Nationals Arm Race

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

Nats 28-man, 40-man and 60-man announcement observations


Romero back in consideration.  Photo via

Romero back in consideration. Photo via

Nats have announced their 60-man roster for the new, weird 2020 season, and the announcement has all sorts of new and weird names.

As I’ve updated the Big Board for all these moves, here’s some observations about those names added surprisingly, and those equally surprisingly left behind.

First off; the team has named their “28-man” roster and we have some telling facts as to who did and did not make it

  • SP: Scherzer, Strasburg, Corbin, ASanchez, JRoss, Voth
  • RP: Doolittle*, Hudson, Harris, Rainey, Suero, Elias*, Harper, AWilliams
  • C: Suzuki, Gomes
  • INF: Turner, Cabrera, Kendrick, Castro, Thames, Zimmerman, Difo, CKieboom
  • OF: Eaton, Robles, Soto, Taylor
  • 60-day DL: Sanchez (achilles)

So, we first see the end of the original spring training “battles.”  Austin Voth has indeed beaten out Erick Fedde for the 6th starter spot.  Austen Williams has held off other 40-man guys like Aaron Barrett and newly acquired Kyle Finnegan for the last bullpen spot.  Wilmer Difo was gifted the last utility man spot over Adrian Sanchez, who apparently has torn his Achilles Heel and probably mises the entire season.  And lastly (no real suprise here but) Michael Taylor has apparently beaten out Andrew Stevenson for the 4th outfielder spot.  No other real surprises here.

This leaves the remaining 10 players who are on the “40-man” but not on the active 28-man roster:

  • SP: Fedde, McGowin, Braymer*
  • RP: Finnegan, Barrett, Bourque
  • C: Read, Barrera
  • INF: Noll
  • OF: Stevenson

So right now the 40-man sits at 38 players.

Next, we have this new list of players now on the “60-man” roster.   Here’s a nice primer on how the 60-man roster will work, but in essence the 60-man pool defines who can and cannot play on the major league team in 2020, and 60-man additions/removals now involve waivers as if they were already 40-man players.

So, who is now on the Nats’ 60-man roster?  A whole slew of original 2020 Spring Training NRIs plus a bunch of new ones.  Here’s the list by position:

  • SP: Cate*, Crowe, Espino, Fuentes, Irvin, Romero*, Rutledge
  • RP:  Abad, Adon, Bacus, Cronin*, Eppler, Freeman*,Guerra, Quackenbush, Wells*
  • C: Castillo, Reetz
  • Inf: Garcia, Snyder
  • OF: Bonifacio, Hernandez

So that’s another 22 players on top of the 38 40-man guys, equaling exactly 60 players.  Nine of these players had to be newly-invited to spring training (see the june transactions for these players), and they all happened to be arms.  Here’s some thoughts on these 9 newly invited players.

  • Joan Adon; may seem like a curious choice, but he’s Rule5-eligible this coming off-season (a 2016 IFA) and showed some promise as a full time starter last year in Hagerstown.
  • Tim Cate has impressed so far, forcing a promotion last year to high-A.  He’s only ever started for the team, but as an undersized lefty may be a bullpen piece at some point going forward.  He’s the kind of guy who could feature in the MLB pen this year before returning to the rotation next summer in AA.
  • Tyler Eppler was a MLFA signing who was pretty effective as a starter in AAA in 2018, then missed all of last year.  I’ll bet he could be a spot starter or middle relief guy right now in the majors.
  • Jake Irvin could be a bit of an aggressive invitee; he only pitched at Low-A last year and I’m not sure he’s ready for MLB hitters.  He’s not in rule-5 jeopardy for another year; a curious call-up.
  • Jackson Rutledge is another perhaps pre-mature call-up; he was our 2019 1st rounder and only threw 37 pro innings last  year.  Do they really plan on featuring him in the majors this year?
  • Matt Cronin was basically unhittable last year, giving up just 2 runs in 22 innings in his pro debut at Low-A … but it was Low-A.  Of course, he is a reliever and may be able to feature in short stints effectively, but he is some what surprising to see called up here.
  • Steven Fuentes is a favorite among Nats prospect-watchers, who missed time last summer thanks to a PED suspension but still put up stellar numbers and somehow passed through rule5 after showing some pretty dominant stuff there.
  • Seth Romero is who he is; we’ve all drawn our lines in the sand with him.  He’s likely here because of the investment the team has made in him, and the fact that he’ll be rule5 eligible this off-season.  I sense the team is rapidly attempting to figure out just what they have with the guy before they consider whether to protect him on the 40-man roster next fall.
  • Nick Wells is another interesting call up; he’s through six pro seasons now and has yet to get out of A-ball.  But he’s a lefty and perhaps the team sees some lefty reliever in him.


Lastly, here’s some of the players who did NOT get added to the 60-man (at least not yet; If i understand the rules correctly they can be added later, but someone else on 60-man then has to correspondingly be dumped):

  • Original 2020 NRIs like Jacob Wilson, Carlos Tocci, Taylor Gushue, Brian Bonnell and Jhonatan German: most of these guys are still under contract, but a couple (Tocci and Bonnell) were MLFAs and might be on the cut line.
  • Other MLFA signings who didn’t make the cut, guys like Jecksson Flores and rule5 addition Manuel Geraldo; wonder where they stand going forward.
  • Mario Sanchez; after all the consternation of whether to protect him, and whether he was a MLFA or not … he’s not on the 60-man
  • A slew of long-serving minor league farm hand hitters, guys like Cole FreemanNick BanksRafael Bautista, Rhett Wisemann; what does the future hold for these guys?
  • Jackson Tetreault; he was so good in high-A but struggled in AA, and is passed over for guys who didn’t even make it to high-A last year.  He’s also rule5 eligible; not that I think he’s in jeopardy of being taken, but I wonder where he stands with the org now.
  • Drew Mendoza: he’s gotta be loving the new DH rule; if he’s the hitter he’s supposed to be, why isn’t he in camp somewhere?


Good to have some moves to analyze.



Written by Todd Boss

June 29th, 2020 at 10:39 am

Posted in Nats in General

148 Responses to 'Nats 28-man, 40-man and 60-man announcement observations'

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  1. The strangest numbers are there are 6 catchers and only 7 outfielders (!!!).
    Go figure.

    Jacob Wilson and Drew Mendoza are the biggest omissions.

    Mark L

    29 Jun 20 at 11:13 am

  2. Not sure I would read a lot into the “28-man” considering there’s nearly a month from now to Opening Day (hopefully an uneventful month, but do we ever get that lucky in this brave new decade?). Williams in particular seems like a bizarre inclusion. There are also two more active roster spots that may or may not be filled (and two open spots on the 40-man, as it happens).


    29 Jun 20 at 11:39 am

  3. Also, Eppler played in Japan last year. He was…not amazing.


    29 Jun 20 at 11:41 am

  4. A technical point — Fedde and Stevenson (and others) had already been optioned in March. I have NO idea about the new rules of the road now, but their option for 2020 may have already been considered “burned.” With Ross and Voth out of options among the starters and Taylor among the hitters, Fedde and Stevenson getting sent out seemed inevitable in the spring barring injury or terribly poor performance.

    That said, and considering that maybe they want Fedde regularly “stretching out” at Fredericksburg, it would seem with an abbreviated run-up to the season that starters won’t be going deep into games, with multi-inning relief work often needed. In that case, why in the heck is Austen Williams in that role over Fedde? Why is Austen Williams in ANY MLB role at this point? I mean, if I had a prospective DFA list, it would be Williams, Barrett, and Difo, in some order. They must have really seen something in Williams in the spring that wasn’t reflected in his stats. About the only benefit I see of having Williams on the active roster is that he has an option available so wouldn’t have to be DFA’d. But then neither would Fedde . . .


    29 Jun 20 at 12:14 pm

  5. I’ve re-done the big board to basically just have ‘active’ and ’60-man’ roster going forward. there seems to be no point in attempting to maintain any of the minor league rosters.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 20 at 12:53 pm

  6. Baseball America posted an analysis of our 60-day roster and expressed “surprise” that Denaburg and Cavalli weren’t on it. Really?? You think Denaburg has any shot of pitching in the majors this year? Or Cavalli??

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 20 at 1:16 pm

  7. It honestly would surprise me more for the Nats to have decided to carry Williams than for the hamsters to have forgotten to take Williams off the “active” roster.

    Of course, since this is still preseason, there is no “active” roster as such. There’s the 40-man roster and the 60-man player pool, with the active roster to be constituted for Opening Day against the Yankees on July 23.


    29 Jun 20 at 1:18 pm

  8. @Todd Boss – Seems worth noting everyone in the player pool has at least pitched in full-season ball. That means no 2020 draftees, no Rutledge, no Eddy Yean, no Jeremy De La Rosa, none of the 2019-20 international amateurs, etc.


    29 Jun 20 at 1:19 pm

  9. Sorry, Denaburg, not Rutledge, obviously. I have oatmeal brain this morning.


    29 Jun 20 at 1:20 pm

  10. Now Zim has opted out, and I don’t blame him. I know folks will point to Drew Mendoza as a possible DH, but they don’t really need another INF. Nick Banks makes more sense to me.

    Maybe they can plug Zim in from home to do virtual broadcasts with Bob and FP.


    29 Jun 20 at 4:19 pm

  11. yeah, can’t blame Zimmerman at all. I hate the fact that his announcement is now going to be natioanl news with everyone’s hot takes for the next few days.

    Todd Boss

    29 Jun 20 at 4:40 pm

  12. Todd Boss

    29 Jun 20 at 4:41 pm

  13. Ross is a blow, but I don’t blame anyone for making that call right. Presumably, Fedde steps into Ross’s roster slot, and Voth pretty much “wins” as 5th starter.

    I have heard reports that at least three or four other (unnamed) Nats are still considering opting out.


    29 Jun 20 at 7:12 pm

  14. Nick Wells’ first year in the bullpen was 2019, after having been traded. He was a high draft pick, so the organization would have known about him already. And having been traded twice, including once in a major league deadline deal, there are people who believe in his arm. I’m not hyping him, I’m just distinguishing him from other folks for which there is no explanation. The cynic would say that the Austin Adams deal was a very dumb move, so this is how a proud Rizzo shows his hubris. I have no opinion.

    As for Romero and the aforementioned discussion of his ceiling, neither Lange or Houck is on the 60 man of his team. Whether this reflects on their respective ceilings, he is demonstrably the only one of the three that will attract investment by his team. But that is the Red Sox and Tigers issue of their player development. Clearly Denaburg, another first rounder, was not on the list and could have been. But to be fair, he was coming out of high school and less developmentally advanced. Romero has controlled his weight, followed the team program and rehabbed his injury (no guarantee, says Aaron Barrett), and so exposing him to the fine points of the training and professionalism of the Nats veterans is a great thing.

    Eppler to me is a big surprise, but I guess the team knew Ross was not going to be on this list and wanted to go 10-11 deep on starters that they think are AAA proven.

    Otherwise the most obvious omissions to me are Justin Wilson, Johnathan German and Jecksson Flores. Any of them, however, could be off for COVID reasons.

    It feels to me like the Nationals could yet pick up a castoff, for outfield-IB-DH bat depth, since they let go of even Williamson, Zimmerman is opting out, and Yadiel’s spring was disappointing. For this reason, Gushue being left off for bat alone is a bit surprising. But again, maybe he has a Zimm issue.

    I can’t see the wisdom of Mendoza, instead of a pickup who could more realistically help at the major league level.

    With Ross out, and the numbers affording another addition, Voth at #5 and Fedde #6, let’s see how confident Rizzo is with McGowin-Crowe-Braymer as next tier. I haven’t given up on McGowin as a starter, but I admit I root for players from non-baseball hotbeds who persevere. So I have a bias with him (as I do with Yadiel).


    30 Jun 20 at 11:23 am

  15. Keep an eye on the Nats 2020 Amateur haul. They sogned the NAIA player of the year a few days ago, Zach Cornell, a power hitting outfielder who has a self-made career going for him.

    Nice template the Nationals are going for of high production players. Just a question of which lower level competition will translate into the pro game.

    Eric Senior did not make it, but they were high on him last year and he played well at Auburn, often batting third in the lineup. And he is a nice person. His release to me suggests another issue, and I wonder whether his baseball career is not over.

    Cornell’s numbers were like video game over the top this year. So at 20K, it’s fair to peg him based on his production and trajectory as someone the Nationals might have been taking late on Day 2 or early Day 3 in another year. I wonder whom the last NAIA player was to make it….


    30 Jun 20 at 11:30 am

  16. Just saw on Twitter from Cade Cavalli’s family that he got the call to major league camp in D.C. So I guess that’s one of the open spots on the player pool filled. Wonder if Cole Henry takes the other or if it’s a position player for Zimmerman.


    30 Jun 20 at 3:07 pm

  17. Holy guacamole, the Padres gave Cole Wilcox $3.3M. As a third-rounder!


    30 Jun 20 at 3:24 pm

  18. Sao, that’s about 1/20 pick value for Wilcox, more than the Nats gave Cavalli. No wonder no other team wanted to touch Wilcox with a 10-foot pole. I see that Ginn signed for $2.9M as the 2/52 pick, which is 1/23 money. The Mets got Crow-Armstrong to sign at slot (surprisingly) and made two $20K picks so were able to swing both Crow-Armstrong and Ginn . . . a strategy we had sorta kicked around for the Nats.


    30 Jun 20 at 3:40 pm

  19. Todd and anyone else….. How does Cole Wilcox compare to Cavalli?

    Glad Cavalli was called up; he won’t pitch in any meaningful games but it will help his development.

    Mark L

    30 Jun 20 at 3:42 pm

  20. BTW — MLB has now changed Cole Henry’s signing bonus to $2 million. Makes sense, as he had all the leverage.

    Mark L

    30 Jun 20 at 3:46 pm

  21. In the end, it’s about whether you will rise to that value. If Wilcox becomes a #1 or #2 caliber starter, he’ll be worth it. But the unwillingness by other teams to sign him may not have been their value of him, but rather the bonus pool they had to work with. In this way, MLB’s differential bonus pools and dropping expensive “talent” help lesser teams to potentially catch up. But the Padres knew what they were doing, and good for them for trying.

    The Nationals got whom they could with Henry and Cavalli, seeing as they valued Infante as well.


    30 Jun 20 at 3:50 pm

  22. that’s great news on Cavalli – thanks!


    30 Jun 20 at 3:51 pm

  23. Fore — yes, I’m really surprised that German wasn’t one of the invitees, as he was in MLB camp in the spring ahead of a bunch of more touted guys, including some who are now on the 60-man.

    Overall, I’m scratching my head at why they’re not going with more advanced relievers, like German, Condra-Bogan, and Andrew Lee. I mean, all of those have a lot more pro experience than the recent draftees who haven’t pitched above Hagerstown, or at all as a pro (Cavalli). It looks like they’re just making it a glorified mixer for some of the higher level prospects. If they got to the point where Rutledge or Cavalli is starting an MLB game . . . their team and their chances would be so decimated that it would be nuts to be burning service time to let them pitch.

    As I’ve said, if I were calling any 2020 draftee to camp, it would be Powell, an experienced reliever. You want prospects who might have a (way) outside chance at the majors this year? That’s the experienced relievers — Cronin (and Powell, were he in camp). Rutledge and Cavalli walk way too many guys right now to be trusted in a real relief situation.


    30 Jun 20 at 3:55 pm

  24. I have no idea what they’re going to do on the hitter side, both on the MLB roster and the 60-man. If you’re just filling a 60-man slot, you’re pretty much looking at either Jacob Wilson (who should have been there over Noll in the first place) or Nick Banks.

    They have no one who could replace Zim’s bat on the MLB roster. Only outside chance of that if we got the Fresno version of Yadiel Hernandez, who was terrible in spring training. I mean, the most likely additional roster spot going forward would be Stevenson or Difo, but good grief, neither is in the same area code of even an aging Zim.

    The dark horse? In 2017, Welington Castro hit .282 with 20 homers in only 96 games, but he wasn’t particularly good in 2019. Still, if they want an experienced MLB hitter who can fill a DH/PH role, plus free Suzuki to PH when he’s not starting, don’t sleep on Castro ending up as an option.


    30 Jun 20 at 4:08 pm

  25. Mark — I think Wilcox and Cavalli were viewed similarly as high-end physical talents who never had particularly great results in college. Both were reported to be more hittable than their velocity indicated they should have been. Wilcox is 11 months younger, and that extra year of developmental time might prove useful with this lost minor-league season. Really, though, I think they were/are pretty similar. Cavalli obviously seemed more sure to sign, considering how far 29 teams let Wilcox drop.

    If you look at college results, even in the same conference over the same 1.33 seasons, Henry was significantly better than Wilcox and has more advanced secondary pitches. I don’t know that it was really the Nats taking Henry “over” Wilcox in the second round anyway, though, as they couldn’t have scraped together enough money to sign both Cavalli and Wilcox.


    30 Jun 20 at 4:16 pm

  26. Thanks, KW, I wonder these days if any of us will be able to watch the taxi squad in Fredericksburg.

    Right now the answer is no but that may change. Even the KBO is starting to let fans in at a 20-30% capacity.

    Mark L

    30 Jun 20 at 6:15 pm

  27. I doubt there would be attendance at MiLB parks unless and until there is at MLB ones, but who knows? Even when/if the league allows it, admission and stadium quotas will be subject to state and local regulations, which are varying widely right now.

    But yes, I would be interested in trekking to Fredericksburg if they actually have some semblance of games, and if they’re open to fans.

    It does occur to me that the Nats seem to be using part of the taxi squad as a partial minor-league “season” for their better prospects, or at least an instructional league. (If so, perhaps Drew Mendoza will be added.) I imagine they have concerns about their pitchers getting in enough innings to maintain the progression of 20% a year or so for young arms, although one does have to wonder if a year off might not be just as beneficial for said arms.


    30 Jun 20 at 6:53 pm

  28. MiLB season now officially cancelled.


    30 Jun 20 at 7:13 pm

  29. Nats have announced signings of:

    RHP Zach Brzykcy, out of Virginia Tech
    OF Zach Cornell, out of Southeastern
    1B Jackson Coutts, out of Rhode Island
    SS Gio Diaz, out of St. Mary’s College
    OF Landon Dieterich, out of Mary Hardin-Baylor
    INF Brian Klein, out of Texas Tech
    SS Quade Tomlin, out of Liberty Christian Academy
    C Ray Torres, out of San Jacinto College North
    RHP Edward Ureña, out of Western Oklahoma State College


    1 Jul 20 at 11:24 am

  30. Been checking the signees everyday. That’s where the action is and whattya know, the nationals keep bringing in high grade talent at 20K.

    Sao (thank you for your TalkNats article, by the way), in addition to your list, the nats have signed local product Quade Tomlin, one of the top high school players in Virginia. Congratulations to the Nationals and their staff. I’m very pleased with what I am seeing.

    For those of us who are fixated on prospect signings, Brzykcy is the fifth highest prospect signed as a NDFA. Again, the best players will continue to surface, and the more the good ones sign after extended negotiations, the more likely other baseball-career motivated players are to jump in the boat. The Nationals are being very deliberate about adding talent, getting mostly people with outstanding production. Tomlin, for example, is a power hitting shortstop.

    This is going to be an outstanding 2020 haul when all is said and done.


    1 Jul 20 at 12:02 pm

  31. Tomlin the son of former Pittsburgh Pirate Randy Tomlin, and of course we know the Nats love bloodlines.


    1 Jul 20 at 12:04 pm

  32. Kinda shocked at some of these signings. I just heard about the Quade Tomlin signing this morning from a class-mate of his, ironically. I had no idea who she was talking about until i googled it.

    Todd Boss

    1 Jul 20 at 12:05 pm

  33. Many may feel differently, but many religious parents do not feel the same about a college atmosphere as they once did (especially given the inhospitable thinking in academia), nor do parents with entrepreneurial mindset. The calculus is that now, a year lost of top baseball development is more valuable an asset. But three of the last Nats signees were very religious, including Tomlin. This reflects upon character, to be sure, but it may also raise the issue of how parents are reacting to what they see coming out of today’s campuses, and whether college education is all that it is meant to be for baseball-career driven folks.


    1 Jul 20 at 12:12 pm

  34. Tomlin’s father was a coach in the Nats minor league system. That’s cool


    1 Jul 20 at 12:14 pm

  35. updated the big board and the draft tracker for the NDFAs; only two new ones that I didn’t already have.

    Cavalli may be headed to the 60-man roster to replace Ross.

    Todd Boss

    1 Jul 20 at 12:14 pm

  36. Brzycky was relief pitcher of the year last year in Cape Cod. Not bad. Keep em coming.


    1 Jul 20 at 12:16 pm

  37. forensicane

    1 Jul 20 at 12:17 pm

  38. Tomlin was at LCA and committed to Liberty; it doesn’t get more “religious” of a college than that. And if you don’t know much about the atmosphere on campus at Liberty … well do some googling. if you’re a “religious parent” there pretty much isn’t a more safe atmosphere for your kid out there.

    I’m kinda shocked Tomlin passed up college for $20k frankly.

    Todd Boss

    1 Jul 20 at 12:18 pm

  39. Useless observation: while cleaning up the big board:

    I noted that there are 18 starting pitchers on the nats 60-man roster and exception lists (meaning, including ross). Of those 18 pitchers:
    – 7 are first round picks
    – 3 are second round picks
    – 3 are IFAs
    – the rest: a 4th, two 5th, one 10th and one 18th rounder.

    just such a premium on 1st and 2nd rounders.

    Todd Boss

    1 Jul 20 at 12:21 pm

  40. Todd, we’re saying the same thing about Liberty (the family is clearly religious minded), but I’m referencing Klein and Cornell, who have real developmental helium.

    You have to wonder whether Tomlin would have signed if the Nationals were not keeping him closer to “home” and the offers were coming from, say, California teams. Just food for thought.


    1 Jul 20 at 12:32 pm

  41. Would I piss some people off if I suggest that Tomlin might — “might” — turn out to be better than the overpriced Infante? Probably. Tomlin certainly seems to have a more developed power tool at this stage, and he’s younger.

    Brzykcy is part Marc Rzepczynski, part Nuke LaLoosh. His college CAREER BB/9 was 10.9! But he also had a 13.9 K/9. Curiously, he hardly walked anyone his summer on the cape and was terrific.

    Klein is a senior signee with great eye at the plate and doubles/gap power in a Power Five conference. I wonder how well he hit Cavalli!

    Impressed most by: Cornell, Tomlin, Torres


    1 Jul 20 at 1:05 pm

  42. I didn’t make the connection about Tomlin’s father. Tomlin & Paul Menhart were considered the top 2 coaches the Nats had in their system. He left organized baseball because he had a special needs child that he could no longer leave for months at a time.
    The Nats said at the time that he was welcome back anytime. Well, I guess he did come back in a ways and knowing the system had to help to trust his son with.

    Mark L

    1 Jul 20 at 1:30 pm

  43. Mark L – your last post is for the comPost that is Barry Svrluga and how he has built his clicks on his periodic schoolgaggle “Nationals organization sucks” and “no one wants to play for them” that we used to see for articles.


    1 Jul 20 at 2:24 pm

  44. fore, I remember an interview that Randy Tomlin had with the Post after he had been forced to retire from coaching and I was moved by it.

    I can’t find it but here is a good interview he had with the Harrisburg Patriot & News in the spring of 2012. My memory is a bit faulty; it wasn’t a special needs child but his wife’s illness and 3 young children, (my bad) that sent him home.

    The big club wasn’t very good yet but the system was percolating very well then and there was great hope.

    Like Todd, I was a bit stunned that a 17-18 year old would skip college for 20k. Tomlin the dad is very trusting of the Nats to take care of his young son.

    Mark L

    1 Jul 20 at 4:08 pm

  45. He will not be the last high schooler who comes our way for 20K.


    1 Jul 20 at 6:44 pm

  46. And Happy Bobby Bonilla Day to all!


    1 Jul 20 at 8:03 pm

  47. From an SI post on Facebook: “65% of MLB players make $1 million or less. Bobby Bonilla’s $1.19 million puts him in the top 35% highest paid players in 2020.”


    1 Jul 20 at 9:05 pm

  48. Castillo out. Have to think that another right handed bat will be added. Now that the 60-mans are out, we know who may bob to the surface. Where’s Heisey when you need him?


    3 Jul 20 at 2:34 pm

  49. Worth remembering the Dodgers tried to pawn nutcase Puig off to the. Are to get Harper, then fleeced the Reds while dumping him. Stay away!


    3 Jul 20 at 2:36 pm

  50. fore, we were talking about that fiction that ‘nobody wants to play for the Nats’.

    It turns out that Brzykcy had 23 clubs that tried to sign him and he chose the Nats. He has to be thinking that the Nats can harness his electric arm.

    He would have been a 6-10th round pick and he had 2 years of eligibility left so we’re fortunate to get him.

    Mark L

    3 Jul 20 at 5:27 pm

  51. Svrluga – the essence of fake news disguised as clickbait. They never apologize for the folks they slander and poison people they ruin. They are never held accountable. The Lerners have had great forbearance with these clowns, especially when you consider the outcomes of many decisions, most recently the lower cost hiring of Martinez, the treatment of Dusty Baker, and other challenges.

    Sickening, and always has been.


    3 Jul 20 at 5:40 pm

  52. Anyone who was an Expos fan, and frankly is a Redskins fan, should realize how lucky we are to have the Lerners as owners and Rizzo as GM. I’m not at all suggesting Rizzo is perfect, but if one has a top-5 GM, they should be in contention every year, and to me, Rizzo is a top-5 GM.


    3 Jul 20 at 5:41 pm

  53. Amen.

    Mark L

    3 Jul 20 at 6:00 pm

  54. Castillo hit .209 last year, so it sorta would have been wishful thinking that he could bounce back to be a significant contributor. It’s curious that they haven’t yet named a hitter to replace Zim, much less Castillo. Maybe they’re looking around to see which free agents are in shape. I’m still scratching my head at why Nick Banks wasn’t on their initial list, not because I think he’s any great shakes, just that he’s pretty easily the “best” of the rest of the upper level hitters. Taylor Gushue also hit well last year and is a catcher, but if they’ve already bypassed him on the list for Reetz, who hasn’t played above A+, then you’ve got to think that they’re not too excited about Gushue, for some reason.

    Farther on down the food chain, I would invite Drew Mendoza over Cole Freeman. Freeman is a spark plug, but his ceiling has always seemed very low.


    4 Jul 20 at 7:21 am

  55. But it sure seems to me that this is all spitting into the wind with the virus case numbers setting records by the day.


    4 Jul 20 at 7:22 am

  56. In reality, a COVID-19 positive test is going to take someone out of circulation for less time than a knee sprain. Sixty man rosters will make for shuffling in, but that will be followed by the outs shuffling back in.


    5 Jul 20 at 12:20 am

  57. Updated the Big board for the moves. By my count here’s where we stand:

    Active roster: 26/28 (JRozz and Zimmerman out)
    40-man roster: 36/40; we sat at 39/40 when this started, then Ross, Zim, Sanchez off.
    60-man roster: 58/60; we started 60/60, 3 opt-outs then Cavalli addition.

    its gonna be a challenge to keep this up to date with all the moves I think. :-)

    Todd Boss

    5 Jul 20 at 9:24 am

  58. On the covid situation … more positive tests announced every day, more opt-outs too.

    You have to ask; what does the league do if one team suddenly has a spike and like half their 25-man roster is suddenly sick? From a competitive stand point, is it fair for that team to have to continue to march on with 60-man roster players? Is that really what they want to happen?

    Jayson Stark had the same question here:

    Todd Boss

    5 Jul 20 at 9:26 am

  59. The hand wringers would rather have no baseball at all? Seriously?

    Teams fight injury bugs. This will be no different. Let’s face it – 1% of all tested came in positive. And when teams get hit hard, there are plenty on the waiver wire who are dying to play. It was only last year that there were 25 man rosters, with all of those on the outside, looking in. If you really want to think poetic justice about it, a few may be people who were frozen out by baseball’s free agent economics of 2018-9-20 or even, pitchers who’s careers died because sign stealing caused them to implode….


    5 Jul 20 at 11:13 am

  60. We all have our perspectives, and mine may be wrong. But I am a physician, live in New York City, A small business with staff, have had folks whom I know well die of COVID, Have isolated as much as most, and with that feel that prolonged shutdowns of any business sectors have to be avoided for the overall good of society. The consequences of the shutdown in every sector have been enormous, sad, and altogether unreported while the insipid and agenda-driven press pushes hysteria, lockdowns, alienation, and pushes us to hate one another rather than to rebuild with arms linked.

    Again, those who disagree are respected, but that informs my perspective.


    5 Jul 20 at 11:19 am

  61. There is plenty of player inventory. Why, baseball had even been talking expansion before this crisis. Stars will fall, as they do every year. New players will rise who would have been trapped as AAAA typecasts. That’s baseball!


    5 Jul 20 at 11:22 am

  62. And it starts. 2 of the nats players ALREADY have tested positive:–spt.html?src=rss

    Todd Boss

    5 Jul 20 at 1:44 pm

  63. If we recalibrate perspective with 60
    Man rosters, the process will be a lot like college football and how teams respond to injuries. Twenty two starters, one goes out, everyone on the team has a next man up mentality.

    In a way, this is an interesting measuring stick of a farm system. To what degree will each team’s upper minors provide needed backfill?

    Lest we forget, there were players who were let of the Nats spring who were cut to oblivion and may be yet healthy. (Or not). Like Hellickaon, etc.

    Everyone has the same challenge, and here again, the Nata being a great organization is a plus to attract players looking from the outside in. There are plenty of OF/IB/DH types.

    If you think we have problems With COVID, imagine being a Yankee fan with the news on Tanaka.


    5 Jul 20 at 4:00 pm

  64. fore, if you’re a M.D. in N.Y., you have my undying admiration. Talk about life in the trenches!

    Mark L

    5 Jul 20 at 5:44 pm

  65. The link Todd shared also has Doolittle still debating whether he wants to opt out. He would be a big blow. Plus the two unnamed Nats who tested positive presumably will be quarantined for most of the training period.

    I keep forgetting that Jacob Wilson isn’t on the 60-man. He would seem to be the most experienced/decent hitter not already on the squad.

    I still think they’re going to have a hard time getting everything aligned to play, at least by July 24.


    6 Jul 20 at 7:00 am

  66. David Price and Nick Markakis opt out, Aaron Nola quarantined. Those are some significant pieces for their teams.


    6 Jul 20 at 11:55 am

  67. Now MLB has a full-blown testing fiasco. I love baseball as much as anyone, but this exercise of trying to do it right now seems like spitting into the wind more and more every day.

    If the stars were to align for them to actually have a sprint season, the circumstances have given the Nats’ aging team extra rest and a good chance at defending. The biggest question would probably be whether they could generate enough offense from other sources to compensate for the loss of Rendon.

    But in the current climate, it’s hard to see how it makes any sense.


    6 Jul 20 at 12:56 pm

  68. Shut it down. This just isn’t gonna work.


    6 Jul 20 at 5:39 pm

  69. Sao, I tend to agree. I mean, the two WS teams cancelled workouts yesterday due to no testing. Kris Bryant, one of the faces of the league, said it “wouldn’t surprise him at all” if they shut it down. It’s a major black eye for the league to have been so ill-prepared.

    And yet the Nats seem to have drawn a favorable schedule . . .


    7 Jul 20 at 7:21 am

  70. I interact with people for work and business. I assume risk and take preventive precautions like a responsible adult, and don’t need others to control them. I practice separation and operate in sectors that do as well.

    The alternative is for me not to earn a living and for my sector to not operate, with all of its derivative consequences.

    So count me in among those who oppose shutdown and appreciate the value of free speech (Rizzo) to poke responsible authority (Manfred) to better protect a league that is of far greater societal value than liquor stores.

    Notwithstanding that we’ll have to deface the Hall of Fame because half of the generation of Ty Cobb and others were likely racists, baseball is the national Pastime and an essential component of everyday American life. It is not religion, it is not a hospital, but if Gov. Newsom can keep his winery open while shutting down Cali, we can find a way to have an MLB where players have the freedom to play or not play. Certainly I would rather furlough media, a fairly useless industry that is happy to shut down others’ earning potential rather than its own, before shutting down MLB.


    7 Jul 20 at 12:20 pm

  71. Now Soto and Robles are isolated after having come in “close contact” with as-yet-unnamed teammate who tested positive. Does that mean they’re isolated for 14 days, only cleared a couple of days before the alleged season is supposed to open?

    This is crazy, and dangerous.


    7 Jul 20 at 12:20 pm

  72. How is it dangerous to isolate them until they are no longer a risk? How is it crazy? Under this rationale, every workplace should be closed. When people develop antibodies and are post-transmission period, what is the risk to them going forward?

    Has anyone considered what baseball must have been like in wartime with players like Ted Williams out and in the service? Baseball must have been constructive and helpful to the nation at a difficult time. The country needs sports. Sports bring people together and let off steam.


    7 Jul 20 at 12:33 pm

  73. As long as people who do not have a fever and test negative can check me out at the grocery store while wearing masks, I’m cool with batters facing away from catchers and the occasional rundown.

    Remember, there were a large number of stars who were working out together in Florida for an extended period leading up to current summer training, including Scherzer. In that non-professional environment, there were no spawning epidemics. I respect the individual choices of those who withdraw, and those who take the risk so that the show goes on.


    7 Jul 20 at 12:38 pm

  74. If it makes you feel any better, @forensicane, a bunch of people in media *are* furloughed and business closures are crushing local newspapers that depend on advertising revenue. So you might get your wish, in which case I guess we’ll just learn what is happening in the world from Karen and Steve on Facebook.


    7 Jul 20 at 1:18 pm

  75. Local news closures happened long before COVID. Furloughs were for lack of business and the inability to travel, not because the news media was deemed “non-essential,” because those who preen before cameras need them to preen. We don’t need anything but information. Their endless analysis and moralizing is TOTALLY non-essential.

    Business closures cause loss of advertising budgets which affect those who need advertising to survive. Like media, which then gets furloughed. Or, if you are electively demonetized by Google, you get furloughed.

    Corporate media emphasizes outrage, clicks, in your face infotainment, and groupthink. It cares not of news. There are several remaining responsible media and responsible journalists, speckled here and there. Some who are “formerly” in the media have a following because they inform from their own platforms, because they are still connected. They inform and so they find their audience. We fortunately live in an age where data is ubiquitous and available and we can avail it ourselves if we wish to.

    However, they are drowned out by the “analysts” who tell you that the blue sky you see is really orange, and that if you do not see it that way you are somehow defective. Whatever their names or orientations, depending on analysts as a substitute for thinking based on data is the antithesis of free thought.

    I’m an advocate for free thinking, not eradication of industry. It is pretty entitled, however, for the hysterical to advocate taking money out of others’ hands when they themselves get a safe paycheck.


    7 Jul 20 at 1:53 pm

  76. Nightly news anchors and the “chattering class” aren’t representative of the media sector even if they’re its most visible members. They’re raking in huge salaries in an industry where most people get paid less than the average schoolteacher(!). And, of course, they’re rarely doing the actual hard work of uncovering the truth and holding the powerful to account. They just look good and have nice voices. Good work if you can get it.

    On a more on-topic note, I read today Jake Lowery has officially retired and taken a job in the Nats organization as a minor league coach. No surprise there!


    7 Jul 20 at 5:30 pm

  77. The concessions folks, ushers, ballpark cleaners, ticket takers, etc. are the ones hurt most by the lack of baseball, but hardly any of them will be helped by the prospective restart as now proposed.

    I don’t want to get into a political debate. I personally am very concerned. Others personally may not be. I love baseball, and I very much miss having the Nats as a part of my summer routine, but not to the point that I think the rewards of resuming it right now outweigh the risks. MLB isn’t ready to handle what it’s trying to do, as the immediate testing fiasco shows. The players are really concerned, and if the testing doesn’t improve, I expect a lot more of them to start opting out.


    8 Jul 20 at 9:02 am

  78. For me, the issue is whether playing MLB creates a risk that society will not be compensated for. I don’t think it does, so I think it’s perfectly fine for MLB to try and re-start. Although I respect (and absolutely do not question) those players who opt out of playing this year, the ones that do decide to play are being compensated for the risk they are accepting by playing. Yes, some players are compensated better than others. And compensation will be lower this year notwithstanding the health risks to players will be higher, which from a player’s perspective might be backwards. Yet, these are reasons for individual players not to play; they are not reasons for society or the public to claim MLB shouldn’t be played at all. The reason we shut down schools/restaurants/etc. is because there’s no way a private transaction can account for all the risk those activities cause: the people who go to those places can spread the virus to others, which can result in a large number of infections of people who received little or no benefit from the activities where the virus was contracted. I think the same is far less true of MLB games with no fans. The sport is establishing a lot of restrictions/protocols to ensure that any outbreaks within the sport are limited and do not spread. So long as the risk is low that any “inside baseball” infections do not lead to “outside baseball” infections, I have no problem with MLB trying to restart the season. I am a bit skeptical they will be successful, however, because I think it’s going to be hard to keep players un-infected.


    8 Jul 20 at 9:49 am

  79. Derek – I appreciate your points. I would also add that for players, taking a competitive year off is a risk of erosion of skills and for some, may be a career killer or the difference between a career as a starting caliber talent and someone who does not quite get there. Comparable success after a prolonged layoff is hard to recapture. Given the economics of baseball, of playing for a very lucrative contract after establishing yourself, that difference can be huge. Imagine, for example, if we had COVID in the 19 season and the layoff. Now consider yourself as Josh Donaldson. He now holds a 100 million dollar contract. Were he to be trying to get a large contract post 2018, he would no longer have made 5 bucks for the rest of his career as an aging player. SO I believe a long range view is also important.

    KW – I don;t see this as a political discussion. It is one of economics and science and freedom of choice. And your last comment underscored that – if the league does not get its testing and safety protocols as it should, more players will opt out. THAT is precisely my point. It should be up to the players to exert that leverage, and up to the owners to respond to that leverage. A decision by dictat is simply politics and intrusive governance.

    I find it appalling that in New York City, my son could not go to the basketball court to shoot hoops because they took down the rims. That should be my choice as a parent, employing social distancing as prescribed, as to whether or not to send him to the court. It is no different from skateboard parks being filled with sand in California.

    If conditions are not safe for the followers, let the followers exert pressure on leaders to keep them safe. What held true for the Amazon warehouses that had their outbreaks is no different for MLB. But give MLB, just as Amazon would have it, the opportunity to respond and to fix a problem and what we are learning as we go on rather than kill the opportunity for baseball.

    I am optimistic. Why? Because the owners have too much to lose, just as any business sector does. Every business sector has had to adapt or DIE. The owners (not the government) figure it out. And for the reasons Derek noted above, baseball has advantages that other sectors of society do not, in terms of minimizing broader public risk.


    8 Jul 20 at 11:01 am

  80. The comparison of this season to WWII is an interesting one: teams during the WWII era just had to deal with it if their solid-even-star players went off to war. And MLB teams in 2020 are just going to have to deal with it if they lose players for 10-14 days if they fall ill and/or have to be quarantined due to exposure. Yes its a competitive disadvantage, and maybe it highlights better/worse organizations.

    Todd Boss

    8 Jul 20 at 11:17 am

  81. KW – To your point above – there is a reason that cities invest billions to attract major league baseball. The economic impact, more broadly, is huge. An Anecdote.

    Ross Perot DONATED the land to what would become the DFW Airport, and in time the largest (in terms of cargo) airport in America. People experienced it as incredibly generous. But more than that, it was smart. For Perot owned all of the land surrounding the airport as well.

    So it is with baseball. There is a tremendous derivative economic linkage, once, twice, and three times removed. As for the social-economic link, think of what would happen if all of the golf courses were closed. The impact would extend well beyond gold and caddies.


    8 Jul 20 at 11:48 am

  82. golfers.


    8 Jul 20 at 11:48 am

  83. Gushue gets added. Next man up, and no need to panic.


    8 Jul 20 at 12:42 pm

  84. In 2018 at AA Harrisburg, Gushue slashed an abysmal .212/.293/.363. But then he found the Fresno Effect in 2019: .312/.358/.517. How are we ever to trust numbers from the PCL? Among other things, Gushue benefited from a BABIP more than 100 points better than he career average.


    8 Jul 20 at 1:06 pm

  85. We can’t trust the numbers, but for the sake of a 60 Man, Gushue is a lot better an option on a six-deep of catchers even with the PCL effect.

    Also, we do not factor in injuries, which happen to catchers, and the fact that he was getting used to part time play at Harrisburg in his first year at that level. So he will have a chance to at least be seen. Congratulations to him! May he turn into Lou Gehrig. 😉


    8 Jul 20 at 1:17 pm

  86. I like this move. The F.O. obviously likes his receiver skills, as he’s slowly rises up the system.

    He’s still only 26, which for catchers is not that old. Good for him.

    Mark L

    8 Jul 20 at 3:32 pm

  87. With Gushue’s addition I have the roster as: 26/28, 36/40, 59/60.

    Todd Boss

    9 Jul 20 at 8:40 am

  88. The fact that Gushue wasn’t on the 60-man but a catcher who hadn’t played above A+ (Reetz) was sorta speaks to how little they think of Gushue.

    The truth is that Castillo was a nice catching safety net for the Nats. Now, they have very little to trust behind Gomes and the aging Suzuki. Read consistently has looked overmatched in his MLB appearances. Barrera was pretty mediocre at the plate at AA. If the season happens, and if the Nats lose a catcher, they’re more than likely going to have to make a trade.

    Sure would be nice if Ray Torres turns out to be good!


    9 Jul 20 at 9:03 am

  89. I know I am not the only one who thinks well of Jackson Reetz. He looked good in spring and very good in AFL. That doesn’t make him ready, but he’s no lightweight.


    9 Jul 20 at 10:40 am

  90. I’m surprised no one has discussed the enthusiasm for Carter Kieboom and where he is at now, and how he has used the time off. Players can make jumps, and philosophically we could be looking at Reetz the same way – a guy who uses a Higher level of competition this year to be a AA+ year and a future starting role in a post-Gomes team.


    9 Jul 20 at 10:47 am

  91. I have more concern about Kieboom than enthusiasm for him right now, particularly in a sprint season, where there’s no margin for error (or errors, to which he has been quite prone). As Sao has pointed out several times, Kieboom’s power completely dried up in the second half last year, even in the light air of the PCL. He also struggled mightily in the spring, both at the plate and in the field.

    My expectation for a Kieboom rookie season is very similar to what we got with Robles last year, with a lot of ups and downs. Those mitigate over the long haul of a regular season, but if this one makes, it won’t be a regular one. Cabrera, meanwhile was last seen having an amazing 38-game stretch to end 2019 and hitting .286 in the WS. Yes, he’s also streaky and wasn’t great in Texas. The point is that the Nats have a good option if Kieboom struggles, and Davey can’t let struggles go on too long.


    9 Jul 20 at 1:47 pm

  92. Kieboom was SO BAD defensively during his brief call up that I find it hard to reconcile any enthusiasm for him until we see what he can do in person again this season. As a reminder; he posted a -0.6 dWAR figure in just 11 games played. He had a -30.2 UZR/150 ranking, and he had -7 DRS in those same 11 games. That’s so bad, its almost unbelievable.

    So, forgive me for not trusting breathless scouting reports and media reports.

    Todd Boss

    9 Jul 20 at 2:36 pm

  93. So what you’re saying, KW, is that you believe the quotes attributable to Dave Martinez and others about Kieboom are disingenuous? Perhaps so. Do we peg Martinez to be an overhyper?


    9 Jul 20 at 2:36 pm

  94. I get all that, Todd. It’s Show-me caution.


    9 Jul 20 at 2:37 pm

  95. There are some coaches and managers who are legend for overhype. I have no opinion on Martinez, but he certainly speaks with confidence about what he is seeing from Baby Boom


    9 Jul 20 at 2:39 pm

  96. PSA: it’s fine to say Kieboom looked bad on defense during his callup last year (because he did). But please do not use defensive stats in a ~10 game sample to make a point. Ever. I would go a bit further and say even hitting or pitching stats in a ten game sample are useless, but that’s an argument for another day. Defensive stats take multiple *seasons* to stabilize. A ten game sample of defensive stats is worth less than zero, IMO: there’s so much more noise than signal, that they can only mislead.

    Having said that, I am worried about Kieboom’s defense. My worry has nothing to do with stats, though.


    9 Jul 20 at 3:18 pm

  97. uzr is small sample size. DRS is not. and dWAR is not SSS either.

    Todd Boss

    9 Jul 20 at 3:27 pm

  98. Fore, managers and coaches have been building up rookies in the press for almost as long as there have been rookies. There’s nothing new to see here. But I do hope to heck they’re right that Kieboom has more confidence now than in the spring, as he was not good in the spring, at all. He did little at the plate and was a butcher in the field.

    Here’s the deal with the defense: if the Nats are going to be successful in 2020 (if there is a 2020), the Nats are going to have to succeed more with pitching and defense. You don’t lose Rendon and Zimmerman and have your offense get better. Rendon was also an elite defender.

    No one is expecting Kieboom to be Rendon, at the plate or in the field. But in a short season and with a team where runs might be at a premium, it makes sense to take the “first, do no hard approach.” They can “wait” on Kieboom’s bat to show up, to a certain extent, but they can’t wait on his glove. It’s got to at least be at the “do no harm level” by opening day.

    I’m not hatin’ on Kieboom for the long term. He’s a talented player who has a chance to turn into a 25-30 HR, 80-100 RBI type guy, extremely valuable to the team. But I don’t think he’s ready to hit at that rate right now, so his defense has to be at least acceptably solid to make it even worth it for him to be a starter.


    9 Jul 20 at 5:11 pm

  99. Can he be as good as Yunel Escobar?


    9 Jul 20 at 5:23 pm

  100. :)


    9 Jul 20 at 5:23 pm

  101. Todd, that’s simply incorrect. It seems like you think DRS and dWAR are unaffected by sample size because they’re counting stats. But of course counting stats can mislead in small samples. RBI and HR are counting stats. If a guy hits 5 HR in a week, he will always get credit for those 5 HR. But we wouldn’t think those 5 HR are a good proxy for his true power. DRS, of course, can go above or below zero. I think you think the -7 figure is significant because if that corresponded to an entire season, Kieboom would look bad. And he did it in just ten games! How terrible!

    But looking only at ten games prevents him from having the opportunity to improve that number over the course of a larger sample. Perhaps Kieboom had the defensive equivalent of 5 HR in a week, except bad instead of good. I don’t know. I don’t think the defensive stats from his MLB cup of coffee shed literally ANY light on the question of how good a defender he is.

    Again: it’s fine to think Kieboom is bad on defense, or to expect him not to be good. It’s *ok* to use what you saw during his callup last year as a basis for your beliefs, but it’s still a small sample. Using defensive stats from a ten game sample is absolutely statistical malpractice and you shouldn’t do it.


    9 Jul 20 at 5:46 pm

  102. I still don’t think we’ve acknowledged that the Nats have gone all in on Kieboom as their starting 3B when they have options to fill a 2020 season. If it’s hype, we’ll know by 7/23. If not, I do think it’s a notable development.


    9 Jul 20 at 5:56 pm

  103. Robles posted a 91 wRC+ in 2019. I’d set the over/under for Kieboom in 2020 at that number, although that might be a little ambitious. He’ll walk at a higher rate than Robles did but steal a lot fewer bases. HR/2B power figures to be about the same, unless Kieboom continues with his power outage in the second half of 2019.

    Cabrera will probably get some ABs at DH as Kendrick can only play about half time. If AssCab is hitting and Kieboom isn’t, Kieboom might turn into Dozier and just disappear in Cabby’s wake. We’ll see. I’m not rooting against Kieboom at all, just trying to be reasonable in expectations for a 22-year-old rookie.


    9 Jul 20 at 7:11 pm

  104. Here’s part of the reason why it’s going to be hard to actually have a season — MLB is too dumb to take even the basic precautions:


    10 Jul 20 at 8:14 am

  105. KW, all the projection systems have Kieboom between 90-95 WRC+ for the year, so I think your over-under is a good one. I think I’d take the over, but it’s a good bet. At that WRC+, though, he needs to be decent on defense at 3B to be an everyday player.


    10 Jul 20 at 10:28 am

  106. Derek. DRS is Defensive Runs Saved. its a counting stat. It absolutely is accumulative and appropriate for small sample sizes. It tells me that Kieboom “cost” the team 7 runs in 11 games played. Simple as that.

    Frankly, I don’t care if he could have improved as he went and maybe made that number look better with 162 games. The context of the conversation was precisely this: “in the 11 games Kieboom did play, he was god-awful on defense and here’s some legitimate stats to show it.”

    Todd Boss

    10 Jul 20 at 10:40 am

  107. Yes, Todd, but they are of similar value to other counting stats achieved in small samples. The exercise we are engaged in is trying to predict how good Carter Kieboom will be on defense going forward. We don’t have much to go on. I don’t know that anybody on here disagrees that he performed poorly on defense during the 11 games. My argument is that there are NO LEGITIMATE STATS for defense in a ten game sample. Yes, the ones you listed – UZR/150, DRS, dWAR – are legitimate stats. But they are useful in predicting the future only in very large samples. I think most prediction models require three years of defensive stats before they are weighted appropriately in the projections. Until then, defensive projections are heavily regressed to the mean. Why? Because defensive statistics are misleading in 100 game samples and are worse than useless in ten game samples.


    10 Jul 20 at 12:45 pm

  108. Derek. If you told me someone’s Earned run Average was 9.00 over the first 11 games of a season, i’d be able to quickly say: ok you gave up a lot of runs in your first few innings. I’d be able to say, “You sucked for your first 11 games.”. Yes i’m well aware that the pitcher in question may very well improve his ERA with more innings pitched … just like he could give up a grand slam the next time he pitches. we’ll never know until he throws his next inning.

    My ENTIRE point of saying that Kieboom sucked defensively in 2019 was exactly that; he sucked in 2019. he was awful in 2019. And we have numbers that depict just how awful he was in 2019; we no longer have to rely on sportswriter cliches about his arm or range, or look at the number of errors, or the lack of assists.

    I’m ok pushing back on a zone rating in small sample size; but it still TELLS YOU something. It tells you that he was already looking pretty slow-of-foot at short before getting yanked. Maybe its because he had a sprained ankle and wasn’t getting to balls like he should in those 11 games. maybe not. But a runs saved metric that literally is a counting/accumulation stat and is something you can say “ok he played X games and was Y bad.”

    Lets talk about WPA, if we’re still not convinced about these defensive stats. . do you believe you can use this stat on a per-game basis? It is literally collected on a per-game basis. Kiebomo’s WPA last year in 11 games? -0.7. basically the same as his defensive WAR. He was well on his way to costing his team an entire win all by himself when he got dumped back to AAA in mid-april.

    Todd Boss

    10 Jul 20 at 1:56 pm

  109. 1) ERA is a rate stat, not a counting stat. If Max Scherzer gave up two homers in each of his first two starts, would you use that to predict the number of homers he would give up the rest of the year? Of course not, but that’s because we know a lot more about Scherzer’s true talent. We don’t about Kieboom. But you’re making the same (weak) statistical argument in Kieboom’s case that you wouldn’t make in Scherzer’s case.

    2) The stats you cite don’t tell us Kieboom was awful “in 2019.” They tell you he was awful in 11 MLB games in 2019. The stats you cite don’t speak to the 109 other professional baseball games he played in 2019. I will agree that Kieboom was awful defensively in his 11 MLB games in 2019. I will also agree that his MLB defensive stats show that he was awful. I will NOT agree that Kieboom was awful in all of 2019, though. I don’t know enough to have a view on the latter (much more important) question.

    3) Yes, two of the stats you cite count things that happen during the 11 games Kieboom played. Those things happened. You’re not wrong to point out that those things happened and that stats reflect those things that happened. What you’re wrong about is diving any sort of meaning from those stats.

    4) I don’t have the time or the inclination to do it, but I bet if you looked at the worst ten game sample of even a good defender’s 2019 season in terms of DRS, you’d get some baffling results. You would never do that with a player that has a large sample of defensive innings played. And yet it’s ok to do that with Kieboom because you don’t have other better information? I don’t think so. One reason is because the stats depend on the defensive chances a player actually has during the games he actually plays. Why on earth would you think these changes are normally distributed in a tiny 11 game sample? You wouldn’t. Another reason is that sometimes players have a few bad/good games in a row. There are so so many other things that could explain Kieboom’s shitty defensive numbers in just 11 games that are not Kieboom’s shitty defensive ability (like he got an unusually large number of tough plays and made an unusual number of errors). These things don’t skew the results as much as the sample grows. But 11 games is so far away from enough games that there’s very little signal in the statistic.

    5) I have no problem with your use of WPA to tell us that Kieboom cost the team almost an entire win during his callup. That happened. I would have a problem with you suggesting that his WPA in 11 games in 2019 portends anything remotely reliable about what he might do going forward. The reason I would have a problem with that is because WPA in 11 games is not predictive like that (I don’t think WPA has much predictive value at all, but that’s for another day).


    10 Jul 20 at 3:18 pm

  110. You’re not getting my point. If Scherzer gave up 2 homers in 2 games i could look at this ERA for those two games and say, Scherzer Sucked.

    Where, in ANY of my coments here, was I trying to make some grand prediction about Kieboom for the rest of 2019. He was up for 11 games, he f*cking sucked defensively, we have more than a few stats that prove it, so that’s it. That was my entire point.

    Todd Boss

    12 Jul 20 at 6:15 pm

  111. Scherzer has a bit more extensive a track record than Kieboom.


    12 Jul 20 at 9:06 pm

  112. The most famous baseball in Nats’ history:


    13 Jul 20 at 9:45 am

  113. Puig to Braves. Am I supposed to laugh, or have a little worry that he will “find himself”?


    14 Jul 20 at 4:32 pm

  114. Well, Anthopolous Is a great GM and knows him. He’s got a chip on his shoulder now.

    And if you can come out of Cuba, a pandemic panic is nothing.

    Of course, it is Puig, who really does need to be medicated.

    So IMHO it’s a great risk, just a great risk that imasks cannot protect from, though social distancing does, and with all of that, you’d rather introduce into another clubhouse.


    16 Jul 20 at 10:04 am

  115. Wow. Antuna to the 60.

    That says a lot a lot.

    I’ll bet the Nats have had some kind of good development protocol in the Dominican all along this year. Perhaps when you are removed from the political constraints (not America) and can apply rational medical judgment, the quality of training in an outdoor game can be substantially upgraded among a low risk group. Happy for him. I confess I’d given up. Though I also would acknowledge that I saw him two years ago in spring training hit a rocket, so there’s that.

    A cynic would say that Rizzo will not allow 3.9 m to flush without a thorough vetting. Fair enough. But lest that be the reality, remember that the Dodgers and Red Sox have flushed enough Latino prospect money to rival a Bobby Bonilla fiasco.


    17 Jul 20 at 11:17 am

  116. Updating the big board for Abad and Antuna moves.

    I’ve now got the roster as follows:
    – Active 28 or 30 man: Now at 24. Was at 28, lost Ross, Zimmerman, then Suero and Elias
    – 40-man: was at 39 at roster freeze, Sanchez to 60-day, Ross, Zimmerman restricted so now at 36
    – 60-man now at 59; started at 60, then ross, Zimmerman out to 58, Cavelli in back to 59, Castillo opts out to 58, replaced with Gushue, now Antuna trades places with Abad to stay at 59.

    Curiously the mlbtraderumors link says our 60-man is at 57 but i’m pretty sure we’re at 59. this has proven tough to keep track of.

    Todd Boss

    17 Jul 20 at 11:57 am

  117. Antuna is still only 20!

    Mark L

    17 Jul 20 at 2:39 pm

  118. Indeed he is! Happy for him and DiPuglia.

    Story that only .05% have tested positive for COVID. That is line with reports from many states of fraudulently high reporting (such as 100% positives, or positives of people who registered but never tested). Let the games begin!


    17 Jul 20 at 3:07 pm

  119. that is .05% of MLB testing.


    17 Jul 20 at 3:08 pm

  120. Excellent four innings from Voth on Saturday. I assume he’s locked down 5th starter. Just hope Fedde can step up and be a 2-3 inning Stammen type two or three days and week to save the bullpen.

    Interesting that Cabrera started over Kieboom on Saturday. Seems like the Kieboom experiment will have a short leash, which is what they’ve got to do with the compressed schedule and so little margin for error(s).

    I’m still not sure they’re going to be able to make the season work, though, particularly with travel involved.


    19 Jul 20 at 1:03 pm

  121. Hey Todd, your guy Voth was terrific last night. You couldn’t have asked for more. He had shutdown stuff!

    Mark L

    19 Jul 20 at 1:59 pm

  122. Max’s off night (or working on stuff) reminded me of how critical every game in a 60-game schedule will be. How critical? Well, each game in a 60-game schedule equals 2.7 games in a 162-game one. So each game in 2020 will be almost the equivalent of a three-game series in other years — you win, and it’s like sweeping a three-game series, you lose and it’s like getting swept. There’s no such thing as a wasted start, or playing the B lineup in a double-header.

    I do think the Nats should benefit considerably from having strong #4 and #5 starters. At the same time, with every game so meaningful, the situation will amplify any issue that could cost games that otherwise should be won, like a front end of the bullpen that can’t get you to Harris/Hudson/Doolittle, or a rookie 3B who might not be able to handle hot shots to the hot corner.


    20 Jul 20 at 12:59 pm

  123. Today’s feelgood story…..

    So far 3 Astros have been HBP by Royals pitchers.

    Mark L

    21 Jul 20 at 4:31 pm

  124. Nats draft crew still putting in work. Here’s another one: Paul Witt, perhaps Todd knows him.

    former VA player of the year in HS, BBAmerica had him as the ninth best A-10 prospect for the draft this year. Good! Keep em coming…


    22 Jul 20 at 2:21 am

  125. Happy Opening Day! I’m still not completely on board with this being a good idea, or one they can sustain all the way through, but here we go.

    My biggest concern with the Nats is whether they have enough offense. They need a step forward from Robles plus consistent contributions from Thames and Castro. Howie still looks ready to be that all-world guy he was in the playoffs, with Zim missing, he’s going to have to be in the lineup nearly every day, even if it’s mostly as DH. I do worry that teams will consistently pitch around Soto. I just hope he can develop a Bonds-like Zen about it, narrow his hit zone, and crush anything that enters it. Harper never had the discipline to do that when teams were pitching around him.

    The bullpen will also continue to be a concern until it can prove that it isn’t. It’s a significant blow to have to start the season without Suero and Elias. I hope Rainey is ready to step forward to be a back-end option along with the trio of Doo/Hudson/Harris. With the starters not really stretched out, I think they also have to hope that Fedde can be a two-inning Stammen type perhaps three times a week. Maybe Fedde can throw harder and think less in that role than he has as a failing starter.

    Also, if Kieboom isn’t ready to start — and there’s been no game evidence that he is — option him and save a service-time year. That’s probably not going to happen, but it’s the logical move if he isn’t going to play full time.

    Last but not least, extend Rizzo!!!

    I’m cautiously optimistic. I think the Nats have the pieces to make a run at defending, plus their aging squad should have a boost from the delayed and shortened season. But they’re in a tough division, so the playoffs aren’t even a guarantee. The Betts-infused Dodgers will be tough in the playoffs, and they should also benefit from a shorter season for Kershaw and Jansen.

    If we even make it to the playoffs . . .


    23 Jul 20 at 8:18 am

  126. FYI- If you get a chance go to Bleacher Report and watch the interview with Ryan Zimmerman & Dr. Fauci.

    Mark L

    23 Jul 20 at 11:33 am

  127. OK, gotta get these down somewhere before we get started:

    NL division winners: Nats, Reds, Dodgers
    NL WC: Braves, D-Backs
    NL WC game: Braves over D-Backs
    NLDS: Dodgers over Braves, Nats over Reds
    NLCS: Dodgers over Nats (sigh; loss of TTB clutch bat too much to overcome at this level)

    AL division winners: Yanks, Twins, Trashtros
    AL WC: Rays, A’s
    AL WC game: Rays over A’s
    ALDS: Yanks over Rays, Twins over Astros
    ALCS: Yanks over Twins

    WS: Yanks over Dodgers

    Of course all of this gets putzhed up if they expand the playoffs!

    It’s also very possible that the Nats don’t even make the playoffs. There are four tough teams in the NL East.


    23 Jul 20 at 1:44 pm

  128. And now Soto (reportedly) has tested positive. OMG. Of course what does that mean for the ENTIRE TEAM that has been exposed to him???


    23 Jul 20 at 3:11 pm

  129. THIS is EXACTLY why I’ve been saying all along that this arrangement just isn’t going to work.


    23 Jul 20 at 3:18 pm

  130. Baseball-wise, of course, Soto was THE one player in the everyday lineup they couldn’t afford to lose. I was already concerned about this team generating enough offense. I mean, hard to get excited about MAT or Bonafacio in his place.

    Not many surprises on the final roster. Maybe they see Bourque as another potential multi-inning guy? Freeman beat out Abad for lefty duty. Good to see Ryne Harper considered good enough to make the roster. Guerra isn’t a surprise.


    23 Jul 20 at 3:25 pm

  131. Davey now saying that Stevenson will start in LF tonight. As the world knows, I’m not an MAT fan, but he’s certainly got more power potential than Stevo in this power-lacking lineup.


    23 Jul 20 at 3:29 pm

  132. The first thing to resolve is whether it was a false positive.

    As Soto is asymptomatic, it will be instructive to everyone, including people like Fauci, about just how many other teammates are affected by contact.

    Very exciting to see the top 30 (31)! And, as the season winds down, some excellent competition for the bullpen bubble spots. With these rosters and the extra inning rules, won’t see arms wearing out. But we will see players getting a chance to show they are better than AAAA. Bring it on! Happy Opening Day everyone!


    23 Jul 20 at 3:30 pm

  133. In other news, Anthony Rendon is out, and for likely longer.


    23 Jul 20 at 3:30 pm

  134. Sorry, but I was having a hard time working up any enthusiasm for this season. This is a ton of bricks dumped on top of any optimism.

    We’ve had a relative die, and I have a friend my age on a ventilator. This is very real and very dangerous. If it can put the young and stout Freddie Freeman in a life-treating situation, it can do it to anyone.


    23 Jul 20 at 3:39 pm

  135. And Cabrera the opening starter at 3B. So why is it they don’t just option Kieboom and save that age-28 season vs. this one?


    23 Jul 20 at 4:08 pm

  136. KW, would you please give the sky-is-falling act a break and just enjoy the season, however it plays out? Yes, some players will test positive and yes, the season could be shut down entirely but why worry about that now or ruin the glimmer of normalcy and good feelings that today brings? It’s exactly that kind of attitude that is going to keep us all in this down and out predicament far longer than necessary, not the virus itself.


    23 Jul 20 at 4:46 pm

  137. A flurry of moves yesterday and today. I’m trying to make sense of them all for the big board. as far as i can tell they’re 28/30 for opening day, 39/40 and 59/60 right now.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jul 20 at 5:18 pm

  138. no take that back they’re at 30/30.

    Todd Boss

    23 Jul 20 at 5:20 pm

  139. With 16 teams in the playoffs, it’s just turned into the NBA. It will be a very different year. But it’s still baseball.

    And the Nationals still have Max.

    Play ball!


    23 Jul 20 at 6:36 pm

  140. MG, I’m watching, I’m pulling for the Nats, but I have definite feelings about how this is going. You’re entitled to your own. I’m not the only one who feels this way. We’ll see how it goes.

    In he meantime, the Dodgers get Betts extended forever for a relative bargain. First look seems like they’ll only be hit with a $30M AAV or so. On the downside for the blue, Kershaw already having back problems, perhaps a reminder that those big long contracts don’t always work out so well, even for future Hall of Famers.


    23 Jul 20 at 7:15 pm

  141. I’ve already had to ditch Matty V and A-Fraud, who apparently are unaware which team is the defending World Champion, even with Charlie and Dave ahead of TV.

    And now Angel Hernandez in (awful) midseason form, punching Howie out on a pitch several inches outside. Good grief. I thought we were promised robo-umps.


    23 Jul 20 at 7:30 pm

  142. 12 years in this baseball economy is insanity. Bryce will prove that. The Dodgers jumped the shark. Even for an organization that pre-Friedman would toss cash everywhere.


    23 Jul 20 at 7:52 pm

  143. Fore, I tend to agree, particularly for position players. There are several recent examples like Pujols and Cano, real superstars who faded quite a bit even before their mid-30s. Presumably, teams are making these LONG deals to lower the AAV hit, but then you’re left with an expensive doorstop for the last several years of those careers. In the post-‘roid era, there aren’t a lot of examples of everyday players who stayed worth big bucks in their later 30s. Chipper maybe, but there aren’t many. I mean, Howie is in amazing shape for 37, but he was only able to start half the games in the field in ’19.

    The other thing with the Dodgers specifically is that they have a lot of controlled talent that they’ll soon have to pay or part ways with — Bellinger, Seager, Muncy, Buehler a little farther down the road. Right now, they’ve benefited from team-friendly deals with Turner and Jansen.

    We’ll see. All in all, I think the Nats have made the right decisions on not having Harper and Rendon into their late 30s, particularly after seeing Werth fade away not too gracefully.


    23 Jul 20 at 8:34 pm

  144. I regret that I will not soon forget this day, for I badly wish that I could.


    23 Jul 20 at 10:59 pm

  145. KW, that is exactly how I feel. Paying Howie year to year is a bargain. But every time I think of the million year contracts, I think of Pujols and Joey Votto. That’s what you do when you cannot draw and have to hold onto a mega star that you developed. LA develops great stars and will have to flip that Betts contract one day just as they had Matt Kemp, Puig, and others — only it will be a much larger hit, whatever its AAV.

    Tells you something, though, that they can dole out 65m bonus. I don’t see that as reflecting competitive balance. Not that we can complain as nationals fans, but that’s crazy money.


    24 Jul 20 at 10:03 am

  146. Just look at Miguel Cabrera; he’s going into the Hall of Fame someday for sure but being paid $30 million a year for the last 4 years of,at best, league average production.

    Mark L

    24 Jul 20 at 12:31 pm

  147. I forgot about Miggy. His last really good season was at age 33, which means the Tigers will be paying him more than $200M after he ceased to be really good. They still owe him $94M after this season!

    There’s no middle ground now for players over 32-33. They’re either on these insane long-term contracts that keep overpaying them after they start losing it, or they become itinerants working for peanuts. The Nats certainly exploited that market inefficiency in 2019. Both groups are at least partially the result of the tax line. Teams are giving contracts of crazy lengths to keep the AAVs reasonable but then are hamstrung when those players pass their peak. Then the middle-class older players are squeezed out by the few big contracts, and teams dump them in favor of younger/controlled guys.


    24 Jul 20 at 3:34 pm

  148. These conversations about aging players on ridiculous contracts just emphasize even more the job ahead of the MLBPA to address salaries in this league. Guys like Cabrera, Pujols, Votto are being paid now based on their peak late 20s production. Betts is a rare player who WILL be in his late 20s and being paid as such, but is almost guaranteed to age out of his pay as well. Likely, So will Harper, so will Strasburg. Scherzer and Verlander are rare players who keep producing well into their 30s .. we can only hope to see guys like Betts, Stras, Trout, Harper, etc produce and earn their value going forward.

    What’s the solution? These players played WELL Below their value for years to “earn” these paychecks; you cannot fault them. If a player puts up an 8 win season on a minimum salary … can you begrudge them if 15 years later they put up a replacement WAR season on $30M? It evens out. Until you have a pay structure that pays players earlier, or pays theim their due when they produce it, you’re going to have these situations.

    Todd Boss

    25 Jul 20 at 8:06 am

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