Nationals Baseball: The lesser of two shoulder shrugs

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The lesser of two shoulder shrugs

The prevailing thought is that Olsen doesn't deserve the last spot on the Nationals roster. I really can't say I care, it's the 5th starter for a team with at the very least 3 pitchers it is dying to get into the rotation sometime this year, but it's important enough to merit ESPN mention I can't rightfully ignore it can I? (Ok sure I can - but what else is there to write about?)

JD Martin got sent down so now it's Mock v Olsen. I've said a couple times in the comments that this isn't clear cut because Mock, for all the talent supposedly busting from that arm, has only been good as an older starter in AAA. Yes he's given the Nats organization 150 IP of 2.90 ERA ball with around 8.5 K/9. 2.2 BB/9 and little more than 0.5 HR/9 in AAA over the past 2 years. Those are good numbers, but they almost would have to be for a 25/26 year old in AAA. That's the age where you should be putting it together in the majors, not the minors. Mock has yet to show anything in the majors. Fifteen starts last year of pretty bad pitching, a 5.40 ERA as a starter, who's last 5 starts (5.59 ERA) were no better than his first 5 (5.70 ERA)

Olsen, came into the majors ahead of time. At the age Mock was scuffling through A+ ball (22 if you must know), Olsen had already impressed in AA (over 10 K/9 and the around the same HR rate as Mock, but a few more walks) and was starting for the Marlins. He turned those impressive outings in the minors into a pretty good year in the majors. However, he's has also clearly shown that something went wrong in the past few years and he's probably not going to be able to replicate that early success. His ERA was over 6 last year, in the NL, in not a particularly bad park for pitchers. Still, Olsen is around 9 months younger than Mock (a year younger than Martin) which in theory gives him a little edge and he was injured so you could hope that the injury was the issue all along.

There's your choice.

The 27 year old never was, or the 26 year old has-been.

Or to be less mean-spirited:

The guy who has pitched well recently, but in the minors only and at an age that is getting to be advanced for the league he was in; or the slightly younger guy who has more potential in theory, but hasn't shown it for years and is coming back from injury.

I'm not saying Olsen should get the nod over Mock. I'm saying it doesn't matter. Neither of these guys are "prospects" anymore. Neither of these guys are likely to be in the rotation come July, let alone come 2011. Roll the dice with whoever - it doesn't matter. I would probably go with Mock, just because I want to see if Olsen's arm can hold up before he gets judged in the majors for what is likely the last time. But don't confuse Mock with Desmond. This isn't a guy who deserves 3 months of the Nats time to show his stuff. If he's pitching poor come May 1 and Olsen looks decent in AAA you flip them and you don't look back.


Hoo said...

I don't get the Mock love the club has. He can't be anything but a long reliever, b/c he gets rattled and implodes in a game. Not a guy you want with runners on.

He's not a guy that suddenly turned it on in the latter half of the season and making you think the lights are on (We miss you Ross!).

I'd put Mock as the #4 starter and Livo at 5. (Simply to let Mock start earlier to see how he's doing). Then see how he is in a month. I don't buy the fact that he needs some security to pitch well. If he implodes like he did on Wed simply b/c Olsen has 1 good start, he's not gonna hold up well.

I think you're right in that you give Mock the opportunity and then he's in Syracuse until Sept if he blows it. BTW, what are the odds that the May minors rotation is better than the DC rotation? (Dett, Stras, Wang, Martin, Olsen) and of course Matt Chico if Wang can't go.

Bryan said...

"b/c he gets rattled and implodes in a game"

Pretty much describes Cole Hamels to a T. And while he's not what people thought he was, he's still a pretty darn good starting pitcher.

Anonymous said...

The Mock/Hamels comparison is a great dream.

I also had a nightmare that Willie Taveras would start at a premium hitting spot against left-hitting pitching for the Nats. But then I realized that, It's April 1st and Riggleman is joking with me.

If this is true, it's a huge black mark on Rizzo. You simply can't go into spring thinking that you could cut Dukes and have a Willie Taveras or Maxwell as your backup plans. It's making me a bit angry just to think about.

Hoo said...

That's me above. Bah, WTH was the team thinking cutting Dukes with MAxwell hitting 0 for the spring when they cut Dukes. I guess the plan from that pt was always Taveras or Morse or whatever. Sheesh

Anonymous said...

Taveras? Seriously? There's no way that's true. The Nats cannot seriously think that starting the worst offensive position player in baseball is a viable 'plan' to replace Dukes. WTF?

Hoo said...

Riggs said Taveras is to platoon with Willie Harris. Taveras to hit against LHP.

Anonymous said...

Platoon or not- he'll be getting too many at-bats. I wasn't even comfortable with him making the 25 man as a late innings defensive replacement, lest someone struggle and Riggs be tempted to start Taveras in a game. Now he's going to split time with Willie Harris- this cannot be happening.

Harper said...

Hoo - Mock is new and shiny I guess. He may very well be the next in line guy after Strasburg, ZNN, and Detwiler in terms of starter stuff (which should tell you something about the Nats depth)

Bryan - let's not get crazy here.

Hoo said...

Olsen's gem against the Sawx has given new life for my dreams. I feel like boring mediocrity may be in our grasp once more! Olsen finding the fountain of youth and throwing a solid 4.20 eRA will plenty of K's.

These are my new dreams in an effort to forget the Taveras. Save us Mike Morse, you're our only hope!