Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Grading the Nats Potential Bullpen Pitchers

There is a staggering number of players on the Nationals laundry list of potential relievers in 2011. Lots of them are on the 40-man roster, too. So, how many possible relievers do the Nats have now that could be with the big club on Opening Day? Let's see how many truly viable options the team has that will improve on it's already solid bullpen by grading them. Report card style.

Collin Balester - B. Collin showed significant improvement over the course of the 2010 season, he can still throw hard, and he has an awesome mustache. High likelihood that he makes the roster.

Sean Burnett - A. Barring an injury, there's no chance that Burnett will be left off the Opening Day roster after his breakout 2010 season. Hopefully he can be a bit more stable against lefties, as he is technically a "lefty specialist."

Adam Carr - D. Carr was drafted in 2006 and now, at 26 years old, really has to prove something if he's going to make it with the Nats, and he's pretty low on the depth chart right now. There's little to no chance he makes the bullpen on Day One this year.

Tyler Clippard - A. Tyler Clippard has established himself as a critical part of the Nationals rotation and is a guarantee to make the 'pen to start the year.

Todd Coffey - B. It feels like Coffey has been around forever, though he's just 30 years old. He's only hit an ERA of below 4.00 in 2 of his 6 years in the league, and more often than not it's approached 5.00, but sadly, I'd say it's pretty likely that he'll make the team.

Ross Detwiler - C+. Oh, Rossy D. Who know's what you're good for anymore? I'm hoping that he can stay healthy and figure out his approach, but it appears to be more and more likely that it won't happen. If he ends up on the team, and that's a big IF, it will probably be in the rotation rather than the bullpen.

Cole Kimball - F. Kimball's competition is way too deep for someone who has never played above AA ball. He's got no shot.

Cla Meredith - C+. Rizzo went and got this former Major Leaguer who has had some success in the league, so just on his MLB experience, I think there's a (slightly) better than average chance Meredith makes the team.

Garrett Mock - D. Once the front office gets over the fact that Mock has "stuff", it won't be long before they realize he's 27 years old and has shown them nothing. I don't think Mock is in the long-term plans for the organization any longer.

Elvin Ramirez - C. It's a use him or lose him situation for Ramirez in Washington. If he's not put on the Nats 25-man roster in April, he's on his way back to the Mets. He throws hard, but is known to have control issues.

Henry Rodriguez - B. Rodriguez posted a 4.55 ERA in 29 games with Oakland last season, but Rodriguez is still young (23), and this young pitcher acquired in the Josh Willingham trade could still have a future with the organization.

Atahualpa Severino - F. His name is awesome, his talent keeps falling down the depth chart as the Nats make more moves. Sorry Atahualpa.

Doug Slaten - B+. They just signed Slaten to avoid arbitration for 2011. They wouldn't have done that if he wasn't a lock for the 'pen this year, so he definitely makes it.

Craig Stammen - B-. If Stammen makes the rotation, it's clearly as a long reliever to replace the hole that Miguel Batista (Mr. Iowa) has left in the bullpen. As infuriating that Batista could be, he was a passable long reliever. I'm not sure Stammen qualifies as passable yet, but I'm pretty sure we'll find out this year.

Drew Storen - B+. The "Closer of the Future" for another year or two, when he'll become the "Closer of the Present" or be traded. I hope its the former.... The only reason Storen wouldn't start the season in the Majors is because he has options left on his contract. Still, he'll probably make the bigs and share the closer's role with Burnett and Clippard.


  1. I sure as heck hope you're wrong about Mock. I firmly believe he'll be a beast in the Majors -- either with the Nats or with some other lucky team.

  2. Guy is 28 years old and has an ERA of 5.17 and a WHIP of 1.67. Only thing remotely impressive is his 8.03 K/9, but that is countered by a 4.78 BB/9. If he hasn't found it now...

  3. Reporter during spring training: "Those pitchers looked good out there today."

    Henry Wiggen (played by Michael Moriarty): "Yeah, one of them might win 4 or 5 games if God drops everything."

    --Bang the Drum Slowly (one of the greatest baseball movies ever)

    That's kind of how I feel about Mock. I see him as the pitching equivalent of Maxwell, theoretically good but has never translated theory into performance.

  4. David, he's not on the 40-man roster, so he was excluded from the list. The only non 40-man person on my list is Cla Meredith.

  5. Kimball with no shot? He's got the best all around stuff in the system and even if he doesn't make the club to start the season, hell be pitching in DC before season's end.