Monday, March 12, 2012

Projecting the roster ... March Madness style

US Presswire photo
Outfielder Brett Carroll is making a push for a spot on the Nationals' bench.
If you're like me, you've spent the last few days pondering over not only spring training box scores but also NCAA Tournament bracket projections. (For your sake, I hope your alma mater made it into the field of 68 and didn't gag away a golden opportunity to go dancing for the first time in school history like mine did.)

Even with the lovable losers from Northwestern on the outside looking in yet again, it's always fun to track the experts' various predictions in the days and hours leading up to Selection Sunday, especially those teams on the bubble.

The same principles can apply to predicting Opening Day rosters. You've got players who are already locks to make it into the field of 25. You've got those who appear in good shape for now but still need to hold serve to ensure they make it. You've got those squarely on the bubble with three weeks to go. And you've got a handful who just miss the cut for now but could play their way back into the mix with a strong finish to the spring.

So let's run through the various categories and see where things stand on March 12...

CATCHERS
Locks: Wilson Ramos, Jesus Flores
Bubble: None
Verdict: No mystery here. Ramos is the starter, Flores is the backup.

INFIELDERS
Locks: Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark DeRosa
Bubble: Steve Lombardozzi, Chad Tracy, Andres Blanco, Mark Teahen
Verdict: There's probably only one available spot, and Lombardozzi has the inside track unless Blanco really steps up and makes a late charge. Tracy and Teahen are scrambling to stay in the race for one other possible spot off the bench, but each faces long odds.

OUTFIELDERS
Locks: Michael Morse, Jayson Werth
Bubble: Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Brett Carroll, Jason Michaels, Bryce Harper
Verdict: Ankiel is all but certain to open the season in center field. That still leaves two likely reserve spots, with Bernadina in solid position for now to snag one of them. Carroll and Michaels are going to be in a dogfight right down to the wire for another job. Harper is clinging to some hopes of crashing the dance as Cinderella, but it still would be an upset of epic proportions (think 15-seed over 2-seed).

ROTATON
Locks: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson
Bubble: Chien-Ming Wang, John Lannan
Verdict: Wang and Lannan each have strong resumes, but Wang has the better RPI (Rehab Pitcher Index) and should get the nod because he comes out of a stronger conference than Lannan, who is probably bound for the NIT (Nat Intended for Trade).

BULLPEN
Locks: Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Brad Lidge, Sean Burnett, Henry Rodriguez
Bubble: Ross Detwiler, Tom Gorzelanny, Craig Stammen, Ryan Mattheus, Chad Durbin, Ryan Perry, Jeff Fulchino
Verdict: Five spots are set in stone, leaving two up for grabs. Detwiler has an inside track at one of them. The other is Gorzelanny's to lose. But continued struggles from the lefty and a late surge by either Stammen or Mattheus could create a real dilemma for the selection committee.

So, by this logic, here are my last four players to make the roster, and my first four players to miss the cut...

LAST FOUR IN
Steve Lombardozzi
Roger Bernadina
Brett Carroll
Tom Gorzelanny

FIRST FOUR OUT
John Lannan
Craig Stammen
Ryan Mattheus
Jason Michaels

75 comments:

sjm308 said...

Excellent job of putting things out there for all to analzye - this will, of course, drive the Desmond Haters crazy that he is a lock but they will continue to harp.

I think rather than name the group with LannEn, Stammen, Mattheus and Michaels the "First four out" it might be more exact to term them the "last four out". Seems to me, people like Purke, Perez, Moore etc will be out way before this group.

No mention of my long shot # 16 seed Corey Brown. I realize a 16 has never beaten a #1 (and in reality, Ankiel & Bernadina are far from #1s) but he has not hurt himself so far.

With my alma mater not even making the NIT for two years running it hurts to think that LannEn is headed there. I still would keep him unless the offer is just too good. I honestly have no problem with him starting in AAA but again,, its not my money and its not my job on the line.

Go Nats!!

sjm308 said...

FIRST!!

do I win a prize? (I know, I know, its the dummy prize).

Cease the Opportunity said...

Cute...

Joe S. said...

I pretty much agree with the analysis, but still think that Flores, packaged with Lannan, might be trade bait. There is no point in having as good a catcher as Flores as your #2, if you can get reasonable trade value for him.

ehay2k said...
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ehay2k said...
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sjm308 said...

Joe S. - I agree with you, plus we seem to still have depth at catcher (at least defensive depth) even after Norris is gone. My question to you would be, it seems the only position we will be trading for is CF and I am not convinced those two would bring in the player we need. If Rizzo is tracking just Upton, and I find that hard to believe, it might make sense to just wait until this off season when he is a free agent. It also might make sense to wait later in the year when certain teams are out of the race and become sellers. If we can get McCutcheon from the Pirates (which probably won't ever happen with his new deal), I would make that trade in a heartbeat. I would add either Desmond or Espinosa for a quality CF like him but only him.

Let me know what other CF's you NI's think are worth trading for right now? Just wondering.

ehay2k said...

Lack of sleep causing fat finger-itis. Had to delete two posts!

Nice writeup Mark. Agree on most points. On the relievers, do you think Stammen's strong spring so far, coupled by the fact that he can go to his right, makes him a better option than Gorzo?

As for Lannan, is he more likely to be traded or sent to the developmental league?

Also, you forgot the word "time" in your lament about Northwestern. I'm sure the overwhelming grief of not making the tourney is the reason for this rare typographical lapse. My condolences.

jeeves said...

Totally agree with your conclusions, Mark. But I so wish Detweiler was the fifth starter and Mattheus was in the bullpen. Logistically, this will not be the case and I'm certainly not wishing injury to make any decisions.
For the record, barring injury to key players, I truly believe this Nat's team will make the playoffs, very possibly with 90 wins or more.

Gonat said...

I don't see Corey Brown's name anywhere. He has had a solid Spring so far both with the bat and glove. I don't seeing Corey making the team however I would have expected him as a bubble long-shot guy.

I still see a possible trade looming for a RH centerfielder as a real possibility which makes me pencil in TBD via Trade.

NatsLady said...
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Mark'd said...

Enjoyable read Mark. Since Rizzo has made 1 big OF move the last 2 years, will he upset us 3 years in a row?

NatsLady said...

Can't type this morning. Trying again:

If I recall, CMW has performance bonuses in his contract, and if they are similar to his 2011 contract, they include being in the starting rotation. He will be in the rotation, barring serious injury. I don't know why this keeps coming up. There is no competition for the fifth starter spot.

NatsLady said...

NatsJack, maybe you have a different Samsung Galaxy than I do. I tried deleting the app and re-installing, no go. Saw lots of complaints that there is no video, so I'm not the only one.

HHover said...

NatsLady

You're right, in the sense that CMW won't end up in the BP and won't be traded. But he could still start the season on the DL--there's no indication of a real injury, thank goodness, but there's always the possibility of the Nats discovering a minor/mystery ailment just as they're ready to head north.

NatsJack in Florida said...

The only other thing it may be NatsLady is the video is only available to the MLB.TV Premium package. If you only get the standard you only get audio.

Anonymous said...

Who does Chad Durbin have to kiss to get a decent look from Washington? He is having an excellent spring training and gets passed over on even a mention as a possible to get the 7th bullpen spot. Ask Lidge or anyone who has worked with him, he will bring a lot to the position. Why are the Nationals so hellbent on bringing up youth that will collapse under the pressure and for sure end up injured from over throwing.

NatsLady said...

NJ, thanks. I do have MLB Premium, at least, I'm supposed to. I'll check that, but I thought it renewed automatically and I seem to remember an email... Maybe it only renewed the standard.

natsfan1a said...

Nah, box scores only for me, as I'm not into the big bouncing ball or the pointy one. That said, props on the clever premise and the new acronyms. The team is due for some cuts soon, right?

If you're like me, you've spent the last few days pondering over not only spring training box scores but also NCAA Tournament bracket projections.

HHover said...

Joe S/sjm308

If Flores is traded, who's the backup catcher? Maldonado could do in a pinch, but Solano is the only other catcher in ST who's played above A ball, so far as I know.

natsfan1a said...

Also, for NatsLady: if your MLB Premium problem is not yet solved, you might try calling the Customer Service number listed on the media center page as opposed to emailing them. When I was having problems getting subscribed to Gameday Audio, I called the number and a very helpful young man tried to troubleshoot it. He spent a lot of time on the phone with me.

DFL said...

Flores stays. First, starting catchers should be limited to 125-130 games per year. Flores is the man to catch the 40 or so other games. Second, if Ramos is injured, Flores moves up. Flores makes more sense as emergency starting catcher than anyone else in the Nats system.

NatsLady said...

Here is another topic while we wait for 1:05 (and I wait for my car to be repaired.) Are curveballs dangerous for young arms?

In 2009, the NYT published this article.

Today, they published almost the same article.

Anyone here have ideas? I noticed in a recent pic of Stras that he doesn't seem to have the extreme inverted W, but that could be just the point in time the shot was taken.

bdrube said...

I actually own a Chad Durbin Nats baseball card. It was part of the special 2005 commemorative set Tops did to celebrate the Nats arrival in DC. They included not only the major leaguers, but also guys who were competing for spots that spring, as Durbin was.

Interestingly, Desmond is the only other player left from that set who is currently on the Nats roster.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And until Solano gets over his penchant for throwing balls to CF on steals, Sandy Leon has moved past him in camp.

Tcostant said...

All I got to say, looking at this team. Is that we come a long way...

This is an above average major league team, this is going to be fun!

Joe Seamhead said...

I agree with DFL regarding Flores. Mark Z are you basing Corey Brown as not even being on the bubble on anything that has been said by management? Brown is a very good defensive OF and might be the big hairy chested bench guy that Davey likes.

josh f said...

Mark - can you provide any news on a Natsfest or similar events as they are announced?

The Fox said...

DFL you are correct unless a trade also involves a backup catcher in return.

Flores is worth more in a trade if he can demonstrate that he still is a full-time starting catcher so I don't anticipate him being traded this year. Ultimately one of them will be traded because one of them will not be happy being a back-up and you can get a lot in return.

The odds are good that Lannan will be traded however, I would not be surprised if it were Detwiler instead. Who gets traded will have a lot to do with who we receive in exchange. There could even be a package deal with 2 pitchers being traded.

ehay2k said...

I'm thinking that barring a super deal for the Nats, Flores will be here at the very least through the first part of the season where the Nats can showcase that he is healthy and playing well. That would seem to me to maximize his trade value nearing the trade deadline.

Besides, Flores is the best backup we could hope to have. No harm in that if a good swap isn't available.

joemktg said...

NatsLady: the heightened awareness of pitch counts continues to grow beyond LL. I see greater coordination between all levels of baseball with regards to pitch counts and requisite rest, from youth to travel/showcase to HS. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing the same circumspect at the college level.

At the end of the day, it comes down to player and parents monitoring and advising coaches as to pitch load, and managing the post game rest/recovery period.

NatinBeantown said...

If Theo Epstein offered Byrd straight up for Lannan, how would NatsTown react?

Byrd: $6.5M in 2012, FA in 2013. 34 years old. Interestingly, lost 40lbs this offseason.

Lannan: $5.0M in 2012, under control next year. 27 years old.

jcj5y said...

Corey Brown isn't even on the 40-man roster; I think the Nats DFA'd him this winter. I'm guessing he's in the first round of roster cuts today.

I think that Stammen's and Mattheus' good showings this spring could make trading Lannan and getting rid of Gorzelanny a bit easier. The team can be comfortable with Detwiler and Stammen and the 6th and 7th starters, and Maya (shudder) as the emergency 8th starter.

PAY TO PLAY said...

HHover, call to Boras for Ivan Rodriguez would be my guess if Flores was traded.

NatsLady said...

P2P, apparently no one else is giving Pudge a shot with the kind of playing time he wants, so if he's not going to get it, I hope he comes back here.

Anonymous said...

So Corey Brown has no shot at the Opening Day roster!?

TimDz said...

The Fox:
Respectfully...no way that Detweiler gets traded. Power lefties are in short supply and EJax is only here on a one year deal. In fact, it would not surprise me if Jackson gets flipped at the trade deadline. I see the top four in our rotation next year being Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gonzalez and Detweiler. Two power righties and two power lefties.
Regardless, this year FINALLY seems to be the year that the Nats are going to play meaningful games in September.

sjm308 said...

jcj5y - you are correct that Brown is here on a spring training invite and is not on our 40 man but I don't think they will ship him to AAA in the first round of cuts. That CF spot is our only ? right now and I think they want to see that play out. The fact that he can play all 3 OF spots and has done well early has not hurt his chances. Again, its a long long shot but I think he makes the first cut.

Your points on Mattheus & Stammen are valid and I have liked Mattheus from the getgo. It also won't surprise me to see Maya up at some time in the season and I will shudder right along with you.

Are you guys as surprised as I am that NO ONE took a shot on Pudge? Is it because he wants regular playing time? or is it his lack of offense last season? I thought he was still a capable catcher and actually helped our pitching staff, even when not behind the plate. I would love to see Pudge back but not at the expense of either of our two young studs.

sjm308 said...

jcj5y - you are correct that Brown is here on a spring training invite and is not on our 40 man but I don't think they will ship him to AAA in the first round of cuts. That CF spot is our only ? right now and I think they want to see that play out. The fact that he can play all 3 OF spots and has done well early has not hurt his chances. Again, its a long long shot but I think he makes the first cut.

Your points on Mattheus & Stammen are valid and I have liked Mattheus from the getgo. It also won't surprise me to see Maya up at some time in the season and I will shudder right along with you.

Are you guys as surprised as I am that NO ONE took a shot on Pudge? Is it because he wants regular playing time? or is it his lack of offense last season? I thought he was still a capable catcher and actually helped our pitching staff, even when not behind the plate. I would love to see Pudge back but not at the expense of either of our two young studs.

NatsNuts said...

NatsBaseball 38 minutes reply to fairenough

If they get a long term CF this year that will play 100% of the time, then LaRoche, Werth or Morse will be traded away - assuming they are hitting well......unless one ends up on the DL...
----------------

I was reading Ladson's mailbag comments today and the commentors like the one above show the difference between different Nats sites.

Who in their right mind honestly believes that Jayson Werth could be traded at this point in time.

Another commentor has Ramos leading off and calls LaRoche a great player.

Another wants to trade Ian D./Lannan/LaRoche for Parra (in LF).

sjm308 said...

not sure how that happened? sorry

PAY TO PLAY said...

TimDz said...
The Fox:
Respectfully...no way that Detweiler gets traded. Power lefties are in short supply and EJax is only here on a one year deal. In fact, it would not surprise me if Jackson gets flipped at the trade deadline. I see the top four in our rotation next year being Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gonzalez and Detweiler. Two power righties and two power lefties.
Regardless, this year FINALLY seems to be the year that the Nats are going to play meaningful games in September.

March 12, 2012 9:57 AM


EJax gets traded only if the Nats aren't in the playoff hunt. Lets hope EJax isn't traded.

David said...

Corey Brown is finally getting an opportunity for Spring Training at-bats. Didn't he get hurt during last years Spring Training? Anyway, he is hitting this ST. Why doesn't he have a chance to beat out Roger Bernadina?

PAY TO PLAY said...

David, agreed. Corey Brown has looked good this Spring Training in his few opportunities, and it basically means nothing because of those in front of him. He isn't ahead of Morse or Werth obviously. Only way Brown has a shot is if Ankiel or Bernadina were traded or injured and Harper goes to the Minors. That is a lot of 'ifs' as they say!

DFL said...

Lombardozzi as a 200 AB utilityman makes little sense at this stage of his career. He should start at Syracuse and move up in case of injury or poor play by Desmond or Espinosa. Carroll makes some sense for the limited infield reserve role. That Carroll is playing some outfield extends his usefulness, sort of a 2012 version of Bixler. Teahan might make more sense than Carroll, however. Bigger bat. He's not a natural at short but the Nats have Espinosa to move over to short on days Desmond rests.

Mark'd said...

SJM, not surprised at all about Pudge. He would not accept a non-roster invitee with teams and instead is waiting for an injury or trade to leave a team exposed.

sm13 said...

We need to cut Gorzo loose and let Matheus and Stammen battle for the final bullpen spot. Durbin is an option, but i give the nod to youth and power arms over experience. And I hope against hope that we don't see Maya and his hanging curveball in a Nats uniform this year.

NatsLady said...

Customer support told me that video will be available on "all" Samsung devices on March 20. Not sure how NatsJack got his ahead of time, but good going!

NatsNuts said...

DFL, Davey will get his way on some matters and Lombardozzi may be one of them. It may not be the best for Lombo to be a utility bench guy but look how it worked out eventually for Jamey Carroll.

The Fox said...

TimDz

You are correct Detweiler is worth and is potentially more valuable than Lannan. Detweiler is cheaper too, that is why you could get more for him in a trade.

I think Rizzo is not adverse to taking risk. If he can get a lead-off hitter especially one he can control for a few years don't be surprised at what he might give up. Think about the Gio trade he gave up a lot for someone he wanted and extended his contract before spring training.

The EJax signing told me that Rizzo is still a scout at heart. EJax has been traded 7 times because scouts see the potential and know they can fix him. Rizzo denied this to Mark but everyone who knows Rizzo knew he always was infatuated by EJax.

The Trading deadline in July is going to be very interesting for this team, usually a team in contention does not trade any of their good players because the message it could send to its players and fans. If they are out of contention a lot of trades could happen to save payroll, if they aren't I doubt that there are trades for prospects it would have to be something for an immediate return.

Seeing as any contending team could have had Ejax for 11 million I would tend to think you would not get a lot for him at the deadline. Injuries to other teams could change that. My hope is he does so well that no one contemplates it.

The best news is Rizzo has extra pitchers and that is always a good thing.

jcj5y said...

I'm surprised no one has signed Pudge. The only explanation I can come up with is that he wants more money than he's worth as a backup catcher who can't hit (but still plays above-average defense and knows how to handle a pitching staff).

If Gorzy isn't on the team, they'll need Matheus in the 'pen and Stammen working as a starter in Syracuse, in case he's needed in that role (although I recognize that Davey is fond of having two long relievers on the team).

NatsLady said...

The "above average defense" coaches can train for, but the "handle a pitching staff" I hope Pudge passed along to Wilson (and JFlo) because that ain't easy.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Wow. Thanks NatsLady..... I downloaded the At Bat Lite app the second it was available and punched in my MLB password and (although I had to do it 3 times before it would take) and have been watching games from day 1.

The feeds have been terrific and the HD is excellent.

NatsLady said...

NJ, I did the same, but didn't have your luck. Also, I have an Asus Transformer T101 on which I watched postseason games last fall ("Beta" mode) but it's not on the supported list this year. I've asked them to inform me when it comes up.

RPrecupjr said...

As I've stated before:

Closer - Storen
7th/8th/9th - Clippard
7th/8th/9th - Lidge
7th/8th/9th - HRod
LOOGY - Burnett
Long Lefty - Detwiler
Long Righty - Stammen

Yes, I realize that leaves out Mattheus, Lannan, Gorzy and Wang.

As far as I know, Mattheus still has options so can go to Syracuse, same with Lannan.

Wang will be the 5th starter, he is NOT a bullpen guy.

Gorzy will be Pattersoned.

Davey wants two long relievers and there's no way both will be lefties. Both Stammen and Detwiler can start in an emergency situation and Lannan provides the insurance coming up from Syracuse. Is it a shame that Lannan ends up starting the year in AAA? Yes and no. It's a shame because he's put in his time here and suffered through the bad times, he should be part of the good times. It's not a shame, because we now have a rotation that is heads and shoulders above his talent level and just like with Livo, it's time to move on. He also doesn't strike me as a bullpen guy, and unless something drastically changes in the next three weeks, Wang is the 5th starter. Three young power arms, a crafty veteran, and a power sinkerballer as your #5 guy makes for a potentially dominant rotation. There just isn't a spot for a soft-tosser anywhere on our staff anymore.

NatsNuts said...

jcj5y, Mark'd at 10:25 explained the reason Pudge hasn't been signed. He wants a MLB deal with a clear path to playing time and nobody is offering...yet.

Binx Bolling said...

Don't cry too many tears for John Lannen. He'll be making $ 5 million pitching in Syracuse.

Binx Bolling said...

Don't cry too many tears for John Lannen. He'll be making $ 5 million pitching in Syracuse.

PAY TO PLAY said...

Having 2 LH long men when you have a RH dominated starting rotation (4 of 5) will give better balance. Davey likes his lefties in the 'pen especially when all of your set-up men and closers are RH.

Binx Bolling said...

I could spell his name right, though.

PAY TO PLAY said...

This is huge breaking Free Agent news. Peter Angelos and the Orioles are rumored to be in on Peyton Manning!

NatsLady said...

NJ, was able to watch videos, just not the games. Agree, the HD is excellent on the Android Galaxy. Saw Mo explain what he's not explaining about whether or not it's his final season.

NatsLady said...

Yes, but can Peyton play centerfield??????

Anonymous said...

Morse is DHing today

PAY TO PLAY said...

The premature rumors of Corey Brown being cut today is greatly exaggerated as 1st cuts were made and Corey Brown is starting in the OF today.

PAY TO PLAY said...

NatsLady said...
Yes, but can Peyton play centerfield??????

March 12, 2012 11:23 AM

Angelos doesn't care. He's just hoping that the rumor sells more season tix for him!

Anonymous said...

Not enough lumber, regardless of which of these guys makes the team. Great pitch, no hit. That's the Nationals. They will struggle to break .500.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

No, they won't.

There. Glad that's settled.

Anonymous said...

I concur with sec3.

sjm308 said...

Sec.3

Perfect!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know Mark. Corey Brown was in the lineup again today as a starter in left field. So far he looks superior to Bernadina.

Gorzelanny and Mattheus make the team. According to FP SantAngelo the first name Davey Johnson would bring up when he'd talk to him last season was Mattheus.

Sorry, but I doubt its going to end they way you predict especially since I believe there is now a better than 50% possibility that Ian Desmond could get optioned to AAA to continue working through his batting stance from high school baseball coach deal. Remember? The majors is a performance league, the minors are for adjustments. And Davey has twice now criticized Desmond in the media.

Your crystal ball appears to be broken Mark.

Anonymous said...

Gorzy will be Pattersoned.

WON'T happen because there's no other left hander to replace him. After Burnett they are basically done. And Detwiler has stated his preference for starting. And Johnson prefers him in that role?

To get rid of Gorzo you really must have another left-handed reliever. Over and over again Johnson has stated his desire for lefties. Do you see them? No.

Silly, silly fans.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Corey Brown just drew in another run Mark. You seem to have forgotten a name. And Davey Johnson does keep playing him.? ~smiles~

Silly, silly biased baseball pundits.

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot something.

Silly, silly trolls.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

He's not a troll, he's just unsocialized.

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