Nationals Arm Race

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

Minor League Rotations: Good and Bad Starts

42 comments

Voth has looked pretty good so far. Photo mlb.com official

Voth has looked pretty good so far. Photo mlb.com official

We’re now a couple turns through the four full season minor league rotations and I thought i’d take a quick gander at what the “rotations” looked like, with some short sample size judgements as to who has come out of the gate hot or not from a stats perspective.  I have not seen any of these games, just looking at milb.com’s stat page.  So feel free to add in any personal opinions :-)


 

AAA/Fresno 2019

The rotation is looking like: McGowin, Copeland, Voth, Espino, Alvarez, with Dragmire as a spot-starter and Joe Ross having been yanked up to MLB bullpen duty (replaced by Alvarez).  Espino returns to the fold, having signed elsewhere as a MLFA a couple years back.

The Bullpen is looking like: AAdams, Rainey, Hoover, Nuno, Self, Cordero and Bacus (recently promoted to replace Austen Williams, himself promoted to cover for MLB injuries).

Who’s hot: Voth and McGowin have started well out of the rotation, Voth sporting a 16/1 K/BB ratio and McGowin 12/2.  I’m liking the first start from off-season signing Copeland too.   In the bullpen, Adams has 5 innings, 1 hit and 11 punch outs while Hoover has yet to give up a hit (though.. he’s walked 7 guys in 6 innings).

Who’s not?  Dragmire.  In three appearances so far, he’s pitched 9  2/3rds innings, given up 21 hits and only struck out 3 guys.   Ouch.  In the bullpen, both Rainey and Hoover have more walks than Ks so far.

Who’s next guy to get the call?   Honestly, it might be time to give Adams another shot.  His numbers merited the promotion moreso than Williams (who has the highest ERA in Fresno).  Next time there’s a spot start you have to think Voth is putting his name first in line.

Who’s getting the Axe?  Dragmire seems to be in trouble; he’s a MLFA re-signing so I can’t imagine the team has much invested in him, especially now that Alvarez and Espino are in the AAA rotation.


 

AA/Harrisburg 2019

Rotation: Crowe, Fedde, Sharp, Mapes, Braymer*, with  swingman/spot starts by Baez and MSanchez (who we get back after having flipped him for Jimmy Cordero on the AAA squad).

Bullpen: Bourque,  Brinley, Condra-Bogan, JMills*, RPena,  Guilbeau*, ABarrett (Bacus already promoted).  Great to see Barrett back here and hope he can re-contribute at the MLB level.

Who’s hot: Crowe and Fedde in the rotation: Crowe’s given up just 6 baserunners in his first two starts, Fedde just 7.  Mapes has an 11/1 K/BB ratio in his two starts.  In the bullpen, Barrett and Condra-Bogan have been solid.

Who’s not?  Sterling Sharp has a 6.30 ERA through 2 starts.  Bourque and Gilbeau have elevated whips but they’ve only thrown a handful of innings.

Who’s next guy to get the call?  I think Crowe may merit a promotion to AAA if he keeps this up for the rest of the month, perhaps to cover for injury or if one of our veteran guys exercises an opt-out.   We know Fedde is staying put to serve as the Nats 6th starter.

Who’s next to get the Axe?   Nobody really; Sharp has the highest ERA but he’s a solid prospect who is in AA at age 23.  We may have to keep an eye on Guilbeau; 2019 is his make-or-break season after two successive full seasons in high-A.


High-A/Potomac 2019

Rotation:  Johnston, Borne*, Tetreault, Raquet*, MPena, LReyes with swingman/spot starts by Howard*,  ALee,

bullpen:  Acevedo, Bogucki, Fuentes,   McKinney,  Bartow,

Who’s hot: Tetreault and perhaps Malvin Pena in the rotation, McKinney & Fuentes in the bullpen.

Who’s not?  Reyes’ first start was not good.   Bourne’s sporting a 2.31 whip so far.  And Howard has given up 12 hits in 6 IP.

Who’s next guy to get the call?  Nobody really screaming for a promotion so far; if you had to pick one of each i’d go with Tetrault and Fuentes (who is just 21 but has started great).

Who’s next to get the Axe?  Reyes struggled last year in AA; if he can’t get guys out this year in High-A he’s not long for the league.  Borne missed all of 2018 but is repeating a level and is now 25; its put up or shut up time.


Low-A/Hagerstown 2019

Rotation:  Alastre/Day, Adon, Cate*/Tapani, Irvin/Teel*, FPeguero/AGuillen, Strom/Stoeckinger*

bullpen:   German,  Fletcher*

Lots of “tandem” starting going on, though the roles seem to have settled into the “starter” going 4-5 and the tandem guy typically going 2-3.  So its likely at some point the tandem guys either move into starters or purely bullpen roles.

Who’s hot: Peguero and Cate.  Peguero has 10/1 K/BB in 10 IP while Cate has struck out 12 in 9.   Both the “relievers” in Hagerstown have been solid: German sporting 8 Ks and a 0.75 whip in 4 games, and Fletcher an even better 0.53 whip in 3 outings.

Who’s not? Alastre; the opening day starter has 11 walks and 12 hits given up in his 12 IP of work.  Adon’s first start was a struggle; he’ll get another crack at it tonight before passing too much judgement.

Who’s next guy to get the call? I’d promote Peguero and Fletcher first from each group.

Who’s next to get the Axe?  Alastre is only 20, but is repeating low-A with similar results to last  year.


 

XST names of interest

  • Where is Istler?    He was solid in AA and even had some AAA time last year
  • Where’s Jhon Romero?
  • Pantoja?  I wonder if he’s been released as a 25yr old and we just havn’t seen it updated on milb.com yet.

42 Responses to 'Minor League Rotations: Good and Bad Starts'

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  1. Whelp, McGowin is looking quite as good any more, although I liked him in his call up last year.

    but Fore’s Joan Adon had an encouraging start, which is good to see.

    In the non-pitching dept, Wiseman must have slept in a Holiday Inn over the winter. Dude is raking unlike maybe any other time in his life. Good for him

    Wally

    16 Apr 19 at 1:24 pm

  2. *McGowin isn’t looking quite as good

    Wally

    16 Apr 19 at 1:25 pm

  3. AAA: Adams has only given up one hit and one walk (!!!) in five innings while striking out 11. In short, he’s been awesome. If he’s truly figured things out this time, he should be on Half Street by the end of the month. Voth is the only Fresno starter who has done much to write home about. McGowin has been up and down.

    AA: Crowe is the story here. I had some concern that he had hit his ceiling last year, but he’s definitely taking a step forward and is looking like a legit MLB prospect. Fedde actually struggled in his first start, but the no hitter made his overall stats look a lot better. A Harrisburg commenter on Nats Prospects claims that Sharp’s stats got blown up by a double that should have been called foul that led to a four-run inning. I’m more intrigued by Braymer, a power lefty rising in an organization with few decent portsiders. Condra-Bogan has been strong in the ‘pen. Still not sure whether to start believing that Barrett can make it all the way back.

    A+: Slim pickings, across the whole roster, not just the arms. Tetreault is a touted guy who is making strides. Reyes got bombed again yesterday and is fully in career-reverse. In the ‘pen, keep an eye on Fuentes, who has 13 Ks in 7 IP.

    A: Fletcher and Teel sure look like they should be starting over some of the guys who actually are. I’ve been high on Fletcher all along, a Friday starter for a quality program at U of H. Good to see Cate off to a good start after post-draft struggles last summer. Stoeckinger is another touted lefty who struggled last year but looks better now.

    Istler: ??????? I thought he would be in big-league camp. I’m pretty sure that Fore said he saw him WPB, so he does still exist. Some of the other returns from last summer salary dumps are off to good starts, though: Harrison, Lara, and Condra-Bogan.

    KW

    16 Apr 19 at 1:51 pm

  4. This team is going to be bad until Soto gets going. He is key to the whole lineup and he’s been pretty bad so far. Impatient, jumpy, pull happy. They’re screwing with his mind with the soft stuff. He has to adjust.

    We need to get him and Rendon going at the same time to be formidable.

    I feared Dozier would be an Uggla and those fears are coming true.

    I think Rizzo and company take pride in the fact they’ve never had to admit to the really albatross contracts. They always play the money in key spots in the lineup no matter how bad they’re playing. Has hurt them in the past with Werth, and slumping Zimms and Harpers.

    Just play Howie everyday, admit the Dozier mistake, sit Zimm against righties and ditch the cute pitcher #8 trick. And hope Turner is effective when he gets back.

    And just pray for the bullpen. I don’t know how Williams went 11 scoreless in spring training. His stuff looked small yesterday. I’d take his spot in the pen and just rotate anything from the minors there with plus stuff that might be a lottery ticket for a few weeks. Just keep throwing Rosenthal out there and hope something clicks. That wild 100 mph at least frazzles the nerves of the opposing hitters.

    Marty

    17 Apr 19 at 9:34 am

  5. Yep, not liking the body language of this club at all. They got the two big wins in Philly but then came home and fell apart. They were supposed to make hay against PIT and SF but currently 1-3 and not managing to score more than three runs a contest.

    Start Kendrick and Adams and bring up Kieboom. Not sure what they’re waiting for. My next bullpen trial from Fresno is Austin Adams. He can’t be any wilder than Rosy. (For the record, I still think Rosy will “find himself.” He’s not H-Rod; he does have a track record of effectiveness.)

    KW

    17 Apr 19 at 10:13 am

  6. It’s far far too early to give up on Dozier and “admit a mistake” (although it’s impossible to disagree that he’s been terrible because he’s been terrible). You must resist the urge to overreact to 15 games. There’s a strong case, however, to start Howie more. I’d be comfortable with a 50/50 split, or even a 60/40 split in favor of Howie. Dozier needs to get regular ABs, though, because Howie has value as a 4th OF.

    The situation at 1B is different. Adams should start against righteys at least 2/3 of the time even when Zim is going good (which he is not, right now; he had two dreadful MAT-esque Ks on breaking pitches last night).

    And if this is what a Soto slump looks like, then that’s okay. The concern is that this is closer to normal. Again, it’s just 15 games, so far too early to draw conclusions.

    Derek

    17 Apr 19 at 11:51 am

  7. I think you absolutely admit a mistake give up on Dozier in the 2 hole. he’s not #2 hitter by any measure last year, this spring, and now. let him bat #8 if he’s lucky enough to get above .200 and hit a few meaningless home runs. Bat looks slow… eyes looks slow.

    Marty

    17 Apr 19 at 12:17 pm

  8. I have said a few times in recent weeks that I thought Dozier was one of the wild cards for this team. If he were to regain his 30+ HR stroke, it would be a significant boost for this club. I haven’t given up on him, either, but right now, it’s hard to argue that Kendrick isn’t the better option.

    As for Soto, no one seems to want to discuss it, but it strikes me that a big part of his “problem” is that the guy behind him in the order is slashing .188/.298/.271. It doesn’t take Joe Maddon to realize that you don’t give Magic Juan anything to hit at a time when Zim is so tied in knots. Soto is desperate to make something happen and is expanding his strike zone at times. (At other times, the ump last night expanded it for him, which doesn’t help.) Maybe Soto needs to move up ahead of Rendon, or perhaps try Robles in the #5 hole.

    No, it’s not panic time, but it is time to try some different things and perhaps give some guys a little more pine time than they’re used to. There are too many good teams in the NL East to be bowing to sacred cows and not trying to hurt any feelings.

    KW

    17 Apr 19 at 12:18 pm

  9. Just FWIW, I looked at NatsTalk and they’re discussing this all over the place today. It’s hard to ignore, though. SOMETHING has to be done about the Zim and Dozier problems.

    KW

    17 Apr 19 at 12:54 pm

  10. I agree that Dozier shouldn’t be hitting #2, but, as you point out, the reasons for that are (1) his performance over the last year-plus, not his performance so far in 2019, and (2) there are other, better hitters on the team who should hit above him in the lineup – again, because of lengthier information about track record. Still, I’m not going to get all that agitated about the batting order. Who plays is FAR FAR FAR more important than the batting order.

    I don’t think anyone in the Nats org thinks Dozier is a sacred cow. If his poor performance continues, we’ll absolutely see more of Howie. I suspect there’s some concern about playing Howie too much coming off injury. It’s hard to evaluate that from the outside. Still, we need more Howie in the lineup. Zim, on the other hand, is a sacred cow and should be starting less against righeys, full stop. I am not confident we’ll see that change made unless there is an injury.

    But really, the single biggest error that KW and I keep harping on is the failure to address the gaping hole in the lineup that is Wilmer Difo. There’s absolutely no reason to expect him to hit, and there’s a good hitting middle infielder in AAA who we reasonably expect ought to be able to hit substantially better. Maybe Kieboom can’t stick at SS long term. For a team that won divisions with Ian Desmond playing SS – the same Ian Desmond who has played exactly 14 innings at SS over the last 3+ seasons since he’s been out of the organization – it can absorb sub-optimal SS defense for six weeks if it means Wilmer Difo doesn’t get 4-5 ABs every night for those same six weeks.

    Derek

    17 Apr 19 at 12:59 pm

  11. I agree a tick up in defense is never worth a horrid bat. See Espinosa, Danny. Last night Difo shortened his swing and soft stroked a couple past the infield. If you are going to play him, I would make that approach an order or cut him. if Difo ever hits another shallow fly ball it’s one too many.

    I’ve talked about slumps and Zimm is so obvious to see when he’s on one of his extended down cycles. I’d play him one or twice a week most until it’s obvious he is seeing the ball better.

    Soto, we have to stop making excuses about protection for him and others as is often done. Some of the games best hitters like Freeman etc, never have all star protection. Just realize the situation and stop swinging at garbage. Soto needs to concentrate on left field hitting for a stretch. i guess it’s hard to do when you’re pressing.

    Marty

    17 Apr 19 at 1:28 pm

  12. There are actually fewer sacred cows on this team than there have been in a long time, but Zim is the holiest of the holy. I don’t think he’s done — and when he’s hot, he’s still capable of coming close to carrying the team — but when he’s cold, he’s still never learned how to still contribute (something Soto already seems to understand). So go to a straight platoon at 1B and then reconsider if/when Zim gets hot against LHP. But we all know this isn’t going to happen.

    The resistance on bringing up Kieboom is mind-blowing. There’s no logical reason/argument against it. I’m tired of jumping up and down about it.

    Soto will be fine. He’s one of the least of my worries. But what could it hurt to give him a few games with Rendon behind him?

    1. Eaton-RF; 2. Kendrick-2B; 3. Soto-LF; 4. Rendon-3B; 5. Adams-1B; 6. Robles-CF; 7. Kieboom-SS; 8. Gomes/Suzuki.

    KW

    17 Apr 19 at 2:02 pm

  13. If Zimm and Rendon are your team leaders, that’s big trouble. Slow heartbeat guys. That may be what TalkNats referring to on recent article re Rendon. Stats are different than leadership and clutch.

    Rendon seems to be different now in a good way without the glare of Harper hype whitewashing the team. He is off to the rare hot start for him. He would have made a few all star teams if he ever started like he finished.

    But Zimm is such an excuse maker. He seems very at ease with his cold streaks thinking the hot ones make up for it. He seems very at ease with the struggles of baseball in general. But I think the cold streaks outweigh hot streaks. Especially in the heart of the lineup. That approach has made Zimm a lot of money, but Charles Howell III is very successful too but not like a tournament winner.

    Baseball has had a way for years with hiding bad hitters at the bottom of the lineup so they don’t kill rallies by the better hitters. Hits need to come in bunches. We have a lot of pressure relief valves for opposing pitchers.

    Marty

    17 Apr 19 at 2:51 pm

  14. Howie Kendrick. Matt Adams. Any questions?

    Dozier and Zim will both have roles to play as the season progresses. But at this time and place, Kendrick and Adams provided a big boost at a key time.

    KW

    17 Apr 19 at 10:15 pm

  15. I’ve really been pulling for Austen Williams, but it’s clear that he’s not ready for prime time. Time for Austin Adams to get his turn.

    KW

    17 Apr 19 at 10:16 pm

  16. Back to minor-league pitching, another solid start yesterday by the guy at the top of this page. Not sure what the pecking order is right now for additional MLB starters, but he guess would be 6. Ross; 7. Fedde; 8. Voth.

    Another perfect inning from Austin Adams yesterday as well.

    And . . . a perfect day from Carter Kieboom, now slashing .422/.536/.711. Why, oh why, isn’t he in DC? In the immortal words of F.P.: “He ready. Call him up!”

    KW

    18 Apr 19 at 9:28 am

  17. While I agree about Kieboom, it pales in comparison to the bullpen issues.

    I dunno, maybe I am getting old, but I am so tired of bullpen issues year after year. It really is a Rizzo blind spot. And while I might just be overreacting, it feels like bullpen losses are the worst kind to take as a fan. So disheartening, and even if they don’t blow it, you wind up worrying about it anyway so it reduces your enjoyment of the wins. I don’t need a lights out bullpen, just be a normal one. I don’t think I can keep watching on their current pace

    Wally

    18 Apr 19 at 1:20 pm

  18. Look, I’ve been trying to stay open minded about this, but I’m afraid I’ve reached the end of the line.

    Martinez is a problem and I think they should fire him. He has no ability to manage a pitching staff. Admittedly he hasn’t been helped by the bullpen construction, and I don’t know if he picked his own staff or Rizzo did, but they certainly aren’t providing him any help. But the guy is going to kill the few pitchers who can be effective, from starters to relievers. I expect Doolittle’s days as an elite reliever are over, for instance. He’s now starting to blame the players openly, which is never good.

    He has to go. I’d bring up Knorr rather than one of the retreads on the major league staff but at this point, anyone will do.

    I greatly respect Mike Rizzo, but what is with him and managers and bullpens. He is as bad at those things as he is good at everything else.

    Wally

    18 Apr 19 at 5:08 pm

  19. Wally, if I’m remembering correctly, at the end of last season, I placed the most blame on Martinez for the failed season, while you tipped the scale more toward the injuries. Why the sudden turn against Davey?

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but I’m also not convinced that this is time for a change. The Nats are only 1.5 games back after what seemed like a hellish start to the season and now get their first crack at the lowly Marlins.

    I’ve complained about the bullpen as much as anyone, but I don’t necessarily blame Rizzo for poor construction of it. Frankly, bullpens are a crap shoot. It’s almost impossible to predict the rise of a Matt Albers or a Justin Miller to solidify things. Yes, Rosenthal was a risky and expensive move. But the Phils spent more on Robertson, who looked like a surer bet on paper. He’s been bad and is now hurt. Barraclough has had a few bumps but has a 1.42 ERA and was acquired for literally nothing (international money that the Nats were going to be prohibited from using).

    Meanwhile, Corbin looks as good as advertised.

    Am I pissed that the Nats have already blown three or four games that they should have won? Yes. But I’m not ready to call for a big change yet. Martinez still has a lot to learn, though, and his learning curve seems to be slow. We’ll see.

    KW

    19 Apr 19 at 8:55 am

  20. The team is 8-8 through 16 games, with a bullpen that can’t get anyone out and having faced the following slate of starters: deGrom, Snydergaard (twice), Nola (twice), Archer, and Taillon. Plus they’ve gone against guys like Eflin, Velasquez, Williams, Samardzija and Pomeranz, who aren’t Cy Young candidates but who are throwing pretty well. That’s a tough slate of arms to face for any team.

    Its still pretty early.

    From here they get Miami, Colorado, San Diego and St. Louis. that’s two last place teams, then a very young team whose rotation you couldn’t pick out of a lineup in San Diego, then an aging team in St. Louis whose best starter is 37-yr old Wainwright.

    I think the Nats are about to get a lot healthier.

    Todd Boss

    19 Apr 19 at 9:59 am

  21. I’m not sure if Martinez is dictating things or Rizzo is re pitcher usage and lineup construction.

    But the problems compound. The crap lineup with Dozier at #2 and a cold Zimm at #4 or #5 killed rallies, so it put extra pressure on the pitching staff too. Our starters had to work extra hard pitching in close games with no run support. And close games caused us to use and burn our best relievers too. A few more comfortable wins and Doolittle would not be used so much.

    Interesting that when we acquired Melancon, Dusty just wore him out, pitched him every day and just abused him like the rental car he was. He hasn’t been right since.

    The definition of a can’t lose situation is when you can’t do any worse than what you’re doing. So why not try every live arm in the minors at that last bullpen spot Williams is occupying or the one Ross not using. We might get lucky with one who proves to have the mettle at the MLB level. That’s how the other teams create hot relievers out of nowhere.

    Marty

    19 Apr 19 at 10:44 am

  22. My sense is that they brought Ross up to be the “long man” — and told Martinez that he was there for multi-inning situations — and then the starters had a good run where there haven’t been multi-inning needs, but Davey won’t use him because he’s the “long man.” Sigh. At least he has shown some willingness to use Doolittle in non-save situations, and at time in the 8th when the game has been on the line. This is a refreshing change of stance from Dusty and Matt, but on the flip side, he’s really riding Doo hard, and he’s starting to show the strain . . . in April.

    Austin Adams has to be the next man up. He’s been lights out at Fresno. Several relievers have been good at Harrisburg, including Barrett. Guys with options are Suero (who has been mostly good), Williams (who hasn’t), and Ross (who has barely been used). Interesting, Grace has the best xFIP among all Nat pitchers, despite the 8.10 ERA.

    KW

    19 Apr 19 at 11:04 am

  23. Why do I blame Martinez now? I can’t say, specifically. I just think managers should put the players in the best position to succeed, and he doesn’t do it. Granted he’s had to deal with a lot of pitching adversity, but the fact that we can have the most (and best) starter innings with the fewest IPs by the bullpen, yet also have the worst bullpen, seems an indictment of him. And also with pretty bad overuse of the one or two guys who done even remotely well.

    There’s so much creative thinking going in baseball, and we just don’t seem to be at the forefront of any of it. Ross is an example – why doesn’t he come in yesterday and close out a 4-0 game? Instead Doo gets used yet again.

    We have problems with high leverage innings, and our starters are our best pitchers? I dunno, try openers? Squeeze by 2 innings in the beginning, mess with the opposing lineups, and maybe then have the starters go straight to Doolittle? I’m not sure that any of this is the answer, certainly, but he doesn’t try anything. He just sends the starters out, pitches them as long as he can with really high pitch counts and then tries whomever the last person who pitched well is regardless of how frequently he pitched. If the guy doesn’t beg off, he’ll use him regardless and just say ‘he told me he could go’. He doesn’t seem to understand or care that a pitcher does not want to be perceived publicly as saying ‘I ’m not willing to go’, so a good manager will save them from themselves and think about how to get through an entire season.

    Aw, whatever, i’m Complaining too much, so i’ll Stop. Crappy bullpens just suck the life out the game for me

    Wally

    19 Apr 19 at 12:03 pm

  24. I certainly agree with the disappointment that the only “innovative” thinking Martinez seems to have is the silliness of batting the pitcher 8th. The two biggest gripes everyone seemed to have about Dusty were his pushing the starters too deep and overusing certain members of the bullpen. Well, we can rinse and repeat with Davey. His chatter in the spring about wanting to get longer outings from Hellickson and Sanchez defied all statistical logic.

    Todd cited the opponents against whom the Nats should make some hay over the next two weeks, but most of May is brutal: at PHI, at MIL, at LAD, Mets, Cubs, and at Mets. They have only one (1) day off during that stretch.

    On the flip side, the Phils, Mets, and Braves have all already come back to earth a bit. Let’s see, #3 is hitting only .250 with an Espi-esque K rate and only one homer since April 2. Can you imagine the howls of discontent here if we had locked him up for 13 years? The Phils have gotten an unexpectedly strong April from Arrieta but not good ones from Nola and Pivetta, which have to be concerning to them.

    KW

    19 Apr 19 at 1:48 pm

  25. i agree that the Nats have a good team and will be in the hunt, and I am not overly disappointed with the record. And fwiw, I think they are going to get a Rendon deal done.

    The lineup is good and pretty young. I think Zim will come around, too and be a reasonably productive hitter, though I’d also like Adams on the field more. And Robles looks like he is everything he was advertised to be.

    Wally

    19 Apr 19 at 2:24 pm

  26. I am surprised that Arrieta has the good results he’s had so far but I’m confident it won’t last. A starter who has 5.79 K/9 and 3.86 BB/9 is simply not going to be successful long-term.

    The NL East features three elite starting pitchers who have had poor results so far: Syndergaard, Strasburg, and Nola. I’m least concerned about Syndergaard and most concerned about Nola. Syndergaard and Strasburg’s peripherals (K and BB rates) both line up with their career norms. Strasburg’s had a bit of a velo dip, which is why I’m more worried about him than Syndergaard. Nola appears to have fallen off a cliff, with a walk rate more than double what he’s done in the past. Unless he starts to pitch better, I’d be concerned about an underlying injury.

    The Phillies have clear and present problems with their starting pitching. Before the season, they had one guy they could reasonably count on to be better than average (Nola) and he’s been terrible so far. Unlike other good pitchers in the Division who have had poor results, Nola’s are well-deserved and non-fluky. There is real crash-and-burn potential here with their rotation. I’d say that the Phillies need Kuechel even more than the Nats need Kimbrel (and the Nats need Kimbrel very badly).

    Derek

    19 Apr 19 at 2:48 pm

  27. Also, I’ll echo the questions about Ross’s usage. I suspect that’s not on Martinez, however. The failure to use him is not only a lost opportunity to have a good pitcher get key outs, but it’s a total waste of a roster spot that could be used on someone who hits better than Wilmer Difo (yes, I know, that horse is dead already. But Wilmer has had a number of extra base hits recently, so I’m going to continue to keep pointing out that he can’t hit).

    Derek

    19 Apr 19 at 2:53 pm

  28. Yes, I referred to him as Wilmer “Slap” Difo on Nats Prospects yesterday just a couple of hours before he homered. So I, too, intend to keep insulting his hitting! Even with his recent “power surge,” his wRC+ is 78, right in line with his career level of 74. He is what he is, which isn’t a lot.

    KW

    19 Apr 19 at 3:56 pm

  29. And then they go out and lose to the worst team in baseball, scoring only two runs while starting Zim, Dozier (who did homer and hit the ball hard another time), and Difo (0-3 with 3K). On a positive note, Joe Ross emerged from witness protection to pitch two strong innings, and Austin Adams is up for Austen Williams.

    KW

    20 Apr 19 at 8:16 am

  30. Team needs Soto to carry them. Especially if they’re going to keep playing Zimm, Doz, Difo.

    Soto needs to start expressing his talent everyday like he did last season. He’s had more bad ab’s this year already than he did all of last year.

    What if the Nat’s did something very un-nat’s like and brought up the hottest hitter in all of minor leagues in Jacob Wilson? Try to catch a guy on a hot streak for once even if just for a couple weeks. This kind of stuff might keep guys motivated in the minors. Reward a guy who’s not the “it” guy young prospect.

    Marty

    20 Apr 19 at 12:43 pm

  31. If losing the first 2 games if this series is not a wake-up call for this team and organization, hard to understand what more could they be waiting for. The vibe of the team is simply not that of a WS contender. Is it too late? No absolutely not; but, I feel as if this team is moving in an HOV lane towards another dissapointing and lost season.

    It may be time to move on from DM, Lilliquist and even Rizzo. New approach at the bench, with our pitching staff and with regards to organizational strategy and decision-making.

    With regards to the team:

    (1) Zimmerman’s role could be enhanced in another direction (i.e. part-time coaching duties), along with a reduced role on the field against some LH pitching. At the very least no WS contender can be successful with Zimmerman in the middle of the order (and let us not enter his impact on our infield defense).

    (2) Time to move away from Difo and make Dozier our utility IF. Besides his ever more glaring limited playing ability, I do not believe he brings additional intangibles that would be missed.

    (3) Re-evaluate our bullpen in a thorough non-biased way. Time to move on from failed experiments.

    (4) Call-up Kieboom. Let him start the rest of the season. In the bullpen, Nuño, Jennings and Voth should be potential call-ups.

    Go Nats!!!

    LH

    20 Apr 19 at 10:25 pm

  32. The Marlins had only won 4 of 19 games before the lowly Nats arrived in town. This is embarrassing.

    KW

    21 Apr 19 at 7:41 am

  33. Much-needed vintage Stras on Sunday, and perhaps vintage Zim if you count two pop-fly homers. If they get him going, though, whatever works.

    On the flip side, Soto is really pressing, now down to .237. He looks like he needs a day or two off, but with Rendon out, it’s hard to give them to him.

    KW

    21 Apr 19 at 7:17 pm

  34. Finally, they call up Carter Kieboom! I hope this is more about replacing Difo and less about Rendon potentially heading to the IL.

    Derek

    25 Apr 19 at 7:36 pm

  35. Better late than never! This was such a no-brainer, but then it was three weeks ago as well . . .

    KW

    26 Apr 19 at 12:40 am

  36. Considering how much the rest of the NL East has struggled over the last couple of weeks — blessedly keeping the Nats in contention — it seems all the more like a missed opportunity if Kieboom could have been the difference in at least two or three games during that stretch.

    Now that he’s up, we get to the other rub in all of this — they have to PLAY him. They called up Trea more than once, ran his service-time clock, and left him on the bench!

    KW

    26 Apr 19 at 8:45 am

  37. New posted about Kieboom. Agree though, despite all our complaints about the team … they’re only 1.5 games out right now.

    Todd Boss

    26 Apr 19 at 11:14 am

  38. Tetreault just kicked butt in first 4 starts in High A with a 1.23, 22 inn 3 runs 17 k. Just left For Harrisburg AA, Sunday, started Monday night earning his first win with 5 inn, 3 h, 2 runs. Potomac will be sorry to see him go!

    natsguy

    30 Apr 19 at 10:51 am

  39. https://theathletic.com/953756/2019/04/29/on-rosenthal-rendon-and-why-the-nationals-always-seem-short-handed/?source=dailyemail

    Great article in the Athletic about the Nats right now. Thanks to a very curious handling of Rendon’s arm injury, the team has basically been playing with a short bench for more than a week. And thanks to Rosenthal’s issues … they’ve been playing with a short bullpen too. Which we can all see the results of: overuse of fewer bullpen guys, over exposure of other lesser bullpen guys, etc.

    I can’t keep bitching bout the manager. Boswell summed it up pretty well in his chat yesterday, noting the corner the team painted itself into and now excuses on a near daily basis.

    https://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-boswell-20190429.html

    Todd Boss

    30 Apr 19 at 11:28 am

  40. https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/04/nationals-select-dan-jennings-place-anthony-rendon-on-il.html

    Jennings Added
    Austin Adams DFA’d
    Rendon (finally) to IL.

    probably 3 moves that each were about a week over due. Kinda surprised about the Adams move; if you were going to ask me which 40-man reliever was first to get the axe i’d have said Cordero, not Adams (who has struck out 20 guys in 10 AAA innings). he had similarly amazing K/9 rates last year too.

    Todd Boss

    30 Apr 19 at 3:33 pm

  41. Where’s the love for this young gun Tetreault, Who’s stuck in an earlier article by Todd Boss says is plummeting. Good call Todd! You obviously have done your homework on this kid. He is now in Double A Harrisburg as a starter throwing to a 1.93 era after a promotion from High A after only 4 starts and a 1.23 era. You probably made your evaluation of Tetreault, after the first half in Low A where he threw to about a 4.5 era but what you failed to recognize is that in the second have he threw to a 2.53 era earning a promotion to High A. Tetreault is one of the fastest movers to double A in all the 2017 draft, a JUCO player at only 22 years old. The rest is history. Again, Great call Todd!

    natsguy

    14 May 19 at 12:24 pm

  42. […] last checked in a couple weeks into the season on 4/15/19, so we’re just about a month past that post.  Lets revisit where we […]

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