Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Odds & Ends

As the Nationals pitchers and catchers (several position players as well) reported to windy Viera, Florida several 2011 decisions are clearing up. Our terrific beat writers are already diligently posting snippets of information from those on hand, passing them along to news-hungry Nats fans. Here are a few bits and pieces, with a little analysis parsed in for good measure.

- One of my favorite writers, Rob Neyer, has been an absolute beast since he left ESPN for the blogging network SB Nation. If you haven't checked out his work, please do yourself a favor and go over there immediately. In any case, one of his recent blog posts covers the first-of-the-year PECOTA projections by Baseball Prospectus, where simulations are made as to the end of the year standings. Shortly after posting, the guys at Baseball Prospectus pulled their projections so as to put the "finishing touches" on the piece. When it was still up it had the Nats projected as, once again, 5th place in the NL East. The bright side being that their record would improve to 74-88, while the Phillies would win yet another division title, winning a paltry 87 times. Definitely worth keeping an eye out for the differences between the initial leak and the "finished" product.

- In news of the not-at-all-shocking, Riggleman has given his most definitive vote for Livan to date, saying that, "unless something unforeseen happens, Livan has earned it (the opening day start)". I've got to agree that one thing we do have is depth. Most of our pitchers could fit somewhere in a Major League rotation, and when we have injuries (which we always do), we will have someone capable of giving us a spot start or two. Always a good thing.

- I'm not sure how I feel about the new Nationals Journal feature "Long Toss". I like that they are helping promote user discussion, but I think I would rather have that in the comments section while the blog is run by the writers. In the most recent edition, the editors seem to have just rehashed an old discussion that has been ongoing for months regarding the catching questions. Anyway, I don't see Pudge getting hit #3,000 in a curly W.

- One of the more interesting bits of news that came out of day 1 was that assumed #2 starter, Jordan Zimmermann, will have an innings limit this year. I guess it doesn't really come as a surprise, but it definitely makes things a lot more interesting for the last few months of the season. The most innings that Zimmermann has thrown in professional baseball is a total of 134 back in 2008, however it was before his surgery. For a reference, this past year he threw 70.2 IP during his recovery, from A ball to the Majors. Its been said that pitchers can often be stronger post-recovery, due to the strenuous and intensive nature of the rehab exercises.

- According to several of our beat writers, Roger Bernadina did some serious conditioning this off-season, blaming fatigue for his September slump. From Kilgore,
Several Nats players, coaches joking with Roger Bernadina about his biceps. As Post photog Jonathan Newton said: 'Beast.'" From Goessling, "Roger Bernadina is standing in center field, and the definition in his arms is visible from the third-base dugout." Sounds to me like someone wants the Left Field job...

- Check out this AM's post on the 5 Players to Watch in Nats camp this spring.

- Finally, in news of the even more painfully obvious, Riggleman hopes for more production from the top of the order. And here I thought that a combined .230 AVG and .300 OBP was enough from our table-setters...

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