Nationals Baseball: refocus

Friday, August 19, 2022


Cole Henry is dead. 

Well his arm is anyway as he is undergoing thoracic outlet surgery. The prognosis in general is not good, but they get better at this all the time and he's young so why not be optimistic. This is why though you deal in quantity as much as quality with prospects, especially with pitching prospects. That's why I wanted at least two starters. And while Gore and Susana are two pitchers - they are an injured guy and a guy years away.   I wanted two healthy guys ready to jump in now.You need stars but you also need usable warm bodies. Two guys like Gray to join Gray would get the Nats 3/5th of a rotation.  Maybe a very good 2/3/4 or maybe just a passing 3/4/5 but it's filling space.

Anyway split milk Harper, spilt milk. 

What are we looking for other than a waiver trade for another team's trash? We're looking at the young guys for a strong finish. Can Ruiz show some power? Can Gray find consitency? How good can Garcia be this year? Time to cut ties with Robles? Lane Thomas worth keeping around? If so is Andrew Stevenson? Riley Adams more than Org filler? Tres Barrera useful or the ultimate AAAA guy? Etc. etc. 

You want the Nats to be good. Whatever you think of the trade they need to hit on more than they miss for the next couple of years to get back to relevance because all their big chips are gone. The next trade and turnaround player that looks like he'd really matter, assuming he gets a little better, is Luis Garcia late in 2025 or after that. If the Nats get to that they are looking at 2028 or beyond for being good again. That's a long time in the wilderness, IF they get it right that time, basically matching the time from the team moving to DC and them getting good in 2011/2012. And that's without the new team and new park to look forward to. 

The minor league season is longer this year - through the end of September - there's no real point looking again until then. But if someone is doing something exciting we should keep an eye on it. And... well I'll get back to you on Susana. These outings are so short. Otherwise... wait. Be patient. Don't panic. It'll all be over soon one way or another


Chas R said...

I don't even want to think about if they don't get it right this time because that would mean a long painful total tear down and rebuild

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

I’m gonna choose to be optimistic!

Going back to Cautiously Pessimistic and my discussion on the previous post, I believe that he can return and play well. I don’t believe that TOS is a career-killer. At least I’m not statistically convinced that it is.

That said, I’m going to die on this hill that TOS will not end Cole Henry’s career. I’m planting my flag there. To mark this monumental occasion my post name will forever be shown as The Ghost of Ole Cole Henry.

If he does in fact return, I DEMAND to be recognized!!! And I will surely point that out to everyone.

Hahahaha. In fact the name change is simply so that I can remember in 2 years to check in on his progress because he will certainly disappear from the prospect lists.

kubla said...

It was disappointing that they moved Bell and Soto in the same trade and couldn't get anything for other players who also probably won't be here long. Sure, based on a quick look at the roster sorted by WAR, many of the Nats' guys could have actively made the recipient in the trade worse. Still, couldn't the Nats have not gotten a long-shot prospect or two in exchange for Robles plus every single one of their relievers with a positive WAR?

Anonymous said...

@kubla. Well ... no. The Nats would almost surely have moved those guys if they could have gotten anything for them. The one exception seems to be Finnegan. It looks like the Nats didn't get a good enough offer for him.

Is anyone else worried about wearing out Josiah Gray, to the point where he gets injured? I'd like to see him shut down soon. He's at 118 innings. No need to wear him out. He has a bright future.

SM said...

You'll be looking at the farm later, but there is one tendency I find interesting.

It seems the Nats/Rizzo are pushing the higher-ranked Padre prospects hard. The brought Abrams up to the big club, and moved Hassell to AA in quick time.

It's not a bad idea on the face of it. (The younger good players are promoted, the better their Major League careers.) I wonder why right now, and why only them.

A suspicious mind might see it as Rizzo justifying the return on the Soto deal. And if the players succeed, perhaps buffing up his own credentials when new ownership deliberates whether to clean house or not.

And when you assess the farm, Harper, could you dig into what's going on with Brady House? What few signals are sent are vague, if not contradictory.

He hasn't played in about 2 months. He's no longer on Fredericksburg's Low A team, and not on the Florida Complex League team. Some reports suggested a bad back. Some that he was overmatched by Low A pitching. Another--ominously--saying "we need to get Brady straightened out."

Injury? Off-field issues? Just plain no damn good? See what you can find, okay?

Anonymous said...

@SM Substances? Not unheard of, especially for a guy out of high school with a major bonus.

Anonymous said...

Like, his stats this year are pretty solid. Hitting nearly .280 with a .356 OBP over 170ish ABs. Mostly singles but he’s only 19.

He’s on the seven day IL so could also be a lingering injury. Or they’re working on his D, since that was the knock on him.

Natter said...

@Ghost of Ole Cole - good decision on the name change! It will remind all of us, also, to keep tabs on him - sure hope you get to crow about his being back! You might have already said earlier, but do you have the same optimism about Stephen's surgery? I know his is the neurogenic kind but don't remember what the other kind is (osteogenic?) and don't know what C Henry's kind is . . . ?

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

Haha Thanks!

As far as SS vs Henry’s surgery, I don’t know the difference but me personally I’m a lot let optimistic about SS just due to the fact that he’s 34 vs Cole being 23. Couple that with Strasburg’s extensive injury history. I mean there’s a chance, certainly SS is/was a much better pitcher than Cole is currently. But the age difference and injury history…. At a glance the pitchers that have had TOS seemed to fair better when they’ve had it early in their career vs late in their career.

Alex Cobb, Matt Harrison, Aaron Cook had a lot of innings post-surgery and they were early 20’s when they went under the knife. Guys like Luke Hochevar, Phil Hughes, Chris Carpenter had it at 30+ and they were pretty much done soon after. So youth, unsurprisingly, certainly helps recovery.

My entire point was that sample size is SO SMALL, 27 pitchers in the past 10 years or so, that I don’t feel confident making any real judgement on the affect of the surgery on performance. Maybe it permanently alters mechanics in such a way that it’s very rare to be able to return to form. There’s data to support that hypothesis. But there’s also data to support the theory that someone can fully recover and return to play in an approximation of what they were pre-surgery. Maybe Cole goes from a potential 2/3 to Tanner Roark long term. Or maybe he goes to a Matt Harvey. With only 27 data points it’s impossible to draw a conclusion. I do however believe that the high profile cases (Matt Harvey, Phil Hughes, Chris Carpenter, etc) have slanted fans/sports writers/reporters views of the outcome of this surgery.

All that being said, he IS just a prospect. And there was never a guarantee that he was EVER going to be an impactful major leaguer. I just wanted to have a bit of fun, and I love statistical research projects. NOW I plan to dig into what the 2 different surgeries are, what they mean, and what causes the difference. That sounds like a fun distraction from the overall hideous season the Nats are going through. And hey, who doesn’t love a good comeback story?

Ole PBN said...

Because I'm impatient and checking in on the farm is far more interesting than what the AAAA/MLB team is doing... I took a look at who is worth tracking:

Position Players:
Jake Alu, 25 (3B) - AA/AAA - .276/.352/.457, 21% K rate
Israel Pineda, 22 (C) - A+/AA - .272/.331/.466, 27% K rate
Darren Baker, 23 (2B) - A+/AA - .277/.337/.358, 18% K rate

Cade Cavalli, 24 (SP) - AAA - 97.0 IP, 3.71 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.65 K/9
Zach Brzykcy, 23 (RP) - A+/AA - 50.0 IP, 1.62 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 14.22 K/9

...And that's it. Cupboard is pretty bare in Harrisburg and Rochester. There's more interesting players in Fredericksburg and Wilmington, but they're likely years away. But, aside from the blue chips like House, Rutledge, and Wood, there's some other guys worth following here:

Cody Greenhill, 23 (RP) - A - 40.0 IP, 2.93 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 14.63 K/9
Jake Sinclair, 23 (RP) - A/A+ - 43.2 IP, 2.06 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 9.48 K/9
Jose Ferrer, 22 (RP) - A/A+ - 56.1 IP, 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 10.38 K/9

Greenhill especially, he has similar numbers to when Koda Glover was coming up through the system. But otherwise... this whole exercise was pretty depressing. Thank you Harper for offering to take on this burden in greater detail!