Nationals Baseball: New goals. Sad goals.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New goals. Sad goals.

Last night I realized something depressing. All year we've been comparing the Nats to the 2012 98 win Nats. Obviously they aren't going to get there but here's the thing. Right now, if the Nats play as they have up until this point, they won't even match the 2011 Nats.  The 2011 Nats had an OF that primarily featured Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel. Alex Cora and the corpse of Pudge played quarter seasons. Chris Marrero, who isn't ready for the majors this year, got up to the plate over 100 times. Lannan, Livan and Marquis all pitched over 120 innings. Wang started 11 games. This wasn't a good team.

And yet here are the Nats projected final standings

2011 : 80-81
2013 (projected) : 80-82

Who would have thunk that?

The Nats need to go 19-17 in order to "pass" their 2011 team in wins. Seems easy enough, but nothing's been easy for the Nats this year. The played that well to start the season, and June through early July was about that good. Every other 6 week stretch you can pull out though, the Nats couldn't play that well. It's a toss up.  I like 2013's chances but God knows they've disappointed every step of the way.

Luckily for the Nats there aren't any more past teams sitting out there to embarrass them. People have very fond memories of the 2005 squad that went 81-81 and crazily led the NL East for a good long while before reality caught up with them so a comparison to them wouldn't be terrible. The next "best" Nats team was the 2007 73-89 Nats. You might remember the immortal names in the rotation like Matt Chico, Mike "Acheived goal of being an obscure trivia answer" Bacsik, Jason Bergmann, Shawn Hill, Tim Redding, and Jason Simontacchi. To not pass them the Nats would have to go 11-25 or worse. These Nats aren't good but they're not that bad.

Ugh, what a terrible terrible season. Still baby steps are taking place. 2-1 so far only 2-2 to reach the very modest 4-3 road trip goal I set out before them. Royals are starting to play more like the Royals. Maybe just maybe they can end on a high note, instead of placing themselves behind Riggleman's Last Stand in Nats history.


Positively Half St. said...

I know there are some who would say it would be better to lose and move up in the draft and all, but I don't buy it. I would like to see them finish stronger and get to at least 85 wins. That clearly does not get them to the playoffs, but I have come to accept that already. Honestly, I would even accept fewer wins if it means that they traded Dan Haren for more than he is worth.


Positively Half St. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nicoxen said...


Bryce Harper is averaging one HR for every 32 ABs since April, when he averaged 1 HR per 10 ABs. I know that pace was non-sustainable, but what's going on with him? Can we really blame the knee for all of it?

I'm also really concerned about his production against breaking and offspeed pitching. Since April his avg. against breaking pitches is .149. His avg. against offspeed is .227. His Whiff per Swing against breaking pitches has climbed from 33.33 in April to 45.95 in August. Because of his poor performance against non-fastballs, Bryce is not seeing a steadier diet of breaking+offspeed pitching, which now account for 44.37% of all pitches he sees.

Enough with the fancy stats. My point is this "Phenom" can't hit a curve ball any more than Pedro Cerrano could. I don't know if he needs to tell Jobu to f**k off or sacrifice a chicken, but if he's going to be the second coming of Ken Griffey, JR he needs to figure this out.

Harper said...

+ 1/2 st - Agree. Draft value drops so rapidly that if the Nats weren't in the first few picks (and they aren't likely to be without the diviest of dives) it really doesn't matter. (But yes trade anyone not nailed down - with the understanding a lot of these guys are nailed down)

Nico Xen - Still haven't delved into the fancy stats as I'd like but as far as I can tell it's the offspeed stuff that's the trouble. Missing at breaking stuff is mitigated by the fact that if it's good it's often breaking out of the zone. He has a good zone sense so those aren't going to kill him. He's never hit those well. But the offspeed stuff is new. Not hitting the slider is one thing, not hitting the change?

calindc said...

For the love of "insert deity", don't let Straussberg drink Jobu's rum.

Lee said...

Bryce hasn't really shown an ability to hit lefties. No fancy stats needed there. Yeah, I know...small sample size...but still.

Harper said...

Well he hit them OK last year. I wonder if Davey's "Don't try to hit HR" edict will matter for the rest of the year vs Lefties.

Strasburger said...

Hey man. Keep your head up, We ain't out of it yet. I think we will go at least 5-2 on this trip, I really do. When Hairston can go yard, things might be turning.

JWLumley said...

@Strasburger - Don't get sucked in, they'll break your heart, they'll win 5 in row then Benedict Soriano will happen and they'll lose 2 of 3 to the Braves. What they really need to worry about is who they're going to get to play 1B next year?

@nicoxen - He's 20 years old, but I do think the knee is affecting his power because it's the one he spins on. I'm not worried about his development or talent as much as his health.

Froggy said...

Why do we go through the ridiculous exercise of 'comparing' this Nats team to last year, year before, year before that, 2005, etc, when the composition has significantly changed? It's stupid. It's like saying Chevy Impala does not handle or perform like last years Corvette. Or I sure hope these stale cookies start tasting like all that great fresh devils food cake we ate last year!

Couldn't agree more about Benedict Soriano (perfect moniker), but be aware that some knucklhead Anonymous person born after 1995 who doesnt understand the movie reference to sacrficing chickens will accuse you of being a racist. /sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

Froggy: Nice revisionist history. You called Soriano out for "Caribbean superstition," and have yet to explain how that was a movie reference or anything other than pure, unadulterated racism.

Ollie said...


He's referencing Major League Just like Gio Gonzalez did on August 9:

Natty said...

Our second 3 game winning streak in 2 weeks! Are there signs of life now?

Johnson made the mistake of staying with Strasberg way too late, and the Nats eked it out in spite of that bad decision.

500 is now a game away. This team will certainly win more than 81 games. "Davey's Last Stand" will be entertaining even if we dont make the playoffs.

JWLumley said...

Whoa, my reference to Bendedict Soriano is taken from Benedict Arnold and is in reference to Soriano blaming Harper for letting a ball get smoked into the gap at AT&T park. He broke a rule among ballplayers that's a pretty big deal and has nothing to do with anyone's heritage or anything else like that. I'm basically saying he's a traitor, albeit a bit tongue in cheek, however if he keeps pitching like this I may have to come with a famed arsonist to refer to him by.

Kenny B. said...

Well, we won the season series with the Cubs, so that's nice. Small victories.

blovy8 said...

Suzuki dealt back to the A's for a fungible A ball arm. Not terrible for either party involved. Seems like Rizzo and Beane are pals.

It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, is returned from the Rays for DeJesus. A high-A catcher?

Haren might have a little value now.