Author Topic: Nationals in the National media (2013)  (Read 3876 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline PC

  • Posts: 44154
  • And then there were six...
Nationals in the National media (2013)
« Topic Start: January 21, 2013, 01:51:56 AM »
...because the offseason thread is 138 pages long and this is a more focused topic to fit there

Offline PC

  • Posts: 44154
  • And then there were six...
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #1: January 21, 2013, 01:53:45 AM »

Quote
Core Values: Washington Nationals
By Matt Snyder | Senior Blogger
January 20, 2013 11:43 am ET

It's time, once again, to check out the core value of one of Major League Baseball's 30 ballclubs. Sunday's entry is the Washington Nationals. For those who may not have yet seen any of our entries, a short explanation:

What's a core? For our purposes, a team's core comprises a "cornerstone player," a "face of the franchise" and then the "future face of the franchise."

So what's a "cornerstone player"? For starters, it's one of the best players on the roster and perhaps the very best player on the roster. Beyond that, though, it's the player whom the organization has identified as the talent around which to build by signing him to a long-term deal. In other words, they've backed their faith in the player's abilities with the most powerful statement of all: lots of redeemable U.S. currency. Not only do they see this player as central to their current aims but also to their designs on future contention.

What's a "face of the franchise"? He -- and we're getting subjective here -- is the player who most prominently embodies the franchise in question. He's that player you think about when you think about this team. Is he the same guy as the "cornerstone"? Sometimes. But the cornerstone is primarily a financial designation. The "face" is, for lack of a better term, a cultural identifier. They're not mutually exclusive, but they're not not mutually exclusive, either. What about the word "values" you see in the headline above? After we identify and evaluate the three elements of the core, we're going to slap a letter grade on the whole thing.

On to the defending NL East champions.

Cornerstone player: Ryan Zimmerman

The Nats gave right fielder Jayson Werth (and his glorious beard, which has a Twitter account) a seven-year, $126 million deal prior to the 2011 season, but he's still not the man locked up for the longest on this club.

Prior to last season, the Nats stacked six years (and $100 million) onto Zimmerman's contract, which already went through 2013. There is also a club option for one more year, meaning Zimmerman could be locked up through the 2020 season.

The 28-year-old third baseman has been with the club since 2005, and it appears he's set to be a career National.

Faces of the franchise: Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg

The future is now. They're both established and are already stars.

Harper, 20, won the NL Rookie of the Year last season after hitting .270/.340/.477 with 26 doubles, nine triples, 22 homers, 59 RBI, 98 runs and 18 stolen bases -- not to mention great defense in all three outfield spots. He'll move forward entrenched in left field, where he's sure to have the best arm in baseball from that spot. In terms of offense, the surface of his potential has barely been scratched. He has the talent to win multiple MVP awards.

Strasburg, 24, went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in just 159 1/3 innings last season. He's now past the innings limit controversy and will be among the elite pitchers in baseball as long as he stays healthy.

Faces of the future: Harper and Strasburg

What I wrote above still applies here, considering they are 20 and 24, respectively. Most 20-year-olds are still in the lower levels of the minors.

Nationals' core value: A+. This will be the only A+ we give during this series. There is no team better set up for success both next season and, say, five years from now than the Washington Nationals.

What's amazing is that, in addition to the impressive group of players mentioned above, the Nationals already had Gio Gonzalez (who finished third in NL Cy Young voting last year), Jordan Zimmermann (26 years old, 2.94 ERA last year), Ross Detwiler (26 years old, 3.40 ERA last year), Ian Desmond (All-Star shortstop) and Adam LaRoche along with a studly bullpen anchored by Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. Don't forget about the likes of Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa, Tyler Moore and touted corner infield prospect Anthony Rendon.

Then, this offseason, the Nationals went out and added center fielder Denard Span, starting pitcher Dan Haren and closer Rafael Soriano.

Given the additions and the likelihood several players should be more healthy and see improvements, the team that had the best record in baseball in the 2012 regular season appears to be better.

Considering Ted Lerner is quite literally the richest owner in baseball and Washington, DC, is not a small market, there's little reason to believe things will get worse any time soon. It's very simple: There's dynasty potential here. Then again, potential means nothing. They now have to go out and get it done.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/eye-on-baseball/21589194/core-values-washington-nationals


Online NatsAllThe Way

  • Posts: 4201
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #2: January 21, 2013, 09:11:38 AM »
I like dat  :)

Offline tomterp

  • Global Moderator
  • ****
  • Posts: 29022
  • Hell yes!
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #3: January 21, 2013, 10:36:26 AM »
 :az:      :minigunz:

Offline Tyler Durden

  • Posts: 7971
  • Leprechaun
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #4: January 21, 2013, 11:13:02 AM »
Here is another one from ESPN's baseball blog.

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/32134/2013-nationals-versus-2001-mariners

Quote
2013 Nationals versus 2001 Mariners
January, 17, 2013
JAN 17
8:00
AM ET
By David Schoenfield | ESPN.com
RECOMMEND96TWEET24COMMENTS2EMAILPRINT
On paper, I believe the Washington Nationals head into 2013 as the strongest team in the majors. They have offense, they have pitching, they have depth and they have a good manager.

Just for fun -- and a chance for this Mariners fan to remember the greatest team in franchise history -- I thought I'd compare the Nationals to the 2001 Mariners, the team that won a major league-record 116 games. OK, modern record; the 1906 Cubs did win 116 games as well.

I'll use Baseball-Reference WAR for each player -- listing the 2012 totals for Nationals players, but then projecting a 2013 potential upside. Kind of a best-case scenario. We'll then list a running team tally.

Catcher: Dan Wilson (1.9 WAR) versus Wilson Ramos (1.5 WAR in 2011)
Let's stick to last names here to avoid confusion. Wilson was a solid defensive catcher known for working well with a staff. He wasn't terrible at the plate but Ramos displayed more power as a rookie than Wilson did in 2001, with 15 home runs to Wilson's 10. If Ramos improves his defense and on-base skills, the Nats will rate the edge.

Nationals upside: 3.0 WAR
Score: Nationals +1.1 wins

First base: John Olerud (4.8) versus Adam LaRoche (4.0)
Olerud hit .302 with a .401 OBP and 21 home runs, a terrific season for one of the more underrated players of the past 20 years. LaRoche had a career-best seasons in terms of WAR in 2012, even finishing sixth in the NL MVP vote. He did won a Gold Glove, but probably doesn't quite match Olerud in the field (he won Gold Gloves in 2002, 2002 and 2003). I can't any room for improvement for LaRoche; if anything, a decline is more likely given his age.

Nationals upside: 4.0 WAR
Score: Nationals +0.3

Second base: Bret Boone (8.5) versus Danny Espinosa (2.4)
Boone had one of the great seasons ever by a second baseman, hitting .331 and leading the AL with 141 RBIs. Many believe he should have been the league's MVP that year, not Ichiro Suzuki. I like Espinosa's game even with all the strikeouts, but we're talking about a .247 hitter versus a .331. Even the most optimistic view doesn't put Espinosa close to Boone.

Nationals upside: 4.2 WAR
Score: Mariners +4.0

Third base: David Bell (3.0) versus Ryan Zimmerman (3.8)
Bell wasn't great with the bat -- .260/.303/.415 -- but Baseball-Reference grades him as the third-best defensive player in the AL that year, bringing his WAR up to a respectable 3.0. Zimmerman once had the kind of defensive reputation, but injuries have slowed him down the past couple of seasons. He hit .319/.381/.564 in the second half, so there are signs he can improve on his overall 2012 numbers. I'm not sure he'll ever be the 7-win player he was in 2009, when he won a Gold Glove, but let's move him up to 5.5 wins.

Nationals upside: 5.5
Score: Mariners +1.5

Shortstop: Carlos Guillen (3.0) versus Ian Desmond (3.2)
Guillen wasn't yet the big hitter he was with the Tigers, batting just .259/.333/.355, but playing well in the field. Desmond had a breakout season in 2012, hitting .292 with 25 home runs. Opinions vary on his defense, and FanGraphs WAR grades Desmond out at 5.4 WAR, best in the majors among full-time shortstops. Considering he played just 130 games, he's certainly capable of a bigger numbers, although his poor walk rate is a red flag.

Nationals upside: 5.2 WAR
Score: Nationals +0.7

Left field: Al Martin (0.9) versus Bryce Harper (5.0)
The Mariners didn't really have a regular left fielder, as eight different players started there. Martin had the most games started there but wasn't particularly good. Are you starting to wonder how this team won 116 games? We'll get there. Harper's rookie season exceeded expectations with a .270/.340/.477 line. Even the Nationals are moving him out from center field, the defensive metrics loved him, with 14 Defensive Runs Saved via Baseball Info Solutions. He loses the positional value of playing center field, so how do we go on his WAR? The readers at FanGraphs are predicting 6.1. That could be conservative.

Nationals upside: 6.5 WAR
Score: Nationals +6.3

Center field: Mike Cameron (5.5) versus Denard Span (4.8)
Cammy hit .267/.353/.480 with 25 bombs and 34 steals and won a Gold Glove, making Mariners fans forget about Ken Griffey Jr. Keep in mind that Safeco was a pitcher's park even in 2001, so some of these offensive numbers are more valuable than they appear. Defensive Runs Saved loved Span's defense with the Twins last year -- +20 runs -- and he does a decent job of getting on base. I think he's more of a 3-win player than a 5-win player, but we'll leave him at 4.8 wins.

Nationals upside: 4.8 WAR
Score: Nationals +5.6

Right field: Ichiro Suzuki (7.5) versus Jayson Werth (0.6)
Ichiro's was the Mariners' lightning rod, slapping base hits everywhere, stealing bases and robbing opponents with his speed and arm, a package that won him MVP honors. Werth was a 4- to 5-win player with the Phillies in 2009 and 2010 but hasn't matched that with the Nationals. He did hit .300 last season, missing about the half the season with a broken wrist, but his range in right field appears to have slipped a grade or two. (It will be interesting to see if the Nats move Werth to left and Harper, clearly the better defender at this point, to right.)

Nationals upside: 3.3 WAR
Score: Nationals +1.4

Edgar Martinez (4.5) versus Nationals pitchers (1.2)
The Mariners get a bonus here, inserting a DH with a .423 OBP in the middle of their order. Nationals pitchers, led by Stephen Strasburg (.277, .759 OPS), Jordan Zimmermann (.193) and Edwin Jackson (.228) were a very good hitting staff, but that doesn't make up the ground on Martinez.

Nationals upside: 1.2 WAR
Score: Mariners +1.9

Bench: Mark McLemore (3.2), Stan Javier (2.6), Tom Lampkin (0.8), Ed Sprague (0.5) versus Tyler Moore (-0.2), Steve Lombardozzi (0.3), Roger Bernadina (0.9), Kurt Suzuki (0.4), Chad Tracy (0.4)
McLemore was kind of a full-time supersub, starting 20-plus game at left field, third base and shortstop and getting nearly 500 PAs. He had a .384 OBP and stole 39 bases in 46 attempts. Javier started 61 games in the outfield, played good D and posted a .375 OBP. The Nats have a deep bench, but they can't match the defensive, on-base and baserunning value McLemore and Javier gave the Mariners.

Nationals upside: 3.5 WAR
Score: Mariners +5.5

No. 1: Freddy Garcia (3.9) versus Gio Gonzalez (4.5)
Garcia led the AL in ERA and innings in 2001, a pretty impressive feat, even if he did get a lot of help from his defense and ballpark. Is there room for improvement in Gonzalez's game? He's been between 199 and 202 innings the past three seasons, so he could add value by throwing another 20 innings, but the Nationals are very conservative with their starters and Gonzalez does run up some high pitch counts. He also allowed just nine home runs, a figure likely to go up. I see a good pitcher, but one who's maxed out.

Nationals upside: 4.5 WAR
Score: Mariners +4.9

No. 2: Jamie Moyer (3.1) versus Stephen Strasburg (2.7)
A guy who throws in the low 80s and a guy who touches the upper 90s on the radar gun. Love the comparison. Moyer went 20-6 with a 3.43 ERA, throwing 209.2 innings. Strasburg obviously has Cy Young potential but has to prove his arm can handle an extra 50 innings. If so, he easily projects as a 5-win pitcher ... and possibly higher. But I think he settles in at 185 innings or so, making it difficult to project him with too much enthusiasm.

Nationals upside: 5.0 WAR
Score: Mariners +3.0

No. 3: Aaron Sele (2.2) versus Jordan Zimmermann (4.4)
Zimmermann's peripherals don't quite match the 2.94 ERA he posted in 2012, so I would expect a little regression unless he improves his strikeout rate.

Nationals upside: 4.5 WAR
Score: Mariners +0.7

No. 4: Paul Abbott (1.1) versus Dan Haren (-0.6)
Abbott was the surprise of the Seattle staff, going 17-4 with a 4.25 ERA. Haren is a bit of a wild card after a down year with the Angels. Haren isn't going to be the 230-inning pitcher he was for so many years, but we can certainly foresee a little improvement if his back problems don't linger.

Nationals upside: 2.5 WAR
Score: Nationals +0.7

No. 5: John Halama/Joel Pineiro (0.3) versus Ross Detwiler (1.6)
Halama was the weak link of the Seattle rotation but Pineiro was superb after getting called up, making 11 starts and posting a 2.03 ERA and 1.4 WAR. I'm a big fan of Detwiler; like Strasburg, he could pitch more innings and increase his value.

Nationals upside: 2.3 WAR
Score: Nationals +2.7

Closer: Kazuhiro Sasaki (1.0) versus Rafael Soriano (2.6)
Closers are evaluated more on their save percentage than their run prevention. You'd think a 116-win team would have had a lights-out closer, but Sasaki had seven blown save, including one Mariners remember all too well, when Seattle blew a 12-0 lead against Cleveland. Soriano rates well in 2012 in part because of the Yankee Stadium park effects. His peripherals are weaker than his actual 2.26 ERA as well. I don't see him coming close to the same WAR in 2013.

Nationals upside: 2.0 WAR
Score: Nationals +3.7

Bullpen: Arthur Rhodes (2.4), Jeff Nelson (1.3), Ryan Franklin (0.6), Norm Charlton (0.5), Jose Paniagua (-0.5), Brett Tomko (-0.6) versus Drew Storen (0.8), Tyler Clippard (0.3), Craig Stammen (1.9), Ryan Mattheus (1.2), Zach Duke (0.4), Christian Garcia (0.3)
Rhodes went 8-0 with a 1.72 ERA to lead the middle Mariners' middle relief corps. The group above compiled 3.7 WAR. The guys listed for the Nationals compiled 4.9 WAR, but Stammen and Mattheus are due for regression -- FanGraphs WAR, which is based more on peripherals than actual runs, had them at a combined 0.6 WAR instead of 3.1, for example. Still, it's a deep pen.

Nationals upside: 4.0 WAR
Score: Nationals: +4.0

So ... did I just predict the Nationals to win 120 games? No, of course not. Not all those players will hit their upside. Somebody will get injured, somebody will have a bad year, somebody will disappoint or not develop.

By the way, I should point out that WAR works well on the team level. The Mariners' cumulative WAR was 62.1 -- and since it starts from a replacement-level baseline of 52 wins, that projects to 114 wins. What's amazing about that Mariners club is that not everything went perfectly -- Al Martin wasn't very good, David Bell didn't put up good offensive numbers for a third baseman, John Halama wasn't that great as a No. 5 starter. But it was a roster where everybody contributed in some way, they had two MVP candidates in Boone and Suzuki, a great two-way player in Cameron, two guys with .400 OBPs in Martinez and Olerud and a deep pitching staff. They were a smart, veteran team, maybe the best defensive team in recent history, ran the bases well and executed in the clutch. Every trigger manager Lou Piniella pulled seemed to work that year.

The Nationals won 98 games last year -- total WAR of 40.8, so they would need to add 22 wins of value to match Seattle's. That's unlikely, of course, but I can easily see this club winning 105 games, something no team has done since the 2004 Cardinals. They probably can't match Seattle's offense, unless Harper or Zimmerman turn in MVP-caliber seasons, which seems a year or too early for Harper and a couple years too late for Zimmerman. But I go through their roster and don't see a single weakness.

I can't wait to watch them.

Online HalfSmokes

  • Posts: 16286
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #5: January 21, 2013, 03:09:18 PM »
so playing in the NL costs us 3 WAR?

Quote
Edgar Martinez (4.5) versus Nationals pitchers (1.2)
The Mariners get a bonus here, inserting a DH with a .423 OBP in the middle of their order. Nationals pitchers, led by Stephen Strasburg (.277, .759 OPS), Jordan Zimmermann (.193) and Edwin Jackson (.228) were a very good hitting staff, but that doesn't make up the ground on Martinez.

Nationals upside: 1.2 WAR
Score: Mariners +1.9

is Snyder expecting the Phillies to sport a DH this year?

Online Hogie

  • Posts: 521
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #6: January 21, 2013, 03:49:25 PM »
Holy crap I hate this.

Offline Upark25

  • Posts: 436
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #7: January 21, 2013, 04:04:56 PM »
This is amazing honestly.

Offline MarquisDeSade

  • Posts: 14077
  • You have the right to remain swolen.
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #8: January 21, 2013, 06:37:14 PM »
"Bret Boone (8.5)"

This analysis is complete garbage as anyone watching the 2001 Mariners knew Boone was beyond roided out beyond belief that season.

Offline PebbleBall

  • Posts: 3256
  • Now that right there is baseball.
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #9: January 21, 2013, 06:50:18 PM »
"Bret Boone (8.5)"

This analysis is complete garbage as anyone watching the 2001 Mariners knew Boone was beyond roided out beyond belief that season.

It's irrelevant to the point of the piece though.

Offline Tyler Durden

  • Posts: 7971
  • Leprechaun
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #10: January 21, 2013, 06:59:26 PM »
When was the last time a team had these kinds of expectations?  I know the Yanks expect to win every year.  But both of the above articles talk about the team having no weaknesses and dynasty potential and whatnot.  I know the mid-90's Indians had a huge collection of talent and the Braves had a long run of very good teams. 

Offline imref

  • Posts: 18861
  • 1B: The New Hot Corner
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #11: January 21, 2013, 08:31:09 PM »
When was the last time a team had these kinds of expectations?  I know the Yanks expect to win every year.  But both of the above articles talk about the team having no weaknesses and dynasty potential and whatnot.  I know the mid-90's Indians had a huge collection of talent and the Braves had a long run of very good teams. 

Philly after resigning lee?

Offline Tyler Durden

  • Posts: 7971
  • Leprechaun
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #12: January 21, 2013, 08:40:28 PM »
Philly after resigning lee?

Good point!  How could I forget - 4_Aces_r_u_kidding_me?

Didn't work out so well for Philly but I think the Nats are in somewhat better shape to deal with aging players and injuries.

Offline imref

  • Posts: 18861
  • 1B: The New Hot Corner
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #13: January 21, 2013, 09:53:37 PM »
Good point!  How could I forget - 4_Aces_r_u_kidding_me?

Didn't work out so well for Philly but I think the Nats are in somewhat better shape to deal with aging players and injuries.

agreed. There's also the 98 mariners, but they didn't have rotation we have.  They did have Griffey, A-Rod, and Johnson though, and they were coming off a 90 win season.

Offline Count Walewski

  • Posts: 1184
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #14: January 22, 2013, 02:55:57 AM »
When was the last time a team had these kinds of expectations?  I know the Yanks expect to win every year.  But both of the above articles talk about the team having no weaknesses and dynasty potential and whatnot.  I know the mid-90's Indians had a huge collection of talent and the Braves had a long run of very good teams. 

2004 Cubs is a good example of a team underperforming after being expected to win the World Series (by Sports Illustrated, at least, and their fans certainly) because they had a good offseason immediately after an epic late-inning playoff collapse.

Offline rbw5t

  • Posts: 397
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #15: January 22, 2013, 02:30:39 PM »
When was the last time a team had these kinds of expectations?  I know the Yanks expect to win every year.  But both of the above articles talk about the team having no weaknesses and dynasty potential and whatnot.  I know the mid-90's Indians had a huge collection of talent and the Braves had a long run of very good teams. 

I think those '90s Indians and Braves teams are the best comparables.  They were young and very good -- the products of smart jobs of effeciently building teams for the long run by those front offices, just like Rizzo, Kasten, et al have done with Nats.  And it just goes to show that all you get from all the best planning is a chance to be lucky (or not) in the postseason.  We could win 500 games over the next 5 years and still not win a World Series.  It would be disappointing to come away empty, but from a team building/front office perspective, putting together a team that gets to the postseason year after year is what matters.  Get there enough, and you might actually win one.  (And of course, all that winning in April through September is a lot more fun for the fans than losing.)

Offline RobDibblesGhost

  • Posts: 20551
Re: 2013 Nationals in the National media
« Reply #16: January 25, 2013, 08:25:08 PM »
Not really national media, but Mark Lerner was on Channel 9 this morning talking about 2013: http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/239763/374/Washington-Nationals-Owner-Talks-About-New-Season

Offline PC

  • Posts: 44154
  • And then there were six...
Re: Nationals in the National media (2013)
« Reply #17: February 01, 2013, 03:27:09 AM »
Are the Nationals as good as everyone says they are? 

The Washington Nationals are supposed to be the best team in baseball. Whether by offhand mention or official power rankings, everyone is tripping over themselves to anoint the Nationals as the best team in baseball. The secret reason behind this is that they almost certainly are the best team in baseball. I don't remember the last time a team was so widely considered the best team. The Yankees after '98? The A's in the late '80s?

Oh, wait, I have it: The Red Sox before the 2011 season started. There we go.

Which is, and always will be, a great way to suggest that we shouldn't pre-order those playoff tickets just yet. The 2011 Red Sox are a three-word cautionary tale, just as Ryan Vogelsong is a way to use two words to describe a poster of a kitty hanging from a tree by its claws.

So are we getting too excited about the 2013 Nationals? One of the things I always like to do before a season is play the should-be-better/should-be-worse game. Who would you expect to improve from 2012 to 2013, and who would you expect to do worse? Start with the bad news first:

Adam LaRoche had perhaps his best season at age 32, rebounding from two straight down seasons. He shouldn't be as good.

Ian Desmond -- a career .259 hitter in the minors and .262 hitter in the majors -- hit .292, which lifted his on-base percentage to an acceptable level for the first time in his career. He also more than doubled his home-run output. He could be a young player coming into his own, but considering the improvements came without corresponding improvements to his plate discipline, the odds are good that he gives some of those gains back.

Both Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler had ERAs more than a half-run below their FIPs, which suggest they might regress a touch.

Other than those four, it's hard to find an obvious regression candidate. Maybe Teddy Roosevelt. And it's not like those players all came out of nowhere. LaRoche has had several good seasons, and Desmond was highly touted for a reason over the last few years. Zimmermann has long been underrated, and Detwiler is looking like the kind of pitcher who wipes his nose with strikeout rates and FIP. So while it's wise to be bearish on them, it's not wise to be especially pessimistic, really.

Then you ask the complementary question: Who should be better? The short answer is "everyone else." Jayson Werth should play in more than 81 games, and Wilson Ramos is back. Dan Haren should be as least as good as Edwin Jackson, but he'll probably be even a tick better. I'm not sure if Stephen Strasburg will be better, necessarily, but there should be more of him. The shift from Mike Morse to Denard Span is worth a few wins if you're a WARrior. It makes the team much better defensively, for sure.

And just when you're about to concede the point, admitting the Nationals have a really strong chance to be better than the team with a Pythagorean record of 96-66 last year, you get to Bryce Harper. He was 19 last year, remember. When Mike Trout was 19, he had a .281 on-base percentage in 135 plate appearances. That's how hard it is to succeed as a 20-year-old; coming up that young flummoxed even the great Mike Trout. But Harper thrived, persevering through ups and downs, and acquitting himself quite well on the leaderboard of 19-year-olds in the history of baseball.

Here's where Harper ranked among 19-year-olds, all-time:

AB: 533 (1)
BB: 56 (1)
2B: 26 (T-1)
3B: 9 (2)
HR: 22 (2)
OPS: .817 (4)
OPS+: 119 (6)
SB: 18 (2)

And of the 19-year-olds who finished with an OPS+ over 100 with 300 at-bats or more, more than a couple of them took huge steps forward the following year:

Player (year)   OPS+ in age-19 season   OPS+ in age-20 season
Mel Ott (1928)   139   165
Tony Conigliaro (1964) 137 133
Ty Cobb (1906) 132    167
Sherry Magee (1904) 122134
Bryce Harper (2012) 119?
Mickey Mantle (1951) 117162
Cesar Cedeño (1970) 11497
Ken Griffey, Jr. (1989) 108136
Edgar Renteria (1996) 10380
Eddie Kranepool (1964) 10094
   

If you believe Renteria was really 19, you'll also believe that he was 15 in the Gulf Coast League in 1992 and 16 in the Midwest League in 1993, and you'll also believe that it's a complete coincidence that his debut, peak, and decline all neatly correspond to what you'd expect from a player who is two or three years older. You seem very nice! But I'm not going to spend a lot of time worrying about how Edgar Renteria relates to Bryce Harper.

The players who went on to be superstars tended to improve (or stay at a level that was already superstar-like). The outliers are Cesar Cedeño, who saved his breakout year for his age-21 season, and Eddie Kranepool, who never had a breakout year. So if you think Harper is more Mantle than Kranepool -- or even more Griffey than Renteria -- the odds are at least fair that he'll take that jump from good to great before he can drink.

So in addition to all of the should-be-betters up there, don't feel like an overly optimistic goof for thinking the Nationals will also employ Super Bryce Harper instead of the regular ol' Bryce Harper they slummed it with last year.

Add it up -- including full years from Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano -- and, no, we're probably not getting ahead of ourselves with the Nationals. It's rare that you can look at a roster and not find an upgrade waiting to happen. The lineup, the rotation, the bullpen … it all checks out. And if Harper does half of what Trout did in his age-20 year, the Nationals won't just be as good as we think. They could be better.

Just like the 2011 Red Sox.

(Sorry. I just didn't want you to get too ****y, Nats fans. Heckuva team you got there, though. Heckuva team.)

http://mlb.sbnation.com/2013/1/31/3934652/washington-nationals-offseason-ranking-bryce-harper

Offline PC

  • Posts: 44154
  • And then there were six...
Re: Nationals in the National media (2013)
« Reply #18: February 10, 2013, 10:38:34 PM »
From our friend, Paul "Braves will overtake the Nationals" Swydan:

Quote
When the Washington Nationals signed free-agent reliever Rafael Soriano, it looked as if the club had solidified its only clear weakness. With a stellar rotation, deep bullpen and balanced lineup, it's easy to see why many think the Nats are baseball's best team.

One issue seemed to hang over the move, though, and that is the fact that the Nationals don't have a reliable lefty in the bullpen. In the age of lefty specialists, this seems like it could be a major problem. However, the Nats can look to the recent past for a blueprint to follow.

In the 2004 and 2005 seasons, the Los Angeles Angels won consecutive American League West titles, and their bullpen tossed a total of 940 innings. Only 31 of those, just 3.3 percent, came from southpaws.

In those two seasons, they had six main relievers -- Scot Shields, Francisco Rodriguez, Kevin Gregg, Brendan Donnelly, Esteban Yan and Troy Percival. Shields, Rodriguez, Gregg and Donnelly saw the brunt of the action. All told, the four combined for 600 1/3 innings, or 64 percent, of the bullpen's innings. They were essentially Anaheim's four horsemen, and with good reason. Shields and Rodriguez were particularly stellar, but all of them were good -- none posted a FIP worse than 3.73. And despite being at a disadvantage because of their right-handedness, they were all excellent against lefties as well. In fact, Donnelly and Gregg had better splits against left-handed hitters than they did against their right-handed counterparts.

Together, they didn't just make the Angels a good bullpen; they made it a superb bullpen. Over that two-year span, Anaheim's bullpen WAR was tops in the majors, as was their strikeout percentage. While they didn't take a pennant home, it wasn't the four horsemen's fault.

Nothing left
Here are the fewest number of innings that playoff teams have gotten from lefties since 1945.


Year   Team   Lefty Relief IP
2004   Angels      2.0
1984   Cubs        6.1
1958   Braves     25.0
1996   Padres     25.1
1966   Orioles    26.2
2011   Brewers    29.0
1958   Yankees    30.0
2005   Angels     31.1
1962   Giants     33.0
1953   Dodgers    33.1


That could end up being a model for the Nationals. The team has lefty Zach Duke in the fold, but he has mostly been a starter in his career and has never been all that tough on lefties anyway (career .748 OPS against).

Last year, Sean Burnett served as the club's lefty specialist, holding same-sided hitters to a .534 OPS. He signed with the Angels this winter, which means the bulk of the bullpen's innings will be tossed by right-handers.

In Soriano, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen, the team has four horsemen of its own. All four are good, if not great, relievers, and Clippard, Stammen and Storen have been above average against left-handed hitters the past two seasons. Soriano, however, is a different story.

Expected to be the team's closer, Soriano has had seasons where he has been effective against left-handed hitters, but he has not had one of them since 2010. He has never had trouble striking out left-handed batters, but his walk rate has varied against them.

In 2012, he walked 11.6 percent of lefties and 4.8 percent of righties, with the former posting a .713 OPS against him. In seasons when he has kept his walks down against lefties, as he did in 2009 and 2010, he has been effective. But whether he can pull that off this season remains to be seen.

Thanks to a devastating changeup, Clippard has been better against lefties, holding them to a .519 OPS in 2012 as opposed to .725 against righties. He should get the bulk of the innings against tough left-handed hitters. However, he has thrown 252 innings over the past three years, which is the most among relievers in that span, so the club must watch his innings.

What could also complicate things is the fact that the bullpen usage has changed in the past decade. Not only does it toss more innings -- the 2011-12 Nats bullpen tossed almost 100 more innings than the 2004-05 Angels -- but the innings have been more spread out across relievers.

While the 2004-05 Angels got 64 percent of their innings from their four horsemen, the Nats had a much different breakdown. Their top four pitchers in terms of innings pitched -- Clippard, Storen, Stammen and Burnett -- accounted for just 46 percent of their innings pitched over the past two years.

Due to the lack of a lefty and teams spreading out the innings more than ever, manager Davey Johnson will have to be careful with how he manages his 'pen. While the Nats seem like a juggernaut, their bullpen's unique profile is a subplot worth watching.

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove12/story/_/id/8931801/washington-nationals-lopsided-bullpen-problem-mlb


Online UMDNats

  • Posts: 12398
Re: Nationals in the National media (2013)
« Reply #19: February 10, 2013, 10:49:22 PM »
The lack of a LOOGY in March is such an overblown problem, especially when you consider that the rest of the bullpen is dynamite and guys like Clippard have been stellar against lefties in their career.

If the team desperately needs a LOOGY in the middle of the season, one should be easily acquirable by the trading deadline.


Offline imref

  • Posts: 18861
  • 1B: The New Hot Corner
Re: Nationals in the National media (2013)
« Reply #21: February 11, 2013, 12:39:48 PM »
worst contracts in baseball:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8914127/jonah-keri-worst-contracts-mlb

Quote
4. Jayson Werth, outfield, Washington Nationals

Werth isn't Juan Uribe or Vernon Wells. He's still a good hitter with superior on-base skills who can be a serious asset for his team if he can shake off the injuries that chopped his 2012 season in half. But while the masses are often wrong, they got it right here: There was no way the Nats were going to get their money's worth when they threw a seven-year, $126 million contract at a late bloomer on the wrong side of 30. Even if this was a statement signing, the deal has missed its mark to date. That the Nationals head into 2013 as one of the favorites to win it all isn't because Werth's payday opened free agents' eyes to the allure of playing in D.C. The homegrown products — Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and the prospects who got converted into Gio Gonzalez — have done that almost entirely by themselves.

Offline nobleisthyname

  • Posts: 2159
Re: Nationals in the National media (2013)
« Reply #22: February 11, 2013, 11:33:17 PM »
It's pretty bad but I'd take it over some of the other contracts listed higher (i.e., not as bad).

Offline Smithian

  • Posts: 6046
  • Team America 2015
Re: Nationals in the National media (2013)
« Reply #23: February 11, 2013, 11:45:59 PM »
worst contracts in baseball:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8914127/jonah-keri-worst-contracts-mlb

freak that weak crap! Say it to his face!



And, honestly, what happened below will be talked about by Nationals fans 100 years from now, so he is worth every penny.


Offline Lintyfresh85

  • Posts: 34397
  • Next year, maybe?
Re: Nationals in the National media (2013)
« Reply #24: February 12, 2013, 12:23:16 AM »
freak that weak crap! Say it to his face!

(Image removed from quote.)

And, honestly, what happened below will be talked about by Nationals fans 100 years from now, so he is worth every penny.

(Image removed from quote.)


He's overpaid and the elation of that night was undone the next.