Nationals Baseball: Interesting parties

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Interesting parties

Nats win. They currently have the 2nd best record in baseball, their 18-9 sandwiched nicely between the Astros 19-9 and Yankees 17-9. They have a 5.5 game lead over the second place Marlins and Philles. Basically they are cruising right now. Sometimes it may be a 25 MPH cruise but there's no one else on the road so they don't have to push it.

So forgive me if I take a slight break on the Nats to look at other former Nats and things of interest from around the league so far. Like

Mike Trout
We constantly talk about how good he is and how neglected he is and yet we still kind of neglect how good he is. I noted the other day that his team is garbage and another amazing season is being wasted. Take a look. In that team you'll note Danny Espinosa being amazingly bad and Yunel Escobar not doing well either. This is a team where players have gone to die (sorry Albert). Hey Ben Revere, too! It's a reunion and I'm going down a Nationals rabbit hole now.

Seeing Danny got me thinking about other Nats players. How's Ian Desmond doing? Just got back and coming out swinging. the two homers may not surprise you but they were in San Diego, not Colorado. Jordan Zimmerman? Injured in the neck last year, still getting back into form. His last start was more prototypical ZNN so we'll see.

Span? Hurt in SF.
Robinson? Performing poorly in AAA Syracuse.
Fister? Still waiting on injuries to pile up so someone will sign him
I heard something about Tyler Moore? Brief major league time with Marlins then off to play poorly in AAA.  
Chris Marrero? Showing San Fran why he never made it before now.
Mike Morse? Showing San Fran why he can't make it now.
Sandy Leon? Back to being the poor hitting catcher he's always been. 
Bernadina? In Korea, not doing well.
Lombo? Slapping singles and building a strange fanbase of frustrated short white guys in New Orleans.

Another thing I noted recently was how good former Nats relievers are doing. Clippard 1.54 ERA, Storen 1.29, Blevins 0.90, Rivero 0.56. None of them are THIS good but still there's a very solid pen built just from the guys the Nats got rid of. (All of these guys were traded). Of course other than Blevins every deal made sense. They weren't going to pay Clippard. They needed Melancon (and he was good). They needed to get rid of Storen. Sometimes this stuff happens. Sometimes it doesn't Like the 7.36 ERA with Stammen in Cleveland or Ian Krol's 8.44 in Atlanta.

Speaking of trades, we just saw Robbie Ray pitch very well.  What about other minor leaguers given up by the Nats?

Lucas Giolito? Struggling mightily in AAA.
Reynaldo Lopez?  Early issues, but seems to be coming around last few starts.
Other guys? (Dane Dunning)? So good in low A they moved him up to high A already.

Jeffrey Rosa (guy traded for Enny)? hasn't even pitched yet

Taylor Hearn (other guy in Melancon deal)? Middling in high A

Nick Pivetta (Papelbon)? Starting now for the Phillies, trying to see exactly where he'll end up. Back of rotation guy seems most likely, but some like him more, some see him in pen.

Wil Myers and Steven Souza? Both doing really well though Souza is in a bit of a recent freefall. (.120 with 11Ks in last 6 games)

and finally I'll end with Alex Meyer (Span)? I've talked about before how the Twins, who last developed a good pitcher in Brad Radke (only possibly hyperbole - that's how bad it's been), basically ruined the kid. Off he went to the Angels. I figured any place else would be better. Well after five mediocre AAA starts to end last year and 4 poor ones to start this one, the Angels brought him up.  So congrats on becoming the name I bring up for the rest of my life on how you can mishandle talent right into the trash.

36 comments:

NotBobby said...

Catchers:

Suzuki hitting .222 /.375/.306 for Barves
Norris hitting .208/.250/.286 for Rays

I swung and missed mightily it seems on Norris/Wieters situation. I was squarely in the Norris camp and am happy to eat my hat.

Fries said...

NotBobby, I'm right there with you. I neglected the whole AL to NL switch plus the batting in the 8-hole boost. Granted when you consider contract value I still may be in the Norris camp...

But how 'bout that Turner kid?? Started off a little shaky, but damn that was a good outing. Question for the Nats now is do you slot him in as 5th starter (Cole is definitely not the permanent option there), or do you leave him in the pen and look for Ross to figure things out?

SM said...

Very nice change-of-pace column.

A tract on the subsequent professional fortunes of Manny Acta, Jim Riggleman and John McLaren would complete the picture.

Rob Evans said...

I'd still rather have Norris that Loby as the backup catcher. Loby has got to be one of the worst catchers in MLB, no?

G Cracka X said...

If you're looking for ideas, how about a 'Is Gio for real?' column. Or a column on Matt Albers. Or Jacob Turner. Or the CF prospects that may take over in CF this year.

dc rl said...

Very nice. And in looking at that Angels page I also saw old friend Yusmiero Petit pitching pretty well for them.

I recently saw one of the Nat's beat writers - it might have been Zuckerman - respond to fans griping about Rizzo with the question "who's the best player Mike Rizzo has traded away?" Point being, he's not infallible, but he hasn't made any really bad misjudgments about guys he's let go.

Harper said...

SM _ off the top of my head I know Riggs did fine, 3rd base or bench coaching somewhere. Lets see. Yeah - bench coach in Cincy. I think the stink has worn off as people saw how the Lerners run the Nats (short contracts - take it and like it attitude) I bet he manages again - though maybe just interim.

Acta... I know he was with ESPN but wasn't recently... hey he's the Mariners 3rd base coach. I should have known that

McLaren I have no idea, was managing China in WBC but that's not full time... ah, Phillies bullpen coach.

Anonymous said...

Second time this series Loby is in the lineup. Weiters short ST might be catching up to him

Anonymous said...

I don't know how in the world we managed to avoid a patented, full-scale Gio Chernobyl nuclear meltdown last night, especially against that lineup. But I promise you that if he continues to pitch like that, we won't be getting that lucky too often.

And frankly, it's a little sad to watch him go completely ballistic because he's not getting strike calls on pitches that are outside the strike zone. That ump wasn't squeezing him at all, in fact most of his pitches weren't even that close to being strikes. Sometimes I think the guy might have a screw loose.

NotBobby said...

How about both to bullpen?

J.Turner could be a great long man RP like Devenski....maybe? http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/finding-and-building-a-devenski/

and Joe Ross as RP could be filthy http://www.federalbaseball.com/2017/3/5/14824468/a-new-option-for-the-nationals-closer

Let Cole get a shot and skip him when the schedule allows to give Scherzer the earlier start.

mike k said...

I like Loby as the backup. His D is solid and he's a good pitch framer. Also seems to have a good rapport with the pitchers.

The only reliever I was really disappointed to see go was Blevins. He was a solid lefty reliever who could LOOGY against top lefty talent or give you a full inning. I know he made some money after the Nats, but I thought he was worth it. Of course, I was disappointed to see Clippard go, too, but I understood it more and the Nats got some value for him.

On balance, Rizzo has to be a top 5 GM in making trades.

I like Joe Ross and would like to see him succeed as a starter. Especially because the Nats don't really have anyone they can rely on after him after this offseason. Though I understand the reasons why he'd be better suited for the pen, and if it works, I'm all for it. Him and Turner in the pen, if they both succeed, can eat a lot of bullpen innings for the Nats and stabilize the pen a lot. It'll be unconventional...using long men in key spots and in key innings. But Dusty showed last night he's not afraid to do it, and if it works, it works.

Josh Higham said...

Dusty said Wieters is sick. Could be he was feeling decent yesterday, but worse today. I wouldn't read anything into an extra couple of days off unless it becomes a long term trend. Loby is really unremarkable except for antics, I think, but at 1.5 million a year really unremarkable is almost a steal. So far this year Norris hasn't really given us any reason to believe he's better than Lobaton, and he costs 3x as much.

I'd be very happy to see Ross the fireman if that happens. But I'd also be happy if he developed a full starter's arsenal and pitched in the 3 or 4 spot for the duration of his Nats years. I don't think he's particularly valuable as a starter this year unless someone gets hurt.

Robot said...

I like the idea of Ross in the pen.

Unrelated, but FFS, Loby should not have been swinging at all when the pitcher has walked three of the past four batters.

JE34 said...

I was just typing this:

"Nobody breathe. Blanton in with a lead in 9th."

And he gave up a homer before I could even finish typing. smdh

Fries said...

So...why did Blanton start the inning...?

Fries said...

AND WHY IS ENNY COMING IN??? SHAWN KELLEY HASN'T PITCHED ALL WEEK

Anonymous said...

Kelly is sick...but surely he's better than Blanton. But wait, Blake Treinen is warming up...

Rizzo, please help.

Robot said...

Ol' Joe "Give up a dinger to the first batter, except when i bean him and give up a two-run homer to the next guy" Blanton delivers again!

He's reliable, I'll grant that much.

Sammy Kent said...

Not meaning to quibble, but let's be fair to Lobaton. He's one of the better catchers in baseball. He's one of the worst HITTING catchers in baseball.

This is also a perfect time to note that not all former Nationals are doing badly or have been busts since Rizzo let them go. He should have never let Kurt Suzuki get away.

NotBobby said...

I cannot tell if Sammy Kent is kidding or not...

G Cracka X said...

Ryan Zimmerman, in just 27 games, already has more fWAR this season than the last 3 seasons combined. And MAT has raised his average from .050 to .275 in about 1 week's time.

Josh Higham said...

Sammy, are you arguing that Kurt Suzuki, he of 0.5 fWAR in 2015 and 2016 combined and of 0.5 rWAR in his time with the Nats, is a hot commodity and Rizzo should have kept him at 6 million a year to back up Ramos?

Anonymous said...

Best record in baseball.

Anonymous said...

We need to get the world's preeminent scientists to do some research into why Bryce is so damn fragile, because I don't get it. It's not as if he looks like the wind might blow him over like a Michael A. Taylor. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a position player built the way he is get so many bizarre and mysterious non-contact injuries.

Ole PBN said...

Dude works out too much in my opinion. Players these days, the training they go through, adds to tremendous performances, but cannot be extrapolated over a lengthy career. Ever notice how the "stress fracture" is such a common injury? Nearly non-existent 50 years ago. These guys hardly take any time off, like they would have decades ago.

NotBobby said...

@Anon 7:36 - Agree with Ole PBN, i think player care pushing the limits of human capacity by strength training. Also, Buster Only brought this up on his podcast and said he thinks medical technology has gotten so good that players now know of injuries that players from a coulee decades ago wouldn't have even known about. The MRI shows a grade 1 strain and the team puts them on the shelf until they get completely better instead of risking anything bigger.

it probably is a little of both and more that i have not thought of...

Sammy Kent said...

Do I think we'd have been better off with Suzuki as opposed to Lobaton as the backup? Are you serious? In the three full seasons and the current one since Kurt left the Nationals his batting average has been .288, .240, .258, and .222. Lobaton's has been .234, .199, .232, and 0.69. HRs for Suzuki are 3, 5, 8, and 1. Loby's HRs are 2, 3, 3, and 1. RBIs are 61, 50, 49, and 8 compared to 12, 20, 8, and 1. Oh, but you say Kurt was STARTING many more games than Loby. OK. Let's compare the numbers to a starter, say WILSON RAMOS.

In only one of those seasons (last year) was Ramos significantly better than Suzuki. Kurt hit for better average than Ramos in both 2014 and 2015. In those seasons Kurt had 111 RBIs compared to Wilson's 115. Only in HRs was Wilson consistently higher than Suzuki, which simply means he has more power, which everyone knows that anyway. Suzuki better than Lobaton is a no-brainer. Until 2016 Suzuki was as good as RAMOS at the plate, and not that far behind him in the caught stealing category. But then in 2016 Wilson played in 22 more games than Suzuki. Don't talk to me about WAR and all that other stupid sabermetric gobbledygook. Get your nose out of the calculator and your ass to the games. Watch how guys actually play.

NotBobby said...

Sammy Kent - defending yourself is totally fine, but attacking is not necessary.

Suzuki is a below average catcher. He is a fine backup catcher, but is not necessarily known for calling games or his defense. He is a mediocre bat (for a catcher) and below average everywhere else. Loby is a good game caller and a good framer. He gives value even with a weak bat. And he is CHEAP.

I prefer Loby to Suzuki.

And to try and say Suzuki is equal to or better than (healthy) Ramos is a little silly

Anagramsci said...

Suzuki is a useful back-up or stop-gap backstop, but he's certainly not worth $5 million more than Lobaton on a team's payroll. Suzuki vs. Ramos is not an argument that anyone is going to take seriously. I'm not sure Sammy Kent is capable of formulating an argument that anyone could possibly take seriously.

Bjd1207 said...

@Sammy Kent - Yea I'm with NotBobby here. I also lol'ed at "WAR gobbledygook"...come on dude...

Suzuki has never been anywhere near Ramos at the plate. He has ONE season where his wRC+ (106) beat Ramos' career average (100) and the rest of the time he's 20-30% worse than the average MLB hitter. But since you hate "gobbledygook" and just want retro stats (did you really quote RBI as a metric of player talent?), how about 64 HR compared to 23. Which may still be fine except as NotBobby pointed out, Suzuki doesn't make it up behind the plate at all, and cost $12M over the past 2 years. And there's no chance in hell you think Suzuki "looks like" a better hitter than Ramos.

For backup catcher Loby vs. Suzuki, I'm looking at someone who's slightly worse at the plate over about 500 plate appearances over the last 3 years (less than a full season of AB's) and he's better at framing, game calling, and defensively and costs $10M less. It's honestly a no-brainer the other way

Josh Higham said...

Sammy, I watched 130+ regular season games each of the last two years. I've been to the park 3 times so far this season. My ass is at the games, and I use my calculator afterward. I know Loby is trash at the plate. But "Suzuki is better" is a horrible justification for keeping him over Lobaton. Let's say the Nats had decided over the last several years to keep Revere (or a similar veteran) as 4th OF, Danny as backup MI, Suzuki as backup catcher, and get a nice $5m per year backup first baseman. That would 20+ million going to players who are not even league average batters when ~$7 million has covered those positions nicely. Who cares, because the owner's rich! Except that $20 million on the payroll compared to ~$7 million means that they don't have the budget room to pick up Gio's option. Or worse yet, that they didn't have the cash to sign Scherzer when that happened. If you want to tell me that Suzuki over Loby is worth 4 million dollars and that another outfielder is worth $4 million more than MAT and so on, my only advice is to open a high school economics book.

Jay said...

I don't agree with Sammy Kent, but no one needs to pick on him. I liked Suzuki when he was here, but I agree he's average at best. I'm ok with keeping Lobaton bc he was the only one that knew the staff and was likely helpful to Wieters when he got here.

I can't decide if I'm really unhappy with how the bullpen is put together of if I'm worried bc there has been so much flux with underperformance and injuries. I can not believe the guy who closed last night's game was cut at spring training and brought back to AAA. He was then brought up to be the long man. Now he got his first save. I think they need to make a move for a closer. The problem is that Rizzo and the gang can now hang their hats on just wait until our bullpen is healthy. KC is awful this year. Lorenzo Cain and Herrera would be quite the grab. I'd be ok getting Robertson as long as they don't give up much. I would have been ok with Doolittle, but he was just put on the DL with shoulder issues. Anyway, I have no idea who might close tonight (I think Dusty doesn't know either). At least the Caps aren't choking in the playoffs like usual - oh wait....

When does Dusty get his extension again??

Robot said...

Heh. LOL@Mets.

Robot said...

Ugh, this bullpen.

Froggy said...

Hypothetical...if the Giants keep on melting down do you think they consider unloading Melancon at the deadline? And would the Nats be takers?

JE34 said...

To be this good a team with this bad a bullpen is pretty amazing, no? It's almost justification for the team's prioritization of the pen. **Almost**