Wednesday, March 30, 2011

25 in 25: Summing up the project and Laynce Nix (#25)

Tomorrow, we're all headed to Nationals Park for Opening Day. Over the last 25 days, we've guessed the Nationals Opening Day 25-man roster one day and one player at a time. Today, we conclude that list thrilled to say that we were 100% right on all of our picks. (I know, we're shocked, too.) To be honest, the Cora and Nix picks were made after the Nats already released the lineups. But the other 23 we got right on our own, and we feel pretty good about that.

But on to the completion of this great rundown: Laynce Nix.

Why?: Because Riggs and Rizzo said so. But let's talk about how he got there.

Entering camp this season, Nix seemed to have almost no chance to make the Nationals Opening Day roster. There were at least 6 guys (Werth, Morse, Morgan, Ankiel, Nix, Bernadina, and no, I don't even count Stairs as an OF) vying for at most 4 spots. With Werth, Morse, and seemingly Morgan almost guaranteed spots, that left a spot for one more. Most assumed it'd be either Ankiel or Bernie. Then Morgan got traded, Ankiel became the Opening Day CF, and Bernie got sent down. Enter Nix.

We're not going to spend a lot of time making a strong case for Nix, but some of his numbers are worth highlighting. Especially his numbers in Cincinnati last season. Granted, these were an anomaly for his career, but it's the most recent numbers and worth noting.

Cincinnati 2010: .291/.350/.455
Spring Training 2011: .243/.310/.459

What to expect?: If Nix can replicate his 2010 Cincinnati numbers, the Nats will have one heck of a back up outfielder on their hands. When starting OFs Morse, Ankiel, and Werth need days off, expect the lefty Nix to step in against right-handed pitching. On days where the starting OFs need a day off and the Nats are facing a lefty, we'll see Jerry Hairson, Jr. more often.

Expect Nix to be nothing but a back up all year, as Bernadina will likely be called up in the case of an OF injury, but the Nats might try to get Nix enough at-bats to become good trade bait if he's having a good season.

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