Nationals Baseball: Hey look Regression! There's Mean! Let's go say hi!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hey look Regression! There's Mean! Let's go say hi!

UPDATE: Hey I was kind of right about Marquis.

Chris over at Capitol Punishment notes that the Nats have a pretty easy schedule coming up. So much so that you can see them staying around .500 (or better) until the halfway point of the season. That's looking at the opposition. What if we take a look at the Nats?

Let's admit the Nats have caught some breaks that led them to be 8-7 right now. Don't think of that as a bad thing. It's a great thing. These games are done and no one can take them away from the Nats. As long as the Nats up their play a little bit they can take advantage of what amounts to money in the bank to end up a few wins higher than they probably should be talent-wise.

But can they up their play a little bit? Is the Nats current lineup filled with overachievers waiting to crash? Or underachievers that might rise up to counteract the likely evening out of luck?

Pudge : Over .444 / .469 / . 600. Even if you named your first born child Pudge (and what a lovely girl she is) you have to admit Pudge is going to crash at some point. Hard.

Dunn : Under .191 / .387 / .315. The OBP is about right but the power is WAY under what he should do. Expect a nice run of homers soon.

Kennedy : Push .237 / .318 /.316. If you had me bet, I'd say he'd slightly improve but I don't feel strongly enough to guarantee it. He's in a talent/age range that he could be done.

Guzman : Over .341 / .386 / .659. Guzman can be good. He can't be this good.

Desmond : Push 256 / .356 / .436. Really, we don't know.

Zimmerman : Push .341 / .386 / .659. Kind of like the Bizarro Kennedy. I'd probably bet on a slide but he's in the talent/age range where he could be becoming a superstar.

Rigth Field: Push The average should go up (Harris is hitting .192, Maxwell .231) but the OBPs and SLGs are on target if not too high. Keeping Taveras on the bench is the key in any case.

Morgan: Just slightly Under. Morgan's average should go up a little bit but like Right Field his OBP (.371) and SLG (.385) are about on target. The production should improve but just a hair overall.

Willingham : Over .327 / .427 /.592 I liked Willingham to have a career year (I told the Mets guy. I did!) but this is too much.

Starting Pitching: Push at least until Strasburg comes. Marquis should be much better (unless he's injured). Livan should be much worse (I mean he's nearly perfect now). Lannan may get slightly better. Anyone want to guarantee better consistent pitching from anyone else? It should get slightly better even before Strasburg but again - I'm not betting on it.

Relief Pitching: Under While Capps and Clippard at this point could hardly be better and should get worse, every other spot outside of Jesse English is at 4.91 ERA or higher. That can't stand. Maybe Mock comes and replaces Batista with a 4.50 ERA in long relief. Maybe Burnett settles down to a 4.00 ERA. Tyler Walker to a 4.50. I'm not talking great pitching here, but a unified improvement that should in total have an effect.

Looking at the team, the offense, which is pretty average (though remarkably consistent), should get worse. And if Zimmerman is down... I don't want to think about that. The pitching though has lots of room for improvement, especially the pen, but I'm not sure the talent is there for a BIG improvement. And how much will a better bullpen matter if the starting pitching is giving up 5+ runs and the offense starts to drop?

It's things like this that make me agree with FJB, and think a Strasburg call up is advised. I don't see where a big improvement is going to come otherwise. Marquis maybe. If he's ok. That's it.

The iron is hot. It might not be this hot again.


Hoo said...

I pretty much agree on the hitting. Nats have zippo pinchhitters with Harris starting Adam Kennedy? Maxwell? Nieves? Gonzo? Marquis on the DL over Willy T? Yikes... I think Willy T. is done when Morse returns. Morse's versatility gives him the spot as compared to a Mench or another good bat in 'Cuse. (at least Willy T. should be done and Maxwell gets his big chances!). I think the Hammer is making himself untradable which is awesome. Bit concerned about Dunn but it should be too early for sluggers to this bad this soon. BTW, Zim is a superstar he just plays on a crappy team. He's distancing himself even more from Wright in terms of tops at his position...

I disagree on pitching. I think the starters will get a little better. I think Lannan, Marquis improve, Stammen about the same, olsen a little better and Livo worse. So I think starters move up a bit.

I don't think the Pen will improve much. Capps isn't this good. Clippard is though. But there's enough stats on the other guys that there might be some minor improvement but will be made up by some slight regression by Capps. I think English might be over his head, Burnett about right and Bruney should improve. I think the pen gets better in a bit if Storen comes up but I'm not counting on much improvement from Batista, Walker or any help from Mock.

I still wouldn't call up Stras. I think the exciting thing is whether the Nats can hit .500. You're still thinking next year as the run. I'd try to move Livo and Guzie to the real contenders for prospects.

I really like Riggle's use of the pen. Batista/Walker are the junkers. Clippard is ridden hard in winnable games but then put away for long stretches. Bruney isn't the 8th inning guy. English/burnett for matchups.

Harper said...

Still buying the starting pitching improvement with Marquis on the DL?

I think Riggleman has used the bullpen nicely, but it helps that two guys right away established them as consistently dependable and that he's been able to ride Livan for rest days.

Baseball wall decals said...

I am totally addicted to reading any baseball themed blog. I think Clippard has a lot of potential this year.

Hoo said...

I've got a starter's ERA of roughly 7.3. So yeah, I think the starters will improve even w/o Marquis and Livo regressing. If Olsen has a few more starts that keep his ERA over 9, then he'll be replaced. Stammen is on a short leash too.

I think JD Martin would have a sub 7 ERA...

Bryan said...

I actually do think the pitching will improve. Even with Marquis out.

This team has played 6 of its 15 games against the Phils. That's probably the best lineup we'll see this year.

Also, the story leaves unanswered the pivotal question: Will any decline in play be offset by the easier schedule.

If yes, we can expect .500 baseball.

If no, we can expect .350 - .400 baseball.

I don't call Stras up yet. .515 baseball isn't going to bring in more fans than .500 baseball.

Meanwhile, .500 baseball this year plus Stras next year is great marketing and could attract crowds.

Plus, I'd like for him to get plenty of seasoning and arm strength in the minors before bringing him up.

Harper said...

Hoo - ok you got me. It'll improve, but I guess what I wonder is if it matters. You know if the staff had a 20.00 ERA and lowered it to a 10.00 that would be a huge improvement that would not matter at all in the W column. It's not so much if the starter ERA can improve but if it can improve to a point where it matters. (6.00? 5.50?)

and even then that's not so clear because starters ERAs are individualized events. Like if you have 6 man rotation with a 9.00 ERA you're probably awful, but in theory you could be a .500 team if 3 of them were throwing 9 inning shutouts while the other three gave up 10 runs in one inning pitched every time out.

I'm thinking too much.

Bryan - I don't know. .515 baseball gives you that much more a chance of having the wins pile up now and the right timing of wins will certainly bring in more fans (see 2005). It might not be much more fans but when you already aren't drawing it might matter enough.

Hoo said...

Yikes..With Marquis gone for 6 weeks we'll see if our replacement players can maintain a sub 7 ERA for the next 9 games or so.

I'd guess there's some serious shuffling unless Atiliano really looks good. Mock, Martin, Chico and Martis are on deck probably in that order. I'm also a big fan of seeing Aaron Thompson up at some pt this year.

Even with Marquis down, I still think the starters pitch a bit better over the next 6 weeks. Let's get under 6.5 guys!

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