Tuesday, March 22, 2011

25 in 25: Rick Ankiel (#17)

In 9 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.

Today, we'll cover yet another new Nats player to make the team: Rick Ankiel.

Why?: The Rick Ankiel story is one that's well known throughout baseball, and we've actually covered Ankiel's story briefly when we were discussing Collin Balester's control issues last season. But Ankiel isn't throwing off a mound anymore. I would pay money to see that happen again, but I digress. Ankiel is a player that's turned into a great hitter and an outfielder with a gun for an arm. He may not be able to hit home plate from the mount, but I'll be damned if he can't hit it from 400 feet away at the center field wall.

The Nats have plenty of youth on their club now, but they do need to have some tangible experience from some true veterans. Sure, Zimmerman is probably a "veteran" of the league now after 5 seasons as a starter. But with the additions of Werth, LaRoche, and Ankiel, the Nats will add well-respected veterans that will help as the team develops.

What to expect?: We seriously think there's a possibility that Ankiel will be the Nationals starting center fielder at some point this season, maybe even on Opening Day. Nyjer hasn't done a whole lot in order to re-earn that spot this season.

We'd love to see even more pop in the Nationals offense, and Ankiel can certainly provide that. Add him to the equation of Zimmerman, Werth, LaRoche, and Morse, and all of a sudden the team has an unbelievably intimidating 5 guys in the line up. We'll see if it plays out this way, but it sure would be fun to see.

1 comment:

  1. Man what I wouldn't give for Ankiel to get some duty in the 18th inning of a tie game... That would be fantastic.