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Drawing some conclusions

Mar 13, 2010, 11:22 PM EST

Photo by Rachel Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Drew Storen has allowed one hit –a cheap one — in three appearances this spring.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — We've passed the midway point of the spring, and though there are still three weeks' worth of exhibition games left to be played, we can already draw some significant conclusions.

Stephen Strasburg is the best pitcher in camp, though that won't ensure him a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Drew Storen may be right behind Strasburg in ability, and he very well could wind up in Washington on April 5.

Other than Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond may be the best all-around position player on the roster, and he's determined to force a difficult decision at the end of the month.

The rotation remains a huge question mark, with few guys in the running for three open spots distinguishing themselves as worthy big-league starters.

Let's begin with that final point, because it is the foremost dilemma on the Nationals' hands at this moment. Sure, it's nice to know Strasburg, Storen and Desmond all look major-league ready, but what good does that do when you still can't come up with a reliable startingRead more »

  1. Wally - Mar 13, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    Mark – are you hearing anything on the trade front? Ladson said something about trading for a top of the rotation starter, which I find impossible to believe, but there are some surplus starters available like Chad Gaudin that may be an improvement from the current candidates.

  2. Sunderland - Mar 13, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    I'd be delighted, and shocked, if Desmond was made the starting SS. If Guzman gets playing time, and plays fairly well, maybe the Nats can move him (Mets?), eat a bunch of that $8MM contract and move on. But if they just bench him, they're flushing $8MM, and that doesn't seem like the Lerner way of doing things.If our rotation is Lannan, Marquis and 3 warm bodies, it will kill our bullpen, and we'll be right back where we were a year ago.

  3. peric - Mar 14, 2010 at 12:04 AM

    JD Martin has given up 2 runs on 3 hits. NO HOMERUNS. NO WALKS in 5 innings pitched. He has 3 strike outs. He has the same ERA as mock but a lower WHIP.Mock has given up 2 runs on 8 hits, 1 HOMERUN and 3 strike outs in 5 innings pitched. He also has NO WALKS.Please explain the logic of stating that Martin's spring is "nondescript" while Mock's is good enough to put him on the 25.I don't see it Mark.

  4. peric - Mar 14, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    If Mock isn't good enough? then … it is well known that Storen, unlike may recent Nats closers, has more than one pitch in his arsenal. I think he has good command of 4. Maybe its time to consider using him, along with Strasburg, as a starter.Now you come out of the box with Strasburg, Lannan, Storen, Marquis, plus Hernandez. What's more important at this point? The Closer or getting quality starts? Storen looks like he might make a great Stopper as well as a Closer. Why waste him on "set up". Why not just start him?They have Bruney, Capps, Burnett and perhaps some in the minors will step into that role sooner rather than later.

  5. Doc - Mar 14, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    Great analysis MarkMeister! Give us a run-down on some of the outfielders, and subs.

  6. Nats fan in NJ - Mar 14, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    Mark – Good job, thanks for this write-up. I can see Storen and Desmond both going north with the big league club. I am disappointed in Chico's start today; I've been plugging him as my dark horse for the #5 spot. Hopefully, he can shake it off. JD Martin, Mock and Stammen don't scare me if any of them go north as part of the rotation.

  7. Anonymous - Mar 14, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    If Guz's arm is in question and Desmond has locked up a starting spot, any chance the team would revisit the idea of moving Guz to 2nd?PB

  8. Wally - Mar 14, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    Peric makes a good point about Storen. I have heard that the Nats have talked about trying him at starter, but any idea what is holding them back, Mark?

  9. raymitten - Mar 14, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    Mark, great stuff, I was at the game and I agree with everything. Any feedback on Chris Duncan and his attempts to play first base?

  10. peric - Mar 14, 2010 at 2:09 AM

    One thing is sure: they aren't going to let an extra year before arbitration go … so your real opening day for this team won't be until June. Given the early part of the schedule they may be too far behind for changes to make much difference. Making themselves even less attractive to future (and currently on the team) free agents. Nevertheless, "old school" Riggleman is going to play the eight million dollar man Guzman even though he probably should be benched. He is going to throw starters in who aren't going to generate quality starts. He looks to have a bull pen that is going to be rocked. Riggleman will be fielding a very suspect middle infield. Catcher is also not really solid … and Morgan is having a miserable spring. One could almost see the guy losing his job … probably to his friend McLaren before the season is out. Thus allowing the two friends to completely swap roles.

  11. D'Gourds - Mar 14, 2010 at 2:10 AM

    Do the Nats get another year of control of Storen if they keep him down in the minors like they would with Strasburg?

  12. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 14, 2010 at 2:18 AM

    D'Gourds: Yes, the same service time rules apply to Storen. If he starts out in the minors, he wouldn't be eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.

  13. Anonymous - Mar 14, 2010 at 3:09 AM

    Mark, any idea how Thompson, Balester, and others pitched in the intrasquad games. Just wondering if any of these guys still have a chance.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 14, 2010 at 3:16 AM

    Wally, don't trust anything that Ladsen says. He is on the MLB payroll and is paid to make the Nats looks good, even (actually, especially) when they aren't. If you don't believe me, see one of his previous stories this week, titled: "Nats inspiring confidence." Pfft, please.

  15. peric - Mar 14, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    Why I believe that Mike Rizzo will not draft Harper.Someone tried to predict a 2012 lineup in NJ. Its gotten pushed out to2012. Here's my take based on what prospects there are, and the plan in place remains as it appears to stand now:1. Eury Perez CF2. Jeff Kobernus 2B3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B4. Adam Dunn 1B (The sign him long term this year)5. Ian Desmond SS6. Derrick Norris LF/C7. Destin Hood RF8. Adrian Nieto C9. Steve Strasburg SPDeck McGuire SPJohn Lannan SPRoss Detwiler SPAaron Thompson SPNathaniel Karns SPTrevor Holder SPBench: Steve Lombardozzi MIF, JP Ramirez OF, Mike Daniel OF,Leonard Davis UTIL, Chris Marrerro OF, Sean Rooney C,Michael Burgess OF , Mike Morse IF/OF.Bullpen: Tyler Clippard, Rafael Martin, Jack Spradlin, Closer: Drew Storen

  16. Anonymous - Mar 14, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Well, with the pitching staff we will probably have going into the regular season, it looks like another 100 loss season.

  17. tomterp - Mar 14, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Anonymous – according to spinman posting on WNFF – "Balester threw 3 innings today giving up 2 hits, 1BB, 0 Earned Runs and 2 K's throwing 45 pitches in a intersquad game."

  18. Anonymous - Mar 14, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Peric, Stop posting about ridiculous and unrealistic lineup combinations. No team prepares 2 year from now with only their minor leaguers especially if a few of them are mediocre. Why are you projecting for Nieto and Perez to be in the big leagues in 2012? No way do they make it up that fast. Also, your lineup suggests you want the Nats to get the #1 draft pick for 5 straight seasons. Stop with all the Trevor Holder hype. The guy is not a prospect. He's mediocre with mediocre stuff and mediocre numbers. There's a lot better players in the system to tout instead of a guy who was clearly drafted too high.





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