Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Storen back on track

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Drew Storen helped his case today with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
VIERA, Fla. -- Drew Storen is a bright guy, we all know that. He went back to Stanford last fall to continue his pursuit of an engineering degree. He described his pitching mechanics today using a word -- "biomechanically" -- plenty of his teammates with the Nationals probably can't even pronounce.

Sometimes, though, Storen's inquisitive and analytical nature can get the best of him. Sometimes, he starts over-thinking things, which can compound the mistakes he's already making.

So perhaps the most important thing Storen said Tuesday about his 1-2-3 ninth inning against the Astros was the simplest thing he said: "I needed that."

He sure did.

Storen's strong outing perhaps helped clear a few things up in the Nationals bullpen, though there's still plenty else to sort out over the final week of camp, as you'll read on CSNwashington.com.


Ernie said...

Great to see Storen back on track.

With the news about Henry Rodriguez working on mechanics, I'd be very interested to hear others' thoughts on the Willingham trade at this point. Did we get sold a bill of goods? There are a lot of Corey Brown fans out there, but yesterdays' postings show some debate about how far along he is. Rodriguez's control seems to have been questionable from the day the trade was announced.

I liked Willingham. His power was streaky but he seemed to be pretty reliable getting on base. His departure opened a spot for Morse, which is great, and he only had a year left on his contract anyway, but did we really get anything notable in the trade? Would it have been better to have held him to shop him in June? Was he maybe not as valuable a trade chip as I thought?

I'm also wondering how great the Nats' scouts are in these trades. Burnett was a great pickup in 2009, and Morgan seemed good at the time. The Capps trade looks like it will really pay off. But this one I'm not as confident about.

Maybe it's just too early to tell. I know there are dozens of you out there ready to educate me. How can you tell if we got a good deal?

BinM said...

Master Z: I know you've only been back in Viera for a couple of days, but I'm wondering whether Detwiler & Maya got any minor-league camp innings over the last couple of days?

It seems an all but done assumption that they'll both be optioned, but just wondering if they're still under even the slightest consideration.

SonnyG10 said...

I think its still too early to tell how we made out on the Willingham deal. The club needs to upgrade and must take action even if we misfire once in a while. Willingham was good offensively but not quite as good defensively. What we want is someone good both ways.

BinM said...

@Ernie: The Willingham trade might take a year to prove out; Both the players acquired are relatively younger (Rodriguez is 24, Brown is 26) and have possible 'upside'.

Rodriguez has a plus+ fastball, capable of 100mph; If he can harness some kind of control at less than full power, he can be of value in late innings. His downside is that he's out of minor-league options, so the Nationals either keep him for 2011, or likely lose him via either waiver or trade.

Brown is an OF candidate, basically unproven above AA-level. Over four years in the A's system, he looks like a smart baserunner (68/8 in SB/CS) with good speed (21 triples), has above-average gap-power (83 doubles, 65 HR's), and a decent arm (17 OF assists) as well. His downside is that he has been slow to adjust to each level of advancement. If he picks it up quickly in Syracuse this year, he's worth a look in September, imo.

Willingham might make this trade look like a bust in 2011, but it could equal out over the next couple of years.

Nats Lifer said...

Detwiler was pitching in the same intrasquad game yesterday during which Harper suffered his ankle sprain.

Anonymous8 said...

I heard Stairs and Werth helped Storen with his mechanics change.

Nice to see the players doing what you would hope the coaches should be doing.

BinM said...

One more note regarding Storen: I still think he may have overlooked his throwing program the off-season. That put him behind the curve against other pitchers on staff, and we're seeing the results this spring.

Unless he racks up 3-4 more 1-2-3 innings this spring, I believe the Nationals would be wise to send him out to Syracuse to begin the season.

They're already stuck with a couple of bullpen 'arsonists' in Rodriguez & Clippard due to a lack of options, and others (Balester, Broderick, Burnett, & Slaten) have all proven their worth in Viera this year.

BinM said...

@Anon8: Maybe they spotted a 'tell' in Storen's setup / delivery that McCatty & others might have missed. If so, the last week or so should show a marked improvement in Storen's numbers; If not, Storen has earned a bus ticket to Syracuse.

Feel Wood said...

If they do decide to cut ties with Henry Rodriguez (and I'm betting they will find a way not to) they will still get something back for him. They would DFA him, and surely some other team would step up to trade. If not, they keep him. And Corey Brown is hurt, and may yet turn out to be a player of worth. Thus it is way too early to judge the Willingham trade. And keep in mind, at best Willingham would have been worth a couple of prospects if they'd held on to him longer.

This from a guy who liked Willingham enough to buy his personalized jersey.

Doc said...

I'm just a fan, but I'll be really sad to see BallyStar not make the team.

He's paid his Nats' dues, and he's had the best relief record this ST for guys not named Broderick. He also had that oft-quoted great run at the end of the 2010 season. Colin Balester has arrived, and deserves to be given said respect.

Maybe he'll get a call-up soon. Somebody's going to choke, and hopefully BallyStar gets the first call.

josh f said...

I was at the game today - my first spring training experience. Wanted to give a big shoutout to Desmond, Espinosa, and Morse, who chatted and signed autographs for me and lots of fans before and after the game. Class act guys. And it was Morse's birthday to boot.

Anonymous said...

What is sad is having Coffey take Balester's spot and pull down $2 million for what we will get from him. Spring stats mean nothing, but the man needs a sports bra and it's difficult to believe the fat load will do appreciably better the 4.76 ERA he had last season.

sjm308 said...

I also will miss Willingham but support the trade. It might take time to see how our two prospects develop but that same time will work against Willingham. He has not had a full season in the last two years with various injuries and I don't see that changing. I checked on his stats this spring and they are not pretty. The other day he was hitting .187 and I realize that Werth and others also have poor numbers early. The good news for Josh is that the DH could really help his career (same obviously for Dunn). Again, I liked what Willingham brought to the club but if we get younger and better defensively and also add a pitcher that can help then its a no-brainer.

sjm308 said...

Not that too many people will care, but my group just met and I now have my 20 game package in hand.I Like the opening day ticket and after talking with a bunch of you on this site, I think we will really like our seats. I am taking your advice though and will try and move closer to homeplate next season. Does anyone know when the Red Carpet Rewards info will be sent?

Go Nats

Cwj said...

So what do you guys think should be the ideal bullpen this year? We might as well make out our own lists.
I just don't know much about options, rule 5s and other technicalities, but talent/stat wise here's what I think (in no particular order):
1- Burnett
2- Clippard
3- Storen
4- Balester
5- Slaten
6- Rodriguez
7- Broderick/Gaudin (toss up)
Please no Coffey!

JayB said...

Boz is at it again....who knew this team needed all that focus on baseball 101, drop boneheads and learn to win now before farm system is fixed.....wish I had thought of that approach.

Now time to send Morgan down to AAA for the year.

Rabbit said...

As far as Willingham is concerned, I feel the team is better just for the fact he isn't with them any longer. Just having him gone, even if it was with no one in return, is an improvement now that Morse is starting. Morse will return a lot more at-bats than Willingham ever would. Great trade.

Post a Comment