Nationals Baseball: September 2022

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Still another one for Joey?

 Hey - what else are we going to talk about here? 

So someone said the comparisons weren't very fair because some of them weren't very good.  Joey is raking. Someone with a 94 OPS+ is not.  The problem is if you expand out from 29+ there are more questions on how comparable that really is. But again - what the hell. 

OPS+ 130 plus, debut year over 25, over 200 PA (Since the war - you know the one).  

That's only 8, including Joey

The previously mentioned Ryan Schimpf is closest in age at 28.  The guy played half a year hit 20 homers in 2016. That's amazing! Tell your grandkids about it Ryan!  Here he is today. Baseball is hard!  

At 27 you have Abreu - not applicable because he only didn't come up before because he was in Cuba. Same with 26 year old Yoenis Cespedes. 

If you must look at 26 year olds - I guess I did put them in there -

Jeff McNeil - Not a high prospect but hit in the minors until derailed by injury for two years. Still hitting years later AT THE AGE OF 30

Josh Hamilton - Huge Prospect drafted 1-1 that had his career derailed by drugs. When did get in the majors was the star people thought he could be until out of the game at 34 for various reasons

Then two guys, Gus Zernial and Ferris Fain, who debuted in the 40s. Both had solid careers until they were 36 and 34 respectively. 

So you can break in, hit surprisingly well, and still be hitting at the ages past 30.  The caveat here is that they broke in much younger.  For the most part 31 ish was their last very good years with usable after that. 

But in my mind Joey's biggest problem is the 200+ PA we've set. That's pretty low about a third of a season. He hit better in August than September (though September is still good) What's the chance another two months even that start out?

Will this end the Joey train? Probably not.  Boz came back just to get a ride on it.  We'll all come into next year hoping he does well and that's about all we can do.  Chances are probably best he has a middling near average year maybe two, then peters out.  Maybe the Nats get lucky and he hits well for another before slowly fading. Maybe they don't and he's just not good next year.  Yes, maybe he IS that one 30 year old that becomes the "Well Joey Meneses did it" standard bearer and he hits for the next 6 years. But no it doesn't HAVE to happen someday. This isn't an infinite number of monkey on an infinite number of typewriters.

Nats take on Philly and if you like the Brewers more than Philly - well the Nats can help take them down and get Milwaukee in. Mets take on Braves.  All this worked in crazy ways around the rain coming in from the Hurricane.  Now that's a wild finish.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Once more for Joey

So what is a Joey Meneses? It's an older player who in his first real chance at playing does well enough to make you hope they are something more.  As the last comment in the previous post said - the reasonable hope is he's around league average for 2-3 year, bridging the gap between good times, costing the team little so maybe they can make a big free agent or international signing with an eye toward the future.*

Have we seen that with other Joey's?  I made a quick attempt yesterday but let's pin it down even closer.  29 year old or more, 200+ AB, "rookies"**, posting OPS+ of at least 90.  What do we got?

In the past 25 years - not a lot. 

Shinjo, Matsui, Taguchi... we know why they didn't make it earlier. 

2004 David Newhan - odd case where he played in 1999, 2000, and 2001 and wasn't very good. Then he got hurt in 2002 and didn't play and played all 2003 in the minors. He was bouncing around teams but Baltimore needed a 3B, he was available, they picked him up and he took off.  Here's a feel good story about him.  But the brief outings before 2004 were more real and he stunk up the joint in the next three years. 

Iguchi, Johjima

2006 Chris Coste - 33 when he debuted (here's the feel good for him) he'd actually be a reasonable back-up catchers for a couple more years (re: not good. but back-up catchers are hard to find) before his age caught up with him. The guy WAS 36 after all 

2008 Edgar Gonzalez - 30.  Adrian's older brother. Got the call up in part deserved, in part because Adrian was on the team and it's a nice story.  Read the feel good here. He did perfectly fine that first year but the next year did bad. He got hit in the head and missed nearly two months with a concussion but actually hit better coming back briefly but never got another shot.


2015 Joey Butler - 29. Bounced all around and had a couple small cups of coffee in previous two years before coming up and doing pretty decently (requisite feel gooder). But the Rays are not sentimental and he was DFA'd to make room on the 40. He was picked up by Cleveland, didn't hit in AAA. Then picked up by the Nats! Hey hey! Didn't hit for them in AAA either. But don't worry there's another Nat around the corner...

2015 Clint Robinson 30. (Classic Wags delivering the feels) The Nats were looking for organizational depth and picked up Robinson after the Dodgers let him go. The Nats had just decided to go with Zimm at 1B after letting LaRoche go and Zimm couldn't stay on the field. So Clint played a lot and was basically the only other Nat (Ok Yuney too) to hit in the season Bryce tried and failed to carry the Nats to the playoffs himself. But in 2016 the magic would wear off and he'd be gone. 

Dae-Ho Lee

2017 Manny Pina 30. The Pineapple himself. He did play at 24 & 25 in the majors but only 5 games. (FG here). Possibly the biggest success as he played 4 seasons as a workable back-up catcher.

Gurriel - Cuba

Now we're getting into too recent territory with stories still being written but I'll give you the 2019 guys. 

2019 Jon Berti  - 29 (feel good) He's still playing and currently leads the league in stolen bases.  No, for real. Look it up. And it's a legit percentage. He should be stealing at this rate. Is he any good? Not really. More he's fallen into a team that won't spend money and needs warm bodies. He's not bad though

2019 Austin Nola - 29 (FG) catcher. still playing with Padres. Brings up the question - can Joey catch?

Anyway not even a mixed bag. The catchers have stuck around, which speaks to it being hard to develop catchers and that it's hard to find good back ups. The rest are flashes in the pan. Again Joey is the flashiest flash, hitting better than anyone in this group.  He also has the most limited ABs though.

*Of course you know my feelings on this - THEY CAN DO THIS ANYWAY!!! 

** meets rookie qualifications.

Monday, September 26, 2022

99 losses but last night wasn't one

As I predicted the Nats took one from the Marlins and made it to Monday 55-99.  They do play tonight and I expect them to lose 100 at home which is fitting because they are worse at home than away. The Nats have 4 more games to win one which would give them 10 wins for the month and their first double digit winning month since June. Hoo... ray? 

Basically the only fun thing about the Nats right now is Joey Meneses won't stop, cant' stop, hitting. His line is at .326 / .360 /.583 right now and he's hit himself into a starting role in 2023 just because who else are they going to play? A lot of Nats fans are cautiously optimistic. How often does an older guy come out of nowhere with a second half THIS hot? 

The answer is not often but... 

Like last year I only found 2 guys with high 2nd half OPSs, 27+, and didn't have a lot of previous playing time.  Say hello to Rafael Ortega and Frank Schwindel.  You probably do have to say hello to them because there isn't a good reason to know who they are. Ortega has been middling all year and Schwindel got his chance like Meneses will next year and he is now out of baseball entirely. 

2020 can't be used, but 2019? That looks better. You have Mike Yastrzemski, who went onto have a great 2020 then usable 2021 and 2022. 

In 2018 Joey Wendle might count - played about 40 uninspiring games prior to that season. He's been average since. Before that maybe Ryan Schimpf? Jung Ho Kang?

I could do a more thorough search but I think that's what I'll find going back for the most part. Mostly guys like Schwindel and Schimpf who come in to bad teams late to fill space, do really well, get their chance the year after and show you why they surprised everyone in the first place. But BUT occasionally you'll get a Mike Yaz who is not necessarily a star, but can be a useful player for a few years and likely will be a fan favorite for 2-3-4 years as the team resets. 

Joey, be a Yaz.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Only a little fun

 Judge hit 60 early this week leaving 61 (and presumably 62) there for fans to watch which is good because this week didn't set up much of anything new. 

In the AL East the Yankees rolled, while the Jays and Rays mucked around. The Yanks are pretty firmly in control at this point.  The Rays and Jays AND Seattle all playing middling ball gave the Orioles an opening, but they did nothing with it, unable to use a well-timed Tigers series for anything other than disappointment. They aren't out of it but now need that special run or special crash. 

In the AL Central Cleveland took care of business, beat up on the Twins and the White Sox making them pretty much moot for the division title and since they all are mediocre, the Wild Card too. 

In the NL Central St. Louis was middling but Milwaukee only marginally better.  The same happened with the WC teams of San Diego and Philly.  The effect was the Brewers are in a tiny bit better spot then they were when the week began. This does nothing for the division - so that's pretty much over, but it keeps the WC in play. 

Meanwhile in the East the Mets and Braves matched eachother keeping that of interest which is good because there's a decent chance that's all we'll be looking at in a week. 

Braves @ Phillies remains the series of the weekend as neither team can afford to lose and achieve their goals, though with the Braves in the playoffs in some capacity it's not as exciting as it could be. 

The rest depends on the chasers - Milwaukee and Baltimore. If they win then watching Jays @ Rays, Sea @ KC, and SD @ Col takes on some added intrigue. 

As for the Nats they don't hit except for Meneses and the bullpen does the job of keeping the loses close and giving the Nats the occasional close win. It's a slow bleed out to 100 and a weak Marlins offense probably won't help end the march to 100 any quicker. Figure 55-99 coming back on Monday? That's kind of a fun record.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Saying things - Barry and Jesse edition

Going through the Post's Nats Q&As used to be one of my favorite things. Boz would say something like "Matt Skole, Zack Walters, or Chris Marrero will make an All-Star team" or "Cristian Guzman might not be hitting but the Twins made the playoffs with him" or "Matt Chico started with a 4.50 era. Another lefty with a 4.50 ERA? Sandy Koufax" and I could blast him apart.  No one would notice or care but it made me feel good.  After the team got good and Boz left though there are less chances to do that. There are fewer dumb stretch questions being asked and everyone else covering the team have been mostly more judicious and skeptical, Janes and "Zimm is on another field running fast and free!" excepted. 

But the bad times are back and so are the hopes and dreams and yesterday's Q&A did present a few things, while I won't say are worthy of blasting, are at least worth a look at. 

1) Jesse notes that the leader in the clubhouse for 3B might be Carter Kieboom. 

I suppose this is right. He still is only 25 and he really did show promise once. But man that is disheartening.  He's been so bad everytime he's come up that the idea of watching him play 3B for another 30-80 games is something I don't look forward to.  I'm not sure what the alternative would be. I'd love to see Vargas do well but he is 31 and the history is iffy.  Jake Alu is older than Kieboom and his rise has been a slow march of "pretty good".  Seems like the ideal position to try again with a Hernandez or Franco type.

2) Barry's digs himself a hole by bringing up Max when talking about Gray.  He immediately clarifies Gray is no Max and he just means he should get better like Max got better but he leaves out some tangible points

Max's ERA was 4.12, better than the average at the time and his FIP suggested he was pitching even better at a 3.87. His best feature - his 9.2 K/9 - was much better than league average (7.1)

Gray's ERA is 5.14, worse than the average and his FIP suggests it's even grimmer, 5.96.  His best feature - his 9.8 K/9 - is better than the league average (8.6) but not as much so.

Max's 24 age season had the same weaker 2nd half that Gray's has seen. It has the same increase in homers. But Gray's is much weaker and has much more homers. The optimism for Max came from his pedigree and stats. For Gray it's just the pedigree right now. It's hard to look at the evidence from 2022 and see him better than high 4.00s next year (assuming same environment) which still makes him below average.

3) Barry's says "I'll dig into what I think is the worst Nats team in the next week or so." HEY!  COPYCAT!*

4) Someone asks if the Nats gave up more for Eaton than they got back for Soto.  The answer, as Barry notes, is no. But it's not so far apart that you don't have to at least think about it for a second.  The thing though that makes it a question is the development of Giolito, Lopez, and Dunning after the deal. 

Of course Soto's deal was for Soto and Eaton isn't Soto.  And Soto's deal was also for Bell.  Eaton's was just for Eaton. But Eaton had four very reasonable years in hand.  You get 2+ underpays, but still expensive, deals for Soto and a half-year of Bell.  

It does feel like either they didn't get enough for Soto (unlikely given just the world we live in now) or gave up too much for Eaton (more likely but definitely influenced by results). You can tell I lean toward the latter. 

5) Someone asked if Fedde was a major league starter. Jesse side-stepped a direct answer.  The direct answer is "No".

*Actually it's a pretty standard thing to think about with very bad teams.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Monday Quickie - State of the season

With about two weeks to go (the last games are on Wed Oct 5) we're in crunch time.  Let's assume a 5 game deficit for a team. 

At 30 games, it's in your hands.  They might go say... 17-13 so if you bear down and do great, 22-8 in this case, you can make it up all by yourself. That's a very strong run but good teams make those type of runs once or twice a year. You can do it. The real key is that they aren't likely to make it impossible for you.  The 26-4 run to make that necessary would be the best run of any team in any year.

At 20 games you start to need help.  If the team you are chasing plays as they should they'll be like 11-9 or 12-8.  That means you have to go 16-4 or 17-3 to make up the games. On one hand it's easier to have shorter bursts of great play. On the other hand the ask becomes much bigger. It's about a push in terms of your team making that happen. But the 16-4 that the team your chasing needs to do to make it impossible? Well it's not likely but it isn't crazy - you are just saying your own team has to do that.  You have to hope they don't get hot, and it would be helpful it they stumble a bit.

At 10 games you need help, no doubts about it.  The team you are chasing simply can go 6-4, as they probably should, and end it for you. And that's if you can go 10-0. Even a great finish of 8-2 would need the team you are chasing to fall flat at 3-7 to produce a tie.  It takes two to make up a moderate deficit at this point. 

We're at 15+ games left now so we are moving away from "you can do it yourself" and into "they gotta help you"  For what it's worth I put "We need to be awesome. They need to be terrible" in the "likely over" category. Because it likely is! You remember the once every 5 years that it happens but forget the like 19 other times in that time frame it did not.  Let's see what the contests stand! 

AL East : Yankees up by 5.5 and 6.0 games over Tor and Tampa respectively. 

There's still a chance for a huge finish to do it without the Yankees doing too poorly, especially for Toronto who still has 3 H2H games left, but it could pretty much be over with a good series by the Yanks and bad ones by these two

AL Central : Cleveland up by 3.5 over Chicago, 6 over Minnesota

Fun times as Minnesota finishes their 5 game series with Cleveland tonight (Cleveland up 3-1) and needs a win or you can probably write them off. Chicago faces Cleveland after that and Cleveland could put it away with a sweep or Chicago could set up a furious finish. 

AL West : Houston up 15 on Seattle 

Well that's over. 

AL Wild Card: Toronto +2, Tampa +1.5, Seattle, [Cleveland -1.5], Baltimore -4, White Sox -5. 

Basically runs need to start NOW for Baltimore and Chicago. Seattle and the others just have to hold on. Again it could be over by the weekend with the right breaks for the teams in the lead

NL East : Mets up by 1 over Atlanta

IT AIN'T OVA.  The one sure bet to be interesting this weekend, even under the worst case scenario for the trailing team. 

NL Central : St Louis up 8 over Milaukee. 

That's pretty much over as the Brewers are in need help territory and should be more concerned with the Wild Card

NL West : Dodgers up 21 on San Diego 


NL Wild Card : Atlanta +11, San Diego +0.5, Philly, Milwaukee -2 

A good chance this ends up interesting but there's a chance Philly and San Diego could separate enough from Milwaukee to make it uninteresting after this week. Because there are multiple moving parts it seems like it'll end fun but it all depends right now on the Brewers at least being ok.


What to Watch this week 

Tonight specifically : 

Twins @ Guardians - Twins NEED this win. Simple as that. 

Mets @ Brewers : Two teams that need to win. 

Early this week : 

Guardians @ White Sox : starts off as the premier series but if Cleveland wins early games makes it less interesting.

Mets @ Brewers (cont'd) : Both teams will still needs these games

Blue Jays @ Phillies: assuming the Orioles are doing the job against the Tigers, no AL team can be completely safe yet. Phillies need to win and hold on

Cardinals @ Padres : Padres need to hold on too, but the Cards would like to finish off the Central as soon as possible.

Pirates @ Yankees : Well the Judge at bats anyway, until he gets to 62

Late this week into Weekend : 

Blue Jays @ Rays : Likely to be a weird position battle where #2 would be ok losing if they can drop past Seattle bc it puts you up against the Central winner.  But if they can't you'd want to win to get home field.  Probably too hard to triangulate at this point so expect both just to try to win. 

Braves @ Phillies : Both could help their cause while hurting a rival. The most fun outside of actually knocking eachother out. 

Cards @ Dodgers : Two good teams who might be playing the last series they really try. You don't want to slow up too early.

Any exciting H2Hs left? 

Probably only the Mets @ Braves going into last weekend of the season. 

 If somehow things break crazily Tampa @ Cleveland, Yankees @ Toronto, Cardinals @ Brewers, White Sox @ Twins early next week; or White Sox @ Padres late next week into weekend could be fun. But it's more likely things are pretty set. Hopefully one of these pans out. 

At the very end of the season Blue Jays @ Orioles and Twins @ White Sox sit there with "loser is out" potential but it'll take work to get there.

Friday, September 16, 2022

The worstest?

The Nats have been sitting at 49 wins for a while now. This is a total unthinkable at the beginning of the year, even if you knew Stras would be out and Soto traded.  It's a total that means nothing went right and pretty much nothing did - but that's a year end column. For now the question is - how bad are they? How bad will they finish? How does that rank in history?

In terms of "How bad are they?" Really bad! The Pythag record has them at 51-92. THey have the second to worst pitching R/G, and first is the Rockies, so really the Nats are the worst, and the third worst offense in the league - though this is a marked improvement from earlier. The most recent (and last) team to get to 50 wins was the Pirates on Jun 6th.  Last year's Nats team was no great shakes and it got to 50 on August 7th*. But one doesn't have to go back very far to find other really bad teams. Last year's D-backs won 52 games getting to 50 on the 25th of September. They were a bit unlucky but the Orioles also got to 50 on the 25th and were not unlucky.  The Nats are really bad but only the typical worst team in baseball bad, nothing special. 

Their pitching had been flirting with being the worst (by ERA+ - meaning ERA adjusted for year, etc.) but they've recently not been as explicitly unwatchable and now sit around 20th worst since 1901. They may not even end up worse than Baltimore last year! 

Well if they aren't league historic what about franchise? If you count Montreal, it's a maybe. Their first year they won only 52 games and in 1976 they won 55.  Stats suggest both teams deserved high 50s in wins.  This is probably comparable to where this Nats team ends up. More than 52, less than 55, deserving like 57. So it's a toss up with your vote probably going to the expansion team just because 52 is 52.

If you don't count Montreal this is clearly the worst team by W/L record. The worst Nationals team by wins were the 59 win 08 and 09 squads. Both were unlucky, but 09 more so. They had a middling offense undone by the worst staff in baseball. 08 was flat-out bad across the board. 

But is 2022 worse than 2008 really?  By record it probably will be but what about what's on the field? What about how you feel? 2008 was a sad and desperate time.  Is now worse? Even taking away the recent title, I think I like 2022 better. Maybe looking granularly can give us a clue. Who would I rather have by position - noting very clearly just the version specific to the year not the player for the future or anything.

C : Ruiz/Adams over Flores/Nieves. 

Ruiz hits about average and everyone likes his defense.  Flores was poor (as is Adams). Nieves was bad and I don't remember anyone saying anything about either Flores or Nieves' D. Basically the only thing 08 has going for it was Flores was young (younger than Ruiz by a few months). Still an easy choice 

1B : Bell / Voit / Meneses over Young/Boone/Johnson/Belliard 

Jesus 08 was a mess. Bell was great for the Nats and Voit and Meneses have been good.  Young, Johnson, and Belliard all hit ok but I have to imagine even worse in the field? Plus, Boone was bad.  2022 wins again.

2B : Hernandez over Lopez/Bonaficio/Belliard

It's hard to believe but Hernandez wins. He's merely bad. Lopez was trash and had a bad attitude. Bonaficio was barely better. Belliard could hit but couldn't field enough to really be put at 2nd playing more a bench role. 2022 CLEANING UP 

SS : Guzman over Garcia / Escobar / Abrams 

Would you rather have 2022 for the future? 100%. But Abrams has spent a good deal of the time being terrible, Garcia should be playing 2nd, and Escobar should have been selling cars. It's quite possible no one dislikes Guzman more than me but this was his one decent year with the Nats** 2008 gets on the board

3B : Zimmerman

I feel like I should stop

3B : Zimmerman over Franco / Vargas

Wasn't Zimm's best year, he'd peak in 09-10 as MVP worthy, but he hit ok and fielded great. Come on. 

LF : Yadi / Thomas over Harris / Pena 

2008 actually saw TEN different Nats play left field. Pete Orr! Kory Casto! A probably drunk and lost LoDuca! Knick-Knack Mackowiak!  But it was primarily Willie Harris who was ok and Pena who was not. Yadi and Thomas both have hit ok this year and Pena can't field so unless I forgot a GG Harris performance this goes to 2022

CF : Milledge over Robles

This could go either way. Milledge was a poor CF, not the worst but more a corner guy. Robles when he cares is very good and he has been caring this year. But he's been so bad all year at the plate whereas Milledge was meh.  Give me 08 Blastings Thrilledge

RF : Soto 

Again I have that feeling

RF : Soto/Meneses over Kearns/Dukes

Not much to say about 2022. The Nats best bat before the deal and their best bat since. Doesn't matter both aren't good in the field because both were great at the plate. Kearns was a good player but this was the first year of his collapse. Talented head-case Dukes was pretty good this year all around but he'd have to have been Willie Mays for those 66 games to make it matter. 

Pretty solid 5-3 lead for 22.  Let's see how we finish up. 

Bench 2008 over Bench 2022

Mainly this comes down to Belliard being a super sub with the bat all year long as opposed to Vargas just doing good the past month or so, and '08 Dukes being a better replacement when needed than '22 Thomas. It's true! Look it up! 

The "new starters" Meneses/Voit/Garcia/Vargas are better than Young/etc. but they weren't really ever bench guys. Young kind of was (surprise Nick got injured a month in). So like in theory the 22 Nats could be a better bench but if you looked at who was riding the pine at any time - that wasn't how it actually worked out. 

IOW - the 22 bench is sneaky bad - which is part of the reason why they stink! Or else you'd look at the above and think "Huh, why isn't the offense at least average"

Starters 2008 over Starters 2022

Look 22 has some promise but Corbin is terrible, Gray and Fedde have been bad, Sanchez maybe passable. Adon was worse than any of them. Espino a better reliever (just ok) than starter (like Gray and Fedde).  Sanchez literally has the best ERA of any starter as a starter - 4.56.

08 on the other hand had the great John Lannan who had one of his early career "he shouldn't be this good" decent seasons. Odalis Perez was ok. Redding and Bergman as good, relatively as Sanchez. It's a blowout really

Relievers 2008 over Relievers 2022

They actually have matching ERAs (4.18) but in 2008 that was slightly above average and in 2022 it's slightly below. 2008 actually had a solid set of main guys Rauch, Hanrahan, Rivera, Colome all were ok. The main problen is nearly everything after that was scary bad.  2022 is probably one pitcher short on the "who's good to use now" but is one pitcher longer in total on "who's not going to give me nightmares coming in".  This is close enough a strong relief finish by 2022 could flip my vote.

So 08 takes it 6-5.  Though if I look at the results honestly 2008 kind of squeaks out CF, Bench, and Relievers and everything else is a slam dunk. That would give an advantage to 2022, if we just weren't doing 0 1 counting. I didn't know where to put Cruz, who yes is a disappointment but isn't terrible - he just can't homer anymore.  Also if we use GM/Manager as a tie break, I have NO love of Davey but Rizzo/Martinez won a series. Rizzo got the Nats a decade of relevance. Jimbo is Jimbo and also a crook. Acta proved after DC he couldn't win anywhere.  And that's not factoring in the youth in play - the Nats wouldn't begin building up the minors until 2009.

So yes a win but a precarious situation for 2008 and looking at any other way for a break you'd go with 2022. So I'm still inclined to say 2022 isn't the worst team in Nats history. Not unless you can earn it by going like 2-17 down the stretch. 

*That was the only win in a 1-12 stretch. They were 50-61 at the time and would end... poorly 15-36

**Yes he hit in 2007. He also only played 46 games.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Waiting on the end of season - but some updates

A-Ball is over, but Fredricksburg plays on in the low A (regular A?  Not High A) playoffs.  The extended minor league seasons means AA isn't quite over yet and AAA is weeks away. There isn't much a point to review guys who's seasons aren't over even if it's just a few games. Just let it wrap up, right?  

But I guess some guys are in fact done so let's look at them 

Aldo Ramirez (Schwarber) - 21 -  SP - TJ

Richard Guasch (Gomes/Harrison) - 24 - SP - Ended his season in A+ and after starting with a run of 8 appearances (12 IP) and no runs, gave up 6 runs in his last 3 appearances (4 IP).  Dead arm? Anyway obviously not called up after that finish. Not a starter anymore - he'll prep for the pen and we'll see him in A+ or AA next year. Who knows?

Drew Millas (Gomes/Harrison) - 24 - C - Middling A+ work but the Pineda catcher shuffle meant they needed someone in AA. Again not hitting. Age and need suggests he'll be around next year but doesn't seem like more than org filler.

Seth Shuman (Gomes/Harrison) - 24 - SP - Right around last update got hurt and hasn't pitched since.  With what? No one seems to care. Shame because he was doing well.

Jordy Barley (Hudson) - 22 - SS - Same message as last time : Not a professional baseball player. At 23 he might get one more go but can't handle A+ ball pitching so far. 

There is nothing good here. But that's kind of expected. You'd have to be a low A guy moved up to A+ but not have a place in AA to be a positive and also be done. No one's played themselves out of the game yet, though Barley is pretty close. Still everyone here, except Aldo could probably be dropped by the Nats, not get picked up and no one would bat an eye.


If you are wondering, everyone in the deadline deals is still playing somewhere.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Monday Quickie - the dead dogs days of late summer

 It's September 12th and the Nats are still looking for win 50. After a brief shining moment that included three wins in a row the Nats have lost 5 of 6 and their plan to play spoiler to the Phillies has only helped Philadelphia firmly ensconce themselves in the WC, now 3.5 games ahead of potential final spot maker Milwaukee.  They face the Orioles next who could really use the help, 5.5 games out as of today. On the flipside if you hate the Os the Nats can put that nail into their coffin.

On the actual gameplay from Mason Thompson has looked great in his return and with my belief in Hunter Harvey I still think there's a weirdly good chance for a solid pen if not in 2023 then 2024. For all the leads they'll have to protect. 

The Nats are hitting - Cesar Hernandez having that run that really would have been useful for trade purposes anytime but now. Abrams, Ruiz are interesting.  Call, Thomas, and the hit factory that is Joey Meneses less so as the youngest of the three is the just turned 27 Thomas, but you take what you can get. 

Eh, it's a Monday. Let's leave it at this. Watch the Rays and Jays duke it out.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Monday Quickie - Good baseball? At this time of year? In this part of the country?

 The Nats are... winning? 

Hey things happen. They've won 45 times before the last two series and as everyone says always: the worst teams in baseball win like 40% of the time, the best like 60%.  The margins are slim. So enjoy some things breaking your way!

This weekend marked only the 4th time the Nats had won 3 games in a row (they haven't won 4 in a row all year) and the last time they did it two of those wins were against the Dodgers. Giant killers I tell you! (not the actual Giants - they went 2-4 against them) 

Just random schedule facts on a lazy post-holiday Tuesday : 

  • The Nats are a much better team on the road (about a 64 win team) than home (52)
  • With two more wins the Nats will match the number of wins in this month that they had in July. 
  • They are better at Day (20-32) than Night (28-55)
  • They've actually been better then second half (67 win pace) than the first - although fewer games so this 3 game stretch was the difference between 67 and 55. 
  • They have a chance to go even in interleague if they sweep the Os. 
  • Worst recod vs an opponent this year - the Marlins and 1-12.  Best? A couple of 2-1s (TEX, OAK) and 4-3s (CIN, COL). Given the schedule and the current records the only teams they can get better than +1 on are the Cardinals (currently 2-2) and the Os (1-1)

We're in the stretch run so series to watch this week to watch : 

Blue Jays @ Orioles : the Jays can put the Orioles out of contention if they sweep them. And they need to to keep pace with Tampa and Seattle for WC position. 

Twins @ Yankees : Yankees Twins is one of the most interesting dynamics as the Yankees have CRUSHED the Twins for a very long time.  Their record against the Twins is 119-48 since 2000 which is a .712 clip. This doesn't count the 16-2 in 6 straight playoff series/games. The Twins have been mostly good in that time. The Yankees last lost a season series to the Twins in 2001 before that it was 1992. Anyway it's 3-1 Yanks this year with 3 games to go and both teams need wins. The Yanks to hold off the charging []ays duo and the Twins to try to take the central as the charging []ays duo pulls the WC further away 

This weekend will give you Rays @ Yankees (another go for the Rays to run at the East), Cleveland @ Minnesota (likely to be HUGE for who wins the central), Dodgers @ Padres (Padres fighting for their WC lives against the best team in baseball), and Braves at Mariners (Atlanta going for the East, while Seattle trying to hold on to their first playoff spot in years)

Friday, September 02, 2022

Joey and Idelmaro - anything there?

 Joey Meneses and Ildemaro Vargas are making the most out of their time with the Nats.  Vargas has put up a .317 / .360 / .835 line so far in 24 games, while Joey is raking to the tune of .354 / .385 / .626 in 25.  You KNOW this is probably small sample size, the vagaries of which can make a dud look like a stud and vice versa if you look at a short enough time period. You KNOW both are 30+ BUT maybe, just maybe... the Nats got something?

Vargas' story is mostly "few opportunities that he's made the least of". He's been in baseball since the age of 16 (2008!- signed under the W administration!) signed by the Cards but very slow to catch on.  He'd be 19/20 before having a good rookie ball year and nothing ever came in A-ball for him so the Cards let him walk. He'd show well enough in the Venezuelan Winter League that the D-backs would take a chance at him and he'd look really good in AAA. But Arizona was loaded with MI talent - Jean Segura, Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury, Jake Lamb, Ketel Marte - and didn't have a good place for Vargas. The Twins bought him but he didn't catch on immediately so they waived him. The Cubs grabbed him and repeat. The Pirates picked him up but the D-backs, now more devoid of talent got him back. They tried him for about 20 games and nothing so they let him go as a FA.  The Cubs got him played him for 10 games and bupkis. They let him go. Nats got him and finally he's having a GOOD short stint. It was bound to happen. 

Idemaro is a contact guy with moderate to light power. He's also turned 31 in July and without any other particular skill he's at the whims of the baseball gods, for when his age takes away the ability not to swing and miss. Without patience, power, great D, or great speed, he's walking a tightrope. That's why he's so easily dismissed. But he could be ok for a couple years if left to start and rather than waste money on a Cesar Hernandez type - you could play him. For a team likely to be trying kids out everywhere (or they should) Vargas as the back-up MI makes sense. 

Meneses was a Braves signee back in 2011. He had a slow rise culminating in a  good half season in A+ ball in 2016 and a decent AA decent in 2017.  But at 25 going on 26 and with a defensive profile where he'd have to really hit to be worth playing, they gave up on him. The Phillies signed him and he played very well in AAA, but signing Cutch and Bryce effectively blocked him from having a chance at real playing time with other younger, more complete bats to try.  The let him go to play in Japan, he got caught using steroids, then he went back to his native Mexico and he did well enough that Boston kicked the tires on him, but would pass. Now it's the Nats turn and with little else in the minors, he was called up after a decent but unexciting stint in AAA. But something has clicked and he it crushing it. 

The short of it is that this isn't his average and he doesn't walk. So how Joey does is going to be based on how many balls he can power over the fence.  Historically it's been not enough.  But now it's like 1 in 4 fly balls.  That won't keep up, but how far will it fall.  A tiny bit and with the expected turn in luck on batted balls, he's still good. A little bit and he probably drops an average line - something akin to 2022 Lane Thomas I think. A good amount and he's more like 2022 Nelson Cruz. 

If I have to guess I'd say neither makes a real impact beyond this run. Baseball is tough and even guys that are good that are hitting fade away.  If you want me to pick one, I'd actually pick Vargas who had years of consistently hitting in AAA while being passed over. I don't think he'd be GOOD, but he could be average and versatile as long as the Nats don't want him to start. He may start, that's the way baseball goes, but that shouldn't be the plan.  Joey... well I think this is just one of those runs powered by a freak number of homers and when those go away and the BABIP goes away the Nats are probably left with a middling player at the plate with nothing else to offer.