Thursday, May 23, 2013

Learning from his mistakes

USA Today Sports Images
Bryce Harper clubbed his 12th homer of the season during yesterday's win.
Contrary to the mythology that has been constructed around him, Bryce Harper actually is human. He has flaws as a baseball player. And he even makes mistakes every once in a while.

Here's the thing, though, about Harper and those mistakes: When he does make one, he learns his lesson and inevitably gets it right the next time around.

We've seen it throughout his brief tenure with the Nationals, and we certainly saw it multiple times during a just-completed, 10-game road trip during which Harper experienced what felt like a season's worth of highs and lows.

He crashed into the wall at Dodger Stadium, nearly decapitating himself and severely banging up his body. This led to all sorts of opinions being offered on how Harper should or shouldn't change the way he plays the game, perhaps enough chatter to actually linger in his head and cause him to develop alligator arms on a crucial drive to right-center in the bottom of the ninth inning in San Francisco eight nights later.

And how did Harper respond to that potential crisis? By making several impressive plays during yesterday's 2-1 victory at AT&T Park, including one on a very similar drive to the warning track in right-center.

Harper learned a lesson or two at the plate, as well, during this trip. Bumped up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup while Jayson Werth continues to overcome a strained hamstring, he twice stepped to the plate on Tuesday with Denard Span on base and squared around to bunt. The second infraction, coming in the eighth inning of a 2-1 game, was particularly troublesome because it allowed the Giants to intentionally walk Ryan Zimmerman and set up a favorable matchup against Adam LaRoche, and it drew public criticism from Zimmerman himself.

How did Harper respond to that situation? By remembering why Davey Johnson wanted him batting second in the first place: to produce big hits. So he clubbed a homer in the sixth inning on Wednesday, then ignited the winning rally in the 10th with a one-out double and ultimately scoring the decisive run.

That homer, incidentally, was Harper's 12th of the season. He's the first 20-year-old to hit that many home runs in his team's first 50 games since Orlando Cepeda in 1958. Select company.

With the season barely more than 25 percent complete, Harper finds himself on pace for 41 homers. He's on that pace despite missing six games so far due to injuries and illnesses.

That doesn't make Harper the perfect ballplayer. He still makes mistakes, just like anyone else who steps onto the field (especially anyone else with as little experience at this level).

But Harper has shown an uncanny ability to learn from his mistakes and rarely, if ever, repeat them.

And that trait, along with everything else in his arsenal, makes him such a dynamic ballplayer now with the promise of becoming even better over time.

72 comments:

baseballswami said...

He learns faster than any person I have ever seen. And on a huge stage. He creates some kind of dynamic on this team that is otherwise missing. And he is 20. Blows my mind.

NatsLady said...

On another topic. Vance Worley (I know you don't care...) is on my list of Opening Day Starters. He just got bombed again, and by the way, demoted to AAA. Anyway, in the course of looking at why, I found an article discussion his swing rate, meaning, how often do batters swing at strikes he throws, rather than let them pass and be called strikes.

Here is what is interesting to Nats fans.

Biggest drops in called strikes/strikes, 2012-2013, through 5/21

Vance Worley, -7%
Brandon McCarthy, -6%
Ross Detwiler, -5%
Wade LeBlanc, -5%
Dan Haren, -5%
Joe Blanton, -5%

This means when Detwiler and Haren throw a strike, hitters know it and swing. There can be various causes (the article discusses several for Worley). Haren could, like Worley, be losing his deception, or the catcher's on his new team--ours--are not framing his pitches well, which will improve with familiarity.

Detwiler, however, doesn't have the excuse of lost deception or an unfamiliar catcher. In his case, you have to guess the repertoire. Remember when Jordan Zimmermann's weakness was that he threw "too many strikes"? That may be happening with Detwiler--too many strikes, and in particular, too many strikes that are fastballs.

Here is the article.
Losing the magic

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/vance-worley-and-losing-the-magic/

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Most employees learn from their errors, and the real valuable employees excel later on by being strong to start with and real from fixed errors.

natsfan1a said...

As noted in the prior thread, too bad they didn't have a Tater Trot Tracker back in the day...

That homer, incidentally, was Harper's 12th of the season. He's the first 20-year-old to hit that many home runs in his team's first 50 games since Orlando Cepeda in 1958. Select company.

Section 222 said...

Also as noted in the previous thread, if Harper hits a home run during the Phillies series he will tie Cepeda and Frank Robinson for the most HRs ever in his teams first 50 games -- 13. If he hits two, he'll hold the all time record.

By the way, where did this idea that Harper "nearly decapitated himself" come from? Too much time spent watching Game of Thrones? Yes, he could have been much more badly hurt, but really....

NatsLady said...

If it weren’t for the pitching, we would be the Angels, Dodgers or Jays. Nats actual record. 24-23. Pythagorean Record. 20-27. GET SOME RUNS.

jeeves said...

As if Zimmerman has the right to publicly criticise anyone this year. At least Harp learns from his mistakes. As yet I've not seen anyone publicly criticize anyone else (not that I think they should). But for Harp to be the Nat'S poster boy for any criticism is ludicrous. Without him they would be well under 500. So far this year, without Zimm, the team would likely have a better record.

Theophilus T. S. said...

I wasn't awake for the bunt episodes but I'm wondering if they aren't illustrative of a larger team-wide self-directed free-lancing at the plate.
Having in mind Desmond's swing-from-the-heels attempts to ambush first-pitch fastballs (that pitchers have learned to leave out of the zone). There are bunch of guys who can't hit water from a boat and are going to dislocate their shoulder sockets trying to put one over the fence. The only ones I'm not going to criticize are Span -- who couldn't hit a golf ball over the wall -- and LaRoche, who still understands the value of a sacrifice fly.

Eugene in Oregon said...

NatsLady @ 8:15,

Good point on the pythagorean expectations. MASN posted a telling chart last night; it showed the Nats were 3-20 (now 4-20) when scoring two or fewer runs. What the graphic didn't show was that in half of those 20 losses the other team scored only three or fewer runs. Yes, the Nats have suffered some nasty blowouts, thus driving down their pythagorean projection, but if they simply scored the league average (4 runs/game) in five of those 10 games, they'd essentially be tied for first place in the NL East. Ghost has argued recently that the Nats need to get back on a 4.7 runs/game pace, but I'd settle for fractionally above league average. That, combined with the pitching, would likely be enough. But if they stay .67 runs/game below league average their chances of making the playoffs pretty much disappear.

UnkyD said...

As much as I hate to advocate sending anybody down (purely because I recognize my ignorance, in making these kinds of GM type decisions), I would like to see Danny sent down, and strongly advised to get the shoulder fixed. I hope Rendon has seen a lot of 2B, in the last few weeks, but it seems as though his offense will be such a large upgrade, that a learning curve could be tolerated, defensively... It's not like learning Aramaic, he's played the MI positions at other levels, which means he's had rudimentary instruction on his foot work, and Davy would love to hold his hand. Small sample,I know, offensively, but he takes balls, and swings at strikes.... I'll say it again, he takes balls, and swings at strikes. It seems a simple enough concept that even I can see it. Danny can rehab his surgery, and stay at AAA, until he learns to....take balls and swing at strikes, with a flat, compact stroke. He's too talented to DFA, but has no trade value while he can't even SEE the Mendoza line, from where he is... If he gets past his stubbornness in time for the much ballyhooed transition of Zim to 1B, he can have a second chance to hit like a professional Ballplayer, otherwise.... Plan B (whatever that is)

Desi was never this helpless....

Eric said...

I still don't see the Big Huge Error that was Harper's first bunt. It put a man in scoring position who could've allowed the team to absorb Harper's bailing on the fly ball in the 9th. Still think that's exactly the kind of mentality we need to be willing to consider, situationally, especially if we're gonna be eking out 1 and 2 run wins.

Also, the more we break from any mold, the more it keeps the opponents off balance.

NatsLady said...

True, Desi was never this bad at the plate, but if you had seen post after post about his errors, lack of focus, etc.

I am not a doctor or a sports injury expert, but it seems to me that if it were his shoulder that would result in weak grounders and shallow popups rather than complete misses, or staring at strikes. I wonder if he has a vision problem. Last year there was a report on the vision exercise the Nats did--do they still do them?

Does anyone know if Stephania Bell of ESPN has spoken on the matter? She is on ESPN Fantasy Baseball podcast, but as I don't play fantasy, I don't listen to it much, it's about fifth on my daily list and if there are actual baseball games I don't get to it.

A DC Wonk said...

Nats were 3-20 (now 4-20) when scoring two or fewer runs.

And 20-3 when scoring 3 runs or more!

Ghost has argued recently that the Nats need to get back on a 4.7 runs/game pace

It seems that with our amazing pitching, even just 3.5 runs per game would have us on a winning tear!

A DC Wonk said...

Regarding looking helpless at the plate -- it seems like Espi, Shark, _and_ TyMo look helpless at this point. I feel bad for all three of them.

bowdenball said...

UnkyD said...

"I hope Rendon has seen a lot of 2B ... It's not like learning Aramaic, he's played the MI positions at other levels"

He's played six games at 2B in AA this season.

I've seen this statement elsewhere that he played MI at other levels, but I've never seen any evidence of it. Are people talking about his time at Rice? I've never seen any evidence of that but maybe I missed it. Or are people talking about high school or little league or something?

NatsLady said...

Eric, I somewhat agree. Harper was doing his best to contribute what he thought he should from the 2-hole. Apparently he didn't read KLaw's article on why you put your best hitter in that spot (max at-bats), and thought his job was to advance the runner.The second bunt was more problematic, as noted by RZ.

I'm not one to take aim at Eckstein, but who is it that sets up the batting game plan? In that same interview, RZ talked about a hitters meeting before every game, with viewing videos, scouting reports, etc. Are things like that hashed out beforehand or is it on the fly? Also, I'm not one to take aim at Span, but Werth was constantly helping Harper with his outfield position. Or Tony Tarrasco? A little wave to suggest he play deeper?

It was pointed out that the problem with KLaw's analysis is that, especially in the NL, you have the 8-9-1 ahead of you, which is usually not going to produce more than one baserunner. Now, late in games you might have pinch-hit for 8 and 9, but myself, I'm more with your best hitter in the 3-spot, where he can be BOTH an RBI man, and (hopefully) get on base for the RBI guys behind him.

Doc said...

Nats need more Harpers, making more mistakes!

Espi,the Shark, and TyMo don't seem to be learning from their chronic mistakes in the batters' box.

fast eddie said...

Here's an interesting stat:
We're second to last in the NL in hitting with .225/.289/.653. Braves are 11th, Mets are 13th and Marlins 14th. At first glance, it would appear that great pitching in our division is responsible for poor hitting.
However, when you look at pitching, we're 6th (3.53), Braves 5th, Marlins 11th, Phils 12th and Mets 14th. So, the best hitting AND pitching teams are in the other two divisions.
Is that a logical conclusion??

A DC Wonk said...

Eric said...

I still don't see the Big Huge Error that was Harper's first bunt.


I'm going to take Eric's contrarian factor and raise it a level -- I don't see the Big Huge Error on the second bunt, either.

Let's focus what the criticism is: that they were going to walk RZimm and . . . pitch to the cleanup hitter and #5 guy?!

Hello!?! Guys hitting #4 and #5 are supposed to be able to get a run in from 3rd! Off of both righties and lefties! If it was an "unfavorable matchup" for ALR, then it was "unfavorable" for Harper, too.

Getting a guy over to 3rd with one out in a 2-1 game is a bad idea?!

Furthermore, Harper had been 0-for-6 (and the bunt) since coming back from the injury!

At least Harper knows how to bunt well, and knows how to make a productive out -- which far too many Nats seem unable to do this season.

ALR had guys on 1st and 3rd with one out. A slow grounder, a ground-out deep in the hole, or a fly ball is all that was needed to get a key insurance run. He struck out looking.

The eighth inning of a 2-1 game in which you are leading, with Clip, Store, and Soriano at the ready, is not the time to be looking for a big inning. Just one run would do.

NatsLady said...

Rizzo was asked about Rendon playing 2B in AA on the radio yesterday. He was pretty noncommittal.

BTW, KLaw gave the Rangers some heat about bringing Profar up: said he needs to play everyday for the time he's in the majors or it could affect his development. I think that's extreme. Coming off the bench or plattooning for a couple of weeks is not going to hurt Profar's development in the long run, and it wouldn't for Rendon.

The problem (as mentioned by several posters) is that you don't want to lose Danny as Desi's backup at short. I wouldn't ask why is Rendon not playing more at 2B. I would wonder how he would do at SS if you propose to send Danny down. Since I don't see Rendon playing short, Danny ain't going down. (Watch me be wrong!)

A DC Wonk said...

Oddities for this morning (short list):

- David Ortiz stole a base. Third base.

- Ryan Howard hit a dribbler off of a check swing that resulted in a clean double. Here's the video.

bowdenball said...

A DC Wonk said...


"At least Harper knows how to bunt well, and knows how to make a productive out -- which far too many Nats seem unable to do this season."


I don't know why people keep saying this. The Nationals are sixth in baseball in sacrifice hits.

Actually, I take that back. I think I do know why people keep saying that. It's because unproductive outs stick in your craw so you remember them much more than all the productive outs. It's the same reason every football fan thinks his team's third down defense is terrible, and every basketball fan thinks his team's three point defense is terrible- because you remember the pain when they fail and forget about it when they succeed.

JD said...


NatsLady,

If you think like Ghost and Laddie that this is who Danny has always been and always will be then I agree that it doesn't make sense to send him down.
I am of the opinion (and the numbers support me) that Danny is a much better player than he has been this year (yes I recognize that he has some inherent holes in his game) and I think that Rizzo feels this way too.In this case it makes sense to try to resurrect Danny's value even if only for trade purposes and the best way to do that may be to send him down and away from the major leagues daily scrutiny.

Don said...

So, the theory is that Davey wanted Harper batting 2nd to produce big hits? Nice job selling the lineup slot to the kid by Davey, but that's something of a reach. Harper is batting 2 because there is literally no one else who can do so on this club. Lombo MIGHT have the skill set but he's blocked by the pre-printed into the lineup cards force that is Danny Espinosa. Rendon might have the chops, but they have no place to play him either.

Harper had a great game, but he should be batting with runners on, swinging for the XBH not hoping to move them over or squeak out a walk or taking some pitches so that Span can maybe swipe a bag. He is not a 2 hole hitter. No club in the bigs has a 30+ HR talent batting second and for good reasons. The club scored a whopping 2 runs yesterday on Harper's big hits from the 2 hole. They have scored more than 3 runs in only 7 of their 20 May games.

In the NL -- only the Dodgers and wicked terrible Miami have scored fewer runs than our club; only Miami has a worse OBP and only the Mets have fewer hits. Davey's lineups, with hairbrained stuff like Espi at leadoff or 2, with Harper hitting solo shots (12 HRs with only 23 RBI? He's not being used the right way) and Zim being intentionally walked to get to the next guy who will likely K with him on 1B, are just not getting it done (Nats trail only the Braves for most Ks by a lineup in the NL, but the Braves manage to score almost an extra run per game).

Davey/Rizzo have got to make some changes and soon. They have been really lucky to play 500 ball. This no hit, bad D, questionable fundamentals club can only be carried so far by the pitching.

JD said...


Bowdenball,

I agree and at the same time I think that it's just about always a terrible idea for Harper to bunt for the simple reason that he is a better hitter than any one else in the lineup. He has a better chance to hit a home run, triple, double or single that the players hitting behind him.

NatsLady said...

So, I was curious how many times Storen has faced only 3 batters in his inning.

Answer: In 18 appearances this year, 6 times. He did it twice in a row on April 29 and May 5--and not once since.

Clip, who as we know, doesn't mind walking a guy, has made 19 appearances, and 10 times he's faced only 3 batters in one inning. If you take out the times when he went more than one inning (twice), that improves his ratio even more.

In the Merry Month of May, he has not allowed any runs, nor has he allowed an inherited runner to score. Of course, his BABIP is unsustainably low (.143) but that comes from being a flyball pitcher (if the ball isn't out of the park, it's very likely caught) and walking guys when he doesn't like his odds.

By WPA, Clippard has been our best reliever in May and it isn't even close. (Clip +.62, Stammen +.08, Mattheus +.07, Henry 0.0, everyone else negative.

Eric said...

DC Wonk, I tend to agree on the second bunt to, but I almost literally don't understand why people are beefing about the first one. The second one t least makes some sense to me. While ALR "should" be able to hit that guy, even for a sacrifice, he has a history of failing to do so...I can see the argument there.

JD said...


Don,

Tell me how you feel about the lineup the next time someone in the 2nd hole (not Harper) makes the last out in the 9th inning in a 1 run loss and Harper is left on the on deck circle.

Sorry, this is old school thinking. You put your best OBP hitters at the top of the order so they come up more often. The notion that Harper has to hit with men on base presupposes that the people ahead of him get on base.

Section 222 said...

Ok, some posters I respect are making the case that Harper's bunting in the 1st and 8th two nights ago wasn't so bad (especially in the first bunt). At least we've put to rest the theory that Bryce wasn't capable of doing anything but bunt. Yesterday's game showed that. But I still just completely disagree as a matter of strategy.

In the 1st, you absolutely go for the big inning. It's not only SABRE-metrically the wrong move, it's just illogical to give up an out in that situation. You have your ace on the mound. You want to get him a big lead, not scratch out a run. Look what happened after Harper's bunt. Zim doubled, and so did Desi. If Harper gets on, even if he just walks, you're up 3-0 instead of 2-0 and you still have another out to go after Espi's K.

In the 8th, you're facing a tough lefty who owns ALR. Even a four year old could have seen the IBB to Zim coming a mile away. The chances of scoring at least a run goes from 62.5% to 64.5% after Harper's bunt and the IBB, but those probabilities assume league average batters. Right now, Harper is well above league average, and ALR would be lucky to be considered league average, particularly against a LH pitcher.

But most importantly, in both situations you are Bryce Harper, one of the best and most feared batters in the league. All you have to do is put the bat on the ball and pull it, which Bryce does most of the time, and you advance the runner even if you don't get a hit. But if you do get a hit, much less an extra base hit, with Span running you likely drive him in.

All that said, I agree with jeeves that all the focus on Harper is pretty ridiculous. He's carrying the team at this point, and having a historic first 50 games at the plate.

NatsLady said...

JD, I think Danny is a better hitter than he's shown, obviously. But unless you have some phenom hitting coach at Syracuse or Harrisburg, I don't see the point of sending him down to face minor-league pitchers. He is frustrating to fans, but he's not what is the main cause of us being lucky to be .500. And every time I look at Lombo make an easy play look difficult it gives me the shivers.

bowdenball said...

I agree about Harper, JD. I hate almost all bunts, so I definitely hate Bryce Harper bunts. I was just talking about this general idea that the Nats don't have productive outs and move runners and all that. I think that's one of those things that all fans think about their favorite team.

Eric said...

222, to be clear I'm not saying the first bunt was the one right move in that situation, just that I don't think it was a mistake. Especially when you consider that it probably would've been a hit if he put it just a bit closer to the third base line.

Also, the two doubles to follow weren't something Harper could or should just assume will happen. A sac hit was just as likely.

A DC Wonk said...

I don't know why people keep saying this. The Nationals are sixth in baseball in sacrifice hits.

Actually, I take that back. I think I do know why people keep saying that. It's because unproductive outs stick in your craw so you remember them much more than all the productive outs.


I strongly agree with your second paragraph.

But consider the following:

- the Nats have 20 sac hits -- 9 of them come from JZim (5) and Gio (4).

- other than pitchers, only Harper and Lombo has more than 1.

- if you combine sac hits and sac flies together, the Nats are 11th in the league.

- Nats are second in K's (for batters)

All that said -- you may be right, and perhaps the *apparent* lack of clutch hitting is simply overall lack of hitting (Nats are next to last in BA) combined with too many strike outs.

JD said...


NatsLady,

I think that the problem is that once you get yourself in a slump as deep as Espi is in it's hard to climb out from a psychological point of view. AAA has lots of veteran pitchers and it's a good place to work on things away from the bright lights.

I think that someone needs to get through to Danny that everyone is getting him out on pitches out of the strike zone and that it's not the end of the world to take a strike even if it's strike 3 just to force the pitchers to throw him more strikes.

I think that Danny is at a cross roads in his career. He won't have a major league career hitting .150 for long. He needs to get over his stubbornness and realize that something has got to give.

A DC Wonk said...

NatsLady said...

JD, I think Danny is a better hitter than he's shown, obviously. But unless you have some phenom hitting coach at Syracuse or Harrisburg, I don't see the point of sending him down to face minor-league pitchers.


So, here's a question about which I have no idea:

is it possible that simply getting him into a lower pressure situation with slightly weaker pitchers could help him get _some_ amount of confidence back (for those of us who think the problem is in his head?) Or, is it just as likely that he will develop bad habits (free swinging, but with some success against easier pitchers)?

Rendon2B said...

Rendon playing DH today for Harrisburg after sitting out yesterday's game. Why not give him some run at 2nd?

tayo said...

I have no problem with Harper bunting in that situation. Zimmerman is just making excuses for Laroche and batters after him for not doing their job with 1 out and a runner at third. If Laroche had actually done his job and we had won the game as a result of this play, Zimmerman and other players would probably only be talking of how great of a team player that Bryce was.

NatsLady said...

JD, it's true that there are veteran pitchers in AAA, but is Danny's problem not hitting vs. junk ball pitchers? I don't think so, he's not hitting good stuff either. Plus, some of those veteran pitchers are pretty much going through the motions (e.g., Lannan) to be ready for a call-up, or they are rehabbing, staving off retirement, etc.

The problem for Danny is not that he can't have a career as a .215 hitting glove man. Of course he can, lots of guys do. The problem is he's only 26 with power potential, and if he wants to be a STAR he needs to hit better. I would be totally against him trying to be a slap hitter to up his average (even though that would clearly help the team in the short term). Let him be stubborn and figure it out.

bowdenball said...

That's true, Wonk. A lot of them are pitcher bunts. But those count too, right?

I think a much bigger problem than the Nats' making productive or unproductive outs is the Nats making too many outs. They are 29th out of 30 teams in OBP. They can get away with being middle of the road because of their power, pitching and defense- they were 12th last year. But 29th is not going to cut it. They make too many outs at the plate.

Cutting down on the strikeouts just a bit and taking a few more walks should do the trick. It really is as simple as that. Hopefully now that they're clear of a really tough run of pitching matchups, and have only one all-star caliber starter facing them in the foreseeable future, they can improve that OBP number.

NatsLady said...

Wonk, your post made me smile. Let's see if Danny hits better after our trip to Coors in June...

JD said...


NatsLady,

I don't think it's in his DNA to be a slap hitter. At his best he should be a gap hitter with occasional power. That's not the problem. The problem as I see it is over aggression and unwillingness to adopt. Pitchers have figured him out and it's up to him to adopt to that reality.

Tcostant said...

And in other new Danny Espinosa took a walk...

Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said...

At the time, I assumed the reason Harper was bunting was because he didn't think he could hit, being so banged up, and he was NOT going back to the dugout with the runner still on second with one out, dammit.

Still, at yesterday's home run I was thinking of Kirk Gibson--"Tell Skip I think I can give him one good swing."

NatsJack in Florida said...

Tcostant...his first walk in 72 plate appearances.

Just wonderin' said...

Wouldn't it be to Espinosa's advantage (both financially and setting himself up for season) to go on the DL from the ML roster and not wait until he's been sent down? You have the surgery now and you continue to collect your major league salary, no? You wait until you're in Syracuse and you're collecting a much smaller paycheck, aren't you?

Just wonderin' said...

typo: ...setting himself up for NEXT season...

MicheleS said...

Wonk.. thanks for the updates on the Wonkling.. Those are the best

Doc said...

Thanks for the stats on our relief core, NatsLady.

I knew that HRod was in our top group. Still looking for Erik Davis to join the 'pen.

By the way, Gorzo and Gonzo are doing well in Brew town. Lefty (not sure if he is/was on the DL for LAA) has some impressive early season! stats. All have better stats than our boy Zack.

A case of Rizzo always being penny wise and pound foolish--for sure in Gorzo's case.

Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bowdenball said...

Just wonderin' said...

"Wouldn't it be to Espinosa's advantage (both financially and setting himself up for season) to go on the DL from the ML roster and not wait until he's been sent down? You have the surgery now and you continue to collect your major league salary, no? You wait until you're in Syracuse and you're collecting a much smaller paycheck, aren't you?"


You are thinking like a fan- which makes sense of course- and not like Espinisa.

I'm sure Danny thinks he has the talent and drive to turn around his season, which would potentially be worth seven figures to him, because 2014 is his first arbitration-eligible season. If he goes to arbitration with significant time on the DL or in AAA he won't hold any cards. If he can at least point to 15 or so HRs and good defensive metrics- which is still possible if not likely- he has something to work with.

Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said...

Take 2:

Just Wondering, he has a major league contract, so he gets paid regardless. It's not as if he's driving a truck and looking for a reason to take a few days off. The problem is, if he doesn't get this fixed, he will probably get another contract when this one's done, but not for the money he was planning on a few years ago. Assuming money is what motivates him, which I doubt.

Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said...

Not to mention, going on the DL isn't strictly voluntary. Rizzo has to agree to do that.

SCNatsFan said...

NatsLady if Danny goes to AA and still has trouble with their breaking stuff then we either except him as the Pedro Cerrano clone he is (I hit straight ball veddy veddy good but curve ball no) or let him go. If the worry is it will hurt him psychologically then he needs to grow up; major league hitters usually don't hover around the .150 mark. Unless you are in DC this year...

SCNatsFan said...

And if Espi goes to arbitration right now he'll have to bring a checkbook with him

Dominats Vobiscum said...

I don't think Rizzo was consulted when Ryan Mattheus raised his right hand and volunteered for the DL.

Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said...

Good point, DoVo!

Section 222 said...

If I remember correctly, the Nats' trip to Coors last year really woke up the offense. Would be great to see that again.

Zim's hitting is a very encouraging sign. In the last two weeks (13 games) he's slashing .326/.426/.522, with 2 HRs of the 3 he's hit for the whole season. LaRoche's numbers are .265/.321/.531 for the same period, with 4 of his 7 HRs. Add that to a rejuvenated Harper, and we could see some fireworks at Nats Park this weekend.

bowdenball said...

There is NO chance they'd just release Espinosa. He has talent, already plays plus defense in the middle infield, and is under club control for four more seasons after this one. If the Nats suddenly catch a case of the stupids and give up on him completely, there are plenty of teams who will like up to hand over bullpen assets or other useful parts for him.

3on2out said...

A couple shout outs here:

NatsLady: fascinating post on losing the magic. Thanks for sharing.

Wonk: ditto on the wonkling post.

MicheleS, SonnyG10 and 1a: I love you guys! Always a flickering light of positivity in this dark and fetid henhouse dominated by Chicken Littles.

And finally, just a modicum of perspective on the Bryce's purportedly unprecedented learning curve. He didn't learn to hit the cutoff man last year. At all. I think there is some evidence he has more of a clue this year but he is far from mistake free in that department. I love Bryce, but I'm just suggesting his wing in the HOF hasn't opened. Yet.

NatsLady said...

3on2out, thanks. Strangely, I am not as worried about Haren as about Detwiler. Haren is a hired hand, but Detwiler needs to evaluate his repetoire and pitch selection.

SCNatsFan said...

bowdenball I wasn't suggesting releasing Danny just making other long term plans at 2B and keeping Danny as long as you can, most likely taking over Lombo's role.

Theophilus T. S. said...

I've been thinking about Soriano whining about Harper's position (on the pull-up play) and the more I think about it the angrier I get. The RF foul line at AT&T Park is 309 feet; then it goes out to 421 feet in right center. Exactly where in that canyon is a RF supposed to optimally position himself? "Four feet in front of the wall," as Soriano suggested, is potentially hundreds of feet from the scene of the crime, depending on where "here" is, who the hitter is, what the pitcher is throwing, etc. The responsibility is on the pitcher to not let the batter hit a 400-foot fly ball (over the wall in D.C. and most other places). The most polite word I can think of is "disappointed."

Just another sign that the strings are coming close to unraveling.

Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said...

There is NO chance they'd just release Espinosa.

Wait, somebody actually suggested that??

Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said...

Oh, I see SCNatsFan suggested "or let him go," which I took to mean "give up on him and get whatever you can," but I can see how it might read "release" instead.

Nevermind.

bowdenball said...

Gotcha, SCNatsFan. That does seem like a possibility. All depends on whether Rendon can handle 2B, or I guess what the front office thinks about whether Rendon can handle 2B.

SCNatsFan said...

But I did use a poor choice of works. I'm uber critical of Danny but no way do I think he should be released.

Joe Seamhead said...

Theo asked:
Exactly where in that canyon is a RF supposed to optimally position himself?

_______________________________________________________________________

Look no further then where he was yesterday when he made the catch for your answer.
And FP was saying it Tuesday night, too, that "The Giants always position their RFer in a no doubles position in that situation." Harper should have been re-positioned by the bench. How come the team seems to have moved past this but some of the bloggers can't? Bryce has won a ton of games for us already and I'm confident he will win a ton more. And it's pretty obvious that Soriano is needed pretty badly by this team right now. I'll stand up and give both of them a hand tomorrow night.

Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said...

Joe, this just in:

Harper Walks On Water -- fans complain 'He should run that out'

Doc said...

Seamhead thanks for your post on Harps and his positioning on that fabled fly thrown by Soriano.

The bench, and whoever does OF positoning (Tarasco??) was the significant culprit---not our boy Harper. He needed help, and no help was forthcoming---end of discussion!

Joe Seamhead said...

Too funny, Sofa!

And, Doc, we all love Bryce, but he doesn't walk on water.Werth said it best: "he still has a lot to learn."

Doc said...

Actually Bryce The Price can walk on water, Seams. I've seen him play in the rain on a number of occasions! LOL

All I'm sayin' about that Soriano fly ball, is that someone from the bench should have helped position him.

As far as learning, Harps does it every day. Nats should be so lucky to have such a good learner in the lineup

SonnyG10 said...

3on2out said...


MicheleS, SonnyG10 and 1a: I love you guys! Always a flickering light of positivity in this dark and fetid henhouse dominated by Chicken Littles.


May 23, 2013 12:20 PM


Thank you for the kind words!

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