- Felipe Rivero did a pretty good job in the closer role and relieving in general. Remember how the question about good relief arms isn't if you can find them but how long it will take? Well thanks to a couple of untimely failures, it took most of the season to confirm but Felipe Rivero is pretty good. The five walks in 15 IP in Sept is a little high, but he was basically unhittable (0.533 WHIP) and got 14 Ks. Given his age and that he was mostly solid during the year too I think, yes, the Nats have a decent relief arm here
- No other non-vet really stood out at year's end in the pen. You are dealing with very brief outings here - about half the amount of innings Rivero pitched. Solis and Grace got good results but weren't necessarily impressive. Martin pitched well but is 31 so I'm not betting on him. Not that these guys are bad, but you enter the 2016 season with no security that they will be any good.
- The pre-supposed "next-in-line" guys were terrible. Treinen and Janssen both finished the year in a bad way. Neither is a problem specifically but if Storen is going and Papelbon is going you kind of wanted these guys to be good to at least give you a starting point for next year. This is why it's not impossible Papelbon (who is good) or Storen (who is cheap) will be back next year. Right now the Nats are staring at a pen that's a 23yr old with one good year and that's it.
- Roark didn't pitch all that well as a starter in Sept but it was mostly one bad start. He did seem to improve as he got back in the groove. This is important because it looks like the Nats will need two starters. Ross and Roark are projected to be the two. The question for Roark is how much of 2014 was a one-season wonder and how much was it that Roark is actually good? We can't take much of anything out of this season, but at least we are ending on somewhat of a good note with back to back solid starts.
- Gio also had a nice finish to the year. True there was a lot of terrible offenses in those games but if he pitches like he did this year stopping his sliding tendencies he'll be a fine 3/4.
- Trea Turner finally got a hit, and then got some more. .290 / .371 / .419 in Sept. He'll probably start 2016 in AAA but it's good to see him adjust.
- Matt denDekker hit pretty well too. .298 / .353 / .596. What does that mean? Well it means if he's your 5th OF to start the year and your 4th OF is a legitimate starter replacement, well, it's not a bad thing. It could become one quickly and he still probably shouldn't be in a situation where starting a bunch of games is possible but he gives the Nats an option at a cheap bench all around OF that they've lacked.
- Michael Taylor really tailed off at the end of the year. .180 with no power in September. Maybe he was tired after a full season? But looking at the whole year - he hit .222 / .278 / .340 from May 1st on so arguing that pitchers figured him out pretty quickly is reasonable as well. If he's going to be a low .200s batter with some streaky power, that's probably not enough. He might be the easiest player to bump from the line-up for a FA or trade acquisition. We'll see.
- Ramos and Lobaton both never got it going. I don't see the catcher situation improving without a move.
- Rendon and Werth both stopped hitting the last two weeks of the year. They followed the same pattern. Took about 2-3 weeks to get going, hit well for 2-3 weeks, then crashed the last 2-3 weeks. What exactly do we take from that? I don't know. One thought was that they were able to hit well because they began cheating on pitches, looking FB swinging early, and then the pitchers adjusted. Then again it might just be the aspect of barely playing for nearly 4 months. I think it leaves us, unfortunately, with no answers on whether these guys will hit next year. I'd bet on yes, but I wouldn't build a team around the assumption that they will.
Friday, October 09, 2015
Did we miss anything?
I'll admit my attention to the Nats wasn't as strong once it was pretty clear they weren't going to win it the division. Obviously things like Max's resurgence weren't overlooked because they were stamped with no-hitters to get your attention, and we follow Strasburg enough that his awesome end wasn't missed either but I went back to see if there was anything else in the past month or so that deserves a minute or two of thought.