Nationals Baseball: Last Place... Mission Accomplished?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Last Place... Mission Accomplished?

The loss last night drops the Nats to last place in the NL East. While only 4 games under .500, it certainly feels like the Nats are drifting in the wrong direction. They may very well finish in the low-mid70s in wins, rather than challenge for .500. And you know what? I don't really care.

I don't care because of three things. Wilson Ramos. Jordan Zimmermann. Danny Espinosa.

The Nats needed young players to step up into holes at catcher, in the middle infield, and in the rotation and they have.

Wilson Ramos has lived up to his defensive reputation while providing average offense for a catcher. Recently he's shown that he can still be a power threat and earlier he had shown the ability to hit for good average. He may not ever combine both to become elite, but it's equally as doubtful he'll lose both abilities and become a liability at the plate. Wilson Ramos is 23 and under team control through 2015.

I was hoping Jordan Zimmermann would show himself to be a #3/#4 type pitcher in this recovery year, so he could possibly grow into something more. He's been doing much better than that. Ignore the last couple starts. That's just some hit and HR luck working against him, as it worked for him earlier in the year. He's still striking out a bunch and walking no one. (4th in K/BB ratio in the NL). Let's say he is the total pitcher he's shown up to this point. A 3.27 pitcher that's 5th in the league in WHIP? Who wouldn't take that right now? Jordan Zimmermann is 25 and under team control through 2015

Danny Espinosa is currently the 2nd best offensive 2nd baseman in the NL. Danny Espinosa is currently the second best defensive 2nd baseman in the NL. Danny Espinosa is 24 and under team control through 2016 I believe (it's hard for me to pin this one down)

Wilson Ramos has done exactly what Nats fans would have reasonably expected. Zimmermann and Espinosa have done better. Given that it's 2012, with Strasburg back in the rotation and Bryce in line for a call-up, that's the key season for making strides toward the playoffs, wins and losses this year are disappointing but not telling. They crossed their fingers and hoped for a young cheap core to come together in 2011 so they can build around it for the next few years. They've gotten it.


Wally said...

I completely agree.

And I think that you have to add one: Morse might actually be this good. He is maintaining his performance through 350 ABs, and young enough that he could hold this level for 3 years or so (would love to see him walk a little more). The Nats could probably give him a contract guaranteeing him decent $$ for the next two years of arb, and get a team option or two so that he could be cost controlled through 2015.

Donald said...

I agree. I'd also throw Drew Storen into that list, assuming they don't trade him. A shut down closer is a key piece and he sure feels like he could be it for a while.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

Ray Knight comments on Ramos' batting stance last point out how far from the plate he was. The lad is going to have to start standing a tad closer so he does not have to lunge at pitches on the outer half.

Apperpro of your previou post, Rhinehardt's nickname of NatsProspects was "The Godfather."

Anonymous said...

The Nats are last in the NL EAST..not the NL.

Harper said...

Wally - I was tempted to do the same but he's been maintaining even though he's gotten a huge boost in BABIP. I still think he's not THIS good (more like 2010 good - which is perfectly fine)

Donald - you know me. I just can't call relievers crucial. it is nice though.

sec 204 - I'll confess I don't get it - is it in reference to something or just because he's old

anon - whoops. fixed.

Wally said...

There goes Rasmus. I am ok with it - not sold that he stays in CF

Wally said...

Ok, can it stop now? I mean, mission accomplished, right?

Anonymous said...

Ok, so Colby Rasmus is gone. So wouldnt that make Rajai Davis ripe for the picking and a perfect fit?

calindc said...

From Toronto's manager John Farrell

"The fact that we've acquired Colby doesn't necessarily just completely remove Rajai from our mix. He's an extremely valuable player for us and he's a dynamic weapon."

That's manager speak for "yes, give us a good offer and he's yours"

In all honesty, I do not know much about him, but looking at his stats, he's a speedster with a low on base %, but his first two years were pretty nice. He could just be having an off year in a tough division.

In other news, we have Wang on the mound tonight. It should be interesting, but his pitch count will probably be kept low. If the game is close the bullpen will be taxed again.

Wally said...

Harper, you have to be feeling good right now. Coffey apparently going too.

Probably the most active the Nats have been at the trade deadline. I sense Davey is a strong influence on Rizzo.

Looking forward to your take on all of this.