Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Focus on Flores

US Presswire photo
Jesus Flores is hitting .222 with five RBI in 16 games this season.
Most of the focus on the Nationals' ever-changing situation at catcher has been on those players who have sustained injuries (Wilson Ramos, Sandy Leon) or those players who have been added to the roster to compensate for the losses (Carlos Maldonado).

Really, though, the focus should now be on the man who is being asked to take over everyday catching duties for the rest of the season: Jesus Flores.

Plain and simple, the Nationals need Flores to prove he can be a productive player both at the plate and behind the plate as well as hold up physically to the grind of the increased playing time he's about to receive.

The 27-year-old certainly has the pedigree to suggest he's up to the task. Once considered the Nationals' long-term catching answer, he amassed 301 at-bats in 2008 and was playing nearly every day in 2009 before a shoulder injury threw a wrench into his career progression.

Flores, though, understands the challenge he now faces in keeping his body in shape for the long haul.

"I've been working a lot on that part, that's for sure," he said. "I feel ready. I feel prepared to be the everyday [catcher]. I think I'm more mature and have experience from years ago. I feel very confident and trust that I can do the job."

Before he sustained that shoulder injury off a foul tip in Arizona three years ago, Flores looked poised for a breakthrough at the plate. He was hitting .301 with four homers and 15 RBI in 29 games that year and was establishing himself as one of the organization's best producers in clutch situations.

He's not the same offensive force today, though, that he was pre-injury. In 46 total games since returning to the big leagues, he's hitting an uninspiring .214 with one homer and seven RBI.

But are Flores' reduced numbers a product of eroding skills or a lack of consistent playing time? There's some evidence to suggest it's the latter. When given a chance to play more regularly over the winter in his native Venezuela, Flores hit a robust .322 for Magallanes with an .824 OPS.

"I think I've been doing a very good job lately, and I proved to them in spring training -- winter ball season helped me out, too -- to gain that confidence and all that rhythm to play every day," he said. "I know I can do it up here like years ago, even better right now."

The Nationals will watch Flores closely, because they may have to make a decision at some point. If he's able to perform at a consistent level while playing five or six days a week, the organization will be comfortable moving forward with the status quo.

If, however, Flores appears to struggle or is capable of playing only three or four times a week, the Nationals may decide they need to go outside the organization to add an experienced, big-league catcher who could split time with Flores the rest of the season.

131 comments:

mick said...

I disagree with Mark in going outside the organization for a back up catcher. If we make any trade it should involve a huge bat. I have no problem with Strass' day yesterday, it not only happens but the rain delay clearly was the prime factor. I am more bothered by the pathetic hitting against a crappy team with an average pitcher, that just came off a loss after traveling coast to coast. R Zim's DP was terrible! To only score 1 run against the worst team in the national League is a problem and not acceptable! If the Nats had lost 6-5 6-4, one could understand that, but 6-1 shows there are problems with these guys hitting consistently. If Morse coming back does not solve the hitting issues, then the only trade that should be made is for a big bat, if that big bat is a catcher, then fine. We don't need a catcher who is another stiff at the plate, we have too many of the already. The O's could rock us if we do not hit

Section 215 Row A said...

It won't be necessary. Jesus will produce. To tell you the truth, I think he is a more complete package than Ramos. The reason Ramos was the everyday was that Ramos is 23 and HAD a much bigger upside...but with that dreadful ACL tear he may never be right. I like to think Flores has reclaimed his position as the catcher of the future for the Nationals.

peric said...

If Morse coming back does not solve the hitting issues, then the only trade that should be made is for a big bat, if that big bat is a catcher, then fine. We don't need a catcher who is another stiff at the plate, we have too many of the already.

Its not going to happen. Perhaps the next "big" bat will likely be Corey Brown who is currently raking in Syracuse while batting in the lead-off spot.

For the 1000th time the Nats place winning first but a close second is developing prospects. Going out for some geezing "big bat" and trading prospects to get that "bat" AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN. NOT. NO. NEIN?
They are going to see if they can develop their prospects into "big" bats. See Harper, Bryce, Desmond, Ian, Espinosa, Danny.

If you don't like it go watch the Orioles since you mentioned them. They do go out and sign geezers like Miguel Tejada.

You are following the wrong team.

Unless there is someone young (under 30), with a high ceiling

Scott from Burke said...

Peric said: If you don't like it go watch the Orioles since you mentioned them.

Is this your matra? I hate reading it because it makes me feel like i'm reading the rant of a child..stop writing it..so petulant and stupid...and based on the o's record and age of their players...kinda wrong too

peric said...

How old is Miguel Tejada? He's their new big bat.

The Nats tried that last year with Gomes and Stairs ... where did that get them?

Look at their pitching staff. How old is the guy from Japan?

The O's are much older than the Nats ... by far.

peric said...

so petulant and stupid...and based on the o's record and age of their players...kinda wrong too

Kind of right too. But so few follow the whole system and include the minors in the outlook on their perspective on the Nats. It lead to ignorance.

I include you in that Scott From Burke, too often your posts sound like a nine year old's playing fantasy baseball.

Scott from Burke said...

so f'in what? the 'go watch the o's' comment makes people sad and tired..get some new material

Doc said...

There are no big bats available in the MLB at C.

JFlo will do fine. Maybe not VWL fine, but closer to those stats with daily experience that he's hitting now. By the way, he out-hit Ramos in the VWL.

His defense at C is as good as it gets. That last game at Cincy was an all star performance in areas of defense.

If RZim (1 HR-7 RBIs?) and the rest of the guys are doing their job, JFlo's offense gets better. I'm More concerned for the rest of the team's hitting than Flores' batting prowess.

A DC Wonk said...

peric, I see what you're driving at, but trying to compare Tejada with Gomes and Stairs doesn't work.

Scott from Burke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A DC Wonk said...

mick wrote:

To only score 1 run against the worst team in the national League is a problem and not acceptable! If the Nats had lost 6-5 6-4, one could understand that, but 6-1 shows there are problems with these guys hitting consistently.

mick, no offe3nse, but if you step back a second . . . this is a perfect example of looking at a solitary tree (i.e., yesterday's game in isolation) and not the forest (this season, this month, or even this week).

The Nats have been hitting consistently well throughout May -- in fact, including yesterday's game, they are batting .274 in May (including 31 doubles and 18 HR in the 14 games) -- that's pretty good.

But even the best teams with the best pitchers lose to the worst occasionally.

Consider: the Padres have beaten Halladay _twice_ this season already. (Halladay is 0-2 against the Pads, and 3-1 against the rest of the league). And the Phils, who hit .010 better than the Nats, only scored one run for him. Both times. They only got three hits that first game.

As has been said before: even the worst teams win 54 games, and the best teams lose 54 games. It's the third bunch of 54 games that determine the season.

It's a marathon, not a sprint, yadda, yadda, yadda.

joemktg said...

C'mon Scott: see your mea culpa comment from a few days ago regarding comment behavior.

SCNatsFan said...

Ignoring the guys arguing above, my worry about FLores is if his shoulder can stand up and if a little 'ding' would effect him more then any other catcher. Mick I understand and agree with the thoughts about getting hitting, but no one says you can do both trades. I still have to think Lannan is flipped for a catcher, and depending who we add to sweeten the deal will determine what we get back.

joemktg said...

Flores: this staff has some wicked, dive-bombing 12-6 breaking balls, so as long as he's blocking down, keeping it in front and preventing runners from advancing, I'm OK with a .225 BA.

whatsanattau said...

I try not to confuse facts with opinions. I think the assertion that the Nats will develop prospects rather than make a trade is an opinion. I don't disagree that the organizational philosophy tends that way, but if they determine they need to get better through trade they will make the deal - even if it costs them both prospects and the opportunity for prospects to play. They clearly are willing to use veterans rather than prospects - Nady, Tracy, Ankiel, DeRosa, and now Maldonado are on the team even while Brown, Solano, and others are still in the minors. Moore will be going back soon.

So while the team is very focused on developing players, this is not an either/or situation. This is a find the best way to fill the need situation. If they find a geezer who can help them, they won't hesitate. If they believe a prospect needs to be further developed in the minors, they will make every effort to keep him there.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Getting away from the pejoratives, among the 30 major league teams there probably aren't twenty catchers worth adding to the roster -- for cost and/or productivity reasons. So, even if Flores continues to hit .222, he's probably the best option to finish the year -- if he can stay healthy. (If he gets hurt, they'll have to pay dearly for some overpaid .178 hitter like Russell Martin.)

I haven't heard any evaluations of the severity of Leon's ankle sprain . . . so I suppose we can hold out hope he's available in August/September.

Although there are exceptions, e.g., Posey, catchers have enough learning to do on the job that it takes time -- including regular playing time -- to become a force offensively. (E.g., Carlos Ruiz, Wieters.) I think Flores is sound enough, all around, to be a completely satisfactory fill-in. (What bothers me, as I have said previously, is that he is a FA after next year and it would be understandable if the Nats didn't want to pay him a lot of money to back up Ramos.)

JamesFan said...

I'm a Flores believer. Before he was hurt, I thought he had the potential to be an All-Star catcher--good defense, great hitter. That talent is still there. If he gets starter paying time--and doesn't get hurt himself--I predict a big year for him. I also hope that Leon can get back from this ankle sprain.

On these plays at the plate, is it worth a season ending injury to try to block a guy barreling in at the plate to stop one run in one game? I don't think so. Take the throw in front of the plate and make the tag if you can.

Blocking the plate is not worth it at least not in a way that puts the catcher as the only one at risk. If the runner was equally at risk of season ending injury, these collisions at the plate would not be so common.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Read on Nats Prospects (?) this a.m. that Solano has a herniated disk. If so, he belongs on an operating table somewhere more than in a major league dugout. Can't count on him anytime soon.

NatsJack in Florida said...

He can ask Josh Willingham about trying to catch after a herniated disk repair.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I am a big Kid Flores fan. I actually think he's an upgrade from Ramos, and I don't mean that pejoratively as Wilson has had just about the worst eight months a human being can have. Defensively, it's no contest. Flores may actually throw out a runner once a week and hold onto throws from the outfield, a big upgrade in both departments. Offensively, Flores may not quite have Moose's power but I think he hits fine and also hits in the clutch. He's in the best shape of his life and I think is totally prepared to be the everyday No. 1.

Just stay healthy, Flo.

But if he gets hurt, we have to package a 4-5-6 starter and maybe Lombo/Espi to get Wieters to make the trek down the parkway permanently.

alexva said...

I'd expect Flores to get his average back up above .260 and continue to play good defense and provide leadership. He appears to be in very good shape so playing 4 out of every 5 games should not be an issue. If Maldonado can provide adequate defense on his off days, they'll be fine.

MicheleS said...

I thought I saw on MLB Trade rumors that we were scouting Kelly Shopach (Sp?) of the Red Sox?

Agree, there are not going to be any big bats to trade for this season unless it is a salary dump (See Soriano, Cubs - which we DO NOT WANT). Too many teams see the extra wild card as a shot at the playoffs (Jays, even O's), and some of the other lower level teams see this as a building year for next year (See KC Royals)

whatsanattau said...

Speaking of geezers I wouldn't mind having on the team ... it's a shame Brian Schneider is currently toiling away in Philly. Wouldn't give them a wooden nickel but I like Schneider.

natsfan1a said...

Also a Flo fan here. Hope that the increased playing time will help with his bat.

In other news: Hi, Davey! You're welcome on the chicken idea. :-)

natsfan1a said...

I'm with you, Jane. I'll get a live chicken and bring it to the park tomorrow.
May 14, 2012 10:25 PM

whatsanattau said...

we should be good, I sacrificed a chicken last night.

DWS said...

Not to often a catcher provides offense, and if he does.. bonus. Defense from the position can win games also.
And Steve from Burke, good pull back. I happen to agree with Perics reasoning and enjoy his posts.
Speaking of children, kids 12-14 around here are enamored with that word......just sayin.

SCNatsFan said...

Just saw the video of Lawrie hitting the ump with his helmet (unintentionally). While I don't condone that I think the ump should be suspended for the horrible calls as long as Lawrie is suspended.

Some of the calls in critical times this year are horrid. Sure only the bad ones get on ESPN and overall they do a great job but the ego of some of these umps is out of control.

Section 215 Row A said...

Whatsanattau:

As a refreshing break from the nattering nabobs above...accolades on both of your last post. It is INDEED not either/or and I have always liked Schneider too!

MicheleS said...

An explanation of our injuries:

Wapo Article

Great PFB Balls of Fire said...

So excited for this opportunity for Flores. I think I missed my chance to take my kids to Syracuse to see Jesus in the flesh.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Whatsanattau & Section 215 --

When Schneider left town, he was described in at least one newspaper article as a destructive influence in the clubhouse. Specifically, I remember a reference to refusing to accept "responsibility." Don't remember whether the "C"-word was used but it might have been. In any event, no one was mourning his departure. That's hardly anything the Nats need right now.

natsfan1a said...

Nice moniker, sec3. ;-)

I always liked Schneider. Got a link for the piece in question, Theo?

Thanks for doing your part to help the team on the chicken front, whatsa.

natsfan1a said...

Oops, maybe that wasn't sec3 after all. Anyway, I like it. :-)

whatsanattau said...

That might be accurate. Don't know. But, sometimes players who are not a good fit on a bad team become a good fit on a good team. Sometimes a good manager makes a difference. Again, I don't know, but he's not avaialble anyway so ....

natsfan1a said...

Oh, right, I forgot. Pipe dreams and all. As you were. Stand down. :-)

mick said...

Peric

I agree with you, I was just saying if they did go outside. I hope they do not, Corey Brown and others will solve it, but the question is when?

mick said...

DC wonk

I did not know Padres bear Halliday twice? It is frustrating because we could have been 10 over 500 and the Padres are just so bad.

Theophilus T. S. said...

No, no link -- we are talking 2007, of course. Mark should remember. At the time, I was reading both the Post and the Times. Nine pages of Google for "Schneider Milledge trade" yielded one Wapo article - by Svrluga -- and the rest mostly NY Mets articles complaining about how they were hosed.

Lack of any Washington Times articles suggests what I saw was there -- and maybe that Google didn't archive Times stuff.

NatsNut said...

Me too. I'm partial to catchers in general, but Flores is *really* my favorite. Love that guy. The best word I have to describe him is "earnest." The guys is just so earnest in his play. And before he was hurt, man he was clutch. He'll be just fine.

Section 215 Row A said...
Jesus will produce. To tell you the truth, I think he is a more complete package than Ramos.

Ann Ominous said...

When Schneider left town, he was described in at least one newspaper article as a destructive influence in the clubhouse.

Brian Schneider didn't "leave town." He was traded to the Mets for Lastings Milledge, by Jim Bowden. Of those three - Schneider, Milledge, Bowden - you're calling Schneider the destructive influence in a clubhouse? You need to start reading a different newspaper.

jcj5y said...

I agree with the sentiment that Flores will play if he can maintain strong defense. The big question may be whether his shoulder can stand the strain of playing 5 days a week instead of once a week over the course of the next four months.

Ann Ominous said...

The big question may be whether his shoulder can stand the strain of playing 5 days a week instead of once a week over the course of the next four months.

How many days a week over how many months do they play ball in Venezuela? He has probably already answered that question.

Great PFB Balls of Fire said...

Not Sec3, but I do appreciate his sense of humor.

A DC Wonk said...

Guys -- I don't understand the love for Schneider. He's 35-1/2, and last year he hit .176! You have to go back to 2009 to find a season where he appeared in more than 47 games. (Granted, he's hitting .303 this year, but that's with fewer at bats than even Chad Tracy.)

So . . . what am I missing here?

Kevin Rusch said...

DC Wonk: I'd venture to guess the love for Schneider comes from some pretty clutch hits in 2005, and absence makes the heart grow fonder. :-)

A DC Wonk said...

mick

I did not know Padres bear Halliday twice?

Yeah -- baseball's a funny game ;-)

It is frustrating because we could have been 10 over 500 and the Padres are just so bad.

Yep -- it _is_ frustrating. But, you can't let the lows get you down too much, because, again, even the best team will stink up the joint plenty of times. Between the late games, rain delay, no day off, Strasburg's known dislike of crummy weather, etc. it was, in a way, the perfect negative storm. Let all the bad stuff happen in one game, get a good night's rest -- at home -- and come out smoking tonight in perfect baseball weather. That's how I see it!

And for those frustrating lame-effort losses that happen from time to time -- well: hey, that's what makes winning it all, when it does happen, so d@mn satisfying!

jcj5y said...

According to Wikipedia, the Venezuela league is 63 games between October and December, then playoffs. It's hard to tell exactly how many days they have to play those games. But it's not 100 games in four months.

Section 215 Row A said...

I wasn't suggesting Schneider as a replacement...justing waxing nostalgic for one of my favorite early Nats. I was surprised to hear about him being "destructive"...he was traded with Ryan Church...and I know Ryan did have some issues. Could there be some cross contamination here?

Theophilus T. S. said...

Why the Schneider love? For years he was "sold" to the public as a "fiery," defensively-above average catcher. He benefited greatly from being part of the 2005 over-achievers, a model for the disaster of the next four-five years. His offense declined steadily, his defense was vastly over-rated, and he was -- apparently -- "flaming" rather than fiery.

With all due deference to Mark, sportswriters have a hard time telling the truth. They worry about future relationships w/ a player if they call him out for being a bonehead; they worry that Elijah Dukes might mistake them for one of his ex-girlfriends as they walk past his locker; they worry about relationships with the non-boneheads if the writer violates the players' perceptions of the "sanctity" of the locker-room.

Then after a player "leaves town" -- by trade or otherwise, it's still "leaving" -- stuff starts to leak out that is contrary to all previous perceptions and the reader says to him/herself, "Geez, why did they let us know about that before? I wouldn't have bought tickets/watched TV to root for that bum."

How surprising, to pick a benign example, was it to hear in the latter part of 2010 that Alberto Gonzalez was being a pain in the butt with complaints about not getting enough ABs? It was bad enuf that he had 4 RBIs for the whole season and a whole lot worse to hear he was being an irritant about being underappreciated.

I don't think there are any whiners on this year's team -- but we can hardly know for sure. I do know I don't want them knowingly adding one to the roster.

Theophilus T. S. said...

"didn't let us know," not "did."

David said...

I'm not worried about Flores. But maybe we need a better backup than Maldonado? and Brown is back to killing it at Syracuse, but Bernadina has been hitting better, and is putting a stronger hold on LF. I wonder when he'll get the callup. Maybe not till September or another injury happens...

mc703 said...

It's been fun watching Bernie start to show some signs of hitting life with more starts in the absence of Werth.

JD said...

Not really seeing a huge break through in Bernadina. OBP is ok but defense is still spotty.

I do think it's time to have a real look see at Corey Brown; especially if it moves Desmond down in the order.

bowdenball said...

Ann Onimous-

When you're traded, you leave town. The two are not mutually exclusive, in fact they go hand in hand. And the unfortunate careers of Milledge and Bowden don't somehow make it less likely that Schneider was a "destructive influence."

I don't really care about Schneider, but your criticism of the post, the poster and whatever newspaper he was quoting was a little strange.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JD....if Corey Brown is the answer, he would have already been here. There needs to be an injury to Bernadina or Ankiel before Brown gets a look.

natsfan1a said...

I'd say that yours is pretty good as well.

Great PFB Balls of Fire said...

Not Sec3, but I do appreciate his sense of humor.
May 16, 2012 10:14 AM

And Wonk, there are no stats in matters of the heart. ;-)

A DC Wonk said...

Guys -- I don't understand the love for Schneider. He's 35-1/2, and last year he hit .176! You have to go back to 2009 to find a season where he appeared in more than 47 games. (Granted, he's hitting .303 this year, but that's with fewer at bats than even Chad Tracy.)

So . . . what am I missing here?
May 16, 2012 10:24 AM

natsfan1a said...

Eh, if they win, I'm thinking that people will buy tix, watch, and root regardless of what others say about a given player's character.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Then after a player "leaves town" -- by trade or otherwise, it's still "leaving" -- stuff starts to leak out that is contrary to all previous perceptions and the reader says to him/herself, "Geez, why did they let us know about that before? I wouldn't have bought tickets/watched TV to root for that bum."

JamesFan said...

If the Nats play Flores every day and give the day games after night games to Solano, we will be just fine at catcher, maybe better on the near term.

JamesFan said...

I ment Moldanado as the back up.

A DC Wonk said...

Regarding the "love for Schneider", I do get that folks are nostalgic, etc., for the 2005 season. What I wasn't getting is why anybody would want him on the team _now_. Same with Pudge -- he's awesome (although, ahem, he never did deny steroid use), set a terrific example -- I have fond memories, and I'd welcome him back as a coach, but I'm not sure he could "get off the interstate" (meaning, hit above .200) anymore.

JD said...

NatsJack,

I don't know if I agree with you. I think that both Bernadina and Ankiel are known qualities. They are both mediocre at best. I think that the Brown experiment at leadoff has gone very well.

I am not saying that this will happen; I am just advocating that it should.

natsfan1a said...

My impression was that it was nostalgia talking and not a serious suggestion that the Nats pick him up, particularly seeing as how he's not available. Probably not worth expending the mental energy to track down stats in hopes of either supporting or refuting the idea, but that's just me. :-)

MicheleS said...

So, Apparantly some Nats Fans just cut the head off a Rubber Chicken at Nats Park (Per the SportsBog on twitter). Things are getting goofy. Stay sane people.

JD said...

For the record Brown's slash line is: .281 .400 .500 with 7 HR's and 7 doubles. I haven't seen him play and I understand the difference in the levels but I think that by stats alone he merits a callup.

Having said that I don't think it would be useful if Brown is called up and sits ALA Moore. I would get him up here stick him in center and at leadoff for 20 games and lets see what he's got.

David said...

I agree with JD. Brown has better career minor league numbers than Bernadina... and is now crushing AAA. It's time to see what he has. Bernadina has had 1 and 1/2 years of MLB at bats and has only given us a .672 OPS.

natsfan1a said...

I just looked at that video as well. According to Big League Stew, a fan later threw beer on the same ump. Bad calls can be frustrating, but both of those reactions were out of line, imho. I didn't see the calls in question, but suspending umps for questionable calls strikes me (no pun intended) as a slippery slop.

SCNatsFan said...

Just saw the video of Lawrie hitting the ump with his helmet (unintentionally). While I don't condone that I think the ump should be suspended for the horrible calls as long as Lawrie is suspended.

Some of the calls in critical times this year are horrid. Sure only the bad ones get on ESPN and overall they do a great job but the ego of some of these umps is out of control.
May 16, 2012 9:26 AM

natsfan1a said...

lol, make that a slippery "slope."

Drew said...

FWIW, I'm with Scott from Burke in the earlier exchange. Sure, Peric makes some good points. So do a lot of folks here. This is a sharp, witty and generally even-tempered group. Bad Henry makes us crazy, but we recover our good humor when touched "by the better angels of our nature."

The dispiriting thing about Peric is that he so often soils his cogent posts with needless tough-guy chest thumping and pointless perrsonal attacks.

As the old right-hander from Springfield said so well: "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."

So, here's a bid for some common ground. Hey Peric, how about Matt Skole -- 4 for 4 last night with two homers and 5 RBIs. That kid is something else. When do you think he'll get the call to Potomac?"

Ann Ominous said...

The dispiriting thing about Peric is that he so often soils his cogent posts with needless tough-guy chest thumping and pointless perrsonal attacks.

I wondered what happened to Rob Dibble after he got fired from the MASN gig.

baseballswami said...

I think you have to be careful with the thinking that people will buy tickets if the team wins. This area is full of workaholics and there is tons of competition for people's money and time. Just ask the Rays -- they are an exciting team who wins and they don't pack in the fans.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JD....I'm not arguing with you when it comes to Brown. It's just that either Bernie or Ankiel would have to be DFA'd and they would certainly be picked upby someone, hence the injury remark.

And management would like a longer look at Brown at AAA before making that kind of move.

natsfan1a said...

otoh and in this market, I've not hopped on that particular bandwagon but it seems to have helped the Caps.

baseballswami said...

I think you have to be careful with the thinking that people will buy tickets if the team wins. This area is full of workaholics and there is tons of competition for people's money and time. Just ask the Rays -- they are an exciting team who wins and they don't pack in the fans.
May 16, 2012 1:08 PM

whatsanattau said...

Surely Brown's development plan calls for at least a half season of success in AAA before promotion. ... And then there still has to be opportunity. Based on the observations of organizations such as Baseball America, Brown needs transition time at each level. He needs the sustained success at the previous level and then he can move up. But then you should expect him to struggle at the next level before catching up again. That becomes harder to do at the MLB level. I would think they would consider bringing him up to be a 4th/5th outfielder - not a starter - to get his feet wet. And if you are in a pennant race (please, please), cutting out a developmental spot on the roster in July/August becomes a little harder. So catch 22. Rock and a hard place. etc....

JD said...

NatsJack,

Why would they have to be DFA'd? Werth can go on the 60 day DL, Moore can return to AAA to play every day and there's your spot.

I know I am removing a right hand hitter from the team. Is this critical?

JD said...

whatsanattau,

Sometimes a player gets it at AAA and the learning curve is not as great on the other hand I am not asking him to replace Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun or Sean Kemp. You don't lose that much by sitting Bernadina or Ankiel. I think the upside here warrants the risk.

A DC Wonk said...

Re peric: I wondered what happened to Rob Dibble after he got fired from the MASN gig.

A big difference: Dibble was an idiot, and spouted contradictory stuff all the time.

Here was his oh-so-obvious formula for a Nats pitcher:

1. If the Nats pitcher threw his best pitch, and the batter got a hit, say, "The batter knew that was coming. You have to mix up your stuff."

2. If the Nats pitcher threw his best pitch, and the batter didn't get a hit, say, "yup, sometimes you just gotta go with your best pitch, and challenge him"

3. If the Nats pitcher threw his secondary pitch pitch, and the batter got a hit, say, "what's he doing playing games, he has a best pitch, you have to throw it"

4. If the Nats pitcher threw his secondary pitch, and the batter didn't get a hit, say, "what great pitch selection! that really fooled him, and that shows what a great pitcher he is."

Oh so boring, vapid, uninformative, and often oh so wrong.

A DC Wonk said...

In the "baseball is a funny game" department, I noted above that the lowly Padres have defeated Halladay twice already.

Here's another (obvious) one:

How many of us predicted that in mid-May we could say:

Harper: more HR's than Albert Pujols

;-)

MicheleS said...

JD.. I think Moore goes back to AAA when DeRosa gets activated. Not sure what the rules are for the 60 day DL, but Werth's doctors said he shaved 3 weeks off of his recovery time by getting the surgery done right away. That would put him at 8-9 weeks recover versus the 11-12 weeks initially thought.

The big question will be when Werth comes back who gets bumped? Nady?

Ann Ominous said...

Why would they have to be DFA'd?

Because that or injury is the only way to get players who are out of options off the active roster. Bernadina and Ankiel are both out of options.

Ann Ominous said...

How many of us predicted that in mid-May we could say:

Harper: more HR's than Albert Pujols


How about Bernadina more HRs than Albert Pujols, Espinosa more HRs than Albert Pujols, Chad Tracy more HRs than Albert Pujols, Xavier Nady(!) more HRs than Albert Pujols?

JD said...

Ann,

I am suggesting they stay on the team; just out of the every day lineup.

NatsLady said...

So I'm in my car waiting for Mark to come on ESPN and talk about Hot Stuff (BTW, I think Boz' explanation is the most likely... in the heavy rain goo slid down from his shoulders...).

And they are having a long discussion about Competition Anxiety as it relates to one Mr. LeBron James, who apparently is a basketball player of some talent, and who also shies away from taking the "closer" shot in championship games.

Henry Rodriguez, anyone?

I remember a Storen interview where he said he loved being the guy taking the ball in the ninth inning. Burnett said he liked being in that position. Clippard is clearly an adrenaline junkie.

But--is Henry? A while back it was suggested he be stretched out as a starter, but the practicality of when to do it are daunting--would have to be in the winter because he has no options. What I'm saying is, the guy can be a bundleful of talent and not have the "closer mentality."

JD said...

Michelle,

8 - 9 weeks is still around 60 days. I am completely not worried about the roster spot that far out because who knows who will be healthy then?

smurff said...

Natslady, I thought he was on at 1245 on Wednesdaya. Did the schedule change?

David said...

Corey Brown is not even on the 40 man....

smurff said...

Wednesdays. Duh

MicheleS said...

JD.. agree, but I think there are some rules surrounding putting someone on the 60 day DL. Not sure what they are, but could be a factor in putting Werth on 60 Day. They know Wilson isn't coming back this year, so that is why the put him on it so quickly.

NatsLady said...

I don't think the Hot Stuff was a prank gone wrong, Stras is not a rookie and you don't do that to a guy on his pitching day when you are tied for first place. Stras had his rookie hazing (Papa Smurf, anyone?).

Now, if it had been Bam-Bam, I would totally believe it was a prank, and he wouldn't have cared one bit, he would have loved it.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JD...the 60 DL means Werth can't be in the dugout and the Nats want him on the bench.

Plus the comment on DaRosa is correct. Moore goes back then.

MicheleS said...

NatsJack.. Thanks for the clarification ont the 60 Day. I knew there was some reason not to put Werth on it.

NatsLady said...

smurff, yes, Mark came on right after the basketball discussion, I'm guess it was right about 12;45 because they were saying Shanahan was coming on at 1 pm. and that's when I turned the dial.

So it was Mr. Tony, basketball, Mark, Shanahan...

NatsLady said...

NJ, I thought that was it. I raised that question a few days ago and didn't get an answer. Thanks.

NatsLady said...

And, to the people who are saying the Nats are not trying to win because of the 160 innings limit on Stras--they have not thought it through.

Let's say we are in a tight race at the end of August and to please these dopes Stras makes 4 or 5 September starts. That brings him up to, say, 185 innings. Do you shut him down for the playoffs, competitor that he is????? So now you are talking about another 4 or 5 starts--hopefully--and lookee there, you are at 200+.

Nope, we go Sept-October without Stras. We make it or we don't, them's the cards we were dealt.

Section 222 said...

NL is right about Stras, obviously. Rizzo has given no sign on wavering on an innings limit, we just don't know what exactly it is. But no way it's 200.

Rizzo has also, unfortunately, given no indication he's going to look for another experienced bat for the lineup or the bench. We're going to succeed or fail with Tracy, DeRosa (when healthy), Nady, and Bernadina. There's always Michaels and Carroll too.

Peric thinks the Corey Brown is the next big bat, and maybe he'll get a callup if there's another injury, but otherwise I don't expect to see him until September. You need only look as far as Tyler Moore on the bench to see that raking in AAA is not much of an indicaiton of how you'd do in the big leagues.

Fear and Ignorance said...

NatsLady-Cole Hamels pitched 265 innings in 2008 at 24 years old (much more than a 20% increase). So should the Phillies have shut him down? Hamels won the NLCS MVP and the WS MVP. The Phillies in 2008 were in much the same position as the Nationals are right now regarding a bright window of opportunity. Turns out, as of now at least, they have just the 1 WS title. If they had shut him down like many of you are calling for them to do to Strasburg, they would not have any. The point is, you only get so many chances in this game. For every Prior and Wood, there is a Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Roger Clemens and Walter Johnson who all had %50 or more increases in IP and routinely pitched 260 innings or more every year...even from an early age, and never got hurt. These pitchers are getting hurt because they do not throw ENOUGH innings, therefore never building up the arm strength like those players from yesteryear who all were fireballers as well. Strasburg can go 190 innings if they need him to without a problem. Once again, there is no evidence that 160 is any different than 190.

smurff said...

Sec 222, Good point. Moore this year in the minors: OPS .806. In the majors: .364. Still better than DeRosa at .308.

MicheleS said...

F&I - Did Hamels have any injury history prior to 2008? I think most of the Stras stuff is related to 1 - injury, and 2 he has never pitched that many innings either in College/Minors or Bigs. In 2007 Hamels pitched 180+ innings in the bigs

whatsanattau said...

From what I have read, Brown's upside is a batting average of .240-.260 with alot of strikeouts and average defense. Ankiel is .240 with a lot of strikeouts, low OBP and above average defense. Bernadina is .220-.250, low OBP and streaky defense. So I don't see a compelling reason to change when the team is currently playing .600 ball.

We need a new topic. I see Moore going down for Morse; Perry for Wang; and I don't know for DeRosa. Probably Nady as the other choices are Maldonado (no), Tracy (no), or Lombardozzi (maybe).

jeffwx said...

If it wasn't for Peric, this blog wouldn't be half as entertaining...
kind of like a real world reality blog show.
Keep it up, Pepcid

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Please, please people. Can we get over the fascination with stretching Jesus beyond the original, stated, clinically proven (See J-Zimm, 2011) 160-innings limit?

It's not going to happen. Jesus gets shut down around Labor Day -- early this year, Sept. 3 -- and we go down the stretch without him.

As NatsLady eloquently explained, once you fiddle with 180, it becomes 190, which becomes 200 -- and whammo, re-injury occurs.

Now, we don't want that, do we boys and girls?

Steady Eddie said...

F&I, expanding on Michele's point, 160 or thereabouts is a medically demonstrated functional recovery precaution after TJ surgery.

This is not about developmental per se, it's TJ recovery.

Note that no one has said anything about a limit on JZimm even though he has never pitched more than the 161+ of last season. Very conservative development would say he should build up another 20% which would mean 195 innings but that would be silly and properly, no one in the Nats FO has indicated anything about any limit for JZimm. Because the Stras limit is not about "normal" development.

Sec. 222 -- I think you're right but the problem with expecting more with the new promotions is that virtually everyone needs time to learn MLB pitching and you can only do that with starters' ABs. At this point Moore seems to be up here for the bench learning (from coaches and vets) as much as anything else. Plus as some have written, Corey Brown has needed a fair amount of acclimation time at every level, meaning his bat would probably be a downgrade from Shark or Ankiel for a while even if he does play every day.

Theophilus T. S. said...

I am amazed not only by the Schneider-love but also the Brown-love.

I'd be perfectly happy to have Corey Brown turn out to be a major league outfielder. But that's a far leap from the notion that he's now better than Ankiel or Bernadina and that one of them needs to be gang-planked so that Brown can take his rightful place in the lineup. Right now, the guy's hitting around .270 in AAA, which doesn't mean that he's even AS GOOD as Ankiel or Bernadina (tho in Bernadina's case that's less difficult to imagine), let alone better.

What Brown is, right now, is a nice LH-hitting insurance policy in case (A) Bernadina gets run over by a pedi-cab; (B) Dame Fortune smiles on the Nats and they're able to package Bernadina/Lannan/Maya, etc., for somebody really worthwhile who doesn't come w/ an outfielder's glove.

That's all he is right now, nothing more. Next year? Different time, different story.

jeffwx said...

Remove old geezer's from the Nats Campaign(Peric's Run >29 ):
Tracey, Ankiel, Werth, E. Jackson, Ankiel, Gorz,DeRosa, Davey, Maldonnaldo...

All can be replaced by Corey Brown, who is raking in and out of the Syracuse malls.

Steady Eddie said...

jeffwx -- are you saying that Ankiel is so old they've already cloned him, so we need to drop him twice?

natsfan1a said...

I don't have a link handy, but, fwiw, I recall that when Burnett was first being asked to close here he said something to the effect that he didn't think that he was closer material. So his viewpoint may have evolved, as it were.

NatsLady said...


I remember a Storen interview where he said he loved being the guy taking the ball in the ninth inning. Burnett said he liked being in that position. Clippard is clearly an adrenaline junkie.

But--is Henry? A while back it was suggested he be stretched out as a starter, but the practicality of when to do it are daunting--would have to be in the winter because he has no options. What I'm saying is, the guy can be a bundleful of talent and not have the "closer mentality."
May 16, 2012 2:16 PM

Section 222 said...

smurff - I'd like to see Moore get a few more starts before they send him back, but he does seem overmatched at the plate, particularly in that game in Cincy where he pinch hit against Chapman. Then again, just about everyone was overmatched against Chapman....

F&I, I'm with you on the need to take your shot at winning a World Series (or getting to the playoffs) when the opportunity presents itself. Who knows what injuries or other calamities might befall us before the supposed magic season of 2013? But Strasburg is a special case and I'm glad that the team is looking at the long term with him and following the best available medical advice. We have enough pitching depth to get where we need to go this year without him in September/October if that's what the experts say is best for his chances to give us 10-15 years of ace-dom.

It's never been clear to me, though, where exactly the 160 innings limit comes from. The no more than 20% increase guideline (the so-called Verducci effect) seems to apply regardless of whether a pitcher has had TJ surgery, and besides, the legitimacy of that "rule" seems very much in dispute.

I'd love to see an authoritative article about the medical science and recommedations that the team is going to be looking at in making this crucial decision.

JD said...

Fear,

Gibson was 26 before he threw more than 100 innings, Clemens was 24 before he threw more than 135 innings.

The list of pitchers who had short careers due to shoulder injuries caused by poor inning management before their shoulders were fully developed is too long to review.

While I agree that 160 is arbitrary it is a reasonable number and I'm glad Rizzo is firm on this.

smurff said...

Whatsanattau said:

We need a new topic. I see Moore going down for Morse; Perry for Wang; and I don't know for DeRosa. Probably Nady as the other choices are Maldonado (no), Tracy (no), or Lombardozzi (maybe).

------------------
They're not sending Lombo down. Who else is going to backup the middle infield?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Oh, I hope the Schneider ship has sailed too.

We can do better. Much better. I barely could stand the guy in his prime.

jeffwx said...

Good point Steady Eddie,
In Pepcid's Run, that's the way it should be...and the elders could be recycled to make
$1 Natsdogs...like in Soylent Green

Steady Eddie said...

jeffwx -- Now you're making me wish I hadn't had all those $1 Nats Dogs on Monday night. That game alone was tough enough on my stomach.

bowdenball said...

We all need to accept that the innings limit comes from people who know far more about physiology, pitching mechanics, and the history of injury recoveries than we do.

When someone with a legitimate expertise in a relevant area (as opposed to some blowhard in the media looking for attention) comes out and says that there's no significant increase in risk if Strasburg throws 200 innings this year, let me know. It would be the first I've seen of it.

Until then, we need to accept that this isn't like a player transaction where all of us can see and understand a lot of the relevant data. In those cases we can have an educated discussion about transactions and other decisions related to the club. But in this case, most of us don't know a damn thing. We have no choice but to trust the experts to know what's best.

UnkyD said...

MicheleS: the Kelly piece is a SCREAM!! Thanks for sharing...:)

jeffwx said...

$1 Dogs:

"It's People!"

David said...

You cannot use Moore current OPS as a predictor for Brown. Moore isn't getting regular playing time. To see what they BOTH can do, they need regular at-bats. And for whatsnatU.... who says Brown's upside is .240. His "good seasons" meaning 2nd year at that level after adjusting, have regularly been .280 or above. And his defense is NOT average. Did you watch this Spring Training? He might be the best defensive outfielder that Nats have from minors to majors.... which puts him way above average in that category. Not saying he's the next Rickey Henderson, but his OBP has always been better than Bernadina's, is a better fielder, has the same power. So why not see if he is indeed an upgrade over Bernie?

MicheleS said...

Unkyd. Your welcome!

whatsanattau said...

Smurf said, I said ....

We need a new topic. I see Moore going down for Morse; Perry for Wang; and I don't know for DeRosa. Probably Nady as the other choices are Maldonado (no), Tracy (no), or Lombardozzi (maybe).

------------------
Then said, They're not sending Lombo down. Who else is going to backup the middle infield?

Then I said (am saying)...

If they sent Lombo down for DeRosa, the answer would be DeRosa. 1 utility infielder now, 1 utility infielder then. That said, the only argument for sending down Lombo would be to get him some at bats. I think my original point was Nady seemed more likely....

A DC Wonk said...

F&I

NatsLady-Cole Hamels pitched 265 innings in 2008 at 24 years old (much more than a 20% increase). So should the Phillies have shut him down?

Well, as MicheleS noted, he did pitch 180+ innings the year before.

As, as I'll point out -- he had his worst year of his entire career the following year, and pitched terribly in that postseason. His ERA jumped over 1 run (from 3.09 of 4.32), and took the loss in pivotal game 3 in the WS -- which could have turned the tide.

Further, he was older than Strasburg is now (SS is still only 23).

Further, SS has a total of 140 IP in his entire MLB career.

Further, SS is coming back from TJ surgery, and Hamels was not.

All that said -- the Phillies were still taking a risk.

Once again, there is no evidence that 160 is any different than 190.

I beg to differ. Google "Verducci effect."

Last year, David Price, Phil Hughes, Mat Latos and Brett Cecil all all lost life on their fastball and saw their ERA jump by more than half a run. (The troubles for Hughes and Cecil were especially alarming and showed immediately in spring training.)

Now -- not all do poorly (our own Gio did great in Oakland last year) -- but a rather large percentage do.

Do you want to play such poor odds on a guy who is only 23 and has the potential to be a Hall of Fame pitcher with many years still ahead in his future?

See, among other places: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/tom_verducci/01/18/year.after.effect

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

When Schneider left town, he was described in at least one newspaper article as a destructive influence in the clubhouse. Specifically, I remember a reference to refusing to accept "responsibility." Don't remember whether the "C"-word was used but it might have been. In any event, no one was mourning his departure. That's hardly anything the Nats need right now.

That was Nov. 2007--some time ago. Are you quite sure you didn't mistake some comments about Millege as being about Schneider?

smurff said...

whatsanattau said...
Smurf said, I said ....

We need a new topic. I see Moore going down for Morse; Perry for Wang; and I don't know for DeRosa. Probably Nady as the other choices are Maldonado (no), Tracy (no), or Lombardozzi (maybe).

------------------
Then said, They're not sending Lombo down. Who else is going to backup the middle infield?

Then I said (am saying)...

If they sent Lombo down for DeRosa, the answer would be DeRosa. 1 utility infielder now, 1 utility infielder then. That said, the only argument for sending down Lombo would be to get him some at bats. I think my original point was Nady seemed more likely....
May 16, 2012 3:47 PM
--------------

Well said on Nady. Would much rather see Lombo in the middle infield over DeRosa......

Fear and Ignorance said...

JD-You are dead wrong on both Clemens and Gibson. Gibson threw 190 innings at 21 and 211 innings at 22. Clemens threw 254 innings at 23 years old (coming off of shoulder surgery) and 281 innings at 24 years old.

baseballswami said...

Re: Strassie, although the topic has been beat to death -- if you only care about this season you push it. If you care about the next 5 years, you stick to your guns about the innings limit. No question about it.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Section 222-That is all I am asking. The "Verducci Effect" is simply a theory and doesn't present enough concrete information to make a proper decision. Injuries to pitchers have increased about 500% over the past 20 years, and that is with pitchers throwing fewer and fewer innings. Doesn't seem to hold much water to me. Or Nolan Ryan...

Limits on pitches in a game and innings in a season remain a hot-button issue in baseball — but also have become an increasingly measured factor for the injury prevention.

Nolan Ryan, who pitched as many as 332 innings in a season during his 27-year Hall of Fame career, bucked the trend when he became president of the Texas Rangers in 2008, then a part owner in 2010.

"There's no reason kids can't pitch as many innings as people did in my era," Ryan said. "I remember it used to be that 300 innings was the benchmark for an ace. If you were a starter, you were expected to pitch at least 250 innings. Now you may have one guy go 200 innings on your whole staff."

Fear and Ignorance said...

DC Wonk-You picked 4 examples of pitchers, and only one (Price) is really any good. What about the dozens of HOF pitchers that have defied the so-called "Verducci Effect"? And once again, Strasburg and Zimmerman both got hurt anyways. No correlation between injuries and IP can made with any confidence or else it would be industry standard, not just a gut feeling.

Ann Ominous said...

"There's no reason kids can't pitch as many innings as people did in my era," Ryan said. "I remember it used to be that 300 innings was the benchmark for an ace. If you were a starter, you were expected to pitch at least 250 innings. Now you may have one guy go 200 innings on your whole staff."

There's absolutely nothing in this quote that advocates that a young starter should be able to do this right out of the chute, without ramping up to it on an incremental basis over the course of several seasons - which is exactly what Rizzo is doing with Strasburg, and Zimmermann before.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Ann Ominous-Derek Holland's innings pitched last year says all you need to know about Nolan Ryan and his opinion of the Verducci Effect. He jumped from 122 IP to 222 IP from 2010 to 2011. Nolan Ryan might have some idea what he is talking about!!! He also pitched 205 innings at 19 years old.

JD said...

F & I,

Bob Gibson was born in 1935. his 1st season in the majors was 1959 (75 innings) in 1960 (86 innings) in 1961 (211 innings).

Clemens was 24 in 1986 when he threw 254 innings.

My source is fangraphs.

Nolan Ryan didn't throw 150 innings until he was 24. At the age of 25 he threw 280 innings.

It is not crazy for certain pitchers to throw 200 - 250 innings or more; just not when they are under 25 years old.

JD said...

F & I,

There is a terrific article by Craig Wright in the 2011 of 'the hardball times'. It's full of case studies and persuasive arguments. Wright actually feels that the standard 100 pitch limit normally used by most teams is nonsense and different pitchers can handle a much higher pitch count. Wright feels that you should take out a pitcher when he starts to lose his effectiveness (fast balls wild high, breaks on curve ball flat etc.)

The only caviat wright advocates is that young pitchers (under 25) do not have fully developed shoulder muscles and are at risk of career shortening injuries if overused; the increase of about 20% a year until that age is considered reasonable.

Based on this there is cause for concern for Felix Hernandez and Kershaw; I guess will see.

JaneB said...

I am a JFlo fan, and have been since I saw him hit his first homer at RFK. He was terrific before his injury, and is coming back into himself now, I think. I am so sad about Ramos, truly, and also glad the JFlo gets a shot at being the everyday guy now. He deserves that job with somebody. I'm glad we didn't trade him away, and that we have him now,

NatsFanJim said...

Jesus is better than Flores -- both offensively and defensively -- always has been. The receiving is better already --

give him a little time to get his swing together. I guarantee the debate by August 15 will be this: How is Ramos going to handle being the backup when he returns?

NatsFanJim said...

haha my above post should have begun: "Jesus is better than Ramos"

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