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Rare numbers for Morse and the Nats

Sep 27, 2011, 5:01 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Michael Morse clubbed his 30th homer of the season last night.

Michael Morse raised his arm and began smiling about, oh, three-thousandths of a second after he made contact with Edward Mujica's 1-1 changeup in the top of the ninth inning last night.

And why shouldn't he have? Morse had every reason in the world to be beaming at that moment. Not only because his three-run homer gave the Nationals a 6-4 lead over the Marlins and kept their hopes alive for a winning record in 2011. But also because the blast solidified what we already knew was a fantastic season for one of baseball's biggest breakout players.

That was Morse's 30th home runs of the year, a number that in the post-steroids era represents the demarcation between the game's best power hitters and the rest of the bunch. There are 20 players in the majors this season with 30 homers (five others are sitting on 29 right now and could join the group by tomorrow) and Morse is one of them.

But it doesn't stop there. Only 15 of those players also have at least 90 RBI this season (Morse now has 94).

But it doesn't stop there. Only eight of those players also own a batting average of at least .300. The members of the .300-30-90Read more ยป

  1. SCNatsFan - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    It was great to see the joy on Morse's face after he hit it. Props to him and the awesome season he put up. Think how horrid we would have been without him.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Way to go Beast!!!I hate to kick a dead horse, but my oh my were you wrong about MM not being able to hit righties, Mr Riggleman. That will always be your legacy with me.

  3. Doc - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Hey is that the same Mickey Morse that Ladson and his cronies in the FO said couldn't hit top pitchers, and whose swing was too long?Not that Riggleman ever checked stats, but MM always hit righties as well as lefties—always!By the way MarkMeister, what about Expos in the .300/30 HRs club? Seems like Vlad The Bad might have been there–maybe not.The Michael Morse Fan Club is alive, and thriving!!!

  4. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    From the moment he arrived at spring training, Morse's new physique was noted by a lot of people. Even our favorite sportswriter mentioned it in February or March. Morse's longball power is no accident. Does anyone know if he changed his training regimen? Or something else? (No sinister implications intended, just a question.)

  5. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Mark Z, thanks for reminding your readers the dominant season Beast Moose has had. Sometimes we forget that he deserves much credit in so many wins this year. Honestly I was shocked last week that a couple of people suggested trading Morse while he was coming off a great season in a "selling high" strategy while also criticizing his defensive potential.It was a year ago we knew we could be losing another 30 HR/90+ RBI guy and we knew they don't grow on trees. Rizzo is talking about adding another bat to the outfield, not losing one.Given Morse's age and the learning curve, he is one of the players with a career year that may prove this is the 1st of many and repeat this for 3 to 4 years.

  6. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Anon 1:27That's idiotic. Morse looks exactly like he did last year. it was Bernadina who showed up in Spring with the new improved Bodybuilder physique.

  7. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    Anonymous said… From the moment he arrived at spring training, Morse's new physique was noted by a lot of people. Even our favorite sportswriter mentioned it in February or March. Morse's longball power is no accident. Does anyone know if he changed his training regimen? Or something else? (No sinister implications intended, just a question.) September 27, 2011 1:27 PM I believe you are thinking of Bernadina in the change of physique. The change I saw in Michael was that Beast Mode shirt and the confidence of being named as a starter. Fairly certain that Michael credits much of his success to the mentoring from Jayson Werth.

  8. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    Doc: Vladimir Guerrero accomplished .300-30 an amazing five consecutive times from 1998-2002. Only other Expo to do it was Larry Parrish (who knew?) in 1979.

  9. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Mark Z. said…the blast solidified what we already knew was a fantastic season for one of baseball's biggest breakout players.I like your description Mark. A breakout player is far different from a 1 year wonder.Mark, how do you rationalize some of the criticisms bestowed on Michael about a negative UZR which has decreased his WAR?

  10. Doc - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    WOW! Vlad's .300-30 HRs 5 consecutive times! Sounds like something Ruth or Gerhig must have done! Something for The Beast to aim for!Thanks for the research Mark!Vlad was a talent, and in some ways, I guess, still is. Must try and find out from FP who had the better arm, Vlad or Ankiel????

  11. RickH - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Way cool!

  12. Doc - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    @ Steve M. 1:40I'll bet, but don't know, that The Beast's -UZR is more a function of LF than 1B. He's like a lot of infielders who have a difficult transition to the OF.IMHO MM is an All Star fielder at 1B, who handles grounders, popups, and line drives better than balls hit to the OF.

  13. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    "Even our favorite sportswriter mentioned it in February or March."Bernadina, indeed; specifically, Bernadina Bulks Up.

  14. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Doc, the amazing thing about Vlad was he had the mix of power and speed as he was a 30/30 guy twice in his career. The other amazing feat of Vlad's was power with strikeouts that never went above 100.

  15. jd - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Steve M. No one is taking anything away from Morse. In fact his offensive output more than made up for his defensive shortcomings (he's still 3.2 WAR) but it's not sacrilege to point out that he is a defensive liability; is it? I think he is less of a liability at 1st base but even in left field he is overall a great player (because of his hitting). There have been many poor defensive, great offensive players over the years (Zisk, Luzinsky, Hoerner and many I can't think of at the top of my head).

  16. Couldn't resist - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Doc said…Vlad was a talent, and in some ways, I guess, still is. Must try and find out from FP who had the better arm, Vlad or Ankiel????———————————–I'll go with Ankiel since he has 269 strikeouts to his credit and Vlad is stuck on zero…

  17. jd - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    Doc, Sorry; Morse is no defensive wiz at 1st base either. His defensive metrics there are still negative (not as bad as in the OF). As far as Vlad was concerned; in his Expo years he was incredible and that with zero plate discipline. If he didn't have to play for years on solid concrete known as the Olympic Stadium turf he may have had even had a better career.

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    Indeed, doc, you'd lose the bet, although as jd points out, he was worse in left.Morse/Fangraphs

  19. Theophilus - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    "Defensive liability" in LF is a relative term. In the Nats' case, relative to such luminaries as Alfonso Soriano, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham, who charged incoming line drives willingly but also visibly shaking w/ apprehension. Morse has gotten twisted around on a couple of fly balls but by next season he will be much more at ease out there.

  20. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    jd, you say defensive shortcomings. It certainly isn't from an abundance of errors so you must be thinking of balls he isn't getting to, is that correct?UZR is a decent metric to use but I still believe your eyes tell you sometimes more. How many balls would a superior fielder catch that Morse can't get to and how many throws didn't he make that he should have?I don't believe Morse is a defensive liability after seeing Dunn here in the OF and at 1B.

  21. rogieshan - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Doc said…Must try and find out from FP who had the better arm, Vlad or Ankiel????————————————————I saw Vlady throw a laser rope to home from the warning track once, but his arm was never consistently accurate like Ankiel's.

  22. NatinBeantown - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Not able to watch on TV, but Charlie and Dave made it sound as though the contingent of fans at Sun Life there to see (south Florida natives) Marrerro and Morse was the vast majority of the fans in attendance. Is that true? Did we open Nats Park South last night?

  23. PAY TO PLAY - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/blog_article/how-reliable-is-uzr/Here is a good read on UZR. Since Michael went back to LF I can only think of 2 misjudged balls that he didn't get to. That doesn't make him a defensive liability. It makes him near average.Unless it is Ryan Zimmerman or Stephen Strasburg, the other players are open to constant negative comments. We should be celebrating Michael Morse not harping on any shortcomings he may have.Morse has a great season and someone suggests last week trading Morse + others to have a shot at obtaining BJ Upton in a trade. It is comments such as that as the reason I cannot get myself to read some people's posts because they are riddled sometimes with nonsense.

  24. upperdeck4 - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Nothing matches the joy on his face (or on that of some other guys who have fun with the game) after homering. Adults playing a kid's game and enjoying it.

  25. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    "Nothing matches the joy on his face (or on that of some other guys who have fun with the game) after homering."Does anybody anywhere look happier than Michael Morse when he is happy? It is good to be Morse these days.

  26. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Wow, there actually is such a thing as a "laser rope"–who knew?http://www.sailboats.co.uk/Cat~Laser_Ropes_4899.htmlLaser RopesWe have a great selection of dinghy and boat Laser Ropes – either for replacement or a spare. From all the leading suppliers – all at competitive prices.

  27. sjm308 - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    I enjoy reading the stats that lots of our readers put up here but to my eye I have seen Morse make strides in the short time since he was moved from first base. He is a pro and has been able to track balls a lot easier as he plays the position. It had to be difficult to spend so much time at first and then be moved back into left but he made a decent transition. He won't win a gold glove at either spot but he is someone we definitely want on the field for us. We sit in 308 (duh) and I get an excellent read on the leftfielder and he was rough that first week or so but he just looks more comfortable. I think the same can be said for Werth in CF. I really like an OF of Morse-Werth-Harper in 2013.I am close to winning my bet with my ex-swimmer in Ohio and what an upset that would be. Just have to hope we keep doing what we are doing and that Manny sits and sleeps in his dugout.go nats!!

  28. PAY TO PLAY - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    upperdeck4, thanks for mentioning that. Bryce Harper made a similar Twitter feed this morning.What I find so endearing about Beast Moose is that he enjoys the game like a kid. He doesn't put himself above others either even though he is better this season than most others. He talks about "we" and "us" and not "I" and "me".

  29. Theophilus - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    One of the sabremetrics crowd ought to measure the slope on Morse's home runs. I'll be it's lower than anybody else's in the league. Or the mph on his out-bound round-trippers. Except for guys like Killebrew and Frank Howard, I don't recall anyone hitting the ball harder than Morse.

  30. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    sjm, I told you not to give up the cap! And you can be pretty sure, at least, that it won't end up in a tie, which is a good baseball outcome. Here's hoping the baseball gods smile on your new cap.

  31. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    sjm, when you make comments like that you make too much sense LOL. Like I said above, on defense, let your eyes do most of the judging.With pitchers and hitters, you have dozens of stats to tell you most of what you need to know but still, teams PAY THE SCOUTS to see beyond the numbers and be there and observe.All pitches are tracked and charted in open online forums now, but still the teams want everything eyeballed and that is why I believe that Morse will be fine as he isn't a defensive liability like Adam Dunn was or Yonder Alonso is for the Reds in LF .Personally I see Michael at 1st base in 2013 but who knows. This is also why Rizzo is looking for an outfield upgrade in a high OBP outfielder who can play 'plus' defense.

  32. Doc - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Looking at the game videos over the last few games, nobody seems to be having more joy at playing ball than The Beast. It's rare to see a player play with that kind of enthusiasm.Still 2 games left for reaching 100 RBIs.Goooooooooooo Beast!

  33. N. Cognito - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Trading Morse, trading any player in fact, is good, depending upon what you get back and what you have to replace that player.I have only two concerns with Morse. First, he appears to me to have gotten overly aggressive the last month of the season. He's swinging at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone that he wasn't swinging at in the middle of the season. Second, we do not know if this is typical of what we'll see from Morse for the next 2-4 years or if it's his career year. If it's his career year, there's little history to tell us how far he numbers might drop.

  34. jd - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Steve M. That's exactly what I,m talking about. I know that UZR isn't perfect but it's the best available objective tool to measure a players defense. PTP, SJM, You cannot tell me that you are able to judge the jump a player gets on a ball, the path he takes to the ball and the read he has on a batted ball better than a measurable parameter; you can't. This is the frustrating part of discussing anything with fans. They won't keep their hearts out of a discussion so it's impossible to have an objective conversation without being labeled negative.

  35. Scooter - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    If it makes you feel better, Steve, my eyes tell me that Morse isn't particularly good in the outfield.I think that we've had some guys here who rate as downright embarrassments. (Soriano, especially in his first 50 games, and Dunn.) Thus, a guy who's just "below average" can look awesome to us.

  36. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Theophilus…. as someone who sees the Marlins on a regular basis, Mike Stanton hits Hondo shots that vacate the premises like a rocket.And jd……try discussing that stuff with a professional scout. Most of them will tell you to take your UZR and stuff it.

  37. jd - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Steve M. said 'Like I said above, on defense, let your eyes do most of the judging.' And you don't think evaluators use advanced metrics to measure defense?

  38. sjm308 - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Sec 3:sorry I didn't get to see a game from "your" seats but you were right about the cap. Funny thing is, if I win, I will never wear the damn thing. I mean who wants to wear an Indians hat, but it will sit proudly in my baseball room as a tribute to our boys of 2011. I am still not counting on it but it is close. Great thing about us playing 181 is that we will not finish right at .500 so I am thinking mathmatically that helps me. I think the Indians are at .500 with 2 to go so if they split and we win both the hat is mine!!Steve M. I would not be upset with Morse back at first in another year and maybe earlier if LaRoche plays to his level and we make a trade. Question, if LaRoche is on the way to a 20+ HR season with matching rbi's and we are in the playoff race at the All-Star break, do you trade him or keep him?

  39. Scooter - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Huh. A statistic that professional scouts don't like. How on earth did that happen? :-)

  40. SCNatsFan - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    We need to bring Elvin Ramirez up now that we have straightened out HRod. Scare other teams silly.

  41. Scooter - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    sjm, that's a good question on LaRoche. Problem is, I don't know how one can answer it without knowing how Morse, Werth, and various bushers are doing, and also what's out there to be traded for. You know?

  42. sjm308 - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    jd:I have never claimed to be a scout, all I am saying is that I see him moving toward the ball with a lot more comfort than I did early in his switch. I also like what I see from Werth and again, I don't know how its measured mathmatically, I just like that both have improved in my eye. I taught Kinesiology at the University level so movements are kind of engrained in how I enjoy my favorite sport. Again, doesn't make me a scout or anything more than a fan but I do know what I have seen. Its not done with passion, I liked our team before they improved and did not see Morse playing well in lf, and still like our team and I am not upset that you want to use uzr or stats. I love the people here who take the time to dig up the stats and then let us know about it and I love a good debate as well, especially from someone who has contributed as much as you have to this site.Natsjack, you are around the scouts a lot, are you saying that most scouts just use their trained eye? I would love to think that is true but I am an "old school" kind of guy.

  43. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Hey, NatsJack -Do you have any updates on the bonus babies and the Florida Instructional League?Mark in Arlington

  44. SCNatsFan - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    LaRoche will be hard to decide on; you don't except Morse to have as good a year and you don't expect Werth to be as bad, but there is no doubt a 20/90 type guy would fit nice into the lineup. Out of Nix, Ankiel and Gomes none really need to be retained, we'll be able to sign similar bodies in the offseason, you bring them back only for over the top clubhouse presence. Marrero has shown he can hit and field OK but hasn't set the world on fire; can't see him being on the opening day roster. With the 'surplus' of arms we can deal some of the bit players with an arm and hopefully shore up some of the starters; whileit would be great to deal LaRoche at the same time I have to think his value is nil, you look at the numbers Lee, Dunn and Pena put up and see wasting money on aging 1B is not a wise expenditure.

  45. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Scooter….. imagine that…. although the scouts usually limit their total disdain to UZR anymore as do most baseball observers. SCNatsFan… I sat next to Elvin at last Fridays FIL game and he's chomping at the bit to get in some action. I'm sure he has by now but I won't get to see anything till Thursday and Friday this week.

  46. September Dreams of April - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Where does Marrerro fit into the discussion about first base? It certainly seems like Morse prefers first to left field, and a happy Beast is a Good Thing. But I think Marrerro has shown he deserves a spot in the lineup. So, even trading LaRoche (not practicable until he proves he has recovered) or Morse (oh no!!) doesn't completely solve the problem.

  47. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… And jd……try discussing that stuff with a professional scout. Most of them will tell you to take your UZR and stuff it. September 27, 2011 3:00 PM I have to agree with Jack again. UZR is not the tell all.If you think of Michael Morse in LF as serviceable "average" you won't be disappointed.UZR for outfielders is far more misleading than with infielders who have to turn double plays and handle the ball more than the outfielders do and create far more errors than outfielders do. I would rely more on UZR at 1st base than in LF.People used to see Jim Edmonds diving for balls all the time and making the TV highlights and an analyst said if he made a better break on the ball he wouldn't have had to dive for it. That's the key with most outfielders. Getting the read and jumps on balls. Has Michael mis-read balls, yes. Is he doing it as often as Lastings Milledge did? no.

  48. Nats Fan in Annandale - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Can you imagine where Morse's numbers would be if he had not had the April slump?!

  49. sjm308 - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    SCNats fanI agree that Morse might regress a little and Werth will probably improve. It is nice to dream about having #3-4-5-6-7 all having 20+ jacks plus Ramos just might keep improving as well. That is a lot of power. I would keep Ankiel as the 4th outfielder although Bernadina makes sense as well. Both can play all 3 positions which Nix and Gomes cannot.Marrero is a tough call. He certainly did not disappoint in his month up here and I guess I might keep him up next year. I don't think AAA will do him much good. So our 3 subs on the bench would be Lombardozzi, Marrero and Ankiel plus Flores. My next question is who that 5th man on the bench would be? It would be great to have someone who could play both infield and outfield like Hairston. I guess Bixler could do this in a pinch but he did not impress at the plate. 1b – LaRoche – Marrero – Morse2b – Espinosa – Lombo -SS – Desmond – Lombo – Espinosa3b – Zimm – Lombo – lf – Morse- AnkielCF – FA – Werth – AnkielLf – Werth – Ankiel

  50. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Scouts and front office personnel along with MAYBE 2 or 3 casual fans are the only ones at the FIL games during the week. Saturday morning games usually draw a bigger crowd but the Nats don't have any this year.The scouts use radar guns and stop watches along with their note pads. The Sabremetrics data is accumulated from actual games and while these guys have all the current data from each players most recent assignment, Auburn, Hagerstown and Potomac, they don't assimilate any new numbers during FIL games and other than the normal stats colleges keep, the draftees start from scratch.

  51. sjm308 - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    capture word was perfect for me!fooli

  52. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    September Dreams of April said… Where does Marrerro fit into the discussion about first base? It certainly seems like Morse prefers first to left field, and a happy Beast is a Good Thing. But I think Marrerro has shown he deserves a spot in the lineup. So, even trading LaRoche (not practicable until he proves he has recovered) or Morse (oh no!!) doesn't completely solve the problem. September 27, 2011 3:19 PM Marrero is a great kid. He is playing nice in September baseball. Good defense, good with RISP. Overall, he hasn't shown HR power and his .265 average won't get him a spot to start next year with LaRoche bought and paid for.I believe Rizzo will play LaRoche if he is healthy and make him a July 31st decision as to whether he stays or goes.With that said, I still put Marrero on the roster next year and give him playing time vs. LH pitching as well as some Pinch Hits. You always need 1 bench player who has options which I think Marrero will have.

  53. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    There's a nice guest post from Ryan Tatusko on The Nats Blog (linked on the blogroll). "Ryan Tatusko, an aspiring minor-leaguer, shares his experience of watching his former teammates in a major league game."He discusses some of the differences in how he watches the game compared to what he observes the average fans doing. Interesting stuff.

  54. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    sjm, nice depth chart. Don't be surpised if Rizzo goes back to Hairston for the spot you have Lombo penciled in for. Rizzo likes his veterans on the bench. Reed Johnson could also be a big upgrade as an outfield role/bench guy.Cora, Livan, Bixler, Slaten are the only names I am fairly certain won't be back next year.LaRoche still has to prove he is healthy which could really change the dynamics of the 2012 roster.

  55. September Dreams of April - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    I think I agree with that approach, Steve M. Overall, the good news/bad news about this club is that we can no longer afford the "luxury" of one-dimensional players or the almost-or-nearly players. I love Bixler, and he has saved the day a couple of times with his baserunning and fielding, but it's not enough. Marrero is a tougher call. He was hotter at the plate when he first came up, but he is still too good to just drop, so your approach makes sense. Then there are guys like Nix and Gomes, and I can't see how either offers quite enough to make the team, especially Gomes. Maybe Bernardina fits that group as well. Some might include Ankiel, but I think he makes the team as a late game defensive insert.Any of the above might be most useful to fill out a package to get someone we really need.

  56. jd - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Steve M. I agree that UZR isn't all that. But give me another metric which compares defensive results between one player and another. A metric which can be used objectively and not subjectively. I hear talk show Mevins describing Jeter as an excellent defender; really? BTW, It's a small sample size but Marrero has actually done quite poorly in his time in DC. 110 PA. .265 .291 .312 and -0.6 WAR.

  57. A DC Wonk - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    People used to see Jim Edmonds diving for balls all the time and making the TV highlights and an analyst said if he made a better break on the ball he wouldn't have had to dive for it…A number of folks have said that about Bernadina this year . . . .

  58. SCNatsFan - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    sjm308, I think what you propose as a roster will be alot like it looks next year. Marrero is a tough call as Morse will be able to back up at 1B; the only thing I didn't like seeing him play ever day is seeing how he would do as a pinch hitter on a regular basis; he could really increase his value if he has that talent as being a good hitter doesn't mean you are a good pinch hitter.NatsJack, good to hear about Ramirez, although I don't know realistically how we could carry him on the MLB roster for a year. Maybe the Mets forget about him and let him have us for a bag of peanuts…

  59. RPrecupjr - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    SJM, if we are in the playoff race for real, not 5-6 games out of the Wild Card, but within 5 games of the division lead, then you absolutely must keep him. He's only under contract through next year, so he would be a 2-3 month rental for whoever we trade him to, and IMHO you would ONLY trade him to a team in the AL who needs him. Never trade a guy midseason to a team you're battling with….offseason, sure.That brings me to what Steve M said about Michael being at first base in 2013. I completely agree with that projection. LaRoche's contract will be up and Harper will be starting the season here. That puts Morse at first, Harper in right and Werth in center. Based on how we do in 2012, it should be relatively easy to snag a top flight left fielder to fill out the outfield….Matt Kemp, anyone?

  60. N. Cognito - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Nats Fan in Annandale said… "Can you imagine where Morse's numbers would be if he had not had the April slump?!"Or his September slump.But slumps happen to everyone. They just stand out much more at the beginning of the season, which is why I'm guessing you didn't realize he's hit only .238 in September.

  61. N. Cognito - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    A DC Wonk said… "People used to see Jim Edmonds diving for balls all the time and making the TV highlights and an analyst said if he made a better break on the ball he wouldn't have had to dive for it…A number of folks have said that about Bernadina this year . . . . "People used to say the same thing about Ken Griffey, Jr.On another note, I still think you want the young guys starting somewhere, not sitting on the bench. Bernadina might be the exception.

  62. SCNatsFan - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Or Morse's numbers if he had Zim around him for the 60 games he missed

  63. BinM - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    OK, I'll admit to being one of the doubters regarding Morse going into spring training – Approaching 30, never been more than a platoon player, might be good for .265 w/15HR & 60RBI. I figured he'd be a nice bench piece, but nothing special. Boy, was I ever wrong. He won a job with his display in Viera, but what he accomplished this year has been amazing. So, my hat's off to Michael Morse and Beast Mode; May the 1/2St faithful see this performance repeated in years to come.

  64. Feel Wood - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    You cannot tell me that you are able to judge the jump a player gets on a ball, the path he takes to the ball and the read he has on a batted ball better than a measurable parameter; you can't. How did the parameter measure the jump, the path and the read, and who did the measuring? I don't recall ever seeing a player in the field who was wired up with instruments to measure these things. UZR is nothing but a computer-generated parameter, and there's an old saying in the computer world that's as true today as it ever was: Garbage in, garbage out.

  65. JamesFan - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Michael, whatever you did last off-season, do it again.How many of the .300/30/90 club changed positions three times during the year?Make 'em pay Michael. They held you back and arbitration is upcoming.

  66. baseballswami - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    One of the things that I have found to be different the last couple of weeks, is that Ryan Zimmerman is rarely the "star" that we are discussing every day. He is definitely a star and still the face of the franchise, but now the franchise has more stars and more faces. I have been watching him and he used to be very stoic – lately he is jumping around pounding on Morse and laughing and smiling a lot. It's just so nice to see.Posts and accomplishments have been about Wang, Pudge, Morse, Milone and Peacock, Clip, Store, Henry, Ramos, Espi, Desi. How nice for him that he can just be his awesome self and share the load now. I wouldn't speak for him, but I can suppose that it's nice for him to be surrounded by other ballplayers now that care and can get the job done. He has had his awesome clutch moments this year and ridiculous defensive plays, but he hasn't had to provide all of them. I like the core group and he is one of the veterans now. Awesome.

  67. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Sec 3, thanks for that Ryan Tatusko blog entry. Nice read. Any idea who his best friend is?

  68. sjm308 - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Swami:I could not agree more. Zimm made two plays I starred in my Bob Carpenter Score Book and the one got 3 stars. He just makes every play look easy and we tend to forget that he truly is the best fielding 3rd baseman in the game (my opinion, no uzr or other stat to provide).Question, can I still bring my Bob Carpenter Score book into the park next year? Hope there will be no restrictions because I am only about 3/4 done with it. Best game in the book so far was SS FIRST GAME with all the K's. Last Sundays is right there.RPrecup – agree completely that you keep him if we are in the hunt and if we do trade him, its to the AL.off to the new postgo Nats

  69. RPrecupjr - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Things are looking rosy indeed:Desi, Espi, RZim, Morse, Ramos, Flores, Werth, JZim, Stras, Wang, Lannan, Detwiler, Milone, Peacock, Clippard, Storen, HRod, Mattheus, Burnett, Lombo, Marrero, Bixler, Stammen, Gorzy…These are the Nats….how many are homegrown? Smart trades? Free agents?Can we now agree that maybe "The Plan" is bearing the fruit we've been waiting for??Captcha – "stedipho" = what to do to keep your noodles from falling over

  70. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Steve, I don't know who his best friend is, but the post on his own blog on How To Get A Baseball [from a ballplayer] is very funny.http://ryantatusko.tumblr.com/

  71. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    RPrecupjr said… That brings me to what Steve M said about Michael being at first base in 2013. I completely agree with that projection. LaRoche's contract will be up and Harper will be starting the season here. That puts Morse at first, Harper in right and Werth in center. Based on how we do in 2012, it should be relatively easy to snag a top flight left fielder to fill out the outfield….Matt Kemp, anyone? September 27, 2011 3:44 PM Glad you liked my vision. Are you mentioning Matt Kemp for 2013? I talked earlier about the depth of the 2012 Free Agent pool for Centerfielders with Kemp, Bourn, and BJ Upton so Rizzo doesn't have to solve every problem right now so he could go stopgap with Coco Crisp or Reed Johnson and re-sign and Ankiel which will give Rizzo the opportunity to find that impact pitcher with a sub-3.50 ERARemember, Rome wasn't built in a day.

  72. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    It may be someone alluded to in this older post:http://ryantatusko.tumblr.com/post/8285004147/youve-been-tradedcaptcha "proli"So I'm prolly right.

  73. Steve M. - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    RPrecupjr said… Can we now agree that maybe "The Plan" is bearing the fruit we've been waiting for??September 27, 2011 4:15 PM If StanK came across as being more genuine/honest than I think the Lerner's wouldn't have lost so many STH and the plan could have been embraced more by the casual fan. You need a season like 2011 to give you hope that the plan is working.Clearly, the plan is working.

  74. dj in Fl - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    NatsJack,Are they playing ball in Viera on Monday? Seems to be a ladies function at my home and Viera might be just far enough away.Thanks

  75. Theophilus - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Can't see Marerro anywhere except Syracuse next year unless there is an emergency. His allegedly improved defense at 1B seems over-sold, wooden, etc., not sure he is any better than Dunn. We are told he got moved to 1B because he was a butcher in the OF, so he's not the RH outfielder the Nats need. His "power" is disappointing. At best it's "gap power," not "wall power." He is only 23, so I wonder if he isn't finished "filling out" yet. Because he's a one-position guy, I don't see keeping him in the majors to pinch hit. Send him to Syracuse to work more on defense, finish maturing and maybe call him up if LaRoche gets traded at the deadline.

  76. RPrecupjr - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Steve,Definitely looking at Kemp for 2013. An outfield of Kemp, Harper and Werth (we all know he's not going anywhere) would be pretty fearsome. Of course this is dependant on Kemp continuing to do what he's been doing. With RZim (they'll extend him, don't worry) Desi, Espi and Ramos with another year under their belts and The Beast at first….The New Murderer's Row? Maybe not….but not by much.As for next year, why bother going and getting a stopgap when we already have the pieces here:SS – DesmondCF – Werth3B – RZimLF – Beast1B – LaRoche2B – EspiRF – Bernadina/AnkielC – RamosIF – LomboOF – Ankiel/BernadinaC – FloresIF/OF – BixlerHCBBPH* – Gomes/NixWhen there's a lefty on the bump, you rest Bernakiel and use Gomes/Bixler. I think you have to keep Ankiel. The number of runs he's saved just with the THREAT of his arm, not to mention the runners he's gunned down, make him keepable. And a .250 average with some pop is probably what we'd end up with as a stopgap anyways.Sure, our offense was occasionally bad this season. But what did we think was going to happen with no LaRoche, half a season of RZim and a supbar season of Werth, the guys we came into the season expecting to shoulder the load? There's a team a little farther up I-95 that had the same issue….the Mets, with essentially no Ike Davis, half a season of David Wright and only 3/4 of a season of Jose Reyes. We just have better pitching….and The Beast.

  77. RPrecupjr - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    oops, I forgot….*HCBBPH = Hairy-Chested Big Bat Pinch Hitter

  78. Theophilus - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    RPCup — I sorta agree w/ your plan. Only problem is Gomes is 1-28 as PH.In principle, though, the plan for next year should be, "Don't screw up. Don't waste money. Don't take on bad contracts."Out of the nine position players, at least five — Zim, LaRoche, Desmond, Espinosa, Werth — should have better, more consistent, more effective years in 2012. Only one player is having a career year that might be difficult to duplicate. Don't get anxious. Don't be suckered into buying a mushroom that turns out to be a toadstool.

  79. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    I have not seen any problem with Marrero's defense. I actually think that his defense has been good. I dont know what those who say his defense is not good are looking at.

  80. Anonymous - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    I mean, he (Marrero) is not making the spectacular plays but he is making the plays he should make. You cant really ask for much more from a guy that was regarded as a defensive liability.

  81. natsfan1a - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    Thanks for the DC-centric history, Mark.

  82. JaneB - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    Loved the history lesson, Mark! Love Steve M's vision for first base in 2013. We cannot trade this guy. He is a real producer t the plate and his joy has got to be a bonus in the clubhouse.I want a Michael Morse bobblehead.

  83. natsfan1a - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Oh, and good on ya, Mikey.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
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