The season is still young, and the Nats are not in last place (thanks Mets!). Events on the field have been the complete opposite of all pre-season prognostications; starters have been the stars of the team, everyone else taking a back seat. Knowing what we do a month into the season, lets take a look at some of those players that are playing above/below expectation. Make sure you check out the Non-Pitcher Edition that ran this morning!
Jason Marquis - Career Year
12 Months ago who would have thought that Jason Marquis would be right there with Jordan Zimmermann as the Nats' best pitcher - most, if not all, votes for best pitcher would've gone to Strasburg. Marquis has gotten the sink back on his sinkerball, registering a career low GB% so far at 56.3%. Also way down is his BB/9 ratio, which Dave Nichols noted is more than 50% better than his career rate (1.60 BB/9 in 2011, 3.46 career). It should be mentioned that his HR/FB rate is also at a career low, 5.9%.
There will be some regression as the year continues as his BABIP is a bit above his career average, but he is on his way to a career year. Look for Mike Rizzo to flip Marquis for prospects come the July trade deadline.
Drew Storen - Storen Saves
Storen has shown veteran poise in placing his horrendous Spring Training in the distant past. As a quick refresher, here are his numbers from March 2011...
11 Games. 11.1 IP. 24 H. 16 R. 14 ER. 2 BB. 11 K. 2 Saves. 11.12 ERA.
Flash forward to the regular season, and the difference has been night and day.
17 Games. 18.2 IP. 11 H. 2 R. 1 ER. 5 BB. 14 K. 7 Saves. 0.48 ERA.
Wow, what a difference real games make.
Armed with ice-water running through his veins, combined with a new beard, Storen has been dominating all challengers. Announcement or not, Storen is the Nats closer until further notice.
Tyler Clippard - Clippard with a K
There hasn't been a better reliever in baseball than Tyler Clippard - that's not opinion, it's fact. Clippard leads all relievers with a 0.8 WAR, 11 Shutdowns (0 Meltdowns), 1.99 WPA, 17.7% Swinging Strike %, and 27 Strikeouts.
Oh, and who could forget his most recent appearance. 6 batters faced. 22 pitches. 19 strikes. 6 strikeouts. Dominance.
His numbers more than speak for themselves. Tyler Clippard is one of the Nats most valuable assets.
Well, CapBallers, what are your thoughts on the pitching standouts of 2011 thus far? Tell us in the comments.