Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

WBC Wrap-up: USA Wins!


United States outfielder Adam Jones grabs a catch above the wall for the out on the Dominican Republic's Manny Machado during the seventh inning of a second-round World Baseball Classic baseball game Saturday, March 18, 2017, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) ORG XMIT: CAGB137

Jones makes the catch of a lifetime for USA; photo via USAToday (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

KW in the previous comments pointed out that I picked against Puerto Rico in every round.  Yes I did.  I’m a sucker for pitching, and I just never thought PR’s pitching staff would take them all the way.  And in the end … it came down to pitching to decide the WBC.

Here’s how the WBC ended up.

(quick links for the WBC:   Official site here, wikipedia site here with schedules, and another wiki site here with rosters).

In the semis: I predicted that the Netherlands and USA would advance, with the Netherlands winning the whole thing.  So what happened?

In the first semi: Puerto Rico and the Netherlands played a pretty entertaining game (side note: why the heck doesn’t Wladimir Balentien get a MLB contract??  He’s destroyed Japanese pitching over the last several years and wasn’t exactly awful during his short stint in the MLB; perhaps he wants to stay over there.  But he’s a beast) that went to extra innings before Puerto Rico walked off with the 4-3 win (using the 11th inning placed runners rules, which certainly make for a quick end to games but seem … well a bit abrupt).

In the other semi, the Nats own Tanner Roark (finally) got the start against previously undefeated (and, really, unchallenged) Japan.  (rant: I hate to be the cynic, but couldn’t have Roark just hung around Palm Beach the last 3 weeks and just show up in LA for this start??  NOW do you see why I hate it when our pitchers get “invited” to pitch in the WBC?).  Luckily, he pitched well, throwing 4+ scoreless innings before making way and thus not getting the W.  The US squeaked out enough runs to win.

In the final, Marcus Stroman (former Nats draftee, I remind you) threw 6+ no-hit innings and the USA bats finally wore down PR’s pitching and won going away 8-0.

Several good post-WBC wrap up columns; one I like from Jim Bowden (yeah yeah boo hiss) where he talks winners and losers, and another good one from Tom Verducci, where he talks about some high-lights and has some intelligent suggestions.

Great event, certainly more exciting and better baseball than we’ve seen in year’s past, and I agree with both Bowden and Verducci that this may have finally been the WBC to “turn the tide” on American participation.  Both visible critics Noah Snydergaard and Mike Trout have done 180-degree reversals on the event which is great to see.

Next up!  Nats roster finalization.


Written by Todd Boss

March 23rd, 2017 at 12:13 pm

15 Responses to 'WBC Wrap-up: USA Wins!'

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  1. At least Murph got a shout-out from Verducci, who still managed not to criticize Leyland directly about it.

    I’ll move this forward from the last set of comments.
    ABs during tourney: Bregman, 4; Harrison, 5; Murphy, 6; Lucroy, 11; Goldschmidt, 13. All of their teams should be PO’d. I’d be particularly so if I were the Astros, as young players really need that Spring Training time. It’s no accident that Dusty has had Trea playing nearly every day. I hope that as a veteran, and an extremely dedicated one at that, that Murphy can do what he needs to do to get ready. Oh well, at least he didn’t get hurt . . . during batting practice.

    FWIW, the Nats drafted Stroman as a shortstop.


    23 Mar 17 at 12:31 pm

  2. Yeah, Murphy probably would have re-considered his participation.

    Nats definitely did not draft Stroman as a pitcher; he became one while at Duke.

    Todd Boss

    23 Mar 17 at 2:27 pm

  3. Fedde through four innings against the Met regular lineup has given up only two hits and no runs. I know this is Palm Beach in March, not Citi Field in August, but the Nats are starting to look like they knew what they were doing when they kept this guy over Giolito. Fedde and Voth may in fact be the 6th and 7th starters in waiting. None of the retreads in camp have looked that great, and Rizzo has started talking opening about not needing a “long man” . . . whether Dusty wants one or not!


    23 Mar 17 at 2:54 pm

  4. Fedde finished with five scoreless. That may be his “closing statement” of the spring with the big club.


    23 Mar 17 at 3:15 pm

  5. I think Romero has made the team. He’s been practically untouchable between ST and WBC and has only walked one all spring. He’s another one who has “closer stuff” if he’s not walking anyone.

    So we’re down to one spot. One decision is coming today (Fri.), as Nathan has an opt-out. I don’t know whether Worley or Guthrie do. Both Worley and Guthrie has pitched in the minors in recent years, so they may be willing to go to Syracuse. If you truly want a “long man,” it’s likely one of those two, probably Guthrie based on what they’ve done in the spring. But if you’re truly taking the best 25, you tell those guys “thanks for coming” and pack Koda for DC.

    Incidentally, although he’s probably not making the team, it’s impressive that Nathan has been throwing in the low 90s despite being 42 and coming off a second TJ. He can still pitch in the majors for somebody.


    24 Mar 17 at 6:56 am

  6. I agree that Romero is on the team. I’ve felt that he was close to a lock given his profile (lhp with big velocity) and options situation, unless he really bombed. But I don’t see Guthrie over Worley. I’m not sure either makes it, but if one does, I think it’s Worley. ST performance is somewhat helpful, but I don’t think they override last year and Worley was useful as a long guy. Definitely don’t see Nathan making it, either.

    As for Glover, I like him too but I think the FG article made sense to me (essentially saying that of all the batters that he’s faced this spring, only 4 are likely to head north with their respective teams). So we knew he could dominate minor leaguers already. I’d hate to hand the closer job to a rookie right away. I’d start with Kelley and then see how it goes.

    KW – weren’t you skeptical on Fedde? I like him, but I wouldn’t change my view either way based on ST. I’d like to see more Ks, to be honest.


    24 Mar 17 at 7:52 am

  7. Yes, I’ve been a Fedde skeptic. I wasn’t thrilled when they drafted him, despite his alleged top-10 status before the TJ. I have also pointed to the success of the three college hitters drafted after him, Casey Gillaspie, Bradley Zimmer, and Matt Chapman.

    All of that duly noted, Fedde finished strongly after getting adjusted at AA last year, including some big K games at the end. He’s only had one bad outing in the spring, and yesterday, he mowed down a playoff-calibre MLB lineup (after the FG article).

    Am I completely sold? No. But as I said at the time of the Eaton trade, I don’t think the team would have let go of Giolito and Lopez if they didn’t have a lot of confidence in Fedde.

    I’m still confused about what they think of Voth. He was significantly better than Cole at AAA last year, yet Cole got the MLB call, then they promoted Giolito and Lopez over Voth as well. Voth was very good early this spring but got sent to the minor-league camp early.


    24 Mar 17 at 8:50 am

  8. One starter-depth issue I haven’t seen discussed (although it may have been, as I don’t read everything) is that Cole can’t be in the Lannan starter-in-waiting-at-Syracuse because of the five-game suspension. If they need him to start, they will have to put him on the 25-man roster six games ahead of time (and have that roster spot filled for the five games of suspension). But they can’t just call him up without a week’s worth of planning.

    Calling up Fedde, meanwhile, would mean a 40-man move, and starting his clock.

    They’re currently at 39, by the way, and presumably will be down to 38 with what seems to be the inevitable CRob DFA. They may not need to add anyone, unless they keep Worley, Guthrie, or Nathan. (Or Albers. No one mentions him, but he’s given up no runs all spring, albeit nine hits.)


    24 Mar 17 at 12:24 pm

  9. Glover hit hard today, which bolsters the argument that he needs more seasoning at AAA. The other argument against him other than the one about how few MLB bats he had faced this spring is that he has logged less than 100 innings as a pro. I just don’t see why so many fans are in a rush to install him as the closer right now. Let the kid get a little more experience and call him up when injuries or ineffectiveness inevitably make it necessary.

    Karl Kolchak

    24 Mar 17 at 7:49 pm

  10. Karl, I don’t discount your points. However, there’s increasing buzz that Glover is not only going to make the team, but that he’s going to be named the closer.

    If Glover is optioned, Guthrie has had the best spring among the long-man candidates. Whether Guthrie or Worley would go to Syracuse, I don’t know. I think Jacob Turner probably will. I’m intrigued by him. He’s not even 26 yet.


    25 Mar 17 at 1:25 pm

  11. I don’t think Glover gets closer to start. He might make the team, although I also think he doesn’t right off the bat unless there is an injury. But even if they see him as closer, I’d see them working him in for a bit before giving him the 9th.

    My money is on Treinen to get the job out of camp.


    25 Mar 17 at 5:41 pm

  12. I would prefer Treinen to Kelley. I’ve argued before for closer-by-matchup, but Dusty seems old-school dead set that he’s got to have one guy.

    If Romero has truly conquered his control issues, don’t sleep on him as a possibility to emerge on the back end at some point. His emergence makes me wish the Nats would move on from Perez, to give them roster space for both Glover and one of the long men, but I doubt they’ll eat Ollie’s $4M. Maybe Ollie can develop a blister that needs two months to heal.


    25 Mar 17 at 9:27 pm

  13. My final roster guesses: In the bullpen, Romero seems like a lock. My guess would be that the final spot comes down to Glover or Guthrie. Albers is still unscathed, but there hasn’t been much talk of him sticking. My preference would be Glover, but if they keep a long man, I think Guthrie has been better than Worley.

    On the bench, I think it’s going to be Taylor. Difo has had a solid spring, though, and has been playing some OF to get to “super utility.” CRob’s utility is quite limited, and he hasn’t done much at the plate, despite a lot of opportunities.


    27 Mar 17 at 5:26 am

  14. New posted to finalize the prospect rankings; will come back to final roster decisions later this week. Nathan and Albers just released though, so that’s good in that Baker won’t be tempted to go with a relic.

    Todd Boss

    27 Mar 17 at 9:47 am

  15. Romero allowed Tebow to make contact, so he’s out! Max (twice) and Glover apparently just abused him.


    27 Mar 17 at 4:49 pm

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