Nationals Baseball: Tuesday Quickie - the pitching

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Tuesday Quickie - the pitching

Pitching - because of the limited outings, is harder to read than hitting and more held to the 50/60 game mark for evaluation for me. But here's what we see so far just because we have to. 


Tanner Rainey has been very good. It's not terribly sustainable (.053 BABIP!) but he's gone from super wild to acceptably so in a couple seasons so he should be able to stick around in the pen and if he can keep making improvements be an important piece.


Kyle Finnegan hasn't been as lucky so he hasn't been as good as Rainey. But unlike Rainey he lacks the swing and miss stuff. So while Rainey might develop into something nice Finnegan is likely a mediocre guy having a fluky good start. At least someone is. 

Wander Suero and Javy Guerra have been basically who they are with Guerra probably getting a little luck and Suero not. 

Ok, Now the ample bad news

Less Bad

The Nats really need Corbin to step into the A1 role but he's merely been good. Still a top level pitcher but not the type you think at any minute is going to run off a 5-0 month with a 1.50 ERA and stop all losing streaks cold. 

Max hasn't quite been MAX. Maybe the workload of last year, the weird start, or just age but he's not hitting his spots and is more hittable, more homerable, and walking more.  He's still got swing and miss stuff though. I think he'd be effective if Davey could just corral him.  Say it's just for the year. You are going out and giving the best 5 and then out. If he's doing awesome and is at 60 pitches - sure let him go but early hooks this season might be the best bet. 

Will Harris has not pitched well but has caught some breaks. He's sort of like Rainey EXCEPT the Nats are paying him a lot with the expectation he'd be an 8-9 guy for a while and he's 35. Things catch up to Rainey - oh well, maybe you have a back of the pen arm for a couple more years. Things catch up to Harris and you've screwed up.

More bad

Sanchez had a good outing last time but otherwise has looked exceedingly hittable. He's not missing bats but he is missing zones.  But again maybe a slow start. 

Hudson isn't pitching terrible but given the three things you can do - K, not walk, not give up homers - the last is arguably the most important, especially for a reliever and that's been a bugaboo for him this year.  Like Sanchez there's a chance this clears up. 

Ryne Harper looks like another Nats pen arm which means maybe innings eating usable but not dependable.

Most bad

Doo is hurt and Stras is hurt 

Replacing Stras Voth and Fedde both seem like the AAAA starters that they are. Wil Crowe wasn't good either. This is a three man rotation right now - one of those guys isn't doing well, one should be limited with eyes on 2021 so... yikes. 

More like Dakota BADcus, am I right? And he's the guy they chose to put in! This is the best they got in reserve! And you saw Romero. It's true. The pen is thin too


Sammy Kent said...

Maybe we should try to get Lucas Giolito back. First no-no of the season. Congrats to him.

Harper said...

Hat Tip. Still make the trade though because who knows if the Nats win the Series without Eaton.

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

In hindsight the Eaton trade hasn’t worked out as expected. But I remember at the time it seemed like a reasonable trade. Maybe a little bit of an overpay by the Nats, but didn’t seem egregious. The Nats thought they had finally found an answer to the CF issue that they had for years. But early injury robbed Eaton if providing that. Without that big injury right away, the trade as a whole might look a lot better now. Before the trade Eaton was a pretty good CF, with a solid bat. But missing all that time in his first season as a Nat really made the value the Nats received plummet quite a bit. To me it’s one of those, throw your arms in the air kinda moment.

JW said...

The Nats got their World Series and Eaton was -- while not a driving force last October -- a solid contributor during the postseason last year. If the trade was an overpay, in my opinion it was an overpay by including Dunning. Giolito was still far from a sure thing at that point and honestly might not have reached where he is staying in the Nats organization. But regardless, you got the ring so...

I get that they are only two and half games from the 8th place postseason team or whatever, but I really don't see them actually being competitive for the spot. And even if they sneak in, they really aren't good enough to actually compete. I was shocked by the Kieboom option. Even if he has been disappointing, you might as well try to see what you actually have there. I'd be getting young guys at bats as much as possible and be selling assets before the trade deadline -- if there are any assets to sell. Try again in 21 with a healthy Stras and hopefully some offseason reworking of the offense.

JWLumley said...

The Eaton deal seemed like a bad deal at the time and is now just awful. Perhaps had he not gotten hurt it might've been different, but he did and it's really bad.

Also, letting Rendon walk is looking worse and worse, while I really like Garcia Kieboom being optioned is a bad sign for a team that needs offense. Cabrera should not be allowed in the game vs. right handed pitching. A platoon with Thames would be good, but the Nats don't have anyone to play 3B. The Nats really need another bat because they're far too dependent on Turner and Soto. They won the WS, so whatever, but this team could get real bad, real fast especially with Strasburg out. There's no point in running a below average team out there in today's MLB, either add or subtract.

Anonymous said...

I think an important thing to remember is that the Nats couldn't have given Giolito all the rope he needed to figure things out. Giolito made 32 replacement level starts in 2018. We were trying to win as late as the trade deadline and couldn't have given the ball every fifth day to a guy with a 6 ERA. (Of course with full hindsight, well, sure we could have. And we could have traded Bryce too.)

FWIW, I agree that it's the inclusion of Dunning that made it a bad deal at the time. But trading Giolito at that point was the right thing to do even acknowledging the decent likelihood that he'd turn into ace eventually.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

What everyone seems to forget is that Eaton put up seasons of 5, 4, and 6 WAR in the years leading up to the trade. Dude was a monster both at the plate and in the field. Top 10-15 OF in the game. Then he blew out his knee, losing essentially two seasons given he reinjured himself by pushing it too hard on return. At that point, he was past his prime and 2019 was purely a "meh" season. We need to stop pretending that the leg injury didn't catastrophically alter his career trajectory, because it absolutely did. So while the inclusion of Dunning may have been the thing that tipped it towards uneven at the time, it wasn't some massively lopsided trade. It was extremely bad luck

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

I lied, he was even better than that. Names on the list of WAR for 2014-2016 that he was ahead of:
JD Martinez

The only names ahead of him?:
Bryant (why fangraphs labeled him as an OF I'm not 100% sure given he didn't play much of it)

It was a solid trade that was screwed by bad luck, it sucks but you do it again in a heartbeat. It's the equivalent of trading for George Springer today

JWLumley said...

@Cautiously Pessimistic - At the time, the deal was bad because they included Dunning, however it wasn't awful, but given Eaton's injuries and regression to something resembling a player you could easily pick up on the waiver wire or a low leverage deal, it's a bad trade. Rizzo has made so many good to great trades that I think it sticks out more, however, it's still really bad.

It's really hard to keep a team at the top permanently without spending like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers, but all in all they've done a really good job of staying on top, however, unfortunately, they need to swing a deal that reshapes their team and helps them to get younger. I mean potentially dealing someone like Turner or Scherzer.

PotomacFan said...

The Nationals don't have the hitting or pitching to really be a contender this year. I don't see them making the playoffs, but even if they do make the playoffs, there aren't going to go very far. So, let's start thinking of the Nats as sellers, rather than buyers, at the trade deadline. Are there some bad contracts we can get rid of? Can we pick up some draft picks or better yet, starting pitcher prospects.

As for the Giolito/Eaton trade, I don't think it was a terrible trade. It made a lot of sense at the time. And as JW noted, I'm not so sure that Giolito could have succeeded without moving to another organization.

Sammy Kent said...

I have no regrets about the trade at all. Mighty Mouse has been a solid and TIMELY reason the Nats finally got to and won the World Series. .283 average for his Nationals career, 15 dingers last year, .320 in the World Series. Then there's the intangible value of his friendship with Howie Kendrick. I believe they make each other better. At the time we traded him, Giolito was getting hammered like a railroad spike every time he took the mound....and I suspect a good number of fans were getting hammered every time he took the mound.

I'm glad he seems to have finally become the kind of starter Rizzo et al believed he would become for us; but as one Anonymous said, we didn't have the luxury of giving him that much rope and time to figure it out...and it wasn't a guarantee that he would EVER get it on track. I remember at the time thinking that if Mike Maddux couldn't develop him into a winner, he may never realize the potential he appeared to have at one time.

John O'Connor said...

I know this is a crazy year, but the fact remains that in Davey's three years, the Nats have NEVER come out of the gate ready to play. Through 28 games, our record for each of the last three years has been 12-16, 12-16, and 11-17, for a combined winning percentage of .416. Over a full season, .416 baseball is a 95-loss team.

PotomacFan said...

Sure, but they don't have the horses to turn it around this year. But it's good to be optimistic.

Robot said...

Oh, fuck this shit.

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