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Solis whiffs 9 batters in AFL start

Nov 5, 2011, 4:26 AM EDT

File photo courtesy Bill Scheuerman
Sammy Solis dominated during a four-inning outing Friday night.

Mike Rizzo raved Friday afternoon about the depth of quality starting pitchers now in the Nationals' organization, insisting there are eight or nine guys who legitimately deserve to start in the big leagues in 2012.

And that doesn't even include the next wave of pitching prospects in the Nationals' farm system, a group of arms not quite ready for the majors but perhaps not too far off.

Included in that next wave is Sammy Solis, the left-hander who was the top pick in the second round of the 2010 draft and on Friday night put together a dominating performance in the Arizona Fall League.

Over four scoreless innings for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Solis struck out nine batters (most by any pitcher in the AFL this season). He did give up three hits while walking three, but the 23-year-old more than made up for it with his run of K's.

Four of Solis' strikeouts were on swings and misses by members of the Phoenix Desert Dogs lineup, and five of the last six outs he recordedRead more »

  1. SCNatsFan - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:41 AM

    Lovin it. Have to not to believe these young arms will either play a part in our future or lead to pieces that improve the future. The organizational mantra that you can never have enough arms is looking pretty good right now.

  2. D'Gourds - Nov 5, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    I can't understand why Rizzo is trolling for a starting pitcher in the free agent market! We have what we need in the oranization now. All it needs is seasoning. Why not spend that money on a top flight center fielder/leadoff hitter or even Jose Reyes?

  3. Anonymous - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    "I can't understand why Rizzo is trolling for a starting pitcher in the free agent market! "That's easy to answer. No solid top of the rotation veteran in site. And its likely that John Lannan AND not Gorzelanny is on the outside looking in. Gorzelanny can work out of the bullpen as left-handed long relief. Lannan can't. Lannan is the closest thing they have to a #5 starter based on his Fangraphs stats and he barely makes it into that category. They need a Grienke, a Cain, an Anibal Sanchez, someone who has pitched in the majors over a full year more than once successfully. An ace. Werth, Ankiel, can play CF. Harper can play RF. That's how its goingto go down. What I don't understand is where these sports writers get this odd information? I mean Buerhle? C;mon? Grady Sizemore? That's just plain going backwards. In Sizemore's case back to 2003 in Montreal. My bet is still on a trade for an ace. I think the Nats will go for that once again in this offseason. They almost have to.

  4. Will - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    Mark, in fact every National in the AFL featured in this game. Pat Lehman, Zach Walters and Derek Norris all appeared in the game too. Norris went 0 for 3 with 2 walks, and Lehman replaced Solis pitching a scoreless 5th inning, giving up 1 hit and striking out 2. Walters had another off day, going 0 for 5 with 3 Ks.

  5. Donald - Nov 5, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    @Anonymous — if it weren't for the injury, wouldn't Wang fit that category of a solid top of the rotation veteran? If he's really bouncing back, I think he's that guy.

  6. Big Cat - Nov 5, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    How many more days till spring training?

  7. Big Cat - Nov 5, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Wow….Mark is thinking the same thing. Just saw his comment up top….107 days until pitchers and catchers report.

  8. Anonymous - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    I feel like we have all these young, cute puppies and we know we are going to have to put some up for adoption. Can we keep them all, please, please, please?

  9. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQuMwmT0AuA&feature=uploademailI was following the game and Solis got into trouble in the 4th with a single and 2 walks to load the bases. His last batter struck out on either a 3-2 pitch or 2-2 pitch.He said he has added a new breaking pitch to his repitoire.

  10. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Will said… Mark, in fact every National in the AFL featured in this game. Pat Lehman, Zach Walters and Derek Norris all appeared in the game too. Norris went 0 for 3 with 2 walks, and Lehman replaced Solis pitching a scoreless 5th inning, giving up 1 hit and striking out 2. Walters had another off day, going 0 for 5 with 3 Ks. November 5, 2011 5:30 AM _____________________________________Good point on every Nat appeared. Purke had his best outing of the AFL and retired his 3 batters all on infield grounders. Then the rain came. I'm not sure if Purke would have gone another inning if the rain didn't come.In typical Nats fashion, as Solis was pitching his gem, none of the 3 Nats (Harper, Norris, Walters) got hits. Luckily some of the other AFLers helped with run support.

  11. natsfan1a - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    The pitchers and catchers countdown was added several days ago after some commenter requests were made.

  12. Natslifer - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Two things:- I just have this huge smile on my face. We are just a couple of days into the offseason, the vast majority of news about our Nationals is good, and the broad base of baseball people outside of the organization know that we're now a team to be reckoned with. This is how a baseball organization should be run.- Totally agree that Lannan's on the outside looking in. My prediction is that we'll start the year with 3 righties and 2 lefties. One lefty will be Detwiler and other will be either Wilson or Buerhle… unless neither of those two can be had for a reasonable price in which case Lannan keeps his job for now.This is Rizzo's hardest offseason – many more choices to make that can go either way. And this is really, really great stuff.

  13. JamesFan - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    If the Nats got Buehrle and kept the key pieces of the pen, we would definately be in the playoff hunt in 2012. A strong pen is essential to back up the starters. I just hope Rizzo doesn't trade away the pen to get a starter.

  14. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/11/jurrjens-talks-stall-between-royals-and-braves.htmlThe Braves are trying to put together a blockbuster deal with the Royals. Have to wonder if the Braves think Jair Jurrjens is damaged goods.Wil Meyers is the Royals top outfield prospect and doing well in the AFL.The Royals want young controllable low cost pitching. Jurrjens come with a high pricetag and injury concerns.

  15. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    JamesFan said… If the Nats got Buehrle and kept the key pieces of the pen, we would definately be in the playoff hunt in 2012. A strong pen is essential to back up the starters. I just hope Rizzo doesn't trade away the pen to get a starter. November 5, 2011 9:50 AM ______________________________I hear your concern and keep in mind if they get one more pitcher, Detwiler most likely goes into the bullpen.Still have to think that Rizzo wouldn't be done as I think the outfielder may come from a trade if they don't get Coco Crisp.Grady Sizemore is a huge risk. Ankiel isn't re-signed. That leaves Roger Bernadina.

  16. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    Will said… Walters had another off day, going 0 for 5 with 3 Ks. November 5, 2011 5:30 AM ______________________________He struck out twice with bases loaded and no outs so it was worse than it looked on the box score.Starting to wonder why he was picked for the AFL as there were players with more potential that could have used the experience.

  17. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    D'Gourds said… I can't understand why Rizzo is trolling for a starting pitcher in the free agent market! We have what we need in the oranization now. All it needs is seasoning. Why not spend that money on a top flight center fielder/leadoff hitter or even Jose Reyes? November 5, 2011 2:00 AM __________________________________You can never have too much pitching. You have to think if Rizzo gets his Free Agent pitcher, Detwiler, Lannan, or Milone could be traded.The small market teams won't spend the money on the expensive Free Agents and are in search of controllable young arms at low dollars.Then you have big market teams that need to add pitching.I would hate to see Lannan traded but if it yields a proven CF or corner OF that is not a 1 year rental, then it is a good idea.I like all 5 of these players Andrew McCutcheon, Adam Jones, Brett Gardner, Alex Gordon and Jay Bruce. None of these names are being actively shopped, Jones and Gordon have 2 years remaining prior to Free Agency and the rest are 3 years or more which makes them more difficult to get.Andrew McCutcheon is the one player that solves all the Nats future issues except he is the crown jewel of the Pirates position players and probably near impossible to get.There may be other players that I didn't list but why make the trade for a 1 year type of player who you can't control.The other thought is see how the season goes and make a trade at the trade deadline as Bourn and Kemp are potential Free Agents next year.

  18. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    A good quote from Rizzo, "Pitching depth often and quickly becomes pitching need, when an injury happens or that type of thing. I’m often afraid to trade off of pitching depth to fill another one of our needs because pitching is so scarce in the game right now and so valuable.”

  19. whatsanattau - Nov 5, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    I have not commented as much lately due to the unreasonable expectations of the workplace and the fact that the commenting function at this site *the hands down best site for Nats news and commenting* gets blocked at work. By the time I get home, most everything worth saying has either been said or is old news. Alas, you are all deprived of my witty and insightful opinions. But I do read yours with appreciation….

  20. Drew8 - Nov 5, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    I'm starting to come around to the idea of taking a flier on Grady Sizemore.If you can get him on a one-year deal with a lot of incentives, what is there to lose? He'll be playing to re-establish himself and will have great motivation to do well.The best case scenario is that he's this year's great comeback story — the return of Lance Berkman or Jacoby Ellsbury.The worst case is that he's damaged goods and just can't perform anymore. In that case you've lost half a season. Once Harper's past Super 2 you can put him in a corner and play Werth in center.A stop gap gets you closer to next year when Bourn, Upton and Kemp are free agents.Kemp's a great hitter, but I'm not sold on his defense. I laughed when I saw that he won a Gold Glove. In June Fan Graphs said that Kemp's UZR showed that over the preceding year and a half he was the worst fielder in all of baseball — at any position.

  21. Anonymous - Nov 5, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I was at the game last night and things are looking up for the Nats! Solis looked dominant and has good stuff and a lot of movement, even on his fastball. The wind was blowing out to CF at 40 mph and only one ball was even hit in the air in 4 innings. The average MLB pitcher has a 0.79 ground ball out to fly ball out ratio…in the minors this year Solis had an astounding 1.58 go/ao and in the AFL he has a 1.28 go/ao average. The sink and movement on his pitches make him a ground ball machine — and those don't leave the park! Go Nats!

  22. Anonymous8 - Nov 5, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Drew8, here's what you lose if you take a chance on Grady Sizemore, a coveted spot on the roster could be lost and the Nats only depth in the outfield will be Bryce Harper who you don't want to rush since Bernadina is out of options.Unless Lombardozzi is working on outfield in the off-season, there is no MLB ready outfield depth to step in.The Nats can get players like Reed Johnson, Marlon Byrd, Coco Crisp in Free Agency to add outfield depth and higher OBP.Nobody mentions Reed Johnson who is a very high OBP guy off the bench. To me, Grady Sizemore is far down the list if everything else fails.

  23. sjm308 - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Excellent comments as usual NI'rs.I keep thinking back to what Natsjack said a couple of days ago. Rizzo is excellent at keeping things close to the vest. We can talk about Buerhle, Sizemore, Crisp, Wilson but don't be surprised if its something that we had not even thought of. If you look at the last few years, he has made or tried to make a major move each year. Texiera, Grienke did not work but he did open eyes with Werth and that now puts us in the news just about every day as a buyer, not a seller.One last thought that has nothing to do with anything but the great picture of Solis. I am not a pitching coach, nor do I play one on TV. Is the grip I am seeing in that picture a knuckleball? or knuckle curve? He certainly can't throw his fast ball with the 2nd & 3rd fingers the way they are.OK, one other last thought. If you have not seen Delbert McLinton, do yourselves a favor and catch him and his band. We both celebrated our birthdays yesterday (he is 71, I am 66) and it was a great show at the Birchmere!!

  24. Anonymous - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Did I hear that our own Michael Morse is tearing it up in Taiwan again today?

  25. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    sjm308, I wasn't surprised or caught off-guard on the Wertth signing last year. What surprised me was the financial magnitude of the contract. I also wasn't surprised by the rumored offer for Greinke.The Oswalt rumor that Ladson floated I believe is a smoke screen as Buehrle is the target.I would be thrilled if Buehrle and Crisp were acquired and no trades were made until July 31st if needed. The Nats can stockpile talent.The trick in making acquistions is not overpaying and over-committing. Rizzo could get Andrew McCutcheon if he was willing to trade Strasburg or Jordan Zimmermann in a package. Why take a step forward to take 2 or 3 steps backwards.

  26. GobiasIndustries - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    A little off topic here but if Boppo Bryce continues to hit it oppo centro and righto in AA next year like he has in the AFL, yet needs more seasoning in the outfield, why not promote him in June, have him play as a fourth outfielder and backup catcher. I don't remember hearing any complaints about his defence behind the plate. That would free up a space on the 25 for another arm in the bullpen or a sixth starter to relieve Strasbergs innings limit early in the year so maybe he could get some innings in September.

  27. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Gobias, interesing thought but after a while a player like Bryce will only be an emergency #3 catcher like Josh Willingham and BJ Surhoff were and as the years go on, it only becomes a footnote that Bryce Harper played catcher in College.Bryce's future is strictly outfield. The more curious event will be if he could be a centerfielder in his career.

  28. UNTERP - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    I cannot believe the negative comments involving John Lannen, not saying he's a bad player, but intimating that he's expendable. And here I am about to defend him since for years I've intimated that he was no better than a number six starter in a five man rotation. Believe it or not it is most of you who have convinced me about the statistical value of baseball when discussing players. Well, I won't began to go search for all the stats that will support my argument about John Lannen. That is, that most of you are wrong about wanting to ditch him. On a good team John Lannen is solid #3 left handed pitcher, and a pitcher mind you who is about to enter his prime, PRIME going forward. What I'm saying about Lannen is I was wrong, and so are most of you. Again, on a good team, and the Nationals are becoming a good team, Lannen is a very good pitcher and his numbers will bear this out if given the chance. I'm not going back to look at his numbers, but no run support for the better part of his career will make a good pitcher seem ordinary. And any pitcher, any pitcher who has a team that gets runs or gets ahead in a game, pitches better and this has not been the case for Lannen or any of the pitchers for the Nationals for all its years…

  29. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Anonymous said… Did I hear that our own Michael Morse is tearing it up in Taiwan again today? _____________________________________________Yes, SPOILER ALERT:Michael Morse hit a two-run single in the sixth inning to lead the MLB All-Star team to a 3-2 win over the Taiwan national team Saturday.

  30. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    UnTerp, 3.70 ERA and lefty means Lannan is a good MLB pitcher and probably improves. He was 3.50 as SteveM pointed out in August this year. In fact right next to Oswalt on the ERA chart on the final tally.He isn't a giveaway in a trade as some have him with Ian Desmond. It's a shame some view him as garbage because he doesn't throw 95mph fastballs.Now then if you trade him for a top outfielder that is more than a 1 year rental, may make sense.

  31. Anonymous - Nov 5, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    I think Solis in a Cubs uniform would be great!Maybe a trade for a prospect or two.Nats fan in Idaho

  32. NatsLady - Nov 5, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    By the stats Lannen is a good MLB pitcher, no doubt, and a lefty. I just think he belongs elsewhere. We should trade him for a good piece, not a giveaway. On the other hand, unless we are going for Reyes, we should not trade Desi.

  33. jd - Nov 5, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    NatdLady, As usual you are dead on.

  34. jd - Nov 5, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    D'guards said:'I can't understand why Rizzo is trolling for a starting pitcher in the free agent market! We have what we need in the oranization now. All it needs is seasoning. Why not spend that money on a top flight center fielder/leadoff hitter or even Jose Reyes?' The only reason to sign a midlevel starter from the FA market is if you feel we have a chance to compete in 2012. I agree that beyond 2012 we will have better options inhouse.

  35. Drew8 - Nov 5, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    I certainly don't consider Lannan a good pitcher. I think he's a mediocre pitcher who can eat innings at the back of the rotation until the Nats find someone better — someone like Detwiler, Solis, Cole, Ray, Meyer….Lannan's 3.70 ERA, the best of his career, ranked 52nd of 94 qualifying starting pitchers according to ESPN's pitching stats.His terrible 1.46 WHIP ranked 88th and it's not a fluke. His career WHIP is 1.42 — and that's why his lack of velocity matters.Lannan rarely gets out of trouble by striking a batter out. He only struck out 106 batters in 184.2 innings.He can be efficient if he keeps the ball down and gets the inning-ending double play. If he doesn't keep the ball down, look out.Look, he's a good guy and the shaving cream pies are fun, but when the Nats are good, he's a No. 5 at best.

  36. whatsanattau - Nov 5, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    The biggest question is when? Strasburg, Zimmermann, Purke, Solis, Meyer. And of course, will Detwiler, Peacock, Milone, Meyers, Ray, Cole, etc… force their way in to that rotation too. In the meantime, Wang and Lannen are solid candidates. If Lannen is traded, I hope it is to a good place. I don't know what he would consider a good place, but I would think LA or San Diego would be nice. I'm guessing he would not want to go to Philly.

  37. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 5, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    Is the grip I am seeing in that picture a knuckleball? or knuckle curve? He certainly can't throw his fast ball with the 2nd & 3rd fingers the way they are.SJM, yes, that does indeed appear to be a knuckle-curve, aka a spike.

  38. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Drew8 said… I certainly don't consider Lannan a good pitcher. I think he's a mediocre pitcher who can eat innings at the back of the rotation until the Nats find someone better — someone like Detwiler, Solis, Cole, Ray, Meyer….Lannan's 3.70 ERA, the best of his career, ranked 52nd of 94 qualifying starting pitchers according to ESPN's pitching stats.His terrible 1.46 WHIP ranked 88th and it's not a fluke. His career WHIP is 1.42 — and that's why his lack of velocity matters.Lannan rarely gets out of trouble by striking a batter out. He only struck out 106 batters in 184.2 innings.November 5, 2011 4:08 PM _____________________________Look, you are entitled to your opinion. Lannan won't consistently be a top of the rotation starter and if being mediocre is being in the top 1/2 of all starters, that seems better than mediocre in my opinion. Lannan was #67 of 145 starting pitchers qualified with a minimum of 100 innings pitched by ERA. There were 78 pitchers worse than Lannan in ERA.Lannan has shown to be consistent over his career that he has a higher WHIP and then turns the highest DP percentages of anyone with a WHIP of 1.40 or over and was 6th overall in MLB with 26 GiDP.If a pitcher has shown he is adept at working out of trouble or walking a man with 1st base open, the ERA will tell the story if WHIP is high.Thats the case with Lannan. It sucks that I have to defend a guy who shouldn't need defending. If he didn't have some awful games in Aug/Sept he would have been in the top 1/3 of all pitchers.Aces # 1-30 starters#2 #31-60 starters#3 #61-90 starters#4 #91-120 starters#5 #121- startersLannan is in the top part of being a #3 pitcher. We mostly consider him a #4 because of his inconsistent peformances.

  39. sunderland - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    Here's the hard part about considering Lannan a reasonable option at #3. This means you have 2 other starters that are worse than Lannan.I think JohnBoy has value, I like him at the back end of our rotation, but any rotation that would consider him a viable #3 is a rotation that is playing meaningless games in September.

  40. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said… Is the grip I am seeing in that picture a knuckleball? or knuckle curve? He certainly can't throw his fast ball with the 2nd & 3rd fingers the way they are.SJM, yes, that does indeed appear to be a knuckle-curve, aka a spike. November 5, 2011 4:35 PM ___________________________Yes, you are correct. That's his knuckle-curve grip and read this great article by Byron Kerr on Solis.http://www.masnsports.com/byron_kerr/2011/11/solis-adds-traditional-curve-to-pitching-repertoire.html

  41. Drew8 - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    "It sucks that I have to defend a guy who shouldn't need defending."(Nobody's forcing you to defend him.)Lannan went from a career worst 4.65 ERA in 2010 to a career best 3.70 in 2011.For his sake, for your sake and goodness' sake, I hope he's closer to the 2011 mark next year.

  42. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    sunderland said… I like him at the back end of our rotation, but any rotation that would consider him a viable #3 is a rotation that is playing meaningless games in September. November 5, 2011 5:07 PM _________________________________I think that is a statement not consistent with MLB historical statistics even though I would like to see him as a #4 in this particular Nats rotation. There are # 3's and a few # 2's on playoff teams with higher ERAs than Lannan.If you score runs for Lannan he will look like a solid #3. Did you see what Lannan did in June? 3-0 with a sub-1.99 ERA and the bullpen blew 2 of his leads for no decisions. Could have been 6-0 in June. I think he had fatigue problems in September still that 3.55 ERA in mid-August was very solid #2 or #3.

  43. Gonat - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Drew8 said… "It sucks that I have to defend a guy who shouldn't need defending."(Nobody's forcing you to defend him.)Lannan went from a career worst 4.65 ERA in 2010 to a career best 3.70 in 2011.For his sake, for your sake and goodness' sake, I hope he's closer to the 2011 mark next year. November 5, 2011 5:17 PM _____________________________I defend him because it is the right thing to do since he isn't here to tell you you are wrong but entitled to your opinion. There's no defending him in 2010. 2011 was a different year. He sucked in 2010. He almost was left for dead. Then Lannan changed his off-season workout he did in 2010 in the DC area and went back to NY last off-season and was trained by Ron Villone. Lannan came in stronger and more confident in 2011. I truly believe Lannan will be even better in 2012. If he can get mature and not let his frustration of not getting a call from the ump or fielding mistake get the best of him, he will improve further.

  44. Wally - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    It does seem odd that Lannan has gotten so much play as a trade candidate here, since with the exception of the first half of 2010, he has never hurt the team over a prolonged period (and curiously, I have seen very little commentary about trading him in any of the national media sources). I think a big reason people worry about him not repeating his historic numbers is the combination of low K rate (bottom 15) and high BB rate (bottom 10). It is rare to combine poor stats in both categories and have success. There are a bunch of good pitchers who are worse than John in one of those categories, but not both.So the only way to overcome that is a high GB %, and sure enough, John is top 10 there. He has been good at that his whole career, so there is no reason to think that he is going to lose that skill. Sure, I would love him to lower his BB rate to 2.5/9, but he is effective enough even without that improvement.To me, his role on the team is a function of how much do you pay him. At $5m next year, he is getting pricey for a 1.5 WAR pitcher, which is where he has been producing. Still good value for 2012, but close enough to monitor (a) how much value he has on the trade market, and (b) what the cost and expected performance of the alternatives.

  45. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Gonat @ 5:28 p.m.,Actually, you could rightly defend in Lannan for 2010, but only for his performance in the second half of the season. He had a terrible first half, was sent down, worked some things out, then came back and posted some reasonable numbers. And whether you call him a #3, #4, or #5 doesn't really matter; he's proved to be a consistent major league pitcher, who — like almost every Nats starter except Marquis (what was that about?) — has suffered from poor run support. He strikes me as neither a 'can't trade' nor as a 'must get rid of' player. If someone else needs a left-handed starter and is willing to give up a position player of value in return, fine. If not, he's likely to be in the opening day rotation. I'm not quite understanding all the emotion on either side.

  46. Anonymous8 - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    Back on Sammy Solis, how well did he do for himself to get his name out there front and center with this performance.Solis is ranked #4 of all Nats prospects ahead of Purke, Milone, and Norris.

  47. Anonymous - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Watching the taiwan game – mlb announcers are just in love with Morse and talking about the Nats a lot. They said the Nats are the "sexy" team going into 2012. Lots of talk about Strassie and Harper, of course. I hope it's not the kiss of death.

  48. Dawn - Nov 5, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    Feeling the same way about jinxing the Nats with all the hype (or at least Mikey-ahem-Michael Morse). Will help having a clubhouse culture that won't let the guys believe the hype. Hope Davy is the right guy to cultivate it, since he is a "father figure" and all.

  49. Anonymous - Nov 6, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    You mean "grandfather figure",don't you? Now it's time for more hype — AFL game with Harper who is dh-ing tonight.

  50. Wally - Nov 6, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    Harper walked, Norris hit a bullet to straightaway center (on 1-0 pitch, showing some aggressiveness), which was caught by CF at the wall. Off Hultzen

  51. Wally - Nov 6, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    Btw, Gerrit Cole was shelled. Didn't finish the first inning, 5 runs

  52. Dawn - Nov 6, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    Anon@8:19; Nope, repeating Davy's words when he said he was a father figure to some of these young players. Not a good start for the "Rising Stars" on the East team, still fun to watch.

  53. Mark'd - Nov 6, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Wally, Pirates fans are cringing with Gerrit Cole. This is fun TV

  54. gonatsgo - Nov 6, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    You can't beat this — MLB "allstars" vs. Taiwan, featuring Morse -followed by the AFL Rising Stars game. Many ability and skill levels on display from great down to not-so-good. Truly fun to watch, especially during the baseball drought time. The West is just kicking a@#$. Too bad.

  55. Drew8 - Nov 6, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    RBI for Bryce. Two good at bats so far.Let's go Derek.

  56. Anonymous - Nov 6, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    Bryce showing restraint on tv — drawing a walk and getting the sac fly. Is he growing up? You just know everyone wants him to hit it out, though. Lots of attention on nats today – now these announcers are talking about Ramos. By the way, is Norris a little , well, shall we say, pudgy?

  57. Wally - Nov 6, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    Mark'd – agreed, although the Bucs have been so bad I'd be willing to cut them some slack. Wouldn't mind some Phillie prospect flameouts.Good AB by Harper (although he should lose the porn stache, in my opinion). BB by Norris. He doesn't look pudgy to me, but he could get that way over time, since he is close. Harper, on the other hand, looks smaller than the 6'3", 225lb he gets listed at

  58. Wally - Nov 6, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    Harper and Norris struck out swinging (Jeffress from KC)

  59. Gonat - Nov 6, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    Wally, the pitcher Jeffress you refer to came over from the Brewers with Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, and Alcides Escobar in the Zach Greinke trade.

  60. Anonymous - Nov 6, 2011 at 6:12 AM

    OMG, Really? Looking at Lannen's ERA again? IDIOTS!!!!!! Look instead at his FIP? xFIP? 4.28? 4.24? he barely makes it as a #E5 starter? And unlike Gorzelanny he HAS NO EXPERIENCE pitching in relief? Gone! Gone! Gone! Gone! Gone!

  61. D'Gourds - Nov 6, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    In the picture of Solis above, is he throwing a Knuckle ball? I can't think of what else that grip could be.

  62. D'Gourds - Nov 6, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    Also, the thrust of my comment about why Rizzo shouldn't go after a free agent pitcher is that the goal of this organization should be long term success, not just to make the playoffs for a year. We have great young pitching talent that we control for a while. We should let it develop for a dominating run from 2013 and beyond. Let's concentrate on what we don't have–a leadoff hitter! Go after Reyes! The Mets are broke and I think we have an actual chance to get him.

  63. Gonat - Nov 6, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Anonymous said… OMG, Really? Looking at Lannen's ERA again? IDIOTS!!!!!! Look instead at his FIP? xFIP? 4.28? 4.24? he barely makes it as a #E5 starter? And unlike Gorzelanny he HAS NO EXPERIENCE pitching in relief? Gone! Gone! Gone! Gone! Gone! November 6, 2011 1:12 AM _______________________________That's right. Rizzo is an idiot. Davey is an idiot. I'm an idiot becauses a pitcher defies what you think he should be. We know his ERA, WHIP, BBs, GiDPs, FIP, xFIP, etc. The numbers behind the numbers say he shouldn't have the ERA he does. Double plays, ground balls, 4 pitch walks. Few 1-2-3 innings.Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those components which a pitcher is specifically responsible for. The formula is (HR*13+(BB+HBP-IBB)*3-K*2)/IP , plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number. FIP tries to explain how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his position players fielded their positions.The problem with FIP and xFIP is it correctly points out a HR pitcher flyball walk machine with low strikeouts. Lannan was 78th in HR ranking which isn't a problematic stat then FIP will accentuate a high walk, low strikeout pitcher like Lannan.This idiot (me) has already covered that Lannan's metrics have always said he shouldn't be getting or deserving ERA throughout his entire career which is backed up by WHIP, BB/9, K/9, SIERA, FIP, xFIP, ERC, etc.If Johnny LannEn keeps the ball low in the zone, he is a very effective pitcher, and that is all you really need to know on each and every start. LannEn gets himself in trouble when he tries to over power a batter or lets frustration get the best of him. When you have a large sample size being an entire season and the metrics tell you it shouldn't be, dig in further for the real answer.

  64. sunderland - Nov 6, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Gonat, +1.32 (+1 plus a .32, blog specific factor)

  65. Gonat - Nov 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    sunderland, don't associate with an idiot like me.

  66. Mark'd - Nov 6, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Gonat, ignore the name calling troll. Lannan is a win ugly and lose ugly pitcher. He doesn't have the exciting pitch selection that gets the paying fans excited.The only people that get excited to see Lannan pitch are his parents, girlfriend, and Phillies fans.Look no further than the Cardinals and Brewers to see how bad their #4 and #5 pitchers were. The team that has the best pitching lost in the 1st round of the playoffs, the team with the 2nd best pitching in the Majors with names like Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong all had ERAs under 3.22. 3 of them under 2.89 and they didn't even make the playoffs.The Giants lack balance and Lincecum, Bumgarner and Satchel didn't have winning records.Sure, improve the pitching but if Rizzo doesn't improve the offense, expect marginal improvement.Lannan is very serviceable as a #4. Give him run support and he could look like a 15 game winner!

  67. Anonymous8 - Nov 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Wang pitched the finale of the MLB/Taiwan series. Let's just say the Nats didn't have their best day.

  68. Ztown17 - Nov 6, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    Does this guy throw 94-96 with a knuckleball? Look at the picture!

  69. jd - Nov 6, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Mark'd, but the Giants won the world series in 2010 with a lineup which couldn't hit. Wally has it exactly right. Lannan is a useful pitcher as long as you don't have to pay him as a top of the rotation starter. at $5 mil a year I think his value and cost will be a wash. When an arbitrator awards him $8 mil or someone gives him more as a FA it's time to look for better value. The other point is that if you get close to similar value from Milone at a fraction of the price and you can use the savings to improve in other areas and you can get something useful in the trade market you definitely need to consider it.

  70. Steady Eddie - Nov 6, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    D'Gourds said… the thrust of my comment about why Rizzo shouldn't go after a free agent pitcher is that the goal of this organization should be long term success, not just to make the playoffs for a year.I agree that, objectively, we have 6-7 very solid starting rotation options on the roster right now, but making the playoffs is NOT why Davey is going after a veteran starter. It's to teach the young 'uns. Look again at his comments in the presser where he talked about the characteristics of a starter he wanted — it's all about knowing how to be a seasoned pro over many years and knowing mentally how to perform on a winning team. This is a crucial teaching function with such a young staff. The only even quasi-vets on the current staff, Lannen and Wang, are good in their own rights but don't fit that. Davey is also saying that Livo is gone — because he did fit that function this past year (and I recall reading comments from some of the young pitchers about Livo doing that for them). It's unfortunate at an individual level for all the reasons JaneB has reminded us, but overall it's a great sign of the growth of the team's talent level that we've gone in one year from having Livo as our (appropriate) Opening Day starter to no room in the rotation. The reality is that a contending team can't afford what at this late stage of his career has become his predictable every third game meltdown. And no one can afford a reliever — especially a long reliever who has to respond quickly to the conclusion that the starter doesn't have it or has lost it — who can't get warm in 10-15 pitches. Davey knows how to build a winning team, and getting a veteran starter who can teach what it means to be a leader is a part of it.

  71. Mark'd - Nov 6, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Jd, of course the Giants did in 2010 and they had Buster Posey and Cody Ross and others who were clutch and it rarely happens that an unbalanced can win it all. The Cardinals had good offense and decent pitching. This team needs better offense to be a serious part of the discussion.

  72. Mark'd - Nov 6, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    This Nats team needs better and more consistent offense to be a serious part of the discussion of top teams.Figure you are competing with the Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, DBacks, Dodgers, and Giants for the Wild Card in 2012.

  73. jd - Nov 6, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Mark'd, The Giants were right at the bottom in every offensive category in 2010. They rode a great pitching staff and a weak division into the playoffs and took advantage of a hot streak in the playoffs and unlikely contributions from the likes of Renteria and Ross to win it all. The Cardinals were a thoroughly mediocre team throughout 2011 but rode a historic Atlanta collapse and a fantastic managerial job by LaRussa to win it all in 2012. My point is that there is no magic formula but a great pitching staff top to bottom is the best way to make it into the playoffs. Agter that it's more luck than anything else.

  74. Just wonderin' - Nov 6, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    Since we had to set the clocks back this morning, can we also lop an extra day off the countdown to Spring Training?

  75. natsfan1a - Nov 6, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    I wish, wonderin'At least I still have some baseball in the hopper. Haven't yet watched my recordings of the AFL game or Friday's Taiwan series game. Did get watch the "real-time" broadcast of yesterday's Taiwan series game (not while the actual game happened but while the actual broadcast happened). Was just getting settled in to watch the AFL game when my husband opined that was enough baseball for one day. I tried whinging that there wouldn't be any more series after this, but he countered that there's always baseball and that the Caribbean series would be televised after this one. I whinged that it wouldn't all be on tv but to no avail. So I gave over remote control for the rest of the night in the interest of domestic harmony. But I still have the recordings on the DVR. hehe. Dang, I'm good. :-)

  76. Dan - Nov 6, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    One challenge that Rizzo/Johnson will face this coming season is the inherent tension between trying to compete in 2012 and laying in place the foundation blocks for a solid year for years to come. A 75-win season should not necessarily be framed as abject failure. An exciting feature of this past season is that Morse and Bernadina both got enough playing time to show what they might (M.) or might not (B.) contribute to the team in the future. I hope that Peacock has the opportunity to be part of the rotation in 2012 so that management can get a better chance of where he fits in. A case can be made for providing space for Detwiler, Milone and perhaps even Martis or Meyers, though I am not sure any of these have a high ceiling. Probably better to fill in the gaps until the crop at the lower levels matures. It's a mistake, in my opinion, to assume that either Detwiler or Milone can perform at a Lannanesque level. I hope that signing Zimmerman and Morse get listed as top priorities.

  77. Drew8 - Nov 6, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    I'm not assuming that Detwiler will perform at a Lannanesque level.That would be quite a drop from Detwiler's 2011 with a 3.00 ERA and WHIP of 1.26.It seems 2012 will be an important year for both pitchers. Ross's career numbers of a 4.07 ERA and 1.46 WHIP are still worse than Lannan's 4.00 and 1.42.But I think Ross has a much higher upside. The question is whether he will get the chance. Ross is out of options, so something's got to give.Course, if they do go get Buehrle they could nontender Gorzy and stash Detwiler as the lefty long man until one of the starters falters.Remember that Rizzo refused to trade Detwiler to Houston in a deal for Bourn, so I doubt they'll deal him now.

  78. Gonat - Nov 6, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    Drew, the 2011 stats for Detwiler are based on a small sample size with many starts on rest of 5 to 7 between starts compared to the normal 4 days.Detwiler was the one pitcher that should have pitched on normal rest in September and didn't happen. Hard to really come to any conclusions based on the extra rest but I guess if Rizzo ever goes with a 7 man rotation, Detwiler will be the guy.

  79. Anonymous - Nov 7, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    Sorry but Lannan's FIP and xFIP were the worst on the starting pitching staff including Gorzelanny, including all the AAA types brought up. They already have Ross Detwiler, Tom Gorzelanny (who can pitch in relief), and Tom Milone. (And you actually believe a marginal older lefty like Buehrle is their target? Doh! ) John Lannan definitely is on the outside looking in believe me. Believe Rizzo, and definitely believe Davey Johnson. I don't think Lannan can beat the above 3 pitchers out for a spot come spring training? And then? There's Solis and perhaps even Purke once he works himself back into shape. TWO additional lefty power pitchers? I believe that they will in fact sign Oswalt. Oswalt plus Wang should give them what they need. They would be better still if they could trade for a young pitcher like a Grienke or Cain. Moreover they would certainly last a lot longer than both Oswalt and Wang who are basically 1 year rentals. As for CF. They've go Morse and Werth already penciled in. They won't be able to move LaRoche until he proves he is past his injury. Perhaps a good ST will be enough and then Morse moves to first? That leaves one slot open for Harper and right now his best position is right field. So who is in CF? The guy who started in CF for the better part of the 2nd half of 2011: Jayson Werth. NOT Cocoa Crisp. They still have Corey Brown and Roger Bernadina and Brown is the better fielding CF of all the current candidates. even if they don't re-up Ankiel.I prefer the suggestion NatsGM had: trade for Peter Bourjos. Now, there's a guy who may have as much ceiling as Harper. But Goodwin has the left-handed bat … but may be 2 years from the majors … at least. Bourjos is one of those special players that don't appear very often.

  80. Anonymous8 - Nov 7, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    We should all be thankful that Anon @7:06 has it all figured out. I will send Rizzo an email with a copy of his post.Anon writes…"John Lannan definitely is on the outside looking in believe me. Believe Rizzo, and definitely believe Davey Johnson."

  81. Just sayin' - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Ah, to be so sure of oneself — and that FIP and xFIP are the be-all, end-all of stats in judging and comparing pitchers.

  82. Anonymous - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    This time last year, Peric was stating as fact that Livo would not start in 2011, that he would be in the bullpen.

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