Nationals Arm Race

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

Blogging goodbyes and hellos


When I first started blogging here (4+ years and 750+ posts ago), the sole local coverage of the Nats farm systems was thanks to Brian Oliver‘s Nationals Farm Authority blog.  Oliver covered the farm systems with daily recaps of each minor league affiliate’s game, some quick stat lines for stars and duds, and generally made it quite easy to follow the minor league affiliates.

Following the minor leagues was important in 2010, because the team had just bottomed out with two straight 100+ loss seasons, had jettisoned a GM that seemed out of his depth to turn the team around, and had just drafted two of the biggest draft-day names in a generation in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce  Harper.  I was personally convinced that the pathway to success at the MLB level, and the most undervalued resource in the game, was developing quality pre-arbitration starters out of your system.  I began tracking the rotations of the minor league teams closely, looking for the next Jordan Zimmermann (arguably the best starter this team has developed not named Strasburg in the Washington era of baseball).

Eventually, Oliver “took a real job” and had to step down from daily posting.  When Oliver hung ’em up, a new blogger stepped up to take his place.  Initially going by a pseudonym (literally, “Sue Dinem”), but eventually “coming out” and revealing his name, Luke Erickson‘s Nationals Prospects blog picked up where Oliver left off and has served as the go-to place for tracking Nats affiliates for the past several years.  I would not be able to track the minor league rotations like I do without his work.  And, as was probably an inevitability, Erickson too has announced he’s hanging them up (clarification per Luke: “dialing it back”) and heading back into the workforce himself.

Back in the 2009 time-frame, I covered for Oliver for a week of doing his weekly recaps on NFA.  He was going on vacation and would not have any time to do the coverage.  I quickly discovered the time involved; it took 2+  hours a day to run through the links and drill down into the recaps done at various local papers to do this daily coverage.  In fact, I created a links page at my own personal website just to assist with the linking (a links page that I maintain and use to this day in fact; scroll to the bottom for all the minor league affiliate links).  At the end of the week I questioned how Oliver found the time … and always marveled at how Erickson kept it up for years on end.

Nowadays, there’s more people covering the farm system (just off the top of my head, Ryan Sullivan‘s NatsGM does a great job, especially in draft coverage, and the likes of Byron Kerr at MASN and some of the MLB guys are doing more farm coverage than ever before), which is great, but the stuff that Erickson provided was invaluable.  I sincerely hope that someone steps up to continue the daily farm coverage like we’ve seen (I know that Erickson had some help writing the dailies this season; if you’re reading this Jason CrockerJulie Goldberg, Souldrummer and whoever is “the two SDs” I hope you consider taking over).  In fact, if someone doesn’t take over perhaps we could propose a daily summary by community to spread around the work, where volunteers would take certain days to keep the summaries alive.  I’d certainly be up for this arrangement, committing to one day a week instead of seven.

In the meantime, as discussed in the comments, long time commenter “bdrube” (real name Karl Kolchak) has announced his own blog and I’d like to welcome him to the fold.  Nats EXPOsed has started with a strong set of prospect-centric posts and I encourage everyone to give him a RSS subscribe and join the party.

Thanks again to Luke’s years of efforts.


5 Responses to 'Blogging goodbyes and hellos'

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  1. I can clarify who “the two SDs” are — it was SoulDrummer and Sue Dinem. It was easier to dust off the old byline than create a new username when Jason started volunteering again after a two-year absence. It wasn’t until Julie started pitching in that I was forced to come up with something new.

    The site’s not going dark. I’m hoping to figure out a way to do something weekly (maybe Sunday mornings). But once I saw that my offline responsibilities were about to significantly increase (and the window that I used to do them in was about to shut), I decided to dial things way back, rather than muddle through or quit outright.

    Otherwise, I appreciate the kind words.

    Luke Erickson

    22 Sep 14 at 4:15 pm

  2. If the others will welcome it, I can contribute a between the lines/ahead of the curve column on the farm system every 2-4 weeks that covers some of the material I bring up here. It’s not Luke, and I could never have a blog, but I’d be delighted to be the hairy chested bench bat of a team effort.


    22 Sep 14 at 4:32 pm

  3. With that, by the way, I mean Chad Tracy’s first year and not his second!


    22 Sep 14 at 5:52 pm

  4. Todd – thanks for your work, and glad to see that you are sticking around.

    As for helping out, I don’t think I’d offer much help in the areas of the minors, but if you needed/wanted help on other areas, I’d pitch in.


    23 Sep 14 at 2:11 pm

  5. Todd – thanks for the shout out! I hope to be able to live up to the hype. If my long term output ends up being even close to being as good as yours has been, I’ll consider it a success. 🙂


    23 Sep 14 at 2:20 pm

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