Nationals Baseball: Long range forcasting

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Long range forcasting

When I made my prediction about this series the Rockies were 15-22.  They had gone through a rough stretch going 3-10 but had won 2 of their last 3 and were about to take on the Mariners in Colorado so you gotta think 2 more there right? Seeing this team now though, you won't be surprised to learn they got swept. While the Rockies would have a little bounce back at May's end, they've basically been the worst team in baseball for almost 2 months now.  Let this be a lesson to you - don't make predictions 45 days out. (of course if I made it 4 days ago I might have picked a Nats sweep)

Various quick thoughts

Desmond the All-Star - Kilgore gives it some play today.  Is it possible?  Sure. Thanks in good part to the groin of Tulowitzki, the ankle of Stephen Drew, and Jose Reyes being the below average player he showed he was capable of being every year except last year (everyone point and laugh at the Marlins now), Desmond is in line to be the 2nd best SS in the NL the first half of this year. Is it likely? Hard to say. You have to figure Gio and  Stras make it, after that it becomes a numbers game. Really it may come down to these last few weeks.

LaRoche is HR/RBI comparable to Joey Votto - Nats Blogging Legend Chris Needham took this pic said this was the stupidest on-screen graphic you'll ever see.  Now I share with you.  If he's wrong it's not by much.  Joey Votto is so much better than Adam LaRoche it makes me cry. Votto is having another HOF type year.  Adam is hitting a lot of homers for a good team.

Tyler Moore busts out - Tyler Moore is the new Nats hero blasting long homers and generally being the next young thing Nats fans focus on, now that Singly Steve Lombardozzi's flavor has run out.  Can Tyler keep it up? I sincerely doubt it. See, Tyler's power is for real but his issue has always been striking out way too much (and not walking).  While his walk rate has improved (in both the majors and the minors) his strikeouts are still way up there, meaning we shouldn't see that much improvement over his minor league numbers. He has a .412 BABIP.  One out of every 4 flyballs he's hit has gone out. Those are unsustainable numbers. And when pitchers get a chance to figure you out your K numbers usually go up (see Bryce) and if Moore's goes up anymore it's hard to see him hitting at all.

Now on the good side for Tyler he doesn't have to sustain it those crazy numbers.  If he keeps the walk rate up, and can hit .270 whatever - he's a nice player to have, especially for late inning pop. Better yet - the Nats don't need him to even do that. All they need if for him to be hot for another month or so until Werth comes back. Can he do that? Sure.

Note: If you want to read "Not a great All-Star", "Not Joey Votto", and "A rookie might not keep up his hot start in limited at bats" as being crazy negative go right ahead. You could also read it as Desmond is an above average NL shortstop this year, LaRoche is hitting well especially for power, and Tyler Moore could help the Nats bridge the gap to Werth.


Anonymous said...

"See, Tyler's power is for real but his issue has always been striking out way too much"

You're obsessed with thinking that this matters. It doesn't.

I've always been anti-Lombardozzi (due to his general lack of skill), and the way this team struggles to hit, Moore is a much more valuable piece to have in the lineup. We need power and Lombardozzi has none. Werth is back in a month or so anyway, so whoever is there will be replaced eventually.

Harper said...

You can't say strikeouts don't matter. They do. What is wrong is not understanding they can be overcome by other skills. (namely power and patience). I believe in his power so it comes down to his patience.

If Tyler can strike out and walk as he's doing now - he'll be pretty good. (BUT he's never walked like this before) If he walks a little less, more in line with his minor league numbers - he'll be fine and useful (BUT generally you don't see that type of improvement going from minors to majors). If he walks a little less and strikes out more - he's not going to be good at all.

Hoo said...

I think he's a more athletic Dunn type with a slightly better BA/less walks. Which isn't too bad and solid off the bench when one swing can change things.

His average should crash in a big way pretty soon but his power is the real deal.

I agree with Anon in that his pop is really needed.

Positively Half St. said...

Whatever his value, it certainly has gone up from when everyone thought he was not a prospect. He can at least be considered a trade chip if Rizzo has anything up his sleeve between now and July 31.


blovy8 said...

Moore is on a hot streak, and of course they don't last. Let's not forget several plays in left he hasn't made - part of the equation is going to be his iffy defense. I think keeping his power numbers to go with .270 for 200 PA's would be asking for about as much as you could without exposing him against righties who have a decent change up. But he profiles as a really good bench player instead of Nady or DeRosa when Werth comes back. I don't see him going back down now.

My guess with Lombardozzi is that he needs to get a little more selective, he still makes contact with everything, but the stuff outside the zone is getting him weak outs.

michael k said...

I agree with blovy. Let's not over-complicate things. Moore has been impressive, but he'll never be a starting LF or 1B on a healthy nats team unless he really keeps this up, and I find that to be unlikely. Anon- SO's don't matter if you have legendary power, I don't think Moore has that. His 25% SO% means he has to be Jim Thome to be good. I don't think he is. He's a good platooner with Lombardozzi until Werth comes back. That's all.

Anonymous said...

"You can't say strikeouts don't matter. They do."


"Moore is on a hot streak"

Not too much hotter than he usually is, he crushed the ball in AA and AAA.

"Anon- SO's don't matter if you have legendary power, I don't think Moore has that"

He has 30+ HR a season power. That is enough to allow 150+ Ks. Especially if the team NEEDS the power.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Moore for President!!! But seriously, This kid needs to be in the line up. The Last 3 years: A-ball BA .297 (111 games); AA-Ball BA .269, 31 homers (129 games); and AAA-Ball BA .270, 31 homers (137 games... His defense at 1B looks like it will be solid to plus, and he is 25. What is not to like?

He bridges the gap to Werth, then becomes a huge bat off the bench for the stretch run. He can play OF (not great but coming around) and 1B if any other injuries occur.

With the pitching this team has it doesn't take many runs to win, and the more power bats you have in the line up the more chances you have to win the game with 1 swing. This kid has the pop to hit 25+ homers every year for the next decade if given the chance.

He should be our everyday 1B next season barring a horrific collapse in production in the second half (Which personally, I am not seeing).

Bandwagon? Sign me up, or better yet, I'll Drive.

WiredHK said...

One of the things that is impressing me the most about Tyler at the moment is his P/PA average. It currently stands at 4.22 and is second on the team amongst those who have at least as many ABs as him (only Werth is/was working the count deeper among regulars with a decent sample size). This squares with what my untrained eyes are seeing as well - he seems to be one of the few Nats (these past two games aside) that is identifying pitches early and laying off the really bad ones best. That may be why he is hitting for such a nice average. If so, no reason he can't hit decently for awhile...maybe a long while.

He's 25 and has shown solid numbers at every level up to this point, it appears. Why is it such a long shot that he is 1) getting better and 2) perhaps a very decent regular player, not just a very good bench guy?

Of course the jury is still out, the sample size is still way small. But the early returns are pretty good.

DCNatty said...

read your own article Harper....I thought K's dont matter if you have pop.

Donald said...

On to bigger and better things, I don't think it's too early to stick a fork in the Phillies, Marlins and Brewers. They'd all have to play at around a .625 clip the rest of the way out to reach 89 wins. That means playing as well as the current best team in baseball (the Yankees) for the rest of the season. Just to get to 85 wins, they'd have to play at around .575 (or better than every NL team but the Nats). And 85 wins probably won't cut it.

So at this stage, I think the field is narrowing down to the Nats, Braves, Reds, Dodgers and Giants as the front tier followed by the Mets, Cardinals and Pirates. That means there are 8 teams left at this point with a legitimate shot at the playoffs and 8 teams that are toast.

Donald said...

And for what it's worth, if the playoffs were held today, the 5 teams with the best records would all be in. No great team gets punished for being in too strong a division, at least in the NL. It's looking like the AL east might have 4 teams that all end up better than the central winner.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your analysis, which is why I come here, but I don't understand why you seem unwilling sometimes to allow for the fact that a young player can improve. Moore is still a rookie and there's really no reason to believe that he can't improve on both his strikeout and BB rates. If we're willing to say that after a years in the minors and a cup of coffee in the bigs that he's doomed to continue as he currently is.

Harper said...

hoo / blovy / mk - yep, I think that's what he'll end up being - a nice bench player maybe spot starter. A player good teams have on the bench.

As for Lomby if he can pick up the average he'd make an excellent "all-contact" bench foil for Moore.

+1/2 st - I think he'll have to keep it up but yeah he could be a piece.

Anon - To have a lot of K's you need to have a ton of PAs. To have a ton of PAs over a career, you have to be very good. Therefore any list of "most" BLANK, even those of negative outcomes will be filled with good players.

Same thing works for simple "outs made"

or HRs given up

what you need to do is look at the last few years of data - maybe everyone with 100ABs or more and see how the highest strikeout guys did. You'll see that most are pretty terrible, especially looking over the course of several years.

I will say Moore is FINE AS IS. Striking out 25% even isn't too much, but the closer he gets to 30% the harder it'll be for him to still be good. Adam Dunn can do it. Mark Reynolds, maybe.

Anon #2 - If he's the everyday first baseman, what I guess you're keeping Morse in the OF?

WiredHK - always been a year or two old for his league and only this year, in about 60 ABs, has he shown the change in approach necessary. Could he? Sure. But at this instance you're giving a ton of weight to the most recent 170 PAs as opposed to the 2000 before that. (You do want to give it some more weight, though)

DCNatty - K's dont matter if you have pop... and patience (so far in the majors Moore does, but historically he doesn't)

Donald - something to check on for tomorrow - I suspect in the AL the Tigers (or White Sox?) will pass all but 2 of the AL East teams, maybe 3.

Anon - it's not that I don't think a young player can improve. I just have a hard time buying spontaneous improvement. (though it DOES happen) If you ask me for an ideal situation I'd say I'd want to see a player young for his league slightly improving the necessary stats over his minor league career, which is then validated over the course of several major leauge seasons with either continued improvement or a platueing at a level that's acceptable. Moore is the opposite of that. A not-young player (I wouldn't call him old) who in a brief number of at bats seemed to improve overnight. Players like that tend to be a lot more 2008 AAA Roger Bernadina than 2010 major league Jose Bautista.

So I'm not unwilling to say Moore could have just improved, but you're betting on the roulette wheel coming up with a #30, I'm betting on it coming up black.

michael k said...

anon- SO's matter. They have a huge effect on batting average, and Tyler Moore's babip not going to be enough to sustain a decent batting average if he's striking out 25% of the time. He does have power, but not enough to justify that SO% to be a starter. 30+ HR when you're 25 in AA is not good enough when you strike out that much and have poor defense. If he played a good defensive position, maybe, but I don't like his defense at left or at first.

Really I have to concur with Harper. Not enough PA in the majors to don him the new longterm starter. Bad defense, too many SO, not enough power to justify both those things. He'd have to hit over 40 for that. I like him off the bench.

Anonymous said...

In his rookie season Reggie Jackson struck out 171 times in 553 ABS. He "only" hit 29 HRs. You would have sent him back to AAA and never given him a chance.

The next season he improved his walk rate, his strikeout rate and hit 47 HRs.

Strikeouts don't matter if you hit HRs, and it takes time to see if Moore can hit HRs. You wouldn't have given Reggie a chance and he's one of the best to ever do it. Moore deserves a chance.

michael k said...

oh please. Moore isn't reggie jackson. He's also not 22, a 2nd overall pick, or a good defender.

Anonymous said...

dude you suck.

Marc said...

Anonymous tough talk makes me happy.

Harper - I think you're right on in most of this. Desmond's only a fringe AS because they persist in having people drawn from every position. Lowrie's the guy, one, because he's been better, and two, because they need someone from Houston.

Hard to say Moore's not going to be great when he's as hot as he's ever been, but I agree. He's in that honeymoon period of "Ok, kid, here's a fastball, see if you can hit it." Now that he's hitting a lot and regularly, people will start probing for holes. I just don't think he's an MLB regular and would be happy to see Rizzo trade him to someone who thought he was.

And the LaRoche/Votto thing is so dumb as to barely draw comment - that's just a homer network being homers. Look! Our guy has more HRs and the same number of RBIs as the best hitter in the league! That must mean he's just as good!!

Harper said...

anon - Jackson earned a starting role in the majors by outperforming others in his league while being younger. I mean he did everything well (including walk and not strikeout at an acceptable level) So you bring him up. Then as a 22 yr old he was 8th in the AL in slugging. Sure he struck out a lot but no one would have sent him down if he was someone who projected to be a Top 10 player who proved as a 22yr old he was already a Top 10 slugger (and a plus fielder).

Tyler Moore doesn't project in the same way but still if in a month Tyler Moore is still slugging over .600 he'll be playing for the Nats one way or another. If he isn't than yes, maybe he'll be sent down / benched because Werth/Harper/Morse/LaRoche will be more compelling.

Luke said...

I like Moore, and think at the very least he could be an extremely valuable asset off the bench down the stretch and (hopefully) in the playoffs. While some regression, especially in BA is sure to come, I don't think it unreasonable that he could hit .250 to .275 with 25 to 30 HR, which in this day in age are certainly starters numbers, and quite honestly better than what Werth may now be capable of. Which brings me to this question...

What if Moore does keep this up or drops off a little but continues to jack, and then Werth comes back? What do you do then? Clearly, Werth has the huge contract and past numbers so it's hard to sit him down. He is also a major upgrade on defense and offers some speed. But given last year, the fact that he wasn't off to an impressive start before the injury, and the fact that injury and rustiness may hinder his play, do you really stick him back in there full-time with the Nats in playoff race or in the playoffs? Gotta think you carve out some ABs for Moore.

Also, I think Lombardozzi can be that really pesky guy that makes for an excellent role player to help a good team, a la Jamey Carroll or Craig Counsell. As long as he isn't counted on to assume too big of a role, he's a great guy to have.

Given Moore and Lombo, I really don't see the sense in wasting starts or ABs on Nady, De La Rosa, or even Chad Tracy when he comes back. Even Bernandina seems more useful than these guys, I think I'd cut all 3 if roster space becomes any sort of issue. Ankiel should be, as he has been, relegated to a defensive replacement during late inning leads.

michael k said...

I'd go with Werth over Moore because of defense (especially when Harper and Morse are the other two OFers, also don't forget arm) and OBP. I agree Moore and Lombardozzi are light years ahead of the other bench players.