Monday, November 14, 2011

A Few Good Men: 25 - Ankiel

Rick Ankiel - Age 32 - 8+ Years of MLB Service

How he became a Nat: Signed a 1-year, $1.5 Million contract in December.

The Raw Numbers:
AVG - .239
OPS - .659
HR - 9
RBI - 37
WAR - 1.4

Key Stat: 17 Total Zone Runs. What this stat essentially breaks down is exactly how many runs above an average OF that Rick Ankiel was worth, based on the number of plays made. 17 is a fantastic number and it placed Ank as the 4th best of all NL Outfielders.

Best Game: Going out on a limb here and saying August 28th vs the Reds. Against type, we picked a game that the Nationals lost - but it would've happened much earlier had Rick Ankiel not done this. You may remember seeing this throw, but here is a little background. Tie game in the bottom of the 9th with 1 out, Dave Sappelt hits a rocket off the wall but gets gunned out a third from the track on a 1-hopper at 3rd by Ankiel. One of the most amazing throws I have ever seen. The Nats ended up losing on a 14th inning walk-off by Joey Votto, but Ankiel did his part with 3 hits and this amazing outfield assist.

Worst Game: August 19th against Philly. Once again going against type, the Nationals ended up winning this game 8-4 - despite Rick Ankiel's performance. You may remember this game as the Zimmerman walk-off against Madson, but you might have forgotten that Ankiel was up right before Zimmerman in the 9th - only to strike out. That strikeout was his 4th strikeout of the day. Ouch.

CapBall Grade: C. Ankiel was signed to be a power hitting outfielder - making up for his deficiencies in the field with his power at the plate. What happened was exactly the opposite. 37 RBIs for a full-time "power bat" is not great by any stretch of the imagination. However, Rick Ankiel's defense was nothing short of stellar - providing some consistency in center, which is something the Nats (still) aren't very accustomed to.

2012 Nats Status: I would say that the only chance that Rick Ankiel returns to the Nationals is if he signs a similar contract (around $1-1.5 million) to return to the club as a 4th outfielder/defensive replacement. He simply can't hit well enough to have a starting job in DC. If he wants to start, he will most likely sign with a non-contending team. With Boras as his agent, one would think that he will take the money and run.

1 comment:

  1. To pass the time until Spring Training, I've been watching the Nats condensed games for this past season on (I highly recommend this if you're in Nats withdrawl. Each game is about 10-15 minutes long, and there is so much to enjoy other than the dozen or so "highlights" for each game.) Anyway, I wanted to call your attention to another amazing Ankiel throw. Apr. 27 against the Mets, he "threw out" Reyes trying to stretch a double into a triple. The throw to third was on one hop from the left-center field wall right in front of the visitors bullpen. This throw really was from the wall, as opposed to the track or deep in the outfield. Incredible. I put air quotes around "threw out" because Reyes was actually safe, leading to a epic tantrum by Reyes. But the throw was still amazing. Maybe it wowed the ump so much he forgot to see whether Reyes' hand was actually on the base before the tag was made.