Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Bryce was he hurt? Or was he hurt? Or, possibly, was he hurt?

Monday, November 07, 2016

Monday Quickie - Bryce was he hurt? Or was he hurt? Or, possibly, was he hurt?

So this bit of info came up during the "Year in Statcast" show last night.

Short of it is - at the end of the season Bryce's arm died and as a result he started shifting in defensively. We all saw it, the shifting at least, but here is the arm strength evidence that backs that up. Will the team finally admit it now?

If a pitcher suddenly lost 4 MPH on his fastball you wouldn't just shrug your shoulders and move on. You can't just say "maybe it's a slump throwing the ball" as the Nats tried to do explaining away Bryce's drop in performance at the plate. Clearly he had a physical ailment that was negatively effecting his play. 

Now of course that doesn't mean the Nats were lying about the shoulder. But they were almost certainly lying about him being healthy and being purposely misleading about the shoulder. Outside the actual shoulder joint you can get away with saying it's a neck issue, an upper back issue, an upper arm issue, or a chest issue. It's all connected.

What does this silly subterfuge affect in the grand scheme of things?. Not the play on the field. No team looked at Bryce and thought "Well he looks hurt and can't throw and can't get his arm up to hit but if the team says he's healthy we won't try to attack that". Not the support of the fanbase in a meaningful way. No fan looks up today and thinks "Oh, they lied to us about Bryce's health! I'm done with the Nationals!" Where it matters is probably in the relationship between the reporters and the team. They were fed a bill of goods and reported those back to us. The team made them look foolish. So further reports will probably be taken with far more skepticism and if the reporters are any good, will be followed with as much digging for corroboration as possible. All for what?  I don't know.

Anyway tomorrow I'll tell you Anthony Rendon should start at third. Prepare your spit takes.


Carl said...

High on the list of "What ifs" for this year's playoffs is "What if Bryce had played at his 2015 MVP level?" He did keep walking, but a home run or two could well have changed the outcome vs. the Dodgers. The fact that they got as far as they did with Bryce clearly ailing for half the season is pretty remarkable; hopefully he gets over whatever it was this offseason and can be that guy again next year.

Ole PBN said...

^ Daniel Murphy says your welcome.

Fries said...

@ Ole PBN

Seriously though. Nats are a .500 team without Murphy. If Bryce had been BRYCE, you're talking about a heart of the order better than Rizzo/Bryant. That black hole in the bottom of the order wouldn't have mattered

Ole PBN said...

If having a season like he did in 2015 makes him BRYCE. I don't see him being BRYCE again. It was a truly historic season, but I expected him this past year and next year, to dip back to his career norms: .275, 30 HR close to 100 RBI. Anyone who thinks Bryce is a .330 hitter is fooling themselves. To Fries' point though, had he even put up the numbers I just listed, it is the best 3/4 combo in the league right now. Here's to hoping he gets back to that.

Don't get it twisted, Bryce and Trea Turner are not hitting for batting title averages next year. They were never projected to be "that" type of hitter. Similar to Ramos' 2016 year being what it was, you cannot expect such high level of production. If everyone reverts to career figures, this team is very good. Give or take a dive by one guy, and another to reach for the stars, it all evens out in the end.

... and then there's injuries. Aren't we due for some widespread injury epidemic next year? It is an odd-numbered year... (palm-to-forehead)

SM said...

The defensive shifting, yes, corroborated by the demise of his opposite-field power.

You're right, pretty much everyone either suspected or knew he was nursing some kind of injury, from fans to opponents to management--everyone, apparently, except the reporters who cover the team daily.

Sure, the Nats made the reporters look foolish. But are the reporters--particularly the seasoned ones--really such rubes? Or are they merely stenographers, recording the team's company line in exchange for the cachet of hanging with big leaguers for a living?

Somehow, I don't think we'll be seeing rigorous, unsparing coverage of the Nats next season from the reporting pool.

That's what your blog is for.

mike k said...

The sky is officially falling: Harper has degenerative arthrosis and severe stenosis in his cervical spine, causing impingingement on the nerve traveling to his throwing shoulder. It will forever effect both his throwing and his hitting power, and explains his jerky movements every time he swings the bat as compensation for the pain. The jerky movements make the issue worse, effectively giving him permanent muscle strains during the playing season. The only solution is a double discectomy, laminotomy, and corpectomy, which will require a full year's recovery, and only make him decent for two years, after which he breaks down again and needs double fusion surgery, effectively ending his career as a starter. Just after the Nats give him 10/300.

I don't read a lot of Nats coverage outside this blog and federalbaseball, as I don't live in DC. They don't seem to be too much of stenographers, though.

Eddleman Whiz Kid said...

The statcast fielding numbers don't align with Bryce's performance at the plate, which deteriorated dramatically in May, stayed poor through July, and spiked up briefly in August before settling into "mediocre" in Sept/Oct. See

That doesn't mean the theory's wrong, but the hitting stats pretty strongly suggest that if there was an injury, it happened in early May and actually improved quite a bit in August.

NotBobby said...

Or bryce adjusted to the injury and found something to compensate

Eddleman Whiz Kid said...

"Or bryce adjusted to the injury and found something to compensate"

Maybe, but that wouldn't explain the timing of the deterioration in his fielding. It's possible, I guess, that he had two different injuries--one in early May that affected his hitting (maybe a mild oblique issue?) and another in mid-summer that affected his throwing (the shoulder). But positing two injuries, neither of which the Nats ever acknowledged (and one of which even Bryce never acknowledged), seems awfully speculative. I'll buy a shoulder injury in midsummer--he actually took time off for that, and the fielding data support it--but his struggles at the plate are harder to explain.

NotBobby said...

We do not know how many times one injury leads to another. His injury in May could have gotten worse, he played through it and it turned into something else. That something else was something he could compensate for at the plate.

I am not saying this is what happened. Just that it could be

G Cracka X said...

@Old PBN

Speaking of Murphy.....

Ole PBN said...

^ Thanks G - chalk it up to another great move by Rizzo, huh?

Robot said...

Anyway tomorrow I'll tell you Anthony Rendon should start at third.

Dude, spoiler alert!

Jay said...

Also, don't forget that Murphy didn't hit for much power in the playoffs. That could be bc the Dodgers pitched him away. It could be bc he wasn't close to healthy. If Murphy hits a few out then it's a different series as well. The Nats had injuries at pretty much the worse time of year - after the trade deadline. Does anyone think if Ramos blows out his knee in July that Rizzo doesn't go get another catcher. If Strasburg goes down earlier in the year with the elbow strain?

The worrisome thing about Harper and the Nats in general is that they try to pull EVERYTHING. The Dodgers pitched Harper away the entire series and he went the opposite way a few times. I was somewhat hopeful that Schu would be shown the door bc of how pull happy the Nats are as a team. I do think Baker with a year with this team under his belt is likely to show more improvement. He knows the players better.