Over the past couple of days I've seen shout-outs to both Ian Desmond (from Boz) and Jordan Zimmermann (in my comments) saying "Hey! Look over here! These guys are awesome and you aren't appreciating them!" So how about a happy day for once? Let's look at these two guys
First things, first. While we can appreciate Ian Desmond, we can also be realistic about that appreciation. Ian Desmond is not Cal Ripken. Sorry Boz. It's not crazy to compare players like this, but you have to use the right comparisons, OPS+ not OPS. Best years vs Best years, not one guys best years vs another's career. And fielding percentage? Are you kidding me?
So what can we say about Ian Desmond then that's fair?
In the last 2 years he has been as effectively offensively as Cal Ripken was in his first 10.
That may not seem impressive but Cal Ripken was a Hall-of-Famer. Ian Desmond is hitting like Cal in his prime. Not hitting like him at his max, mind you, but as he would in any random prime age year. Notice we do leave out defense. That's not really a dig at Ian. He was good last year and he's not hurting anyone this year. It's really that Cal was awesome in his time. There just isn't a comparison to make here.
I feel like I'm making Ian look bad. Stupid Boz, making me compare Ian to Cal Ripken. Let's look at Ian vs his contemporaries.
Well he's no Troy Tulowitzki. And Jean Segura is having a great year. Jhonny Peralta is doing real well. And how about that Everth Cabrera. But Ian, Ian is definitely the 5th best SS in the majors this year. That's pretty good right? Right? Oh come on that's pretty good.
Ok this didn't go as I thought it would. What we're seeing here is a bit of an illusion. Ian really has been the best non-pitcher on the Nats this year (with Bryce out for as long as he has been) but that doesn't make him special. It's a .500 team with a terrible offense that he's the best of. Ian isn't a complete player. His fielding is at best adequate (when he cuts down on the errors) and he never walks meaning he makes alot of outs. But he can hit for a decent average with good pop and he can play SS, which let's the Nats forget about that potential trouble zone. He's good. He's very good. Be glad the Nats have him. But let's not move into reverence just yet. Let's see if he can compare favorably to Jhonny Peralta before we compare him to Cal Ripken, ok?
What about Zimmermann can we at least be positive about him?
Yes yes we can. I argued about a month ago that letting ZNN go wouldn't be a terrible thing because both Strasburg is better and Gio is at least as good. I still hold that that is the truth, though in all honesty, if contracts weren't an issue I'd choose ZNN over Gio.
Why? Because ZNN is seemingly improving in the areas he can improve. His walk rate (1.25 per 9) is the 3rd lowest in the league. His GB% has gone up significantly every year. 31% -> 43% -> 50%. This is what you want to see from your pitchers. He could, I guess, strike out a few more guys, but he's getting the results he needs right now. I'll take a low K rate. Put no one on base, get a lot of GBs, let luck sort out if you happen to get dribbled to death by seeing eye hits one day.
Are more of those hits going to get through (.241 BABIP)? Sure. Are more of those FBs going over the fence (8.7% HR/FB rate)? Probably. But we're not talking collapse here.We're talking a 3.00 ERA instead of the low 2.00s. This is a guy good enough to be anyone's #2 and some (most?) teams #1. I would make signing him a priority.
I was sick and assume no ones going to check back in yesterday's comments to see if I responded so here it is in blog post form
Sirc - Yes it is strange that Haren's K rate is up with his career average. Part of it is the culture of strikeouts has been growing so more guys are striking out. He is getting worse in comparison. But still it's high. My theory is that guys are going after everything and when he can locate and.or has movement they'll miss. When he doesn't they kill it. Not much inbetweern
Chaz R - Storen trade rumors. I think they would deal him (now that Abad and Krol look good), especially if Mattheus looks good on return but I can't see him being a centerpiece of a deal. That wouldn't fetch much worthwhile.
C&S, sec 22, Froggy - My guess is this : They'll 15 day DL then bring him back for a few starts. I'm not sure what exactly the "fix" will be. I think they are hoping just some time off will help clear his head. If that fails they will probably 60 day DL him. I don't think DFA is an option, because no one is going to deal for him with that contract. You'd basically be DFAing him to get rid of him. 60 day DL pretty much does something similar (opens up his spot) without throwing him off the team. Double face save.
Dezo - I wouldn't say Span is the definitely the better choice, especially on offense. Upton still walks and hit for power so if you want to bet on his low average being a fluke, I can see that argument. Now as a complete player though - Span's D still puts him as the choice... for now. (BJ Upton in June .246 / .366 / .478 Denard Span in June .208 / .260 / .278)
Donald - it's more the Braves are unbeatable at home (Mets series excluded) and bleh on the road.