NATS UPDATE (by bledsoe)

Time to take time off from our misery and hope to enjoy other’s miseries. In this case, Washington’s.

I expected the Nats to play somewhat better this year, largely because for the first time in three years, the media hype had subsided and expectations, which had been “World Series or bust,” were lowered to realistic levels. And they have. But, after tearing it up for the first half of the season, the Nats may have discovered that they could very well still be — the Nats.

So, what’s the frequency, Kenneth?

  • Stephen Strasburg has figured it out. Yeah, he’s gotten great run support. But he has finally maybe put behind the “I got a boo-boo” fragile mentality aside.  I have to say, the starts I’ve seen, he’s been lights out.  Almost every hitter starts out 0-2. With Scherzer, they make as good a 1-2 as exists in the NL. With Kershaw hurt, he’s likely to win the Cy.
     
  • Bryce Harper hasn’t. The league responded to his MVP year by just refusing to pitch to him. He was unintentionally intentionally walked for two months (the Cubs walked him 7 times. Not in a series. In a game.) Bryce took it in stride for a while, dutifully taking his base. Then, either boredom or immaturity took over, and they got in his head, and he started to try to hit 7-run home runs every time. He’s now hitting a mere .240, although with 20 taters. He’s completely lost at the plate. The strategy of using the kid’s own arrogance against him is working.
     
  • Daniel Murphy wishes he had figured this out at 25. The batting adjustment he made at the end of the season last year that spurred his Superman performance in the playoffs continues. He’s leading the league in BA, and he’s a clear candidate for NL MVP. In a lineup of mostly stiffs, he’s carried the team by himself, with some help from…
     
  • Wilson Ramos, who can now see. Last year, he was a human out. He had Lasik in the offseason, and he’s OPSing .953. He’s the best catcher in the league right now in his walk year.
     
  • Danny Espinosa is playing very good SS and is STILL not a switchhitter (OPS RH is 100 points higher than LH). Don’t take my word for it – take a look at this debacle, when he can’t even connect with a piñata from the left side. Seriously, if he bats RH, he’s a better than average SS in the league, and he won’t be because his ego won’t let him admit he can’t switch hit.
     
  • Ben Revere, their big offseason acquisition, was supposed to be the tablesetter they have been lacking for years. He hurt his oblique on the very first swing he took on Opening Day. Since his return, he has absolutely stunk (.216/.262/.302).
     
  • Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, the big money veterans, continue to decline into below replacement level players, but must be played because they are making $15 and $21 mil, respectively.
     
  • Jonathan Papelbon continues to bring joy. The trade that Mike Rizzo made to bring in a Closer™ because Drew Storen wasn’t a Closer™ grows more disastrous every day. Papelbon blew the last two games in epic fashion, and given the Cubs’€™ acquisition of Aroldis Chapman, the Nats will surely go out and try to find a new Closer™. Should be fun – they’ve got a lot of coveted prospects who they’ve stoutly resisted trading. Their hand may be forced.
     

There’s a lot of déjà vu going on here, as the Marlins and Mets continue to draw closer to the Nats and the Nats’ collective collar seems to grow tighter each week. Could we see the late season collapse that is the hallmark of teams managed by Dusty Baker? Let’s hope so – we need something as a distraction.

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57 thoughts on “NATS UPDATE (by bledsoe)”

  1. Wonderful writeup. I hadn’t been following Harper, so gee whiz was that a edifying little graf. May the Nats keep setting the standard for underachievement…

  2. @4, No more suffering through anymore Lucas Harrell starts! ;-)

    Wonder who will take his place in the rotation.

  3. I’m sure the high desert inflates numbers, but a .935 OPS looks out of place in our system. Dare we hope?

  4. Yeah, I like that trade a lot. The guy’s young for the level, hitting a ton of home runs, and seems to have a lot of potential.

    We do have a surplus of lefties too, and for better or for worse, the Braves are committed to extracting some of value out of the rotting carcass of Eric O’Failurety.

    I do also wonder who will take Harrell’s spot. They don’t seem to care about what ripple effect trading a starting pitcher has on the roster. Coppy gets a prospect in front of those eye glasses, and he just can’t help himself. Like a kid in a candy store.

  5. @9, Hey, as the resident Harrell hater, shouldn’t you have a list at the ready?

    Looking at Gwinnett, Aaron Blair hasn’t really done much to distinguish his record since he was sent there. Chris Ellis has only two mediocre AAA starts under his belt. 35-year-old Roberto Hernandez was signed recently…he’s had a few decent starts. Rob Whalen has also had a couple good starts now in Gwinnett. Either of those two. But it’ll probably be Casey Kelly.

  6. @14
    Yes. The Gwinette pitching coach is the bullpen coach in Atlanta. I think it’s hurt some guys

  7. “I do also wonder who will take Harrell’s spot. They don’t seem to care about what ripple effect trading a starting pitcher has on the roster.”

    LOL, Rob, not 24 hours after griping about his having a spot in our rotation.

  8. Jim Callis

    I’ll tell you where Demeritte would have ranked on soon-to-come-out @Rangers Top 30: 9th.

  9. Screw the no politics rule–If we get Dozier for Markakis now, I’m going to vote for Coppy for president.

  10. I very much disliked the Markakis deal when we made it, and it looks even worse now than it did the day the ink dried. While Neck is probably one of the 3 best OF the Braves have right now, that’s just because the Braves’ position player talent is historically terrible. If the Braves can dump Neck and get something of future value, they definitely need to pull the trigger.

  11. @16

    Haha, I’m not saying I’m not happy Harrell is gone. I will say, I did not think you could parlay found money like Dario Alvarez and 5 starts of a journeyman into what was, according to Callis, a top prospect.

    Something’s gotta give here, though. Some people can’t keep saying that our backups and mid-level prospects aren’t valuable and then we turn these guys into that. These past two trades give me hope that some of this depth is going to get turned into useful pieces.

    I also really hope this trade signals a clear turn by Coppy. We continued to double down on pitching prospects as recently as the Bud Norris trade, so I wonder if Coppy is starting to say, “Don’t call me if you don’t have young hitters to offer.”

  12. 22, Hunter Dozier of the Royals, power hitting 3B prospect. He was their #8 overall selection a few years ago, but viewed as an overdraft. He struggled for a couple years but then he broke out in a big way this year and has hit 20+ hr in the minors. There was a rumor we were talking Markakis for dozier, but I think that’s absurd for them.

    @25, lots of these guys have value in trade. Look, we got akeel Morris for KJ. We got Gant/Whalen for KJ/uribe last year. We got Dirks for Norris. But, I am still astonished we got this kid for Harrell and Dario.

  13. So, as I humorously predicted the other night, Lucas Harrell has turned into the next Bud Norris. So in comparing the two deals, which do you think yielded the better return?

    • Bud Norris and fluff (Dian Toscano and Alec Grosser) for Caleb Dirks and Phil Pfeifer (A+ reliever having a nice little season)
    • Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez for Travis Demeritte.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/demerittes-been-so-hot-lately-braves-doubted-they-/nr6FT/

  14. Oh Faulty, dear Faulty,
    Doth the inferno of failure blaze?
    Oh Faulty, where is Filthy?
    Doth thou merely tankest these days?

  15. I really kind of like the way this game has gone so far:

    -Trade pieces and future position players hitting well.
    -Folty learning from the failure. When his stuff is on, he’s unhittable. But he’s going to need to learn to pitch when he doesn’t have his best stuff.
    -Bullpen gets lots of reps, and Krol gets his lefty to showcase his value.

    Now, if we can just win…

  16. I suppose we solved the problem of not having enough players in the Futures Game. Travis Demeritte started at second base across from Dansby on the USA side. Now to get the third baseman (Bregman)…

  17. Highly impressive bat break by a very large, angry man.
    Bo Jackson redux.
    Went into his truncated swing at the speed of light.
    Had little if any idea of what was happening, no control over it. Instinctual.
    Magnificent power.
    The raised right thigh, the adjunct to his fury, still intact and operational as soon as he began his walk away. No limp.
    Had it been your thigh, or mine, a thousand pieces.
    The face though, the ultimate pain, self assessed failure.
    Not in our eyes. Memorable.

  18. @34..missed ya

    O Folty! My Folty! thy fearful trip is done
    Thy arm has weathered every smack, the team has somehow won.
    The furrowed brow, the talk with self, conspiracies surround
    But simply stated you’re our man, none other have we found.

  19. Travis Demaritte
    we would all like to believe that this is it
    the excitable prospect of younger power
    all season long? we would probably settle for an hour.

  20. raw power
    a fantasy that grows with every hour
    to some is given
    to us with none all confidence is riven.

  21. KKR

    There was a young slugger named Travis
    who’d interned on Wall Street with Kravis
    but power regulated
    and never thus sated
    he’s chosen on baseball to lavish.

  22. MLB Pipeline already had Demeritte as No. 9 on our top 30, above Touki and below Maitan. Holy wow.

  23. @47, Lest we forget, we acquired Touki in a similar scrap heap deal for Paul Gosselin. Gotta give him credit, Coppy sure knows how to turn bullshit into gold.

  24. There’s a chance that a PED user that strikes out 30% of the time might not actually be gold.

  25. Wait you do care about it in the minors, I had forgotten they had a draconian policy because they don’t have a union to fight BS like that. You can smoke all the weed you want in the majors. Maybe that’ll be good incentive for him…lol.

  26. @50 Do you have a source for the assertion that Demeritte was taking the masking agent for marijuana use rather than a PED? I Googled but couldn’t find anything on the substance(s) he was supposedly trying to mask.

    @52 Minor league baseball levies serious fines for positive marijuana test results – the Cardinals’ Alex Reyes (he of the 100+ MPH fastball at the Futures Game) got hit with a 50 game suspension for weed. There is no such suspension policy at the MLB level.

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