Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Smorgasboard

I have had several different entries flying through my head in the past week, as I have been spending a lot of time driving on account of my new job. So rather than inundate you with a ton of posts over several days, where opinions/circumstances may change, I am going to lump everything into a singular post - our Labor Day Smorgasboard.


- It's been interesting to see Chris Marrero get some playing time here in DC - but I really wonder what his role is in the organization. I know that Rizzo says that the team isn't pursuing Prince Fielder, and the team already has two potential first-basemen on the roster for 2011 (LaRoche and Morse). I don't know if the team will be satisfied with a former First Round pick being a bench player or if they are showcasing him as trade bait.

- I posted this on Twitter last night, but it is worth repeating here. Jayson Werth leads the National League in Pitches Per Plate Appearances with a staggering 4.32 PPA. He is fourth in the Majors, behind Granderson, Abreu, and Adam Dunn.

- More and more I believe that Davey Johnson will be the Nationals manager next year - despite all that has been wrong with the team since he took over. Phil Wood had some reasonable arguments as to why it looks like he will be the skipper next year, such as that he already has the clause in the contract and that the only other time he took over a team ('93 Reds) they were bad for the remainder of the year (.449 W%) but the next year they were outstanding (.579 W%). I will use all of my considerable powers to make sure that he doesn't stay.

- In regards to Livan Hernandez returning as a reliever in 2012. I have flipped back and forth on this in my mind more than anything else. Honestly, I think it depends on what happens with Davey. He seems to be obsessed with having a "long-man" in the bullpen (knowing how to use him properly is beside the point; SEE: Gorzelanny 8/28/11). If Davey sticks around, I think Livo sticks around. And I think that is generally a positive. Livan is a leader in the clubhouse and he already has a strong investment in the future of the ballclub - having graciously accepted his role as mentor/coach for the duration of 2011. I think it would be an absolute thrill to see Strasburg hand the ball over to Livan one day - those hitters would be swinging from their heels, ending up watching the pitch float into the mitt post-swing. Needless to say that Livo has been the Nats 2nd most valuable pitcher this year according to WAR.

- This was awesome to watch.

- As was this.

- Let me preface this by saying that I generally like Henry Rodriguez. Henry Rodriguez has more appearances in the 2nd half than Tyler Clippard - 22 to 19. Not only that but HRod has a staggering 5.40 ERA in those appearances, to Clippards 2.85. WHIP is 1.72 to 0.98. Just thought you should understand the reasoning behind my frustration.

- It's September 4th and Garret Mock is still on the 40-Man Roster.

- The AAA Syracuse Chiefs 2011 season will be ending Monday, as the team isn't going to make the play-offs. Tuesday we should get our first look at Brad Peacock and Stephen Lombardozzi - which is very exciting for those of us that have followed their progress throughout the past few years.

- Matt Antonelli has major league experience, having appeared in 28 games with the 2008 Padres. This past offseason Antonelli brought his talents to the Nats, and he hit like a champion, throwing down a .297/.390/.457 slashline while playing pretty much every position on the ball field. I would love to see him in the next few weeks. Why not?

- Do you remember Shairon Martis? The 22 year-old lefty who won his first five decisions with the 2009 Nats? Well, he is still in the system, and he had a fantastic year that he capped with a 7 inning no-hitter back on August, 28th. He was 8-6 this year with a solid 3.05 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Why do I bring this up? Well, Martis is still only 24 years-old, younger than Saturday night's starter, Tom Milone. Interesting...

- Davey Johnson has asked Rizzo to find him a Right-Handed power bat for his bench several times, Rizzo responded immediately with the trade for Jonny Gomes who, despite some clutch appearances, has netted the team with just 3 home runs and 10 RBI in 30 games. Rizzo needs look no further than AA Harrisburg, where 24 year-old Tyler Moore (another 1B) just slugged his 30th Home Run of the year. Let's call him up while we are at it.

- On Rick Eckstein: the quote from Davey Johnson was, "I think he is one of the best hitting coaches in baseball." Now where is the evidence? Back in May when the team was struggling offensively (pun intended), I wrote about the results that Rick Eckstein has achieved in his time with the Nationals. If you don't feel like going back to check out the specifics I'll sum it up for you: in AVG, OBP, OPS, HR, RBI over the past 5 years the Nats have been in the bottom half of baseball in 19 of the 20 categories. This year the Nats are now 27th in AVG, 25th in OBP, 22nd in OPS, 14th in HR, and 25th in RBI. Does this sound like one of the best hitting coaches in baseball?

- Since settling down at the plate after returning from the DL, Ryan Zimmerman has been one of the top hitters in all of baseball. In the 2nd half of the season Zimmerman is hitting a whopping .328 with 6 HR and 28 RBI - while gashing the ball to the Right-Center gap as evidenced by his 11 doubles in that time. Oh yea, and he has two walk-offs since then as well.

- Danny Espinosa leads all rookie batters with a 3.0 WAR and he is tied for 2nd when you throw in pitchers - tied with Michael Pineda, behind Craig Kimbrel and his 3.4 WAR.

- The Nats were 29th in MLB in errors last year with 127, this year they are sitting middle of the pack at 19th with 91 errors.

- Don't look now but Jayson Werth is playing like the guy they signed from Philadelphia. A career .265/.361/.467 hitter, in the second-half Werth is now hitting .268/.361/.452 which is right in line with what's expected of him. On the defensive side of the ball, Werth ranks 10th among NL OF in UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) and is 2nd in Outfield Assists. Not only that, but FanGraphs ARM statistic (the amount of runs above average an outfielder saves with their arm by preventing runners to advance) Werth ranks 1st at 7.2.

Well, there you have it. Several thoughts on the most recent Nats tidbits.

What are your thoughts? Leave them in the Comments section!


  1. This is by far and away the worst blog putting out info on the Nats.

  2. Would like to add a subject -- we are lousy with catchers! We can't really keep Flores and Ramos because they both really need to play. Flores' re-emergence has been really nice to watch. If Pudge stays, he can be a backup. We also have catchers in the minors. Who is trade bait? Everyone? TDA -- on what are you basing your comment? Haven't seen anything above that is not factual or hasn't been reported elsewhere. The info is not really opinion- based. Lots of variety in the many Nats blogs is fun for all of us fans.