What’s Your Take on Dunn

September 30, 2009

Rob Neyer, in his recent slate of posting other people’s analysis and commenting on it (not to say there’s something wrong with that, as it is the basis of this post), talked about Nat’s current first baseman Adam Dunn. A few interesting comments from Rob:

Dunn’s defensive numbers these last couple of seasons are off the charts. And not in a good way; this year his minus-35 Ultimate Zone Rating is easily the worst in the majors…Right now, this is the Nationals’ problem. Yes, Dunn is still hitting. He’s got a chance to hit 40 (or more) home runs for the sixth straight season and he’s leading the National League in walks. Unfortunately, he’s making $8 million this season and $12 million next season … and he’s not worth anything like $10 million per season. Not when he has to play the field…

So I wanted to poll the Nats fans, and remember to keep in mind the context. Adam Dunn’s presence may make a difference in the win-loss totals, and you can argue whether they add or subtract wins, but that is not what I’m talking about. We’re talking about a losing team here, and the assumption is that his presence, or his disappearance, doesn’t get you to the playoffs either way. The question is, as a fan, do you want to see him playing every day at this point?

Click the jump to take the poll.

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Top Pick Gets First Win

September 29, 2009

No, not Strasburg, of course. Ross Detwiler picked up his first major league win last night. He was the #1 pick for the Nats, 6th overall, in 2007. A little over 2 calendar years for him to get his first win, not too shabby. Good thiDetwiler pitchingng for him, as there aren’t exactly that many days left in the season.

Detwiler worked in and out of trouble but never let the Mets break through. Even in the 6th, his last, he managed to strike out the final batter with two men in scoring position. This was after throwing two wild pitches, he still was trusting his own stuff enough to strike him out. He left without the lead, it was 1-1, but a Mike Morse homer in the bottom of the inning allowed him to pick up the win.

In those 6 IP, he only let up 1 ER, and he struck out 3 while walking 1. He scattered 7 hits, which won’t always lead to so few runs, but giving up only 1 BB really helped to keep the score down. Since he’s been recalled from AAA, he’s started 3 games and has had 1 relief appearance. In those 18 2/3 IP, he has an ERA of 2.41. More importantly, he’s done quite a bit to get himself penciled in to the starting rotation for next year.

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Some Medicine for a Rough Monday

September 28, 2009

You may be having a rough morning. The Nats lost their 103rd game over the weekend and were swept by an NL East rival. If you watched the game, you know that they had a great chance to win on Sunday but blew taking the lead late in the game (man on third nobody out). That translated into extra innings, and a loss. Apparently this town had some problems in other sports as well. So rather than spend the WHOLE day complaining or being upset, here are a few things about the Nats that should make you happy:

  1. Ryan Zimmerman – Signed to be a franchise player this past offseason, people criticized the deal, saying he wasn’t worth the same money as guys like Youkilis and Markakis. He’s really come on this year, still very young, he has hit 32 HRs and is hitting .288/.361/.519 with only a week to go. Over 100 runs and RBIs are nice, too. As for the guys he was compared to, his WARP of 6.6  puts him at #23 in the majors, Youkilis’ 5.6 is 46th and Markakis’ 1.2 is way down at 428 on the list. Zimmerman also has a higher VORP (49.6) than the other two (48.3 and 20.5). By the way, today’s Ryan’s birthday, he’s turning 25. Youkilis is 30, Markakis will be 26 in 2 months. Happy Birthday, Ryan!
  2. Mike Rizzo – There’s a real GM here. Isn’t it nice to hear this guy speak rather than the last one? The level of competence just seems off the charts compared to the previous GM, and compared to GM-types on other local teams. (Speaking of that – hey Daniel Snyder, look up the road to Baltimore. No, not the Ravens, the Orioles. Remember the meddling owner who had to get his hands in everything and always needed to have his opinion heard? He’s been a paragon of virtue since he hired Andy MacPhail. I’m just saying… you can do it!)
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What About Bob?

September 25, 2009

Since Jim Riggleman is still only the interim manager, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to speculate on the future of the job. There has been talk that Bobby Valentine is seriously in the running for the job of next manager of the Washington Nationals. So, just for fun, I wanted to take a look at him, and whether he would be a good manager for the Nats?

In terms of record, he has a pretty decent one. In two stints, he is 1117-1072, but he did much better in his second job, with the Mets. There he went to 536-467, and managed to make the playoffs twice. He finished second in the NL East, behind the Bobby Cox/Atlanta juggernaut, three times. Two of those times they managed to win the Wild Card (’99 and ’00) and in 1999 they made it to the NLCS where they lost (and you wonder why Mets fans hate the Braves so much). They of course made it to the World Series in 2000, where they got lost 2 close games early, won a third, and then lost 2 close ones. It was a great series despite the losses, as each team never outscored the other by more than 2 runs, and the total runs scored went to the AL New Yorkers 19-16.

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He’s John Anderson, and He Doesn’t Understand Baseball – Update

September 24, 2009

And he just said one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard in quite a while. I was listening to Tony K on ESPN radio over the internet stream. If you’ve ever done this, then you’ve heard the “ESPN Extra Point” or whatever it’s called. They give their SportsCenter personalities a minute to talk about the sports issues of the day. I don’t have a problem with this, I don’t mind sports reporters giving opinions, as some people do. I mind that they play they same clip 50 times a day, but that’s a different issue.

Anyway, today, John Anderson decided to wax poetic about strikeouts. He said that today, batters don’t care about strikeouts. He panned Mark Reynolds for striking out 200+ times this year, and breaking the old record, set by Mark Reynolds last year. He brought Adam Dunn, Ryan Howard and Jack Cust into the discussion of players who should basically be ashamed of themselves for striking out so much. He continues to say that “Babe Ruth never struck out 100 times in a season.” His point? I’m not sure. Babe Ruth was the best player ever. He didn’t strike out alot… he also had a career batting average of .342 and a career OBP of .474. How is this relevant?

There are plenty of Hall of Famers who struck out alot.

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Fun With Numbers – Detwiler and Dunn

September 23, 2009

After a terrible beginning of the year, Ross Detwiler was sent down to AAA (his first stint there ever) and recovered nicely. Nicely enough to be called back to the majors this September. In his first outing back, he looked quite good against the Phillies. Just 1 ER in 5 IP, with 6 Ks and only 1 BB on top of that. He has actually pitched so little in the majors this year that this one outing brought his season ERA down 0.37.

If he does it again – that is to say 5 IP and 1 ER – he’ll go down to 5.48. Still not exactly impressive, but better than how it looked a few weeks ago. If he gives up NO runs and goes 6 innings (which is probably as far as he’d go given management’s eagerness to limit pitches), he’ll finish with a 5.26 ERA. Then again, in the other direction, he could get over 6.00 with any combination of an ER per inning or more above 3 innings. Such is the fun you can have with numbers.

Dunn Numbers Fun

Also of note, Adam Dunn hit his 38th home run yesterday, plating the only 2 runs for the Nationals in the game. He is on pace to beat his career numbers in AVG and OBP, although he’s behind his career high in SLG. So let’s look at how he can maintain those career highs in the remaining 12 games the Nats have. First, a few things to remember:

  1. He is currently hitting .279/.408/.556
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Everyone Acts Like the Season’s Over

September 22, 2009

Everyone being ESPN and Baseball Prospectus, in a couple of joint or related articles. These are the “Kiss ‘Em Goodbye” series, which you need Insider or a BP subscription to read. It’s the “series on MLB teams that are out of contention.” Of course, this could have been started months ago for the Nats, but I digress. I can’t in good conscience reproduce everything they had to say, since you gotta pay for it.

But I can give a few highlights on their take on the team, so here you go, plus some of my own comments in italics:

  • Despite blunders and gaffes, hiring Rizzo and signing Strasburg ends the season on a high note  – of course, that assumes the season ended mid-August. Which I guess it did for this team.
  • Apparently one of the questions in the GM search was “What do you think of Bobby Valentine?” – Could be a preview for who they want, not sure if he’s the right guy, but he sure is fun to have around.
  • They are last in virtually every pitching stat, so they shouldn’t get too attached to any of their pitchers – Yeah, I noticed that, check out the widget on the right of your screen.
  • A couple of starting pitchers will be signed in Free Agency, a good one and an innings eater named Livan – Livan, eater of innings and probably lots of meatball subs to return? I’d believe it, as he’s already with the team and looks like their second best starter. A bigger name besides him? I am more suspect of that.
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