Nationals Baseball: Formalities

Friday, September 16, 2016


The Nats will win the East. At this point they have the 2nd biggest lead in baseball (and the second best record by a half-game over the Rangers). so it will happen soon.  How soon?  Well sorry for you hoping to close out the Nats time in Turner Field with a division title. Atlanta isn't possible. Even a double sweep puts the Mets 13 out with 13 to go. (I'm sure some of you would still find a way to worry in that situation.) It's most likely going to be Miami or Pittsburgh.

I assume fans would rather clinch at home, but at the same time don't exactly want to risk the thing getting close to do so. That's not exactly what would have to happen, but it would probably take a minor Nats stumble. Both the Nats and Mets are playing well and playing bad teams so let's say they win 2 out of 3 going down the stretch. With that assumption the Nats cut down 3 on the elimination number each 3 game set. That puts the E-number at 4 after Atlanta, 1 after Miami, and the Nats celebrating on the Roberto Clemente Bridge sometime next weekend. Betting odds would be on the 23rd.

To give a range - generally you expect to cut 2-4 games every 3 game set. That means the likely range for elimination has it happening anywhere from the 20th to the 26th. So an outside chance of it happening in DC without a major issue, but real unlikely.

How about HFA in the NLDS? Going by the same 3, and 2-4 assumptions, it'll basically happen sometime that last homestand. Back of the envelope stuff but anywhere from Sept 26th to the last day of the season is "in range" with probably the 29th being the bettors date right now.

What about awards? The Nats are right there for a lot of awards this year.

NL Cy Young
Kershaw is the best pitcher in the majors right now, but he's going to end up with 140-150 IP. In comparision guys like Max, Fernandez, Syndergaard, Hendricks, and Bumgarner will end up with 190-220. That's a big difference some won't get over and I think it'll be enough to cost him the award. Any of these five could get it in my opinion. Jose probably has the hardest time given he has the highest ERA and no pressure games to sell voters on down the stretch. He has to hope for stumbles. Max is probably in the driver's seat right now but everyone else is going to have the chance to pass him with some significant points and he can't do much about that. Sydergaard and Bumgarner could pitch their teams into the playoffs. Hendricks could drop his ERA under 2.00. It's totally up in the air right now and each start is going to matter.

Roark? You could argue underrated but there are a LOT of great pitchers this year and he's just not quite there when you dig past ERA and W, which you have to do to separate these guys.

It's Bryant or Murphy.  Here's the lines.

Bryant : .295 / .388 / .562  37HR  114R 95RBI
Murphy : .348 / .393 / .598  25HR  88R  102RBI

If you made me bet right now I'd say Bryant takes it. It's a better story nationally and if he goes .300 and 40+ homers? 100+R and 100+RBI? I think there's too many things checked off there. But it's no guarantee.

Seager is also a good candidate but he won't win it because....

Seager is going to win this. Yes Trea has been awesome but Seager has been like that all year long. If you expand Trea's time in the majors to 142 games you get 30 doubles, 15 triples, 20 homers, 75RBI, 102R, and 60SB.  Well Seager has 39 doubles, 3 triples, 25 homers, 69 RBI, 96R and 2 SB.  Basically when you think "How awesome a season would it be if Trea did this for a full year" the answer is look at Seager and add stolen bases.  Plus Seager is really good in the field.

There are no compelling terrible in 2015 to almost playoff teams. So we can ignore everyone not in the playoffs. The Dodgers, Cardinals and Mets will all make it winning fewer games than last year (assuming they do). That makes it unlikely that they get any major support for votes, though I'm sure each one of them will have their "injuries made it tough!" supporters. The Giants, if they make it, will have done it with a few more wins but Bochy isn't going to get a MOY award for sneaking into a Wild Card. He's set his bar.

So it's Dusty or the weird wuss. Dusty has the team on the biggest turn around. They will win 10+ more than last year. He's also undeniably a good story. What's against him? Well, no one really believes the Nats were an 83 win team turned around by Dusty, rather they were a good team who had an off year last year. Maddon has the perennial loser Cubs as the best team in baseball by far. Media types love him and while Dusty is a good story, this is arguably THE story of the year in the game. What's working against him? Well he just won it last year and only one guy (Bobby Cox) has ever won the award twice in a row. Of course Dusty has won it too. Twice, so there isn't much "give it to him" drive I bet.

Voters like the bad to good stories and there aren't any this year in the NL. So failing that if I were a betting man think if Maddon gets the Cubs to 104 wins (most in over a decade in the majors) he takes it. If not I think Dusty has a chance if he can finish within five games of the Cubs.


PotomacFan said...

For NL Cy Young, I think you are overlooking Jon Lester, who is 17 - 4, with the second best ERA and a WHIP just above one. The good news for Max is that Hendricks, Lester and Arrieta may split up the Chicago vote.

Harper said...

I think the Cubs Cy Young vote is fully in Hendricks corner which leaves Lester having to make up a lot of ground. I think the only way Lester gets it is if he gets to 20 and no one else gets to 17.

BxJaycobb said...

Harper: I suppose we should just forget about Strasburg returning for playoffs? What about Ross? I know it happens, but it's hard for me to see a team throwing Gio and AJ Cole out there multiple times advancing through the postseason....

JD said...

@Harper as a fellow Yankee fan, how soul crushing was last night? Also, everyone is scared of the Yankees of 2018, but about next year? Any chance they keep up the performance they sacrificed A-Rod for? Off topic, I know, but not much to talk about the Nats at the moment.

G Cracka X said...

How about Seager for MVP? I think he is second in the NL in Fangraphs WAR

PotomacFan said...

Harper dismisses Seager, noting that he will win ROY. I agree with Harper that Bryant is the favorite, but I would not be surprised if Seager were the MVP. Voters who rely on the "Most Valuable" concept, instead of the "Best player" concept, may be inclined to vote for Seager, who was a HUGE difference maker for the Dodgers. By contrast, the Cubs would have easily won their division without Bryant, and the Nationals -- well, they probably would have won without Murphy (except if Murphy were still on the Mets). And let's not forget that Seager is a shortstop -- so he doesn't need the same batting numbers as the others. (Yes, Murphy is a middle infielder, too -- but he's a terrible fielder and everyone in baseball knows this.)

Harper said...

BX - Stras yes, Ross... let's see if he starts Sunday.

JD - soul-crushing is a little strong because they are hanging on by their fingernails and there's a lot of "lucky to be here" feeling but it was pretty bad. Especially after shouting "Don't take Tanaka out!" and "Why Warren and not Clippard?" and "If Betances doesn't have it you have to pull him immediately.... he doesn't have it! Pull him!"

Next year will depend on the pitching. The hitting is just what it is. Fair, no holes, no peaks, waiting on kids. This whole run and the plan for the season had been pitching based. Early in the year it failed now it's not. The pen will be good to very good. There are a ton of quality arms to chose from. The starters though - Tanaka is Cy Young worthy and CC will fill in the "Colon" spot now that he's learned how to successfully junkball, but they need at least two 3-3.50 ERA to fill in. I don't have faith now Pineda is it. Green and Cessa are possibilities but it would be alot to ask for both of them to end up in that range. I'd take one if you gave it to me right now. Severino is possible though I fear they are going to Joba him....

I'm rambling. I see best bet for success next year is Bird is good, Sanchez is good, Didi or Casto has career year, Garnder or Ellsbury pops back above ave, and McCann takes to DHing. Not terribly crazy - offense still sits around average here. Betances, Clippard, Warren, young arms put together a very good pen. Rotation settles around Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, Green, Adams/Severino, with Green pitching like a good 3 and Adams/Severino pitching like a ROY candidate.

GCX - won't because he'll win ROY and there are other MVP candidates that are good.

Harper said...

PF - I guess. I think the "he's already got an award" is a pretty strong feeling though - especially if they haven't set themselves apart (and Seager hasn't from Murphy/Bryant)