Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Quickie

So in the hidden "weaknesses" post, which mostly devolved into a commentary about announcing - shows you how truly strong the Nats are, commenter "blovy8" pointed out that I somehow totally missed the fact the Nats strike out too much. Does it matter?

Well, even though striking out isn't the terrible avoid at all cost thing it used to be, it still isn't a good thing. Anyone with decent speed or the ability to keep the ball off the ground in DP circumstances would be better served putting the ball in play.  But strikeouts are more of a problem when they hint at larger issues; an inability to distinguish strikes and balls, inability to make good contact with the ball.  So really you have to look at other things along with it.  Are the Nats able to take a walk?  Are they able to slug ok? The answers are no, not really and yes.  So the slugging isn't an issue but the walks may be.  Something to look at this season. Will pitchers, can pitchers, just pitch around the Nats and hope they chase?

Also I want to add something more to the hidden "weaknesses" list.  Hubris.  Any front office that thinks they can take a 3 time injured arm (2 TJ surgeries), who hasn't started or pitched significant innings in years, and rely on turning him into top notch starting pitching depth thinks a bit too much of themselves. A little less "no comeuppance" next time, please.


Froggy said...

I know bunting is an anathema to Davey unless you are a pitcher, but don't you think if we bunted more for base hits it would cut down on the strikeouts? Also, keep pitchers on their toes?

Wally said...

Man, you really didn't like that Garcia experiment.

Anonymous said...

The Nats were 6tin the NL in OBP in 2012.h

Harper said...

Froggy - I don't know. I'd rather keep a comfort level at the plate then try to force in some bunts. Ask me again if the offense sputters.

Wally - It was equivalent to an 'how close to blowing up in my hand can I get this firework' experiment. Not all are worthwhile.

Anon - yep. part of that is batting average and part of it is that walk numbers are fairly cramped. There are a couple teams good at it - Nats are mediocre. But because of the bunching I didn't consider their walking to be an issue. Even coupled with the strikeouts it's only "something to watch" not "something to worry about"

blovy8 said...

Of course, this is overstating the other way, but strikeouts are a really unproductive way to make an out and rob a team of hits and walks they could have had in those plate appearances. I mean, if you put the ball in play, for the average hitter, it's about 30 percent less likely to be an out and three percent of the time it could be a homer. When you miss it, none of that happens.

I think given how much the K rate has risen over the years, with the run environment getting more difficult, it is significant to be near the bottom. They need a high batting average on balls in play, good base-running, and lots of homers to make that work. Kind of Desmond in a nutshell. They clearly had two of the three last year with the running numbers not being great.

The Nats were the most undisciplined offense in the majors. They swung at the highest percentage of pitches and had the worst contact rate. No team had more swinging strikes. Only the A's and Rays missed more a higher percentage of pitches in the strike zone, and no one missed more out of it or swung at more pitches out of it. Only the Reds and Cubs had more first strikes against them. It isn't just the strikeouts, it's making contact at all. As far as I can tell, only the Padres had more one-pitch at bats. Players hit for a good average on the first pitch, but the Nats weren't even average at that, they just did it more often.

Can we blame it all on Espy? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather see the swinging strikes that go through '11 watching Werth stare at 2 pitches down the middle and then decide to swing at a ball off the plate. The aggressive hitting is a Davey thing--don't think, see the ball hit the ball. As for bunting, Bryce and the Shark will occasionally bunt for a hit, don't know Span's history. Desi might pull it off on a drag but that's about it, leg-wise.....unless AdamBomb can drop one against the shift.

Chaos.....days counting down.

Thomas said...

I think I'm still scarred from Guzman, but I prefer way too many strikeouts to hitting into double plays. My least favorite outs are weak grounders for double plays and emotionally those feel 10 times worse than a normal strike out (and yes I know emotions are not allowed in baseball, but still).

Also, can we say definitively that balls put in play have a 30% chance of being hits? I feel like a ball that would have been a strikeout pitch where a guy whiffed or was totally fooled would not have produced good contact anyway. A pitch is not necessarily just a pitch, and some pitches are more likely to be outs right?

BlueLoneWolf said...

I just want to know what goes on with ZNN's starts. He's apparently in the top 20 of pitchers in terms of run support, but how come whenever he's on the mound, I remember our offense looking like a dumpster fire? You'd think a guy with a sub 3 ERA and a 5.4 RS for backup would win more than 12 games. Maybe he just gets screwed in the back end somehow.
Either way, it goes to show you how inaccurate of a statistic wins can be as to how well a pitcher is doing. 12-8 with stats that are somewhat comparable to Gio's (less walks, fewer strikeouts, but more hits), and Gio goes 21-8. Makes you think, I suppose, and you're much better at statistical analysis than I am for sure, Harper, but that's MY big question. Will ZNN ever get lucky? Or was he lucky and we didn't know it?

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