- Standings Projections
- (not) getting Jeff Baker for the bench
- to trade or not trade current back-up MI Danny Espinosa
- trading prospect Nate Karns for back-up catcher Jose Lobaton
- Tyler Moore's usefulness on the bench
- Nats draft strategies in relation to their best prospect
What's the one role yet to be defined? 5th starter. Here are the candidates
Ross Detwiler - 28 in a couple weeks - L - 4.04 ERA in 71 innings in 2013. Prior to that racked up a 3.35 or so ERA starting in 2011 and 2012, with a bit of an impressive relief showing in '11 as well.
Taylor Jordan - 25 - R - 3.66 ERA in 51+ innings in 2013, after breezing through A+ (1.24 ERA in 36 innings) and AA (0.83 in 54). Prior to that spent 4 years "climbing" from Rookie Ball to A ball, showing the tendency to be extremely hittable. But was that the fault of injury? Looked ok in 2011 then needed Tommy John.
Tanner Roark - 27 - R - 1.51 ERA in 53+ innings in 2013, but 22 of those innings were as a reliever. Put up good numbers (3.15 ERA) in AAA. Prior to that spent 5 years moving from rookie ball to AAA as an organization guy, giving each level a lot of mediocre innings.
Now I haven't gone too far into fancy stats (I do believe I told you that this is a lazy post) but based on the above you have three distinct candidates.
Detwiler is the "proven" one. He was a first round draft pick who has put up good numbers in the majors in the recent past. He also had the worst year last year and is the biggest injury risk coming back off a back injury in 2013 and having hip surgery prior to 2010.
Jordan is the "prospect". The youngest by over two years his break-out in 2013 carries a bit more weight than it would for an older pitcher, especially considering the relative lack of innings in the minors. He's a groundball pitcher with good control, who if he can ever start missing bats could be a very effective arm.
Roark is the "hot hand". Easily had the best 2013, being unhittable at all levels. Even factoring some luck giving up HRs and hits, the 2013 numbers are undeniable. Unfortunately so are all the numbers leading up to 2013 which strongly suggest fluke, rather than step up.*
Based on just these ideas. Who do you like for the 5th spot? I've never liked Detwiler that much but think this performance history merits "first crack". After that I like Jordan more than Roark as I'm a bit age-ist when it comes to players. So I've relegated the guy with the best 2013 to middle relief or a AAA starting role.
*If you want to go down a rabbit hole that exists solely in the vacuum of 2013, make your way through this fangraphs piece on Roark. Fascinating, but very potentially nonsense.