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Stock Watch: Scherzer showing why he’s the ace

May 28, 2015, 11:00 AM EST

May 22, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws to the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning at Nationals Park. The Nationals won 2 - 1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 4-2

Team slash: .220/.275/.403

Team ERA: 3.53

Runs per game:  2.3

 

STOCK UP 

Max Scherzer, SP:  2-0/ 19 K/ 0.60 ERA 

Who knows if there’s any way a player can truly justify being worth a $210 million contract, but Scherzer is clearly doing everything he can to try. The 30-year-old righty has been everything the Nats could have hoped for and then some. He notched a pair of wins this past week to raise his record to 6-3 and has lowered his ERA to 1.51, good for fourth in the NL. More than anything, Scherzer’s ability to command all his pitches and know what to throw in every count is what makes him stand out. Sure, he can reach back and hit above 95 mph with his fastball at times, but he’s a pitcher’s pitcher in terms of setting up hitters to chase in two-strike counts. It’s one of the reasons why he leads the majors in strikeouts with 85.

Bryce Harper, RF: .316 AVG/ 3 HR/ 1.300 OPS

Okay, this is getting a little ridiculous. Harper’s insane hot streak rolls on, and he’s done nothing to show that it might stop any time soon. It’s near the point where we’re running out of ways to describe his historic month of May. He’s in such a zone that you wonder why opposing pitchers would even want to pitch to him at all anymore. His plate coverage — particularly on pitches on the outer half — has been superb; of his 18 home runs this season, seven have been to the opposite field. That goes to show not only his ability to wait on outside pitches, but also the strength he has to consistently drive the ball the other way. What else can you say? The guy’s simply the talk of sport right now.

Drew Storen, RP:  4 GP/ 4 Sv/ 0.00 ERA

Closers, as Mark Zuckerman recently wrote, are more often remembered for when they mess up rather than when they get the job done. That seems to be the story of Storen’s career, with his few big blown saves sticking in Nats fans’ memory more often than his consistent stretches. Storen leads the NL in saves with 16, and has an ERA of 0.84 — fourth best in the NL for relievers who have pitches at least 20 innings. He also hasn’t allowed a run since April 21, and has allowed just two all year. That’ll work.

Denard Span, CF:  .292 AVG/ 2 HR/ .917 OPS

Span is back to his 2014 self, being everything you’d expect a prototypical leadoff hitter to be with one exception: He already has five homers on the season, which matches his total from all of last year. He’s pacing for 17 home runs on the season, which would obliterate his career-best eight in 2009. For as good as Span is, if he’s able to bring additional power to his game, that’d make an already dangerous Nats lineup even more lethal.

 

STOCK DOWN 

Stephen Strasburg, SP: 0-1/ 3.2 IP/ 12.27 ERA

For all that’s gone well with the club over the last month, Nats fans are still trying to find the answer to the million dollar question: What’s wrong with Stephen Strasburg? Unfortunately, no one really knows. It’s clearly not his health, nor is it a lack of quality stuff. For all that’s been said about his struggles, at some point you have to wonder if this is all in his head. You can talk about issues with mechanics or whether or not his fastball has have enough movement, but none of that fully explains why someone whose career numbers were among the better pitchers in the game over the last few years is suddenly unable to get out of the fourth and fifth innings of many of his starts.

105 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. tcostant - May 28, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    To bad, I was hoping Harper could win three in a row Player of the Week crowns, but Andrew McCutchen won instead. Surely Harper will win Player of the Month!

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 28, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      I think that’s a given.

    • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 12:12 PM

      McCutcheon’s luck changed the day he lied on his back on the floor of the dirty dugout and prayed. I think Werth should try that. jk

  2. Candide - May 28, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    Since it’s a quiet day, I figured I’d post what I thought was a fun little Twitter exchange I had this morning with the host of the TOOTBLAN Tracker blog. It started with the following:

    I questioned this. Angels were down one run, bottom of the 9th, two out, Kimbrel closing for the Padres. Line drive in the gap, batter thrown out trying to stretch sure single into a double.

    I agreed it was a TOOTB, (“thrown out on the base paths” for the uninitiated) but hardly a LAN (like a nincompoop).

    Reply: https://twitter.com/TOOTBLANTime/status/603935485531201536/

    Me: https://twitter.com/Bernie_Gilbert/status/603937809330806785/

    He referred me here, essentially saying the LAN part was added to the TOOTB as a bit of whimsy.

    Me: https://twitter.com/Bernie_Gilbert/status/603941666714681345/

    Him: https://twitter.com/TOOTBLANTime/status/603942394489344000/

    Me: 🙂

  3. Candide - May 28, 2015 at 11:33 AM

    Team ERA: 3.53

    Runs per game: 2.3

    You go 4-2 when you’re scoring more than a full run less than your opponents. Funny what losing an 8-1 blowout will do to your stats.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 28, 2015 at 12:16 PM

      A case where the median would have been more meaningful than the mean?

      • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 12:19 PM

        +m

  4. Eric - May 28, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    In wonder how Rendon is feeling after his 5 innings yesterday? An article in the Post suggested that recovering well from 5 innings in extended spring training is often the last step before beginning a rehab assignment. Fingers crossed!

    Also wondering how Fister and Solis are feeling after playing catch yesterday…

    • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 12:14 PM

      The most significant step for this team is getting a healthy and productive Rendon back and I say that in front of Strasburg returning to Ace form.

      • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 12:22 PM

        You know, I wonder about that. No disrespect for Rendon, of course, but Espi’s been filling in pretty well.

        Having a LFer who could hit significantly better than .220 (neither MAT nor Werth are) would help the team even more than Rendon’s return.

        (Cue the idea of Espi being “super-sub-LFer” 😉 )

      • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 12:45 PM

        With all due respect to the good job Espi has done, he’s not even on the same planet as Rendon and (Cue the idea of Espi being “super-sub-LFer” 😉 ) or as Ghost calls him the Zobrist it would probaly be a boost to the LF situation which isnt to good right now.

      • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 12:50 PM

        If other GMs think Espinosa is fixed and is a .820 OPS 2nd baseman, his value has increased tremendously.

        Technically he was already in the game last night as a 2nd baseman which didnt help his Pinch-hit stats, but as a substitute player that was a nice HR and a nice add-on run.

    • tcostant - May 28, 2015 at 2:13 PM

      Mark is on ESPN 980am at 2:30pm today, I’m sure he’ll be asked that.

  5. wearenationals - May 28, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    I wonder if Rick Ankiel has been called to talk to Stras?

    • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      Different problems. Ankiel had a bad mental block. Stras’ mental problem might be mental toughness.

      Interesting article about that by Boz this morning (including the notion that the proportion and harshness of criticism against SS is unfair).

      “What is it about Strasburg that makes baseball observers see red?”

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/what-is-it-about-stephen-strasburg-that-makes-baseball-observers-see-red/2015/05/27/9cdba6f0-0496-11e5-bc72-f3e16bf50bb6_story.html

      • micksback1 - May 28, 2015 at 12:34 PM

        Wonk

        it is not red, it is accepting the fact that he is simply over rated and at best a 3rd or 4th pitcher on a pitching staff. He is simply not an ace and to deem him as such is as delusional as the other extreme of saying he is a terrible pitcher. When the Nats when a championship it will be inspite of him

      • wearenationals - May 28, 2015 at 12:37 PM

        “Now, Ankiel hopes to use the lessons he learned in his career to train Nationals players at every level of the system to meet the game’s mental challenges…”My role is trying to give these guys as much clarity as possible so they can go out there and perform.”” – http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/03/rick-ankiel-washington-nationals-life-skills-coordinator-mlb

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 28, 2015 at 12:41 PM

        In terms of performance this year, Stephen Strasburg is probably the 6th best SP on staff. But in terms of performance in 2012, 2013, and 2014, he was one of the top pitchers in the NL (if not all of baseball). ‘Ace’ can be defined many different ways and I’m not going to suggest he meets most of those definitions. Clearly something’s wrong with his performance, but equally clearly it’s worth trying to fix it — whatever ‘it’ may be.

      • Hiram Hover - May 28, 2015 at 12:46 PM

        he is simply over rated and at best a 3rd or 4th pitcher on a pitching staff

        Le sigh. It’s been said before, but apparently needs saying again:

        From 2012-2014, Stras had the 10th best ERA among qualifying SP in the NL (3.10, vs 4th place JZimm’s 2.96). Stras had the 2d most strikeouts, and the 2d best K-BB ratio, and the 4th best WHIP. There is no world in which that pitcher is a #3-4 starter.

        Now, none of that excuses or explains what is going on with him this year. I don’t know what the problem is. He and his coaches are apparently having trouble figuring it too.

        But Stras has been highly rated because he has in fact been a very,very good pitcher.

      • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 12:47 PM

        it is accepting the fact that he…

        It’s accepting the fact that he’s still only 26, and has had TJ, and has had unfair expectations put upon him, that are still upon him, since before day 1.

        That SS “wimp” led the Nats in IP and K’s last year. In fact he led all of MLB in starts. He finished top 10 in Cy Young last year. And 10th in fewest BB/IP, and 4th in FIP, and 9th in WHIP.

        He had a top-notch year last year, but nobody noticed — in part because the other spectacular pitching on the team, and in part because everybody’s wondering why he’s not Walter Johnson yet.

        This year, he stinks — so far. But he’s still 26 (Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, & Sandy Koufax didn’t have *any* good years before age 26), he still has his speed, and most of his skills.

        It’s still May, he’s got great natural ability, and the team isn’t relying on him, and so conditions are decent for his getting his act together.

      • Toot D. Blan - May 28, 2015 at 1:09 PM

        Strasburg is the new Lincecum. Without the two Cy Young awards, the huge albatross contract and the “Let Timmy Smoke” campaign, of course. Although maybe he should follow Lincecum’s lead and start sparking up. Couldn’t hurt.

      • jd - May 28, 2015 at 1:27 PM

        Wonk,

        I don’t think the expectations were unreasonable.

        HH

        Despite all the facts you present Stras was a dissapointement on some level even before this year. First of all he has Ace tools and he was in fact performing at a 2nd tier level IMO. Also as has been noted before the line drive ratio given up was always very high, right at the top of the major league leader board.

        Mick,

        You can’t conclude that someone with Stras tool set is just a 3 or 4. He can throw the ball as hard or harder than Scherzer, has a better curve ball etc. now he’s not in the same area code as Scerzer performance wise but I refuse to believe that he can’t be fixed and be at a Scherzer level. This is why I am so frustrated with Mc.Catty.

      • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 1:37 PM

        First of all he has Ace tools and he was in fact performing at a 2nd tier level IMO.

        Look at all the stats cited above — it seems to me he’s been a top-10-in-the-league pitcher for 2012-14. If by “not in top teir” you mean “not in top 3” (Kershaw, Wainright, Cueto) I agree with you. But he was among the best of everybody else, wasn’t he?

        I refuse to believe that he can’t be fixed and be at a Scherzer level. This is why I am so frustrated with Mc.Catty.

        How do you know it’s McCatty’s fault? If (again, see Boz’s article) it’s mental fortitude, you can’t blame McCatty for not having a PhD in sports psychology. (And, even then, some patients are unable to recover, no matter what doctors tell them, right?)

      • Hiram Hover - May 28, 2015 at 1:34 PM

        Toot

        Stras the new Lincecum? Sorry, that’s just wrong as well.

        Timmy always lacked control. Stras never has, and still doesn’t.

        Timmy cratered in 2012 when he lost several mph off his FB. Stras’s velo isn’t what it was as a rookie, but it’s essentially the same this year as last year, his best season as a pro.

        jd

        We’ve been around before about “tools” and “disappointment” before–if Stras isn’t living up to people’s expectations, maybe the problem isn’t with him, but with the expectations. The LD rate is part of why Stras ranks in the top 5 in a # of peripherals, but only (!!!) top 10 in ERA over the last 3 years. That still ain’t “second tier.”

      • jd - May 28, 2015 at 2:00 PM

        HH,

        By second tier I mean comparable to pitchers like Anibal Sanchez, Johnny Cueto etc. And I’m sorry the expectations were totally reasonable based on the level of 3 different pitches he brought to the table right from the get go. And that’s not me saying that it was all the pundits. Strasburg was gonna be the next in line to the throne formally adorned by the likes of Seaver, Gibson, Maddux and Halladay.

        I agree with you that he has been a very good pitcher but he never gave you the impression that he knew how to pitch. Seeing someone like Scherzer who incidentally came in with a similar tool set and also struggled for a few years before getting it together, amplifies what Strasburg can be.

      • tcostant - May 28, 2015 at 2:21 PM

        I don’t think it’s unfair, the HoFers he noted, all struggled. Strasburg has been a MUCH BETTER pitcher in the past, then he is this year. Total different than guys, who had great stuff and then later the light turned on.

  6. micksback1 - May 28, 2015 at 12:25 PM

    Max may be the best pitcher in all of MLB!

    I like what Jansenn did last night.

    i really have doubts on Grace and Barrett, I hope neither of them have to pitch in post season

    Nats still need one more BP arm to beat Cards I believe. Regardless of Stras, I believe Roark will replace him if need be.

    • wearenationals - May 28, 2015 at 12:32 PM

      Yes, Scher!

    • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 12:37 PM

      i really have doubts on Grace and Barrett, I hope neither of them have to pitch in post season

      It’s kinda early in the season to be saying that. (Do you know how many blown saves + losses Barrett has in his entire MLB career? One. His WHIP is 1.14, which is pretty good.

      As for Grace — he’s only in the fifth week of his MLB career. Lots of room for growth, gaining confidence, and etc., before the end of the season.

      If post-season started tomorrow, I’d be hesitant. But by October . . . . that’s a different (and unknown) story.

  7. #4 - May 28, 2015 at 12:38 PM

    Toot D. Blan raised the question as to why the catcher not backing up on Russel’s throw yesterday is different than Ramos not backing up the Desi play the night before. The difference is that the play last night started with a runner on 2nd so in that case the catcher should not vacate the plate. On Desi’s play there was only runner at first. As to your question about why the pitcher does not back up first – you would not ask a player to cross in front of a runner to back up a base. There is too much chance of a collision and an interference call.

    • Toot D. Blan - May 28, 2015 at 1:19 PM

      The pitcher could cross behind the runner and still be in position to back up the play sooner than the catcher would be, since the catcher has to follow the runner down the line. I think you need to face facts that today’s MLB game is not played under the same dictums that may have been in place years ago when you played amateur ball. When I’m at games this season and have the full view of the field that we don’t get watching on TV, I’ll make a point of looking for instances where a catcher backs up first base in such a situation. If I see any, I’ll report back here. But don’t hold your breath.

      • #4 - May 28, 2015 at 1:43 PM

        I am not disputing that conditions and attitudes have changed. I am lamenting it.

        I will say though that one of the guys I coach with who played pro ball for five years in the 2000s is certain that Ramos was ripped privately for not backing up first.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 28, 2015 at 2:19 PM

        I saw Posey running down to cover 1st often before his broken leg. Ramos rarely does it.

        Toot your question the other night was if it was the pitcher’s job to back up first. My answer was “no” that it was the catcher’s job. I should have said if anybody, it’s the catcher’s job .And I have seen other catchers that still do it, but it’s not the norm as it was in the not so distant past. It would be a rare day that a pitcher would be in position to back up a 6-4-3, or a 4-6-3 double play. Maybe on a 3-4 [or 6]-3 in a rare situation.

      • Toot D. Blan - May 28, 2015 at 2:51 PM

        Pitchers frequently serve as the back end of a 3-(4 or 6)-1 double play. Recall Doug Fister’s stretch last year?

      • therealjohnc - May 28, 2015 at 4:05 PM

        It’s quite possible that Ramos rarely does it because he’s a player with a history of hamstring/leg issues and the team told him not to. In fact if they did so I’d say they were absolutely correct to warn him off. The incremental advantage of not being there to stop one throw a month* from going into the dugout isn’t worth the potential risk of losing him for several weeks due to a hamstring pull.

        *Estimated. There are more poor throws than that obviously, but of those most are either (a) not going to go into the dugout or (b) because of where the throw goes the catcher would not be able to intercept it even if he’s busting it down the line.

  8. Danny - May 28, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    Stock down – Left Field, notably Michael Taylor.

    • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 12:56 PM

      I would say the same ole problem that any one playing LF this year has not done well. Hard to believe the Nats are 25th and not 30th in LF OPS. Theres actually 5 teams worse than the Nats, Care to guess who they are?
      Orioles, Mariners, White Sox, Angels, A’s.

      Nats have a .588 OPS in LF this season.

      “adcwonk – May 28, 2015 at 12:22 PM

      (Cue the idea of Espi being “super-sub-LFer” 😉 )”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 1:44 PM

        Well yah, you stated my point I’ve been making that even with Werth you’re getting a .588 OPS in Leftfield and Espi has a .820 OPS on his own.

        Werth might not recover in time this year to be viable and Danny is. The Espinozobrist works.

        The other thing is trading for Ike Davis who is having a good year with the As and they are going to have a fire sale soon and see if you can get Ike with Clippard back on a reasonable deal.

        Ryan Zimmerman as I pointed out is having a decent year overall but you can bolster 1st base by playing Davis some against RHPs and let RZim rake against LHPs. RZim ranks 26th amongst all starting 1st baseman in OPS. Unless he goes en fuego soon I’m not sure he can turn his season around to career norms. Bat speed and plate coverage just aren’t there and he could be just slowly regressing. His HR counter on the HR Tracker site has 2 of his HRs in the “Just Enough” category which is the wall scraper type and only 2 of the 5 went over 385 feet.

        RZim’s defense still makes him a better replacement over ALR but I think there’s improvement needed.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 28, 2015 at 2:01 PM

        Isn’t Ike Davis hurt? An oblique? From what I have heard he may be worse than first thought.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 2:20 PM

        Joe, one reason I hope he’d be cheap. He was the 2nd best lefty bench bat last year. God love CRob, it ain’t happening.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 28, 2015 at 2:29 PM

        Actually it’s his quad.

        This from CBS Sports:

        May 23, 2015 6:16 pm
        Athletics first baseman Ike Davis could be out longer than DL stint
        by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
        Athletics first baseman Ike Davis may need some extra time to get ready before he returns to Oakland, manager Bob Melvin said per MLB.com.

        Davis, who is currently on the 15-day DL with a quadriceps injury, has yet to begin baseball activities and there’s a “possibility” he will not be ready when he is eligible to return.

        Davis is hitting .282 with 11 RBI in 103 at-bats this season, but has not played since May 12 with the injury.

      • therealjohnc - May 28, 2015 at 4:18 PM

        The Espinozobrist works if Espinosa can actually play the OF – the Nationals have stuck infielders in the outfield in the middle of a season before and had it be disastrous (see, e.g.: Desmond, Ian; Guzman, Cristian).

        The time to move Espinosa to the outfield would be in the offseason or Spring Training, NOT during the regular season when the team is duking out for a playoff spot.

      • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 4:21 PM

        Why wouldn’t he. This has been discussed a million times and Cristian Guzman one game where he was literally thrown in there isnt good to compare. Kind of stupid really.

      • therealjohnc - May 28, 2015 at 4:34 PM

        Reasons why I’m not worried about Ryan Zimmerman:

        (1) He has been remarkably consistent over his entire career, putting up about a 120 wRC+ (and OPS+, FWIW) year after year after year, and at 30yo he is not at an age where serious age regression is likely.

        (2) He’s traditionally hit better in the second half of the season, especially in July and August. His worst months have been April and June.

        (3) We’ve been down this road before with Zimmerman. In 2012 we were having all these conversations about what happened to Zimmerman. He was bad in April and May (.668 and .690 OPS) and even worse in June (.589 OPS). All along he kept saying that he wasn’t worried, that by the end of the season the numbers
        would be there. And of course he was right. He raked in July, August and September and in the NLDS.

        And as for the GIDPs, he’s ALWAYS been GIDP prone. In 2012, when he raked the entire second half of the season? He led the league in GIDPs.

        No, It doesn’t make this fun to sit through. And no, past performance does not guarantee future results. But it does provide a solid reason for the Nationals to believe that going with Zimmerman is a better option than making a knee jerk trade.

      • therealjohnc - May 28, 2015 at 4:42 PM

        Why would Espinosa be a good outfielder? He’s never ever played the position as a professional – probably not as an amateur either, but I can’t get stats for that. The skill sets for the position do not perfectly overlap. Yes, he’s an athlete, and yes, he’s a baseball player. That doesn’t mean that he’s any good as an outfielder, and that’s not the sort of risk that you take when you have decent alternatives (MAT).

        All that said, if it got out that the team was working with Espinosa on playing the outfield in case he’s needed for emergency depth, it wouldn’t bother me. But I’d be surprised if we see Espi in the outfield in 2015.

      • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 9:32 PM

        Why do you fight this? I dont get you. Hes a pro player but now that NatsJack mentioned it you seem to be on board with it.

        If Hanley Ramirez can do it, Espi can excel at it.

    • laddieblahblah - May 28, 2015 at 1:08 PM

      Michael A needs to go back down to AAA. He is learning nothing by being in the bigs, sitting on the bench and just playing part-time ball. If the Nats expect him to replace Span next spring, they need to prepare him for that job. Striking out 35% of the time is not going to cut it.

      Den Dekker can handle the backup job while Taylor learns to be the starter next year. And if Taylor is not ready, then what? I can’t see Rizzo signing Span to a big money, long-term deal, at his age, next year.

      They still have Brain Goodwin down there, but Goodwin is still struggling, himself. I am certain that Rizzo has a number of contingencies to deal with any, or all of it, but the first item, IMO, is to find out if Taylor can up his game.

      • jd - May 28, 2015 at 1:38 PM

        Laddie,

        I agree. I would play TyMo and back him up on defense with DenDecker while Taylor goes back to AAA. I think he’s shown he can perform at the major league level but now that pitchers have seen him some and adopted he will need to adopt again.

        At the same time I feel that it’s a terrible waste to have Diffo at the big league level while he should be playing every day at AA. I think they should have used a veteran for the bench spot even if it’s just until Rendon returns, in the end Diffo will have been here for a month and he’s not likely to see much playing time.

      • Toot D. Blan - May 28, 2015 at 1:44 PM

        Span is in his age 31 season. If he continues to perform at the level he has performed all last season and so far this year, why wouldn’t Rizzo sign him to a long-term deal? He signed Jayson Werth to a seven year deal after his age 31 season.

      • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 1:47 PM

        Difo goes back to AAA when Rendon comes back and Taylor stays until Werth comes back.

      • jd - May 28, 2015 at 1:50 PM

        Nats128,

        I understand. I just don’t agree.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 28, 2015 at 2:05 PM

        den Dekker is struggling both offensively and in the field in Syracuse.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 2:22 PM

        Nats desperately need lefty bats and Taylor is RH. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Span locked up for 2 to 3.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 28, 2015 at 2:35 PM

        Like another player on the Nats, Michael Taylor has a ton of talent, actually in all phases, but he suffers from the dreaded “I” word: inconsistent.

  9. rlndtln - May 28, 2015 at 1:18 PM

    We better sign Span if we want to be relevant.Taylor can be the 4th outfielder next year after spending the rest of the season in AAA.Span is the most under rated Nat.

    • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 1:21 PM

      I think Span is an underappreciated CF / leadoff guy.

      Except by players and GM’s.

      I can see him getting 4/48 somewhere. I can’t see the Nats matching that. Sadly . . . .

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 1:26 PM

        Span is earning his chance for some sizeable money for a 3 year deal. We will see on Taylor. I’ve never rated him highly as you still have to hit to be relevant and his other tools aren’t sharp. Awful baserunner and way overrated on defense. I believe he can improve—-I just don’t know if he can do it quick enough.

      • jd - May 28, 2015 at 1:49 PM

        I agree with Ghost here. I think the timetable to replace Werth is more realistic.

        Wonk,

        Don’t be so sure the Nats won’t go that high. Span hits left handed, plays flawless defense and has improved his power game to the point where he can easily be in the conversation with Elsbery. I don’t think they’l want to go 4 years but they may pay more for less years.

      • lowstrikes - May 28, 2015 at 2:45 PM

        This seems to be the season where the things you wish would happen actually happen. So, add me to the list of advocates wishing for a 3 year deal for DSpan in DC. I’ve seen enough of his game to be a believer.

  10. letswin3 - May 28, 2015 at 1:25 PM

    In case you missed it … the Nat’s, who trailed the Mets by 8 full games only a few weeks back, now have fewer wins than only 2 teams in major league baseball. That’s without Rendon and Janssen (until 2 days ago), and stretches without Werth, Fister and Span. This is a good team getting ready to be even better.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 1:27 PM

      Exactly and well said and unless Houston adds some players I don’t think they will be the 2014 version of the Royals.

      • Doc - May 28, 2015 at 1:49 PM

        Houston is a good reminder of the power of the draft. Keep the line moving!

      • jd - May 28, 2015 at 1:52 PM

        Houston still has one ace in the hole. Their best prospect Correa is absolutely tearing up the Texas leagues (same league Turner is in). I think they have a chance to hang in there in that division.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 2:12 PM

        They will hang around but I don’t believe they have enough to be the 2014 version of KC and go all the way in the AL.

      • ArVAFan - May 28, 2015 at 2:12 PM

        Correa hit one out earlier this week: OFF THE BUILDING ACROSS THE STREET. Video at MLB.com: can’t post link from phone, sorry.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 2:14 PM

        He’s a real deal player. No doubt. I’ve seen him play.

      • Doc - May 28, 2015 at 3:31 PM

        Let us remember that MAT was tearing up a few leagues last year.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 3:48 PM

        I saw what I saw when he was called up and it wasn’t pretty from Game 2 on. He looked better in Spring Training but that’s Spring and he’s had some highlights and too many lowlights so what have you done for me lately?

  11. acethehammer - May 28, 2015 at 2:02 PM

    I contend Stras’s problems stem from McCatty’s vision of turning him into a “pitch-to-contact” guy. How much “pitch-to-contact” does Max do? He seems to be doing just fine. Stras is a strikeout pitcher – just let him be.

  12. micksback1 - May 28, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    some great posts here today. look, I hope I am wrong about Stras, I just do not think he has what it takles to be an ace. maybe McCatty is too blame, maybe not, who knows.

    #4 you are spot on about the Ramos play not running down 1st base. I know you are old school as am I. The problem is that this generation of players have to be coddled in order to be successful. I miss the Weaver’s Martin’s, Bauer’s, Anderson’s and Coach Burkhead’s of the world.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 28, 2015 at 2:22 PM

      Thurman Munson always ran down the line to back up throws to first. Always.

      • micksback1 - May 28, 2015 at 2:24 PM

        now that is going back in time, you are spot on!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 2:41 PM

        And Pete Rose ran out routine grounders like his hair was on fire and players caught balls in the air with 2 hands and runners ran with their heads down and wouldn’t have their head in a swivel watching and catchers would race runners down the 1st baseline to back up plays.

        Bryce Harper is as much of a throwback as I can find.

      • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 2:56 PM

        players caught balls in the air with 2 hands

        I gotta tell ya’ — how/why that changed is a complete mystery to me.

        Can anyone explain it at all?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 3:53 PM

        adcwonk, I played in a men’s league and we all seemed to still catch them with 2 hands.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 28, 2015 at 6:39 PM

        re Two hands: apparently Joe Madden is not a fan. Short version: that’s what the glove’s for.

  13. David Proctor - May 28, 2015 at 3:09 PM

    I would be okay with giving Span three years. No more. I know they gave Werth 7 years, but he also has a skillset that typically ages well (walks a lot, for one). Span is reliant on speed, hitting for high average, steals and defense. Those skills can go quickly. I think Denard’s got a few good years left in him, but I would not be eager to pay him big money at age 35.

    • tcostant - May 28, 2015 at 3:13 PM

      You need to just Span go, let some else pay him and take the QO draft pick. Talyor should grow into a solid major leaguer, but if he doesn’t you find someone new later from the minors i trade market.

      • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 3:45 PM

        a. I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision

        b. If I had to bet, I’d think the odds are fairly high that the Nats are going to do exactly as you (tcostant) suggest.

      • letswin3 - May 28, 2015 at 4:18 PM

        If I understand QO’s, the “minimum” QO this coming off-season must be offered, and that number this year will probably be over $16 million. So, is it possible that the minimum is too large for the Nats to QU Span? What I’m wondering is if that was to be the offer, and Span accepted, would that be an overpay for his worth?

  14. Doc - May 28, 2015 at 3:34 PM

    Speaking of Span, why did none of the Nats try to steal a base on Lester?? Strange stuff!

    • adcwonk - May 28, 2015 at 3:42 PM

      That was indeed strange. FP suggested it was because guys were taking such big leads that their instinct was to lean back towards first every time Lester lifted up his leg.

      And, indeed, that’s exactly what Span did. It was a huge lead, and he was leaning back towards first on every pitch.

      Weird.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 3:50 PM

    How much press will it get that Machado just got thrown out of the game for being called out on a checkswing by the homeplate ump who didn’t allow an appeal….sound familiar but the twist is he spiked his bat down at the plate which will get you tossed every time. That was easy.

    • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 4:11 PM

      Just saw it on MLB Network and he continued in the dugout yelling. After his tirades last year I would say hes a punk for what he did against the As throwing his bat and clocking the Derek Norris on the head with his bat on purpose.

  16. Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 3:54 PM

    Turns out that Werth does have 2 fractures in his wrist. He will be gone for a few months! Wow!

    • TimDz - May 28, 2015 at 3:58 PM

      Yikes…….
      Well…he hasn’t necessarily been killing it on the field and Tymo and MAT can hold down the fort….Werth will still be in the clubhouse for the time being and he is definitely a presence there…..

      That’s about all I can say in the positive spin department….

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 4:00 PM

        I will say it again. Get Espinosa an outfielder’s glove. Jayson may not make it back this year. It’s his same wrist he’s broken before. What a blow to his season.

      • virginiascopist - May 28, 2015 at 4:26 PM

        I am completely on board with giving Danny a tryout in the outfield. I know he can do it. Until Werth returns, that is (knock on wood).

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 4:31 PM

        virginiascopist, glad you agree. Danny is the best of all internal options. If anyone doesn’t think he can’t do better in LF than Clint Robinson or Josh Willingham, I don’t know what to tell you but TheRealJohn will keep bringing up 1 day in the life of Cristian Guzman. Talk about a distorted sample of 1.

      • therealjohnc - May 28, 2015 at 5:13 PM

        It’s not the sample size with Guzman, it’s the trauma!!!

        As I said in another comment, if word got out that Espinosa was showing up early and the team was working with him to see if he has the inclination/ability to play outfield, I wouldn’t object. I just don’t assume that he’s going to play good defense out there, and I’m also pretty deeply skeptical that he will continue to hit well enough to justify the defensive adjustment period even if he does take to it reasonably well.

        But then again, unlike most internet commenters, I’ve been known to be wrong before 🙂

    • Joe Seamhead - May 28, 2015 at 4:02 PM

      Damn! Not just for the team, but more importantly for Jayson. Just damn!!!

      • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 4:07 PM

        Report confirmed by Bill Ladson. How credible is that.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 4:20 PM

        I’m hearing that no timeframe is really set but they’re thinking 4 to 6 weeks on it. He would have to get ramped back up again. No ligament damage if that’s good news and it gives him more time on his shoulder.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 3:56 PM

    Zach Duke in for the save and gives up a 2 run HR and is pulled. There goes the shutout but the White Sox still lead 3-2. Looks like the same ole Zach Duke to me. 😉

    • nats128 - May 28, 2015 at 4:08 PM

      Ha! Oreos lost.

    • virginiascopist - May 28, 2015 at 4:31 PM

      Zach Duke was so terrible with us (and Cincinnati) in 2013, I am just stunned he got the contract he did. Don’t people look at anything but a player’s last year’s stats?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 4:32 PM

        First time I watched him this year and I jinxed him. I think he still gets a Hold. LOL

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 4:05 PM

    Leonsis wanted his team talked about: Breaking News: John Wall is an idiot

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2479253-john-wall-reportedly-kicked-off-airplane-in-las-vegas-after-alleged-incident

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - May 28, 2015 at 4:43 PM

      Your reading comprehension okay, twin….

      ‘Based on TMZ’s account of what happened, Wall wasn’t personally involved in the incident on the plane, so his positive reputation likely won’t take a hit.’

      And seeing how it’s all alleged and not necessarily Wall… cling him an idiot is unnecessary and wrong.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 28, 2015 at 5:09 PM

      I never said he did anything wrong or criminal. Just that he’s an idiot based on eyewitness reports and it sounds like it was his buddies but you are what you eat and if you stick around with idiots, guess what.

  19. Eric - May 28, 2015 at 4:19 PM

    Sucks about Werth, damn.

  20. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 28, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    If it’s true about jayson… how did they miss it on the first MRI or cat scan….

    Sucks but I hope that MAT plays every day as I see the transition from Werth to Taylor is a better road than span to taylor…

    • Bruxtun - May 28, 2015 at 4:54 PM

      The swelling makes it easy to miss fractures, they say. That’s even what they said after the initial scans that said no damage.

  21. natsfan1a - May 28, 2015 at 4:49 PM

    That does stink for Werth. I had a feeling after they said he was going to see his specialist. Hope it heals well and fully.

    On a happier note, finally speed-watched my recording of last night’s game. Holy Scherzer, can that guy pitch!

  22. rlndtln - May 28, 2015 at 9:05 PM

    Forget Danny in left field.He still can not hit lefty and Robinson,Tyler platoon makes more sense.We need a bat in left.

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