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Ranking Nats rookies over the years

Nov 13, 2012, 6:14 PM EDT

Photo by US-Presswire

On Monday night Bryce Harper became the first Nationals player since the team moved to Washington to win the N.L. Rookie of the Year award. He was, however, not the first player in club history to have a good rookie year. The Nationals have built a winning team on young talent and have seen several players have success right from the start.

Here are the best rookie seasons since the Nationals moved to Washington in 2005:

1. Ryan Zimmerman – 2006

157 G – .287/.351/.471 – 20 HR – 110 RBI – 84 R – 47 2B

Zimmerman finished second to Hanley Ramirez in N.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 2006, but with the numbers he posted could have won it almost any other year. After being picked fourth overall in the 2005 draft, Zimmerman needed less than a calendar year to establish himself as a franchise cornerstone. He is still a major part of the Nationals’ operation and signed his second contract extension with the team in 2012.

2. Bryce Harper – 2012

139 G – .270/.340/.477 – 22 HR – 59 RBI – 98 R – 18 SB

Harper became the first Nationals player to win the N.L. Rookie of the Year award on Monday after a tremendous first season. The number one overall pick in 2010 was called up on April 28 and provided a quick spark to a Washington team dealing with major injuries at the time. He and the Nationals won 98 games and their first N.L. East division title. To think he did all of it at just 19 years old suggests he could some day, perhaps very soon, be an MVP candidate.

3. Stephen Strasburg – 2010

12 G – 5-3 – 2.91 ERA – 1.074 WHIP – 92 SO – 68.0 IP

Taken with the number one overall pick in 2009, Strasburg was an instant sensation. He struck out 14 batters in his major league debut and showed immediately he was one of the best young pitchers in baseball. His rookie year was cut short by a torn ligament in his elbow that required Tommy John surgery, but it was a season baseball fans will remember for a long time.

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  1. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 13, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Hope to see Rendon, Karns, Purke, Meyer's names in this list over next couple of seasons.

  2. karlkolchak - Nov 13, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    What, no love for John Lannan's 2008 rookie campaign? A 3.91 ERA in 31 starts with a 2.5 WAR (according to Baseball reference) ought to be worth at least a mention.

  3. sm13 - Nov 13, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    The fact that this list places Strasburg 3rd speaks volumes about this team and the talent Mike Rizzo has assembled.

  4. alexva - Nov 13, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    it's always tough to get love for Lannan on this site.

  5. SCNatsFan - Nov 13, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    That's not true. People would love for Lannan to leave lol.

  6. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    SCNatsFan said… That's not true. People would love for Lannan to leave lol. November 13, 2012 1:59 PM _____________________________I'm not laughing out loud. Its not funny.

  7. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Its interesting seeing Zim and Harp side by side in comparison. It would be hard to count Harp out as the top Nats rookie of all-time as I recall in 2006 that Hanley beat Zim based on playing a premium position, speed numbers, etc. Zim's 110 RBIs was huge but so is Harp's 98 runs scored in only 139 games.

  8. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    MicheleS said… @BNightengale The #Marlins are letting teams know that virtually everyone is available on trade market… I want Stanton! November 13, 2012 12:03 PM ________________________________Change all plans if its true. That's the player you want. You got me man-crushing again!

  9. JD - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    2012 Harper 4.9 WAR 2006 Ramirez 4.6 WAR 2004 ZIM 4.4 WAR.

  10. JD - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    We're not getting Stanton. When they say everyone is available it doesn't mean they won't ask for Stras or Harper.

  11. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    JD said… 2012 Harper 4.9 WAR2006 Ramirez 4.6 WAR2004 ZIM 4.4 WAR. November 13, 2012 2:21 PM __________________________________Thanks for those numbers but Zim didn't play in the MLB in 2004.

  12. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    JD said… We're not getting Stanton. When they say everyone is available it doesn't mean they won't ask for Stras or Harper. November 13, 2012 2:22 PM ____________________________________Plus he isn't getting paid a lot. They will re-build the team around him.Any other outfielders the Nats would want?I would take Buehrle if they eat some of that salary and give them Cutter Dykstra.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    JD, I don't know about others but I am just fantasizing about Stanton's bat in our lineup. I don't expect Nats to trade for him.

  14. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    JD.. it's all of us just dreaming of Stanton hitting homers for us instead of against us.Could we get Johnson? Maybe, but if they think they can get a hall for their players (with the exception of Stanton) they are mistaken. They took a bag of balls for Heath Bell.

  15. SCNatsFan - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    You would think the Fish want to dump salaries and Johnson fits right in with that thought. While Stanton is a pipe dream – too young, too cheap – Johnson I would think is realstic.

  16. JD - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Michelle, Heath Bell is a senior citizen reliever making too much money; they were glad to be rid of him. Stanton is a young stud who is still cheap and under team control for a few more years. Johnson is intriguing but I think he is their one commodity who they expect to fetch top talent and they are not likely to deal inside their own division. Beinfest is a pretty sharp guy; all of the free agent activity last off season came from the a holes Samson and Loria.

  17. JD - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Ah Gonat, I can always count on you to catch my typos. I meant 2006 of course.

  18. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    JD, thanks for posting the WAR. I have Harp as 1 and Zim 2 and it goes further than WAR. Zim was a better bunter which most don't know that he was 100% in bunts for hits in 2006 with no runners on base.

  19. Don - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Storen's 2010 was pretty good too.When you look at those Espi stats from 2011, the expectation had to be that he'd improve in 2012, but he regressed across the board. OBP, SLG, OPS, Ks, HRs, his contact rate got worse (when he swings he misses 32% of the time — not good). There's not much doubt that he has a lot of talent, but there's a lot of doubt as to whether he can harness it any time very soon. Meanwhile, Lombo has not so much power upside, but he brings what the club lacks, decent ability to get on, to put the ball in play (Lombo's swing and miss rate is about 12%), move a guy over. The Nats have Zim, Werth, Morse, Harper, Desi (maybe ALR, or a replacement 1B) and some power at C to hit big flies, Espi's swing and miss bat might be what Rizzo thinks they can afford to move this off-season. We'll see.

  20. Another_Sam - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    when I saw the thread title, I flashed back: Bob Allison. Albie Pearson. Oops. Wrong club. LOL.

  21. JD - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Don, In fairness to Espi, Lombo is not in his class. Lombo's OBP was .317 compared to Espi's .315 so no material difference but Espi out slugged him .402 to .354 and there is no comparison in defensive metrics. Espi also walks 7% of the time to Lombo's 4.6%. Lombo is basically a singles hitter with slightly above average tools across the board and if he can be reasonably expected to improve with experience he would be a perfectly acceptable option at 2nd base but he's simply not as good as Espi.

  22. JD - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Ghost, I often wandered why Zim totally abandoned the bunting game especially when he's slumping; he was so good at it and with his power potential it's a guaranteed hit if he gets it down.

  23. peric - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    I'm wondering if Jason Heyward for left field might be available? Seems unlikely but fans there haven't been really happy with him it seems and Roy Clark did find and draft him.Perfect left-handed bat for left-field.But, it seems like they would have to get a player who could also develop into a CF.Which is why I think Mark greatly underestimated Corey Brown. We'll see.

  24. peric - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Lombardozzi would definitely be a downgrade from Danny Espinosa. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't know baseball period.Now, if they use Espinosa as a trade chip to acquire a top of the rotation left-handed starter like David Price? Sure Lombo could move over. But I doubt it. I suspect that could end up being Anthony Rendon's position temporarily if not permanently.

  25. natsfan1a - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Re. Bell, he'd also been ineffective and removed from the closer position, as well as making some very pointed remarks about Ozzie, if memory serves. (Not that making pointed remarks about Guillen is necessarily a bad thing in my book. :-)

  26. natsfan1a - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    About time to start the MOY countdown, btw. :-)

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Peric, read NatsJack comments on Espi. IF IF IF

  28. Clip&Store - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Good point about Zimm bunting, i actually remember that. When is the last time he bunted for a hit? I assume he just doesn't have that same speed anymore.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    NatsJack, I was hoping I was wrong all this time on Espi and you used the word "tweener" and I would say he's a guy who not only thinks he's a HR hitter but wants to hit him 450 feet.I agree with Peric that Espi is still the better player but I am a proponent of a 2nd base platoon.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Clip, yep, ZIM'S bunting days are over. Back in 2007 Acta changed his approach. Now hea a bonafide power hitter.

  31. Clip&Store - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Ok that sounds right, thanks

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    "Tweener" was Eck's description.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    NatsJack, even better. It shows how much thought Eck has pondered on it that he has a name for it.I also agree with NatsLady that too many people are losing perspective on this and turning it into hating on Espi.

  34. Another_Sam - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Jack, thanks for tweeting recently.

  35. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    JD said… Ah Gonat,I can always count on you to catch my typos. I meant 2006 of course. November 13, 2012 3:44 PM __________________________________You are great. Its tough to catch our own typos. We are all better than Kilgore. I read his Bryce Harper e-book and he had plenty of typos. The word "the" instead of "then" and other inaccuracies and he does it for a living.Seriously, thanks for the WAR stats as it confirms what I had thought and agree with SteveM that Harper was even higher in my mind also. His youthful enthusiasm was infectious on this team!

  36. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Jon Morosi‏@jonmorosiSource: #BlueJays on verge of acquiring Josh Johnson from #Marlins. Deal could be even larger than that.

  37. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    So JJ can be had.. apparantly! The Jays are desparate for pitching

  38. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    And now Buerhle toooKen Rosenthal‏@Ken_Rosenthal Buerhle headed to #BlueJays along with Josh Johnson, sources tell me and @jonmorosi.

  39. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    And Amanda is FREEZING!

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Gonat, Zim also had Alfonso Soriano in front of him in 2006

  41. baseballswami - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    No media except phone. Anyone watching MLB? Please post when you hear? Phone on silent during meeting.

  42. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Good lord this is going to be fun to watch.Ken Rosenthal‏@Ken_RosenthalYunel Escobar and Hechavarria part of package going from #BlueJays to #Marlins. Monster deal.

  43. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Will do Swami.. they are dragging it out.

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Marlins season ticket holders that signed deals last year should be ticked. It's like going to a Broadway show to see several Tony winners only ti get a bunch if stand-ins only this will be for all of 2013.

  45. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Woooohoooo Davey Johnson!!Woooohoooo ™ used with the permission of MicheleS and a registered trademark ® of Woooohoooo, Inc.

  46. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Sweet! Davey is the MOY! 2 for 2! Still keeping my fingers crossed for Gio tomorrow!

  47. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Gonat.. that's good…

  48. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    They just showed a shot of Davey.. Nice tan. That golf game must be going good

  49. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Nice Davey!

  50. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    And MORE from the Marlins:Ken Rosenthal‏@Ken_RosenthalJose Reyes could – repeat, could – be part of this. Two shortstops – Escobar, Hechavarria – going from #BlueJays to #Marlins

  51. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWPDavey got 23 of 32 first place votes. Won handily

  52. baseballswami - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Thanks!

  53. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    MicheleS said… Gonat.. that's good… November 13, 2012 6:19 PM _______________________________That and Kardiac Kids were my 2 favorites and to see the players turn that into Kardiac Nats was kool.

  54. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    "Bigger deal" between Marlins and Blue Jays? If that deal happens — and I'm skeptical — I think we'll be surprised at how low the price is. Other than Lawrie — really a keeper — and Bautista, who does Toronto have to give up (that's worth having)? Miami isn't picking up $45MM worth of contract to give up $9.5MM.Ramirez and Infante went for minor leaguers — good ones, but still minor leaguers. I don't think Loria wants any player who is in danger of making seven figures in the next three years.

  55. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Davey.. 131 total points, baker had 77, bochy had 61, so no contest

  56. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    MicheleS said… Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWPDavey got 23 of 32 first place votes. Won handilyNovember 13, 2012 6:21 PM _________________________________That would make sense. Davey did a great job.

  57. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Okay. this is funny:Not Buster Olney‏@TrippingOlneySOURCE: MARLINS AND BLUE JAYS SWAP TEAMS. CN TOWER EXPECTED TO BE TRADED FOR HOME RUN THINGY.

  58. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Should've checked the last half dozen posts first, I guess.

  59. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Gio isn't going to get the Cy but at least we know he will be Top 3!

  60. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    Proves my point, however, that Loria wants to beat Tampa to the bottom of the payroll scale.

  61. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    MicheleS said… Okay. this is funny:Not Buster Olney‏@TrippingOlneySOURCE: MARLINS AND BLUE JAYS SWAP TEAMS. CN TOWER EXPECTED TO BE TRADED FOR HOME RUN THINGY.November 13, 2012 6:25 PM ________________________________Its sad. That is a con job. I feel sorry for that fanbase. Happy for ours. Maybe we will finally destroy the Marlins.

  62. Gonat - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Man, Davey looks great! Did he have plastic surgery?

  63. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Buster Olney‏@Buster_ESPN Summation of the forthcoming Jays-Miami deal: Just about everybody making money is going to Toronto.

  64. Candide - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Gonat said… Its tough to catch our own typos.Here's a trick I learned from my sister. She has to proofread anything important her husband writes before he sends it off to others – he's a terrible writer. She simply reads it out loud. Says it's amazing what you catch when you force yourself to say every word. Not foolproof, but definitely helpful.Of course, I don't need a poofreader…

  65. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Fun stuff on twitter tonight:Old Hoss Radbourn‏@OldHossRadbournOh no, J. Loria is murdering another team. Ken Rosenthal‏@Ken_RosenthalConfirmed: Reyes going to #BlueJays. Henderson Alvarez also going to #Marlins.

  66. Candide - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said…I also agree with NatsLady that too many people are losing perspective on this and turning it into hating on Espi.That may be a good thing. Look how many people were hating on Desi a year ago. Myself included. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc and all that.

  67. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Who is Henderson Alvarez?

  68. MicheleS - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    New Post

  69. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    Miami is filling the chinks in the 40-man roster w/ bathroom tissue.

  70. Don - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    Guys who can hit 30 HRs don't try to bunt much, and that is a good thing.I never said that Lombo was a better player than Espi. I don't hate on Espi, but, if I am Rizzo I might be thinking that I can afford to move Espi for something else the club needs. He has extra guys in the middle of the diamond. Desi’s too good to be moved, Lombo does not have the upside, and Espi has good value in trade (under control, can play SS, power switch hitting bat, good pedigree).And for this club, Lombo might be the more valuable guy for the Nats to have anyway. Espi has a much higher ceiling and by a lot (25 HR power is a big deal and he has a very nice glove, of course), but that does not mean much if he does not actually get it together. Brandon Wood, Kelly Johnson, Gordon Beckham, MLB is littered with guys with big talent that don't turn-out so great. Forget Brandon Wood, Espi might become Brandon Phillips in 2013, but that is far from some sure thing. Espi did regress in almost every category from 2011. Espi's power is his big asset, but he hit 17 HRs with 189 Ks folks, that’s a high price to pay for some bombs from the bottom of the order. And power is not something the club lacks, certainly not to the point where it can tolerate all those Ks and a .240 AVG and 60-ish RBI from a guy playing every day – though it’s nice that his glove might make you 1 extra play every week or two in the field. The club has a bunch of 20+ HR guys already and the problem with scoring runs for the Nats has been too many Ks and not enough runners on for the middle of the order. The club has to be thinking win now, and Harper's big power potential does not make him a 2 hole hitter (not to mention that Werth is not likely at the top either – 30+ HR potential guys don’t bunt much, and they don’t lead-off much either), and Desi’s found success in the middle of the order and why waste his 25 HR bat at the top when he can be a run producing SS (a rare bird these days). So where does Rizzo turn for top of the order guys for his lineup that is largely already made? He might have one in Lombo already — Lombo is much more likely to hit for average than Espi, he has a history of being able to get on in the minors and he can steal a base (should he be asked to do so – swiped more than 20 a few times in the minors). When Lombo played every day in 2012, he performed well (he ripped it up in July and August when Desmond was down) and did well in the clutch all season too. The guy can play winning baseball. He’s not a bad option to bat in the 2 hole behind Bourn (yes, I am betting they ink him, Morse to 1B, LaRoche to some big market AL club). We’ll see.

  71. Unknown - Nov 14, 2012 at 5:09 AM

    I know this story is about the Nationals' rookies, but we old-farts remember a solid rookie season turned in by Del Unser.In 1968, Unser came in second in Rookie-of-the-Year voting to Stan Bahnsen, hitting .230 (not terrible for 1968) but excelled defensively, piling up 22 assists and 10 double plays. Farid @ Idaho

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 43 --
ATLANTA 54 46 2.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
NEW YORK 47 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 13.0
Through Tuesday's games

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SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
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