Nationals Baseball: Bryce is back

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Bryce is back

That's more like it. Now this team is an offensive juggernaut (note - this team is not an offensive juggernaut). While the Brewers might not be the best measuring stick for the Nats to see if they are back to where they should be, who cares? They are a team the Nats can beat, should beat, and hopefully will beat.  Worry about how the Nats measure up against good teams after the All-Star break.  For now, feast! Feast!

Time for a quick look back at the Strasburg and Bryce trackers.


SO/BB - Goal 4.57, Kevin Slowey .
  • Strasburg - 4.29.  He has regressed a bit as his control remains merely good and not pinpoint as he has flashed before.  As a commenter pointed out before though this really isn't a great stat to look at because super control pitchers will look really good here but if they don't K a lot of people they can be pretty mediocre pitchers (see Slowey, Kevin) so how about a new target that matches up better with success.  Ok bye bye SO/BB hello K%-BB%
K%-BB% - 7.69%, Mark Prior (remember first 4 seasons, 400IP here)
  • Strasburg - 8%.  If he keeps up the way he is I think he'll slip under Prior but we'll see. Stop walking anyone Steve.
ERA+ - 161, Howie Pollet
  • Strasburg - 139. No movement (the first look at this took into account his shutout start) but he should start gaining ground soon if he keeps that ERA under 2.50.

HRs - 61, Mel Ott. 
  • Bryce - 35.  Again, he needed 39 to tie to start the year. Injuries have kept him to only 13 meaning he'll have to go off and hit 26 in the last 80 games. That's a tall order but still, I'm not going to bet against him. His current pace would have been for 46-47 homers so is a 53 pace for 80 games crazy?
OPS+ - 145,  Ty Cobb
  • Bryce - 131. Again the injuries are going to cost him games and that will cost him influence over his career numbers. It's possible but tough.  Another 26 homers would help.
 Both still on track for greatness

Other notes

Bryce has played 184 games in his career. Over his first two years Mike Trout played 179 games. Hey that's pretty close. We can compare that right? Without the whole "Well Mike Trout at this point blah blah blah"stuff people were saying when someone dare suggest Mike Trout might be better than Bryce.

Bryce : .274 / .351 / .504  35HR  20SB  82BB
Trout : .306 / .379 / .532  35HR  53SB  76BB

Edge Trout. This year Trout is hitting .315 / .392 / .545 so Bryce has gotta keep swinging if he wants to keep up.  And before you go off, I'm not saying Bryce isn't going to be super awesome. He is. This is a Mays / Mantle comparison we got going here.

It's funny how Rendon's 18 fantastic games are how the guy really hits, and the 13 bad games are just a slump. He's a kid. He might hit .250 this year. It might have been just a super hot streak. I still think he'll be good (remember Pat Burrell that can field) but this is why we don't get ahead of ourselves.

I just said the Nats had a good fielding Pat Burrell, Mickey Mantle, and a non-injured Mark Prior all under 24 on their team and yet I have the feeling someone is out there upset I didn't say it was George Brett, Willie Mays, and that guy stinks why am I not talking about Jordan Zimmermann.


Froggy said...

The current lineup with the heart of the order going L,R,L,R and Rendon batting 7th and continuing to hit over .300 could be borderline juggernaught-ish (lite). Definitely doesn't allow any easy at bats rest for opposing pitchers.

I think the biggest plus is having Rendon (and soon Ramos)in the back third to provide more opportunities for Werth. Huge.

As to Trout / Harper comparison, right now Trout is better bc of his SB threat. But Bryce bring the Sterling Archer 'Danger Zone' to every at bat.

Anonymous said...

If you think Rendon could drop to .250, you haven't been watching him play. His swing is compact and smooth. He let's the ball get deep.

During his "slump" he hit at least 5 balls that required web gem catches to stop from being doubles.

He's going to hit over .280 easy.

Pete said...

To be fair Rendon seems to simply be getting the correction for BABIP. He's had several very well hit balls just not find a home. But yes he's not Bryce

patrickhenry said...

Agree with all the comments here. And I love watching Rendon's at bats -- the total opposite of Espi. He looks totally relaxed, has a great eye, and gets the barrel of the bat to the ball. And I think he's got some pop, maybe double digit HR's by year's end?

Kenny B. said...

I Second Froggy's comment. I didn't realize until last night how much Bryce changes the whole complexion of the lineup. The LRLR thing with non-automatic outs at the back of the lineup at least forces opposing pitchers to actually work for outs. Plus, later in games it will have an impact on those MLB specialty relievers who only seem to be good when facing same-handed batters. It's all minor things, but the sum those little things could make enough of a difference to at least give a shot to a team with plus pitching. And whatever Bryce's statistical value, his value as an enthusiasm generator among fans is just off-the-charts. That's good for the entire organization.

It's not a juggernaut, but it definitely now feels more like the major league lineup of a decent team that could actually get some momentum and make the playoffs. (Of course, ask me again after tonight when Strasburg takes another hard luck loss because the team gave up three unearned runs.)

On another note, now that I think about it, it's pretty impressive that a team regularly featuring such stars as Chad Tracy, Roger Bernadina, Tyler Moore, Steve Lombardozzi, and a set of minor leaguers I'd never heard of before this year still managed to cling so tightly to .500.

Kenny B. said...

And you should be talking about Jordan Zimmermann, because he leads in the only stat ESPN understands: WINS.

Chaz R said...

I feel GOOD!!! Man, it feels like 2012 again...maybe better with Rendon.

Anonymous said...

Didnt the Brewers sweep the Braves this year?

Harper said...

Froggy - it could certainly be good to very good at least. Span is still concerning, C could be an issue all year and Werth/LaRoche aren't likely to repeat last year. But still for certain weeks they are all going to be on the same page and that's going to be fun to watch.

Yes Trout is better...right now. This is not over

Anon - I you think he can't hit .250 well I don't know what to tell you. I don't THINK he will. I like him in the .280-.290 range. But all it takes at that point is a little bad luck.

Sounds like we need another challenge like the Detwiler one though...

Pete - yes just temper your expectations - they can't all be Bryce's and Strasburgs.

ph - Maaaybe double digit HR, certainly in the future. I'd bet more on the homers than the average actually. But no reason to Espy bash. This is an (healthy) Espy friendly zone.

KB - It's at worst average which should be able to win most of the Big 3 outings. Can it be more than that? Does it need to be? (Maybe and Probably)

Spin .500 how you like bad is still bad.

He's a winner! (amazing how everyone forgot about how he "wasn't one" the past two years)

Chaz R - Hey hey! I said don't get ahead... ah forget it. Enjoy the Bryce.

Anon - nope Braves took one of three so far. (in Mil)

Clip&Store said...

Time for a Rendon BA predictor challenge

cass said...

Do we have to use a dumb stat like BA, though? Who cares what his batting average is? Getting on base and moving guys around the bases is what generates runs, so let's talk about OBP and SLG.

(I would be very happy if I went the rest of my life and never heard anyone talk about BA, RBIs, and pitcher Wins ever again.)

Froggy said...

Cass~ I agree. Kind of like we all learned as little kids, a walk is as good as a hit. (Maybe bc we couldn't hit)

I don't care if he steps in front of pitches, as long as Rendon keeps the line moving. (ok, so maybe I would care if he looked like a bruised avocado) But it seems like Rendon is always hitting a double and then scoring later, whereas Lombo seemed to always hit these insignificant singles and was LOB.

Finally, I kind of feel guilty for liking Rendon over Espinosa and what appears to be his natural hitting ability. Hey, if you are out there reading this Danny, just know that I hope you figure it out and come back up here to compete for 2b again!

Harper said...

cass- hey we're using ERA for Detwiler. Batting average isn't stupid, it just tells a limited story and maybe that's the story we want to look at. How many hits will Rendon get. Sure SLG and OBP matter more toward offensive production but we're just guessing a number here not trying to outline his contribution to the team

I never want to get rid of the "traditional" stats. Sure they are much better future predictors but they do quantify in context what kind of season players had. 20 wins is 20 wins. 100 RBI are 100 RBI. They don't necessarily mean you pitched or hit better than a player that didn't hit those numbers but they give a number that can tell you how their actual skill level that year translated into on field results by luck or otherwise.

Froggy - Gah! A walk isn't as good as a hit! (well I think you know that but I still have something in my craw about that saying) Making an out is waaaaaaay worse than not making one. That's what drives the OBP over AVE debate.

Don't feel guilty. Espy was just doing that bad it was hard not to taint impresssions. I think all Nats fans should be rooting for a Rendon, Desmond, healthy Espy, Zimm 2015 infield. Best cost, offense, defense combo I can see coming.

Harper said...

cass- obviously I mean "there are much better future predictors" not "they are"

cass said...

I don't think ERA is nearly as bad as the triumverate of stats I singled out, at least for starters. RA is a bit better because errors are arbitrary, but ERA does a decent job od measuring how many runs a pitcher allowed. Is defense part of that? Sure. Is luck part of that? Yeah, but it's also a factor in OBP and SLG. The alternatives to ERA, like FIP or fWAR (which now includes IFFBs) have their own problems. So, to me at least, ERA is fine as long as you understand it's limitations. It's answering a reasonable question - how good is a pitcher's team at preventing runs while he's pitching?

Batting average, on the other hand, answers this question: How good is a player at getting any kind of hit in all plate appearances he doesn't get on base through a walk or hit by pitch or make a sacrifice? That's a really silly question. OBP is flatly superior: How good is a player at getting on base? (How good is a player at not making an out?) OPS or .wOBA are also clearly superior: How good is a player at doing the things that lead to scoring runs?

I simply see no reason to ever mention batting average. Just my opinion. I try to never reference the stat myself. I find it so flawed as to be useless. I don't really care what a player's batting average is. Show me an OBP close to 400 and I'll be a lot more interested than seeing an AVG over 300. Naturally, Nick Johnson was one of my favorite Nationals, but he also was also a severely underrated player. If he could have stayed healthy, he would have been a great, great player. His 2006 is one of the top three seasons by a Nats offensive player, as I recall. Mostly because he didn't make outs.

Likewise, I don't really care how many pitcher wins someone has. I'm not even going to turn that stat into a question because it's so incredibly convoluted. I'd rather people just give a team's record in games the pitcher starts because then you're being more honest about the fact that winning a game is about a lot more than the starting pitcher. I find pitcher wins to be a lie - apportioning credit for things beyond their control to a pitcher. I would be happy never knowing how many pitcher wins anyone has. K%, BB%, HRs, IP, RA9, WAR, FIP (wish it had IFFB's included...) - these are the things I want to know about a pitcher.

I know this is all very simple sabermetrics, but I guess I take offense at BA and pitcher wins because they are more complicated than the "advanced" alternatives. It doesn't get more simple than Times On Base / Plate Appearancess. And likewise, a team's record in games started by a pitcher is far simpler than the crazy rules of pitcher wins.

drkrick said...

About Bryce ...

Was that bobbled ball last night a case of nervousness around the wall? Too early to declare a pattern, but is it crazy to be watching for one?

Chet said...