for everyone.

That’s not the only place that has mentioned it. Of course, ESPN rumors picked this up. Other blogs have been running with it as well, so it’s become the news of the day.

The theory is that basically the Nats are moving to a defense-first type situation. Regardless of what you think the middle infield will do, both Desmond and Espinosa have great range, arms and athleticism. The Nats believe they will be good infielders. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you how good Zimmerman is with the glove. Boswell writes:

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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 Little Farm Talk

August 4, 2010

There are a few players in the Nats farm system that are having really good years, and I haven’t been paying a ton of attention to them. So I figured I’d give a heads up on how some of the big name guys, and some guys you may have never heard of, are doing.

Chris Marrero – In the middle of his first full season in AA, the potential future first baseman is hitting .297/.357/.456, and he’s hit 14 home runs. Pretty impressive, considering he’s only 21 right now. He’s probably a few years away, but after suffering through an injury shortened 2008, he’s back to putting together the same kind of numbers he has done every year. If that power develops any more at all, he’s could be a major addition to the squad in 2012.

Josh Wilkie – I’ve mentioned him before, but if Storen is the future closer, Wilkie might be the future setup man. He’s 25 and he’s dominating in his first full season in AAA. In 53 1/3 IP, he’s got a 2.03 ERA with 42 K to only 18 BB. His fourth full season in the minors might be his last, he’ll probably spend some time in the majors in September, and I think he’ll have a great chance to make the team in the spring.

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What Now? Elijah Dukes Released…

March 17, 2010

In the past you might have thought those words would be followed with “on his own recognizance,” but it’s just followed with “by the Washington Nationals.” It was a surprise, I’m sure, for most, as there was no indication that this was going to happen. It leaves a void in the assume starting roster, as Dukes was penciled in to be the right fielder. But he didn’t hit much at all so far this spring, and for whatever reason, they decided to end the relationship today. Time to move on, so the question now is who will be the starting right fielder? A few options:

  • Mike Morse – Looked ok in September for the Nats (.250/.291/.481) and has has a strong spring so far (.259/.310/.519)
  • Ian Desmond – If he’s the best hitting option, I guess they could put him out there, but I’d really rather see him playing SS in the minors than OF in the majors unless he proves he can’t play infield
  • Jermaine Dye – He’s out there, he still can hit, and they need someone. But he’s a terrible fielder towards the end of his career. Read the rest of this entry »

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