Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Irrelevant

Monday, June 07, 2021

Monday Quickie - Irrelevant

 We're past 50 games now so the 19-31 comparisons have come and gone but as long as the Nats have a reasonable chance people will feel some hope. To help tamp that down here are some targets the 2019 Nationals hit after the nadir. 28-33. 37-38. 49-42. Yep, they went 30-11 after hitting the bottom moving from almost dead to in the thick of things in under 2 months. The current Nats are 24-32.  Can they equal 4-1 in the next 5 games? At Tampa Bay and the home against San Francisco? I don't feel good about that. So in other words the Nats will likely fall behind the 2019 Nats very soon making a comeback that much more unlikely. 

If you want to try to figure out the best way for the Nats to crawl back into it it would be this 

  • Hold ground in next 6 (27-35) 
  • Sweep the Pirates at home (30-35) 
  • Beat the Mets at home (33-36) 
  • Beat the NL East rivals (PHI 2, MIA 4) away  (37-38) 
  • Survive a brutal pre ASG run (home for NYM(1), TB (2), LA (4) @SD (4) @SF (3)) (43-46)
  • Win a homestand vs SD/MIA (47-48)
  • Sweep the Orioles away (50-48) 

Easy peasy. 26-16. 

Of course there is no reason for this team at 24-32 to suddenly play like that. It would take everyone in the lineup taking a step forward AND two of the starters taking 3 steps. There's the capability there. We aren't talking a squad of garbage players here. Turner go back to hitting like a star. Corbin pitch like you did a couple years ago.  But it's everything going right at a time where the pen, which had been doing fine with a lack of top names, looks tired and beat. Can the Nats have that happen twice in 3 years? 

I think we know the answer to that. 

I think they can play better, may be even find themselves over .500 to end the year. I think it's more likely to get better than worse. But better enough to matter? I don't see it for 2021. Enjoy the summer of irrelevance. Been a while since we could say that


elchupinazo said...

They probably won't but you know, they could also just do it. Stranger things have happened. I don't need another WS from them yet or anywhere really close. Just being able to say "that season turned out ok" would be nice after the past year+.

Treaples69 said...

Biggest development for the team is Cade Cavalli. He is up to 33 on Baseball America top 100

Harper said...

chup - would over .500 be ok enough? 58-48 for the rest of the year (to get to 82-80)is a solid 88-89 win type team pace

Treaple - I don't like mid-season adjustments. I think you can adjust post call-ups and then fully at the end of the year. That being said, it's definitely a good start. You want the teams to have to try to adjust to him and not vice versa, and that's where he is right now.

Matt said...

Harper/Chup -- I'm sort of worried that this team will salvage halfways respectable. At this point, while I don't want to see them really stink, continuing at their current pace would be preferred to going on a major streak in garbage time and costing themselves 5 places in the draft (gee, just like last season).

In some sense, it's an additional cost of not having many prospects which are plausibly ready for the show right now -- "letting the kids play" once rosters expand is a great way to bank a few extra losses in a feel-good way.

Anonymous said...

The way they're playing they could VERY easily be double-digit games out of first and effectively dead and buried by the end of this week.

Anonymous said...

They are basically unwatchable right now. It hasn't been this boring and uninspiring since the late 2000s.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

The question for me, now, is where do the Nats go from here? It's clear they need to make some tough choices over the next few months to bring themselves back into contention in 2023 (I really don't see how they can be competitive next year without a lot of luck). But with the state of the farm and the state of the payroll, it's going to be a real challenge for Rizzo. But if Rizzo has proven anything, it's that he really is capable of building a contender, he just has to commit to the build process and not keep trying to keep the window open.

Also, for the love of God, invest in a bat or two. I know Rizzo is all about the pitching, but if the Nats had let Stras opt-out and kept Rendon instead, I think they'd actually be in a much better position for the long term

SM said...

"Irrelevant" is about as precise a term as one could conceive. The flaws you've noted in numerous previous posts remain, with--to be honest--only the remotest chance of being rectified even to the point of relevance.

So why not give yourself a break from the perpetual tedium and take a tour of the minor league affiliates for a while? There are lots of interesting observations to make about the Nats organizationally, and there are lots of laughs, too.

Let me point you to some of the more relevant (see what I did there?) areas of interest. Mind you, you already know much of this simply by watching the big league club, but still:

1. Except for 15-14, High "A" Wilmington (where Cavalli pitches), the other minor league affiliates stink (28-61 collectively).

2. Except for Luis Garcia, no one is hitting. Or worse, no one can hit. (Unless the Nats are monkeying with service time, there's no reason Garcia shouldn't be playing second base for the big club.)

3. The most promising-looking pitchers play High "A" ball, which gives you some idea of how much longer the Nats are going to wade in mediocrity. And as is the all too dismaying Nats Way, I suspect Jackson Rutledge is going to require arm/shoulder surgery.

4. In Low(ly) "A" sit last place (8-22) Fredericksburg. But there's something redeeming about the team, namely this: I think the team has found the reincarnation of the real-life Nuke LaLoosh, Steve Dalkowski! (Look him up; some of his in-game statistics will give you vertigo. But here's the main one: Dalkowski struck out more batters and walked more batters than anyone in professional baseball history.)

I'm pretty sure Mitchell Parker doesn't throw 110 mph, but his numbers suggest he has Dalkowski-like potential. In his last start he pitched 2.2 innings, struck out 7 and walked 6. On the season he's pitched 27.1 innings and allowed 18 hits. He's walked 17 batters, but struck out 50. Of course, he's only thrown 3 Wild Pitches, so there's some work to do.

Even if the Nats are little more than place-holders in the NL East for a few more years, we can always hope for more Mitchell Parkers to distract us.

Egonadon said...

Boy, that last comment was depressing. Our farm system is in shambles. That is on Rizzo.

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