Nationals Baseball: Catching Up Mondays! (insert picture of a catcher)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Catching Up Mondays! (insert picture of a catcher)

Long Road Update:

Early Games : Goal 11-11, Actual 9-13

Current Part : Goal 8-5, So Far 0-0.

Nats managed to tread water during their "tough" stretch going 8-8 against the cream of the National League. Granted it's not the tastiest, most freshest cream, but it's the cream nonetheless. Now they take on the dregs of the NL. But just as the best weren't actually that good, the worst aren't actually that bad. None of their upcoming foes (Pirates, Mets, Orioles, Brewers, Padres) are doing poorly right now. Outside of the terrible Twins and probably the Astros, there are no awful teams. So 8-5 might be pushing it, but if the Nats want to be a .500 team they need to win series like these.

Some Notes:

Laynce Nix has usurped Mike Morse's spot in left field (usurper!). Once again the Nats have decided that they can tell in 30 games that a guy they deemed ready to start for them is not ready at all. Mike should feel proud. 30 games is forever in Nats time when it comes to outfield decisions. Nix supplanting Morse in itself is not a big deal. But you know how it's going to end up, right? Nix will struggle right when Ankiel is coming back. They'll slowly put Ankiel back in but he'l be so hot they'll have to start him, and they'll shift Bernadina over. Roger will then struggle and with a couple lefties in a row coming up, they decide to give Morse a few at bats. He smacks the ball around for a couple games and come late June - is back starting. By the time the All-Star break has come around the Nats have once again managed to play another half-season of baseball and have no clarity on their OF situation. I hope it doesn't happen but this CD track has been on repeat since 2005.

Bryce Harper has been doing great. Arguably better than any young player ever factoring in age and league. But before you get too crazy, remember that most of the guys he is being compared to didn't spend a year polishing up in low level junior college. It's like he took the SAT prep class while everyone else came in cold. If he's as good as those guys then he should be doing better than they did. Still I'm saying he's likely as good as Griffey,A-Rod, etc. etc... yes, I'm a huge killjoy for saying dial back the "best player ever" talk down to "perennial All-Star".

"First Base" Update

Pena: .208 / .344 /.317
Lee: .227 / .309 /.338
LaRoche: .188 /.306 /.286
Willingham: .228 /.308 /.409

By virtue of taking a couple walks Carlos Pena leaps up the charts and probably takes the lead as the most valuable first baseman. Everyone knew this was a weak 1B free agent class with Adrian Gonzalez tied up with the Sox, but it's becoming hard to ignore that this was a class so bad it should have been avoided. If it makes you feel any better Adam is fielding the best. Though in all honesty the Nats are currently the losers in this group because they are the only ones that have their man signed through 2012 as well.


bdrube said...

I guess it is a forelorn hope that they will start Bernadina in the OF for the rest of the year, whatever happens with those other guys. The young guy needs to play, especially since the others save maybe Morse as a backup will likely not return next year.

John O'Connor said...

The Nats might be surprised to hear they are getting a "well-deserved day off."

Harper said...

bdrube - I think the only way that happens with Ankiel sure to come back is if Bernie makes it so they can't sit him. It'd be much better if he could play through a 3-week .200 stretch but I don't see it happening.

JOC - obviously you think differently about Paul Maholm than I do... Fixed. Dammit

test said...

Dunn seems to be finally hitting in Chicago, he's raised his average a ton in the past 10 games (though it really couldn't have gotten lower)

DezoPenguin said...

Part of the issues with the 1B class is that Dunn, Willingham, and LaRoche are all hitting far worse thus far than anyone could have reasonably predicted (Willingham getting injured is a predictable result, hitting .222 not so much). Pena and Lee's hitting, on the other hand, is pretty much in line with a couple of declining guys, so...yeah.

(Seriously, though, when nearly EVERYONE in the lineup -- Werth, LaRoche, Morse, Desmond, now Espinosa -- slumps at once for a month and a half, you have to wonder if the problem is at least at some level systemic. Nix is the only hitter exceeding expectations (now that Ramos is coming back to earth).)

As for the OF...well, that's what you get when you have Morse, Bernardina, Ankiel, Nix, and Hairston to pick from. It's not like a collection of utility players and fourth outfielders is going to have anyone that management will step forward and say, "This guy is going to get better because his past performance indicates that he will."

Harper said...

ckstevenson - 10 homers in 3 weeks coming up any day now...

Dezo - yeah you can't fault these moves (even LaRoche). They've been surprising. That being said Dunn and Willingham could bounce back. LaRoche... I'm too convinced he's injured to believe it so either he plays thorugh it at a low-level or sits out for a long while. Neither is palatable.

As for the OF you can say Ankeil and Hairston have enough past performance to be sure they AREN'T going to be good. Sit 'em and work through the rest.

Donald said...

When Ankiel returns, who goes down? If Bernis's slumping it might be an easy decision, but even if he's batting .250 that would make him one of the more productive hitters in the line-up. If Ankiel returns well before Zimmerman, you could buy a little time by sending back Bixler but what do you do after that? Claim that Morse has a lingering injury and send him to the DL?

Hoo said...

When Ankiel returns, you cut Stairs. There's nothing that Stairs does that Ankiel doesn't do better at this pt. And that's ignoring the fact that Ankiel's arm is the greatest defensive weapon in the game of baseball if not in every sport in the world.

Anonymous said...

Bryce has some serious talent, but he isn't ready for the majors just yet. I watched him in Hagarstown and he made more than his share of bonehead plays (missing the cutoff man, getting thrown out at 2nd by a mile). His mistakes are the aggressive type, which is good, but I hope the Nats let him mature and he doesn't come up until early to mid next year. One note on his stats is that in Hagarstown unless you hit it right at an outfielder, you pretty much have a double. Still off to a great start, but I wouldn't get too excited just yet. Let's see him dominate the numbers at high A, AA and AAA and then we can start making those HOF reservations.