Nationals Baseball: He's Number 1! He's Number 1?

Monday, January 17, 2011

He's Number 1! He's Number 1?

They say it comes in threes. Lee! Greinke! Gorzelanny!

Ok ok enough with the jokes. Is Gorzelanny any good? Well a quick look says he's 28 and lefty. That's a good start. Basically he walks too many guys. His strikeouts have been ok the last 2 years, he doesn't give up too many homers, doesn't get hit too hard, but he walks too many guys. Did I mention he walks too many guys?

On one hand if the Nats can get him to stop walking too many guys he could be a nice little #4/#5 guy, giving the Nats a puncher's chance every time out. On the other hand, I'm sure both the Pirates and Cubs have been trying to get this to happen the last 5 seasons. Pitching coaches, thy names is Hubri, or something like that less mangled. Baseball wouldn't be baseball if teams didn't think they could be the one to get the guy to reach his potential. (I tell you some team is going to STEAL with Nick Johnson this year - and then some team is going to sign him to a moderate 2 year deal and watch him play 50 games over 2 years)

What this really tells you is two things:

1) The Nats think Burgess' acceptable AA stint last year was a fluke - and given the number of Ks I'd tend to agree.

2) Rizzo isn't THAT excited about the rotation, is he?

Update - I took a little longer look at the prospects and quick read : AJ Morris is 24 and has yet to throw a pitch in AA. With no awesome stats, he's facing an uphill battle to the majors. Graham Hicks is young but has yet to be good even at the lowest levels. These are more organizational depth guys. Really the trade comes down to how much you like Burgess.


DezoPenguin said...

One thing we can say about this year's rotation: The Nationals can suffer a number of injuries to their #4 starter, because they have at least four of them.

Okay, sarcasm aside, I was actually low-rating these guys. Lannan, in years not 2010, would be a viable #3 starter for teams not named the Phillies. T.G. and Livan's 2010s both didn't hurt anybody, and Marquis spent his entire pre-2010 career as a guy who'd go out 33 times a year, eat 6 innings, and not lose you the game. All four of them are genuine, professional pitchers with a history of Major League adequacy, as opposed to the Stammen/Detweiler/Martin/Martis/Chico/etc. merry-go-round, and at least they all start the season having been healthy at the end of last season. This is actually, on paper, a better bunch than 2010's crew, possibly a considerably better bunch, only there's no promise of Strasburg coming in down the line. We could do worse...and honestly, we're used to seeing worse; as Harper points out, at least the best-case scenario...or at least, a not-worst-case scenario...seems possible instead of pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. And at least we didn't have to overpay to get T.G., which is nice.

Anonymous said...

If you can't have quality, your next option is quantity. Gorzelanny is a legitimate MLB starter with some upside and limited downside if he stays healthy. It is somewhat like buying a lottery ticket, he may get his walks down and turn into a number 2 guy. He probably won't turn into a superstar but it isn't like you spent 100 million over 5 years to sign him either. He can always be used as trade bait to get better prospects that the ones we gave up.

Harper said...

Dezo/Anon - it's bet hedging. Before yesterday the question was is

(Healthy Lannan + Healthy Marquis + Zimmermann comeback) > (Loss of 1/2 year of Strasburg + Livan's inevitable decline)

now they can add "Whatever Gorzelanny might do" to the left side.

I'm gonna say I like the deal if only because I always favor the birds in hand, and I have to believe the Nats know more about the minor leaguers than I can see from a quick look in baseball reference

Hoo said...

Nice trade from Cubs point of view as they can rebuild their farm system with some decent prospects.

I think the key takeaway you mention Harper is that Rizzo has no faith in the current pitchers. B/c Gorzo is maybe a bit above average and the Nats have a slew of guys who are going to aim for average and maybe a bit above. If I'm Ross D., I'm pretty unhappy right now as Syracuse is his future.

Livo/lannan/Marquis are the locks. I'm guessing they'll give Z'nn the longest rope, b/c he's penciled in as a key building block. Maya's contract says he's next in line. Which means no confidence in Dettweiler and Wang.

And Syracuse should have an interesting rotation of Ross, Martin, Dett, Martis, and maybe Chico, Mock or Wang. Stammen back to long relief?

Donald said...

So in terms of wishful thinking, who on the staff has the most upside -- the guy who could be a #1 or #2 if things go right? My assumption is that there's limited upside to Lannan, Livan, Marquis and Grozelanny, but how would you rate the rest? I think I'd rank them as Zimmermann, Maya, then Detwiller. Not sure after that, but is there a chance we have the potential for a breakout star?

Anonymous said...

Its doesnt seem like you report news, it just seems like you try and save face for the other artlices you wrote. Your too busy turning sports news into a late time talk show with the jokes and critical anaylasis, neither funny or inciteful, just tell us what happens and stop making a joke out of everything, I can name tons of players that picked other teams other than the ones that offered, big deal, and those teams arent teams with 69 wins, Im happy with Werth, Laroche, Gorz, and Ankiel. Look at all the players the Angels and Yankees lost this year that they wanted, are they bad organizations?

Harper said...

Donald - I'd go Zimmermann...........................................................................................................Gorzelanny, Maya................................................................................................................Detwiler.

Zimmermann has a puncher's chance of being a #2 and should be where Nats fans look to this season. Garzelanny and Maya fall into "Didn't come from nowhere" territory. Detwiler would come from nowhere but he's young - strange things can happen.

Anon - I don't report news, not really. There are far better places than this to get news. I would suggest Bill Ladson at, Adam Kilgore at the Post, Mark Zuckerman at CSN washington / his natsinsider blog, to name a few.

I don't think the Nats are a bad organization, I'm not even sure I think they objectively had a bad offseason. Subjectively however, it's been a let down because Rizzo seemed to promise fans a #1 starter and didn't deliver. That's one of the top stories of the Nats offseason. Getting Werth, Losing Dunn, and not getting a top of the rotation starter.

Harper said...

Donald - that should read
Zimmermann (big space) Gorzelanny, Maya (big space) Detwiler

NatsFanTom said...

He'll continue to walk a lot of guys. Can't change that. It's mental, and part of the man's makeup. But the fact that he doesn't give up too many homers and can strike out a lot of guys is good - but the walk issue is big. Don't count on him at all.

NattyDC said...

interesting persepctive and worth a read. if the article holds any weight, its good news for the Nats.

Any comment Harper?

Harper said...

NatsFanTom - luckily the Nats aren't counting on him. Just another arm in the pile

NattyDC - The last paragraph is key, though I'd flip the order of the sentence. Despite them pitching about the same last year, Garza is probably better.

The FIP advantage is wiped out by the league differences, he's younger and more durable, and his problem (giving up too many HRs) seems more solvable than Gorzelanny's (too many walks). That being said Gorzelanny is a little underrated and Garza a little overrated in our minds. Garza probably wouldn't have been that #1 or even #2, Gorze will probably be a very good #4 esque pitcher next year.

blovy8 said...

Zimmermann has the stuff to be a #2, he could be a 3/1 K/BB guy who keeps the ball in the park looking at his minor league numbers. Detwiler was a mess last year with his hip, surgery, etc. and he's since said he changed his delivery to compensate. I suspect that took away some of the confidence the organization had in him, but he was stuck in a bad spot where there was pressure to play through it. Being healthy could make a big difference for him, I think 10-12 AAA starts could see him back in the majors. It's only 7.5 million or so that makes him a worse choice than Marquis as it is.