Skip to content

23 tried and true Nats facts

Sep 27, 2010, 2:30 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Yunesky Maya is 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in four big-league starts.

With apologies to Norman Chad, here are 23 facts, tried and true, about your Washington Nationals…

1. Yunesky Maya may prove some day to be a quality, major-league starting pitcher, but he's not yet. Then again, that's not all that surprising. How many pitchers can be expected to be big-league ready after five minor-league starts? Even Stephen Strasburg got 11 tune-ups before making his debut. I understand that Maya's eight years older, and I understand this was a unique case. But in hindsight, what was the rush getting him up here? Given a choice between the two, would you have rather seen Maya or Ross Detwiler make five big-league starts in September?

2. Speaking of Detwiler, what a wasted year this turned out to be. Obviously, his hip surgery was to blame for it. But it's now been more than three years since the Nationals drafted him sixth in the country (four spots ahead of Madison Bumgarner, eight spots ahead of Jason Heyward) and we don't know much more about him now than we did then.

3. The combination of Roy Halladay starting, the Phillies holding a magic number of 1 to clinch the NL East title and rain in the forecast all day and evening is probably going to make for a really miserable Monday night at Nationals Park.

4. Then again, the rain might help wash away any vomit emanating from the mouths of Philly fans (intentional or unintentional).

5. For all the ups and downs he experienced along the way, Ian Desmond's going to wind up having had a really nice rookie season. If I told you back on Opening Day that he'd wind up hitting nearly .280Read more »

  1. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    4. Then again, the rain might help wash away any vomit emanating from the mouths of Philly fans (intentional or unintentional).———————————–LMAO, you didn't really write that, did you?

  2. Sam - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Of course, if you still believe RBIs are a viable statistic, then Zimmerman's year won't look fantastic. If you use statistics that mean something, like wOBA or wRC+ (.389 and 145 for Zimm), then he did indeed have a fantastic offensive year.

  3. BinM - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Mark: Words of truth, right up to #23 – The Nationals (& O's) scores are announced at the top of the hour on 'updates' :)

  4. Bowdenball - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    Something else you conveniently left out of Desmond's numbers … that "nearly .280" average comes with a mere .315 on base percentage. OBP is all that matters. We've seen a guy that can hit for empty averages but make way too many outs. His name is Christian Guzman.Desmond had a great second half, but you don't win with guys with .315 OBPs batting at the top or the middle of your lineup. He either needs to learn to take a walk in a hurry, or the Nats need to find better hitters to bat in the 1-6 spots in the lineup in a hurry.

  5. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    10. Adam Dunn got a lot of attention for hitting two homers Friday night, but he probably should've gotten more attention for his two-run single off left-hander Mike Dunn later in the game. Adam Dunn simply doesn't record many hits against lefty relievers. In fact, he's now 3-for-33 with one homer and four RBI against lefty relievers this season.————————————–Can I do a Staples commercial moment on this fact, WOW, NOW THAT'S A LOW (change price to) BATTING AVERAGE!That can certainly skew his overall average for RISP also as they are probably bringing in a lefty relief pitcher every time there are men on base in front of Dunn late in the game.If you have that stat, does Riggleman realize his big man is batting .091 in those situations or does he throw out all notes in terms of Dunn?Is there any significance that Dunn hit off of Dunn?Mark, I love your followup:11. Despite that last stat, I'm still firmly among those who believes the Nats need to re-sign Dunn.

  6. David - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    If Lannan wins his last two starts, he'll have 10 wins. That will give the Nats 3 10 game winners. Something that hasn't happened since the Nats moved to DC.

  7. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Sam said… Of course, if you still believe RBIs are a viable statistic, then Zimmerman's year won't look fantastic. If you use statistics that mean something, like wOBA or wRC+ (.389 and 145 for Zimm), then he did indeed have a fantastic offensive year. ——————————-Sam, on the RBIs which is so reliant on number of at-bats and also who is batting in front of you, Mark pointed out that Zim will have missed about 20 games or about 1/8 of the season. If Zim didn't miss those games, that probably would have raised his RBI totals to 97. Now then, I think with Nyjer's poor OBP + all the times Nyjer got caught stealing and picked off that with a great leadoff guy it could have cost Zim about 5 to 10 additional RBIs as he had 397 at bats this year without runners in scoring position which is a high number for a #3 hitter and a lot of wasted RBI opportunities. Zim batted .313 this year with RISP and even better than that is he was .365 with RISP and 2 outs.

  8. LoveDaNats - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    Nice wrap-up of the year, Mark. I felt so much hope for this team at the beginning of the season. Yeah, we didn't come close to the playoffs, but we are no longer the worst team in baseball. (Listen to me…..I mean "they" are no longer the worse team in baseball.) Six other teams are finishing behind the Nats.I agree with you about Sean Burnett. I always thought he was the most reliable pitcher out of the bullpen. I really, really want them to re-sign A. Dunn and finally, I kinda hope the Twins take it all so Matt Capps can be part of that.

  9. Feel Wood - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    "9. The last guy to do that? Jeff Reboulet, who with the Orioles in 1999 drove in only four runs despite 192 plate appearances."This is not a Nats fact. Your headline lies, Mark.

  10. Richard - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    I like comment #23. I feel local media is all Redskins and Wizards. (Not the greatest one, of course, CSN, where they have the greatest occasional coverage that ought to be staff.) Maybe the MASN control has something to do with it.

  11. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    I like #5 about Desmond and in context that he is a Rookie who has to work over time on plate discipline whick will raise that OBP. His clutch hitting has contributed to help this team win."Bowdenballs" stats of a .315 OBP is correct which is why a leadoff (Nyjer) with a .320 OBP is so perplexing. The Nats greatest off season needs besides the Dunn issue is a high OBP leadoff. Like HR hitters, high OBP leadoffs aren't aplenty. You can see in the post above about RBI opportunities wasted when your #3 is up 397 times without runners on 2nd or 3rd.

  12. JaneB - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    On Saturday, the Post had something like 6 pages devoted to football — where they play one game a week, and there's none of the finesse of baseball. Anyway.NATS Facts#24: All of NatsTown is lucky you are on the beat, whether they read you or not. And they SHOULD. But you've helped make us more informed and more engaged, even as it dawned on us that the results we saw in April wouldn't be replicated for even a week the rest of the season. Finally, I'm so relieved you think they should sign Dunn. I just am.

  13. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    BUT Morse did start at shortstop for the Mariners in 2005 at age 22. And Morse has played at every position in the infield except catcher.AND deduct 10 errors from Desmond's total because Dunn was at first base. HOWEVER we note that is never a problem with the slick fielding and accurate of arm of Danny Espinosa at shortstop. FINALLY, Rizzo that with Strasburg and a little luck (Zimmermann, Maya, and Detwiler) he could the Nats into the playoff mix next year. Luck ran out. IF he is able to trade for a top ace power pitcher starter and sign one … you still might see it … but that is a tale for next year.

  14. Doc - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    Great end-of-season review!Mark, your perceptions have been consistently right all season. I was disapointed, at the beginning of the season, when you projected the Nats to be fighting for last in the NL East—but only the truth will make this team better.Thanks for sticking to your guns, and saying what needed to be said. In the final analysis, reality is always more fun!And hey, I've been waiting for you to print somein' on #16-#18. The fact is the platoon of Morse/Bernadina has done OK. If it had been in place from Day 1, the figures would have been even better.Morse's defense is probably above-average for RFs in MLB. He's not Larry Walker, but then there aren't to many Larry Walkers around anyway. Need some stats here guys.

  15. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Bowdenball; Your OBP comments are right on the money but in fairness to Desmond his 2nd half was much better; I do however agree that since he is such an aggressive hitter who doesn't take walks he would be better served batting 7th (similar comments about Espinosa although I haven't seen enough of him to be sure). Steve M. I think that Sam was simply pointing out that RBI aren't representative of a players value because they depend too much on what other people do. Finally; Mark I think that you are wrong about where Zimmerman ends up in the MVP voting; I have read a lot about where experts view him and it's almost always top 5 at least; along with: Votto,Pujols,Adrian Gonzalez and Carlos Gonzalez.

  16. Suicide Squeeze - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    If the Nats end strong and hit 70 wins, and then improve by the same number of wins next year, they will be….81-81. I know, a big if followed by another one, but I'm an optimistic soul and thought it was an interesting possibility. (Interesting to me, at least!)

  17. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    Doc, I love Mike Morse but his UZR in RF is -6.1; hardly average. As a comparison Willingham is -4.3.

  18. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Bowdenball, I would have to say Desmonds obp is hurt by the entire 1st half of the season spent batting 8th. I figure if he had a full season in the 2 hole, or maybe even 6th his obp would be closer to the .335-.345. Having better hitters behind him has made him a much better hitter himself.

  19. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    For those curious how Bryce Harper is doing in the instructional league, here's an interesting read from a former scout who now writes for AOL Fanhouse and who saw Harper play this weekend…

  20. natsfan1a - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    What is this thing you call "football"? :-)These are older pieces, but they hold us well for the most part, imho:

  21. natsfan1a - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    "us" = "up"

  22. Bowdenball - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    All-Agreed with Desmond having a better second half in all categories, including OBP. And one would hope he could improve on that number with age. I was just pointing out that the overall number was unacceptable for a guy hitting anywhere but 8th or maybe 7th. It's also indicative of what I consider the Nats' biggest problem; this silly "old baseball" line thinking that they think the first two hitters should be guys who are fast or disruptive instead of good at getting on base. The combination of Nyjer Morgan The Out Machine and the sub-.340 OBP #2 hitter du jour just KILLED the team this year. It needs to be fixed ASAP. I'm tired of watching Zimmerman bat with two outs and the bases empty.

  23. Hendo - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    I'm gonna dispute #23. Notwithstanding the Redskins debacle, the Philly invasion (or, as I preferred to cast it, their coming to town to clinch) is a story.

  24. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Spend some time and go through team stats between the Phillies and Nationals if you want to see the difference overall of a 1st place team and the last place team.Bowdenball states OBP is all that matters. If you are talking about offensive stats, RUNS is all that matters.Winning is simply outscoring your opponent any way you can.As of today, the Phillies have outscored the Nats by 70 earned runs which is .44 per game and their pitchers have given up .41 less in ERA so that is .85 in run differential per game on average.Talking about runs on offense, Dunn has knocked in 16.1% of the Nats runs compared to 15.2% for Ryan Howard. Can the Nats really afford to replace Dunn with a 80 RBI guy unless the Nats can find a way to get the team ERA down to around 4.02. You can't have it both ways. Either knock in more runs or the pitchers have to give up less runs.

  25. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Bowdenball, I couldn't agree with you more. If we assume our current roster for next year then Desmond,Espinosa,Ramos need to hit 6,7,8. If you assume Zimermman and Dunn as 3,4 then I would hit Willingham 2nd (high OBP) and Morse 5th which leaves the need for a high OBP leadoff hitter. The other problem with this alignment is that you have Morse,Dunn and Hammer in the lineup all well below average defensively and I know I left out Bernadina who I am still not sure about; I thought he was much stronger defensively but his numbers don't bear that out. In conclusion we need some trades; especially to improve the outfield.

  26. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Wasted Season for Justin Maxwell also. 120 PA in 63 games?

  27. The Great Unwashed - Sep 27, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    I don't think Barack Obama having attended two games at Nationals Park is noteworthy. I guess it is a true fact, but big deal.Bush came to see the Nats too, and none of the presidential visits, including past presidents who came to see the Senators, had an outcome on the game.This is not intended to be a political statement by the way. I'm just looking at it in a baseball sense.

  28. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    Thanks for the reminders of a memorable season. We won't finish last this year! Personally – everywhere I go I see more and more Nats hats, shirts, etc. in NoVa and hear more people talking baseball in checkout lines, etc. Danny Espinosa has been a real bright spot this fall and a reason to keep on watching. Don't tell some of these young guys that these games are "Meaningless" because they don't play that way!

  29. Doc - Sep 27, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    @ Anonymous 12:24: Thanks for the stats on Morse. I guess he catches anything that he gets to, but his anticipation/range is less than Willingham's at this point. Both Morse and Willingham never had set positions in their minors', and early major's careers. As he adjusts to the hitters, and positions himself better in RF (OF coach, helping out here?)he should get better, just like The Hammer improved from last season, to this season.

  30. Traveler8 - Sep 27, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    No. 21 bothers me – are we really striving for the highest attendance possible? I suppose the Nats are, but the Nats and I, probably we, part company if bringing in Phillies fans is the way to accomplish this goal.

  31. alexva - Sep 27, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    Nice compilation Mark, I'd offer the following: 1) Maya-I like what I've seen, sustained success or not. As to whether he was rushed, well if he wasn't playing here he wouldn't be playing anywhere in games that count. 2) Detwiler – Yes a waste. This year should have been 20-25 AAA starts then promotion. 8) Gonzalez – I could not believe that when Carpenter said it yesterday. Still a valuable bench player in that he can play all four positions.23) Radio coverage – Until they get some new radio talk show hosts, maybe this is a blessing. When they do talk about them they have no clue.

  32. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    Doc, I agree. Morse is a keeper based on his offense and hope his defense improves with more time in RF. Like Mark Z. said, he doesn't have errors so it is more of a matter getting better reads on the balls in the air and picking up some speed.

  33. Will - Sep 27, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Desmond had a pretty good second half with a line of .304/.337/.422/.759, but, admittedly, it is pretty Guzmanesque- an empty OBP supported by a good AVG. However, it's also important to remember that Guzman's best season, 2008, was only slightly better than Desmond's rookie season. Desmond just turned 25 and has only had 640 plate appearances in the big leagues. Hopefully more experience will lead to a more patient approach.Regarding high OBP lead off hitters, I hope Rizzo makes a call to Cleveland to check on Grady Sizemore's status. The Indians have been playing Brantley and Crowe in CF, while Sizemore has been injured. They're both young, promising players. The Indians won't compete in the next couple years, and Sizemore only has two years left on his contract. I think he'd be a perfect addition to the team. Maybe an offer of Marrero and a couple of our excess young SPs would pique their interest.Similarly, if the Yankees go after Crawford, Curtis Granderson could end up on the market. He'd be just as good as Sizemore.It's all wishful thinking, but I think that unless we can get Crawford or Werth trades are our only option.

  34. raymitten - Sep 27, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    Nice roundup, Mark. It seems like yesterday I was in Port St. Lucie watching the Nats lose a game because Willy Traveras let a ball roll under the fence and still touch it. The staff at Nationals Park is decidedly more interested in the Redskins too, and they make no secret of it. I've looked at monitors to see replays at the park and saw a Redskins preseason game instead. The greeters at the center field gate holler out "enjoy the football game!" as you leave the stadium. Several food concession workers told me they were 'waiting for the football'. It would be nice if the Nationals hired baseball fans to work at the stadium too. They often say "enjoy YOUR game". They should be saying "enjoy OUR game"!

  35. Harper_ROY_2012 - Sep 27, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    A scout watching Harper in his first game against a top prospect equals no AFL!? I wonder what this scout would say if he had witnesses Dunnkey's Caseyesque slump awhile back!?Also, while Desmond put up decent numbers, it is nowhere near the projected numbers and his pitch selection is hiorrible, he needs to fine tune his swing and be more selective at the plate to be a long-twerm major leaguer.

  36. Michael J. Hayde - Sep 27, 2010 at 6:25 PM

    Alternate fact (for those who didn't like one or more of the above): At the moment, the Nationals have the best record among all MLB last-place teams, plus one fourth-place team. (Give it up for Manny Acta's Cleveland Indians!) There's some comfort to be taken here; every other division has a bigger laughing stock than ours this season.

  37. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    Zimm with 25 HR and 85 RBI is about right where he should be with a higher batting average than expected

  38. Bowdenball - Sep 27, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    Anonymous 12:56:I said "OBP is all that matters" in relation to batting average. In other words, you can throw out batting average as a statistic, because OBP, when considered with slugging numbers, tells you everything you need to know about a hitter. Obviously run production is the bottom line. The most important element run production is getting on base/not making outs. Second is hitting for power. Third is baserunning. Batting average doesn't matter except as an element of the first two.

  39. N. Cognito - Sep 27, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    The "clutch hitter" mantra for Desmond is hollow. His numbers with runners on, runners in scoring position nd runners in scoring position with 2 outs are really no different from his full AVG, OBP and SLG. He does stand out with the bases loaded, but that's only 11 at bats.

  40. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    Zim had 106 RBIs in 2009. He had 163 ABs with RISP in 2009 compared to 128 RISP in 2010.35 more opportunities with a .313 BA w/ RISP would have yielded 11 more RBIs there and taken the total to 96 plus all of the RBIs you get with runners on 1st would add a few more to that total plus a few more HRs and he would have been real close to 100 RBIs in 2010.It is a long way from Spring Training 2011 to see what the Nats put together but clearly high OBP in the 1 and 2 with speed is optimal while keeping in mind that caught stealings really cost the 2010 team.David DeJesus would be the perfect fit for the Nats as he is a lifetime .360 OBP guy however he is in a option year and not a true Free Agent so would have to trade with the Royals if they pick up his option and do an extension. Next on my list would be Brett Gardner from the Yankees in a trade if they got Carl Crawford. Gardner is over .380 OBP with speed and can play CF and LF.Still the Nats have their own great OBP guy in Josh Willingham so don't count him out.

  41. greg - Sep 27, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    as far as the OBP and 1-2 slots go, i agree that OBP should trump speed. it's really hard to disrupt a pitcher from the bench.that said, you don't necessarily want lumbering OBP up there, either. they have to at least be good (and smart) baserunners who won't clog the bases. i know a lot of people in the natosphere wanted to see nick johnson hit 1-2 when he was here (and occasionally healthy) because he had a great OBP, and i disagreed with that. unless espinosa or bernadina develops into a top of the order guy (1 or 2) we probably don't have a quality 1 or 2 on the roster right now. morgan hasn't shown he can consistently get on base (or be trusted to be a good or smart baserunner). desmond *could* end up being a decent #2, if he gets better in OBP, but i see him as more of a #6 type guy because of that deficiency.

  42. CapPeterson - Sep 27, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    raymitten,Seems like Nats are committed to hiring folks from the neighborhood for most jobs around the park. Knowlege/curiosity about baseball (forget about "love") is not a priority. For concessions/security jobs, no biggie, but difference in quality of ushers at Nats Park and Camden Yards is striking in one area: the upper deck. Nats' lower-deck ushers do a fine job, but upper-deck ushers, from what I've seen, literally do nothing.

  43. N. Cognito - Sep 27, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    I'd rather have Nick Johnson with a .390 OBP batting 1 or 2 than the guys we have with their .315 OBPs.

  44. N. Cognito - Sep 27, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    CapPeterson said… "Seems like Nats are committed to hiring folks from the neighborhood for most jobs around the park. Knowlege/curiosity about baseball (forget about "love") is not a priority."As per the stadium agreement with the city. It's another DC jobs program for those who otherwise couldn't get a job pumping gas at a self serve station.

  45. BinM - Sep 27, 2010 at 7:55 PM

    N. Cognito said… I'd rather have Nick Johnson with a .390 OBP batting 1 or 2 than the guys we have with their .315 OBPs.—————–Yeah, but that .390OBP only helps when it's not on the DL.

  46. Section 311 - Sep 27, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    Speaking of Radio: Two addendums 1) Charlie and Dave are among the best in the league 2)The Nats must get better radio coverage; One English speaking AM station that can not be heard anywhere near an airport or high tension wires due to interfernce. This week, the lightning around the city interference and a five-second live delay at the stadium for the first two innings yesterday demonstrate that Charlie and Dave deserve better.

  47. greg - Sep 27, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    and the reality is neither is appropriate in the top two spots. this is a roster hole, either way you look at it. nick, when healthy, would be a fantastic #3 hitter. some power, great average/OBP, and still a guy that works the count and drains pitchers (something the yankees do a great job of teaching and that he learned well). i think working pitch counts is one of the least appreciated skills. and it's one of the reasons the yankees have such great offenses over the years. the quicker you can get a starter's pitch count up, the sooner (and more often) you can get to the soft underbelly of a pitching staff (the middle relievers).

  48. DC Tom - Sep 27, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    Regarding #6: Sean Burnett as the best pitcher on the Nats this year.If you think of the sabermetric stat Wins Above Replacement as being a decent measure of the value a pitcher gives you cumulatively over the course of the year, Livan Hernandez at 3.0 Wins Above Replacement is the "most valuable Nats pitcher" so far.Burnett comes in at 1.4 — which does ratify the point that win-loss record is a poor reflection of a pitcher's value.Interestingly, the other pitchers that rank between Livan and Burnett are Strasburg (2.6), Clippard (1.7), and Stammen (1.5).

  49. Andrew - Sep 27, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    DC Tom – Burnett was the best surprise out of the bullpen although Clippard's WAR is good too. Burnett is due a raise in arbitration and the top position player in Zim gets a $3 million increase as part of his contract he signed last year.Talking about salary increases, Strasburg gets a nice increase too.I thought before the Nats lose a lot of salary with Guzy and Capps coming off of payroll, and depending on what they do in arbitration and Free Agency and Adam Dunn, I think the Nats will actually increase salary to close to $70 million for 2011.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter