Nationals Baseball: Wait? Everything isn't going according to plan?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wait? Everything isn't going according to plan?

What are the chances of that? 100%? 99.95%?

Scott Olsen still looks awful. This really shouldn't be a surprise. Scott Olsen isn't a very good pitcher. He did have two respectable years 2006 and 2008, which given he's really only pitched for four seasons, may give you the impression that there is actually a good pitcher in there waiting to get out. There almost certainly isn't. The fact is that 2008 season was driven by an irregularly low BABIP of .266, and otherwise was more like the disappointments of 2007 and 2009 then the legitimately good rookie season he put up. (for a more detail and scathe, hop in the time machine and head back to FJB circa 2008) The strikeouts are too low, the walks are too high, he's too hittable and gives up too many home runs. He doesn't excel at anything, in fact, he's below average at everything.

If you can see that then what you have is not a pitcher waiting to bust out and give you 200 innings of low 4 ERA pitching, but a guy who at best is going to throw some number of high 5 ERA starts...who is now working back from injury. Good luck with all that.

I'm not sure what the Nats were thinking other than maybe "We don't care about the rotation this year because we're counting on Lannan/Marquis/Strasburg/Zimmermann next year". That's nice. For 2011. This year... man that Strasburg kid better be awesome right?

(yes - the team is still better because the addition of Marquis and fewer garbage bullpen arms but for scant dollars more it could have been much better without impacting next season. That's the point)

In other news
  • Desmond 0 for 3. On his way to AAA? Or did he "earn" a spot with 2 and a half weeks of good spring play? Really it depends on Guzman's arm for me, not anything Desmond has done.
  • One of the few bright things in spring, Pudge seems to be striking the ball well. He won't be good, but there's potential for complete disaster here, so good to see he's not flailing in spring.
  • Taveras will make the team if they are at all concerned about Morgan's health. Be prepared for 3 at bats with RISP the first 3 weeks, Zimm.


Hoo said...

I bet the team is only bummed about Detweiler. I'm thinking that Mock was penciled into the rotation in February as long as he didn't explode in the spring.

So they were hoping for Mock at 3 and then let the rest fight it out for 2 spots. Stammen's spring has made Olsen less important.

Livo, Stammen, Olsen etc were all place-holders anyway. I'm guessing Rizzo is thinking to use the first few months to get a long look at Mock and the loser of the back 3 gets cut or heads to Syracuse and replaced by Stras.

Why pay more money for someone when you hopefully only need them for 2-3 months?

I just wish the team had paid for say Davis over Livo. Otherwise, I'd rather see Mock/Stammen in the rotation than say Davis/Olsen.

Harper said...

I think once they signed Marquis they were hoping for Lannan/Marquis/Olsen/Detwiler/? as the rotation for this year, so they could use who shakes out of the bottom 3 to fill in the gap (or 2 - ZNN is no guarantee) next year. That's even more clear since that #3 guy (in theory Livan) wasn't signed until Detwiler went down. They wanted to look at Detwiler and Olsen and the best of the rest. This is why they never went after a Davis, there would have been no room for "?" and they have a handful of guys in make it or break it situations.

Of course I think that was completely overvaluing Olsen and Detwiler (and everyone else for that matter). If you don't think those guys are special (like me) signing a Davis makes a whole lot of sense. If no one steps up and/or ZNN is not ready he could be resigned for next season, if he does particularly well and you find an arm you like he can be dealt. In the meantime he gets the team more wins.

I guess that's the disconnect. I didn't see anyone they should really be set in stone to look at, and they felt that way about Olsen and Detwiler. Probably.

Will said...

What makes you think the Nats will be better this year? They were a very unlucky team last year. According to their pythagorean record, they were more like 66-96.

Wanna bet they're no better than that this season?

Remember, our offense was pretty great last year. Zimmerman, Dunn, Morgan and Willingham all had near-career best seasons. Expect some regression from all four, as well as from Guzman.
What little (and I really mean little) we improved our bullpen from last season, will probably be neutralized by our decreased offensive production.

Allison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harper said...

Well they'll be better in the fact they'll have more wins. You're right most of that'll be luck righting itself, but take the Nats second best pitcher last year and put Marquis in his place, then imagine the bullpen a half run better (again mostly a return to the mean - but also some better pitchers) that's enough to add a win or too. I'm certainly not saying they'll be good - just better.

As for the offense... well Zimmerman we don't know - he could get better - he's 25. Willingham and Dunn may regress ever so slightly but they had seasons relatively close to what you'd expect. Morgan... ok he could crash, but even if he's just average all year - that'll match what the Nats got out of center last year. All in all the offense will be pretty similar (assuming no suprises good or bad)

Will said...

Fair enough. I suppose I'm just pessimistic, and with good cause.

I see it this way- Beimel and Capps are essentially interchangeable. Besides that, what has changed to warrant improved expectations? MacDougal and Villone were actually pretty good, however unsustainable that might have been. I think we'd be very lucky to get 100 IP of sub-4.00 ERA (which we got from MacDougal and Villone) from any of the other scrap heap of Bruney, Batista, Bergmann, Burnett or Walker. Factor a couple inevitable injuries in, and we're back to dumpster diving for your Jorge Sosas and Kip Wells of the league.

Harper said...

Every year you can pull around 100 IP of around 4.00 ERA from a couple of random arms. In 2008 they got that from Steven Shell and Jesus Colome, in 2007 it was Colome and Chris Schroeder, in 2006 Majewski and Ryan Wagner combined for something around that. It's almost as if you'll find a pair that'll do that by dumpster diving but you don't know who and when.

The difference is that you can see them fidning two from the current bunch easier then last year's opening day roster. In fact... blog post!

Hoo said...

Harper: I pretty much agree but I put Mock up there with Detweiler. I'm guessing they were hoping for Olsen to be healthy and then take Mock/Detweiler at 4/5. And they knew they could grab Livo if one of those flamed out.

My point is that Mock is in another tier than Stammen/Martin/Martis/Balester on the org chart. I think Stammen has probably pitched at least as well as Mock this spring (and better last year) but Stammen is still fighting for a spot.

I shouldn't say Mock at 3..Probably Mock at 5 pre-Detweiler. I think that the team has a lot of faith in Mock's potential and is going to give him every opportunity to succeed at this level. Mock seems to be separated from the other pitchers except for hopefully Detweiler.

Anonymous said...

Can't completely disagree about Olsen, though I feel that the writer drifts too far to the negative in his assessment. But otherwise this is complete dross.

PDowdy83 said...

I would have to say now that Stammen is throwing 92 instead of 89 his stock has risen from being a fringe starter to someone who might actually be a quality back of the rotation guy. His k/bb ratio this spring is pretty good and he still has some upside. Right now I would go with a rotation of Lannan, Marquis, Mock, Stammen and Hernandez, with Hernandez being a place holder for Strasburg and then if Mock or Stammen struggles you can replace them with Wang and Detweiler. At least there is some potential depth this year.

Harper said...

anon - if you're talking about FJB being too negative on Olsen I agree, but to be fair he was bucking a generally more positive outlook

PDowdy - I think you'll get your wish other than the Livan as placeholder. I think the Nats will move whoever is struggling the most - not just Livan. The ages of a lot of these "prospects" ar eat the point that there is precious little time for them to "get it" so I think the Nats will cut ties with no problem