Nationals Baseball: Tuesday Quickie

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Tuesday Quickie

 The Nats are assured of their third straight losing season.  They are eliminated from the playoffs. They are far enough from 4th in the NL East (12 games) that there's nothing for themselves to play for outside of some mild increases or decreases in draft chances as we saw last week. 

They can be spoiler. They play the Mets and Atlanta both six times and could help decide the NL East. They play Philly, fighting for a Wild Card, 7 times.  They can't knock the Cards out themselves but they do play them 3 times. And they play the Orioles twice, on the off chance they are still in the picture in two weeks.

But really outside watching the kids it's time to watch other teams play

In the NL the Mets have a lead but the Braves are within striking distance. The Cards have opened up some breathing room from the Brewers. The Dodgers are the best team in baseball and well ahead.  The Wild Card has Atlanta safely in* with Philly, San Diego, and Milwaukee fighting over the two spots. 

In the AL the Yankees have been bad since the break but built up such a large lead they are still in control. Houston is dominating the west. The Central is the messiest division in baseball with Cleveland currently leading, Minnesota right behind, and the pre-season favorite White Sox not out of it.  The Wild card is a dogfight. The Rays, Mariners, Blue Jays, Indians, Orioles, and Twins are within 4 games of eachother. One will likely be the central winner, meaning 5 teams duking out for 3 spots. 

Other things to note - 

Can Pujols get to 700 before the season ends and he likely retires?   It seemed impossible but 8 homers in August so far (he had 7 coming in) puts him 6 away.

Can Goldschmidt win a triple crown?  First in average (by 8 points), second in homers (by 3), tied for the lead in RBI. The average one is just close enough that a hot month by Freeman or maybe McNeil would be an issue but otherwise he's good if he's good. The RBI one is simple - it's Goldschmidt or Alonso. The HR one will be an issue though with Schwarber with the lead and Bryce back for protection. He's gotta hope for a non-hot streak Schwarber but also the same for 4 guys trailing him by 2 or 3. For completeness Judge isn't out of his own triple crown race but would need September to be his best month average wise and some help from the leader Arraez to really make it happen.

Can Judge best Maris? 50 homers as of today. 61 is in reach but is also not guaranteed.  He's basically on target. It's a bit lost now but the guys past Maris are still just Sosa, McGwire, and Bonds.  Makeof that what you will.  At this point (date wise) in 98 Sosa had 53 (would hit 54 tonight, 55 tomorrow), McGwire had 54 (would hit 55 tonight), in 2002 Bonds had 56.  So all had good leads and hot finishes so Judge isn't going to challenge anything more than 61.

There aren't any bug milestones coming up... probably

Hits - assuming all you care about is 3000, we can talk about in 5 years when we see where Altuve and Freeman are. 

Homers - if you are still on 500, come back in 4 years - Stanton and or Trout might be pushing it. 

The probably comes in because of pitcher wins. Every time in my lifetime a guy hits 300 the baseball community brings out the "it will never happen again". They did it after Don Sutton got to 300 in 1986, wondering if Nolan Ryan sitting at 250 at age 39 would hang around long enough and seeing no one coming. They did it after Ryan did hang long enough and got it in 1990.  They did it after the next set of young guns Clemens and Maddux hit the number in 2003 and 2004 respectively, when Glavine was close but needed some luck and Randy was dominant but further out and older than Ryan was. They did after Glavine just got in under the wire in 2007 and Randy did the same in 2008.

Now we have Justin Verlander at 242+ and age 39.  If he sits around 246-7 he'd be very comparable to the Randy/Nolan time frame.  Asking him to pitch another 4-5 years is a lot but he's also throw 150 inning of 1.84 ERA this year, if you haven't been paying attention. That gets you two years easy. And if in two years he's at like 270-275? The call will be loud my friend. So in 4-5 years we could be looking at a burst of milestones.

Other ones

Strikeouts batters - sadly but understandably both Justin Upton and Nelson Cruz probably won't get the chance to get to 2000 Ks but if they are around next year is a decent chance.

If Greinke feels like it he could get to 3000 Ks maybe next year, definitely in two. Who knows what he'll do. Scherzer and Verlander are both still dealing but both just passed 3000.  If they keep it up and stay healthy they'll start "name passing" at the start of the 2024 season. Getting to 5th all time for either is possible, it's a big jump from 5 to 4 though and a bigger one from 4 to 3. 

We don't really care about saves but Kimbrel and Jansen should get to 400 next year and be in the Top 8 all-time. Both are of an age they can have eyes on 3rd (479) but 2nd (602) is a different matter.

*safer in their position than the Yankees in a pure WC sense. Fire Boone.


azitnay said...

Not eliminated yet!


Harper said...


Ole PBN said...

Speaking of the kids… Cavalli has been shut down for two weeks. “Where is the sun? Tootle-doo-doo…”

Jay said...

Unfortunately, that is why prospects are prospects. At the beginning of the year, the top three Nats prospects were Cavalli, House, and Henry. One's career is likely over - Henry with thoracic outlet surgery, Cavalli is shut down with shoulder trouble (though it doesn't seem serious), and House is out until next year with back trouble. Even the can't miss shortstop they traded for, CJ Abrams, has been awful, can't hit and hasn't been all that good in the field. IMO, they should shut Cavalli and Gore down until next year, and probably Gray too at some point from an innings standpoint. They don't have anything to play for this year, so why risk anything. I still think they never should have traded Soto, but that proverbial ship has sailed.

SM said...

If you squint a bit--baseball is the ultimate squinting sport--you'll see that this year's Nats have a player who set an all-time pitching record. It's a milestone--okay, may be a millstone--that is certainly worth noting.

The all-time single season record for HRs allowed is 50. Bert Blyleven set it in 1986, though it took 271 innings to accomplish it.

Bronson Arroyo has the NL record, allowing 46 HRs in 199 innings in 2011.

Our own--yes! our very own!--Josiah Gray (who leads the league with 32 HRs allowed in only 123 innings pitched) has pitched a total of 194 major league innings between the Dodgers and Nats. And how many HRs has he surrendered? 51!

Not only has Gray reached the top of the mountain, but he did it faster than any pitcher in the history of Major League baseball. Imagine that.

Maybe not enough to commission a portrait or sculpture, but surely something at least to acknowledge.

Ole PBN said...

Thank you @SM, it is definitely worth acknowledging. He is supposed to be a big piece of our rotation for the next several years, so this is nice to see from Mr. Gray. Can only imagine how many HR’s he can surrender with a 200-inning season…

Expos 1983 Blog said...

Obviously, all Preller needed to do was trade for Joey Meneses

Steven Grossman said...

All the snarking aside--and there is a lot of it--isn't the post-trade team more interesting and doing a better job of staying in the game? In June or July, it didn't seem like there were any hungry players. Everyone was waiting for Soto to become the game-changing force of which he is capable and meantime playing truly listless baseball. Now the team is full of hungry players--young and hold alike--and no pretense that anyone else will save the team if they don't step up themselves.

That is how I feel and I prefer not to ruin it. However, I acknowledge two possible counters. First, at some point the team became so bad and so dull that it doesn't take much to imagine improvement that isn't really there. Second, maybe we are so bad that the loss of Soto and Bell isn't even noticeable. This recalls the story of Branch Rickey proposing to cut the pay of power-hitting superstar Ralph Kiner. When Kiner objected, Rickey famously quipped, "Son, we could have finished last without you!"

So, I prefer to see a half-full glass, but I can't object to anyone else seeing it the other way.