Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Harper lucky to avoid serious injury

USA Today Sports Images
A dazed and bloody Bryce Harper leaves the field in the fifth inning.
The image was downright scary: Bryce Harper slamming full-speed, face-first into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium and then falling to the ground and remaining motionless for several seconds as teammates and trainers rushed to his aid.

By night's end, the Nationals had received encouraging news about their 20-year-old slugger, who didn't appear to be seriously injured but did require 11 stitches on his chin while also dealing with a bruised shoulder and knee.

Harper didn't suffer a concussion on the play, manager Davey Johnson and agent Scott Boras each told reporters in Los Angeles following the 6-2 win over the Dodgers, more relief for the Nationals and anyone who was worried about the status of the club's young star.

Truth be told, Harper is extremely fortunate not to have suffered something truly serious on one of the most frightening plays you'll ever see on a baseball field, a play on which Harper didn't seem really to know where he was or what he was doing.

Harper got a bad jump on A.J. Ellis' long flyball in the bottom of the fifth, initially breaking in and to his right, then circling back around after realizing the ball was going over his head. Harper never came close to making the catch, but you'd have thought he'd have positioned himself to field the carom off the wall.

Instead, Harper kept running full-speed straight at the fence, as though he never saw it, slamming into it with such force that his cap came flying off and he staggered backward before falling to the ground. He remained there for several seconds, motionless, as Ellis raced around to third base before center fielder Denard Span could retrieve the ball and return it to the infield.

It was while Harper was on the ground that it became obvious he was bleeding. But from where? His nose? His mouth? His neck? Turns out it originated from Harper's chin, which struck the wire fence that holds the out-of-town scoreboard at Dodger Stadium.

Upon rising to his feet, Harper tried to convince Johnson and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz he could stay in the game. Neither would allow that, and for good reason: At that point, they had ever reason to believe he had suffered a concussion.

Now that he knows he didn't, Harper will have more reason to try to convince Johnson and Kuntz he can play in tonight's game. And perhaps he'll be successful.

But someone's going to have to talk to Harper about steps he can take to try to avoid such injuries in the future. Mind you, this is the second time he's been hurt as a result of a collision with the fence, this one coming two weeks after he suffered a bruised ribcage in Atlanta crashing into a similar wire fence.

Johnson said late last night Harper knows only one way to play the game, and the 70-year-old skipper doesn't want him to change that. But there's also a difference between playing with abandon and playing with reckless abandon, and Harper sometimes displays too much of the latter.

We can laugh it off and say he's only 20 and so his body can handle the beating. But the more beating that body takes, the worse shape it's going to be in once he's 25 or 30 or 35.

Harper shouldn't change who he is, because that's what makes him great. But he should start playing a bit smarter, recognizing the next time he runs face-first into a wall, he might not be able to bounce back up so quickly and with nothing more than a bloody chin.

106 comments:

baseballswami said...

Was it in LA that he bounced a bat off the wall onto his face?? Scary to watch. Warning track not much distance to slow from full speed anyway. Unfamiliar outfield, metal fence, full out run- unhealthy combination. I get his style, but it's causing him too many day to day kind of days.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

With a tough lefty like Kershsw going. I can wait til Wednesday for him to play.

baseballswami said...

ALR with a ten game hit streak. Ok. I get it. Be patient. Zim and Lombo looking good at the plate. Check. Watching some DVR highlights over breakfast. How much do you love JZim? Let's go Nats!!!!!

Gonat said...

That looked frightening. Sounds like Bryce escaped serious injury. All in all, good news!

natsfan1a said...

I think it was Cincinnati. As the man used to say, let's be careful out there. Hope the kid's okay. On another note, nice to wake up to a curly w.

baseballswami said...

Was it in LA that he bounced a bat off the wall onto his face??
May 14, 2013 6:13 AM

Joe Seamhead said...

Harper scared the hell out of everybody last night. Man, that was akin to a rear end collision without ever touching the brakes. Remember the reason that he isn't playing catcher? To extend his career without the cumulative effects of the toil of catching? I can't even imagine how his mom had to have felt when she saw him crumpled on the ground.

Swami, I agree that Ryan looked better, as did ALR. in spite of 2 strikeouts. I don't care if they drive in runs via singles, doubles, or home runs as the runs all count the same. Just come through, especially with runners on base.

I'm getting to the point where I don't just appreciate Denard Span, but taking it for granted that he will get there in CF, and that he will get on base a couple of times a game.

JZimm looked great again, and Davey let him go as far as was prudent, imo.
GYFNG!!!

Eric said...

All I can say is...PHEW! Harper, sit your ass down for a day. Your body is as important to executing your gift as your mentality.

Otherwise, great game Nats. Great to see Zimm blast one to the opposite wall. I noticed in his last at bat he got a ton of pitches way inside and took the walk. Good sign, methinks. Also great to see LaRoche maintaining his streak. Can't wait til the two of them send one over again.

And then of course there's JZimm. The man's pitching speaks for itself. Its a pleasure to watch his season unfold!

NatsLady said...

This kid Corbin is pretty good, doesn't seem to get the pub that Harvey gets. D-backs should have a good chance of rebounding from last night's rout. Apparently it was 99 degrees at game time--what does it take for them to close the roof?

baseballswami said...

Joe -- agreed on DSpan. I have grown to appreciate him very quickly. Did not see the game live-- too late-- but in watching highlights I realized that Ryan came seriously close to a grand slam. Also am realizing that JZim is good in all facets of the game. Fields, bunts, base running. Glad he had the first game of the west coast trip. With the time change, travel and heat, he was the least likely to be affected-- of course. Still went almost 8. Of course.

A DC Wonk said...

Serious question from my 18-yr old daughter (aka "Wonkling") -- she wants to know how to send Bryce a get well card.

Anyone?

BigCat said...

Good win. Now Haren and Det need to put W's on the board before we get to the weak link, Steven Strasburg

natsfan1a said...

Here you go, Wonk. From the Fan A-Z guide on the team site:

Fan Mail
Letters should be addressed to specific players or coaches so they can be forwarded to individual recipients. Fans should be aware that players receive a large amount of fan mail each week and the Nationals cannot guarantee that a player or coach will respond. Fan mail should be sent to the following address:

[Coach or Player Name]
Washington Nationals Baseball Club
1500 South Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003-1507

Guests should refrain from sending items for autographs or items of great value. The Nationals are not responsible for returning mailed items and do not accept items to be autographed for personal or charitable reasons.

A DC Wonk said...

Adam "he's washed up, old, and obviously has an injury because it's his worst April every, and he's over the hill" LaRoche during his 10 game hitting streak: BA .412, OBP .488, (but only .471 SLG, still mostly singles -- but we'll take it)

A DC Wonk said...

natsfan1a said...

Here you go, Wonk.


Thanks! Wonkling will appreciate it!

Dave said...

DSpan is the man. And if he says of Bryce's collision that he's never seen anything like it--well, then it was pretty heinous indeed.

A DC Wonk said...

Today's notables (courtesy of youcantpredictbaseball.com)

- Andy Dirks hit a grand slam on an 0-2 pitch.

- Travis Wood hit for more bases than he allowed (in 7 innings, he allowed two singles; but at the plate he his a single and double)

- Yankees' pitching has allowed only 1 run in the last two games (but only won one of them).

Eric said...

Span is the man, no doubt about it. A kind of subtle acquisition that has paid enormous dividends.

Dominats Vobiscum said...

a play on which Harper didn't seem really to know where he was or what he was doing.

Nook Logan, meet Gus Frerotte.

fast eddie said...

Nice win, but way too many LOBs. That will come back to haunt us at some point.

Eric said...

The one thing I'm not sure of regarding the Harper injury is that he this was a case of him being reckless. He looked genuinely lost out there. I have a funny feeling he would've pulled up and played if off the wall if he a) knew he was so far off line for the catch and b) knew he was so close to the wall. But, who knows. I'm just glad he didn't break anything or injure his brain.

Candide said...

Dave said... DSpan is the man. And if he says of Bryce's collision that he's never seen anything like it--well, then it was pretty heinous indeed.

DSpan wasn't watching the jumbotron at Nats Park Sunday before the game. They had video of ten famous misplays, with number one being Jose Canseco getting hit in the head by a fly ball that went into the seats for a home run.

I didn't catch the player's name, but an outfielder was going full tilt for a fly ball. On the warning track, he jumped up, reaching for it, both hands in the air. He didn't get the ball, but he hit the wall just as hard as Harper did, and went down like a ton of bricks.

It was obviously Jackie Robinson day, as he was wearing number 42 on his jersey. At the end of the clip, they showed what his teammates did the next game he played: They'd drawn a crude chalk outline of a human form on the wall, with both arms in the air, and number 42 on the back.

Wish I could find the video.

Section 222 said...

The one thing I'm not sure of regarding the Harper injury is that he this was a case of him being reckless. He looked genuinely lost out there.

I tend to agree with you. All the commentators, including Mark, talked about him going "full speed" or "full tilt," but it's clear from the replay he's actually slowing down and starting to pull up when he hits. He was still moving forward at a high rate of speed, but he wasn't sprinting. It's like he saw the wall, but didn't realize how close it was. I'll bet the bright lights on the scoreboard are very disorienting. Maybe it needs a warning sign "objects are closer than they appear," like the right side mirror on a car or something.

We're all breathing a sigh of relief, and I'm glad to hear they seem to have done all the appropriate tests for concussion, which is of course, the big worry.

Dave said...

This was the one I remember.

http://joyofsox.blogspot.com/2005/06/g52-orioles-9-red-sox-3.html

ehay2k said...

Glad the kid is OK. I was wondering if perhaps the sight, if only for an instant, if the chain link fence made him think that it would give a bit - like all the fencing behind home plate. He was, after all, a catcher. And the catcher can hit the fence behind home plate and it gives, even in little league, because it's not backed by a solid wall.

So, maybe he thought, in that instant, that he'd just push off the fence and that would be it.

Just a thought.

Great game, yet again, by Jordan. He just looks in complete command out there. And you just know all the other guys are watching, learning. :-)

Eric said...

WaPo confirms the bat-to-wall-to-eye incident was in Cincy.

It also contains this gem of an error:

"It could have been worse this April, when Harper tried to rob a home in Atlanta"

Ha!

Steamer said...

That's why he's great he plays balls out.

Gardner said...

1.) He was slowing down and had given up on trying to make the play. Harper is still a relatively inexperienced outfielder and wasn't in his home park. He wasn't being reckless at all.

2.) I just don't see how any outfielder can outdo Rodney McCray

http://youtu.be/p_V5z95lBZ8

Eric said...

I have a question based on something Joe Seamhead said in the last thread:

"One more reason why the Nats had Werth in right field."

Why is this more likely to happen in right field than left?

Dominats Vobiscum said...

Those unpadded chain-link-covered scoreboard walls are usually in right field rather than left field.

Eric said...

OK...I wasn't sure if it was just that or that collisions are more common in right for some reason.

natsfan1a said...

I've seen the chalk-outline gag a few times. I recall an Aaron Rowand, meet the wall episode when he was with the Phillies. Don't know if that's the one in question.

Candide said...

I didn't catch the player's name, but an outfielder was going full tilt for a fly ball. On the warning track, he jumped up, reaching for it, both hands in the air. He didn't get the ball, but he hit the wall just as hard as Harper did, and went down like a ton of bricks.

It was obviously Jackie Robinson day, as he was wearing number 42 on his jersey. At the end of the clip, they showed what his teammates did the next game he played: They'd drawn a crude chalk outline of a human form on the wall, with both arms in the air, and number 42 on the back.

Wish I could find the video.
May 14, 2013 9:07 AM

ehay2k said...

When Bryce was still playing in Hagerstown, we went to see a double header. This was right after he had his LASIK surgery. In (I believe) the fifth inning, Bryce was in right field and chased a fly ball at the track and hit the plywood fence, crumbling to the ground. He was helped off the field, and did not play in the second game. We would have been sad to miss him, but he had already cracked a line drive HR over the CF fence in his first at bat, so we already had seen what we came to see.

I may have even posted on NI, or maybe the WaPo site, about this on the day of, or day after, the game.

Still, he is moving fast and still does not have a natural feel for the warning track. Something to work on, I guess.

Joe Seamhead said...

Eric, RF is in many ways the most difficult outfield position to play. There are the caroms which are different in every park. A ball often slices when a batter is a hair late on a swing, and because more batters are right handed rightfielders get more balls hit with the slice action. Bryce has said that he'll play anywhere, but he has also said that he has a more difficult time getting the reads in right. Jayson Werth is a very good rightfielder [not necessarily great, but under-appreciated by many fans, imho] and his experience of having played the different parks for years is why he is in right, [when healthy] in spite of Harper's superior arm. Bryce seemed to have gotten a poor read on the ball long before he crashed into the wall.

Eric said...

Interesting stuff, Joe, thanks!

Joe Seamhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BxJaycobb said...

Hello all. Quick question. Is there a way to get Davey's postgame press conferences online? Always enjoy watching them but I live in CT now and obviously dont get MASN. Thanks!

Joe Seamhead said...

ehay2k "see" Harper on contacts:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/now-seeing-in-hd-bryce-harper-lays-waste-to-sally-league-pitching/2011/05/12/AF60aG1G_story.html

Doc said...

Not having the braodcast opportunity of watching with commentary by F.P. & Carp, I listened to Vin Scully and his 1940's radio format.

Scully brought up the name of Pete Reisor and how he bounced off off of numerous walls before he was no longer able to bounce in his abbreviated career.

Aggressive is a good way, reckless is no way.

Vin-style broadcasting, by the way, doesn't include a side-kick analyst, but does include commentary on Desi's mother's name (Patty Paradise), extraneous geography lessons on Suzuki's Hawaiian island, discussion of Denard Span's head injury in the minor leagues 10 years ago, and why newspapers don't have the print space to refer to the 'Nats' as the Washington Nationals.

I think that Mr. Scully works for the Quaint Broadcasting Network.

Joe Seamhead said...

Eric, the throws to third particularly are among the toughest throws in baseball. Of course Harper and Ankiel made some from CF to the plate that were pretty awesome, too!

Joe Seamhead said...

From RF to third, Eric.

ChiefWJ said...

Did anyone think of Pete Reiser when Bryce crashed into the fence?

http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/92638bc5

NatsLady said...

BxJayCobb--if you go to the MASN website on the right side (videos) they usually put up the post-game comments and interviews.

MASN Nationals

http://www.masnsports.com/index_nationals.php

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I was there and it was surreal. Harper had a large contingent there and everyone just held their breaths. Not sure if they showed the Harper family on TV.

They are saying he didn't have a concussion. I couldn't really see what happened to him until I saw ESPN when I got home. That was one of the most bizarre plays I have ever seen.

Bryce is a tough kid to walk away from that.

Steady Eddie said...

ChiefWJ -- Boz instantly did, on Twitter: "Learn quick or have a Pete Reiser career."

Reiser ran into walls so often he once had the last rites given to him on the field. I suspect but don't know for sure that he was at least part of the inspiration for the "Bump Bailey" character in The Natural.

dickinsonpoet said...

I nominate Jayson Werth to be the person to tell him . . .

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Joe Seamhead said...
Eric, the throws to third particularly are among the toughest throws in baseball. Of course Harper and Ankiel made some from CF to the plate that were pretty awesome, too!


Speaking of Ankiel, did you see that he started for the Mets and in Ank style gets a bad read and comes charging in for a low liner and the ball clanks out of his glove. The glove looked stiff.

Turns out Ank didn't have his gear and used someone elses glove.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Steady, that's what the play reminded me of in the Natural with Bump Bailey as if he didn't see the fence. Difference is Bump went through the fence and Bryce bounced off.

His chin saved him.

DaveBinMD said...

@ A DC Wonk:
Harper should be long-since recovered from this by the time he sees your daughter's get well card, but if she writes it without referencing a specific event, he'll probably see it shortly after the next thing he does to himself. ;)

Pilchard said...

With a LHP starting for the Dodgers, Eury Perez could get a start tonight. If Perez starts, will be interesting to see where Davey puts him in the lineup. Batting 8th?

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Doc, you say all that as if it were a bad thing.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Doc said...
Vin-style broadcasting, by the way, doesn't include a side-kick analyst, but does include commentary on Desi's mother's name (Patty Paradise), extraneous geography lessons on Suzuki's Hawaiian island, discussion of Denard Span's head injury in the minor leagues 10 years ago, and why newspapers don't have the print space to refer to the 'Nats' as the Washington Nationals.


The minutia of trivia he comes up with is one of his trademarks. Some of it is quite interesting and other trivia seems personally evasive.

You either love him or hate him. He is popular enough in LA that the team uses him for appearances all the time and some of his quotes on the Dodgers are printed in photos and artwork there.

Scully began his broadcasting career at WTOP-AM in Washington, D.C. around 1949 and then took a job with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950.

Doc said...

Sec. 3, you mean about Harps or Vin??

Jus' wonderin'.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

I meant Vin Scully.

"Personally evasive"???

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Now, robbing homes, like Harper--that's an evasion of privacy. There should be a statue of limitations on that, to, yanno, limit it.

Section 222 said...

I enjoy Scully and will probably sync the first few innings with his broadcast tonight and tomorrow. But I did notice several errors he made last night on location of pitches and other things. He paints a great picture, it sometimes doesn't line up with what you're seeing on TV.

It was fun to hear his praise of JZnn, and of Harper. He was milking the Al Kaline comparison for all it was worth.

Doc said...

Sec. 3 and Ghost, I find Vin to be, taking a page from Ghost's 'personally evasive', to be cloying. He is what he is, a baseball institution. If he comes up with this trivia himself, he has a remarkable memory for a man of his age.

As I listened to Scully, I thought that maybe someone in production was feeding him these tidbits of information. If not then he is a totally impressive octegenerian of info.

Still would have preferred to have F.P. & Carp.! I'm a homer and Vin is a homer.

EmDash said...

Hope they sit Harper for the rest of the series and then check him pretty thoroughly before maybe letting him play in San Diego. Never a good idea to rush a guy back after something like that.

Looking ahead to tonight's match-up - if the Nats win this one, they'll probably have to steal it. Kershaw's obviously one of the best pitchers in baseball, and the Dodgers' hitters general track record against Haren isn't too promising.

ehay2k said...

Seamhead, thanks for the correction. I just remembered he had new eyes, but I guess I assumed LASIK because that is what a lot of athletes (like Tiger) seem to be doing these days.

We were there when he homered. I have a pic of his at bat, just before he clobbered the ball.

If there are folks here that have not been to a minor league game, I must say that MiLB is just a great experience. for one thing, it's very intimate, because the parks are smaller than MLB parks. And they are cheap tickets. In Hagerstown, for just ONE extra dollar, you can buy the "expensive" seats right behind the dugout. That night, we upgraded the entire family of 5, because there were plenty of seats available. I couldn't figure out why, until we got to the park and discovered it was dollar beer night. Ah, priorities!

Doc said...

Actually, Sect. 3, as note in a subsequent post, the term 'personally evasive' was penned by the esteemed and erudite Ghost. I merely referred to it, and possibly extended my own understanding of Scully's style.

In his own way Vin is a pro. I will have 3 more games to gather his Dodger ditties.

Doc said...

That should be 2, not 3. I must have been listening for tooooooo long last night!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section 222 said...
I enjoy Scully and will probably sync the first few innings with his broadcast tonight and tomorrow. But I did notice several errors he made last night on location of pitches and other things. He paints a great picture, it sometimes doesn't line up with what you're seeing on TV.


He's a radio guy at heart and does most himself. Instead of using all the TV graphics I think he is too old school and just goes with it and in his calm demeanor and not much inflection in his voice "and that's a swing and a miss".

Many radio guys wing it because they don't have the technical crew that the TV guys have and Vin is certainly a throwback.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Doc, why thank you very much. I'm a contradiction on Vin. When I want to live back to my childhood of transistor radio I will listen to him call a Dodger game. Then I snap back to 2013 and miss the more excitable calls of the game of someone I really like in Jon Miller, back, back, BACK HOME RUN!

Anyone who hasn't listened to Vin call a game, try it out and judge for yourself.

A DC Wonk said...

Speaking of Ankiel, did you see that he started for the Mets and in Ank style gets a bad read and comes charging in for a low liner and the ball clanks out of his glove. The glove looked stiff.

If I recall, that guy ended up scoring the go-ahead run.

BTW, Ankiel actually walked in that game (!!). (But, to be consistent, he also struck out twice -- and still _lowered_ his K/BB ratio!!)

Section 222 said...

They showed Scully on the broadcast and he seemed to be working from notes. I can't imagine anyone having stored in his memory the name of Ian Desmond's mother.

A DC Wonk said...

Speaking of announcers . . .

Any old Mets' fans here miss Bob Murphy?

(And, fwiw, I think Charlie Slowes has a mix of Bob Murphy (the tune of some of his sentences) and Ralph Kiner (who, if I remember correctly, used "it's going, going, gone, good bye, home run" back in the 1960's for the Mets).

mick said...

A DC Wonk, YES, I remember Kiner, yes I do.

J Zim is a beast. I was so happy to see Nats hit and beat LA. I just hope they can it going offensively.

Doc said...

Yeah, me too Ghost.

Vin does take me back to my days as a kid hugging the radio, and I do respect his career.

I thought that his comments on Reiser and Harps allowed us all to get a perspective on the game. Baseball, of all the professional sports, most benefits from its' history.

Not too many guys like Vin around that can do that!

Mr Baseball said...

When is Nat management going to realize Bryce is not now a Right Fielder? Both of his injuries have come while playing right. He looks comfortable in Left and Center. If you have ever played in the outfield right is a whole new game. The ball comes at you different and being converted from catcher, they need to keep him in one outfield position. If you watch him in right, he always turns the wrong way, on balls hit over his head and ends up running in circles. Put him in left and keep him there!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Doc, you can say that again!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I think the heat got to JZim last night. I was kind of surprised that Davey didn't pull him earlier. He wasn't himself from the 7th inning on even though his pitch count was low.

The first game of a coast-to-coast road trip will kick your butt and then when you add the change of temps to it that doesn't help.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

How good was Ian Desmond in the field last night?

RZim looked good also.

Espi, not so much at the plate. With Javy Guerra pitching and on the ropes with bases loaded after his fielding error, a single and walking Desmond, Espi was in the driver's seat with 1 out. Guerra falls behind 2-0 and throws him a high fastball at the top of the zone which Espi swung through and in typical Espi fashion he can't lay off high cheese. It wasn't a good pitch to drive. Why swing at it? Then in 2-1 count he goes into panic mode and tops that grounder. I just don't get it. Luckily it didn't impact the game but it once again shows that even in the 7 hole he was less effective than the pitcher was batting. 0-5 with 2 K's and a bunch left on base.

Section 222 said...

So Mr. Baseball, if Davey wants to start Ty-Mo, you'd put him in right? I don't think so. Bryce is the much better athlete and outfielder already. I'd say he should continue to learn and play all three outfield positions, making him even more valuable to the team, while concentrating on LF when everyone's healthy.

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

"I think the heat got to JZim last night. I was kind of surprised that Davey didn't pull him earlier. He wasn't himself from the 7th inning on even though his pitch count was low."

Yeah, I was amazed he made it as long as he did, especially with how much he was running the bases! IIRC, he had a somewhat shaky inning after he walked and then scored on Zim's double. He looked tired in the dugout pretty much from then on.

While we didn't score much with RISP, I have to think all those long innings helped him stay in it.

SCNatsFan said...

Ankiel's equipment didn't make it to NY in time for the game so he was using Niese's glove so you might want to cut him some slack on dropping the liner last night.

SCNatsFan said...

sec222, Harper can't become any more valuable to the team unless he starts pitching lol

BxJaycobb said...

Thanks NatsLady!

The more I look at this team, the more I saw a hyper-talented pitching staff which will, when it's all said and done, finish top 3 in baseball...and an offense with a few too many question marks. We have basically 2 absolute gamers (harp and desi), a good-to-very good leadoff guy, and then 3 or 4 folks who are either incredibly inconsistent, bad, or injury-prone. I think that to take it to the next level and advance in the postseason we absolutely will need at least 1 of our vets to perform like a an impact bat in the order—whether that is LaRoche, RZim, or Werth-- we're going to need all-star numbers from one. Otherwise, I fear that Harper and Desi will not be enough to get the runs we need. However I also think that it's still entirely possible to get a 25-30 homer, 90 RBI, .290 year from one.

JamesFan said...

Span should have a serious talk with Harp. Span lost a year plus from a concussion after hitting a wall in centerfield.

A DC Wonk said...

25-30 homer, 90 RBI, .290 year from one.

Indeed, Desi is on pace for 26 HR, 72 RBI, .295 (and 91 Runs scored)

Eric said...

JamesFan, I believe it was the result of colliding with a catcher...unless he's had two concussions?

Unknown said...

Harper needs to let go of that beard. I know he is trying to emulate Jason Werth but he's already ten times the player Werth is and the beard makes he look like an old man.

Pilchard said...

The focus of Espinosa's approach is to cut down on strikeouts. As a result, he is not driving the ball like he did the previous two years. At what point do the Nats come to grips that Espinosa lacks the bat to be an everyday MLB player?

Over the last two seasons, almost 800 plate appearances, Espinosa is hitting .236; .285 OBP; .391 SLG; .676 OPS. That is just not good enough to play everyday. Espinosa has over 1500 plate appearances in MLB, and is now 26 years old; so, at what point is it fair to say that is not reasonable to conclude that Espinosa has hit his ceiling as a player.

peric said...

A play like that cost Michael Morse an entire year and his best 2nd shot at the majors after the shortstop try didn't work. Fortunately, it also led to his acquisition by Mike Rizzo for the Nats.

peric said...

Zim's bat is starting to wake up ... and just in the nick. He's hitting it hard and with men on. I suspect Harper won't be in the lineup for a couple of days ...

peric said...

Espinosa has over 1500 plate appearances in MLB, and is now 26 years old; so, at what point is it fair to say that is not reasonable to conclude that Espinosa has hit his ceiling as a player.

Then by the same token its time to conclude that both Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth are done and in LaRoche's case well done. Espinosa still has 9 doubles and 3 homers. He is far more the power bat and threat than either of those two going away! Even with his struggles at age 26 which is still age appropriate for AAA.

peric said...

Look at the number of strike outs and the LOB for LaRoche even with the single he hit. Look at his batting average, his ISO, his OPS, his SLG.

This is a $10,000,000 first baseman? They would have been better off signing Reynolds for a lot less given his stats.

Mr Baseball said...

Yes Section 222, you put Tyler Moore in RF. Tyler is also a 1B and the ball has the same spin and slice at first as in RF. Are you just a fan and did you ever play or coach this game? If you ever played or coached you would know what I'm talking about concerning the way the ball moves in these positions.

SCNatsFan said...

Boy Peric everytime anyone brings up a player doing bad you get on the ALR hate train; the same ALR that carried us the first months of the season last year. Don't understand how you continue to back Moore and Espinosa while focusing on the end of ALRs career because of a bad month, perhaps because of your crush on Morse. At least, due to the lack of the daily post on how useless Span is, you have come around to see many Denard being the full time CF isn't the end of the world you predicted.

Pilchard said...

Peric,

LaRoche had a slash line of .271/.343/.510/.853 last year.

Werth had a slash line of .300/.387/.440/.827 last year (despite wrist injury).

If Espinosa had even a decent year last year, it would be easy to dismiss his 2013 struggles, but Espinosa has had .600 OPS since the all-star break in 2011. At what point, should the Nats acknowledge that he lacks the necessary offensive ability to play every day?

Or does his defense and occasional power justify keeping him in the lineup despite his offensive failing?

IKN8wxU2 said...

Ghost of Steve M wrote:

"I'm a contradiction on Vin. When I want to live back to my childhood of transistor radio I will listen to him call a Dodger game. Then I snap back to 2013 and miss the more excitable calls of the game of someone I really like in Jon Miller, back, back, BACK HOME RUN!

Anyone who hasn't listened to Vin call a game, try it out and judge for yourself."

Even better, maybe you can catch Jon Miller doing his Vin Scully impression!

SCNatsFan said...

On Scully, I'm ton; I appreciate the old school stylings of the booth and it is cool to hear but I don't know if I could take him for an entire season. His stories are cool but it seems he has alot of misinformation; as a Dodger fan you wouldn't notice some of the things he says about the Nats aren't correct but as a Nats fan you pick them up. Still nice to hear an anti Berman in the booth.

JaneB said...

Why do they make the fence WIRE? That's just thoughtless.

JaneB said...

Dave, I love the JoyofSox blog! Nice to find another fan!
Wonk, Charlie often reminds me of my old favorite announcer, back when the Mets were "my team."

Section 222 said...

Mr Baseball, I know exactly what you're talking about. For you to come on here for the first time and start throwing your baseball experience around is kind of amazing. But have fun showing off.

In any event, I am confident that Davey isn't impressed with your baseball experience or your idea. In the best of all worlds, Harper would concentrate on LF. But with Werth injured, he is the best option for RF because of his arm and natural ability. He played 65 games in RF last year you may not remember. And has nearly a full year of experience in CF. He is one of the greatest talents to arrive in MLB in the last 30 years. So he is fully capable of handling RF or any other position they ask him to play. So the idea that he needs to be babied because he started out as a catcher is stupid, as is putting the defensively challenged Ty-Mo in the more difficult position.

hiramhover said...

Espinosa has had .600 OPS since the all-star break in 2011.

Huh? His OPS last year was over .700, and something like .650 in the second half of 2011.

A lot of Danny's trouble this year is connected in some way to his atrocious BABIP--he's 9th worst among qualifying players in the majors, at .209, compared to his career figure of .298.

That's the product of atrocious luck, or an injury that keeps him from making good contact, or a combination of the two. If it's bad luck, time will even things out. If it's some way tied to the injury, then it needs medical intervention. But in either case, it's not because he can't hit at the major league level.

Pilchard said...

Espinosa had .663 OPS in the 2nd half of 2011, a .717 OPS last year and a .549 OPS this year. So, over his 1000+ ABs since the 2011 All-Star Break, his OPS is in the mid .600s. Would love to know if there any MLB players with over 1000 ABs since the 2011 A-S Break with a lower OPS.

IMO, the reason Espinsoa BABIP is low this year is that he is so desperate to avoid striking out after striking out 189 times last year, that he making a lot of weak outs. I appreciate the luck excuse, and maybe that is the explanation, but at some point the sample size becomes big enough that it no longer makes sense to start him game after game.

baseballswami said...

Tired of the Danny topic, the crazy Bryce topic, which, by the way, was discussed on the Senate floor today, and the Barves topic. I will however, continue to beat to death the Stras topic. Was he in the dugout last night? Does he watch JZ pitch? With his talent, if he gets a grip, he will be so very, very good.just imagine Stras' ability with a controlled demeanor and a good work rate. Just scary.

Joe Seamhead said...

I doubt seriously that Espinosa is going anywhere soon. We all want him to hit better, but he is far and away the best defensive second baseman in the organization in management's opinion.

Mr Baseball said...

First of all Section 222, this is not the first time I've been on this blog. Second, RF may be his position someday but not now. I've never babied my players but I know you don't take a chance of hurting one of your best players. I think management stated they didn't want him in CF because of the physical and mental strain. He would have made a great CF'er. Management also took him out of the catcher position for the same reason. So, keep him in RF and maybe they will lose him for the season. Wait until spring training next year and work on this position (RF). Until Werth comes back, go with Perez or the Shark. They have more range too. They are more proven outfielders! Also, I saw him have difficult in RF at Hagerstown!

Mr Baseball said...

Section 222 - If management is thinking about Bryce in RF, in the future and Werth in LF. Do it now and let both get adjusted to these positions but don't keep moving Bryce back and forth. Project ahead for now and the future!

Joe Seamhead said...

If you think Tyler Moore can play a MLB caliber RF, Mr Baseball, then you and I disagree on outfielders, though I'm sure you couldn't care less. I think that Moore is a klutz in RF and has a noodle arm. Hell, he's a klutz in LF,too. I like the kid. I would rather that he not learn how to play the outfield while in the majors. It's hard enough for a seasoned vet to learn a new position, but Tyler would be better served learning to play the OF in the minors. I do agree with you that RF is a particularly tough OF position to master, as I said earlier on this thread. My hope is for Jayson to return to right ASAP. The combo of Harper in left, Span in center, and Werth in right is one of the best defensive outfields in all of baseball, in my opinion.
GYFNG!!!

Mr Baseball said...

Joe Seamhead - I agree with you all the way! I would never put him in the OF. If you want to experiment with him in the OF, do it a Syracuse.

Pilchard said...

I understand the Espinosa topic is old news, but for those that defend playing him day after day, at what point does his lack of offensive production dictate sitting him? Or is his defense so good that his (lack of) offense is irrelevant?

Eric said...

I wouldn't say his hitting is irrelevant, but I do think it's extremely biased to completely ignore his defense when suggesting he should be benched.

I think Davey has the right idea: if he's playing flawless defense, he starts...if he shows signs of slipping on d, bench him. That's exactly what happened when Espi made an error in each of the two games after his birthday.

Espi said at the time that he understood and took the message to heart. He came back solid on D and had a brief streak in the batter's box...hopefully the D won't fall off again and hopefully the O will pick back up.

Section 222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Section 222 said...

The ideal situation when Zimmerman comes back, until the end of the season. Trade LaRoche! Infield this season: 1b - zimmerfman, 2b - Lombo, SS - Espinsoa and 3b - Desmond.

Yes, Mr Baseball, you've been here before. Sorry I didn't remember that astute comment from April 22. And you reminded everyone you coached baseball in that discussion, just as you told everyone you were a pitching coach in a previous comment about Zim's throwing. You must find associating with all of us "just fans" pretty frustrating.

I'm not sure how long you think a player of Harper's skills needs to "learn" to play RF. If you saw him in Hagerstown, you probably know that he mostly played RF there (51 games). And he played several games in RF in Syracuse as well. I don't disagree with you that his route last night was awful, and it very well could be that switching him from LF to RF has caused some confusion. But I don't think, at this point, it has anything to do with him starting out as a catcher. And you just said you don't really want Ty-Mo in RF either, even though three hours ago you said yeah, put Ty-Mo in RF because the spin is the same coming off the bat for a RF and a 1B. (By the way, Ty-Mo played one game in RF in the minors, 2 games there last year and 3 this year.)

Last night Davey wanted Lombo in the lineup. He hasn't played a single inning in RF, and he actually has less experience in LF than Harper does in RF. Your initial comment went off on "Nats management" for not recognizing that Harper needs to play left exclusively. So I guess you're saying to Davey -- sorry, with Werth out, you can't play Lombo. You have to go with Eury Perez or Bernadina because we can't risk playing Harper in RF.

Good luck with that.

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