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The state of the farm system

Dec 19, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

Associated Press
Anthony Rendon should be rated the Nationals' top prospect entering 2013.

[UPDATE AT 11:30 A.M. -- Baseball America's 2013 top prospects list is now out. The Nats' top 10: Anthony Rendon, Lucas Giolito, Brian Goodwin, Matt Skole, Nathan Karns, Christian Garcia, Eury Perez, Sammy Solis, Matt Purke, Zach Walters. Here's a link to their full story, though you'll need to be a subscriber to access the full scouting reports on each player.]

It was roughly one year ago when Baseball America deemed the Nationals' farm system as the sport's preeminent assemblage of talent. For Mike Rizzo and his team of scouts and instructors, who for years had worked to rebuild a tattered system, it was the highest praise possible.

Later today, Baseball America will unveil its top 10 list of Nationals prospects for 2013, a list that won't be nearly as deep in talent as last year's was, certainly nowhere close to retaining the crown as the best farm system in baseball.

The Nationals aren't to blame for this drop-off. There are two perfectly good reasons for it: 1) Bryce Harper, Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore are now established big leaguers and no longer considered prospects, and 2) a host of top prospects has since been traded away to acquire more established big leaguers who areRead more »

131 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I am really hoping Nate Karns can help out this season. I know it is a bit optimistic but if he pitches really well in AA. I hope Rizzo and co don't hesitate in throwing him at major league hitters if needed. I am very much interested in what he can do.Overall, I expect us to be ranked in 20s. We might feel it should be ranked higher but there are lot of question marks on our prospect list.

  2. MicheleS - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    And the good news is that the MLB Roster has few holes over the next few years. Rizzo will have the next few drafts to restock.

  3. Positively Half St. - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    MicheleS, Faraz-I agree with both of your takes. I also think that Rizzo will adjust to the team's low draft position by continuing to take risks with upper-shelf prospects with injury concerns. They can't all fail to recover. Ryan Mattheus comes to mind as a recent success.+1/2St.

  4. sjm308 - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    MicheleS is spot on! We really do not need to be moving more pieces for the next year or two which should allow Rizzo and his scouts to work their magic. People here have commented that Rizzo's strength is in scouting and evaluating and I have to trust their judgement. Things have changed with being able to draft someone late and pay big bucks after we stole several players that way. I am not concerned where we are ranked, nor will I be excited as we move up those ranks in the next few years. What will excite me is how Rizzo uses those pieces to keep us on top of the NL East and that is really what his job is all about.Go Nats!!

  5. Gonat - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    These Comp picks from retaining some of the stars through Free Agency has worked out beyond reasonable expectations.Alfonso Soriano became Jordan Zimmermann.Adam Dunn became Denard Span and Brian Goodwin.I am liking the thought that Adam LaRoche could net a late 1st rounder and next year Michael Morse also could net a late 1st rounder.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Michele, as far as I am concerned, there is only one hole and that is 1B in case ALR is not signed and Morse walks out after next season. Then again we have Moore who is not a great fielding 1B but has immense power. I am fine with all other positions for next three years. But yeah eventually we are going to need some cheap talent to replace our pricey players, but not any time soon.

  7. sjm308 - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Faraz: before someone else jumps in with the move of you know who to you know where. I think even if that doesn't happen, its hard to call firstbase a weakness with 3 people who have played the position in the majors on your 40 man roster (don't forget that until his injury Marrero was someone Davey was really excited about) as well as the possibility of LaRoche. From what I read, Moore made decent strides on his defense at first and did not get to concentrate on just one position last year. I have said this about Morse and believe it true with just about any professional. If you give them the entire year, including spring training to hone their craft, they usually will improve. If Moore knows he will be playing just firstbase and can take balls there each and every day with major league coaching, it will have to help. This is also what I am hoping for Morse this season as that draft pick is looking more and more like a positive to not re-signing LaRoche.

  8. Gonat - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    I still think there are Plan B's and C's that may include Anthony Rendon scenarios at 2nd base and 3rd base.

  9. Joe Seamhead - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Erik Davis is also getting very positive reviews. Unlike some on this board, I don't think that Cole Kimball has been given up either.SJM, I still think that Adam LaRoach will probably return for three reasons: First, Davey wants him back. Second, giving up a sandwich 1/2 round draft choice is hard to justify for a 33 year old 1B unless a team feels that he is the missing piece to win it all. Third,3 years for him is a potentially very bad baseball decision.The Rangers strike me as being the only possibility, but like happened with Prince Fielder last year, you never know.

  10. JamesFan - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    It is nothing short of amazing how the Lerners and Rizzo have turned this franchise around. The one big contract to sign is to extend Rizzo as far as possible.From what I saw in the Fall, Skole is the future at first and Goodwin/Perez follow Span. Rendon–not sure–maybe second or a big trade.I do not know how the Nats can afford the current rotation into the future, so we had better start stocking top quality arms on the farm.

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Gonat, the time for Rendon will start in Spring Training. He's now healthy and Rizzo will be watching him more than anyone much the same as Harp last year.If Espinosa doesn't improve, I could see Espi and Rendon trading places. Yes, its harsh and tough decisions have to be made.World Series or bust.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    sjm, I think hole was a strong word when we have at least two in-house options right now. I really want to see what Moore can do in a full season as a major league 1B. I think teams like Mariners, etc would kill to get their hands on a 1B like Moore since their own are not exactly panning out. I am not suggesting a trade but saying that he is valuable.

  13. 3on2out - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Positively Half Street (love the poker homage!):I think you have a struck on a very key element to Rizzo's draft strategy: he's not afraid to draw to a four flush by drafting a player with an injury issue. Some will go bust up but some will be the nut.

  14. SCNatsFan - Dec 19, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    RE Kimball; he'll be interesting as he tries to go from a fireballer to a pitcher. A longshot at best but Frank Tanana turned himself into an excellent pitcher when his arm blew out.

  15. JB - Dec 19, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    At the end of the 2014 season, RZimm will turn 30. He is certainly capable of pulling a Scott Rolen and thriving over at 3B well into his late career, but it's probably just as likely he'll slide across the diamond and Rendon could go to 3rd. Who knows, the way Rizzo operates, I fully expect the Nats, with all the payroll space "available" through not signing Fielder, Bourn, etc, to be the frontrunning rumor to sign Cano at the end of this year. All I know is that the hot stove and prospect lists are a pleasant diversion from bad weather and a horrific news cycle. Thanks to Mark for providing the space and the fuel for us fans. I love this game.NatinBeantown(nowinOhio)

  16. JB - Dec 19, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    The most telling sign about the system's depth is that there were four pitchers worth mentioning, and only one of them (Karns) because of recent production and development. The other three (Purke, Solis, Giolito) are all coming off major surgery and are more potential than proven ability at this point.As MichelleS said, I hope that drafts, comp picks, and trades can add numbers to that list. Our current bonanza of MLB pitching depth only came from years of buildup and lots of "failed" prospects.

  17. sjm308 - Dec 19, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Seam: don't get me wrong – I think we are in a win/win situation as long as we stay at two years with LaRoche. I am now starting to get excited about following all these young pitchers that are being mentioned as they come off the injured list. The more I think about Rizzo and this particular gamble, the more impressed I am. If even one of them comes through we have created a situation where our pitching is dominant for years to come. If several make it, its just gravy.Go Nats!!

  18. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 19, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    love the poker homage!The things you learn in here!++++++++++++++++++++++++++Half-street games have the following characteristics: The first player (conventionally called X) checks in the dark. The second player (conventionally called Y) then has the option to either check or may bet some amount according to the rules of the game. If Y bets, X always has the option to call, in which case there is a showdown, and may additionally have the option to fold (but not raise). If Y checks, there is a showdown.Mathematics of Poker, p. 111 +++++++++++++++++++++As opposed toPositively 4th Street

  19. John C. - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    The Nationals' farm system is likely to be considered in the bottom 10 this year. This should not surprise anyone. The team not only traded Alex Meyer, A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, Derek Norris and Tom Milone; it also graduated Bryce Harper, Tyler Moore, Steven Lombardozzi and (depending on whether they have lost their rookie status) Christian Garcia, Ryan Mattheus and Corey Brown. Take that much talent out of any minor league system and it will be set back. But as Mark noted, the goal of the farm system is not to be highly rated; it is to make sure that the major league team has a constant flow of major league talent to draw on. No matter what the ranking, this is a successful farm system.

  20. John C. - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Oh, and one more: I forgot Dave Freitas, traded for Kurt Suzuki. :D

  21. Joe Seamhead - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    sjm308, at the end of last season I was 1005 positive that we had to re-sign ALR. Now,I waver. Why? The acquisition of Denard Span really changed the Morse/ALR picture. Ilike the idea of a better defensive outfield and of a high OBP spark plug at the top of the order, but if we re-sign Adam, Morse still seems to be the odd man out. Will Span's contributions offset the loss of Morse's? Or will Morse's deficiencies at first base offset the loss of ALR? If Span is set at the top, I'm not as sure about ALR as I was.I keep wavering. Rizzo is making many of us nuttier then we already were!

  22. Joe Seamhead - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    100% positive.

  23. Drew - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Fangraphs yesterday listed six pitchers among the Mariners' top 10 prospects.Seattle desperately needs offense. If LaRoche returns, a Morse deal to Seattle might help restock the pitching down on the farm.If the Nats deal Morse I hope they get someone with upside. not a AAAA retread.

  24. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    I think davey still openly asked for ALR to come back to DC after Span trade. didn't he make the cattle comment after the trade also? I am just saying that he seems to want his LH power bat in the lineup.

  25. Section 222 - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    The idea of dealing Morse back to the Mariners for a decent pitching prospect is just too delicious. Ryan Langerhans: the gift that keeps on giving.

  26. JB - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Sec 222 beat me to it. Ha!

  27. Tcostant - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    I got the list:TOP TEN NATIONALS PROSPECTS 1. Anthony Rendon, 3b 2. Lucas Giolito, rhp 3. Brian Goodwin, of 4. Matt Skole, 3b 5. Nate Karns, rhp 6. Christian Garcia, rhp 7. Eury Perez, of 8. Sammy Solis, lhp 9. Matt Purke, lhp 10. Zach Walters, ss http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2013/2614474.html

  28. sm13 - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Sjm – I agree with all your comments this morning. What a good feeling to be dealing ftom a position of strength. You hit the nail on the head: Rizzo now has to keep us at the top, not dig us out of the bottom. His job is to keep a steady hand and start locking up the younger guys.

  29. JB - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    sm13, re: 'dig us out of the bottom"…Nats acquisitions in December 2007: Signed Paul Lo Duca, Aaron Boone, Wily Mo Pena Ryan Langerhans, Willie Harris and Rob Mackowiak on one-year contracts.Aquired Tyler Clippard from the Yankees andElijah Dukes from the Rays.I need another shower.

  30. Feel Wood - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    If the Nats deal Morse I hope they get someone with upside. not a AAAA retread.Do you know what Morse will return in a trade? No more than what Josh Willingham did, which if you recall was Corey Brown and Henry Rodriguez. That was two years ago, and the jury is still out on both of them. They could have upside, or they could be AAAA retreads.Do you know what else gets traded away with Morse? The draft pick that's not picked up when Adam LaRoche doesn't sign elsewhere, and the draft pick that won't be picked up next year when Morse himself doesn't hit FA as a Nat and sign elsewhere. Do those two draft picks have any less upside than what Morse would bring back in trade? Maybe, but maybe not. But in trading Morse you're also saddled with paying ALR upwards of $20M for two years vs paying Morse $6.5M this year and moving on to another option at first base next year, be it Tyler Moore, Zimmerman or whoever. When you really think about it, signing ALR and trading Morse doesn't make sense for this team at all, either now or in the long term.

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Eury Perez at #7? Zach Walters at #10?

  32. JB - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Will Eury Perez ever be more than a 5th OF/pinch-runner type at the MLB level? Not a knock, I just haven't followed his development closely enough and it seems like he's been at the upper levels of the minors for awhile.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Denard Span is making the rounds on the interviews. On just his personality, what a great pickup. You can tell he will fit in great. He went out of his way to compliment his other outfielders (Harp & Werth) and talked about his speed game and his concussion 2 seasons ago.He also talked about what it means to be a leadoff hitter and communicating back to his teammates what he saw from the pitcher.

  34. DaveBinMD - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    @Joe Seamhead:The draft pick other teams will have to give-up in order to sign LaRoche is not a sandwich pick, teams don't have sandwich picks to surrender, they only receive them as compensation. Since the reported teams interested in LaRoche all finished in the top two-thirds in W-L record, they would have to give-up their FIRST ROUND pick, (in the case of the Orioles, that would be the 24th pick in the entire draft) the Nats would then get a sandwich pick between the first and second round as compensation.

  35. DaveBinMD - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    @Joe Seamhead:The draft pick other teams will have to give-up in order to sign LaRoche is not a sandwich pick, teams don't have sandwich picks to surrender, they only receive them as compensation. Since the reported teams interested in LaRoche all finished in the top two-thirds in W-L record, they would have to give-up their FIRST ROUND pick, (in the case of the Orioles, that would be the 24th pick in the entire draft) the Nats would then get a sandwich pick between the first and second round as compensation.

  36. sm13 - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    JB – thanks for the unpleasant memories. Although, that Clippard kid turned out okay.

  37. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    As I recall, they got Clippard for Jonathan Santana Albaladejo.

  38. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    sm13, there's an old saying about throwing sh-t against the wall and seeing what sticks. Clippard stuck & the rest were flushed. That 2007 to 2008 time period was awful and you can see it with many teams going after players. Reclamation projects rarely work out and fringe players rarely work out. The Nats question marks as I see it are still with players like Danny Espinosa and Henry Rodriguez and like NatsJack said the guys you are seeing now may not be the same players on the roster on April 1st.I could definitely see a scenario of Rendon and Espinosa changing places in 2013 if Espi doesn't step up his game. Of course it means Rendon has to prove he is ready for Prime Time which I think he will be.

  39. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Kazmir can be an option for a minor league deal. backup in case we need a loogy or spot starter.

  40. sm13 - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Ghost – Clip was the only silver lining in that dark cloud of deals. And, even then, he was acquired as a starter and had to be converted to relief.

  41. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    GoSM, I don't think Danny is a question mark. His offense is not great but health and defense are two areas where he is much ahead of Rendon.

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    sm13 said… Ghost – Clip was the only silver lining in that dark cloud of deals. And, even then, he was acquired as a starter and had to be converted to relief. December 19, 2012 11:37 AM That's a good point! The Yankee Clippard was at one point a top 'starting' pitching prospect for the Yankees.

  43. 3on2out - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Gorse Hackage:I did not know about half-street games. I assumed "Positively Half Street" was a play on a book entitled "Positively Fifth Street."http://us.macmillan.com/positivelyfifthstreet/JamesMcManusFifth Street, or "the river," is the last (fifth) card dealt to the communal hand in Texas Hold 'Em. Perhaps Positively Half Street can enlighten us on his intent.And you're right…you can learn a lot here…it is a diverse group!

  44. The Fox - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Ghost, I don't see the Nats putting Rendon at 2nd. Granted if he hits, and he will hit, they will find a spot for him somewhere.Surprised Brett Mooneyham didn't make the list maybe he didn't pitch enough innings or they though his age was too high for low A ball. Mooneyham as a LH'r does have a good chance pitching in the big leagues, good pedigree from Standford.

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… GoSM, I don't think Danny is a question mark. His offense is not great but health and defense are two areas where he is much ahead of Rendon. December 19, 2012 11:39 AM Faraz, I don't value Danny's defense as high as you or many others. He was 8th in the Majors in 2nd base UZR and much of his extra defense is from an above average arm but that is a bonus rarely needed at 2nd base and is just part of "wow". Lombo's arm is typical for a 2nd baseman and is enough to do the job and there is nothing wrong with Lombo's range.Danny's non-clutch and K's just don't work on a championship calibre team. Look no further than what San Francisco did. They replaced their 2nd baseman with a deadline pickup in Marco Scutaro and he was their X Factor for them much the way Cody Ross was 3 years ago. This is where JayB and I are in agreement. By the way, errors lose games, a foot of extra range is subjective. Striking out with RISP in the 9th inning lose games.Espinosa will get additional time but unless he is dedicated to being a contact hitter and can shorten up that swing, it will be the same results and the same frustration.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    The Fox said… Ghost, I don't see the Nats putting Rendon at 2nd. Granted if he hits, and he will hit, they will find a spot for him somewhere.December 19, 2012 11:54 AM Davey Johnson told Rendon last ST that he would play 3rd, 2nd and even shortstop then he got injured.I know absolutely nothing for sure but just like I said before ST last year that Lombardozzi would get reps in LF which I was heckled about, I think if there is any question about Espinosa's ability to change, Rendon will get reps at 2nd base.

  47. Section 222 - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Corey Brown's not on our top 10 prospects list? I thought he was going to challenge Span for the CF job…

  48. The Fox - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Ghost, I'm not heckeling you, (pretty sure that's not a word)its because of the past ankle injuries that I think they will try and keep him away form 2nd. Like I said if he hit over .300 which I think he can you find a place for that bat. I don't post a lot but I did make the Marco Scutaro comparison when Espinosa name came up before. Espinosa can play SS and if a WOW trade with his name came up I would not be upset if they traded him.

  49. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Fox, you make a good point but you can't baby Rendon with kid gloves as there are risks at all positions. Maybe Lombardozzi starts against Right-handed pitchers and Espi against LH pitchers.On Lombardozzi's defense, he put up a 1.5+ UZR in under 400 innings. If he played full-time at 2nd base and just stayed consistent w/ no improvement he would have ranked on a full season in the top 1/2 of 2nd baseman. I believe if Lombo got more time at 2nd he could be a 5+ UZR which isn't in Danny's range but almost Top 10 in the Majors.My point is, the Nats have options if not Danny it might be Lombo, if not Lombo it may be Rendon.

  50. The Fox - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    I was wrong heckeling is a word, just the comment box does not like it. Happy Holidays to all and Go Nats!

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    The Fox said… I don't post a lot but I did make the Marco Scutaro comparison when Espinosa name came up before. Espinosa can play SS and if a WOW trade with his name came up I would not be upset if they traded him.This is Year 3 for Espinosa and he will either enhance his value or devalue himself greatly because this is a big year in a players career where you can say "this is what he is" or he has lived up to the great potential. I hope its the latter and I have been very wrong about Danny. The days of defensive specialists are generally over as starters. Its usually the opposite, players with above average bats and a lousy glove can still find a job (Willingham, Holliday, Dunn, Miguel Cabrera, Reynolds, Morse, etc) especially with the DH or the big bat off the bench.

  52. Traveler8 - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Re the 2007 draft list, I see that Ryan Langerhans and Ramon Ortiz each just signed minor league contracts with the Jays. Also blasting form the past, my recollection is that +1/2 Street attributed his moniker to a play on the Bob Dylan title.

  53. Section 222 - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Nats acquisitions in December 2007: Signed Paul Lo Duca, Aaron Boone, Wily Mo Pena Ryan Langerhans, Willie Harris and Rob Mackowiak on one-year contracts.Aquired Tyler Clippard from the Yankees andElijah Dukes from the Rays.And let's not forget our top prospect in 2007, according to Baseball Prospectus, was Colin Ballestar. In 2008, it was Chris Marrero. Yes, Virginia, the Nats have made some progress since then.

  54. The Fox - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Ghost you are preaching to the choir. 2nd basemen rarely are the difference in deciding a championship. Fun fact, 2nd base is the position with the fewest HOF'r. Good defense, works well with the SS and can turn a double play are the important things you need. I have no problem with Lombo at 2nd and some say Tony Renda will be a good 2nd baseman in the not to distant future.Thinking about it now Espinosa would actually make a better utility infielder because he really can play all the position. I know just mentioning this may be a mistake on this board.

  55. RaleighNat - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Rizzo's work on the farm did what it was supposed to do…it made the big league club good and relatively inexpensive (at least for a while).Now is the time to replenish. Gotta keep the talent flowing. I'm especially concerned about rebuilding pitching depth.

  56. hiramhover - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    GhostAgree that Lombo seems strong enough at 2B. He'd be a downgrade defensively from Danny, but a tolerable one–if he brought great improvement on the offensive side. But he doesn't. Strikeouts are bad, but even with a boatload of them, Danny's OBP was essentially the same as Lombo's last year. And Lombo's almost total lack of power means that Danny well bested him in HR and slugging %. To put it in more personal terms – it's hard for me to see Davey giving up on a 20 HR 2B for one likely to hit 5-6.

  57. Section 222 - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    hh, totally with you. I can see them moving Danny if 2B is where they want to play Rendon. But unless a much better trade than I think is out there materializes, I don't see him leaving if the replacement is Lombo. Lombo is a nice utility guy, but he doesn't have the pop to be a starter on this team.

  58. BigCat - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Speaking of Marerro. He must be saying "W-w-what happened?" To be not in the top 10? Come on man. While he doesn't have much of a future here, he is gonna be a solid major league first baseman in time. He might not be included on the list cause he has already been in the bigs for an extensive amount of time

  59. Feel Wood - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    This is Year 3 for Espinosa and he will either enhance his value or devalue himself greatly because this is a big year in a players career where you can say "this is what he is" or he has lived up to the great potential. I hope its the latter and I have been very wrong about Danny. The days of defensive specialists are generally over as starters.Espinosa is in no way a "defensive specialist." He is a shortstop turned second baseman who is rapidly becoming an elite defender at that position, and despite a couple of issues at the plate (mainly, he strikes out too much) he's not a bad hitter. True, his hitting regressed in 2012 compared with his rookie season. But he's far from the first player to have a sophomore slump. (Perhaps it's because that phenomenon occurs so often that they came up with a name for it, y'think?) His leash this year is going to be a lot longer than all you Espi haters think. He would have to regress significantly even from last season's performance before he loses his starting job to a utility player like Lombo or to Rendon, a guy who's never played second base at all as a pro.Alberto Gonzalez, Cesar Izturis, guys like that are "defensive specialists." Not Danny Espinosa.

  60. TheManBearPig - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Ghost, Danny showed a lot of improvement in the second half of 2012, until the stretch in late September – early October when he struggled playing through his shoulder injury. From the beginning of July through the end of September, he was a .270/.330/.445 hitter with 11 HR. That looks a lot like a young player turning a corner toward being a good hitter. He still struck out too much, but it would be very surprising if he didn't improve those numbers in 2013. It's not too much of a stretch to anticipate Danny's 2013 looking a lot like .290/.340/.450 with 20-25 HR to go with 20 SB.

  61. sm13 - Dec 19, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Only Danny can end this debate. He needs a breakout offensive year, so we can all stop worrying about him. If not, the debate will continue to rage.

  62. JB - Dec 19, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Danny's progression is such a mirror of Desmond's. Davey and Rizzo both (publicly, at least) feel that he can "put it all together" and that this is that year. I like him and think he will become a league aveerage hitter with a plus glove and a plus-plus arm–I'll take it for an inexpensive, controlled #7 hitter.It is possible, even probable, that Desi, Espi or RZimm will lose a big chunk of games to injury. Having MLB-quality depth in Lombo (now) and Rendon (soon) is a blessing for 2013. But I agree that our 2014 middle infield is likely to look different.

  63. natsfan1a - Dec 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    That was my recollection as well.Traveler8 said…Also blasting form the past, my recollection is that +1/2 Street attributed his moniker to a play on the Bob Dylan title.December 19, 2012 12:24 PM

  64. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 19, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    GhostRe Danny, what you said. Hope he proves us both wrong in 2013.Our minor league pipeline is much better than advertised when compared to the days when Marrero, Maxwell, Balester, McGeary and other non-entities were at the "top" of the Nats list of prospects. Marrero is not even the top prospect at 1b, any more.Rendon, Skole, and Goodwin are real major league prospects, and Giolito, Solis, Purke, Karns, Garcia, et. al., have the stuff and makeup of future major league talents. Only Rendon and Garcia are close to being ML ready, now, but the others are only 1-2 years behind. Rendon and Giolito are not only prospects, but they were at, or near, the top of their respective draft classes.I really don't care where they are rated now, as an organization, by anyone except Rizzo. No one has been better at accumulating and developing young players, especially pitchers, than have the Nats for the past 2 years, and counting.

  65. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    sm13, agreed but I think expectations of Danny are too high. people are forgetting that he is our #7 hitter, not middle of the order bat.I would like to look in detail at all the teams #7 hitters' performance and compare that to Danny espinosa. My assumption is that he should be at least average #7 hitter.

  66. SCNatsFan - Dec 19, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    ManBearPig I have seen nothing in Espi that leads me to believe he can hit 290. Looking at his numbers at the plate from the minors to here seem to back me up. He'll have his tantelizing stretches where you think he turned the corner then have the series where he Ks three times every game and looks lost. Espi is not a good hitter in a slump he is a 250 hitter who has times where he gets hot and tears the cover off the ball.

  67. do1teach1 - Dec 19, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    A couple of related and unrelated observations:- I predict the Nats season will end up hinging on the performance of Espinosa. I believe we are strong in so many facets of the game, that if he comes up with a big season, we will be unstoppable–we win the World Series. If he comes up the same or worse than last year, we don't win the World Series, or even go to the WS. That's my prediction.- I've gone to lots of Nats spring training games in Viera and "away" ballparks. I have never heard from the Nats ST operation in the fall or winter. Yesterday I got a nice marketing piece in the mail from the Braves (I went to a game at their Disneyworld stadium a couple of years ago), offering me a variety of ST packages for the Braves. Seems like an area where the Nats could improve.- I predict Kristina Akra will move to a network (probably ESPN, maybe Fox Sports) before the season starts. I think she's a national superstar in the making and will be called up to network soon.- Bryce Harper will be NL MVP this season.- I got my NatsFest tickets yesterday. My advice to everyone is check all your mail very carefully. This envelope was about as nondescript as I could imagine–it looked like junk mail–but there was something important in it!

  68. sm13 - Dec 19, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    As Faraz says, though, Danny doesn't need to hit .290. A consistent .250 with 20+ homers and fewer Ks would be excellent production from a #7 hitter. The key is avoiding the prolonged slumps.

  69. Tcostant - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Espinosa is a plus defender no doubt; but if he could only work on one thing to improve it would be his appoach with a guy on third and less than 2 outs. In that situation a runner should score 70% of the time, but I bet Danny get him in less than 30% of time. I cring when he is up in those situations. I'm just saying.

  70. JD - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Laddie, Here is may take on our prospects: 1) Rendon – likely September arrival. 2) Goodwin – Good prospect but has yet to hit consistently in the minors; I wouldn't call him a sure thing just yet. 3) Karns and Skole – Older prospects – never played above A+. Really a strech to call them real major league prospect. 4) Purke – major injury question mark. No sense putting a timetable on him yet. 5) Solis – was projected as a bottom of the rotation starter before the injury. I am not sure what the upside is. 6) Giolito – minimum 4 years away; just 18 years old and not reurning from TJ until late this year to only start development. A lot of the posters have it right here. The farm system is fairly bare which is ok because the major league team has just began it's current window of contention opportunities and it's young. Rizzo will have to make astute trades and draft well and make good international signings to rebuild the system. Fortunately there is ample time before the pipeline needs to start producing a high volume of prospects.

  71. 3on2out - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Traveler8 and natsfan1a:Your recollection makes infinitely more sense than my supposition. "Positively Fifth Street" (a relatively obscure book from 2000) was obviously a play on "Postively Fourth Street" (a popular song from 1965). I'm old enough to remember the song (now that it's called to my attention) but my mental filing system is so damaged/cluttered that my internal google search hit on +5th St. first. A mind is a horrible thing to lose.

  72. IKN8wxU2 - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    "As Faraz says, though, Danny doesn't need to hit .290. A consistent .250 with 20+ homers and fewer Ks would be excellent production from a #7 hitter. The key is avoiding the prolonged slumps."The Bill James projection at Fangraphs shows .253 with 21 homers, 31 doubles, and 151 strikeouts. I'd take it. He'd be one of the top five 2Bs in baseball when you combine that with his defense.

  73. do1teach1 - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Here are the lyric's to Bob Dylan's Positively 4th Street. Maybe the most wicked, biting song of his entire, spell-binding career: You got a lotta nerveTo say you are my friendWhen I was downYou just stood there grinningYou got a lotta nerveTo say you gota helping hand to lendYou just want to be onThe side that's winningYou say I let you downYou know it's not like thatIf you're so hurtWhy then don't you show itYou say you lost your faithBut that's not where it's atYou had no faith to loseAnd you know itI know the reasonThat you talk behind my backI used to be among the crowdYou're in withDo you take me for such a foolTo think I'd make contactWith the one who tries to hideWhat he don't know to begin withYou see me on the streetYou always act surprisedYou say, "How are you?" "Good luck"But you don't mean itWhen you know as well as meYou'd rather see me paralyzedWhy don't you just come out onceAnd scream itNo, I do not feel that goodWhen I see the heartbreaks you embraceIf I was a master thiefPerhaps I'd rob themAnd now I know you're dissatisfiedWith your position and your placeDon't you understandIt's not my problemI wish that for just one timeYou could stand inside my shoesAnd just for that one momentI could be youYes, I wish that for just one timeYou could stand inside my shoesYou'd know what a drag it isTo see you

  74. do1teach1 - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Did I really just put an apostrophe in the word, "lyrics"?Embarrassing.

  75. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 19, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Kristina Akra had something else she was working on and is in a Adam LaRoche situation in that she will only be back if the other opportunity doesn't materialize.

  76. TheManBearPig - Dec 19, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    "The Bill James projection at Fangraphs shows .253 with 21 homers, 31 doubles, and 151 strikeouts. I'd take it. He'd be one of the top five 2Bs in baseball when you combine that with his defense."Agree that Danny shouldn't have to hit .290, but if he cuts his Ks by 20% (which is roughly what 151 Ks would mean), he'll do it.For most of his minor league career, Desmond looked like a career .250 hitter. His batting averages from 2005 through 2008 in the minors were .250, .228, .264 and .256. He did tear it up at Harrisburg and Syracuse in '09 before his September call up. Danny's improvement in his last minor league year wasn't as dramatic, but if you look at his batting average as a pro ballplayer from 2009 through 2012, he has improved every season, including improvement by 11 points from 2011 to 2012, and by 32 pts from 1st half to 2nd half in 2012. Based on past performance, we should expect improvement in 2013, imo.

  77. TheManBearPig - Dec 19, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Tcostant, maybe the Nats should tell Danny there are 2 out whenever he's up with RISP. His OPS with 2 out and RISP in 2012 was .937.

  78. natsfan1a - Dec 19, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    3on2out, I completely understand about cluttered mental filing systems. Plus, I learned something new today. It's all good. :-)3on2out said… Traveler8 and natsfan1a: Your recollection makes infinitely more sense than my supposition. "Positively Fifth Street" (a relatively obscure book from 2000) was obviously a play on "Postively Fourth Street" (a popular song from 1965). I'm old enough to remember the song (now that it's called to my attention) but my mental filing system is so damaged/cluttered that my internal google search hit on +5th St. first. A mind is a horrible thing to lose. December 19, 2012 2:31 PM

  79. Traveler8 - Dec 19, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Anyway, +1/2 Strret, 1a and I and a few others have got your back…

  80. Traveler8 - Dec 19, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Pity I can't type Street, isn't it?

  81. Tcostant - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    TheManBearPig said… Tcostant, maybe the Nats should tell Danny there are 2 out whenever he's up with RISP. His OPS with 2 out and RISP in 2012 was .937.Me – I rather have him up with two outs; two different situations. They really have nothing to do with each other.

  82. UnkyD - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    The most interesting thing I saw in the BA piece, was that they project DSpan starting in CF…… In 2016 (hehehe)

  83. natsfan1a - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    hmmm…does this mean anything as far as LaRoche? BAL signed 1B Travis Ishikawa to a MiLB deal with invite to Spring Training.

  84. 3on2out - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    do1teach1:Thanks for that. A blast from the 60s time machine…and you're right: that was Bob at his most biting. I would nominate another 1965 tune, "Like A Rolling Stone" for runner-up:Aw, princess on the steeple and all the pretty peopleThey're all drinkin', thinkin' that they’ve got it made.Exchanging all precious gifts, But you'd better take your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe.You used to be so amusedAt Napoleon in rags and the language that he used.Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse.When you ain’t got nothing, you’ve got nothing to loseYou're invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal.

  85. BigCat - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Blood on the Tracks was Dylan's best. My opinion of course.

  86. 3on2out - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Oh! And for those getting irritated with our flagrant waste of column inches on Bob Dylan lyrics…don't forget he was born Robert Allen ZIMMERMAN. A coincidence? Perhaps not….Go Nats!

  87. hiramhover - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    NatsLadyNo.

  88. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Tcostant @ 4:01 PM, one situation is a subset of the other. :P

  89. Tcostant - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… Tcostant @ 4:01 PM, one situation is a subset of the other. :PMe – What – that is not what I learned subset means? I think the are both sunset of hitting in general, but how can hitting with one or zero outs be a subset of hitting with two outs. They can't as far as I know.

  90. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    wait weren't we comparing 2 outs and 2 outs with RISP?

  91. NatsLady - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    hh– ?

  92. MicheleS - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Gio will be on Intentional Talk at 5 and 7 pm.

  93. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    something on MLB: http://tysonmurphy.tumblr.com/image/37969815109

  94. hiramhover - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Sorry, NL – brevity got the better of me.I was just answering your question – does Ishikawa's signing mean anything for ALR?

  95. Gonat - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Seattle is no longer in on LaRoche and most likely the Orioles have no real interest. That leaves Texas who has LaRoche far down on their priority list.It also means that the market for Morse is shrinking.

  96. MicheleS - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Gio is hilarious.

  97. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Tahat was 1a that posed the Ishikahwa question.And I disagree. It does.

  98. JD - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Gonat, I disagree about your take on the Rangers interest in LaRoche. I think there's a real possibility that he is at the top of their wishh list now even though they just met with Ross and the white sox catcher whose name I won't try to spell. The thing about the Rangers though is that they are quite conservative and they won't give ALR a 3rd year easily. The Rangers may also think that Olt is ready so who knows? Morse might be attractive to any number of AL teams because he can DH.

  99. hiramhover - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    My bad, apologies to both NL and 1a. Your turn now, NJ–what does a minor league signing tell us that we don't already know?

  100. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    It's Angelos at his best. Get the fan base excited then bait and switch.

  101. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    They'd never go the third year AND give up their draft pick.

  102. NatsLady - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  103. NatsLady - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  104. MicheleS - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    AHEM.. Mr Rizzo.. Johnny Walker Blue is still on the table. You get ALR signed for 2 years it's yours.Morales trade will limit the SEA market. Still not buying the Rangers would give ALR 3 years (Olt will need a spot) and I don't THINK that the rangers have the pitching to go deep into the playoffs. Red Sox could still be in depending on what happens with Napoli. and I agree with NatsJack. BAL, will NOT give up that draft pick.Back to my corner (cleaning out the freezer for the side of beef I am going to need to order)

  105. NatsLady - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Morse will be attractive to many teams because he is a power bat, is cheap and is only on a 1-year deal, which minimizes any injury risk if teams feel he has injury risk. He can DH and sort of play the outfield in addition to 1B. I would guess there is a good trade market for him.

  106. John C. - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Seattle is a bad fit for LaRoche because he wants to go someplace where he can win. Seattle is looking up at the Angels, Rangers and A's, so they are not a good fit for LaRoche. Signing Travis Ishikawa has no impact on whether any team signs LaRoche. He's minor league roster fodder that isn't going to stop them from acquiring an established player if they can get him. If anything, he is signed to be backup depth for the position in the minor leagues.Nor does it affect the market for Morse, which remains (if the Nats bring back LaRoche and look to deal Morse) most likely Seattle. Seattle has a number of minor league pitching arms, but little impact offensive talent. I wouldn't be surprised if Seattle ultimately signs Michael Bourn and trades for Morse.

  107. natsfan1a - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Thanks, NatsJack. :-)

  108. Feel Wood - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Nor does it affect the market for Morse, which remains (if the Nats bring back LaRoche and look to deal Morse) most likely Seattle.Not any more, now that they traded pitching to the Angels for Kendrys Morales. Seattle could still go after LaRoche, though.

  109. Feel Wood - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    I agree with NatsJack. BAL, will NOT give up that draft pick.The old rebuilding Baltimore probably wouldn't. But the Orioles aren't rebuilding any more. They're a playoff team now, they need to maintain that. Draft picks don't help with that, but LaRoche right now does.

  110. natsfan1a - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Amanda Comak has a happy story on heart surgery outcomes for Wilson Ramos' little friend, Vicky Cabrera.

  111. MicheleS - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Feel.. Sorry, but BAL will not give up the draft pick. The Pick is cheaper than ALR at 3 years. And as we all know, Angelos is CHEAP and doubt he would pay for ALR. No doubt he is floating the rumors to see if he can tweak the Nats. Face it, the BAL O's don't have the pitching staff to go deep. They will be competing with A's, Angels, Rangers, Tigers, White sox, and the rest of the AL East. Not saying the Nats will have an easier road, but we have the horses in the SP to go deep.

  112. natsfan1a - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    In other moves, the Brewers got this guy.

  113. Gonat - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    NatsJack in Florida said… It's Angelos at his best. Get the fan base excited then bait and switch. December 19, 2012 5:48 PM NatsJack in Florida said… They'd never go the third year AND give up their draft pick. ____________________________________Giving up the Draft Pick is a smoke screen. He is never going to commit to a 3 year $40 million deal for a 33 year old guy. His track record has always been 1 year deals.Like you said, bait & switch…..and sell more season tickets to the lemmings. A low IQ fanbase. Every year its the same story. Bait & switch.

  114. Gonat - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    Feel Wood said… The old rebuilding Baltimore probably wouldn't. But the Orioles aren't rebuilding any more. They're a playoff team now, they need to maintain that. Draft picks don't help with that, but LaRoche right now does. __________________________________________They were a playoff capable team when Angelos bought the team and didn't make it again from the time Davey left them in 1997 so they had a 14 year drought caused by the Owner. The 2012 O's made the playoffs because the AL and AL East was having a down year. You are dreaming if you think Duquette could talk Angelos into going for 3 years for LaRoche. They got Ishikawa, a typical "buy low" move by Angelos.The best thing I read on Angelos is that he cares first and foremost about making money and if winning happens all the better because that means more money.They were "in" on Josh Hamilton, Greinke, LaRoche and all the other big names just to sell tickets and that is their M.O. every year. That's what its all about.Open your eyes Feel Wood.

  115. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    Orioles need an OF more than they need LaRoche. Davis was great at the end of last season, and did well enough in the OF, but he's still a 1B. They have two good OF (assuming Markakis is healthy) and enough warm bodies to fill the other position. I imagine they would really like to sign another OF to go with Reimold (again, when healthy) and McLouth. Davis in the OF and LaRoche at 1B would not be their ideal situation.

  116. sjm308 - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    Just read an article over on espn.com discussing the trade. The trade isn't that earth shattering except it gets me to wondering what Morse might bring. Again, I am now in the camp of Morse at first and using the draft pick to our advantage but you never know with Rizzo.A sentence in that article did catch my attention though. I could do all that copy and paste stuff that is done here alot but the author wrote the outfield of Trout, Hamilton and Bourjos may be the best defensive outfield in the majors. I strongly beg to differ with said author.Go Nats!!

  117. Gonat - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    Theo, the O's have McLouth, Adam Jones and Markakis as their starting outfield and Chris Davis at 1st base/DH

  118. sjm308 - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Like Theo said, the Orioles need another outfielder and would be greatly improved with LaRoche at 1st. You can't consider McLouth a proven product and I think Reimold is still battling that injury. Like many have said, it would astound me to see Angelos spend the kind of money LaRoche is asking for and I think the draft pick is the clinching piece for them just saying no.

  119. Feel Wood - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    They were "in" on Josh Hamilton, Greinke, LaRoche and all the other big names just to sell tickets and that is their M.O. every year. That's what its all about.Really? If that's their M.O. every year, just sending up smokescreens of interest in FAs to drive up ticket sales, then why didn't their ticket sales go up year after year while they were doing that? Open your eyes Feel Wood.Perhaps you should remove the plank of Oriole hatred from your own eyes first, before you complain about a speck in mine.

  120. Gonat - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Feel Wood, you just don't see it with your Orioles love.The only progress I have seen with the O's was their long-term contract with Adam Jones. Not really a big deal since the MASN profit more than covers his contract.

  121. baseballswami - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    So, i have been waaay out of the loop. If a team signs Adam they have to give up a draft pick??? Is that why he doesn't have a big contract yet?

  122. Gonat - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    baseballswami, if it is a team with the 20 best records than the Nats get their 1st round pick.

  123. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    No, the signing team loses a first round pick if it's not top ten, in which case they lose a 2nd round pick, BUT the Nats don't get that, it just goes away. They get a sandwich pick between 1st and 2nd.

  124. Gonat - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    Gorse Hackage, I said it correctly. I addressed the 20 best records. I didn't mention the 10 worst records as I'm thinking only a top tier team will take LaRoche.

  125. Tcostant - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    No I was talking about Danny's hitting approach with less than two outs.

  126. baseballswami - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Wow- this whole draft pick thing sounds pretty convoluted. Is it enough to deter a team from offering him a contract?

  127. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:07 AM

    baseballswami, if it is a team with the 20 best records than the Nats get their [i.e., the signing team's] 1st round pick.No, sorry, but that's wrong. The drafting team does lose a pick, but the team losing the player, the Nats in this case, does not get the signing team's pick. That pick ceases to exist, and the Nats would get a pick between the 1st and second round, aka a "sandwich" pick. If the signing team has the 1st thru 10th overall pick, in that case they lose their 2nd round pick instead. In no event can the Nats get the signing team's pick. This is a new change this year in the CBA.

  128. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    And swami, there seems to be a good chance it would make a lot of GMs think twice.

  129. flynnie - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Why would ALR want to play for Buck? Buck just isn't fun like Davey. In NY and AZ, he lost the clubhouse after a couple years, got fired and watched Joe Torre and Bob Brindley take his teams to WS championships. Maybe he's stopped assigning seats on the team bus and planes, but his career has been the drill instructor who comes in, insists on fundamentals, but wears out his welcome. Has he really changed that much?

  130. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    I think everyone has smarten up and are not willing to give away draft picks that easily.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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