Nationals Baseball: The fate of Detwiler is in his hands

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The fate of Detwiler is in his hands

Can't they please do a little switcheroo? Give Detwiler another day off so we can have Strasburg/Hudson, instead of Hudson/Detwiler and Strasburg/Minor? At least Beachy/Gonzalez is there as the match-up between surprise Cy Young candidates

Back to the scuffling Detwiler, who's got a 5.40 ERA in his last 5 starts.  Remember when I said Detwiler's personal stats might be showing some real signs of improvement?  Yeah, forget that. His GB%, which was a big part of his success early, has dropped from 64.3% to 54.5%.  54.5% is still probably around what the Nats want, but really this means in his past 5 games he's been under 50%.  His career numbers suggest he isn't a ground ball type so I'm guessing those early games were flukes.  Same goes for his K-rate, which over the same time is more around the 5 K/9 level that has been his career average up until now.  He has continued his minor improvement in BB-rate but it's real small.

As far as more general stats, his BABIP has come up to a more normal range these past 5 games and his HR-rate has actually declined. That was already low - this can't last. The digners are coming. On the bright side for Detwiler, he's gotten pretty unlucky with runners scoring.  His LOB % dropped from 73.5% to 63.3%.  63.3% itself is low, what he must have been averaging (guess in the 58% range) the last few games is fluky unlucky.  This makes sense though. Yes, Detwiler isn't a 0.68 pitcher, but he isn't a 5.40 pitcher either.  He's a 4.00 + guy... most likely.   Still it's only been 8 games, a quarter of a season, so if I were in charge he'd get at least till the All-Star break to see if he really is the "no reason to screw over John Lannan" type starter that we assumed he was.

Of course he won't get that chance because Chien-Ming Wang is chomping at the bit to get in the rotation.  And by "chomping at the bit" I mean, "Rizzo signed the guy, he's got no options, and the Lerners are paying a lot of money for him; so there are absolutely no circumstantial reasons for Wang not to be pitching every 5th day".   In reality 32 yr old Wang is about Detwiler (who like we just said is about Lannan) but Detwiler is cheap so he'll get the boot if he can't throw a good game.  I'd expect Wang to get in this game if Ross struggles early, Wang to get the next start if Ross struggles at all. If he pitches well? I'm not sure what the Nats do. I guess just stick Wang in long relief until they get the excuse they need from Detwiler or an injury.

I say enough of this pussyfooting around. You want the best pitching staff in the league? Trade for (and then sign - or just wait until next year and sign) Zack Greinke.  I'd take this offense with Strasburg, Gio, Greinke, and ZNN as the Top 4. Oh wait, dammit! He's not a Boras client.  What about Hamels?  He's almost as good and.. no, no Rizzo hates him now and again not a Boras client.  Jamie Shields... no. (checking, checking) Ok well an early "Welcome" to Kyle Lohse, Derek Lowe, or Dice-K the Nats 2013 5th starter.


Anonymous said...

You got problems Harper.

Anonymous said...

"Gonzalez is there as the match-up between surprise Cy Young candidate"

Gio is only a surprise Cy Young candidate to you because you were an idiot and thought he would struggle. Intelligent baseball fans always knew that Gio would dominate this season.

cass said...


If going just on salary, wouldn't Lannan be occupying the 5th spot with his $5 million owed? The team seems to be viewing that as a sunk cost.

Anon @ 12:22:

You knew that Gio would significantly bring up his K-rate and bring down his BB-rate this year? If you predicted this, congrats on the prediction, but Gio wasn't on most people's Cy Young lists going into the season.

Anonymous said...

We are on the verge of our 5th starter being a Dewiler/Wang combo for a defacto complete game which keeps them both from being over taxed or hit too hard, and rests the other bullpen guys. This is genius. One of them starts and goes 4-5 innings with the other guy finishing the game. Johnson can rotate which one starts and which one finishes based on the opponent. 5th starter winning % is about to go through the roof!!!

Harper said...

Anon #1 - because I wrote about Detwiler (and the other alternatives) not being great? I can only write so many "the pitching is great!" columns (which it still is overall) As for Detwiler, I said he's a 4.00+ ERA guy (and Lannan and Wang are similar). That's a pretty good 5th starter from anyone of these guys.

On the good news front - Desmond and Bryce have been broached a couple times and nothing new is happening there. Zimm and Espy are trending right but I want to give both more time before I talk about them. (and frankly LaRoche is crashing harder than they are flying)

tomorrow will be positive (in my view) but maybe you'll read it differently. People seem to.

Anon #2 - I guess I'm not reading the same intelligent baseball fans as you are but other than you in my comments I'm hard pressed to think of anyone that had Gio as a dominating Cy Young favorite.

Some felt a little better, some (like me) felt about the same (and that was still pretty good BTW), and I want to say most thought a little worse actually.

Harper said...

cass - Rizzo didn't sign him, has not ties to him. Plus he had an option. 2 reasons that he isn't there.

Anon - that would be fun to see but I can't see Davey pulling one to bring in the other if one's been great after 5. (You can say - ok well that time he doesn't do it - but what if it happens twice in a row? that's like 3 weeks between long outings unless he's also used in relief at other times... I just don't think it'll work)

Section 224 said...

I can only assume Harper is a lifelong Washington sports fan, because this tone of "wanting to believe, but it'll never happen" seems ingrained in the soul. As a long-time Cubs fan, I understand the deal, because any mention of my beloved childhood Cubs eventually ends in Bartman flashbacks. I know how hard it is to believe.

All that said, we're a quarter into the season and in first place. We've won two series against the Phils, have the best record in the NL East against other NL East teams, and each win against Atlanta will start to crowd the bandwagon. Reinforcements are coming over the hill with Morse, DeRosa, Lidge, Storen and eventually Werth returning.

Been a fan of the boys since they moved to town in 2005, and I gotta say, even this old doubter is thinking September baseball. Detwiler/Wang? If that's the biggest problem we have this far into the season, it's gonna be a hell of a ride. Both are better than most 5th starters we'll face all year.

Buster "Rant" Casey said...

Detwiler has had a rough couple of games but I think the plan is to piggy back him with Wang. I think keeping Detwiler in through the line-up twice will help. He seems to get hit a lot harder the third time guys get a look at him. He is the fifth starter, the weakest link in the rotation. If he doesn't get back on track, Wang and Lannan are right behind him to take his spot, I think that pressure, especially with Wang literally warming up right behind him will make or break him as the fifth starter.

Wally said...

I mostly agree with you, but I think his numbers have fallen off mostly in the last couple of starts, and you could make the case that it is just the randomness of a small sample. For instance, his BaBIP for the last three games: .333/.350/.389. His LOB%: 55%, 37%,57%. On his GB%, it isn't quite as bad as you thought, he has only had two games all year under 55% (at low 30s). And another plus sign is that his FB velo has been trending up through the season, almost bumping up to 93 the last few starts. A lefty with that kind of velo and improved walk rate should get a pretty good leash, I think. Neither Wang nor Lannan offer that same value, particularly when considering salaries (yes, I know it is a sunk cost this year, but they'll have the same question next year).

But on your Greinke point, I actually think EJax has been real solid and would be a better value for the money then tieing up $20m/year in Greinke, whom I like quite a bit but this line up needs some major work if they want to be elite, and some of that is going to need to come from free agency. I am assuming that Jackson could be had for something like 3/$36m or so.

As for the lineup, I think they are looking at a real possibility of needing a C, CF and at least one MI. I doubt most would agree with me, but is it a slam dunk Ramos comes back from that torn ACL to be not only the same player he was, but continues his upward trend line? I love him, but he is a 250lb guy who squats for a living, and it just seems like this could be a real career issue. And it seems unlikely that we can consistently win with all of Desi, Espy and Ankiel mostly playing every day. I think they can take their pick who to keep, but at least 1, maybe two of those spots should be upgraded.

Ben said...

Anons cranky as ever I see, if you are going to criticize/taunt Harper at least put a name to it.

In that vein, and since Harper seems to want fresh article ideas, how about a preview of what you will write when the Nats sweep the Yankees?


P.S. pretty sure its weird when a Latino catcher isn't 250 lbs so I wouldn't be too pessimistic about Ramos

DezoPenguin said...

Didn't Greinke already veto going to the Nats before he went to Milwaukee?

Hamels, on the other hand, I would laugh crazily if he signed with the Nationals.

brendan said...

anon 2-- you're a fool. NO ONE THOUGHT GONAZALEZ WOULD PITCH THIS WELL. Absolutely NO ONE.

Nattydread said...

How is Lannan doing down on the farm. I don't follow closely. Is he lights-out enough to challenge Det or Wang?

Anonymous said...

Lannan is not pitching very well in AAA. 5.80 ERA; 1.73 WHIP (!); 3.8 BB/9; 4.4 SO/9 (!).