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Where the Nats’ rank by unit

Jan 2, 2013, 6:16 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez anchor one of the best rotations in baseball.

ESPN's Buster Olney has been issuing top-10 lists the last few days, ranking what he believes are the best rotations, infields and outfields in baseball. (Note: You'll need an ESPN Insider subscription to read the full article.)

And it should come as no surprise the Nationals are prominently featured in those rankings.

Olney has both the Nats' rotation and outfield as the second-best units in the majors, behind only the Tigers and Angels, respectively. He currently has the Nats' infield ranking eighth, though he points out he'd bump them to the top-5 if they ultimately re-sign Adam LaRoche.

It's tough to dispute Olney's take on the Nationals' rotation. What was already one of the best — if not the best — quintet last season should be even better this season, with Stephen Strasburg free to pitch into October, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and RossRead more »

  1. MicheleS - Jan 2, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    So glad we are on these lists than the WORST lists like we have been in the past!

  2. Feel Wood - Jan 2, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Michael Morse may not own a Gold Glove, but his offensive prowess is second to few.Second to few? Wouldn't that make it third, at best?

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 2, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Phillies have a really good 1-3. If we were ranking rotations for 1-3 only, Phillies may come out on top.I like Nats IF better than anyone else without ALR. Olney's OF rankings are a bit surprising given who third is. I only know crisp as a regular OAK OF. Who are the other two? cespedes and reddick? Hardly seems like part of one of the best OF in MLB.

  4. Section 222 - Jan 2, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    What a difference a year makes. Reposting the link to the:2013 Nats Insider Drinks Owed spreadsheet for those late to the party. Candide, Gorse and others have made handy and hilarious additions and improvements. Much obliged.

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 2, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Third at a power position like 1b is very impressive. That means you are beating combination of Prince, Albert, Adrian, Tex, Craig, ALR, etc.

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Mark Z owes me a drink since I suggested in the last post Busters rankings!

  7. natsfan1a - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. natsfan1a - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    It says my browser isn't supported, and I'm not going to switch to Chrome. Plus it's kinda busy here today, and I don't have time to troubleshoot. That said, cheers (hoists imaginary beverage)!Section 222 said…What a difference a year makes.Reposting the link to the:2013 Nats Insider Drinks Owed spreadsheet for those late to the party. Candide, Gorse and others have made handy and hilarious additions and improvements. Much obliged.January 02, 2013 1:44 PM

  9. SCNatsFan - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    RE: the drink spreadsheet – I plan on attending the spring games against St Louis both in Jupiter and Viera and I'll be happy to buy any insider at the games a drink… and I'll buy Mark dinner!

  10. Candide - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    MicheleS, according to the spreadsheet, you owe yourself a drink.WTF?

  11. Feel Wood - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Not the top-ranked Rangers, who project to open 2013 with a quartet of Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland (though top prospect Jurickson Profar could force his way in there somewhere).So could Adam LaRoche.

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Mark Z owes me a drink. I posted on this at 12:26 on the last post regarding Busters rankings.Yes!

  13. Tcostant - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    I DVRer Phil Woods "Nats Talk" from this weekend and it was 2 hours of pure gold and finially watched it last night. They had on Special Assistant to the General Manager Ron Rizzi who gave insights on the past season and future. It was just pure gold. Great stuff on what they look for in a player and make up of the team overall. It was on MASN, so if you can find a podcast or a reply I would highly recommend to all Nats fans!!!Can't wait for the season.

  14. Section 222 - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    I move that since we are all guests at Mark's "tavern," so to speak, that he be exempt from owing anyone a drink. (Besides Ghost, you posted a link, Mark provided analysis, not to mention a new post.) As the tavern owner, on the other hand, I imagine he would be happy if we buy him drinks. Of course, if Mark is able to get CSN to swing for food at an off season happy hour, that might be a perfect occasion for drink debts to be paid. Designated drivers might have to be recruited though.

  15. MicheleS - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    Candide.. apparantly I have been hitting the beverages a bit early!

  16. Doc - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Buster is full of Bluster, if he thinks that our IF ranks 8th!Put the Cubbies goat, or Veeck's midget at 1B, were still #1 in the Land of Baseball Fun!!Buster needs to go back to Sabermetrics class 101! Wad an insult, someone needs to bust Buster in the nose!

  17. Candide - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    MicheleS said…Candide.. apparantly I have been hitting the beverages a bit early! :-) Okay, I put a fix in. You can't owe yourself a drink any more. Try it!

  18. sjm308 - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Candide: change it back! If MicheleS wants to owe herself a drink I think that is great. I mean self-esteem is key here on insider and she obviously is confident. I think if 222 can get that party arranged, natsfan1a could make bunches just driving people home. Just a thought!!On the infield, I agree that Buster has us way too low no matter who is at first and my question is, why isn't the catcher included in ranking infields. Last time I checked that is where they ply their trade. It also gives us more reasons to be moved up the ladder as we have great depth back there.As a complete computer illiterate, I was actually able to bookmark the drink list, so proud of myself and will actually hit that link on how to provide links to others later in the day.Go Nats!!

  19. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    We also have Bernie and Brown as OF depth, with Lombo and Moore for IF depth. All 4 could start for a lot of teams, as could Ramos, who will start ST as the no. 2 catcher behind Suzuki.

  20. Candide - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    sjm308 said…Candide: change it back!Have to leave that decision up to 222. My sense of it is that this spreadsheet is going to get seriously hosed no matter how careful we are with it; anyone who's ever written a program can tell you there's no such thing as foolproof, 'cuz there's always that one fool you didn't count on, who'll do that one thing you didn't code for, because no one in his right mind would have even thought of doing it.I'm willing to take bet that before the end of the season, someone is going to try to claim he's owed eleventy-seven squadillion drinks plus a unicorn. Probably Mick.

  21. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Designated drivers might have to be recruited though.I'll just take a bus with Joe Seamhead.

  22. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Don't be silly, Mick would never be able to eat a whole unicorn.

  23. JamesFan - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    No mention of where the Nats' bullpen ranks. That may be our weakness in the coming season.

  24. Section 222 - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    The sheet is now the property of the group, so I'm certainly not going to make a definitive ruling. But personally, I'd stick with Candide's interpretation: (1) because if there were a drink penalty for repeating yourself here we'd all be drunk all the time; and (2) because his Excel skills are so awesome that he was able to actually make that message pop up which made me laugh out loud.And yes, I'm sure someone will spoil the sheet at some point, but it's been fun for a day, right?

  25. natsfan1a - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Um, you're never ridden with me, sjm. If my husband or my late mother are any guide, it can be a nerve-wracking experience (OMG, where's that air brake?). :-)sjm308 said… Candide: change it back! If MicheleS wants to owe herself a drink I think that is great. I mean self-esteem is key here on insider and she obviously is confident. I think if 222 can get that party arranged, natsfan1a could make bunches just driving people home. Just a thought!!

  26. natsfan1a - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Oh, okay. I can see the drink matrix now even with my unsupported browser. I'm pretty sure that Gorse/Sofa owes me a squillion drinks but that's okay because they're all imaginary. p.s. Oh no's, Sofa! Please don't ditch the couch moniker this season. Best. Moniker. Ever. imho. ymmv. ttfn. ktb.

  27. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Maybe we could fly home–my new phone has a setting for "Airplane Mode." That's gotta be a great app to have!

  28. natsfan1a - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Er, unlike the bandwagon, the designated driver car would need to have brakes, right? I do have those, but the transmission is rather dicey at present. So, who needs a ride? :-)

  29. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Thanks, 1a, although it's barely in my own top 10. The thing is, if I get a real seat it has to change. Rules is rules.

  30. natsfan1a - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    My not-so-smart phone has that (Come Fly With Me) mode, too.

  31. natsfan1a - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Oh, right. Real seating. Never mind.

  32. peric - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Add Rendon and believe me even Mr. sardonic sarcastic cynic and "super chef" Keith Law, would rank the infield #1. Much less Buster Olney. Believe it.Does the Nats FO know that? Of course they do its why LaRoche might not be coming back.

  33. peric - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    222 you ought to let Springfield Fan do it. She seems better with the google spreadsheet. :;)

  34. Candide - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Latest updates:1) Names are red text on white background, as befits our Nats;2) Curly W inserted below totals (rows 52-57).

  35. Don - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Wow, two things: how the Dodgers are not ahead of the Nats in terms of OF is a mystery to the answer to which I guess only Olney knows (maybe ESPN Insiders can read his thoughts, but I aint dropping the dimes for that). Crawford, Kemp and Ethier is pretty good stuff. And second, if Werth is past his prime as a power hitter right now as he head into 2013, then what is he going to look like when he's making $21.5M in 2017? Ouch.

  36. peric - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    So could Adam LaRoche.So, could potential perennial gold glove candidate Anthony Rendon.

  37. Section 222 - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    You'll always be Sofa to us, Gorse, even if you get a real seat. After all, I'm still 222 even thought I haven't sat in that section since 2010.

  38. TheManBearPig - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    The Nats' starting infielders, with Morse at 1b, could have an average OPS in the neighborhood of .850, hit more than 100 HR, drive in 350 runs and boast 3 gold glove finalists, if not a couple of actual gold gloves. With ALR, the potential offensive numbers are only slightly lower, while adding the possibility of another gold glove or gold glove finalist. Anyone else got that?

  39. sjm308 - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Don – certainly not going to argue about Ethier or Kemp but Crawford is a real question mark. I would not be betting on him returning to his form of two years ago but if he does then the Dodgers will be looking like geniuses.As for Werth, I echo many of the posts earlier when Mark was posting significant events. Werth has done enough for this old fan and I am not fixated on what he is being paid like you continue to do. He was the catalyst to get this team started toward respectability and yes, he might be on the bench by 2017 but I will bet one of those many drinks on 222's spreadsheet that he will still contribute in ways you can't understand. Sofa, you can morph back anytime you wish but I love your ability to become the "flavor of the week" with your name/avatar or whatever that thing is called. Still upset I have not made it to that section for a game but you never know.

  40. baseballswami - Jan 2, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    In My Humble Opinion– Jayson 's deal is structured so that he gets X dollars per year, for X years. By the time he is relegated to the bench he will have earned all the money, the Nats will just be still making payments. I think he will continue to reinvent himself year to year to use the skills he has and compensate for what he doesn't 't have anymore. When he rides the pine, he will become a great pinch hitter and volunteer bench coach. He has multiple layers of value. Love that guy.

  41. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 2, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Werth will be doing more to earn his pay between now and 2017 than Bobby Bonilla. Just saying.

  42. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 2, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Oh, and I'm down right now for the Nats' starting rotation to hit more home runs than anybody else's, too.

  43. Feel Wood - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Zuckerman: Not the top-ranked Rangers, who project to open 2013 with a quartet of Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland (though top prospect Jurickson Profar could force his way in there somewhere). Feel Wood said… So could Adam LaRoche.peric said… So, could potential perennial gold glove candidate Anthony Rendon.So peric, you actually think Rendon will be traded to the Rangers so he can force his way into their infield? Won't that screw up plans to move Zimmerman to first?Or do you just talk rather than listen, like the troll we know you are?

  44. Don - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    sjm — Werth can contribute in ways I am not capable of understanding? Ha. No need to get insulting or anything here. Werth has done enough to earn his $126M for you? That's a tough position for me to come around to. It is not that I don't understand the value of intangibles and that Werth has them. And Zuckerman is the guy who blogged that Werth’s power days are behind him. I happen to disagree with Zuckerman, I think that Werth can and will hit for good power (25+ HRs, 40+ 2Bs) in our lineup. All I did was point out that the club still owes him big cash — over $100,000,000/5yrs. That is about $9M more than the Yanks owe Teixeira (through 2016) at this point, and he has averaged 33 HRs and 106 RBI to date as a Yank and he helped them win a WS (led the AL in RBI in 2009). If you think that Werth has been worth the contract, then Tex must be a complete steal at $180M in your mind (as I hear he is a great clubhouse guy too).Look, to date the record is that Werth played poorly in 2011 and he missed half of last season to injury that robbed him of power. I don't see him as the catalyst for the club having had success. He was the big FA that took the money to come to a lousy club, OK, great, he should get some credit for that, but Zim, Stras, Desi arriving, Clip, Storen, etc., all seem like bigger contributors to Nats winning to me (and no other FA of note came running to DC because they had to have the locker next to Jayson’s). Sure, Jayson came up huge in game 4 with the winning HR; it was awesome! I was there, as gleeful as the next guy, but that was not a $126M moment for me. Call me hard to please. I want to see Jayson proving Zuckerman wrong in 2013 and well beyond.

  45. MicheleS - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Wow..so I committed the first party foul with owing myself a drink! Glad to know that what I do with the NI's is the same as in real life!Can Chase actually drink? Is he old enough? probably should add him to the list.

  46. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    One can put dollar values on stats, and I imagine there are ways to tease out so-called intangibles that make other players better. I personally doubt Werth will ever get close to "earning" all that dough by any directly attributable measure, but it is moot. The money is spent, sunk, and gone.

  47. Candide - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    And since the Lerners are the guys who sign Werth's paycheck, they are the world's leading authority on whether or not he's worth the money.I don't know how you measure the intangibles of Werth's value. But look at how he's been mentoring Bryce Harper. You throw a 19-year-old kid into a clubhouse full of cancers, who knows what kind of damage his career will sustain? You always hear about how much greater Mickey Mantle would have been if he hadn't been injured so often. True, but how much greater would he have been if he hadn't been out regularly drinking with Ford and Martin until the wee hours of the morning? Harper could end up being as great as Mantle, or maybe even greater. You have to like his chances knowing that he's surrounded by a bunch of adults, especially Werth. And there's no way of measuring how much extra influence Werth's guiding hand will have on the phenom's career.So if Jayson's sitting on the bench in three or four years, I'll consider that money well spent. But again, I'm not signing the paychecks.

  48. baseballswami - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Candide-don't know for sure, but it sure seems like Jayson has had influence on more than Bryce. Attitudes are contagious– just look at what happened in Boston last season as opposed to what happened in SanFransisco. His presence just seems to have an effect in the dugout. Can you measure that?

  49. Section 222 - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    (and no other FA of note came running to DC because they had to have the locker next to Jayson’s).Matt Stairs?

  50. SonnyG10 - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    In my eyes, Jayson Werth earned his $128M with his walk-off home run in game 4 of the playoffs. Anything else he does is just gravy.

  51. peric - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Or do you just talk rather than listen, like the troll we know you are?I love it when FeelWood describes himself and points at me. Any move involving LaRoche has repercussions that will be connected to Rendon. Whether he goes to the Rangers, stays for 2 years, plays for a year and then doesn't. Rendon is another Harper except he is older.Kind of like what everyone is saying about Black Monday in the NFL. So many firings linked to deals with Shanahan and Allen.

  52. peric - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    So if Jayson's sitting on the bench in three or four years, I'll consider that money well spent. I agree if its 2 years or less. As long as he doesn't block players and embraces the role. And the Lerner's are comfortable with the idea and do not suddenly become super frugal about risking signing free agents that FO really likes and thinks they need. Seems unlikely given the talent that is coming up from the minors but one could see scenarios where that could happen.

  53. peric - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. peric - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    (and no other FA of note came running to DC because they had to have the locker next to Jayson’s).Matt Stairs?Well, they did bring in Chad Durbin and Brad Lidge perhaps because of Werth. Didn't really help them much in either case still … At this point Harper, Desmond, Strasburg, and Rendon will attract players to come to Washington. They no longer need Werth for that purpose.

  55. SonnyG10 - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    peric said…At this point Harper, Desmond, Strasburg, and Rendon will attract players to come to Washington. They no longer need Werth for that purpose.January 02, 2013 9:00 PMAgreed.

  56. Get Some Players - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    I wonder if the Nats have a 'drop dead day' re LaRoche. Isn't this putting a crimp on further off season moves?

  57. NatsLady - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    What "further off season moves" did you have in mind? I doubt LaRoche's indecision is putting a crimp on signing a left-handed reliever, and what else do the Nats need at this point? They could start spring training tomorrow. I wish they would!!

  58. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:34 AM

    Might actually help to let the market settle out a bit, both for LHRPs and to trade Morse, if it comes to that.

  59. baseballswami - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:50 AM

    Morse would probably bring prospects to replenish the farm system?

  60. bluejeener - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    Just added the NIDO chart to my favorites 'bar', and added a resolution to my New Year's list: to owe, deliver, recieve and collect a drink from a Nats Insider in 2013. (not so easy for a minimal poster, but you've got to have goals!)

  61. sjm308 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    Don: I was not trying to be insulting. I just get tired of you and others continually bringing up the money. Was it a bad contract, of course. Did we overpay? Yes. Is that Werth's fault. No. and like others, I love what he has done here, not just on the field but in the clubhouse. The money has been spent and yes, there could be an ouch or two but I still will always remember what Jason did to get us started.I actually agree with Peric that Werth has more value later in his career as a leadoff guy but I also realize that Span has the first shot at that position. I am guessing Werth will bat 2nd and hopefully continue to look at lots of pitches and get on base like last year. He probably has 2 more good years (not great – in fact he has never been great) and if that is the case, I think most of us will be ok with those last few years. Will he be overpaid by that time, sure, but I, like others am ok with that. Sorry you are not. By the way, that homerun can not ever have a dollar amount put on it like you tried to do in your last post. I let the money thing go immediately after he signed. You have a problem with the 126 million and probably always will.

  62. sjm308 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    Jeener – sec. 308 row E first 5 seats, on any of the 20 game plan(Teddy) and you get a Newcastle from this old fan. See how easy it is!

  63. peric - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:21 AM

    Werth himself has stated that the injuries are the key thing every player needs to avoid to be productive. Zim has been productive in spite of them but he and NOT Werth has the potential to be a .320, 30+ HR, 120 RBI guy over 600 at bats. And consistently. But he is also still under 30. Once he reaches 30 things could change if Zim continues to suffer injuries.Werth has suffered injuries to his wrist with one that almost ended his career. But he is a catalyst at lead-off make no mistake. That is where he belongs, with Span batting 2nd if Span must be in the lineup. Span is not going to scare pitchers the way Werth does because he still does have power and power in the lead-off spot can throw pitchers off. Span with a decent OBP will work find in the #2 spot in front of Zim making a nice righty-lefty-righty-lefty-rigthy-lefty for Davey if Harper bats 4th. I guess we'll see what Dave decides to do because he will make the lineup card not Mike Rizzo.

  64. Section 222 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:54 AM

    Span will lead off and play CF. Count on it. i like Werth as No. 2, rather than Harper. Werth taking pitches will give Span a chance to steal, and with his bat control and ability to foul off bad pitches, he can hit and run too. Harper can bat 3rd, 4th, or 5th and be very productive. He's going to be a monster this year.

  65. Oldguy - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    Lots of talk buzzing around about Giancarlo Stanton being traded to Seattle. Denials aplenty, but something started it.

  66. realdealnats - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. realdealnats - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:48 AM

    I'd love to see Adam return but realistically this is how I see it:span lhwerth rhharper lhzim rhmorse rhdesi rhespi ssuzuki/ramos rhPeric, who do you have batting 6th that's left handed?

  68. Joe Seamhead - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    We traded our top pitching prospect for a lead off center fielder.It is logical to accept that he will lead off. It is illogical to expect that he will bat anywhere else but the top of the order.

  69. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    What does it all mean, Mr. Seamhead?

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