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Spring Training Day 4 Pt 2: The Evidence

March 16, 2010

Yes you read the earlier post correctly, the Nats won today. TWICE. I was down at the Marlins game and Stammen looked great for 3 innings and was marginal in his 4th, but that comes with it still being spring training. For once this ST, our relievers looked pretty good. Today it was Bergmann, Clippard, Burnett, and Bruney. All pitched well and got Stammen his well deserved win.

Here are the pictures from today:

-SOS

Spring Training Trip Day 4: Nats Win A Pair

March 16, 2010

The Nats won both of their split-squad games today by topping the Marlins 12-3 and the Cardinals 4-2. Both starters (Stammen and Lannan respectively) got the win. Look for pictures from the Marlins game later this evening.

-SOS

Roster Moves

March 16, 2010

Moves that were made overnight:

Sent to AAA Syracuse:
RHP Collin Balester
LHP Atahualpa Severino

Sent to AA Harrisburg:
RHP Ryan Mattheus
LHP Aaron Thompson

Sent to Class-A Potomac:
RHP Juan Jamie

Released:
LHP Ron Villove

Ladson has the full story here

-SOS

Spring Training Trip Day 3

March 16, 2010

Day 3 into the trip and we were at game two of our schedule, vs the Braves last night. We again failed to break into the win column giving up two quick runs in the first with Mock, Storen then came in the 5th and gave up two more, and just for good measure Capps allowed one to just have the hell hit out of it in the 9th to end the game at 5-2. To add to the frustrations of the game, my phone decided to die just after the 5th and my live updates died with it. That won’t happen again.

Pictures are a little blurry this time around with it being a night game.

-SOS

Spring Training Trip

March 15, 2010

Made it into Viera Saturday night and the weather has been superb the entire time. I caught the game versus the Cardinals yesterday, as you no doubt saw on Twitter. Our bats were fairly quiet and when we did manage to get runners on base we couldn’t bring them in. We had some not so great moments out of Hernandez, Clippard and Villone, and while I expect Clippard to make the bullpen, things are not looking as good for Villone or Hernandez.

I’ll be doing the live updates from the Braves game tonight starting at 7:05 and will have a more in-depth recap this evening. Here are pictures from the Nats/Cards game yesterday.

-SOS

2010 Offensive Projections

March 13, 2010

This is the beginning of a two-part series projecting the output of the Nationals this season. In part one I’ll be going through the offense starting with the lineup and bench as I see them panning out to begin the season and I’ll also put in a few guys I know we’ll be seeing a good deal of this season.

Lineup:
1. Nyjer Morgan, CF (Age: 30)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .308 74 3 39 42 .753
2010 .289 80 4 32 35 .710

SB’s will take a hit with the new technique, but I’m fairly certain that if he struggles with feet first sliding for a bit he will revert to his old ways, if he flourishes with it 35 could be lowballing him. History shows that his 1st half walk percentage should be considered a fluke as it dropped back to his norms in the 2nd half, not something to expect again. Speed and defense will remain at a high level.

2. Cristian Guzman, SS (Age:32)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .284 74 6 52 4 .695
2010 .282 75 8 45 5 .698

AVG fell last year with his contact % waning. BB% continues to plummet, barely hovering at 3% in ’09, indicates that contact % will continue to fall and in turn as will AVG. Defense proves to be a big question mark as his range significantly diminished over the course of last season due to injury. In all seriousness, Guzman went back to merely being serviceable after signing his contract extension, expect him to be one of the first Rizzo tries to move during the season, especially if Desmond starts out hot.

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B (Age: 26)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .292 110 33 106 2 .891
2010 .290 103 37 110 2 .863

All of his skills that improved at the plate appear to be sustainable and not a fluke. Power spike finally showed, increased fly-ball rate will help him keep pace for a big season even though his HR/Fly-ball ratio was particularly high in the 2nd half of the season. An increased walk rate (11%) and finally solving how to hit RHP’s assisted in all of his gains on offense. Hard to match on the defensive side of the ball, and at 26 will only get better.

4. Adam Dunn, 1B (Age: 30)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .267 81 38 105 0 .925
2010 .254 86 40 107 1 .910

The model of consistency, 40 HR and 100 RBI are pretty easy to gauge given his track record. While he does give quite a bit back with his lack of defense on the field, I think he will be better at 1B this year and be able to quell some of the defensive liability talk. If he does improve with the glove we had better hope Rizzo locks him up sooner than later because we’ll then be dealing with NL teams as well as AL teams who are just looking for a DH come the offseason.

5. Josh Willingham, LF (Age: 31)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .260 70 24 61 4 .849
2010 .259 74 24 80 5 .833

What we need to remember about Willingham is that he had to fight for a spot that was being clogged by Austin Kearns for a solid month plus, then a death in the family and a stomach virus took him out of the groove in June. This lack of playing time significantly altered his numbers for the season, and yet he still managed a very productive 2009. His power output was nothing out of the ordinary for him and coupled with his patience at the plate, an increase in AB’s could result in a stellar season for Willingham.

6. Elijah Dukes, RF (Age: 26)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .250 38 8 58 3 .733
2010 .262 66 18 71 10 .782

Dukes regressed in just about every stat imaginable last season except for K%, which dropped from 28.6% to 20.3%. As much as that doesn’t bode well for the young outfielder, I still have hope that he’ll reach his potential. Maturity has played a big part in his lack of production and every indication I’ve come across says that Dukes has found maturity after the death of his father this past winter. A rededication to his trade with a stint in the Dominican Winter League this offseason and working heavily with Rick Eckstein should pay dividends. His upside is much higher than I’ve projected here, although in the same vein, if he continues to regress he could do much worse and find himself back in AAA.

7. Adam Kennedy, 2B (Age: 34)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .280 74 14 70 22 .739
2010 .271 55 10 58 13 .700

Yes he is still declining, and no his stats will not warrant his 2 year deal. But we knew that coming in. We brought him in to coach a young staff and to also be a mentor to Flores. Pudge’s projection here is a little deflated because I expect (read: hope) he’ll be splitting time with Flores in the near future (I had Pudge taking around 370 AB’s). That being said these numbers could definitely could definitely go up should Flores be out for another extended period making Pudge the #1 and Nieves the #2.

8. Pudge Rodriguez, C (Age: 38)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .249 55 10 47 1 .663
2010 .263 48 7 42 1 .652

Yes he is still declining, and no his stats will not warrant his 2 year deal. But we knew that coming in. We brought him in to coach a young staff and to also be a mentor to Flores. Pudge’s projection here is a little deflated because I expect (read: hope) he’ll be splitting time with Flores in the near future (I had Pudge taking around 370 AB’s). That being said these numbers could definitely could definitely go up should Flores be out for another extended period making Pudge the #1 and Nieves the #2.

Bench:
- Willie Harris, OF/IF (Age: 32)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .245 47 7 27 11 .743
2010 .251 46 7 29 11 .758

His jump in Flyball% killed his average last year, but he made up for the drop in AVG by drawing a lot more walks. While the spike in FB% points towards a power breakout he may want to not hack at the ball quite as much, while continuing his stellar plate discipline and he’d become an exponentially more valuable player.

- Mike Morse, IF (Age: 28)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 (55 PA’s) .250 4 3 10 0 .772
2010 .262 42 15 50 2 .705

Last year showed a more consistent power stroke that he has at any other point in his career by hitting 19HR between AAA/MLB, coupled with an offseason of work on his approach at the plate should both pay dividends for Morse this season. Will get a good number of ABs because he can play every position and is even willing to catch if need be. Should be a solid replacement/utility guy should he hit anywhere near as well as he did in his short time with the big club last season.

- Wil Nieves, C (Age: 33)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .259 20 1 26 1 .610
2010 .243 13 1 18 1 .606

With Flores on the way back, don’t look for Nieves to make much of an impact and to be outrighted to AAA once Flores is 100%. Until then his ridiculously low FB% will bring the self-titled ‘Nieves Shift’ (where all OFers play on the edge of the grass) back into action anytime he’s at the plate.

- Chris Duncan, OF/1B (Age: 29)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .214 32 7 41 0 .647
2010 .245 38 12 29 0 .722

A major potential guy, but neck surgery last offseason may have done him in for good as he was traded by the Cardinals then released by the Red Sox after a lack of production all season. His upside would be anything near his 2006 season of .277, 81 R, 28 HR, 71 RBI. His age and power make him a candidate to surprise us, but don’t go into the campaign expecting 2006/07 numbers.

- Alberto Gonzalez, SS/2B (Age: 27)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .268 36 1 41 2 .663
2010 .248 24 2 25 2 .635

I go back and forth on whether he will actually make this team or not. If Desmond is the starter at SS, Gonzalez doesn’t have a chance. Poor defense, bad baserunning, and a pathetic .228 against RHP could doom him to AAA.

Others:
- Jesus Flores, C (Age: 25)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 .301 13 4 15 0 .880
2010 .265 35 11 53 0 .735

He has all the makings of a 20 HR, 75+ RBI backstop, but first he needs to get himself back on track after losing a season to shoulder surgery brought on by an errant foul tip. Assuming he doesn’t try to rush back and set himself back further, I see him in Washington come late May or early June. Given that timeline I’m only projecting 300-ish ABs. Last season (even in only 29 games) Flores showed glimpses of what he is capable of: namely the combination of power and defense while improving on several of his offensive woes by drawing more walks and hitting RHP more consistently. Barring any further setbacks with the shoulder this season could take Flores one step closer to a breakout season.

- Ian Desmond, SS (Age: 25)

AVG R HR RBI SB OPS
2009 (89 PA’s) .280 9 4 12 1 .879
2010 .279 55 14 45 16 .692

AVG should drop a little with an almost full season of MLB exposure. Being a decent baserunner and possessing average to above average defense along with his bat will either have him starting with the big club or arriving there shortly after the start of the season.

-SOS

Spring Training Begins!

March 4, 2010

The Nats begin Spring Training today with split squad games against Houston and Florida. MLB.tv apparently doesn’t have a video feed so I’ll be listening to the games and posting regular updates to Twitter.

I’ll also be working on the projections I said would be done last week, the lineup at least should be up this evening.

-SOS

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