Nats Losing Bo Porter

September 27, 2012

It was brought to my attention this morning by podcast co-host Colm that 3rd base coach Bo Porter will be leaving the team to become the manager of the Astros, starting next season. This is great news for Porter, of course, who gets his first managerial gig at the age of 40. He goes from rising star in the league of coaching to actual manager of a Major League team. Regardless of which team it is, there aren’t so many of these jobs out there (only 30, to be precise).

The question for us, of course, is what kind of loss this is for the Nats. From an outsiders’ perspective, I don’t see it as a big one. All reports suggest he is a good third base coach, and he hasn’t been involved in too many controversies. He isn’t either sending guys or not sending guys at a rate that has raised eyebrows. As long as they can put someone in there who does the same, they’ll be ok there.

In terms of being the future manager of the team, Porter was a definite possibility. But I don’t think anyone believed he was the leading in-house candidate – that position belongs to Randy Knorr, so it wasn’t a major blow to the future of the team, either.

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The Nationals Review Podcast Episode 13

September 25, 2012

Topics discussed by Colm and Charlie this time – recorded at the Red Porch!! Nationals Review Episode 13

  • End of Season Annual Best of Awards for DC-Internet Baseball Writers Association
    • MVP
    • Starter
    • Reliever
    • Hitter
    • Slugger
    • Defensive Player
    • Comeback Player
    • Minor Leaguer
  • A few other odds and ends

Disagree with our take? Let us know!

The Nationals Review Podcast Episode 12

September 23, 2012

On Nationals Review Episode 12 Colm & Charlie discuss:

  • Nats division lead
  • Potential playoff matchups
  • Offensive numbers
    • Rank in the NL
    • Zimmerman
    • Desmond
  • Historical wins ranking
  • Detwiler’s success
  • Final two 1/2 weeks

Dr. StrangeUpton

September 20, 2012

…or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bombs.

As an aside from the playoff race and the fun that the Nationals are having looking forward to October, I’m always speculating about how they’ll structure next year’s lineup (the biggie: will LaRoche still be here?). If they’re happy with Harper in CF they could just keep LaRoche, but that might not be up to them. And if it’s not, they’ll might have to find a free agent. Except that the corner outfield and 1B free agent market is sparse. So maybe get a real CF, move Harper to a corner OF spot and Morse to 1B.

If they do go that way, there are 3 big name center fielders that are available. One is Shane Victorino, but I have my doubts that he’s the right answer. Another is Michael Bourn, and he’s a good player, but he might want a big long term deal, and maybe they don’t want to do that. Another guy who might be had a little cheaper, and maybe they could sign him shorter term is B.J. Upton (maybe they couldn’t, but at least he’s two years younger than Bourn).

And I like the idea of Upton, but is he the answer for this team? He’s a low AVG, relatively low OBP (bad year this year, but .337 career aint awful) and decent power guy. In other words, he reminds me of Ian Desmond. Desi’s had a much better than year than Upton, but the similarities are there in my mind. I just keep thinking they’re OBP low and power high and maybe they need more OBP and they’re great but streaky… well, I went ahead and worked myself into a frenzy, so I submitted this basic premise to Colin Wyers at Baseball Prospectus during his chat yeseterday:

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Ian Desmond’s Offensive Breakout

September 14, 2012

It may be hard to remember this, but as far back as March of this year, Ian Desmond was a light hitting shortstop who was acceptable because of his glove. If his glove wanted to cooperate. Flash forward 6 months and he’s the best hitting shortstop in the league. No, seriously, he’s hitting .295/.331/.522 right now, give him the highest OPS (.854) of any qualified SS. By a good amount. Derek Jeter is sitting at #2 with an .813, and if you count Jed Lowrie and his .800 OPS with only 332 PAs, he’s way ahead of the #3 overall/#2 NL guy. If not, you have to go to Hanley Ramirez next at .770.

It’s not just good for this year, it’s pretty damn good for, let’s say, the last decade. Here’s where he ranks among all MLB SS seasons over the last 5 years

Hanley Ramirez – .954 (2009)
Troy Tulowitzki – .949 (2010)
Hanley Ramirez – .940 (2008)
Troy Tulowitzki – .930 (2009)
Troy Tulowitzki – .916 (2011)
Jason Bartlett – .879 (2009)
Jose Reyes – .877 (2011)
Derek Jeter – 871 (2009)
Ian Desmond – .854 (2012)

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Needling the Nats MVP Race

September 13, 2012

The Nationals have a clear cut and deserving MVP candidate. It’s not Gio Gonzalez – I think pitchers have their own award and shouldn’t win MVPs. It’s not Adam LaRoche, in part because I believe Ian Desmond has been more valuable this year (and fangraphs agrees). But it’s not Desi either. No, it’s this guy:

No, that isn’t B12, steroids or even monkey gonad juice. That’s right, the MVP award goes to… Mr Cortisone!

Alright, alright, that’s being a bit ridiculous, but hear me out. Everyone knows that the shot helped Ryan Zimmerman, it was talked about quite a bit at the time. But it’s been almost 3 months and he just keeps killing the ball. Check out his numbers before and after his cortisone shot on the afternoon of June 24, right before a game against the Orioles:

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What Danny’s Done

September 12, 2012

If you watch any Nats games on MASN, you’ll notice that Danny Espinosa has been hot lately. Because every time he’s up, that’s what Carp and FP tell us. But they’re not joking, and they’re not exaggerating. In fact, if anything, they are underselling how good he is doing. To get an idea of how good he’s been, let’s take a look at the numbers.

At the moment, Espinosa ranks 5th on the NL 2B OPS list – behind Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips, Neil Walker and Daniel Murphy. All of these guys are having strong seasons, but probably the top 3 are the only ones that you’d say are doing great. There is one difference, though. Danny Espinosa started out this season terribly. We’ve done it before, but let’s go through this again.

From the beginning of the season, April 5, to 28 games in, May 8, Danny Espinosa hit .186/.282/.235. He was walking, but other than that he seemed completely lost at the plate. Then on May 9, he started a 9 game stretch where he went a whopping 10 for 34 with 2 HRs, and raised his OPS almost 100 points, to .610.  It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was a good two weeks that showed, hey, maybe he isn’t totally lost.

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