Draft - Read Nationals Farm Authority . That simple.
Even better for Strasburg, Doumit and the lukewarm Crosby are both out. In Doumit's place is Jason Jamarillo who stands out as an awful hitter even in this lineup. This moves Cedeno up to 7th and LaRoche to 6th. Delwyn Young has to play now as well. He's a AAAA all-star with some legit power but absolutely no patience or real ability to hit major league pitching. He'll bat 5th, Milledge moves up to 3. This can only help Strasburg as he really is facing only 2 (maybe - depending on if Walker is for real or not) good hitters, and 7-8-9 should be like facing 3 pitchers.
Hello Pittsburgh. Who exactly is Strasburg going to face tonight? The most likely set up will look something like this:
Ok you don't care about the order. You care if these guys are any good. Simply put - the first three guys are, the rest aren't. As a team they have no real power (14th in HRs) and are not real patient (14th in walks) so their offense is reliant on a bunch of singles being hit at the same time. They do make decent contact (10th in Ks) so we may not get the high strikeout game we were hoping for.
McCutchen is a star in the making a .300+ hitter with decent pop who's only 23 years old. Walker, like McCutchen was a #1 draft pick, but took longer to develop really only getting it together this year. He's probably not a .300+ hitter but he could be a decent one and he might have turned the corner in developing some real power. Doumit is a high average, ok power catcher when healthy.
Garret Jones might just be starting slow. He has the most real power in the lineup but at 29 he's probably not gettting any better. Milledge has finally got a chance to sit back and play... and it's apparent he doesn't have what it take to hit for average in the league. He should end up better than .250 but he has to be over .300 to be useful and it doesn't look like he will be. Crosby has been injury hobbled since his one good year in 2005 and now brings nothing to the table. LaRoche is another one that might be starting slow but his likely ending spot is still low average, low power. Ronny Cedeno might surprise you with a HR now and then but that's it.
It's close to an ideal opponent to start your career against. They'll swing and while they'll probably put it in play, they don't threaten to bash the ball. This keeps the pitch count low and the innings moving nicely. The only downside to facing the Pirates is because of the lack of power they are really top loaded in talent and you'll face their best players as much as possible (as opposed to a lot of teams who put their best at 3-4-5. Still, assuming the Nats can play error free ball the Pirates shouldn't score more than a couple runs (if that).