Nationals Baseball: New Post just because

Friday, July 05, 2019

New Post just because

I'm on vacation but I hate crowded nulti-day comments. So here's a new post for the Royals series.

The Nats are already at 8 wins so they have reached my target and have a very good chance at meeting anyone's target who wasn't hoping for an 11-1 or immaculate run.  How are the Royals? Not good, but not as bad as the Tigers and Marlins

They niether hit nor pitch well but the offense is merely bad, a half-run plus below average - not the OMG HOW FAR BACK ARE THEY?!?! lineups that the Marlins and the Tigers were putting out there. I think I talked about it before but it's half a line-up with big holes at first, second, short and an outfielder. The rest of the guys are ok but certainly not enough to carry the rest to respectability.  Dozier has been a great hitter for half a season. Merrifield is solid (and will likely be gone in a month) and Jorge Soler is the best bet to strike out 3 times against Max on 9 pitches then hit that 7th inning homer. Gordon, while slumping, is still a major leaguer.  They are a fast team that tries to compensate for the lack of OBP and power, by stealing bases which will be interesting to face too.

The pitching is bad but only a third of a run off the AL average. The Nats face Keller, Sparkman, and Junis. Keller is probably the best of the bunch and is middling. Junis has the best stuff but is also hittable and prone to homers. Sparkman is a guy who let's you put it in play, which is normally good, but not in the air for far distance. The pen reminds me of the Tigers - no one really good (Kennedy the closer is decent) but no one outright terrible. This is bad - because you'd rather have someone good, but it can work in the favor of a good manager - feeling no particular commitment to certain arms in certain situations. You can waste the guys doing poorly on lost games and try to work the guys feeling it when it matters. Is Yost good? Probably not - I see him more as a guy who leaned into having a bunch of guys he could ALL count on. But you know.

The Nats will be favored in all with their worst game (Voth) tonight and their best game (MAX!) tomorrow. They should take two of three and finish this run 10-2 and 47-42.  A sweep would be great. A 1-2 run would be disappointing but fine. Being swept would give a bad finish to what should have been a triumphant run.

Let's see what happens.


BxJaycobb said...

It would be nice to not sit Suzuki Adams and Kendrick the same game that Voth is pitching and their best pitched is pitching.

billyhacker said...

In this Voth game, the strike one is crazy small. Voth had four solid strikes (two called balls) on his last hitter, the guy he walked before getting pulled.

Eh. Bad framing by Gomes? Can still win this.

Josh said...

Yeah, Zim is done and can't hit RHP. /s

BxJaycobb said...

....he can’t. Look at his stats. I don’t think people understand how statistical analysis works. Samples of results are usually not meaningful (in terms of predictive) for hitters in less than 250 AB chunks. People can keep sarcastically typing “yeah, Victor Robles is REALLY talented” after he has a game with bad ABs....but like, you’re only making yourself look super-dense. If you want to debate who to start and play in baseball games, you need to point to large sample sizes. The alternative form of logic is comically stupid and you’re not adding anything. “Well, I guess Ryan Zimmerman can’t throw the ball 90 feet after all!” Like...that doesn’t add anything substantive or helpful. “Yeah, i guess Anthony Rendon IS a great hitter. NOT.” after Rendon goes 0-5 and leaves a billion people on do understand intellectually that’s nonsensical right? Reactions to single games....even single months of stats are what know-nothings do. Ryan Zimmerman has poor numbers against RHP over his last couple thousand at bats. Does that mean he can’t have a good game against them? Uh, no. It doesn’t mean that because hopefully we all have brains. It means that in terms of predictive decision making your highest percentage change of success is to not use him in those situations. There are still things to say following a game, like decisions made and observations about performance. But deducting anything about skill is embarrassing. I’m sure it won’t stop you though .

BxJaycobb said...

*deducing. *chance

BxJaycobb said...

Here are some observations about decision making in this loss:
1. Voth comes up with a man on base and at 85 pitches. He's not a good pitcher, I.e. no better than Matt Grace, so it's not like you're trying to squeeze another surefire zero out of Max. Why in god's name is he allowed to hit? Sure enough, he gets an out, then leaves the bases juiced before he's lifted...after we miss an offensive opportunity. Stupid managing.
2. Why is Robles sac bunting in the 9th. You've got a closer on the ropes, his head is spinning, nobody out and a guy on 1st. And you give him an out to what? Advance the runner so that Yost can walk a guy to get to Adrian Sanchez who can't hit. Idiotic. Sac bunting is only a good idea when it's a pitcher (or somebody as bad as Sanchez). You're giving the team an out. Look at any statistical study. They all say the same thing. Maybe Robles hits one in a gap and ends the game. Instead you throw the closer a life line.
3. I like Gerardo Parra as a person...he seems like he has livened up the clubhouse with the dancing, etc. Great. He's a nice mascot. He's a bad baseball player. Why is he playing two days in a row? He can't hit and he can't play center field (credit him for the Royals first two runs on balls a CF should get to or at least not play into triples with hideous routes.) And no I don't want to hear about how he hit doubles two days ago. See my comment above. Nyger Morgan probably had some great games too. It doesn't mean he's good. Parra was cut for a reason.
4. Was Doolittle unavailable today? If so, thats fine. Otherwise...not using him at home is dumb.
5. I feel like I've beat this horse to death but....why is Gomes the main catcher and not Suzuki? Gomes has been one of the worst offensive regulars in MLB this year. Suzuki has an above average bat and is not a defensive liability. He should play 3 out of every 4-5 games.
6. If Kendrick can play, he needs to be in the lineup. He's our 3rd best bat. It's that simple. If Davey insists on playing Zim or Adams, then play Kendrick at 2B. I don't see why this is a complicated issue. I know he's old and needs to stay fresh. That's fine. But he also didn't play I assume he was fresh today. He needs to be in the lineup. He's the best player of Adams, Zim, him, and Dozier. Easily. What's going on there?
7. The Nats need a 5th starter. Whether it's giving Fedde another shot or hoping Hellickson gets better or whatever....Voth is just not a viable major league starter. And you can't make the playoffs losing every 5th day/almost all of his games.

BxJaycobb said...

One more quick thing. Turner should not be leading off. He doesn't get on base enough. Turner is very good, but it's very disconcerting that he hasn't improved as a player at all since he debuted. Most players improve from how they play as rookies and sophomores. He hasn't. If you have speed like that, you shouldn't be taking a crow-hop big swing and striking out the amount he should be focusing on contact and hitting balls on the ground or line drives....basically, he should have Kendrick's batted ball profile. Turner hits more lazy fly balls to warning tracks, especially to center field and right field than anybody I've ever seen. Really good player, but he has the tools to be a great player. I wonder sometimes whether people are telling him this stuff and he just is stubborn. Anyway, if your OBP is lower than .350, you simply shouldn't lead off. "Making the speedy guy the lead off hitter" is a trend that died a while ago. I would have Kendrick or Eaton lead off. Even Soto isn't a terrible choice. You want your best hitters getting as many ABs as possible.

Jon Quimby said...

That was a Davey loss.

Froggy said...

Actually, it was a Zimmerman loss. A first baseman who doesn't throw like John McCain makes the throw home and it's the end of the inning, tied 4-4.

I love Zimmy and what he's done for the organization, but he can't run or throw. He will make a great DH. Trade him for an arm.

BxJaycobb said...

Yeah he will not make a DH, has no trade value, and if he’s a FA next year, he will have a Jaysen Werth like experience. He’ll have to take a minor league contract or retire. No AL team is going to take more than a minimum flyer on him. Hopefully he finds a spot in the Nats organization and I’m sure he will.

The Ghost of Ole Cole Henry (JDBrew) said...

While overall I agree with most of what you are saying I do want to point out that your statement of you cannot look at recent numbers and only can make decisions based upon several thousand at bats, is completely disregarding the fact that these are people, not machines and thus go through hot/cold streaks. Those must be managed.

From above:
1) & 2) - no problem.
3) I feel like Gerardo Parra is whole lot better than you are giving him credit for. The last few years he’s been an everyday player and a .280 hitter (granted in colorado). However with the Nats this year, he’s hit .262. And he was playing 2 days in a row to give Eaton off one day, and Robles off the next. I have absolutely zero problem with managing like a roster in that manner. These guys need a break periodically as well especially when it’s 90+ degrees out. Again, remember, people not machines. In fact over the past week Parra has hit .429. He’s hot, you should be capitalizing on his hot streak while it’s there. Meanwhile, Robles has his .229 or something over the last week. Maybe he needs some rest
4) I will agree, bullpen management is not DM strengths. So I don’t bring it up anymore. He has other strengths, This is not one them.
5) you think maybe that the reason Suzuki has had such success the last few years is because he is only playing in a limited capacity? Last time he was a regular he hit like .240. Maybe this is one thing DM is doing extremely well, managing these guys playing time to maintain peak performance. Speaking of that....
6) See above....he is old and when he had more playing time he was really bad. Limited usage over the past few years maybe has made him very very good, with lots of rest as the caveat.
7) Kind Of agree, but there is probably more pressing concerns to address rather that a #5. Bullpen maybe?
And finally Turner. Again, Kinda see what you’re saying, but the OPB difference between Eaton and Robles is like .020. Since leading only matters at all for the first inning, there 162 opportunities for that difference to mean something. That difference is the difference if 3 bases over the course of a season. 3. Not a huge deal. Having that speed in front of Eaton is more important. Eaton won’t hit for much power right now, but he will hit for a high average. So having a speed guy in front of him maximized the runs scored between the 2. And if he’s hitting in front of Rendon you will never have him stealing nearly as much. You don’t run into outs in front of your best hitter.

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper In honor of ASB we should do a post on Max at some point. Amazingly, in the year of the long ball, the artist formerly known as Max ScHeRzer is giving up a career low in HR. While somehow also at a career high in K rate and almost a career low in BB rate. He’s quite simply having his greatest year ever, and may end up at like 9-10 WAR. He’s been almost as extraordinary as Bellinger/Yelich frankly, and not gotten all that much attention. He’s the absolute undisputed best pitcher in the world and when you look backward, he’s been the best pitcher of the last half decade when you take everything into account.

@JPB. I’m fine with most of what you said. Of course if people need rest give them rest. I have no quarrel with that. But I don’t think it’s just rest. I think he thinks of Suzuki as the backup (less time) catcher and Kendrick as a bench player now that everybody is healthy, and honestly, even if playing Kendrick and suzuki a BIT more leads to a small drop in offense, it would be worth it, because they’ve been that much better than the alternative. You have to be careful about riding “hot streaks.” There’s no empirical evidence that a player who has had an awesome last 10 games will do better than the same talent level player who has had a crappy last 10 games. I know that seems intuitively wrong, but its the truth. You can look it up and read about the phenomenon. True in basketball too. A player can definitely be “seeing the ball well” or whatever, or have his mechanics out of whack, but essentially the logical fallacy is that that “streak” can end/begin on any AB. So its predictive value is minimal. Did you mean Turner’s OBP when comparing to Eaton’s? A .370 OBP is great. .340 is more like barely above average for a starter. It may seem like a small difference but it’s enough to take into account in the batting order. Regarding Turner’s speed, speedsters actually have been found to be most useful in the middle and bottom half of the lineup....the idea being that the lower half is more likely to require small ball to drive in a run with a single and the top half is more likely to
hit a homer or XBH. But batting order isn’t super important. Rizzo’s priority has to be finding relievers. But they can’t keep pitching Voth as their 5th starter. He’s close to an automatic loss.

BxJaycobb said...

I get the rest thing. I just think that suzuki and Kendrick are perfectly capable of starting twice a series as opposed to once a series. That’s not asking that much. Plenty of off days. I’m just asking that they start the majority of games. Not that they start every game.

Ole PBN said...

I think however DM is handling the days off for Kendrick and Suzuki are just fine. Of course I'd like to see more of them, but it's a long season and both those guys are 35 years old. Keep them fresh. Question for the group: do we prefer Voth or Fedde at #5? I think it's fair to give Voth a few more starts (or at least as long as Fedde's audition was). But I'm not particularly impressed with Voth. I was early on with Fedde but that was clearly a fluke, as the early numbers suggested.

Watched a rerun of the 2018 Derby last night. Paying close attention the Bryce's aura and bravado. It's sure great for entertainment and drama. But seeing how this team is gelling so well together, I love the team as constructed--without Bryce on the roster. To be honest, I've never seen a Nats team with such great chemistry, ever. That's that special ingredient that could take them places in October (if we get there). One game at a time.

Anonymous said...

Keep Kurt and Howie fresh because it's a long season? I dunno - it's not going to be long at all for us if we lose too many games between now and the trade deadline. If we're sellers by then, Suzuki and Howie can take as much time off as they want the rest of the year. But until then, playing them 2 games per series instead of 1, as BXJacob says, still gives them a lot of rest.

During the recent streak, we've been lucky escaping some messes the bullpen got us in, but with such an abominable group of relievers, we are going to need more offense. Seems to me it's do-or-die time right now.

John C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John C. said...

If it's any consolation to the "play Howie every day" crowd, he's almost certain to regress over the last three months. He has NEVER hit like this in his career - not even close. He's almost certain to put up one of his better seasons overall, having banked a hot first half. But he's extremely unlikely to keep up a 139 wRC+ for the balance of the season. How many players put up an outlier career year at the age of 36? So you can look forward to grumbling about how DM ruined him pretty much regardless of how much Howie plays.

I mean, Howie has openly said that he is no longer an everyday player. I actually think that DM has done a pretty good job of picking his spots with Howie.

Much of this reasoning also applies to the use of Suzuki, btw.

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