Skip to content

Harper, Zimmerman lead offensive surge

May 29, 2012, 2:17 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each have been swinging a hot bat.

MIAMI — Don't look now, but the Nationals are actually scoring runs in bunches. A lineup that not long ago featured more black holes than a Carl Sagan novel is starting to produce in a manner more befitting a first-place club.

Over the season's first 40 games, the Nationals averaged a scant 3.6 runs. Over their last eight games, they've raised that average to 5.2 runs.

So, what's been the biggest difference? It's not necessarily what you might expect. The Nationals aren't producing that many more hits (8.6 per game during this stretch vs. 8.2 during the season's first quarter). And they're actually reaching base with less frequency (posting a .314 on-base percentage during this stretch vs. a .315 mark prior to it).

No, the reason the Nationals are scoring more runs these days is that they're hitting for more power.

Through games 1-40, they averaged only 2.8 extra-base hits, a pretty paltry total. Since then, they're averaging 3.9 extra-base hits. ThatRead more »

156 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. SCNatsFan - May 29, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Now if we could just figure these darn Fish out.

  2. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Here is a stats post about our boy, and that he's for real (in case you hadn't figured it out by now.)bryce-harper-and-the-stats-that-prove-hes-for-realhttp://garciamedialife.com/2012/05/28/bryce-harper-and-the-stats-that-prove-hes-for-real/

  3. The Natidude - May 29, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Wow, if their offense actually starts to click on a regular basis, look out. Now please, for the love of God, beat these frigging Marlins.

  4. JD - May 29, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I know it's hard to make changes when you're going well but this would be my lineup now: 1)Brown (CF) 2)Lombardozzi (LF) 3)Zimmerman (3B) 4)LaRoche (1B) 5)Desmond (SS) 6)Harper (RF) 7)Espinosa (2B) 8)Catcher 9)PitcherWhen Morse returns to full time duty. 1) Brown (CF) 2) Harper (RF) 3) Zimmerman (3B) 4) LaRoche (1B) 5) Morse (LF) 6) Desmond (SS) 7) Espinosa/Lombardozzi (2B) 8) Catcher 9) Pitcher

  5. JD - May 29, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    I knew yesterday was a tough game to win. Night game followed by travel followed by a day game. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Our record against the Marlins so far is 2 – 1. I think if we win 1 of the next 2 we finish the trip of death at 6 – 3 and get to 30 – 20 and the beast is here soon then we are in pretty good shape. I do think we will have to find a backup catcher somewhere. I don't like depending on 2 AAA catchers for very long.

  6. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    The line-up has been better since Werth went out. He was .192 w/RISP and half his 34 hits came with the bases emptyJD, I hope Brown is good too, but not sure I'd just plug in a guy with 4 MLB at bats in the staring line-up. he needs to show he deserves it…AAA stats aren't everything

  7. JD - May 29, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Swift; AAA stats aren't everything but he can't prove he belongs by getting 4 at bats a week. I think that Brown's upside is eons ahead of Ankiel and if it's not working you can always go back.

  8. Steady Eddie - May 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    JD, we DO NOT want to start Brown off at leadoff. He has a demonstrated need at every level of pro ball to take some time to get acclimated; he has never raked from day one. Not a knock on him at all, just good developmental practice to start him off lower in the order.Especially when right now we have Lombo as a perfectly good leadoff hitter. Plus for this year at least, Harp is ideal at #2 — great OBP, he gets protection from a hot RZim, and he causes havoc with the pitchers' and fielders' heads once he's on base, which can only help RZim and ALR. You want Harp with as many ABs as you can get him.

  9. Steady Eddie - May 29, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    SCNats — in case you hadn't noticed, we're still 2-1 against the Fish this year, and took the last 2 of 3 from them at the end of Sept.If we get shutdown EJax tonight, and Wang keeps his sinker down tomorrow, we should be fine. REALLY want to see Brown in CF instead of Ankiel for the next two games at least.

  10. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    That's true JD. I just think too many of us fans are assuming Brown is MLB ready b/c of a hot start in Syc, when we have never actually seen him play (except Spring Training) He's 26 with almost no MLB experience, there has to be a reason both the A's and Nats didn't call him up sooner…

  11. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 29, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Harper batting second has been very good, when Lombo leads off and Zim bats third they have been very good most of the last 2 weeks.

  12. dan roberts - May 29, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    "more black holes than a Carl Sagan novel" beautiful

  13. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Anibal Sanchez has been a huge thorn in the Nats' side in recent years. In 18 games he's held the Nats to a .302 OBP, a .298 slugging percentage and a 2.10 ERA.Here's hoping those stats are due for a major correction tonight.

  14. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Sorry, re-posting because I had a typo.I'm missing something on Werth. Where are you getting these stats? I don't see 34 hits.According to baseballreference Werth played 27 games and had 27 hits and 14BB, with 12 RBI, so somehow, he was getting the runs in, when he wasn't scoring them himself (10). In 113 plate appearances he either came in to score or drove in a run 22 times. According to fangraphs, in the time he played he accumulated .6 WAR which ain't bad for only 27 games. His WPA (win probability added) = .49 and his clutch was a positive .6.Some people like weighted runs created. Werth's wRC+ = 128. wRC = 17.His K percent was 18.6%, the lowest in his career by far and his BB was at his career average (12.4%).His fielding was off a little from previous years, but still solid.If every outfielder we had were hitting .276 with a .372 OBP wouldn't you be happy?

  16. hiramhover - May 29, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Great story, Mark – thanks.I also wouldn't leave out Desmond and LaRoche–in May, each has been the second highest slugging player at his position in the NL (and in LaRoche's case, that's after actually cooling off a bit from April). To give him credit, Danny hasn't done much to lift his BA or OBP, but his slugging is way up in May:Apr: .205/.300/.269May: .220/.304/.418

  17. JD - May 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    NatsLady, Some posters don't let facts interfere with the conclusions they have already arrived at. Werth was playing very well when he got hurt; there's no way to conclude otherwise. His signing was still a blunder based on his age and the number of years but his play this year was solid.

  18. JD - May 29, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Bowdenball, Sanchez scares me to death. He is one of my favorite non National pitchers in Baseball. EJax better bring his A game today.

  19. JD - May 29, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Hiram, Lombo keeps hitting the way he has and it will be tough for Espi to retain his place in the lineup too long.

  20. hiramhover - May 29, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    NatsLadyIf you go to the "Splits" tab on Werth's fangraph's page for his BA and other stats in various game states. Swift Eagle is right about his BA with RISP. You're right about Werth's total # of hits–27. 10 of his hits came with men on base, 5 with men in scoring position.

  21. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    You're right NatsLady. Werth has 27 total hits. 17 with the bases empty. I was looking at Yahoo Sports StatsI just think he has not produced runs. Like you, I watch every game, I think he has accumulated his stats without producing runs. it's not about just pure numbers, he was leaving RBI's out there.Hopefully he comes back healthy and returns to the run producer he has been in the pasthttp://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6423/situational

  22. peric - May 29, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Ryan Zimmerman still has only 2 home runs. Zim has been waiting for breaking pitches instead of hitting the fastballs that were right over the plate to bash his doubles. The shoulder?Zimmerman HAS ONLY 11 XBH in 134 AB's while Harper has 13 in only 105? And 7 are 3 triples and 4 home runs? Zim does have 17 walks but against 28 strikeouts? While Harper has 14 walks against 19 strike outs? There's no comparison. I guess I completely disagree with another of Mark's biased premises, once again, not backed up by statistical facts. Zim is still looking at strike three on the outside corner. The conjecture is that he can't reach those pitches because of the shoulder.Meanwhile, LaRoche has 21 XBH in 159 AB's and 27 walks. And a .386 OBP but his average has now dropped under .290 and is falling rapidly.Yes, Harper is having a big impact. It could become huge. Let's hope Corey Brown can perform the way he was in Syracuse and add to that.

  23. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    JD, yes, my eyes told me so, and I just wanted to see what the stats said. As for the amount/length of the signing, we all know the reason. However, Jayson keeps himself healthy and is definitely motivated, and has the playoff experience we need on a young team. He doesn't have the Prince Fielder body type. He's moved to the local area and seems committed to the Nationals. Ask me again in three or four years about the signing.

  24. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Eagle, he can't create RBI's if the bases are empty ahead of him. He can create runs if he steals bases (3 w/ no CS), walks, and generally makes a nuisance of himself when he gets on base.If you look at it the other way, 10 of his 27 hits were with men on base, so he kept the line moving. I'd have to look exactly at what he did with RISP, but as has long been debated, if you hit well, then you will very likely hit well well with RISP, and there probably is not a statistical significance at this point with only 27 games.

  25. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Agree NatsLady. I don't want to come across as a Werth-hater. I'm a Nats fan, I like them all, and I don;t care about his salary, the Lerners can afford it, and his signing showed MLB the Nats were serious about winning. It's easy to forget how hard it was back then to attract FA's to DC. Hopefully he rakes when he comes back. I was just saying that other guys have been better in RBI situations than Werth was during this small window of time…

  26. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Plus he mashed the Fillies when they were here, so he gets extra credit for that.

  27. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Eagle, "other guys" were Adam LaRoche, who carried the offense in April. No one else was doing much (Desi and Ramos, maybe some).Like you, I hope Werth picks up where he left off when he comes back!

  28. greg - May 29, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    peric, he's talking about the *last ten games*, not the full season's worth of statistics. in fact, the premise of the article was that they're hitting better recently as compared to earlier in the season. so i'm not sure how your statistics dispute anything mark said. if anything, they bolster his argument. zimmerman has 11 XBHs for the season, but 5 of them have come in the last ten games. sounds like he's heating up to me.

  29. hiramhover - May 29, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    JD – I wasn't drawing the comparison to Lombo–just trying to point out that Danny has been part of the power surge.As for what Davey will ultimately do – I'd be surprised if he gives up on Danny so easily, esp. if there are signs that Danny's power is coming back. Even after an anemic April, Danny's ISO on the season is .136, Lombo's is barely half that–.073.

  30. sjm308 - May 29, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Peric: that might be the nicest disagreement post you have ever written and I appreciate that. Your knowledge is always appreciated as well as your opinions and when its done politely, its icing on the cake.I am puzzled why people want to move Harper down in their imaginary lineups? I think he is a perfect #2 hitter. Great speed, great bat control, can bunt for a basehit and hit for power. As he grows (and I think he will continue to get bigger and stronger), he will end up in the 3 or 4 spot but for his first year its a perfect fit. I love that when we turn the lineup around we have Lombo, Harper, Zimm and when Morse returns it gets even better.Go Nats!!

  31. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Kilgore on the radio this morning said he still thinks Nats will trade for a CF…I hope not, we can get by with who we have assuming Morse is back on schedule

  32. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    OK, so I looked at Werth's splits on fangraphs. In "high leverage" situations he hit pretty well. 16 PA's, 4 walks and 4 hits for a .333 BA. Small sample size and all…Yes, he had .192 with RISP. Ya want me to go back to the game logs and see if any of those were down 9-0 in the 8th inning. Oh, wait, fangraphs already did that.

  33. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Eagle, agree but that's a big IF (as I've said all along.) IF Morse is on schedule; IF he mashes like he did last year. Me, I'd look for a catcher because that has a higher priority right now. Solano was on the DL with "back problems." Those can linger.

  34. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Good stuff NatsLady. I would argue that every at bat with RISP is 'high leverage" for a guy like Werth, but I'm not a Saber-Guy…

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 29, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Kilgore, that's funny. Not sure the last time he has had an original thought. If everyone is healthy on July 31st, its Morse, BHarp, Werth with Corey Brown and Ankiel coming off the bench.If you trade for a CF, who are you sitting?

  36. peric - May 29, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Kilgore doesn't know what he's talking about … they aren't going to trade for a CF. NatsLady may be right about catcher. After Solano the cupboard is completely and utterly bare … its back to Wil Nieves … They do haveDevin Ivaney who has been toiling in the minors for the Nats for a number of years now. Plus the three veteran filler catchers they picked up. Freitas isn't ready. Sandy Leon gets queued back on depth chart in the minors when he returns and that will help.They have to look at Corey Brown before they make any decisions about CF. Plus, there's Brian Goodwin. And Bryce Harper. Kilgore is wrong on this one. There's no room at the Inn.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 29, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    NatsLady said… JD, yes, my eyes told me so, and I just wanted to see what the stats said. As for the amount/length of the signing, we all know the reason. However, Jayson keeps himself healthy and is definitely motivated, and has the playoff experience we need on a young team. He doesn't have the Prince Fielder body type. He's moved to the local area and seems committed to the Nationals. Ask me again in three or four years about the signing. May 29, 2012 11:11 AMNatsLady, excellent! That's how you do it. Let your eyes tell you what's what and then go to the stat book to back it up. Small sample size on Werth's RISP. His OBP is greatly missed.

  38. David - May 29, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Brown should hit 7th. and play CF for the next couple of games.

  39. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Agree with all of you…Not sure why Kilgore thinks a CF trade is possible..Def need a back-up catcher above all…How can a guy talk to all the key people every day but still have no clue?

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 29, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I think we would all feel better about a veteran catcher backing up Flores to play 2 days a week. I'm hoping the Phillies fall apart and have their fire sale and Rizzo can bring back Brian Schneider who is a lefty batter and would fit in well.

  41. rabbit34 - May 29, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Harper is now the leader on this team. After Harper flied out to left yesterday, I called Zimmerman hitting into a double play. I know, BA and other stats. He is good for maybe a clutch hit now and then, two if he is as lucky as a blind squirrel. With Harper, you always believe he is going to make good contact. And, he doesn't wait until he has two strikes on him, like Zimmerman. Result with Zimm…..strike three! (remember the squirrel).

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 29, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Swift Eagle said… Agree with all of you…Not sure why Kilgore thinks a CF trade is possible..Def need a back-up catcher above all…How can a guy talk to all the key people every day but still have no clue? May 29, 2012 11:46 AM Agreed and above that, he won the USA Today top beat writer award over 90 other nominees around the country. His star poster is Poopy McPoop and I think that tells you all what you need to know.

  43. JD - May 29, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    I think that the need for a CF is way down the list. I think that backup veteran catcher (someone in the Brian Schneider mold) is primary. Teams like Minnesota, Houston, San Diego, Cubs are pretty much done already and Boston has a surplus of catchers. I am sure Rizzo is making the calls but it's not great to try and make a deal when the other side knows you are desperate.

  44. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 29, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    I don't think "spotting" Corey Brown against a tough right-handed pitcher like Anibel is the ideal way to start his season. He sits tonight.Lombo is purely emergency in LF, so get off his lack of arm. But what worries me is when (not if) he moves to 2B, how much double play efficiency do we lose? Say what you will about Espi's LH bat, the guy can turn a DP.

  45. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Wil Nieves is playing somewhere, Colorado, I think.(Checking) Yes, my ears and memory did not deceive me, Colorado activated him from AAA last week. He's played in two games 5/26 and 5/28.

  46. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    There is no question that this has been a better team without Werth in the lineup. Hitting 5th in the lineup, his job is to drive in runs. He has failed miserably at this since he came here hitting .229 with RISP in 2011 and .192 in 2012. He is also 61 for 277 (.220) with 76 K's with men on base. He should not be hitting 3-6 in the Nats lineup and probably can't hit 1 or 2 because he strikes out way too much. Put him at 7 when he gets back and platoon him with Lombardozzi/Brown.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 29, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    David said… Brown should hit 7th. and play CF for the next couple of games. May 29, 2012 11:44 AM You are preaching to the choir there. Not sure Rizzo and Davey agree with you and me and the others that think this is an opportune time to make the change.

  48. JD - May 29, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Steve, I don't think Philly will ever do anything to help the Nats besides I think Ortiz is a dinged up so they are not likely to let Schneider go. John Baker? Chris Snyder?

  49. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    I think DJ is concerned about the defensive inexperience of an OF with Lombo/Brown/Harper.Pretty sure Ankiel will be staying in the line-up most of the time

  50. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said…"There is no question that this has been a better team without Werth in the lineup."You've GOT to be kidding me. He had a terrible year in 2011, and even THEN he had a .330 OBP. And his 2012 numbers prior to the injury made it look like his terrible 2011 was behind him. You're telling me a lineup is better with a .820 OPS outfielder with plus defensive and baserunning skills? And you want to platoon him with guys who have career minor league numbers comparable to Werth's career major league numbers? Not to get all peric on you, but are you insane?I think maybe people can't separate Werth's contract from the man. Just because he's not worth $126 million doesn't mean he has no value.

  51. erocks33 - May 29, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Werth was 5-26 with RISP (.192 BA). However, he did have 7 BB with RISP, giving him a .364 OBP. So while he may not have been hitting great with RISP, for the most part he was keeping the inning alive by reaching base via the walk. Either way, that's still a small sample size …

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 29, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    F&I, the 2012 Werth is not the same as the 2011 Werth. That .372 OBP is sorely missed and while he isn't the RBI machine w/ RISP his Sabre RC27 stats are very good which is based on OBP and Total Bases and you can see in his RBI% (12.25%) and Runs% that he has been effective.I do agree he shouldn't be hitting 5th, but he could be very good hitting 6thLomboBryceZimLaRocheMorseWerthDesmondFlores

  53. natsfan1a - May 29, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    For NC fans, a Times piece on a court decision re. MASN and basic cable.

  54. erocks33 - May 29, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    FWIW, I'm just not expecting to see Werth back in the lineup prior to Sept (if at all this season). It's going to take awhile for that wrist to heal and the length it takes for a Nationals player to heal always seems to exceed the original timeframe (8-12 weeks becomes 12-16 weeks).

  55. JD - May 29, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    'I think maybe people can't separate Werth's contract from the man. Just because he's not worth $126 million doesn't mean he has no value.' Well put Bowdenball

  56. natsfan1a - May 29, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Also, for those who were going to see the P-Nats and Beast rehab tonight, it's two-for Tuesday (2 tix, 2 hot dogs, 2 sodas for $17).

  57. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    There is no question that this has been a better team without Werth in the lineup.OK, I have a question (raising hand).Jayson Werth broke his wrist on May 6. Let's not count that game because we don't know what would have happened, Colbert was dealing, but the Nats were only down 3-1, etc. Nats record up to May 5 18-9. = .667 with Werth and w/o Harper; and then w/ Harper but "struggling" at the plate.May 7-28 11-8 = .578 without Werth and with Harper on a tear.

  58. JD - May 29, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    What do we trade to get a backup catcher? Don't say Lannan. Teams which are out of it aren't interested in a questionable starter making $5 mil a year. What about Eury Perez? Randy Oduber?

  59. A DC Wonk - May 29, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Rizzo can bring back Brian Schneider who is a lefty batter and would fit in well. Schneider is 35, and in his last 5 seasons, has hit above .240 just once (and under .220 twice).(Granted, he's .283 this year, but that's 46 AB, and his lifetime BA is .248 — I'm sure he'll regress quite a bit)Last year he batted .179

  60. JD - May 29, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    NatsLady, How dare you cloud the issue with facts?

  61. JD - May 29, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Wonk, It doesn't matter what a backup catcher hits as long as he can play solid D and call a decent game.

  62. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Bowdenball-I said they HAVE been better with Lombardozzi in there instead of Werth. Lombardozzi is basically his replacement (when he plays) because I doubt he even gets a chance to play if Werth were not hurt. He has filled the lead-off role nicely, and has been much more productive than Werth at doing the job he is supposed to do. Werth was in an RBI spot in the lineup and was not good at driving home runs. I agree that his OBP is an asset and maybe he comes back and hits 2nd in the lineup pushing Harper to 3rd, Morse to 4th-assuming he is back to form, LaRoche at 5 and Zimmerman at 6 (or vice versa) and Desmond at 7. If Espinosa plays instead of Lombo, then maybe you lead him off or push Werth to lead-off (although I don't think that worked before when they tried it). The point was…Lombardozzi has been better than Werth and it has showed recently in run production. Hopefully he keeps it up, because it is a good problem, not a bad one.

  63. Theophilus T. S. - May 29, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Going back to one of the initial posts in this thread, it's amazing/absurd/mind-boggling that someone has to resort to stats to "prove" Harper is "for real." The Descartes of the sabremetric age: "I crunch nos., therefore, I think." Not so much.

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 29, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    JD said… 'I think maybe people can't separate Werth's contract from the man. Just because he's not worth $126 million doesn't mean he has no value.'Well put Bowdenball May 29, 2012 12:19 PM Mark Z. should paste that somewhere for future use for when someone brings up the salary as justification to complain.erocks33, we should know in another 30 days how Jayson is progressing with his range of motion. If he has no lingering effects of the injury, he should be back in the lineup in August.

  65. NatsJack in Florida - May 29, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Isn't that rabbitt guy the same one who all but guaranteed a Huson dominance over the Nats last Friday?

  66. SCNatsFan - May 29, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Werth clearly isn't worth what we paid… but he was the guy who took the wheel barrel full of cash to come to a franchise with nothing but a loser history and begin to turn that culture around. Guys like Lidge and Jackson and even Laroche may have never seen a curly W if it wasn't for him. After all, its the Lerners cash, not ours – I'm glad he signed here.

  67. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Wait–same question I had about Wil Nieves. How is Rizzo "bringing back" Brian Schneider when he is playing for the Fillies?I'm exhausted with the Werth discussion because it's devolved past actual stats to what-ifs. Lombo and Werth are not interchangeable. I'm as glad as the next person that Lombo is doing great, but it's challenging enough having him in LF, not to speak of RF where you really need the good arm. Also, Espi did great his first 1/2 season, so I'm not giving Lombo ROY yet. Also, I have to go to work. Been fun, peeps! Great discussion.

  68. hiramhover - May 29, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    TheoI hear you. But to be fair, this may be more a case of a lousy headline than anything else.I'm not sure if you followed the link, but the article shows that Harper is a great deal more than "for real." If you take his stats in his first 100 ABs and project them out over the season (which is actually not v. sabremetrically sound), he ranks among the best young players in baseball history.

  69. A DC Wonk - May 29, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Yowza! Oddmakers say: "Miami -145"(meaning, you'd have to bet $145 on Miami to win $100)

  70. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    B/C of the small sample sizes, you can find stats to back up either side of this Werth argumentBut when we WATCH the games, he was not hitting for any power, and was not producing runs. And no matter what the stats say, a Walk is NOT as good as a hit w/RISP..Either way, he's out now, and when healthy he is certainly one of the 3 best OFs on the roster. I hope he comes back healthy and ready to roll..

  71. jeffwx - May 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Agree with JD, Flores will be back this week. Leon will be back in 2 weeks. Still have Mald and Solano. Not optimal but enough.I think the outfield depth is weak Right now. In years to come we may have the next incarnation of Corey Brown to hope for, but right now…Ankiel/Nady as backup OFs doesn't cut it.And you go Lombo/Harper/Morse, you lose too much D. There is Corey Brown to step in, but very much unproven. I suspect Nats Management know something we don't about his limitations.

  72. peric - May 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Not to get all peric on you, but are you insane?Just for the record since, again, you were stoopid enough to use my name in vain.I agree. Werth is a bench bat or a #2 hitter AT BEST! Go back and look at those stats. This is not the same guy that the Phil's had in 2010 and given his age he may never be … again! And this is his second serious injury to that wrist!? Werth is the Nat's version of Barry Zito (albeit Zito has done well this year) and I guess every competitor has one. GET USED TO IT Bowdenball … because you are WRONG!

  73. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    F&I-A 2B who was forced into duty as a LF is the replacement for our everyday RF? You lost me there.Lombo was our third middle infielder who was forced into LF by putrid production there. Harper replaced Werth, and is the reason the offense hasn't missed a beat. Lombo has been a wonderful surprise but even his current numbers aren't as good as Werth's were before the injury- take a look, Werth's OPS was higher and he also stole bases and played better defense. And as far as striking out too much for the 5 spot goes, Desmond actually has a higher K% this season than Werth did before the injury.

  74. peric - May 29, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Nats record up to May 5 18-9. = .667 with Werth and w/o Harper; and then w/ Harper but "struggling" at the plate.Apples and oranges NatsLady. And you are WRONG because you didn't bother to look at the team batting average then and now. And you didn't bother to look at the team pitching (the most important factor in that!!!) then and now. You fail to take into account Strasburg's last 4 starts. Detwiler's last three? JZimmnn's previous 2 before this one? Very poor argument Natslady.

  75. JD - May 29, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    peric, Please stop screaming !!

  76. peric - May 29, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    A 2B who was forced into duty as a LF is the replacement for our everyday RF? You lost me there.Go look up the Nat's team batting average with Lombo leading off and Harper batting second and then talk to use Bowdenball. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong analysis. Not all factors and variables taken into account … yet again!

  77. Theophilus T. S. - May 29, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    I like Peric better when he's on laudanum.

  78. peric - May 29, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Please stop screaming !!I wasn't … I was just giving Bowdeball what he deserved … right between the eyes for calling me out.

  79. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    OK peric, I'm looking at the stats. 2012: .276/.372/.439 in 112 PAs.You think that's a bench bat? Sure, the power's down from his Philly years. But that doesn't make him a bench player. The injury issue is a separate question entirely. It goes to his value. There's no question he's not worth the contract. I said that in the first post. The question is whether, if healthy, he's a useful every day player. F&I suggested he wasn't by saying we were a better team without him in the lineup. I disagreed. That's the ONLY question that was raised. If you want to complain about his contract, you can, but nobody else is debating that.

  80. jeffwx - May 29, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Wow…the best teams in baseball trying to improve themselves…They should wait 5 years for their semi-pro league prospects to mature :MONDAY: The Dodgers have made an offer to Roy Oswalt, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). The Rangers, who are likely Oswalt's preferred team, are still in mix among other clubs.

  81. peric - May 29, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    I suspect Nats Management know something we don't about his limitations.From this context Brown HAS NO WEAKNESS. He was even raking left-handed pitching!!! But, yes, there is one and he freely admits to it. Same one Espy, Desmond, Ramos, Flores, etc. have: a confidence deficit. That's it. And that is one of Davey's specialities. We'll have to wait and see how that goes.

  82. JD - May 29, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Peric, I respect your Baseball knowledge but no one put you in charge here to grade every one else's comments. After all it's just opinion and whether one is right or wrong is always debatable.

  83. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    And as far as "calling you out" goes, I was just framing my statement that F&I's argument was "insane" by admitted I sounded like something you would post, since you are known to make arguments personal and insult other posters. You haven't exactly proved me wrong.

  84. NCNatsie - May 29, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    1a, thanks for the Times link re MASN in NC. Being as I am NC Natsie, this has been a personal bummer for me since moving here in 2008. Not only can you not get MASN here, being in the official Balto-DC baseball market blacks out even MLB's on line TV of those teams. The answer, of course, is DirecTV, which I switched to as soon as my original contract with Time-Warner was up. So this season, for the first time in 3 years, I get to watch my Nats. At least the timing was good. Yea! GYFNG!Baseball needs to revisit their market designations, but ultimately, we need a law that says anybody can watch anything that's being broadcast. The days when all the fans of a given team lived in that area are long gone.

  85. peric - May 29, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    You think that's a bench bat? Sure, the power's down from his Philly years. But that doesn't make him a bench player. I guess you didn't bother to look at his ISO now did you? Nor his OPS?As a #5 hitter he is worse than Chad Tracy. As a #2 hitter given his high wOBA and OBP … maybe. But the Nats have younger, better players than Werth both offensively and defensively: BENCH BAT.

  86. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    NatsLady- Since you are throwing out stats like that…the Nats are averaging over a run more per game since the Werth injury. 96 runs in 28 games with Werth and 92 runs in 20 games without him. Of course there are many factors at play, but the bottom line is that most people are just hoping he can be league average at this point in his career. I am not saying he has no value, just not near the level of value some of you want to believe. The days of "must start" status on this team are gone.

  87. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. peric - May 29, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    I respect your Baseball knowledge but no one put you in charge here to grade every one else's comments. After all it's just opinion and whether one is right or wrong is always debatable. bowdenball said…And as far as "calling you out" goes, I was just framing my statement that F&I's argument was "insane" by admitted I sounded like something you would post, since you are known to make arguments personal and insult other posters. You haven't exactly proved me wrong.Sorry dude, the pot calling the kettle black. You like to criticize other people and then say … NOOOO that's not me. Go back and look at what you said about me. IT IS YOU. Did you take your meds today?

  89. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Sorry, peric. In the end, WINS are always the best argument… F&I said the Nats did better without Werth in the lineup than with him and it's simply not true. Whether they would have done better than .667 without Werth and with Lombo performing at his current pace is–there's a word for for that–"hypothetical."

  90. A DC Wonk - May 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    peric said… Please stop screaming !! I wasn't … I was just giving Bowdeball what he deserved … right between the eyes for calling me out.And you proved his case."What? You think I yell and use insults? Well, in that case, I'm going start yelling and using insults!"Positively brilliant.

  91. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    peric said…"I guess you didn't bother to look at his ISO now did you? Nor his OPS?"Why would I look up his OPS when I just gave you his OBP and his SLG? I can add, and I assumed other posters could too.He's not a star any more, but when healthy he's a 3-4 WAR guy. Health is an issue, but that goes to his value, not whether he should start when healthy. And he should start when healthy, without question.

  92. hiramhover - May 29, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    This dumping on Werth is silly. Invoking the bowdenball disclaimer, I'll point out that Werth, before his injury, was the hottest hitter on the team beside LaRoche, and that most of his numbers this season were at or above his career levels (slugging is the only significant exception, and he benefited in that dept from playing half his games in CBP the last few years before he came here).2012: .276/.372/.439, wRC+ = 128Career: .265/.360/.463. wRC+ = 122

  93. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 29, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    I wrote this last year about Werth that he also came in here to change the losing culture and I believe Rizzo backed him up on it. He identified NMorgan immediately as a problem and he was right. Whatever happened in the clubhouse it worked. I think Jayson put too much pressure on himself last year which adversely affected his on-field production but last year was last year. His 2012 stats have been much improved.Also regarding his power numbers, the Nats played in some early season bad weather and nobody on either team was knocking many home runs. Again, you can look at the glass 1/2 full or 1/2 empty on Werth. I like what I saw.

  94. garciamedialife - May 29, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    @Theophilus- I don't usually do statistical analysis; I write on politics, media and culture. But there are many out there, including Nats and Sports agnostics who don't fully comprehend the phenomena of Bryce Harper. One of the great things about baseball is that stats have been kept for well over a hundred years so there's a mathematical thread that allows comparisons over the decades. It was just my way of convincing the uninitiated that, in Harper, there is something truly special going on here that deserves attention, if not wonder.

  95. A DC Wonk - May 29, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    OK peric, I'm looking at the stats.2012: .276/.372/.439 in 112 PAs.Indeed — for Nats with over 100 PA, Werth is:4th in BATied for 3rd in OBP4th in SLG3rd in OPSThat's not a bench player. Certainly not on the Nats.

  96. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Wow, thank you, garcia. I really enjoyed your blog post, which is why I passed it along. Like Stras, if Harper reaches his potential it will be something to see. In fact, it already is! As we know in DC, and I'm glad you think the world should know.And bottom line, anyone who thinks Werth breaking his wrist improved this team is, I'm sorry, NUTS.

  97. NatsLady - May 29, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    (Ducking) and (really leaving) now.

  98. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Well Natslady-Of the 8 people around here that I know who are big National fans, all 8 of us think the team is better off. 2 of those 8 played Div. I college baseball, and 2 more played in the minor leagues. The agreement on this issue when we went to the game last weekend was unanimous.

  99. phil dunton - May 29, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    The face of the franchise is no longer Ryan Zimmerman, it is Bryce Harper!

  100. Swift Eagle - May 29, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Arguments like this Werth thing are what makes if fun to be a baseball fan, at least for me…Good points have been made on both sides…I would add that overusing Saber-Stats is just as dangerous as ignoring them.The best GMs and managers trust their eyes AND their computers.

  101. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said…"Well Natslady-Of the 8 people around here that I know who are big National fans, all 8 of us think the team is better off."Considering that baseball lifer and Nats GM Mike Rizzo signed Werth to a 7 year deal, and Davey Johnson (presumably working hand in hand with Rizzo and others in the front office) had Werth in the lineup almost every day before his injury, I don't think appeals to authority win this argument for you.He's a good baseball player, and his presence would improve this team and this lineup. I can't believe that's a subject for debate- his numbers this season are better than Lombo's, and Lombo has basically been hailed as a savior by many. The Nats have scored more runs per game without him, sure. They've also won less. But neither means anything. It's correlation, not causation.

  102. jeffwx - May 29, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    I hope Brown has no weaknesses cause we can use an extra OF right now. Makes sense to give him a try.

  103. jeffwx - May 29, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    The Tigers outrighted the contract of right-hander Collin Balester to Triple-A Toledo, the team announced. They had designated Balester for assignment last week after he posted a 6.50 ERA with nearly as many walks (11) as strikeouts (12) in 18 innings.

  104. rabbit34 - May 29, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    NatsJack in Florida replied to Rabbit34 "Isn't that rabbitt guy the same one who all but guaranteed a Huson dominance over the Nats last Friday? " Haha!! Yep, that's me!! I love your recall, and reading your posts! GO NATIONALS!!

  105. Tcostant - May 29, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Lets let Harper catch, that solves two problems. Just kidding…

  106. rabbit34 - May 29, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Sanchez is going to CRUSH the Nats. Sorry Jackson, you're going against a big boy tonight. Harper will look good though. He'll get another homer tonight.

  107. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Lombardozzi is hitting .323 vs. .276 (Werth's avg.) with a higher OBP. Not sure how you can say WErth has better numbers. Lombo has been better in his role than Werth has in his (driving in runs). If you want to make an argument for Werth, you at least have to acknowledge his role on this team needs to be changed. The middle of the order has to drive in runs. He has played in about 180 games now as a National (hitting mostly in middle of the order) and has only 70 RBI's because he has been horrible with RISP. Move him to #2 or #7.

  108. baseballswami - May 29, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I just want everyone to stay healthy, don't lose ground and have a good second half. Is that too much to ask?? By the way – I think Lombo is a nifty player. No flash, just taking pitches, getting on base, making plays, running the bases. Someone compared him to Ben Zobrist earlier in the season — a nice comparison.

  109. Section 222 - May 29, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Well Natslady-Of the 8 people around here that I know who are big National fans, all 8 of us think the team is better off.Wow. So what's next — "My large family, including my grandma who loves the Nats, thinks I'm right about this!" "All my friends on Facebook liked what I said!" "The majority of people wearing Nats caps on the Red Line on my way to the park agree with my position!"

  110. greg - May 29, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    it's sad people can't comment without being jerks about it.it takes two people to make an argument, so pointing at the other person and saying, "but he did it first" doesn't make you not a jerk for responding in kind. when you ignore jerks online, they lose their audience and eventually go away. if you perpetuate the argument, you're "one of them." (you can insert any adjective you want in place of jerk, whatever floats your boat)

  111. MicheleS - May 29, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    1A.. be on the look out for the MASN Deal info as well. Supposedly, 6/1 is a date for a recommendation from that 3 team pannel. I have been searching for more info, but have come up empty.

  112. MicheleS - May 29, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Swami at 1:48. AMEN!!! Stay healthy boys!!!

  113. natsfan1a - May 29, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  114. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said…"Lombardozzi is hitting .323 vs. .276 (Werth's avg.) with a higher OBP. Not sure how you can say WErth has better numbers."Because their OBPs were virtually identical and Werth hits for power, and as a result he has a higher OPS (.810 to .777). I'm not going to say batting average is a meaningless statistic, but it doesn't capture anything that's not in OBP and SLG. If you disagree, perhaps remembering the says of Cristian Guzman and the empty .300 hitter will bring you around to my thinking.Lombo just does not have any power to speak of, and as a result Werth is the better offensive player. And it's a small sample, but Werth also appears to be a better baserunner at this level.I don't mean to disparage Lombo, I think it's flattery that this is even a conversation when we're talking about a player of Werth's caliber.

  115. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 29, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    and AMEN, Greg.

  116. natsfan1a - May 29, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    MicheleS, yes, thanks, it's been marked on my calendar since Bos mentioned the date. I searched for more info on that before posting the NC link as well, but found nothing new.sec222, to be fair, it was also mentioned that they played in college and/or minor league baseball, so I think one could add some qualifiers. Example: of the 5 people I know who are Nats fans and once player beer league softball. Or perhaps: of the 3 people I know who once took some hacks in a batting cage. :-)

  117. natsfan1a - May 29, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. natsfan1a - May 29, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  119. natsfan1a - May 29, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    natsfan1a said… otoh, given what Greg posted, I suppose this makes both of us [jerks]. Then again, neither of us called someone else a [jerk] (which is technically a noun rather than an adjective), so there's that. :-)sec222, to be fair, it was also mentioned that they played in college and/or minor league baseball, so I think one could add some qualifiers. Example: of the 5 people I know who are Nats fans and once player beer league softball. Or perhaps: of the 3 people I know who once took some hacks in a batting cage. :-)

  120. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 29, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Harper didn't replace Werth; Bryce was up almost 10 days before Werth broke his arm. Not taking sides, but think of it this way: Desmond leading off, Werth hitting fifthvsLombardozzi leading off, Desmond hitting fifth

  121. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I hope nobody thinks I was being a jerk here a la Greg's post. If so I apologize, but the worst I did was say that F&I's argument that the team is better off without Werth was "insane," and then categorize THAT as something peric might say, which seems pretty mild.I've been around a while- maybe not every day but I'm pretty sure I've posted enough to earn a reputation as a courteous poster. I hope so at least.

  122. Section 222 - May 29, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Absolutely bowdenball. And F&I, after a rocky start, is as well. You just disagree, which is nothing new around here. And as far as I could tell, there was no bolding, name calling, or comparing each other to nine year old fantasy baseball players or Homer Simpson.

  123. Eugene in Oregon - May 29, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    I enjoy hypothetical (and statistical) arguments as much as anyone, but the fact is that Jayson Werth is out until at least mid-August. The bigger question now would seem to be 'who should be starting today and tomorrow and this coming weekend?' and not 'who should be starting once Mr. Werth is again healthy?' Because — by then — someone else may well be unavailable (knock on wood, but you never know).In the immediate future, I fully recognize (and endorse) the desire (a) to keep Steve Lombardozzi in the line-up, and (b) give Corey Brown an opportunity to prove himself. Personally, I'd like to see Danny Espinosa given the opportunity to regroup in Syracuse while Mr. Lombardozzi gets starts at 2B. To apply Swift Eagle's approach, both stats and eyes suggest that Mr. Espinosa is lost as a LH batter; I think he has too much potential to be platooned for the rest of the season. It would be a tough conversation, but better to let him work it out (or convert to RH only) in AAA, as the Marlins are doing with Gaby Sanchez. I note, however, that such a move may have to wait until Mark DeRosa returns from the DL.As for Mr. Brown, I'm all for giving him starts in CF. Rick Ankiel's occasional RBIs notwithstanding, he's just not a starting MLB outfielder. Let's see if Mr. Brown is the long-term solution to the CF problem. If he's as good as some suggest, great. We can then worry about the Morse-Werth-Harper-Brown question later. If he's not up to it, I doubt he'll be any less productive offensively than Mr. Ankiel has been.P.S. for Bowdenball @ 12:05 p.m.: Well said.

  124. Tcostant - May 29, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    A MUST read, get your rose colored glass on and read this –>http://garciamedialife.com/2012/05/28/bryce-harper-and-the-stats-that-prove-hes-for-real/

  125. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Bowdenball-My point was that if Lombo continues to play at his current pace, he is more valuable to this team right now because he leads off. Power is an irrelevant comparison because he is leading off. If Lombo was a #5 hitter, I would agree that Werth is better than Lombo. Right now, Lombo is playing like a lesser version of Tony Gwynn and is hitting .340 in May since he started to play regularly. Will he keep it up? Who knows? Probably not. The main thing that kills me with Werth is the missed RBI opportunities and striking out almost 1/3 of the time with people on base.

  126. Eugene in Oregon - May 29, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    A previous poster wrote: "And no matter what the stats say, a Walk is NOT as good as a hit w/RISP…"================================Correct. But a walk — in that situation (or almost any other) — is a heck of a lot better than a K or a GIDP.

  127. A DC Wonk - May 29, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said… Well Natslady-Of the 8 people around here that I know who are big National fans, all 8 of us think the team is better off.I'm not sure what the "here" is in your statement. If you meant the frequent denizens of NI, you're off base. A number of us, including me, think the team would be better off if we _had_ Werth join them.For crying out loud — he's got the 3rd best OPS on the team! How can any team lose their third best and be considered "better off" ?This isn't a Lombo vs Werth debate. It's not like Lombo gets sent down when Werth arrives.

  128. Theophilus T. S. - May 29, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Garciamedia,etc. –At the risk of intensifying the argument, concerning statistics . . .. Too often, particularly noticeable in attempting to reduce baseball to numbers (how many pennants you won lately, Billy?), people take an instance — such as Harper — where statistics randomly coincide w/ reality and extrapolate that to a vindication of statistics that defy what your eyes see on the field. (To take an example, the folks who used statistics to compare Lannan favorably with virtually every other option. How's that playing in Syracuse these days?)You know when your team is winning and losing, and if you're paying attention, you know who's contributing to the outcome. A corollary to the whole addiction to "advanced" statistics is the disregard of traditional measures of performance. Why harp on how inadequate "wins and losses" are to evaluating a pitcher's performance? They measure when the team was ahead, and when, at the end of the day, the team was behind. What is the pitcher's job? To make sure the other team scores fewer runs than your guys Why is that not important?I think I can tell a good player from a bad one without resorting to an up-dated Strato-Matic card.

  129. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 29, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    F&I, what happens when Morse comes back and takes over in LF, what do they do with Lombo? That will be the next item to ponder after Brown/Ankiel as Morse should be back within 10 days from now. You seem to think Lombo is a key part of the team which I agree with, but will Rizzo/Davey move Lombo to 2nd base or will he be back riding the pine?

  130. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Steve M-I am guessing that it then becomes a decision between Lombo and Espinosa with Morse playing 1B now and then (giving Lombo a start in LF) or DH for those 9 games against the AL East. Right now, I would think Lombo would play against RH and Espinosa against LH if the regular lineup of Morse and LaRoche is in play. I think with Morse likely to need a day off, and LaRoche as well, Davey should be able to find a way to keep him in there 75% of the time. Maybe they should put Lombo behind the plate!!! ;)

  131. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said…"Bowdenball-My point was that if Lombo continues to play at his current pace, he is more valuable to this team right now because he leads off."Personally I think lineup order doesn't really matter, and study after study backs me up on that. Here's one of the most prominent:http://www.retrosheet.org/Research/RuaneT/lineup_art.htmBut regardless of that, I don't see how a player's value depends on where he hits in the order, since players can move around the order at the manager's discretion. Werth is a slightly better hitter than Lombardozzi all things considered. That's the end of the analysis as far as I'm concerned. You wouldn't say Flores is a better hitter than Zimmerman because Flores bats eighth so he's performing better in his role than Zimmerman is in his, would you?

  132. greg - May 29, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Theophilus, the reason the W is marginalized for pitchers is because they can only control one side of that equation. and even that side, they rarely get to control all of. point one: a pitcher for the rangers with a 4.0 ERA last year was likely to have more wins than a pitcher for the nationals with a 4.0 ERA would (or did). giving up 4 runs a game when your team scores case in point: derek holland: 3.95 ERA, record of 16-5. jordan zimmerman: 3.18 ERA, record 8-11. would you argue derek holland was twice as good of a pitcher last season than jordan? he had twice as many wins and half the losses…point two: very few starters pitch complete games any more. it's hard to blame them for not getting the win when the bullpen comes in and blows the lead. if someone pitches 7 innings and gives up 1 run and loses 5-2 because the bullpen gets hammered, that's not a knock on the starter, is it? thus the emphasis on other statistics to measure the quality of a starter.

  133. Robert Garcia - May 29, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    @Theophilus- Couldn't agree with you more, sir. Stats alone can be extremely deceiving and imprecise. There are so many things they don't measure. That's why at the end of the article, I just tell people to go SEE the guy. Frankly, it was an intriguing exercise for me when I checked out his stats against the first full years of some of the greatest in the game. From seeing him- I already believed. From statistical analysis- I was convinced. It was confirmed. I'm not seeing things, he really IS that special. And I'll gladly concede the point that going to the yard and just watching him hit, run and field speaks more than a zillion numbers and spread sheets ever could.

  134. Steady Eddie - May 29, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Thanks for the link, NatsLady.I'd say two cheers only. As the story suggests, the centralized crew is an invitation to trouble by the randomness of how the four "central umps" are occupied, by having to follow too many games at once.As the story also suggests, MLB is reluctant to hire 15 new umps but that's the key to empowering the replay ump. Centralized umps embody a disconnect between them and the on-field crews. The gain for the umps in expanding every umpiring crew is a way of getting the umps' union to accept having the replay ump be able to override a wider range of calls. And the NFL standard of "undisputable visual evidence" to override an on-field call works there and should in MLB to avoid excessive delays and the unease of declaring your crew buddy blew one. For those who just don't want replay, I understand and respect your opinion but just disagree and am not interested in debating it. As they say, you can't argue a man into liking a glass of beer.

  135. baseballswami - May 29, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    My opinion, FWIW , is that Jayson Werth's value to this team is only partly stat related. I have noticed that he is almost a member of the coaching staff when he is in the dugout. I also think – no evidence, mind you, just observations – that he helps to keep the clubhouse stable. He has obviously been invaluable to Bryce. My feeling is that if you asked a lot of the players about Jayson's value to the team, his on-the-field activities would only be part of it. Different players bring different assets and skill sets to the table – it takes a good mix to make a good team. You just can't compare apples and oranges.

  136. hiramhover - May 29, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    TheophilusAll due respect, but did you actually read garciameister's post? You seem to have a chip on your shoulder about sabremetrics generally ("reduce baseball to numbers," "how many pennants you won lately, Billy," references to John Lannan, etc.) but your rant doesn't bear much relation to what s/he actually wrote.I think the best stats guys–Nate Silver, when he was still writing about baseball regularly, and Dave Cameron today–have a deep love of baseball and for what their eyes tell them about what's happening on the field. The numbers only deepen that appreciation. It's both/and, not either/or.Speaking of Cameron, he has a post about Harper today too. For those interested in such things, it's at:http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/bryce-harper-is-making-history/

  137. NCNatsie - May 29, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    A walk is not as good as a hit with RISP surely. But sometimes it's what you can get.

  138. Steady Eddie - May 29, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Garcia, thanks for your article and I agree on all counts. After recently seeing Harp take his typical huge turn at first on a routine line drive single, I said to a seat neighbor, "Worth the price of admission just to watch him do that". I guess you could argue that that shows up in SLG/OPS numbers, but just saying he hits a lot of XBHs partly as a result doesn't really capture very much of what makes him special.

  139. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Bowdenball-Only if he has that .820 OPS that you keep citing. He was at .718 last year and .810 this year. The .820 OPS days are likely behind him. I also don't think being a better hitter (which he hasn't been for 180 games now) means he is more valuable. Lead-off hitters who can hit .300, bunt, steal a few bases (which he should be able to do at some point) and move runners is harder to find than a corner outfielder who is league average at best right now. Just look at the struggles we have had finding a lead-off hitter. Has AROD been a better hitter than Jeter…YES!!! Is he more important…NO!!!

  140. Steady Eddie - May 29, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    swami at 3:00 — completely agree. He's not a $126m player on the field, but if you add in all the things he does in practice, in the dugout, and in the clubhouse (as you described), AND his ability to work with Davey to shape the mindset of a winning team, AND the quantum leap in the credibility of the team and The Plan — and this team's special chemistry — that he gave by signing here and continuing to talk up The Plan and the FO thereafter, he may well be.

  141. NCNatsie - May 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    My own untutored view is that Lombo has shown value enough as a leadoff hitter to have earned a regular spot in the lineup. When Morse comes back, the only spot reasonably available is 2b, which serendipitably is his natural position. I'm not an Espi hater, but I continue to believe, as I've been saying for weeks now, that the best thing for him and the team is a stretch — maybe season-long, barring further injuries — in AAA hitting righty only. If it works, his career might be made and his value to the team on the field or in trade will be maximized. If Lombo tanks, I'll be wrong, but I don't think holding him back because Espi tanked after a stellar 1st half last year is right, because they're such different hitters.Whether it's his genes, or having been around baseball since he was a toddler, Lombo's mechanics seem extra sound to me. He doesn't have Espi's upside, to be sure, but so far, he has what we need this year IMHO.

  142. Section 222 - May 29, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    When it rains it pours for the Phillies. Check out this link about the Halladay Bobblehead Fiasco. Not quite as much of a fail as the Natinals uniform, but close. And the comments are hilarious.

  143. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    AROD-.950 career OPSJeter-.832 career OPSWho would you have rather lost in their prime?

  144. peric - May 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    I'm not an Espi hater, but I continue to believe, as I've been saying for weeks now, that the best thing for him and the team is a stretch — maybe season-long, barring further injuries — in AAA hitting righty only. Espy can also man the UTL position and probably be far better defensively than Lombo. Just start with the arm.If you think Espy is bad they are going to bring DeRosa back to man that spot? With a .083 batting average? Really? Seems like DeRosa should retire and they should give Espy that role, at least of this year, if they decide to start Lombo at second because DeRosa sure looks like he can't last a couple of games much less an entire season in the role, and without Lombardozzi doing it … who do they have? Outside of Teahen in AAA?

  145. Eugene in Oregon - May 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  146. Tcostant - May 29, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Don't move to North Carolina if your a Nats fan. Sometimes things are just stupid!http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/05/29/bad-news-for-you-if-you-want-to-watch-the-nats-or-orioles-in-north-carolina/

  147. Fear and Ignorance - May 29, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    On a lighter note…the Nats and Orioles are turning into a walking Seinfeld reference with Buck, Davey and now Dr. Jimmy Van Ostrand. Too funny!!!

  148. bowdenball - May 29, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said…"AROD-.950 career OPSJeter-.832 career OPSWho would you have rather lost in their prime?"Rather have lost? Jeter, and it's not close. A-rod was by far the more valuable player. It's a HUGE difference, and I'm fairly confident that most GMs would agree with me on that.Look, you and I just see baseball differently- this argument makes that clear to me. So there's no need to continue this conversation. I do want to say that you are being a little unfair to Werth. You declared his .820 OPS days "likely behind him" despite an .810 OPS this season, and compared his ability to get on base and steal bases unfavorably to Lombo even though they got on base at the same rate, and Werth, unlike Lombo, actually as a few stolen bases in the majors to his credit. Not arguing, just saying that you should be fair and honest about the guy if you want to dismiss him.

  149. NCNatsie - May 29, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Tcostant, see my post at 12:49. As (apparently) the one and only Nats fan in the Raleigh DMA, I solved the problem, but it wasn't easy.

  150. Eugene in Oregon - May 29, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Theo (@ 2:41 p.m.): I'm not exactly sure what you meant by "people take an instance — such as Harper — where statistics randomly coincide w/ reality and extrapolate that to a vindication of statistics that defy what your eyes see on the field." In fact, Bryce Harper's stats are not random. In his case, the stats confirm what our eyes and mind are telling us, i.e., that he's not just a 'flashy' ballplayer who hustles and sometimes turns a single into a double or otherwise makes the crowd gasp in astonishment at an impressive play (Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel can sometimes accomplish that). Instead, the stats confirm that Mr. Harper is a solid, substantive, productive contributor over a period of time (still short, but growing). And if, like me, your memory isn't perfect, the comparative help you put Mr. Harper's performance into a bit of historical context.Because what stats — particularly some of the more advanced ones — ultimately provide is a check on some of our inherent mental/psychological/observational biases. We see a great play and remember it; we don't remember the mediocre ones. We call someone a 'clutch' hitter because he drove in the game-winning runs in a couple of game we were watching or that were important. Our minds focus on that and not on the many times the same hitter failed to perform (or, perhaps better said, performed at his .250 norm) in many, many other games that we didn't see or that we just forget about. Stats don't 'defy' what your eyes see on the field, but they help you put what you see into some context — sometimes positive (Mr. Harper), sometimes not (Danny Espinosa's LH hitting).P.S. – And the real question for Billy Beane isn't 'how many pennants?" but 'how many wins given the Oakland payroll?"

  151. natsfan1a - May 29, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Not I.bowdenball said… I hope nobody thinks I was being a jerk here a la Greg's post.

  152. Theophilus T. S. - May 29, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  153. Theophilus T. S. - May 29, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Eugene — You're a smart guy who adds a lot to this blog. If you're still following this thread and haven't moved on to the new one, this is what I'm saying: You don't need stats to confirm what your eyes tell you about Harper. You don't need stats to tell you he has a bunch of extra-base hits and that this is extraordinary. Derek Jeter may have taken more extra bases than any active player. Way before that, the guys I remember were Vada Pinson and Rod Carew. No reason to look it up, all that was needed to remember the blur going from first to third. Stats are used by people who need to vindicate what they think they are seeing, and by others looking to shore up a weak argument.

  154. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 29, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    And the real question for Billy Beane isn't 'how many pennants?" but 'how many wins given the Oakland payroll?" Some people might argue the real question is "How many people were willing to pay to watch his teams?"

  155. Eugene in Oregon - May 29, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    Theo,Fair enough. I guess where I'm coming from is this: I spent 30 years in a career where I learned that people's (and governments') perceptions of "reality" are quite often — but certainly not always — wrong. Maybe not 100% wrong, but flawed enough to impact decision-making for the worse. Thus, I appreciate the underlying stats in baseball, politics, economics, public policy, etc. that sometimes prove my own perceptions correct, but sometimes prove them to be missing some key factor or factors. Pitching stats are a great example (and I don't mean just the wins-losses question). But you could just as easily be talking about finding the right metrics to judge success/failure in a post-conflict zone (e.g., Iraq or Afghanistan). So, I don't disagree with you that sometimes successes (such as Mr. Harper) are pretty darn obvious. But I also know that sometimes you've got to dig a bit (a lot) deeper to make sense of what your eyes/mind think they saw or think they remember (e.g., that Reggie Jackson was a great 'clutch' hitter — he was a superb hitter all arond, but his 'clutch' numbers were neither better nor worse than his norm).

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 57 --
ATLANTA 71 65 7.0
MIAMI 68 68 11.0
NEW YORK 63 73 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 73 15.5
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 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: 1:30 p.m., 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 ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter