Nationals Baseball: I don't know what that was but it wasn't a baseball decision

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I don't know what that was but it wasn't a baseball decision

I'm not going to begrudge the Nats management for trying to explain the Elijah Dukes release as solely a "baseball decision". Would it be nice if they were as forthright as Chris would like them to be? Sure. But I prefer to see it as a "no need to bad mouth"situation. He's cut. He's gone. Why burn bridges?

Of course that won't stop me from actively showing WHY it wasn't a baseball decision.

Elijah is young, cheap, and talented (to a point). You don't usually replace a player like that. Of course you could replace him if had someone younger and/or cheaper and/or more talented that was behind him. That would be a baseball decision right?

Cheaper? As much as I would like to say CHEEEEEEEEEEEEP, there is no cause to do so. None of these guys are going to be that much cheaper, certainly not over the next couple of years.

What about younger? Willie Harris is not younger, he'll be 32 in June, but you knew that. Mike Morse is not younger, he'll be 28 in a few days, but you thought that too. Justin Maxwell is not younger, he's 7 months older in fact. What abo...Roger Bernandina? Also older. By two weeks! Didn't realize Elijah Dukes was so young did you? (and may I bring up a favorite point from last year, Lastings Milledge is even younger. By 10 months!)

Ok so what about more talented? Well that's the big question isn't it? Let's write off for the moment Willie Harris and Mike Morse. Harris is past-prime and at best average. Morse is right at the cusp of the downhill slide and has yet to show anything for sure at the major league level. What about Maxwell and Bernadina? How does one measure "raw talent" for young players with limited major league experience? How about how they did in the minors?

20 (A & High A) .313 / .395 / .489
21 (AA) .287 / .355 / .478
22 (AAA) .293 / .401 / .488

Maxwell (in college before 22)
22 (Low A & A) .252 / .337 / .368
23 (A & High A) .281 / .363 / .583
24 (AA) .233 /.367 / .459

20 (A) .240 / .340 / .371
21 (A) .233 / .356 / .369
22 (High A) .270 / .355 / .369

The facts are right there - Dukes was hitting better at younger ages at the same relative talent level than either of these guys. Dukes was a true talent. These guys, they're ok. It was not a baseball decision based on raw young talent.

But that's only one type of talent. Perhaps the Nationals saw a way to squeeze more production out of the guys they have now for this season. Usually such moves are reserved for teams looking to grab a couple more wins to help with playoff runs, not teams inching past 70 wins, but to each his own, right? It's a baseball move. They mentioned in some fashion possibly platooning the righty/lefty combo of Morse and Harris - that seems like a good idea right?

Harris (v RH in the majors)
2007: .283 / .358 / .418
2008: .255 / .351 /.404
2009: .248 / .365 /.414

Morse (v LH in the minors - injured in 2008 - minor league splits does it again)
2006: .286 / .349 / .482
2007: .250 / .379 / .361
2009: .317 / .349 / .538

So a platoon of Willie Harris and Mike Morse....more at bats for Willie... factor in minors to majors... declining returns. Something like .270 / .345 / .430? That is much better than what Dukes put up last year (.250 /. 337 / .393) but much worse than what he put up 2 years ago (.264 / .386 / .478). The Nats aren't looking at Harris/Morse and salivating at the platoon splits, they are betting against Dukes merely improving back to average.

We're not the baseball people watching Dukes everyday in Florida. Perhaps something is wrong that they don't think can be corrected. We don't know. God knows I wasn't all that high on Dukes a month ago. If they see something they feel negates his obvious talent advantage over the other "young" choices, that makes them believe he's not going to regress to the mean, well then, it could be a baseball decision. It isn't very likely though.

Straight baseball wise this seems like a very questionable decision. If they aren't making decisions strictly because of baseball reasons then, like FJB does, you've got to start questioning how they are making decisions. It's a baseball team. Baseball decisions make the most sense. Non-baseball decisions, that's a tricky path to tread.

Well if the Nats are resigned to the hitting staying the same as last year at least they still got all those new arms right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you as your information.