Nationals Arm Race

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

Archive for April, 2024

First Look – Mitchell Parker


Mitchell Parker made his MLB debut in rather daunting conditions and came out with the win. Photo via Washington Post

Nats prospect Mitchell Parker got the call to come up and replace starts for the injured Josiah Grey, ahead of Joan Adon and Jackson Rutledge, who are both higher on the pecking order but each of whom had issues preventing them from getting the call. Adon hasn’t been back down long enough since his 4/10/24 option (though I think an option can be cancelled with no notice in case of an injury), and Rutledge took a come-backer off the ankle, leaving him a bit day-to-day. So Parker gets the call.

And, well, he delivered. Here’s the box score. 5ip, 4hits, 2ER, 4Ks, and zero walks. 81 pitches to complete five innings, and he got yanked instead of facing 2-3-4 in the bottom of the 6th.

Ok, first the good: to this observer, he looked composed and strong. He’s a big guy; this isn’t the kind of guy who depends on whippy arm action and who you look at his mechanics and say, “yup, TJ coming.” His mechanics are like a combination of Clayton Kershaw at the beginning and Andy Pettite as he delivers (look at the above picture and tell me you don’t see Pettite). He struck out Mookie Betts twice (!). He struck out Shoehi Ohtani (!!). He kept the ball in the ballpark against one of the best lineups in the game, and he didn’t walk anyone. The big knock on Parker is his BB/9, and to not walk anyone in a MLB game where he could have been trying to pitch around guys is solid.

A quick glance at his Pitch F/X data shows some interesting information:

  • Pitch FX didn’t give him credit for a “fastball” all night, which seems odd b/c he definitely threw a bunch. Therefore we don’t have any velocity metrics other than my memory. I saw FBs in the 92-93 range mostly, Maybe saw a 95 peak at one point, could be wrong. That’s not bad.
  • Pitch FX has him with this breakdown of pitches on the night: 64% slider, 2.7% cutter, 21.6% curveball, and 10.8% split finger. Now, does he have a “slider?” I didn’t think so; i think he has a curve. The slider and curve average velocities in fangraphs are 79.8 and 78.6 respectively, so yeah that’s not a slider.
  • His curve looked great. Obviously; its his best pitch. The split finger had some serious movement and was described as an “out pitch” … yeah, it looked unhittable, and uncatchable.

Now for the concerning: He gave up a lot of hard contact. The Dodgers didn’t have a “soft contact” ball all night (the Nats had 28% “soft contact” by way of comparison). A lot of Parker’s outs were “line drive to LF” and “Deep fly ball caught on warning track.” So, he might have been a little lucky to not have more crooked numbers on the board.

I also feel like he had a hard time controlling the fastball in the zone (that’s the “command” portion of command and control). 81 pitches broke down to 52 strikes, 29 balls. That’s not an awful ratio, but it also was a lot of pitches to get through innings. 81 pitches through five. I mean, yes that’s a lot. I’m not sure how many pitches he had by inning, but he probably would have needed another 20 to get through the 6th, given that he was facing the heart of the order. I think we’d like to see more efficiency there; I’d like to see a starter be in the 100 range by the end of the 7th so that they could push through to a theoretical 120 pitch limit if need be to finish 8 full, then hand off to a closer. Of course, the modern game now depends so heavily on relievers that if I can get a quality start out of a guy i’m ecstatic.

All in all, a very positive debut for the guy. Can he stick around? can he give us better innings that someone like Williams or Corbin? Maybe. Lets see how it goes for the next couple cycles of the rotation.

Written by Todd Boss

April 16th, 2024 at 10:17 am

Posted in Majors Pitching

Nats Opening Day Stats and History


One random little artifact I maintain for some reason is a collection of our Opening Day and Home Opener data. Now that we’re past both, here’s that information for review.

Home Opener Attendances through the years

  • 2024: 40,405 (4:05 tues game, 53, cloudy, slight wind)
  • 2023: 35,756 (105 thurs game, 45 degrees and sunny)
  • 2022: 35,052 (7:05 thurs game (pushed back from 4:05, then delayed to 8:21 weather. 52 degrees, cloudy, rainy)
  • 2021: 4,801 (4:05 tuesday game, 74 degrees, partly cloudy, 5mph wind)
  • 2020: 0 (7:09 thurs game, 90, partly cloudy, 7mph wind)
  • 2019: 42,263 (1:07 thurs game, 56, partly cloudy, no wind)
  • 2018: 42,477 (1:08 thurs game, 42, partly cloudy, slight wind)
  • 2017: 42,744 (1:05 monday game, 66 and cloudy, slight wind)
  • 2016: 41,650 (4:05 thursday game, 60 and 1.5hr rain delay)
  • 2015: 42,295 (4:05 monday game, 75 and gorgeous)
  • 2014: 42,834 (1:05 friday game, 50s and overcast)
  • 2013: 45,274 (1:05 monday game, 60 and beautiful)
  • 2012: 40,907 (1:05 thursday game 56, partly cloudy)
  • 2011: 39,055 (1:05 thursday game, 41 degrees and overcast)
  • 2010: 41,290 (1pm game monday, beautiful weather 80s and sunny): This was Phillies Invasaion
  • 2009: 40,386 (3pm game on a monday, chilly 53degr and overcast).
  • 2008: 39,389 (season and stadium opener), 8pm sunday night, Braves, nat’l tv clear but cold.
  • 2007: 40,389 (in rfk, 1pm game vs Florida, 72degrees
  • 2006: 40,516 (in rfk, tuesday day game vs Mets, 72degr and sunny)
  • 2005: 45,596 (in rfk, debut of entire franchise, 62degr and clear, evening game).

2024 was decent weather, compared to a few of these years. It’s amazing how we’ve had opening day be 41, and one year it was 90. That’s a 50-degree swing. DC Weather. It was good to see a bump up in attendance this year after the last couple of years, but it’s also a bummer to see how little the team has capitalized on its 2019 championship. Look, for example, what happened on Opening Day 2013 the year after the team won 98 games: it was damn near a record for the stadium (which, as far as I can tell, still remains 2012 NLDS Game 5, or the “Storen” game, of 45,966).

Home opener Results and Box Scores

The Nats are just 6-14 all time through 2024 in their home openers.

  • 2024: L 8-4, 40,405. attendance.
  • 2023: L 7-2. 35,756 attendance.
  • 2022: L 5-1, 35,052 attendance:
  • 2021: W 6-5: 4,801 attendance:,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=634624
  • 2020: L 4-1: 0 attendance:,game_tab=,game=630851
  • 2019: L 2-0: 42,263:,lock_state=final,game_tab=wrap,game=565895
  • 2018: L 8-2 42,477,lock_state=final,game_tab=wrap,game=529504
  • 2017:
  • 2016:,game_state=Wrapup,game_tab=box
  • 2015:
  • 2014:
  • 2013:
  • 2012:
  • 2011:
  • 2010:
  • 2009:
  • 2008:
  • 2007:
  • 2006:
  • 2005:

Nats Season Openers.
We are slightly better in Season openers: Record: 8-12. We’ve been home 12 times, away 8 times.

  • 2024: Away: Reds d Nats 8-2. WP: Montas. LP Grey (Starters: Grey, Montes).
  • 2023: Home: Braves d Nationals 7-2. WP: Luetge, LP Corbin (starters: Fried, Corbin):
  • 2022: Home: Mets d Nationals 5-1. WP: Megill, LP Corbin (starters same):
  • 2021: Home: Nationals d Braves 6-5. WP: Hudson, LP Smith (starters Scherzer v Smyly):,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=634624
  • 2020: Home: Yankees d Nationals 4-1. WP: Cole, LP Scherzer (starters same):,game_tab=,game=630851
  • 2019: Home: Mets d Nationals 2-0. WP: deGrom, LP Scherzer (starters same):,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=565895
  • 2018: Away: Nats d Reds 2-0. WP Scherzer, LP Bailey (starters same):,lock_state=final,game_tab=wrap,game=529420
  • 2017: home: Nats d Marlins 4-2. WP Strasburg, LP Phelps (Starters Strasburg, Volquez):
  • 2016: away: Nats d Braves 4-3. WP Treinen, LP O’Flarity (starters Scherzer, Teheran):
  • 2015: home: Mets d Nats 3-1. WP: Bartolo Colon. LP: Max Scherzer
  • 2014: away: Nats d Mets 9-7. WP Aaron Barrett, LP Familia (starters Strasburg, dillon Gee):
  • 2013: home: Nats d Marlins 2-0. WP: Stephen Strasburg. LP: Ricky Nolasco.
  • 2012: away: Nats d Cubs 2-1. WP Clippard, LP Marmol (starters: Strasburg and Ryan Dempster):
  • 2011: home: Braves d Nats 2-0. WP: Derek Lowe. LP: Livan Hernandez.
  • 2010: home: Phillies d Nats 11-1. WP: Roy Halladay. LP: John Lannan
  • 2009: away: Marlins d Nats 12-6. WP: Nolasco, LP; Lannan
  • 2008: home: Nats d Braves 3-2. WP: Jon Rauch. LP: Peter Moylan (Starters: Tim Hudson and Odalis Perez)
  • 2007: home: Marlins d Nats 9-2. WP: Dontrelle Willis. LP: John Patterson
  • 2006: away: Mets d Nats 3-2. WP: Glavine, LP: Hernandez.
  • 2005: away: Phillies d Nats 8-4. WP: Lieber, LP: Hernandez.

Written by Todd Boss

April 5th, 2024 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Nats in General

Four Full Season Rosters Now Available


2024 AAA’s opening day starter Joan Adon. 2nd year in a row he’s done the deed. Photo via

The four minor league full-season affiliate rosters are now available, and all four rosters are updated in the Big Board.

Thanks to Luke Erickson who found all the links directly and summarized them this morning at The MILB transaction pages aren’t updated yet. Direct links to each roster announcement:

Here’s some observations on the four rosters, dividing up outfield players and pitchers.

AAA non Pitchers:

  • The pushing down of both Alex Call and Jacob Young may have impacted the call-up of guys like Crews or Hassell, but probably not. I don’t think Crews “earned” his way to AAA based on his AA performance at the end of last season, but I also think he’ll work his way up soon.
  • I commented on the logjam of middle infielders on this roster at Luke’s site, but i’ll comment here again. So AAA has Alu (2B, 3B, LF), Kieboom (3B only), Baker (2B only), Dunn (SS and 3B), and Mejia (SS primarily) as its middle infielders. Alu is a 40-man roster player, so he kind of has to play. But if he plays 2B or 3B, then one or the other of Kieboom or Baker is sitting. If you put Alu in left field, then suddenly one of Call, Young, or Wood is sitting; that’s two 40-man players and our 2nd best prospect. So … where the heck are all these guys going to play? Are we just going to rotate them in and out of DH (so Blankenhorn sits)? It just seems like they need to make an adjustment here somehow. This will become a major issue soon if/when Brady House has to be promoted.
  • Millas the starter, Lindsly the backup Catcher. Lindsly continues to hang around.
  • The team retained Yepez and Blankenhorn to serve as 1B/DHs, they “beat out” a couple other guys in spring training and keep their hopes up of making their way to the MLB roster if and when we trade the likes of Gallo, Meneses, or Thomas.

AAA Pitchers

  • I posted about it when they all got optioned together 3/15/24, but the AAA rotation has been known for a few weeks now. Love it. First time (as i noted in the above link) we’ve had so many prospects in a AAA rotation in a decade or more.
  • The back-end of the bullpen includes at least two guys i’d keep an eye on: Jacob Barnes looked great in spring training, and 40-man member Willingham.
  • The rest of the bullpen in AAA is the expected collection of MLFAs, Waiver claims, etc. Tim Cate was at one point a prospect; maybe he can make it as a loogy (in as much as a “Loogy” even exists anymore with the 3-batter minimum rule).

AA non-Pitchers

  • Lots of prospects here. Too bad Harrisburg doesn’t visit my hometown of Richmond until very late in the season; i’d love to see the collection of 1st and 2nd rounders here.
  • Pinckney will take Woods’ spot in the outfield, to go with Crews and Hassell. I know many like Pinckney as a low-profile prospect, and he did get a NRI and got some ABs against major leaguers this spring … and looked really overmatched.
  • House still here, but … as per the above 2B/3B log jam, there’s really nowhere for him to go. Something is going to have to give, soon. House really should be in AAA.
  • Barley got demoted to be the starting SS in AA; he needs to hit more.
  • The rest of the bench are all 26-27 yr olds who are probably on their last lifelines; Wilson, Cluff, Arruda, Garcia, and Witt. None of these guys are really prospects; just org guys filling spots until guys earn their way up from High-A.
  • No Trey Harris anywhere, so he’s in XST land, either hurt or with the team trying to figure out how he fits in.

AA Pitchers

  • I’m guessing on the rotation, since most of the pitching staff on 2024 opening day was there on 2023 closing day. I think we’ll see Henry, Saenz, Alvarez, Cuevas, and Knowles. Obviously everyone’s got their eye on Henry, and if he starts out hot he might really force the Nat’s decision making process on what to do with Joan Adon in AAA in particular. I think its time for Adon to move to the bullpen, and a promotion could be the catalyst.
  • Also interested in 2023 pitcher of the year Alvarez, and to see if 22yr old Cuevas can push for a promotion mid-season
  • A couple of noteworthy relievers to watch in Sinclair, Schoff, and Ribalta. The rest of the AA bullpen are mostly over-age 27-28yr old/MLFA types who are now org-arms soaking up innings until they get released.
  • Where did Luckham go? He should be in this squad, perhaps he’s nursing an injury in XST because he didn’t get demoted to High-A.
  • Both Reid Schaller and Zach Brcycky are on the 60-day DL, seemingly out the entire year. Both are valuable back-of-the-bullpen arms who have performed well, and are one of the reasons it was such a cattle call for RHP relievers in spring training.

High-A non-pitchers

  • Because of the AAA->AA outfielder log jam. Daylen Lile starts in High-A again. He really needs to move forward, perhaps he’s still recovering from his scary Spring Training incident.
  • High-A has a log-jam of 1B/DH types that probably gets cleared up soon: Boissiere, Frizzell, Stehly, and TJ White only have so many ABs to share and all seem to play the same position. This may be the year that Frizzell and Stehly get cut; they’re both 25, both hit in the .230 range last year, and it may be time.
  • A couple of interesting middle infielders here: Infante was a 2nd rounder who hasn’t done much, and Kevin Made is very high on prospect lists.
  • The big name missing here is De La Rosa, who’s a top 10 prospect. MLBpipeline reported he has a “shoulder injury” right now. Great.

High-A Pitchers

  • I count Seven guys who were primarily starters last year in High-A; some of them are going to have to go to the pen. I’m guessing the team keeps Lara, Lord, Caceres, Theophile, and Luke Young in the rotation, sends Cornelio and Gausch officially to the pen, where they’ll join other former starters like Huff and Collins.
  • Not really much in the way of bullpen arms to keep an eye on here; if you’re already in the pen by High-A, it’s going to be really tough to make your way further up. Grissom, Marlon Perez two possible names to keep an eye on.
  • There’s a few high-A names completely missing that we should have heard about: Zinn, Cronin, and Lee. Zinn was a 2022 NDFA who’s had some success but who is off all the full season rosters. Cronin and Lee are both former 40-man lefties who have badly regressed, and may be in XST as a weigh-station before getting released.
  • Four Arms sit on the 60-day/all year DL already. Jake Bennett will miss the whole year after injuring his arm mid-season then waiting until September to get TJ surgery last year. Yet another 2nd round Nats draft pick who is in serious danger of not turning into anything. More interesting is Seth Shuman, who missed half of 2022 and all of 2023, now sits on the 60-day DL to start 2024. Great numbers, hasn’t pitched in nearly 2 years.

Low-A Non-pitchers:

  • Like the AA lineup, there’s lots of high-potential batters in Low-A. The middle of their order: Cruz, Vaquero, Quintana, and Green is something scouting guys can dream on. The rest of the lineup are mostly NDFAs and lesser prospects, kind of looking to see who can stick.
  • There’s a slew of guys here who are already 23 or 24, way too old for the level, and something will have to give (Baca, Dugas, Glasser, and Pimentel).
  • Brenner Cox made the team, which is great to see. Still hasn’t turned 20 yet.

Low-A Pitchers

  • Like with most of these lower end rosters, the 2024 opening day looks similar to 2023 closing day.
  • The rotation looks like its probably going to five from Agostini, Sullivan, Tepper, Polanco, Susana, and Sthele. If they go 5-man rotation it could be any of these who drops.
  • The bullpen is a mismash of IFAs, rule5s, and failed starters, most of whom are already 24.
  • Two big names not making it out of XST/FCL: Travis Sykora and Aldo Ramirez.
  • Four arms on the 60-day DL already, including two starters who have some promise in Aldonis and Tolman.

That’s it for now. I count 29 names “on” the FCL roster right now and another 16 in XST, which puts the domestic rosters way over the 165 player limit. So I’d imagine some cuts are coming at some point. Also, I have more than 50 names on the DSL roster, so i’d expect some serious shedding there come July.

Let the games begin!

Written by Todd Boss

April 2nd, 2024 at 4:01 pm