Sunday, February 26, 2012

Highlights from today's live BP session

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper faced Drew Storen in live BP this afternoon.
VIERA, Fla. -- Oh yeah, today's workout. Despite all the attention lavished upon Ryan Zimmerman and his new contract, there were 51 other players whose highlight of the day was not a formal news conference but a three-hour workout on the back fields behind Space Coast Stadium.

Today marked the first sessions of live batting practice this spring. For the uninitiated, these feature members of the pitching staff throwing what would normally be their bullpen sessions on the actual mound, with a batter at the plate free to swing away.

It's not exactly like a real game situation -- there's an "L" screen in front of the mound to protect pitchers from comebackers, and the large cage surrounding the batter's box -- but it does provide the closest thing to real one-on-one competition as these guys have seen since last fall.

There was major anticipation heading into today's workout because of the possibility of Stephen Strasburg facing Bryce Harper in the live BP session to end all live BP sessions. Sadly, Harper wound up in the wrong hitting group and instead was shagging in right field as Strasburg faced Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina and Mark DeRosa.

The young ace looked in midseason form, blowing away those three batters with relative ease. Ankiel and DeRosa each made contact, but neither struck the ball with any authority.

"I expected nothing less than unhittable stuff," said DeRosa, who had never seen Strasburg in person before. "I was proud that I put the ball in play. I did ground out to second."

Strasburg, who has never approached a pitching session he didn't take seriously, was generally pleased with his performance.

"It was good to get back out there," he said. "Everything felt normal, so that was good."

Harper may not have gotten a chance to face Strasburg, but the 19-year-old phenom did get to face another first-round pick: Drew Storen. That clash didn't exactly produce high drama. Harper took three straight fastballs from Storen, then whiffed at a breaking ball, during his first round. He later drove a groundball single through the right side of the infield off Storen.

Afterward, Harper was asked if he was disappointed he didn't get to face Strasburg.

"Oh, absolutely," the kid said without hesitation. "I wanted to face him so bad. I just wanted to see what he was about. If he made me look stupid, I didn't care. I just wanted to see what he's got."

There's still a chance we could get a Strasburg-Harper showdown Tuesday when the right-hander is back on the mound for another live BP session. Will Harper lobby to bat against the ace?

"I don't know if I'd want it," he said. "I don't know that I want to face him. I'm glad he's on my team. It would just be fun to step in there and see what he looks like from that angle. I watched him from the dugout when I was in Harrisburg [last summer]. That's as close as I want to get to that."

The most impressive moment of the day didn't involve either first-round pick. It did involve Michael Morse, who absolutely crushed a slider from Sean Burnett off the top of the batter's eye in center field, some 450 feet from the plate.

Morse downplayed the significance of his blast, pointing out that pitchers announce what they're going to throw before each toss. That does make things a bit easier.

"It felt good, but they're telling you what's coming," Morse said. "It felt good to actually square one up, though."

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Morse produces 40 plus homers 120 walks 120 RBI and 100 runs and a .300+ average and a bRAA between 40-50 or higher he becomes a very valuable commodity. Morse looks like he is ready to start where he left off ...

SCNatsFan said...

The good news is it sounds like more of the same from Morse... bad news is more of the same from Burnett. We need his LH to be strong in the pen.

Anonymous said...

We need his LH to be strong in the pen.

The "undiscovered country" a definite hole (one that JayB hasn't noticed) in that bullpen. Albeit covered by Gorzelanny and to a less extent Detwiler but both are starters/long men not short relief? Lannan would be worthless in that role. Severino? Hall?

I find it very odd that is wasn't something Johnson didn't address with Rizzo this offseason since that is one of Davey's forte's according to both Bowden and Rizzo? They must really like Severino? Smoker? Hall?

MORE likely, another trade is about to be completed involving Lannan and perhaps Bernadina, right handed relief to acquire a young potential closer that is left-handed. Too many starters/long men, not enough left-handed short relief.

Gonat said...

With a year left on Burnett, how much rope will they give this guy. I also say the same about Henry Rodriguez. Still early though. I remember guys ragging on Drew Storen in Spring Training last year.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Burnett gives up a HR to Morse and you're all turning on him? It was intra-team BP! They could not both win! Did you read the story? They were announcing the pitches? If Morse had not hit one out would you be declaring his last year a fluke?

I guess since we didn't hear that Zimmerman hit one out today that it must mean that's $100 million down the drain too.

joemktg said...

MZ: have you seen Rendon's MI training/instruction, or has that not yet started?

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Burnett gives up a HR to Morse and you're all turning on him?

Anon 8:08 PM Dude, chill. There were two LOOGY's last year. One was had the worst stats of every pitcher short of Balest, His name is Sean Burnett. You know who the 2nd was? Doug Slaten.

The ONLY effective left-handed reliever was Tom Gorzelanny the guy everyone wanted to cut lose and non-tender. You may be one of those fools.

In any case the point is relying solely on Burnett seems like a tactical mistake where this season is concerned. Having NO BACKUP that is a southpaw seems uncharacteristic of this team's FO. Don't you agree?
Having NOTHING to do with live BP in ST. Burnett is a free agent after this year as well.

Sheesh! Needless to say Balester and Slaten are gone. But Burnett?

Adjusted to be park and defense neutral.

Tom Gorzelanny 21.7 xIP, 3.05 tRA, 2.1 pRAA
Sean Burnett: 55.8 xIP, 4.70 tRA, -4.8 pRAA
Doug Slaten: 18.6 xIP, 5,75 tRA, -3.8 pRAA

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Whole-season stats for Burnett are misleading. He had a mechanical flaw, he fixed it, he got better.

And it is batting practice, i.e., not a game. I'm with 8:08 here.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I find it very odd that is wasn't something Johnson didn't address with Rizzo this offseason since that is one of Davey's forte's according to both Bowden and Rizzo?

I'd be interested in knowing how you know he didn't address it with Rizzo. Maybe they discussed it extensively, and didn't like the alternatives. Maybe Davey sees something in Burnett that he likes.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

although I do feel like I should add, re Gonat's comment, that it is a good question, and I'm assuming a BP dinger in the first week (when they were explicitly told to take it easy) wasn't really what prompted it.

Anonymous said...

If EJax produces 20 plus wins 180 K's 210 Innings Pitched and 20 quality starts and a 3.16- ERA and a Blah between 40-50 or higher he becomes a very valuable commodity.

Anonymous said...

If Lannan can get his Blah up to 60 or more, give up fever than 15 IDGAFs and keep his Meh under 4.13 he'll probably become whatever...

Anonymous said...

Love the pic Sec 3. Unfortunately my relatives were on the other side of the fence.

Anonymous said...

and I'm assuming a BP dinger in the first week (when they were explicitly told to take it easy) wasn't really what prompted it.

No, because I've been asking it all along. Is Severino going north with the 25 as Burnett's backup? Burnett as a single lefty doesn't make sense. But you may be right about the discussion. Good young lefties are rare and getting rarer which is why there was such an outcry over the trade of Manno for Gomes.

Anonymous said...

If Lannan can get his Blah up to 60 or more, give up fever than 15 IDGAFs and keep his Meh under 4.13 he'll probably become whatever...

I expect he'll be gone soon enough dude. He had the absolute worst adjusted stats of every pitcher last year. And most of those just beneath him are already gone.

Cwj said...

Burnett says: "here's a slider down the middle."
Morse says "ok", then drills the pitch.

Good pitch location by Burnett, good hitting by Morse.
It's called Spring Training :-)

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Perhaps I could have been clearer: I was addressing that to Gonat. Just FYI.

DaveB said...

Burnett had the best ERA on the entire pitching staff, starters and relievers, from the start of Aug. through the end of the season, 19 appearances and 1.02 ERA (Stammen did have a 0.00 ERA, but he only had 5 appearances, all in Sept.).

Those bashing Burnett really aren't paying attention, and they might want to remember the a line in one of the very first Geico Caveman commercials, when the Geico rep. was taking the two cavemen out to an expensive restaurant to make it up to them and said ,"We didn't know any of you guys were still around" and the one caveman said: "Yeah, next time do a little research, uh?"

Whatsanattau said...

I love Morse, but he walked 35 times last year. Love him for what he is but if you're looking for high walk totals you're looking in the wrong place.

lesatcsc said...

I'm surprised that Rizzo didn't address the left-handed backside wiper problem in the Nats bullpen. Sure they Nats have lots of guys adept at wiping their backsides with their right hand, but what are you going to do when you have a left-side bowel movement on the way. Fire Rizzo now! We have no decent left-handed backside wiper.

Really. Get serious. Burke gave up a HR to a batter that knew what was being thrown in BP. OMG, get over yourself!!!!!!!

natsfan1a said...

I believe that would be the left-handed cup adjuster, but carry on. :-)

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