Nationals Baseball: A win and a Zimm

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A win and a Zimm

The Nats win again and are in pretty good position to sweep which would pretty much make the road trip an unqualified success 3 games in unless they lose the last 6. One of the key things is Turner is hitting again, which gives the Nats that desperately needed third bat until the injured guys get back.  For some reason Gio loves to pitch against the Mets (2.90 lifetime ERA in 150 innings, 1.78 in 100 innings at CitiField before last night). I don't get it but I don't care to get it. I'm just happy it's a thing.

One of the biggest at bats of last night was a two out single by Zimm in the top of the 7th. At the time the Nats were only up one and the Mets kept threatening. It was a needed insurance run and Zimm drove it in.

When I talk about giving Zimm the rest of the month before we start judging him, it's not that I'm expecting him to break out. It's that it's not fair to judge a player on 60PA (where he was at about last night) For an example I looked at Rendon last year.

April 5th - 18th : 50 PA : .191 / .240 / .234
August 2nd - 13th : 41 PA : .118 / .220 / .235

or Daniel Murphy
Aug 16th - Sept 3rd : 67 PA : .196 / .313 / .232

or Bryce Harper
May 17th - June 7th : 66 PA : .155 / .242 / .310

Now, you might say "These aren't as long" or "These aren't as bad" and I'd agree with you. But they are close enough for comparison (and really Zimm isn't the hitter these guys are so his streaks should be worse). The point is, even good hitters have fairly long stretches, 2 weeks or more, where they hit terribly. It could be that Zimm is just having his at the start of the season. Is it likely? No. But it could be.

But look at any of these guys and try to stretch it out to a month and it just doesn't happen. You run into games where they are hitting again. Good hitters don't have incredibly bad months. We know this just looking at Zimm over the years. He's a fairly competent hitter most years. But like the guys above, he's had some bad month. He's had slow starts. He's had some in season months where he put up an OPS in the high .500s.* But he hasn't had a flat out terrible month, a low .400s OPS month, ever.  That's why I put the bar out there. If he gets "hot" and gets his stats up to bad, well bad months happen. It's not a good sign for the rest of the year but it doesn't necessarily prohibit Zimm from being a useful to good bat in 2018.  If he can't, we're looking at something we haven't seen before and we can't really use the past for judgement.

Other Notes
The team and the fans are convincing themselves that Pedro Severino is the wave of the future. Good luck with that. The guy has hit .240 / .321 / .320 the past week. That's very likely a best case and would only squeak by what Wieters made you cry over last year. I mean, you start Severino but don't let a good month (if that happens) convince you that he's anything other than a back-up

Goodwin went on the 10-day DL.  Assuming he heals up as they expect, keeping him off of it for a few days cost them a few days of having a player they could use. Will the same be true of Rendon? That's the thing. If Rendon comes back after 9 days that's not a win. That means you traded one-day of Rendon for 9 days of having a full bench. That's a bad trade. If Rendon misses today that's 5 days of Rendon out. That's probably as far as I'd go and say the Nats made the right move keeping him off the DL. Rendon is good but a full bench is at least as important.

*If you ranked Zimm's worst months like 2 of his Bottom 5 partial ones and Three of his Bottom 5 full ones would be from 2016.  Makes you wonder if he should have even been playing that year.


Chas R said...

What possibly could the Nats reasoning be in denying 10 day DL stints. It doesn't make sense.

I really like Severino. He plays with enthusiasm and energy. Agreed we should keep our expectations low, but I think he is a fine backup C

Bjd1207 said...

I usually try to avoid comments like this because it's so nebulous and unquantifiable, but Severino's bat is the LEAST of the reasons why I want him on the team and on the field. He enjoys playing the game, has great energy, isn't afraid to take some risks throwing people out, gets fired up when good stuff happens. And his pitch framing and defensive efforts have passed the eye test for me thus far.

Similar to our Zimmerman/Murphy discussion the other day, not everyone can play like this. It seems like we have a lot of guys on our team that are subdued and more of the "get your work in" kind of guys. Even guys that previously have had that kind of fire (Bryce when he came up, Turner in his first year) have tempered it a bit with age and maturity. Eaton seems to have that personality when he's on the field, but otherwise, who else is bringing some fire to that clubhouse? We know it's not Zimm or Rendon. MAT? Dr. Murphy? Hardly.

If Severino's bringing the defense and the energy, I'll let him hit .240 on the reg

Harper said...

chas r - well if you put someone on the 10 day DL they have to miss 10 days. So if you think they'll be back much sooner than that and they are good - you gamble hoping say - not to lose Rendon for 10 days when he could have been back after 2. But it should be kind of obvious if this is a couple day thing or more and once you get to where we are now - around 5 days - you lose the gamble. We'll see though, he could be back tonight

BJD - If Severino's bringing the defense and the energy, I'd also let him hit .240 on the reg... if he walked or hit for power at all. Which he won't

Ole PBN said...

I like Severino for all the same reasons, as well as his speed. Not sure what Statcast says about him, but I feel like he's pretty quick for a catcher. Maybe just his youth, but that's a rarity to have a catcher that can run (on the flip side, remember the Buffalo?).

Clubhouse energy is important as well. Since the Nat's rise, we've had a core of our team operate just as Bjd1207 said - subdued; 'get your work in' kind of guys. I don't know where that comes from, but I feel like its from clubhouse leadership (LaRoche, Werth, Zimm). And that fire/excitement gets tampered down as said player remains with the club (Bryce, Morse, Turner). You have to go along to get along and fit in with your environment. Well that is the Nat's environment: head down, do your job. I've always seen this team as looking awkward when things are going really well. Like an All-Star team that is just surface-level camaraderie and happy about success (b/c who wouldn't be happy about that). Remember how awkward the chocolate syrup stuff was a few years ago? Got old real quick because the bulk of the team isn't about that stuff. But when the chips are down and they're in a rut, whether in April or October, its a sort of blank stare as if they are all strangers. What do you turn to? No passion, no fire, no excitement to lift the teams spirits - and that's a problem. Again, this stuff is totally not quantifiable, but it's importance can't be discounted. Personalities are important. However, they can implode (see Papelbon) or foster camaraderie (see 04 Red Sox trade of Nomar and signing of Orlando Cabrera). Finding the right balance is tough to do. I just think the Nats have a lot of talented, bland individuals that produce a tough lineup and pitching staff that are going to win more often than not - and that's it.

Dusty's Toothpick said...

Man I like Severino, Harper you are usually correct on these things but I hope you are wrong on Pedro. Vote For Pedro!!

JE34 said...

Pedro is an *athlete* behind the dish. He doesn't try to backhand stuff in the dirt all the time, and his quickness and strong arm have been valuable thus far. Good project for Kevin Long in the cage. I'd much rather have Pedro than Lobaton or Montero, but I also realize that's a rearranging-the-deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic sort of discussion.

Re the clubhouse, camaraderie, etc: OK, so there's no bullpen dancing like the Cubs (which is just fine by me)... but I don't see them acting like strangers with one another. When teams are losing, the loose, happy-go-lucky camaraderie will vanish, as it should. Scherzer and Bryce provide plenty of passion and excitement, as does Eaton. Strasburg, Zim, Taylor, Wieters, Rendon - these are not boisterous people. Murphy strikes me as a clubhouse glue type. And the youthful enthusiasm of Pedro and Difo is refreshing and welcome (especially if they are being productive).

But here's the deal: I think I've just described almost every team in the majors. A handful of vocal leaders, along with a larger group of more reserved guys. Exceptions to the rule are recent World Series winners, and I'd argue that their success brings the fun clubhouse life, not the other way around.

Robot said...

I think the Severino love is partly due to the enthusiasm/energy and partly due to a simmering hatred of Wieters for...well, all of last year, really, but especially Game 5. I think there's some (unfounded, perhaps) hope that he'll develop into a better player as he gains experience. Players are surprising sometimes. Look at Tanner.

W. Patterson said...

Regarding Severino, it's the haircut. Beats the heck out what others on the team have (lose the dreds, Difo).

JE34 brought up Kevin Long. Could it be some suggested changes to some of the players' hitting as the reason for a lack of hitting (by some, and sometimes)? If so, it's only a matter of time before the hitting takes off - or doesn't.

Chris said...

Someone mentioned in yesterday's comments that they'd be surprised if Robles is throwing a ball before July 1st. The only thing I read about his injury was that it was a hyper-extension of his elbow. Has there been any new reports on what his actual injury and recovery time is?

Jay said...

So, it was Robles left elbow and it is hyperextended. The only thing I could fine was that they were worried he tore some elbow ligaments and would have to miss a year. Instead, its just a hyperextension. Martinez used the word "months" when referring to his rehab. Sounds like he might be back by August or September but that last part is a guess on my part.

Also, I've been watching online and on twitter for any news on Robles. They said last week they were going to re-evaluate him this past Monday. Our beat reporters struggle sometimes with stuff like this in my opinion. Though I do think they are good and write well.

Fries said...


They've been pretty quiet, but if there's no surgery and X-rays were negative, then it's probably muscular which just takes time to heal and then get strength back. Think of it like a hamstring injury.

That being said, it's his non-throwing arm so he technically could throw, but I think the July 1st comment was more a figure of speech about keeping him out of baseball activities.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Cincinnati would be up for this because he is iconic, but they have a long road to success and could benefit from getting out of a big contract sooner and could use a prospect. Here goes...

Zimmerman and prospects for Joey Votto.

Anonymous said...

I like Votto, but he's signed at 25M till he's 40, so I don't think the Nats should take that on. Almost no one is producing when they're 40.

SM said...

Yeah, that should right this team: A modern-era Gashouse Gang, reincarnating Dizzy and Daffy Dean, Ducky Medwick, Pepper Martin, Ripper Collins et al.

And the leader of the new boisterous bad boys of baseball? Stinky Severino!

It just might work . . . if they could produce a 30-game winning pitcher.

Robot said...

So has Martinez just given up on this game or something?

Robot said...

Can we please get rid of Cole now?

Fries said...

if that didn't end Cole's career with the Nationals, nothing will

Andrew Gentsch said...

I always thought Cole would be good in the pen. He seems to get everybody out until he goes through the line up the next time. He sure is making me look pretty stupid right now though...

BxJaycobb said...

Right but.....weiters is a terrible hitter also but with no energy and bad defense and framing. We’re not comparing Severino to a decent catcher. We’re comparing him to a guy who is a horrid hitter and horrid defender and probably getting even worse in both areas. Like....weiters is a sub .300 OBP guy who won’t hit more than 10 homers and is one of worst defensive catchers in baseball. He’s below replacement level. That’s the comparison. We’re comparing two bad people. Not asking whether Severino is good enough to be a starting catcher. honestly i think i marginally prefer Severino.

BxJaycobb said...

Harper. I don’t think anybody thinks Severino is a good major league starting catcher or the “wave of the future.” So don’t create a straw man. Here’s what some people think. That he’s a better person to have out there than Matt Wieters....the worst regular on a contending team in baseball. Here’s a run down of their abilities by comparison:
On base skills: maybe a small edge to weiters. But both sub-.300 OBP (IOW terrible)
Power: edge to weiters. But we’re talking losing like 6 homers a year. Don’t think of weiters as a guy with power. He doesn’t. He hits 10 homers a year. Turner has more home run power.
Upside: Severino is young so you would think has a TINY bit of room to improve, but not much. All signs point to weiters getting worse and worse and worse over last few years.
Glove: Severino
Arm. Severino
Energy: Severino
I would expect that both over a full year would be replacement level or slightly below (around 0 WAR). So I don’t get why it’s clear you would clearly prefer Weiters. I don’t.