They’re Playing Baseball!

February 26, 2008

It’s always so exciting when spring training starts. Watching them play in the warm weather makes me more jealous of baseball players than any other time of the year. But, other than that, it’s great. They actually start playing real live baseball on Wednesday. I will be stuck up in the DC area, walking to the metro in the cold cold mornings. Hopefully some of you are actually going to get out to Florida and check out a game or two. If not, you can probably catch a game or two on tv, but other than the ESPN game which is Tuesday 3/18, 1:05 vs. Detroit, good luck finding what games are being shown. Because I can’t find it ANYWHERE! All my googling just leads me to the 2007 spring training tv schedule. Which would have been useful last winter. If someone has the schedule, please send it over.

If you are able to watch some games, there are some things you should be looking out for. Things that may tell you whether this team is going to approach a .500 record, or maybe have less wins compared to last year.

  • John Patterson’s velocity and movement: He has been hurt longer than Carl Pavano, and he came back last year only to throw a moderately curving curve and an 85 mph fastball. I’m not saying he needs to be the same pitcher to be successful. But if he can come out and throw in the low 90s, and have anything approaching the 12-6 curve that he had a few years ago, Patterson could surprise many people that counted him out.
  • Wily Mo Pena’s hitting against righties: Baseball Prospectus projects him to hit .270/.343/.512 in under 300 ABs. First of all, if he can do that, it will be a boon to the team’s run scoring ability. But if he could improve his ability to hit right handed pitching, he could turn into a truly formidable full time outfielder. Imagine that power from a guy playing every day? It’s almost as nice as imagining yourself in Florida right now.
  • Rob Mackowiak’s hitting against righties: I truly believe he was brought in to spell the all-righty outfield rather often. All of them have significant drops against righty pitchers, and the left handed Mackowiak should be a decent fill-in. But if he doesn’t do it in spring training, Manny may lose patience with the journeyman outfielder quickly.
  • Felipe Lopez hitting/on base ability: Lopez actually was able to draw quite a few walks considering he hit under .250. But he needs to get that AVG/OBP to more like .280/.350 to be really effective as a leadoff. Look for how much he’s getting hits, the power is alot less important with him (although the more the merrier with that).
  • What Odalis Perez has left in the tank: Perez wasn’t included on my starting pitchers review because he wasn’t a National yet. But he signed on Feb 19, and he’s an interesting one to take a flyer on. He had one stellar season, in 2002 when he had an ERA of 3.00, with 155 Ks and 38 BBs. The next year his ERA went up, then back down in 2004, but each time he had at least a 2.91 K/BB ratio. His K/9 has gone down as has his K/BB. Without getting too much into the numbers, he has seen both ratios fall as he is striking out less and walking more per inning. Watch for him to strike people out and keep his walks down. Sure, you look for this from every pitcher. But if Perez can keep his K/9 around 6 and his K/BB above 3, he may be able to win a spot in the rotation.
  • Nick Johnson’s Health: If he is healthy, he could once again be the most effective hitter on this roster. He could be fighting Zimmerman for the RBI crown on the team. If his healthy ‘stache is any indicator, he’s feeling 100% right now, but I’ll definitely be watching how he runs.
  • Lastings Milledge’s hitting, fielding, running: I don’t know if there are any real indicators here, I just have heard he sprays line drive to all fields. That shoudl translate to a high AVG now, and as he gets older it means high AVG and SLG. For now I just want to see him play every day, he is supposed to be an incredible athlete.
  • Shawn Hill: Nothing specific, I just want to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating with his performance last season. I’m not looking for any peripherals or numbers, other than ERA and Ws. Hopefully we see more of the same.
  • Customs and Border Patrol possibly taking Jesus Flores away: He showed up late to camp because he couldn’t get into the US. Hopefully his visa issues are all taken care of.

High DefiNationals?

February 22, 2008

An interesting, although completely inconclusive discussion on the latest news with MASN’s potential to carry Nats (and O’s) games in HD ran last week in Rob Pegoraro’s Technology Blog on the Washington Post site:

I’m really not trying to get into the network-bashing, or cable-provider bashing. But I have had a few questions about what the story is, this is the latest thing I can find. Take it for what it’s worth, I just hope I can watch alot of Nats games in HD. However that occurs, I don’t really care.

Follow up Monday Feb 25:

I noticed Chris my second favorite Nats blog Capital Punishment posted more info about MASN in HD. Turns out, they are running 40 Nats games and 40 O’s games in HD this season to make a total of… 74 games (6 of the games for each team are against the other one, so there you go math majors). Anyway, here’s the link from MASN:

Finishing up with the Outfield

February 18, 2008

We’ve looked at the starting pitching and the infield, so it makes sense to look at the Nationals outfield for the upcoming season.

Austin Kearns is the guy who probably has a daily job pretty much solidified. Besides being an excellent defensive right fielder, he has hit pretty well the last few seasons. He definitely was hurt by playing in RFK, and it is expected that his power will see improvement in the upcoming season. Despite a non-stellar AVG, he has a career OBP of .359 and his number in that category put him second on the team last season for hitters with more than 102 ABs. Assuming the new park helps him out a bit, he’s probably going to hit closer to his 2006 total of 24 HRs – that year he was on pace to hit over 30 before he got traded to that Nats, but Cinci’s stadium is small enough that 30 may be a stretch for him. Either way, some hits and some HRs will be added on, and he could end up being one of the best overall RFs in the NL.

Lastings Milledge is the presumed, at least the listed, starting CF, and that is likely to hold up. With the glut of young OFers this team has, there will be some shuffling around, but Blastings will probably get the majority of time here. What to look for with him? Well he is a real troublemaker – that is to say he’s loud, he has braided hair, and makes rap albums (kids today) – so he’s a troublemaker if you’re 80. In terms of what matters, baseball, he’s got a real quick swing and he’s really fast. If he can get on base enough, he may be a top of the lineup kind of guy. He hit over .300 in the minors (.380 OBP), and at 22 years old last season he already was able to have splits of .272/.341/.446. That puts him at like top 5 on the Nats in getting on base, without any improvement. He also has some power, and is young enough that more power is expected to develop, whether he becomes a middle-of-the-lineup kind of hitter is yet to be seen. But he should be good enough with the bat to keep himself in the lineup, and as Manny learns to trust him, he may be hitting second or even leading off by the end of the year.

Wily Mo Pena is, like Milledge, extremely promising. His numbers after coming over to the Nats were amazing, a full season of .293/.352/.504 would be incredible to have from any player. Unfortunately, he probably can’t do that against everyone. Despite his DC awakening, he still hasn’t been able to hit righties. Last season he went .203/.269/.390 against them, as opposed to his .330/.395/.518 against lefties. He also doesn’t walk nearly enough and strikes out alot. He can mash the ball, and will most likely start against every lefty the Nats face. Watch out Johan! Other than those games, he will probably play on and off until he can show he can hit the righties.

Elijah Dukes is the yet another young promising OF on this team, and he will probably get a decent chance to play. He is an extremely talented player. Forget his numbers with Tampa Bay last season, he spent the minor leagues getting on base and hitting with good power. He is fast, he hit with more power every season, and he may end up being an real star. Unfortunately, he is a complete head case. He has had so much trouble with the law it’s a joke. He can be a surly, media-hating, angry player and still be an all-star. But he’s got to stay out of legal trouble, or he’ll never get on track. If he can get his head screwed on straight, he could be a great player. That’s a big if, though, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

Ryan Langerhans is still on this team, and may find some role coming off the bench. He still is an excellent fielder and may serve as a late-game defensive replacement. Last season’s batting average was a joke, fortunately he never really lost his ability to take a walk. That give some hope that he still has a decent approach to the plate and could recover somewhat this season. He still isn’t going to hit .300, but if he can hit closer to .260 with some power, which he has (some power), then he may serve a positive role as a bench player.

Rob Mackowiak is a new addition to this team, and is a welcome one. He adds some stability as somebody that could play the super-sub role, and may find himself in the lineup more than people realize. He doesn’t have a whole lot of power, but it’s not completely absent, and he’s a lefty. He hits righty pitchers better, and will probably find himself in a bunch of games thanks to that. Kearns, Milledge, Pena and Dukes are all righties, and if Mackowiak doesn’t start, he may find himself pinch hitting alot as the first LH hitter off the bench, a role that Langerhans probably dreams about.

Willie Harris is another offseason addition that should really help boost the team’s bench. He’s in that Mackowiak mold of being a super-sub, although he’ll likely start very much fewer games. He plays infield and outfield although has played much more outfield the last few seasons. His biggest asset is his speed, and should be the #1 pinch runner option this season.

Kory Casto had a chance to play on this team, but the offseason has really moved the priorities of this team around. Now, he will probably get proper seasoning in the minors that he desperately needs. He hit .130 with the Nats in’07 and slugged .167, so he definitely needs some work. He’s not that bad, and while he may not be a star in the making, he could still end up being a quality major leaguer. Unless he hits so well in the spring that the team is afraid to send him down and affect his confidence, expect him to be in Columbus when the season starts so he can get as many ABs as possible this season.

Justin Maxwell probably won’t see too much time in the lineup either. He will most likely end up in the minors trying to improve his batting average. He’s still young enough that he could develop into a Mike Cameron-type player: high numbers of HRs, Ks, and SBs, although getting to Cameron’s level is probably a reach. He should be in Columbus or even lower in 2008, as he hasn’t even been to AA yet.

Garret Guzman is a minor leaguer currently on the 40 man roster, but it remains to be seen if he will get on the roster. He was a rule 5 pickup from Minnesota, so they have to keep him on the roster all year if they want him. But the Twins didn’t protect him even though they knew they were losing Hunter and Rondell White, so they didn’t see much in him. Last year he hit .312/.359/.453 in AA, which is impressive, but at 24 years old wasn’t earth shattering. He’s also a lefty and may need to show what he can do this spring in order to make the team. But if he does make the team, expect him to stay there so they can hold on to him.

Rogearvin Bernadina is a long-time Expos/Nats minor leaguer entering his seventh season with the organization. He’s from the Netherlands Antilles, hence the first name you can’t pronounce, so he does have an excuse for slow development. He had some early bad habits, waiting for pitches in a certain spot, not swinging at other good strikes, burying him in bad counts. These have been worked on more recently and hopefully corrected, but his power still hasn’t developed. But he’s a speedy OF and is very athletic and very very fast. He probably isn’t going to find his way into the starting lineup any time soon, but he had 40 SBs last season and is another lefty, so he may find a role for himself in some aspect.

So there you have it. Kearns, Milledge and Pena will most likely start every game against lefties. Pena will probably sit against righties quite a bit. Milledge also hasn’t shown awesome lefty/righty splits, but that may be more due to his age than anything else. Kearns doesn’t look great against righties either. I’d assume the most common substitutions will be Mackowiak starting in place of Pena, also Dukes, assuming he can stay out of trouble, in for Pena and Milledge. Kearns will probably only sit occasionally if someone like Langerhans or another lefty shows he can hit.

On to the Infield

February 13, 2008

Alright, last time we examined what starting pitching was available, and who would be used. Outside of the starters, the bullpen is probably the most stable slash best part of the team. We know Cordero is gonna close, Rauch is probably gonna setup, and everyone else will get innings. So other than that, let’s leave it alone for now. Instead, I’d like to talk about the position battles, for now, let’s talk about the infield. There seems to be a glut of position players that are of equal or similar value, so it should be interesting to see how it works out. Let’s begin with a non-battle:

Ryan Zimmerman will be the third baseman. He has played 319 games over the last 2 seasons, which is 5 short of the limit. He may get a few opportunities to sit, just so he doesn’t wear down, but barring injuries, he should be the best fielder on the team, the 2nd or 3rd best hitter, and the most consistent player.

Dmitri Young was the big pleasant surprise to the team last season (although some of us, like a year ago, suggested he would do well). Dmitri’s 2007 was great, and he set career highs in AVG and OBP. This is nice, but most players who set career highs at the age of 33 regress to their mean (which for Dmitri, a lifetime .292/.349/.477 hitter, is more than adequate). Don’t expect him to hit as great this season, but he can still hit better than most players on this team. Most players, however aren’t…

Nick Johnson, the oft-injured first baseman. I’m only gonna say this once (today), so read carefully. NickJNick Johnson is a better hitter than Da Meat Hook. His 2006 makes Dmitri’s last season look weak. 3 out of his 6 seasons he had a higher OPS than Dmitri had last season, which was his second best in 12 seasons (9 of which he played over 100 games). Nick can hit, he will get on base more than anyone in the league, and if he is healthy, he should be playing. The questions should be “where can we fit Dmitri in the lineup?” rather than “What will Nick’s role be?” Nick Johnson’s role should be set in stone: starting 1B. However, if Manny wants to play Dmitri in Nick’s place once a week, to keep Nick on the healthy side, that would be perfectly acceptable. Right now according to Bowden, the job is Dmitri’s, but that may be because Nick has to prove that he is healthy, and he hasn’t played baseball in over a year. But assuming he is healthy, he should be his job.

Ronnie Belliard is the middle infielder that will be playing for sure, at least according to the Nats. Most likely, the position battle will between Guzman and Lopez for SS, and Belliard is safe for now. Belliard’s 2007 was pretty similar to his other seasons, with a little understandable drop in power playing in RFK. Hoping for a little more power, and the rest of the numbers to stay pretty much the same, wouldn’t be too much to ask from a career .274/.338/.412 guy. That .412 is dragged some by some ridiculously bad seasons, and with or without the move you may expect more than that. Assuming he keeps that up, I’m guessing he’ll have the job most days of the week.

Christian Guzman is right now the starting SS, due to his unexpectedly crazy start last year. I don’t think Guzman knew he could hit like that, and I’m sure once we look at all the predictions, nobody think he can hit like that again. If he comes out in spring training hitting .350 again, well even I’d say they gotta at least ride that wave.

Felipe Lopez could be a solid leadoff hitter, if he could raise his OBP back to its previous levels. Last season was really bad for him, but 2005 and 2006, his OBP was over .350, and that is what stat geeks and the well-educated look for in a leadoff guy. Thankfully, Lopez has stated that’s what he’s looking for as well. If he can draw walks and get on base, he definitely has the speed to look like a leadoff in the eyes of more traditional baseball fans, so he could push himself into the lineup. Then again, if Guzman hits the way he has every season other than 2001 and 2 months in 2007, Lopez may be getting plenty of playing time anyway.

Aaron Boone is here to add depth to the bench that was one of the worst in the league last season. No more Robert Fick off the bench in the late innings, basketball star Boone is a much better option, and will serve as a good righty off the bench on a normal day, and possibly give the overworked Zimmerman a breather or two during the season.

Josh Whitesell is a first baseman currently on the 40 man roster, but it is hard to see him having much of a role on this team. He had a great season last year in AA, hitting .284/.425/.512. Yeah, that’s a .425 OBP. If he really pounds the ball in the spring, maybe he’ll get some time. But with Young and Johnson ahead of him, the best place for this 25 year old is in AAA showing he can do that again. If he can, he will probably force Johnson out after his contract ends, but for now, his place should be getting a full retinue of ABs in the minors rather than 3 ABs a week on the Nats. Plus he also has to contend with…

…rule 5 pickup Matt Whitney. Of course, we know that rule 5 guys have to stay on the major league roster all season or their old team gets to take them back. Because he’d have to be there all year, he will have a tough time making the roster, with all the other promising 1B they have. But if he shows the kind of power he’s shown in the minors, they just may keep him. What type of power you ask? Well 32 HRs in the minors last season was impressive, but they were done all done in single-A ball, so the 24 year old may not be that impressive. It is worth a flyer on him, but he is probably the kind of guy that needs to work in the minors. Of course, the Nats are the kind of team that can afford to waste a roster spot on someone they think is promising, so you never know. Maybe he’ll go all Shelley Duncan on everyone this spring.

Of course, when talking about the infielders, the catchers should be mentioned, at least a little bit. Not to beat a dead horse too much but:

Paul Lo Duca has had some problems this offseason. The Brooklyn boy has a bum knee, was implicated in some of the more recent steroids issues in the Mitchell report, and his cell phone is TOAST. Will the ever get old? Doubtful. Anyway, he’s probably the best catcher at this point that the Nats have in their organization, so let’s assume he’s healthy and not suspended, he’s gotta be the starter.

Johnny Estrada, like starter Pauly Walnuts, is another 1 year signing. He can’t throw, I just assume he can catch the ball, and he has had some success hitting. His bat, other than one season, isn’t quite where Lo Duca’s has been. However, Lo Duca is now hurt, defamed, and old while Estrada is 4 years younger. I don’t expect Estrada to win a starting role simply because regardless of the bat, Lo Duca has the edge in defense.

Jesus Flores deserves a mention because he was the backup last season. He stayed on the roster all last year because he was a rule 5 pick. But now with a year in the system, he can go down to the minors, which would seem to be what will happen once Lo Duca comes back. This is probably best for Flores. He’ll be 23, and may be the future of the position, but he hasn’t shown he can consistently hit in the majors yet, and should get time to face younger less experienced pitching this season.

Anyone else in the infield is probably gonna play a game or two at most, and are really outfielders, so we’ll talk about them next time.

The Nationals Are Breaking My Heart

February 11, 2008

All these years I have put up with questionable trades or non-trades, strange signings and under-performance but this does it. While most other teams fans get to celebrate Valentine’s Day with pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, I have to wait until the day after? Like this day means nothing? The Nats better have gotten me something nice. I’ve been eying a new stadium, maybe that will make up for it…

Ok enough of that, I’ve been asked by a few people what the story is with spring training, so here is the rundown of dates:

Feb 15th: Pitchers and Catchers Report
Feb 20th: Position Players Report
Feb 27th – Mar 29th: Spring Training
March 30: Season Starts

There is some confusion as to the start of the season, because they play 2 home games against 2 different teams before going to Philly for their home opener, so here’s the deal. March 29th, they open the stadium against the Orioles. This is the final spring training game, it doesn’t count for anything except parking issues and frighteningly shaped pretzels. The next day is March 30th, and the Braves will be in town for a 1 game series. This is an honest-to-goodness real game, it counts in the standings, and is the Nats home opener. It’s gonna be on ESPN, first pitch at 8:00 pm. After that, they go up to Philly and start playing normal baseball team style schedules.

Spring Training, What’s to See?

The fun thing about this team, as opposed to a team like the Yankees or the Red Sox, is that there are going to be serious position battles to see who gets to start. I am not sold on anyone as the full time starter other than Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns, so there are many things that will have to play out over the next month. The biggest battle is of course the starting rotation, and since pitchers will be reporting this week, let’s start with them. Nobody really solidified their position in the rotation last season, and its a mystery who will be playing on the regular. There are more names on this list than you probably remember. The alleged rotation (according to going into the spring is Hill, Patterson, Bergmann, Lannan, and Chico, but there are lots more names to consider.

Shawn Hill will be considered by most to be the team’s number 1 starter, his performance last season certainly lends itself to that tag, although is health doesn’t. But he’s healthy now, so we’ll count him in. If he can keep up what he was doing before he got hurt – 3.42 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 65 K, 25 BB – they’ll have a solid starter.

John Patterson is allegedly healthy and ready to go. But even if he is healthy, we don’t know if his fastball is fast or has any movement. And his great curve hasn’t shown it’s face since before last season either. He’ll have a chance to show what he’s got, so he should be fun to watch.

Next on the list is Jay Bergmann, who was second on the team with 21 starts last season. Although he has some hiccups in the middle of the season to fall of his great start, his August-October was actually pretty decent. The only problem was Bergmann gave up a good amount of home runs, something that doesn’t make one feel comfortable about the upcoming season.

John Lannan is supposedly a starter as well, which is interesting. Lannan has pitched a total of 34 2/3 innings in the majors and while he pitched well enough, he wasn’t spectacular. His 17 BBs and only 10 Ks is uninspiring, and he is only 23 years old. While I like his chances to be a decent pitcher, I am having trouble believing he will be in the starting rotation come opening day.

Matt Chico is penciled in as the 5th starter, and I think this is a precarious one as well. Despite 31 starts last season, he was bused to the minors and back several times. He seems to be talented enough to take on the role, but if there are enough warm bodies, they may want to just let him get on a schedule in Columbus. But if he pitches well in the spring, they’ll probably end up starting him.

Newcomer Tyler Clippard is probably good enough to start on this team, but he was rushed to the Yankees last season when they were riddled with injuries. He had some great outings despite some sub par numbers. He probably could use at least a few months in AAA. I am guessing even a strong spring won’t put him in the rotation, he’s only turning 22, and really doesn’t need to be in the big leagues.

Tim Redding will have a shot, he pitched pretty well last season, but nothing about his performance screams that he is worthy of a full time starting role. However, with the youth on this team, Redding may squeeze in there just because the other guys may need work in the minors. It may be tough to keep the runs as infrequent as they were last season. Despite the impressive 3.64 ERA, his WHIP was 1.45, he only struck out 47 guys in 84 innings. His walks, at 38, weren’t so bad, until you put that number next to Ks. I think he will struggle to keep the ERA so low, but he’ll probably get the opportunity to try.

Joel Hanrahan was another of the long list of youngsters who had some time with the Nats last season. He has actually pitched quite well, although not quite incredible, the last 2 seasons in the minor leagues. His major league time has been less impressive than that, but he is going to be 26 and probably is going to get a shot at being a starter with the Nationals. Much more time in the minors might not be that helpful, and the former top 100 Baseball America rated (#70) prospect has pitched well enough at times to still have the chance to succeed in the majors.

Garrett Mock was acquired along with Chico for Livan Hernandez, and he pitched well enough in the Arizona Fall League (2.33 ERA) to be put on the Nats 40 man roster. He will have an opportunity to show what he can do in the spring, but he is only 24. If the Nationals think he’s turned into something more than he was in the minors, then he has an opportunity to win a job. He has been hurt for much, if not all, of his minor league career, and was never short on talent. He seems to be healthy now for the first time since college, and perhaps he can surprise a few people. If not, he may end up in the older class of young prospects that spend time in the bigs and in Columbus, and spend alot of time with Clippard and Chico.

Colin Balester, Ross Detwiler, and some other of the young future stars may make some appearances with the team this spring, but that should be nothing more than getting them the opportunity to hang out with the big boys. None of them should be rushed with a team that would be thrilled to finish third in their division this season.

Next time, we’ll take a look at the position players.

Top 100 Prospects and Some Signings

February 4, 2008

Last week, Keith Law, the ESPN analyst and former MLB scout, came out with his list of top 100 prospects. On the Nationals front, a few guys made it on the list, but unfortunately nobody made it to the top 50.

Everybody should already know the highest Nats prospect, #51 Ross Detwiler. Law is pretty high on him, and there are usually 2 ways they look at pitchers that they like (other than those guys who are a sure thing like Chamberlain or Buchholz). The first is the potential ace with serious stuff, but may never develop right, the classic high risk high reward. The second category is the guy who will be good enough to pitch well, a number 2-4 in the roster depending on how everything breaks, but one they are almost positive will be that good. Detwiler falls into the latter category. The 22 year old lefty has at least 2 strong pitches and possibly a third, and he throws strikes, so Law likes him.

#64 is Chris Marrero the young power hitting prospect. Law thinks he should have the power to play first base, but lacks the glove to play anywhere else. He also is worried that the rest of his bat is only so-so, but his power will keep him in the majors.

#83 surprised me when it turned out to be Jordan Zimmermann. He gives him for average or above pitches and solid control. I am surprised that he ranks in higher than some other guys like Balester and Smoker, but maybe Zimmerman has developed faster.

#90 was the aforementioned lefty Josh Smoker, and he basically said his pitches look good, he needs to improve control and stamina as he develops. But he’s young, and has the time to do that.

Law also ranked his top 5 per team, and the Nats list is as follows:

1. Ross Detwiler, LHP
2. Chris Marrero, 1B
3. Jordan Zimmerman, RHP
4. Josh Smoker, LHP
5. Michael Burgess, RF

Burgess, who didn’t make the top 100, you will recall is the young power hitting OF. He is more of the high risk high reward guy. If he can develop, you may see 30+ HRs out of him a year. Which would be sweet.

Signing another catcher

So the Nationals took my advice and signed another catcher. This one, Johnny Estrada, should be interesting. He is known publicly as a bad defensive catcher… if you’re sitting in the first few rows near the first base dugout, you may be able to steal second base on him. His bat is what keeps him in the majors, but it was bad last year. The .278/.296/.403 splits aren’t too uplifting, but he has had a couple of good seasons, and he’s only had 5 full season in the majors. His rookie season was awful, he had just under 300 ABs, then didn’t play much for 2 years. After that, 2 have been bad, but 2 have been very good. His first full season after his rookie year was his All Star year in 2004, when he hit .314/.378/.450. He faltered in ’05, but came back with a strong ’06 hitting .302/.328/.444, which isn’t spectacular, but is very good for a catcher. If he can continue this on year off year thing, he will be quite a good bat in the lineup. If not, well at least its a one year deal, you can’t really complain about that. You can assume that Jesus Flores will get a whole bunch of ABs in AAA once Lo Duca is healthy, which is probably the best part about this signing.


It’s not as exciting as Guzmania, but apparently there is some lefty pitcher that was traded to the Mets recently. So I have heard, at least. Count me as someone who is excited that Santana will be pitching in the NL East. He is great to see, and while I am torn that he goes to a division rival, the opportunity to see him pitch more seems worth it. I don’t think people realize how good he is. In the 4 seasons he has been a full time starter (yes it’s only been 4) with Minnesota here’s what he’s done compared to the other AL pitchers:Johan Santana

Wins – top 5 three times
Ks – #1 three times, #2 once
ERA – #1 or #2 three times
WHIP – #1 all 4 seasons
K/9 – #1 three times, #2 once
K/BB – #2 two times, #4 two times

He’s insanely good. If he’s starting in DC, I’m going to try to go see him pitch. If he’s pitching against the Nats on TV, I’m going to watch him. He is the kind of player you will tell your grandchildren you watched.