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Midseason Report Card

Jul 16, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

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For baseball fans, there are perhaps no more frustrating days in the calendar year than these, the gap between Tuesday’s All-Star Game and Friday’s resumption of the regular season. For sportswriters, though, these days offer up an obvious opportunity to look back at what has happened to date and what may still happen moving forward.

So this morning we take one final look back at the first half of the season and hand out some report cards. This is never an easy exercise, and there’s never consensus among everybody on these grades. Just do me a favor: If you choose to disagree with any of these, please do so respectfully.

With that, here’s how everyone on the Nationals graded out in the season’s first half…

The good thing is that he’s been healthy and more durable than ever before in his career, on pace to catch 127 games. The bad part is that his production has diminished some, with career-worst on-base (.284) and slugging (.390) percentages. He has also made several costly defensive mistakes.

As a backup catcher, he’s perfectly fine, capable of filling in when needed and providing the occasional big hit. Behind the plate, he’s very good and has become Gio Gonzalez’s de facto personal catcher.

The last several years have been frustrating for the Face of the Franchse, and this one may top them all. Despite an incredibly smooth transition to first base, he has struggled big-time at the plate (his .611 OPS is more than 200 points worse than his career mark) and has been on the DL more than a month with plantar fasciitis.

Tough to give a fair assessment to a guy who has only played in 18 games this season due to three separate injuries (knee, oblique, quad). The Nationals desperately need him healthy and productive in the second half.

It’s been a disastrous season to date for the three-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He managed to overcome his early season defensive woes, but his bat has yet to come around. The Nats remain committed to him, but his lack of production has been tough to swallow.

His acquisition from Oakland in exchange for Tyler Clippard was questioned at the time, but where would the Nats be now without him? His ability to put together consistent, quality at-bats has been a huge boost for a lineup lacking in those type of hitters.

Nobody — I mean nobody — expected this out of him. He was supposed to give up switch-hitting this season. Somehow, that turned into him completely revamping his left-handed swing to the point he now leads all NL second basemen with 10 homers. He has also played five positions, including three for the first time in his career (left field, third base, first base).

His dramatic homer to complete the Nats’ record-setting comeback in Atlanta in late-April will forever make him an integral part of this club, but he hasn’t done a whole lot of damage since then. He has, however, proven a more adept pinch-hitter than anticipated, going 4-for-16 with five walks in that role.

He started the season on the DL and ended the first half on the DL. In between, he hit just .208 with a paltry .581 OPS and concerning lack of power. Aiming for an August 1 return from a broken wrist, he hopes to make a different down the stretch. But at 36, what can realistically be expected at this point?

When he has played, he has been phenomenal, and critical to the Nats’ success (they’re 11 games over .500 when he plays, 2 games under when he doesn’t). The concern is that a lingering back injury is keeping him from playing every day. He’s currently on the DL, though the hope is that this will be a short stint.

What more could he possibly have done in the season’s first half? This has been a brilliant breakthrough for the 22-year-old, who has a chance to be the first player to hit .340 with 50 homers in a season since Mickey Mantle in 1956. All he needs to do — knock on wood — is stay healthy.

Ideally, the Nationals wanted him playing center field every day in Syracuse. Injuries, though, have forced him to be on the big-league roster. He has responded quite well, showing a knack for producing big hits (he has 32 RBI in only 232 at-bats). He’s still inconsistent, as you’d expect a rookie to be, but he keeps showing signs of progress along the way.

Barely known when the season began, he has turned into a critical member of the roster, taking over as the regular first baseman and often cleanup hitter with Ryan Zimmerman on the DL. The 30-year-old rookie always hit in the minors, and he’s showing that can translate at the big-league level now that he’s been given the opportunity.

At times, he seems like a forgotten man on the Nats’ bench, not given as many opportunities to start in place of injured regulars as several others. He still has his moments, though, and has shown an ability to drive in a key run every now and again.

Acquired at the end of spring training for lefty Jerry Blevins, he was supposed to provide some much-needed outfield depth. The Nats kept passing him over for promotions, though, until finally calling him back up recently. He has done fine when used, though opportunities continue to be sparse.

Who says the Nationals didn’t need to spend all that money to bolster what was already their biggest strength? The ace has been everything they could have wanted, and then some. The only concern as the second half begins: Can he hold up physically while taking on the biggest workload of his career?

It’s been a bit of an inconsistent season to date for the guy who usually has been Mr. Consistency. The right-hander continues to be really good most of the time, though, putting up numbers pretty close to his career norms as free agency looms.

It’s been an awfully frustrating season to date for him, trying to battle through the worst prolonged stretch of his career and some nagging injuries. Then, just when it looked like he had recaptured the form that tantalized us so much when he first arrived in D.C., he suffered another freak injury (oblique) and now is back on the DL again.

It was an inconsistent first half for the veteran right-hander as well, just as it was for several teammates. He missed a month with a forearm injury and is still trying to feel his way back from that. Another soon-to-be free agent, he’d love to put up some big numbers the rest of the way.

He can be maddening to watch at times, but when he’s on, he remains as good as almost any lefty in the game. The key is finding some level of consistency, which he has perhaps found in batterymate Jose Lobaton, who seems to bring out the best in him.

Yes, he still must prove himself in October (as must the entire team). But boy has he been really, really good for a long time now, dating all the way back to his return from the minors in August 2013. Deserved a spot on the All-Star team but got caught in a numbers game and wasn’t selected.

Signed over the winter to be the Nats’ new setup man, he wound up missing six weeks with shoulder inflammation. Since finally debuting, he has been good at times, unable to get hitters out with less-than-dominant stuff at others. He desperately wants to prove he can get the job done. The time has come.

Can be incredibly effective against right-handed hitters, with his devastating slider. But he also can be highly ineffective when things start to spiral. Also missed significant time with a biceps strain.

The stuff is as good as anybody’s on the staff. It’s just a matter of how he uses it and whether he has it on a given night. When he’s on, he’s unhittable. When he’s off, it’s not pretty.

You would think the 38-year-old lefty would have more than 32 appearances and 21 1/3 innings at this point, but manager Matt Williams has tried to avoid wearing him down too much too soon. At some point, though, he’s going to need to regularly pitch on back-to-back days.

The jack of all trades is never fazed by whatever role he is thrust into, and he has more often than not gotten the job done in impressive fashion. For whatever reason, though, he does have the occasional knack for implode, most notably in serving up home runs (10 in only 61 innings).

The young lefty has got a power arm and could prove to be a real weapon down the stretch. He has 17 strikeouts and only two walks in 15 innings. It’s just a matter of earning the confidence of his manager to be used in big spots on a regular basis.

Picked up off the scrap heap in midseason, the veteran right-hander has done a nice job when called upon. He has only made eight appearances, though, so it’s hard to say for sure whether he has righted his ship or not.

More relaxed and more comfortable in his second year as a big-league manager, he has the unquestioned respect of his clubhouse. And he has forged a strong relationship with Bryce Harper, something that some doubted would happen last year. Still needs to strike a balance between leaving a starting pitcher in too long and letting him finish what he started.

The GM once again made what look in hindsight like brilliant offseason moves, signing Max Scherzer, trading for Yunel Escobar and remaking his team’s bench with Clint Robinson, Dan Uggla and others. But he hasn’t been perfect. He turned over almost his entire bullpen, and that unit remains a work-in-progress, with changes made regularly in-season. Faces a critical few weeks before the July 31 trade deadline. Does he go all-in and try to add somebody who could put them over the top this year, or does he continue to stress the importance of long-term success?

  1. unterp - Jul 16, 2015 at 6:54 AM

    Does he go all-in and try to add somebody who could put them over the top this year, or does he continue to stress the importance of long-term success?

    If they bring in Chapman, Drew Storen might be included in the trade with other prospects…

    • Danny - Jul 16, 2015 at 6:59 AM

      Rizzo does not go all in. There ya go

      • Kenz aFan - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:18 AM

        Yea, right… That’s why the Nats spent $210 million on Max Scherzer. Yea, in hindsight it’s a great investment, but at the time, the rotation was already one of the best in baseball. It was a case of Scott Boras convincing Ted Lerner that they would flounder without him.

        What will Scott Boras do this off-season when he knows the Nats have an extra $80 million a year to spend?

      • Danny - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:50 AM

        The Scherzer signing wasn’t an all in move.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:47 AM

        Kenz, the Scherzer contract was the opposite of an all in move. It was a massive commitment to the long term that was not expected to move the needle all that much in the 2015 season given that the Nats already had five good to excellent starters for their rotation. It was a hedge against other free agent pitchers leaving so that the Nationals could still be (reasonably) sure of having an ace at the top of their rotation for the next 3-4 seasons.

        The Scherzer contract can be fairly characterized and/or criticized on a variety of levels. But it was not an “all-in” move. Which makes sense because, as Danny says, Rizzo does not seem like an all in type. Which I think is smart. Look at the teams that did make the big, splashy all-in moves this offseason: the Marlins; the Padres; and the Red Sox.

      • unkyd59 - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:49 AM

        Kenz… You’re mistaken… The Scherzer move is primarily a long-term move. I don’t think Rizzo is of a mind to sign JZ or SS to mega contracts, so he got a top 2-3 Ace, at this year’s $$, to anchor the staff, as the youngsters rise to the Show. Adding him to this year’s rotation is basically a bonus…

      • adcwonk - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:55 AM

        Scherzer was not all-in. Scherzer was the replacement for losing JZ — it’s just that we got Scherzer a year early, because that’s when the best JZ replacement became available.

    • masterfishkeeper - Jul 16, 2015 at 7:59 AM

      If they trade Storen for Chapman, you still have the 8th inning issue, so I don’t think that will happen.

      • Kenz aFan - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:19 AM


      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:27 AM

        That’s not happening. Need Storen + Chapman

    • veejh - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:52 AM

      Picking up Chapman and trading Storen solves nothing.

      • unterp - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:08 AM

        part I of trade might include Chapman for Storen et al
        part II brings Kimbel. that’s what i’d do…

      • jd - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:14 AM


        May as well bring in Betances and Miller too while you are at it.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:15 AM

        I want Time Machine Eckersley.

      • Section 222 - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:18 AM

        unterp, why not trade for DeGrom and Kershaw and let them pitch the 7th,8th, and 9th innings every other day?

  2. JJ - Jul 16, 2015 at 7:13 AM

    Not giving Desmond and F is my only problem here. Just because he stopped making an error a game doesn’t help that.

  3. npb99 - Jul 16, 2015 at 7:27 AM

    Does any pitcher prefer working with Ramos? Seems like I hear talk about chemistry between given pitchers and Lobaton, but not as much with the Buffalo.

    • homeparkdc - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:04 AM

      It’s been my impression that Scherzer is “training” Ramos and prefers him at this point. Just my idea….

    • therealjohnc - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:13 AM

      There’s a lot of chatter on the InterNats about Lobaton, largely because FP Santangelo has a bromance with him and can’t stop raving about his defense. The fact is that, by just about every single measurable under the sun, Ramos is a better defensive catcher. The one exception is pitch framing, but even there the two are actually close.

      When pitchers praise Ramos (and they do) no one notices – but every time someone says something nice about Lobaton the chatter starts up again. Which, of course, perpetuates the “I hear a lot of talk” stuff. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:45 AM

        John, well said. FP has done Lobaton a solid with all the free advertising. Subliminally he has brainwashed many.

      • veejh - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:54 AM

        I’m gonna say Lobaton is waaaaaaay better at catching balls thrown from the outfield during a play at the plate. Ramos is downright dreadful at handling those.

      • nats128 - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        veejh, we can certainly say Ramos isnt great at handling balls at the plate and just wondering how you say Lobaton is waaaaaay better. I cant remeber 1 play at the plate Lobaton has fielded.

        Going back to what therealjohnc is saying we seem to get caught up in a bromance.

        Give us facts.

      • veejh - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:46 AM

        It’s far easier to remember all the bad Ramos playsat the plate. If Lobaton was as bad as Ramos is, we would have taken notice.

      • nats128 - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:49 AM

        veejh, its about repitions and Ramos is playing 5 to 6 games a week. Of course you remeber Ramos plays more as there are more of them.

      • veejh - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:51 AM

        ……and I seem to remember saying to myself many times, “Ramos would have dropped that ball.”

      • therealjohnc - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:53 AM

        Actually, veejh, we probably wouldn’t notice if we already have it in our heads that Lobaton is a better catcher than Ramos. Look up confirmation bias.

        Even stipulating that Ramos struggles with throws on plays at the plate, here’s what we know Ramos is better at than Lobaton:

        (1) Catching the ball (measured by number of balls to the backstop per inning)
        (2) Throwing the ball (more runners attempt steals when Lobaton is catching, and a higher percentage are successful)
        (3) Pitcher success (as measured by staff ERA when he’s behind the plate)

        Those are pretty core catcher skills, perhaps even more important (though less flashy) than the occasional play at the plate. On top of that, there are metrics that show that he’s a quicker fielder (higher range factor/game) and a better pitch caller (according to B-R, although I’m not sure how they calculate that).

      • veejh - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:57 AM

        I never said I thought Lobaton was better than Ramos. All I did was point out another catcher trait that I thought Lobaton was better at. Sheesh.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:42 AM

        Lobaton must be the better catcher, because he’s the weaker hitter! 🙂

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:00 AM

        All three of those “catcher skills” you cite have a lot more to do with who is pitching than who is catching. Lobaton has spent most of his time catching just one pitcher, Gio, while Ramos catches everyone else. This is a stupid argument, really. They are both perfectly adequate catchers. Neither one is exceptional. The only reason Ramos plays more is because he is supposedly better behind the plate. I say supposedly because even though he hasn’t been hurt at all this year Ramos’s offense has been rather underwhelming.

  4. Just. Dave - Jul 16, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    What does a guy have to do to get an F? This season has been a failure for Zim and Werth, and I am worried that Zim might be done for good.

    • Kenz aFan - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:30 AM

      It would be a sad day if he turned out to be done. But at the same time, it could be a God send, since the Nats would seek out, or at least try and acquire an A- to A+ lefty hitting & throwing first baseman. Fans would miss Zimm, but they’d not complain if the new 1B is doing the job on both sides of the lines. He’d become a fan fav soon enough.

      I predicted at the start of the season, neither Werth, Zimm or Desmond would hit .250 again, except for short streaks. Their bats died during the 2014 post-season. Offensively all three are done, and I get scared when the ball is hit to Werth and Desmond. Thankfully, Ryan’s glove will be his saving grace, but not much else, at least not over the course of a full season. Desmond might not even be offered a qualified offer, because the Nats would be afraid he would accept it.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:32 AM

      RZim provided excellent defense and was productive in April. Jayson Werth was poor on defense and offense and was a D-

    • Jfmii - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:32 AM

      He is 30 years old for goodness sakes. He might be done for this year given the insidious nature of his foot ailment, but to immediately go draconian seems premature

      • jd - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:51 AM


        I agree but I would add a bat for the remainder of this year. As much as I like what Robinson has done I would not want to go into the stretch and post season with him in the every day lineup.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:18 AM

        I can’t think of anyone whose career was ended by plantar fasciitus. Everyone was like “ooh, that’s what caused Albert Pujols to tank in Los Angeles.” Well, don’t look now, but Pujols (who is five years older than Zim) is destroying the ball this season, with as many HRs as Bryce (26) and an OPS+ of 141/ wRC+ of 139 – very close to what he put up in St. Louis before signing the free agent deal at age 32.

        Ryan isn’t Pujols, and there’s no shame in that – Pujols is a sure fire Hall of Famer. But there’s no reason to think that the plantar fasciitus is going to keep Zim from going back to his 120 wRC+ production that he’s put up consistently throughout his career.

      • senators5 - Jul 16, 2015 at 12:33 PM

        My concern with RZim is not his leg/foot injuries but his bat speed. Going back to the last part of last season up to his current injury he has noticeably been swinging late with an ever increasing percentage of hit ball balls going to the right side, many of which were foul balls. For veteran position players, bat speed becomes the no. 1 issue for GMs and not defense because those guys with good/excellent bat speed can hang on the bench for a long time, ie Clint Robinson, our 30 yr.old rookie.

    • veejh - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:06 AM

      I think the D- for Dez is the equivalent of an F. Zuck just didn’t want to type the F out of guilt.

      • jd - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        100% veejh. If you are 1 game below replacement level you are an F by definition maybe even an F-

  5. alexva6 - Jul 16, 2015 at 7:58 AM

    if you are going to hold Rizzo accountable for the bullpen you have to mention that Stammen got hurt and Janssen was unavailable until recently.

    I’m not giving him a pass, but Stammen’s injury set a whole lot of changes in roles in motion.

  6. jd - Jul 16, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    I think it’s harsh giving players who have played with injuries poor grades. I think Zim and Werth are both inc.
    I think Escobar is a B+ (so so defense and just a singles hitter). I think JZimm is a B at best because of a fair bit of inconsistency, I think Fister is a D+ , I think Thornton is a C-, Roark a C-.

    I don’t see much point in rating some of the relievers who haven’t really had much of a sample size, I would rate the pen (-Storen) as a C.

    I rate Matt Williams a C- and Rizzo no less than an A- (anyone who gets Turner and Ross for Souza has to be pretty good). I don’t blame Rizzo for the BP issues. I think it was prudent to trade Clip for Escobar and I don’t think you know what the pen would have been with a healthy Stammen and Jansen.

    • nats128 - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      ” I think JZimm is a B at best because of a fair bit of inconsistency”

      Your a tough grader.

      11 of 18 JZ starts were games he gave up 2 runs or less including 4 shutouts. All but 4 starts were quality starts and you call that inconsistent?

      When you dig deep you get to 2 bad starts in Boston and Milwaukee. Watch the replay of the Boston game and tell me whose fault it was that 2 flyballs werent caught and not ruled errors. The 1 poor start he did have was against the Brewers and may be it wasnt that poor when you see that his pitch to contact was just hit where the defense wasnt.

      “I think it’s harsh giving players who have played with injuries poor grades. ”

      Should we just forget grading them because they played hurt and excuse the stats? If they were hurt that bad they should have informed there manager and GM. Nobody knew anything was wrong with RZ until that day he hit what looked like a double and he limped to 1st base.

      ” I think Thornton is a C-, Roark a C-”

      I agree with you there. Im not even sure Thornton and Roark make it to the postseason roster.

      • jfmii - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:36 AM

        I give Roark a C, mainly for his attitude and willingness to do whatever is needed, but don’t understand the negatives for Thornton. Other than his giving up Wieters’s double last weekend, when has he not done what asked to do?

      • nats128 - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:46 AM

        On Thornton, its been that he hasnt been sharp IMO and hes only pitched 11 complete innings in 32 appearances. His appearances are mostly in lefty matchups and he isnt overpowering them.

        31 of the 89 batters he has faced were Hi Leverage situations and he has walked 3 batters in the 31 Hi Lev spots.

        I will agree with you jfmii that his stats look good overall.

      • jd - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:43 AM


        on Jzim – the performance in Boston was crappy regardless the poor defense, in addition to Milwaukee he was also clubbed pretty well by the Cubs and Baltimore. I am not giving him a D or an F but when you have 4 sub standard performances out of 18 you are not an A.

        All I am saying about Ryan Z and Werth is that they haven’t had enough healthy playing time to judge. I am not making a value judgement about when or where they admitted their injuries etc. that’s another story. Also, after Ryan was diagnosed with PF he tried to play through it for a long time, that’s on the team as well as the player.

      • nats128 - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:53 AM

        jd, when you have 2 balls that arent caught and they arent errors all the runs are earned then you are throwing extra pitches.

        2 of 18 bad starts if we say Brewers and Red Sox and I think we do. The Cubs and Oreos giving up 4 runs each werent great and werent bad. The slippery slope you just fell into is that Scherzer also has 2 games giving up 4 runs and 2 games giving up more than 4 runs. See where I am going with this?

        Where Scherzer has dominated is that he has 14 games giving up 2 runs or less with 5 shutouts.

      • jd - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:10 AM


        I can’t grade pitchers by analyzing each game and each games particulars: here’s what I do know:

        JZim has averaged 6.5 K to 1.6 BB – mediocre, XFIP – 3.89 – OK.ERA – 3.22 – OK.
        Scherzer 10 K to 1 BB – excellent, XFIP – 2.90 -excellent, ERA – 2.11 – excellent.

        2.3 WAR – ranked 20th in the majors, Scherzer’s WAR 4.7 ranked 1st in the majors.

        So if Scherzer is an A JZim can’t also be an A. He simply hasn’t be close to Scherzer in any category.

      • nats128 - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:28 AM

        Scherzer is A+ and I would say JZIm is A-. Like you said 20th in the Majors!

    • virginiascopist - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      I agree with regard to giving poor grades to injured players and that RZim and Werth should be INCs.

      The “so-so defense and just a singles hitter” description sort of reminds me of Lombardozzi, and I would take Escobar over him any day.

      • jd - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:45 AM


        no doubt,

        I think Escobar was a great pickup, I am just pointing out that he has some limitations, that’s all.

  7. jd - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    Interesting read about the Padres:

    • homeparkdc - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:24 AM

      Many, many thanks for posting this link. Jazayerli has prepared the complete “Preller Consommé” cooked to perfection with all the meat, veggies and spices. This article compiles and clarifies the articles I’ve bookmarked about Preller’s character and performance as a GM.

      • jd - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:47 AM

        Amazing that he still has a job. you think the owners have buyers remorse here? and he had the chutzpah to fire bud black. amazing.

      • nats128 - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:06 AM

        The pitching went from great to below NL average and the offense went from worst in the Majors to exactly NL average.

        What happened to that great Padres starting pitching?

        Matt Kemp hasnt been great and the 3 way trade with the Nats/Rays went south when the ROY the Padres received in Wil Myers injured himself.

        Some of the trades didnt work out at all and generally you dont want to say that without giving it more time. The good news for the Padres is they can recoup some prospects by trading Upton and Kimbrel. Not sure what you do with Matt Kemp.

      • homeparkdc - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:26 AM

        jd – re: buyer’s remorse and Preller. These are the 2 best and newest responses I found. I’m sure there’s remorse, but not for public consumption.

  8. jfmii - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:32 AM

    jd, I like Robinson and Moore splitting time (give Moore some AB’s against righties) at first base for the remainder of the season.

  9. jfmii - Jul 16, 2015 at 9:56 AM

    Do. Not. Trade. Storen.

  10. ArVAFan - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    I like the idea of giving Werth an INC. He was starting to come back at the plate when he got hit, and when our crack medical staff’s advice didn’t seem right, he quickly got an expert second opinion. Unlike muscle strain injuries (where you might blame poor conditioning or aggressive playing) it’s hard to blame a HBP injury on the player even in the worst case.

    And as far as we hear, he’s working his tail off to come back as planned (and be useful) on August 1. OK, so he may not be hitting home runs right away–but how many times have we yelled at Desi that a bloop single (or a walk) would be sufficient? No one has to yell that at Werth.

    Could I be wrong? Of course! (I have lots of practice). But I think Werth’s contribution at the plate (albeit less in the field) will still leave him as a valuable player down the stretch.

  11. Doc - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    I’d like to see Ramos’s power return. Until then, he’s a C.

  12. Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    Just do me a favor: If you choose to disagree with any of these, please do so respectfully.

    Man. The things you gotta tell people.

    • homeparkdc - Jul 16, 2015 at 10:50 AM

      LOL Consider the source – Mark’s a subtle guy compared to CBSSports:

      “Feel free to brandish your incorrect opinions and make idle threats in the comments section.”

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:19 AM

        Manager press conferences are irrelevant. Unless they include 79 F bombs, no one pays any attention to what is said there.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:26 AM

        😀 I like that guy’s style.

  13. nats106 - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    Matt rates a C+. The plus is for managing the lineups effectively, but I still think he is a WIP. If you include his pressers, it goes to a C- or D+. A year ago I would have given him a B, but that turns out to be the same thing as giving Obama a Nobel prize based upon what he was going to do.

    That grade goes to a B+ if he gets to the NLCS and an A+ if he gets this team to the WS.

    High expectations generally affects the grading scale for all. None of the other scores matter.

    Oh, wait, one other score does matter. Fans at Nats Park rate an “A” this year. Attendance and enthusiasm has been pretty strong up to now, with regular shout downs of opposing team fans.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:22 AM

      Still too many waves going on for this fan base to deserve an A.

      • nats106 - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:25 AM

        Probably so, but then again, we are near the ocean. Those damn waves in the Midwest used to really tick me off. They are just an annoyance here.

  14. adcwonk - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:22 AM

    From the “grass is always greener on the other side” department.

    Storen, Chapman, and Kimbrel:

    WHIP: Storen is under 1.0, that’s terrific. Chapman at 1.179 would rate behind Barrett, Jansen, Thornton, and Rivero. Yeah, I know, SSS for some of them, but still. Kimbrel is at 1.290

    ERA: Storen 1.89; Chapman 1.69, Kimbrel 3.24

    Saves: Storen 27 for 29, with 2 blown saves, no losses, plus one win (where he pitched a perfect 9th) (Nats have never lost when Storen has pitched — except one game where he pitched a scoreless inning and the Nats were already behind)
    Chapman: 18 for 22, 1 blown save, three losses, three wins (each where he pitched a perfect 9th)
    Kimbrel: 23 for 26, 1 blown save, two losses, one win (where he pitched a perfect 9th)

    Storen, salary $5.7M, free agent in 2017
    Chapman, $8M, free agent in 2017
    Kimbrel, $9M (then $11M in 2016, then $13M in 2017), earliest free agent in 2018

    I know Storen can’t compete with Chapman in terms of MPH, but his other numbers look awfully good in comparison. We ought to appreciate just how good he’s been.

    • nats106 - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      Agree with you on Storen, just a great pitcher and guy all around. However, on my MRPS scale (Mariano Rivera Post season) he still rates a -0-. Simply gotta improve on that number.

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:30 AM

      Some folks are so in love with velocity, they’re on a first-name basis with it. But pitching is about disrupting the hitter’s timing, regardless of how you do it. OTOH, 103 MPH will disrupt the [stuff] out of most anybody’s timing.

      • virginiascopist - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:35 AM

        Totally agree. Been there, done that with HRod — not that we can compare Chapman to HRod.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:37 AM

        Watching Chapman the other night, I wondered out loud “Has he even thrown a pitch below 100??” (He had.)
        Wife said, “That’s Pretty Fricken Bueno, all right.”

    • alexva6 - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:39 AM

      the same people decrying his being left off the All Star term are looking to replace him. I know he has his issues but in terms of needs, closer is not No. 1 on my list, a veteran set up guy is.

      they went into the season with Storen as the closer, he has done the job very well, we’ve got tot dance with the girl we brought. unless she suddenly forgets how to dance.

    • veejh - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:39 AM

      I don’t care what Kimbrel ‘ numbers are this season. I’d gladly have him on our squad and take him over Storen all day and then some.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:46 AM

        I think that’s a difficult position to justify. Might as well get Papelbon at that point.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 16, 2015 at 12:10 PM

        Watched Kimbrel vs. Texas this last weekend in two games. He’s not the same guy he was in Atlanta. He’s not blowing people away with his fastball anymore. Lots of contact. They’re not helping him by bringing him in for f-out saves and tons of pitches either.

        Storen’s the better pitcher at the moment.

      • adcwonk - Jul 16, 2015 at 1:30 PM

        If you take Kimbrel you’re on the hook for a big salary for three years, as well as evidence that, perhaps (sadly) his arm is deteriorating this year.

        No way, imho.

    • Jfmii - Jul 16, 2015 at 1:09 PM

      Thank you for that enlightening analysis

  15. unterp - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    my point is, if Chapman is traded to the Nationals, I believe Storen is gone, that’s all…

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:41 AM

      I agree with unterp there. Rizzo can’t do that to Storen twice, and especially not with Chapman, who’s season to date, and postseason history, are not as good as Drew’s. They are both closers, mid-career. I don’t believe either will thrive pitching the 8th inning. We can argue all we like about how they “should” take it and like it, and platooning closers for matchup makes more sense, but we don’t manage the team, and the guy who does shows no interest in doing that.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:44 AM

        That said, if Rizzo could somehow steal Chapman (which I doubt), I think he’d take him, as would pretty much any GM if he got a bargain rate. I can’t imagine that happening, but the world isn’t limited to what I can personally imagine, is it?

  16. Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    Although … if Kimbrel is indeed available at a reasonable price, and we know Papelbon is ready to chew his own leg off to get out of Philly … which would you rather have? Add Kimbrel AND Papelbon, or add (at least as expensive to get, maybe more) Chapman?

    Papelbon, then Kimbrel, then Storen? Now THAT would be some Nasty Boys right there.

  17. micksback1 - Jul 16, 2015 at 1:16 PM

    mostly agree with mark

    I would give Taylor a B instead of a B- and Teinan and Barrett I would give D+. Other than that, I think Mark is correct. I would actually give Clint and A-

  18. Greg - Jul 16, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    The Nats are hoping Werth and Zimmerman come back and turn their seasons around. But both had averages in the low .200s. Why not just play Robinson in one of their places?





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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