Nationals Baseball: Some Quick Thoughts

Monday, May 17, 2010

Some Quick Thoughts

Storen is called up. What's the bigger question, how will Storen do or will Riggleman run him into the ground?

Bruney gone. I was lukewarm but hopeful about Brian Bruney, and even that minor like was seemingly the most positive take on Brian. I guess there was good reason everyone else hated him. He had 19 appearences, only 5 of which he got through without letting someone reach base. He did strikeout 16 in 17 and 2/3 innings, but he walked 20. That still might work if he was unhittable, but that's not Brian. 21 hits. Time to move on.

Clippard is struggling. It's not the innings. It's the appearances. Can we reach that conclusion now? For all the talk of "they don't make pitchers like they used to", they NEVER made relievers that could pitch in a ton of games year after year. Oh ok. Mike Marshall did it. And Kent Tekulve. Anyone else? Gossage? No. Sutter? No. Fingers? No.

There have been 110 times where a pitchers has appeared in 80 or more games since 1901. None were before 1964. 75 have been since 1996, 44 since 2004. Outside of Marshall and Tekulve, Mike Stanton, Steve Kline, Ray King, and Paul Quantrill have done it more twice. So it is possible, but when 56 pitchers have tossed that many games since 1996 and only 4 have done it more than 3 times, what does that tell you?

I totally believe that pitchers can go longer than we've come to accept at this point (especially guys 25, 26+) but I don't think pitchers can go more often. Remember that with topic #1 up there.

Willingham needs to play! This team has no power. Here are the isoSLG numbers for some of the regulars. Pudge .118, Kennedy .114, Morgan .122, Bernandina (career minor) .120, Harris (career major) .109, Guzman .098. Those aren't good numbers. (major league median is about .155). Which is not to say it's a problem, some guys aren't meant to hit for power and they do other things for you. But a team totally devoid of power isn't going to succeed no matter how smart they think they are (see: Mariners, Seattle 2010). With Desmond streaking here and there, the burden falls to Dunn, Zimmerman, and Willingham. That's just enough to work, maybe. Take anyone out though and this is becomes a team that needs a great start every night. (which they've almost gotten)


Hoo said...

I don't really blame Rigs for Wood but watching his use of Clippard isn't reassuring.

I'm not too worried on the iso power line. Of all the guys you mentioned, there will be no more than 4 playing at one time. So the Nats have 4 guys below the median power line and hopefully 4 over which is exactly what you expect (although Desmond could be a bit low).

But really, it's not so much of a team problem as a right field problem, but we knew that.

Love the moves over the weekend. Sad for Willy T. since his wife is preggo but really he's not needed given the Nats plethora of light hitting speed outfielders. Morse gives the Nats a real pinchitter.

Positively Half St. said...

I think that the weekend moves were great, and Willy Tavares's wife can take solace in the $5M he has made during his career.

The Nats have to be ready to shuffle more minor leaguers up as necessary to keep from blowing out Clippard (or now Storen). Also, we all assume Storen will do well, but he hasn't been in the Majors yet. Until he has established himself, we have to be prepared that he may ride the bus back to Syracuse at some point.

Harper said...

Hoo - I worry a bit about Storen only because Riggleman made a point that he won't work a ton of innings, but didn't say he wouldn't make a lot of appearances. Of course you got to think there will be some oversight on Storen.

There shouldn't be more than 4 of those guys starting but when Willingham sat both games on Saturday they went with Harris & Bernandina at the same time. That's a recipe for trouble.

+1/2St - Yes. Let's see first what Storen does in the majors before annointing him the new 8th inning guy (and before really worrying about overuse. That would be the silver lining if he struggles)

DCfan said...

Clippard stinks...I thought that last year and still am not high on him. Not too mention he looks likea dork in his goggles.

Best part of the weekend series...the starting pitching was solid.

Harper said...

I'll agree that Clippard isn't the lights-out 8th inning guy he's been used as this year, but he's certainly a serviceable bullpen arm. I don't know what you saw last year.

The starting pithcing has been good. Since the 22nd of April (almost a month now) the Nats really only have had 3-5 bad starts (depending on how you look at it).

Sec314 said...

Your last point was the most important -- these guys do not score runs! The missing power hitter in RF is obvious.

Another big hole is back-up catcher. They ought to be able to find a semi-respectable backstop with a little more pop than Nieves who could hit .230... at least.

Anonymous said...

Are you really that stupid !?!?!?!? We just snapped a 12 game HR streak. GEEZ !!!!! where is our power. We are 5th in the league in Homeruns. Do your research. Idiot !!!

Hoo said...

"We are 5th in the league in Homeruns. Do your research. Idiot !!!"

Either this post is deliciously ironic or the this commentator doesn't know that Harper's blog is about the Nats and not Harper's Yankees.

Either way, it's sweet.

Harper said...

While most teams have a breakdown of some sluggers, some ok power hitters, some bleh power hitters, and some no power hitters. The Nats (currently 7th in HR and SLG) are far more have and have not. The Nats only have four players capable of putting up any sort of power numbers and one of them, Ian Desomnd, is a rookie who appears prone to streaks. As long as Dunn Zimmerman and Willingham are all playing they are ok (mainly because Dunn and Zimmerman are not just sluggers but Top 10 NL sluggers) but if they don't all play the backups employed constitute such a drop in power that the Nats offense will have trouble scoring runs.

Also consider that the Nats are 7th with almost every regular hitting for the exact or more power we would expect. The guys who aren't (Guzman and Pudge) don't have the potential for any serious or even moderate power.