Nationals Arm Race

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

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Nats Blogosphere/Blog-Roll and RSS Feed Review 2015

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So, with the addition of TalkNats.com to the Nats Blogosphere, I decided to re-visit my blogroll and to do some adding/removing as necessary.  I culled through my RSS feed and did some re-arranging.  The last time I really dug into a review of the Nats blogosphere was in March 2013, and lots has changed since then.

Here’s what my collection of Natsmosphere links looks like now.  Let me know if you think i’m missing any.  This is a combination of Nats blogs and “blogs” run by Nats beat reporters.  I don’t count baseball columnists like Tom Boswell or Thom Loverro as “bloggers” here since they’re columnists and don’t entirely focus on the nats.

Note: in some cases i’ve found that blogs that I thought went dark really just changed affiliations, changed their host name, eliminated their RSS feeds (like redporchreport.com), or something else.  And it definitely seems like we’ve lost a “blog” from the Washington Times after Amanda Comak left the Times to go work for the team.  So, please help me correct this list and tell me if I’m missing anyone.

Active blogs (generally have posted something in the last week, though some have been idle for a few months and have been given a pass):

All Nats All The Time (Ladson) therocket.mlblogs.com
Citizens of Natstown (Landwermeyer, Huzzard, Hogan, OHara, Davila) citizensofnatstown.wordpress.com
Clem’s Baseball (Andrew Clem) andrewclem.com/Baseball.php
DC Baseball History (Audley, Hornbaker, et al) dcbaseballhistory.com
Distinguished Senators (Senators Ryan) distinguishedsenators.blogspot.com
District on Deck (Flax, Book, Somers, et al) districtondeck.com
District Sports Page (Nichols, Levitin, et al) districtsportspage.com
Federal Baseball (Reddington & Huzzard) federalbaseball.com
Hagerstown Suns Fan Club (Spedden) sunsfanclub.blogspot.com
IBWAA – DC (Nichols) dc-ibwaa.blogspot.com
Let Teddy Win (Scott) blog.letteddywin.com
MASNsports Byron on the Nats (Kerr) masnsports.com/byron_kerr
Mayflies & Bigflies (Mick Reinhard) mayfliesandbigflies.com
Nationals 101 (Frank and Susan Lattuca) nats101.com
Nationals Baseball (Harper) natsbaseball.blogspot.com
Nationals Buzz (MASN beat rptrs Kerzel, Witherite, etc) masnsports.com/nationals-buzz
NationalsProspects.com (Erickson, Whitzman) nationalsprospects.com
Nats Enquirer (ck) natsenquirer.com
Nats Insider (Zuckerman & Hughes) natsinsider.com
Nats Journal (Wagner, Janes) blog.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal
Nats Noodles (Nat Anacostia) natsnoodles.com
NatsGM (Sullivan) natsgm.com
Natstradamus Blog (Luigi de guzman) natstradamus.wordpress.com
Notes from Natstown (Comak) curlyw.mlblogs.com
Red Porch Report (Eaton & Sullivan; RSS feed broken) redporchreport.com
TalkNats (Ghost of Steve M et al) talknats.com
The Nats Blog (Yoder, Drugan, Flax, et al) thenatsblog.com
The Nationals Review (Fleigel) thenationalsreview.com
Washington Nationals Blog: Nationals Home Plate (Yahoo) nationalshomeplate.com

Recently Inactivated blogs: per my RSS feed, no new posts in months or years.  Could be because of RSS issues; let me know.

z DC is for Baseball (Sean Hogan now at Citizens) dcisforbaseball.blogspot.com
z First Ladies of Baseball (Ashley & Maggie; blog seems dead) firstladiesofbaseball.com
z For Love of the Nationals (Lint; inactive) flotn.blogspot.com
z Lady and the Nats (NatsLady; was blogging in Apr2015 and then stopped) ladyandthenats.blogspot.com
z MASNsports The Goessling Game (went to ESPN) masnsports.com/the_goessling_game
z Nationals Inquisition (Drew Kinback; quit after 2015 season) natsnq.com
z Nationals Watch (was Comak; no WT blog?) www.washingtontimes.com/blog/nationals-watch/
z Nats Exposed (Karl Kolchak: stopped blogging Oct 2014) natsexposed.wordpress.com
z Nats Fan Girl (Jenson; no longer blogging) natsfangirl.com
z Nats Nation (Section 138; stopped writing) gnatsgnation.blogspot.com
z The Zimmerman(n) Telegram (stopped 2014) thezimmermanntelegram.wordpress.com

 


Beat Reporter Review

By the Way, am I missing any beat reporters?  By my count, here’s the outlets covering the Nats and their beat reporter:

  • MLB: Bill Ladson
  • Washington Post: James Wagner, Chelsea Janes (formerly Adam Kilgore, Barry Svrluga)
  • Washington Times: Zac Boyer, Todd Dybas?  (formerly Amanda Comak)
  • Comcast Sports Net: Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes
  • MASN: Byron Kerr, Chris Johnson, Pete Kerzel, Olivia Witherite
  • Washington Examiner: Stopped covering sports in 2013.

Does anyone else cover this team regularly in print?

2013 Fantasy Baseball post-mortem

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Verlander just killed me this year.  Photo unk via rumorsandrants.com

Verlander just killed me this year. Photo unk via rumorsandrants.com

My standard disclaimer; this is a whole huge post kvetching about my 2013 Fantasy Baseball team.  If you don’t play fantasy, feel free to skip this 3,000 word missive.  I’ll insert a “jump” line here so that RSS readers don’t have to see this whole massive post :-)

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First Look: Tanner Roark

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Tanner Roark living the dream.  Photo via milb.com

Tanner Roark living the dream. Photo via milb.com

A few days ago I was playing amateur GM and ended up predicting the 8/6/13 roster moves, where Ross Detwiler was transfered to the 60-day DL and Tanner Roark was called up to provide some bullpen cover while Ross Ohlendorf is on the mend.  Roark’s body of work both this season and over the past few warranted his call-up, and his mixture of success both in the starter role and in a long-relief role in AAA make him the perfect candidate to replace Ohlendorf for the time being.

A quick side note: whenever I see someone, after years and years of toiling in the minors, finally get the call-up I’m reminded of the storytelling of Dirk Hayhurst in his 2nd book Out of My League, where he described all the logistics and feelings of getting his first callup.  Of particular interest; the pay.  I’m sure Roark was compensated like a typical minor league veteran in AAA; probably making $1,500 a month or so (which was about what Hayhurst said he made).  Upon signing a MLB contract, you immediately start getting paid a pro-rated amount of a minimum MLB salary, which is $490,000 a season.  Well, you can quickly see that a guy getting called up immediately starts making significantly more money.   30-40 TIMES more money.  More money per day in the majors than he was making in a month in the minors.   So I say good for Roark and good for every guy who finally gets a shot at the bigs.

Lets take a look at Roark’s first appearance… which came last night on 8/7/13 in relief of a curiously ineffective Jordan Zimmermann, who needed 88 pitches to complete 4 innings as the Nats officially waved the white flag on the season, getting swept at home by the team they’re chasing for the division lead and falling to 15 1/2 games out of first.

Roark had a great MLB debut.  He came in to face Atlanta’s 4-5-6 hitters and pitched a 1-2-3 inning.  He got a Brian McCann to fly out on a relatively well struck ball, then badly jammed Chris Johnson to get a simple grounder to short, and then got Dan Uggla to reach for a first pitch fastball for an equally weak grounder to second.  Coming back out to face the bottom of the order he effectively jammed BJ Upton, who flared a flyball into shallow center field that Denard Span couldn’t quite come up with in a sliding catch attempt, then  he jammed Andrelton Simmons to get a simple pop-up to first.  Lastly for his coup-de-gras, he induced a popped-up bunt attempt from his opposite number Kris Medlen, made a diving catch and then doubled off Upton, who was (I guess) running on the play.

Not a bad debut, at all.

The scouting reports on Roark said that he’d work mid 90s in relief, low 90s as a starter, and that’s exactly what we saw.  Per the pitch f/x data, He threw 12 fastballs on the night which averaged 94.46, peaking at 95.52.  He only threw three sliders, bouncing the first and probably ruining his confidence in the pitch.  10 of 15 pitches were for strikes, and that ratio should have been higher; his first batter he didn’t get a borderline call on the outside corner and the ump flat out missed a low strike.  He seemed to have pretty good movement on the 4-seamer (-7.10″ average horizontal movement, which for comparison purposes almost as much as Medlen, a guy who relies almost exclusively on his movement, got on his 2-seamer last night).  He certainly worked the corners effectively, only really giving up one well hit ball (that to McCann, who benefitted from being way ahead in the count thanks to the ump’s missed strike calls).  You don’t have to throw 100mph if you can effectively work the ball inside and out.

He was almost too effective; 15 pitches to get through 2 innings meant he didn’t really work much of his repertoire.  I’m sure he has at least a third pitch, but we never got to see it.  Roark’s spot in the order was up, and he was out (as he was being pinch hit for, I wondered internally when the last time Roark got an at-bat was.  Turns out he has 18PAs for Syracuse this summer; I didn’t realize the minor league pitchers got any at-bats).

It was hard not to like what we saw from him last night.  Is he going to continue to be effective, can he stick in the majors?  Hard to tell.  Ian Krol giving up two hits and a walk in a third of an inning didn’t help his cause much, a similiarly ineffective appearance to his 7/31 outing.  Fernando Abad has basically blown the last two games in which he’s appeared.  But these two guys are blessed as being left-handers, so they possess value that a righty does not, and may not really be candidates to make way once Ohlendorf comes off the D/L.  So we’ll see.

Meanwhile Tanner, use some of that MLB meal money to go get a haircut!  :-)

PS.  One more thought on this series since i’ve got nowhere else to put it; I’m disappointed we didn’t see retaliation of some sort last night for the BS of the night before.  I’m sorry; you HAVE to protect your best player out there, and i’m not surprised to hear reports and see evidence that Bryce Harper was on edge last night with his own manager.  As J.P. Santangelo succinctly pointed out; not protecting one of your own players can and does blow up clubhouses.  I think somebody on Atlanta needed to get hit last night (likely McCann).  I’m more than a little worried right now about the state of the clubhouse, given this lack of reaction.