Nationals Baseball: Fedde gets good, NL East remains bad

Friday, April 30, 2021

Fedde gets good, NL East remains bad

Erick Fedde looks... competent? A month is a month and this month is very similar to Fedde's time starting right after the All-Star break in 2019. Five games of pitching to overall 5th starter results but made up of 4 decent to good games and one blow-up. Here's a "maybe Fedde is good" take from the middle of that one. 

But this one is different. That rounds was powered by more luck. This time he's striking guys out at a much better rate and each ball not put in play is a ball that can't become a hit in a later game. His control isn't as good but the strike out rate is so much better you take that trade off. That's not to say that there isn't some luck involved. That HR/FB rate sits around 10% an extremely low number, especially for a guy who's becoming LESS of a GB pitcher as he gets older. The rest is a mixed bag of conflicting stats. Yeah the BABIP is a little low, but so is the LOB% meaning it's likely he'll give up more hits but the timing won't be as bad so the runs will even out.  There's a lot here to like? I'm pretty surprised to be saying that. But it's a month. I'd wait a whole another month before really coming down one way or the other officially.  And let's not confuse things, what we have is Fedde showing signs he could be a good back of the rotation option. Nothing more. When those homers even out he'll be pitching to a 4.00+ ERA. But still that's better than I would have thought of him coming into the season. 

Also in the good news department - the NL East stinks! PU! The current division leaders are 12-13 Atlanta and Philly leaving the struggling Nats a mere game behind. This weekend might get us some separation - the Phillies and Mets play as well as the Nats and Marlins (Braves play the Blue Jays). I've heard some talk about the Nats having the hardest schedule but a lot of that is based on the Braves being good and well they haven't been. Why is playing the Dodgers harder than the Giants (which the Marlins and Phillies have played).  Yes the Rockies are truly bad (the Phillies and Mets have played them) but you want to say the Cubs are bad but they were .500ish before the Braves took that series. It's still too early to parse out most of it. The teams have played who they have played and they've all come up lacking. The NL East stinks, certainly doesn't mean maybe the Nats don't. 

I completely forgot about the Marlins.  It happens

Much like the rest of the NL East they stink but are still in the mix. The surprising thing is the Marlins might have played the best overall baseball so far this year? Their hitting is about average and their pitching is pretty good. 

The good news for the Nats is the Marlins will be without Starling Marte, the solid former Pirate OF who's been out for a while, and Jazz Chisolm the young sensation at second who just hurt his hammy.  They'll also be without failing prospect Jorge Alfaro who is hurt, and dependable underrated 3B Brian Anderson who is hurt. Replacing 4 guys in your lineup is hard!  The replacement guys aren't terrible - Berti and Cooper are below average guys but not holes. Old friend Sandy Leon can inexplicably hit sometimes. Isan Diaz was a real prospect once. But they are all steps down and 4 steps down is a lot of steps.

But wait Harper, you say. They still seem to be scoring runs.  That's right. And it's because they still have a couple good bats and they are on fire right now. Jesus Aguilar flashed signs of being very good before in Milwaukee before having an off half season then getting detoured through "not paying you or anyone really" Tampa.  He's crusing it with 5 homers in the past week. He's well liked too so overall just a smart pick-up by Miami before last season.  Paired with him is the also solid Corey Dickerson who is getting on base at a .650 clip walking 6 times to go along with 7 hits. He had an off year last year but is making up for it with a slight overperformance in 2021 so far. He's usually better than average. Timely hitting by the rest have kept the offense afloat. Oh there's also Miguel Rojas (also not an embarrassment at the plate but a glove guy) and Adam Duvall (someone has to be the 3rd OF and Brinson is one of the great disappointments in prospect history)

What they are really about is their pitching though. A bullpen with 5 decent arms (including Ross Detwiler who has gone into "Just fling it at the plate" mode - unhittable but wild) Dylan Floro has been fantastic. They are a bit homer prone. The starting pitching 1-2-3 has been maybe the best in baseball but the real problem comes behind that where they literally have no one so far. Onto the probables

Pablo Lopez vs Jon Lester - Lester's debut so who the hell knows what he'll be like. Given everyone else's debut... I'm not very positive minded. Pablo Lopez had an off start in Atlanta but has otherwise been great, upping his K's without changing any other stat too much. Edge Marlins probably 

Paul Campbell vs ? - Given the two off days and Lester's insertion it could be Ross or Corbin. Ross pitched a good game last time out, Corbin did not. Still you feel it's going to be Corbin. He has the money. The Nats need him straightened out. You want him on that regular schedule. Paul Campbell is a former Rays guy who is like a lesser Voth/Fedde type - good minor league stats but not much expected of him. A weak contact pitcher who rarely gives up a homer but major leaguers have been able to hit. He's a Rule V guy, too, so the Marlins have to keep trying him out. Jordan Holloway will likely follow him as a guy to eat innings. He's been good so far but minor league stats are not great. He's the prototypical nasty stuff, no control, make mistakes guy. One in 10 of these put it together and become good major league pitchers. Another couple find themselves improved enough to get in a few years. Most though don't stick.

Trevor Rogers vs Max Scherzer - Rogers is a legit pitcher of the month candidate. He hasn't given up a run in his last two games with a 15K to 1 BB ratio. If Max is Max this could be a gem of a game. But which Max will show up? The homer bombed first and last game pitcher? Or the peak Max of inbetween.  I'd bet on the latter given being home and being angry at the last outing. 

Home, division rival - gotta expect 2 out of 3.


Chas R said...

Thanks Harper! Good stuff! Still a lot of Nats performance needs to come into focus.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

This post is the only reason for optimism, the NL East is still a tossup right now. I gotta think the Braves and probably the Mets will start to put it together, we just have to hope that the Nats put it together before them to build a cushion.

elchupinazo said...

I don't know what Schwarber's deal is but I'm getting on board. Slappy single guy innings 1-8 and then jacking balls into space when the moment calls for it. I'd rather he just be good all the time but I'll take it for now.

G Cracka X said...

Fun with stats: Schwarber had the 2nd lowest WAR for Nats position players, but the highest WPA. (At least it was that way entering Saturday’s game).

WPA over WAR!! Clutch!

(Haha, Schwarber auto-corrected to Schwarzenegger!!)

G Cracka X said...

By the way, Voth has 97?? We may have found ourselves another reliever!

G Cracka X said...

Sweep! First place! Where y’all at??

Let’s go Nats! Let’s go Nats!

Robot said...

Woohoo! .500!

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