Nationals Baseball: monday quickie

Monday, August 29, 2011

monday quickie

As usual.

I hate to be a Kill(gore)joy but even though Desmond has reacted well to moving the the leadoff spot, it's only been two weeks. I can pull out a 11 game segment from early June where he hit .319. Granted that wasn't as good (he barely walked and had 0 XBH) but still you have to see the point. YOU HAVE TO SEE IT.

More importantly though - it is true that since the All-Star break he's been hitting better. Has he been hitting well? That's debatable. Has he been hitting well enough for a SS? Yes definitely.

Of course here's the thing.

Pre All-Star game : 85 games
Post All-Star game : 40 games

Don't let recency fool you. Those 85 games count.

Also - both by the eyeball test and the fancy stat test, Ian's fielding has gone downhill as the season's gone on.

You still bring up Lombardozzi. You still spot start him. You still see if Desmond can keep this up through the last 30 games of the season. If he can... well you've got a debate on your hands on what to do in 2012. If he can't then... well you don't.


bdrube said...

I just don't see how the Nats can go another year with Desmond as the starting SS, especially if Lombardozzi can hold his own in the field as possibly even as a leadoff hitter. They gave Ian two full seasons to put it all together and he couldn't do it.

His future looks to be as a utility man.

Matt2 said...

I would like to see the nats try to play Ian in centerfield. He is certenaly athletic enough and when theres no chance of playoffs, why not give it a shot?

Positively Half St. said...

Sticking with Desmond may be no more than a feel-good loyalty move. See if he might be packaged in a trade this fall, and end the experiment.


Donald said...

I know Kilgore mentioned Desmond in CF, but I'm not sure that's the answer. Ian's issue is with hitting not fielding a position. I'm sure he's athletic enough, with a strong enough arm to play CF but it doesn't change the issue.

Hoo said...

I'm not ready to close the book on Dez. I agree that the latter half of the season is too short. Otoh, if it continues there could be really something to having some changes to Dez. I do think players can "get it" or tinker something and make the leap to a higher level. You're not doomed early in your career to stay on the same trajectory.

There's also a lot of expectations for Lombo. He's not hitting as well as Dez did at Syracuse (albeit Lombo has a better track record and is a bit younger). I think you want to give Lombo a chance but still make Dez the starter. I like the 75/25 split and Lombo starting the year in Syracuse barring a trade.

Dez's and Det's upswing in the last few months have given Rizzo some more trade pieces.

In any case, I'm not sure I'd put Dez in the top 3 problems of the team.

The problems with this team are the Werth is the worst hitting everyday RF in the league by a large margin (18 pts of BA/70 pts OPS . Ditto for CF and LF is just a hair better.

Donald said...

@Hoo -- while I agree that Dez isn't one of the top 3 issues, he may be one of the top 3 that can be addressed this off season. Werth should be better next year, but in any case, that isn't a part that's going anywhere so there's no sense getting worked up over it. Also, with Harper coming up, they've got a LF (or CF) solution not too far away, coupled with Morse moving out there from 1B. I think their number one issue for the off season is to get a lead-off hitter who can be a catalyst. I'm not sure Lombo at 2B is the right answer for that. If not, maybe an FA for CF? The other would be a power hitter on the bench. Maybe Marrero can fill that gap?

JDBrew said...

I really hope Desi can continue to put it together. He's not hitting great at the moment, but he's hitting well enough. I am a big Minor league baseball fan and watch a ton of minor league games. I really like Desi when I was watching him come up. I really do still believe in Desi. At the same time, I really liked Espinosa and have similar sentiments toward Lombardozzi. I've watched his entire professional career and I see a solid contact hitter. Not the likes of Juan Pierre, but a solid bat. His approach at the plate kind of reminds me of Mickey Tettleton. A very easy, relaxed approach. And I also see a pretty polished infielder. So, if they all play well, then what do you do? Do you trade Desi? Move one of them to a different position? Turn Desi into a utility player?
I don't think you should turn Desi into a utility player. Once someone makes that change, it's nearly irreversable. While I think Desi would succeed as a utility player, I think he's more than that. And I also don't think he should be traded. He wouldn't fetch much and may be a really good buy for another club. I'm not keen on being the seller or a really good buy for another team. I do think that he should at least try an outfield spot. It fills a team need, it provides playing time for Lombardozzi, and it kinda changes things up for Desi. Maybe that would help him out. I think that the Nats need to either try Desi at center field or take a more serious look at playing Werth in center field. Either ones numbers look at whole lot better at the center field position. And it allows the team to put it's best lineup on the field. And it eliminates the need to try and find another starting outfielder. If Werth can hold down right field, and Morse moving back to left field, then center would be a naturally good fit. And what's more, it gives you the opportunity to play everyone that the club feels is starting material. If Desi can hack center field. No garauntees. But I do feel the possible reward is worth at least giving it a look.

JDBrew said...

Looking a Desi's numbers, i can remember when everyone was talking about acquiring BJ Upton or Colby Rasmus, and it should be noted that Desi is outperforming both of them. By a very slim margin, but still. He's actually comparable to Austin Jackson. Which isn't a terrible thing. If he could hold down a center field position, then I see no real reason why not try.

Hoo said...

Looking at stats makes me realize just how horrific the Werth signing is. Werth is one of the worst everyday hitters in baseball. Dez, Espinsoa/Werth are in the bottom right now but at least Espinosa/Dez are young.

I think Werth will rebound but how much? The Nats can't be playoff team if Werth remains one of the bottom 5 outfielders in the league. Unless Harper/Morse or other OF becomes one of the top 5 guys, which seems a tall order.

I've become a bit numb to Werth but man, his contract really lowered the window on the Nats playoff ceiling. Unless he rebounds in a big way, the Nats have to have dominant hitters at the other 2 OF spots.

Harper said...

bdrube - agree, but I think overall fans are split and management is not sure enough on Lombardozzi to not want to give Desmond more time.

M2- you can but the Nats need to get offensively better and the easiest place to do that for the Nats is CF.

+1/2st - You kind of cover two possibilities. I'll buy "trade showcase" above loyalty.

hoo / don - that's the point. The Nats CAN address SS so they might do it just because. C, 1B, 2B, 3B, RF, and LF (assuming Morse here, La Roche at 1st) are set. Leaves CF and SS. I'm not on the "need a leadoff hitter" wagon but they certainly need to get better offense in both spots.

hoo - Desmond could "get it" but if we look at his comparables (in baseball ref) we see a lot of guys that didn't and the ones that did had better minor league numbers. He'd be the exception for sure.

JDB - each of those guys bring something diff't. With Upton you ware hoping a change of scenery brings him back to 2008 form which was much better than you'd get from any version of Desmond. with Rasmus it's a pure power move. Jackson (though not in trade talks) is younger and a better fielder (as is Upton).

Can Desmond make it as a CF? Maybe. Can the Nats win with Desmond as a CF? I don't see how. There is too much offense the Nats need right now to accept a "good enough" at a position they have some flexibility to go out and change.

Harper said...

Hoo - I think in general you can compete carrying one terrible hitter. Maybe 2 if you're pitching is dominant. And you probably need 3 great hitters if you are going to have 2 holes. Not "great for their position" but just great.

Right now the Nats have 2 holes, and 2 great hitters. So they need to either close those holes, or more likely get another great hitter. Werth I don't think will bounce back to be that. he'll just be the better version of "not a hole"