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2013 player projections: Pitching

Jan 4, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

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Can Gio Gonzalez duplicate his Cy Young-caliber numbers from last season?

Yesterday, we looked at a couple of stat prediction models for the Nationals' lineup and bench. Today, we turn to the Nats' pitching staff, using those same models' projections.

Bill James, the original sabermetrician, and Dan Szymborski, who developed the ZiPS formula used on Fangraphs.com, each have some interesting takes on how members of the Nationals pitching staff might perform in 2013. What was one of baseball's best staffs last season figures to be just as strong (if not stronger) this season.

Before we get to the numbers, a brief word: I know not everyone out there enjoys these projections and doesn't like to put more stock in mathematical formulas than what can be seen with your own eyes. I fully appreciate that. And honestly, I stand on that side of the fence, too, more often than not. But there is actual science behind these projections, and while they're never all going to come true, I do think there's value in at least taking a look at them.

OK, here's what the James and ZiPS models show for the Nationals' pitching staff in 2013…

STEPHEN STRASBURG    GS   IP  BB   SO   ERA
2012 Actual          28  159  48  197  3.16
2013 James           32  208  57  255  2.68Read more »

134 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Let's just hope they all stay healthy.

  2. MicheleS - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    HA Too funny, no projection for HROD! Anywho…I second Sunshine – Stay HEALTY and to save our sanity, can you work on your pickoff moves!!!!!

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    wow 255 Ks from SS? that's high.

  4. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Raraz, I don't think SS is pitching 208 innings in 2013. more like 190 IPO.

  5. Positively Half St. - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Mark-I am very fond of these projections. It's not that I think they will be accurate, it's just that I need something like this to entertain me during the long, baseball-less winter. The fact that the crowd argues over it makes it even more interesting. If Dan Haren really does regain his form, then the Nats really ought to dominate this year.One thing that does give me pause, though, is the lack of a good back-up starter after the first 5. I am glad that they are looking at folks like Vasquez, but I can't imagine him signing a minor-league deal. Surely one of the contenders could find a spot for him.+1/2St.

  6. UnkyD - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Raraz?! Is that Scooby's other pal?

  7. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Ruh-ro.

  8. Feel Wood - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    But there is actual science behind these projections, and while they're never all going to come true, I do think there's value in at least taking a look at them.No. There is no science behind these projections whatsoever. What's behind them is math. Manipulation of numbers. Formulas. Giving higher weight to some factors, lesser weight to others, based purely on arbitrary decisions made by whoever dreamed up the formula. There is no scientific method behind this stuff at all.

  9. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    I'm not a stat-head but imo any new post is a good post in the offseason. Thanks, Mark. :-)

  10. Joe Seamhead - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    What 1A said. Thanks, Mark.

  11. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    even raz would have been meaningful in my mother tongue. no idea what Raraz refers to. I have seen names messed up here many times. Guys, it is not difficult to re-check once before posting.

  12. sjm308 - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Put me in the 1A & 1/2 street camp. I just love reading about baseball. I actually read an interesting article from Todd Boss on fWAR projections for next year. Now, I pretty much skipped over whatever fWAR is but I loved looking at the projections. To me, there is only one stat and that is the WIN stat. You see you take the number of runs that one team scores and the number of runs the team it is playing scores and the team with the highest number of runs after 9 innings WINS. It's an easy stat for an old guy like me to figure out and last time I checked, the team with the most wins makes the playoffs.I share concerns about that #6 starter and our health. I can't keep going back, but I do wish LannEn was still ours. (see NIDO for explanation of spelling).Off to see Les Miz today and dream a dream (don't think they will have any World Series snipets in the movie so I will dream of that and pretend to be paying attention while the spousal equivalent cries. If I want to cry along I will just think about game 5).Go Nats!!

  13. Doc - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Well said MarkMeister!Baseball, more so than other sports, is a game of stats–some good, some bad.Without stats/projections, we wouldn't have the fun of arguing with each other!There's no real formula(yet), but what the scout's eyes see and what the sabermetrician analyses will eventually be stirred in the same pot.

  14. TimDz - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    No Projections for HROD?Not even PtB?(Pitches to Backstop)

  15. 3on2out - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Feel Wood:I must beg to differ. These formulae these guys develop are far from arbitrary. They are based on crunching ALOT of numbers and finding a formula that works the best in the majority of cases. Using pitchers who have posted similar numbers in the past these formulae offer the best mathematical predictor of future performance. The flaw (and it is a huge one) is that there is no accounting for the intangibles such as the mastery of a new pitch; recovery from surgery or an injury; a new mentor; contract status; etc.

  16. bowdenball - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    3on2out-You're right about both the strengths and weaknesses. FWIW, even the people who do these would admit that a weakness is inability to account for things like that in INDIVIDUAL performances. Some guys will exceed the projections due to factors like injuries and skill set development, others will fall short. That's why they're most useful when they're added together to evaluate an entire team. The list of people who've questioned their value in that respect and ended up looking stupid is quite long. It probably starts with the 2007 Chicago White Sox, who actually made a big deal about trashing a projection system that gave them 72 wins after they'd won 100 and 90 the previous two seasons … only to win exactly 72 in 2007.Those of you who hate this sort of analysis because you prefer to evaluate with your eyes might want to read about the 2007 White Sox, because you sound a lot like the players on that team and the media that covered them.

  17. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    The idea of extrapolating Pitcher A's nos. from those of Pitchers C, D and E (over a span of decades) is horse hockey. Meaning, for example, you predict Espinosa's performance, in part, from Joe Charboneau (two seasons and out). At best, this leads you to a model predicting the performance of an "average player," whether from a large sample or a small one. Each of these players is unique. If you tell me you can predict Strasburg's performance from Clayton Kershaw, both I and Strasburg will be insulted. Learn the player, the team, and the manager who leads them, and then tell me where the player is headed.

  18. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Am I the only one who's confused by this?The key for Storen is his ability not to strike out a good number of batters without issuing many walksShouldn't that be "his ability to strike out…"?

  19. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Faraz, point taken on double-checking before posting, but given that "R" is right above "F" on conventional keyboards, I believe it was a simple typo and that nothing was meant by it. Not sure if you might be familiar with the cartoon character Scooby-Doo, who pronounces most words as though they begin with an "R." Hence (I think), Unk's jest. Incidentally, my followup quote was an incorrect attribution. Credit Astro rather than Scooby-Doo for that one. (Yes, I do have a life, actually. Why do you ask?)

  20. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Learn the player, the team, and the manager who leads them, and then tell me where the player is headed. Based on what, if not similarities to other players, and how they performed? Seriously, what else could you possibly use?

  21. The Fox - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    This rotation is as good as any in the NL. If James is right Strasburg will be really fun to watch this year. I think James is right that Mattheus will be used more this year and I think his ERA might be even lower. JZnn will be better this year than last, now the team just has to score some runs for him. Is it February yet?

  22. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Bowdenball — Looking, out of curiosity, at the 2006 White Sox roster — crap defense, team ERA of 4.61 — I have no trouble seeing them as 72-win team, not 90 or anywhere close to 100. Spreadsheets not necessary.

  23. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    (after Klaatu has, as Billy put it, "helped Prof. Barnhardt with his homework" on solving the Three-Body Problem)Prof. Barnhardt: Have you tested this theory? Klaatu: I find it works well enough to get me from one planet to another.

  24. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    1A, I understand that it is a typo and I was not trying to take myself too seriously. I was just pointing out that checking once before making a post does not take too much time.

  25. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Klaatu, barada nikto.

  26. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Point taken, Faraz.

  28. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    JD said… Raraz,I don't think SS is pitching 208 innings in 2013. more like 190 IPO.Agreed, if they follow the JZim protocol they want 180 IPs as the target for the regular season and it could go higher if the Nats are in another dogfight for the NL East crown which is why JZim's inning popped up.

  29. Feel Wood - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    3on2out said… Feel Wood:I must beg to differ. These formulae these guys develop are far from arbitrary. They are based on crunching ALOT of numbers and finding a formula that works the best in the majority of cases. Using pitchers who have posted similar numbers in the past these formulae offer the best mathematical predictor of future performance. The flaw (and it is a huge one) is that there is no accounting for the intangibles such as the mastery of a new pitch; recovery from surgery or an injury; a new mentor; contract status; etc.All of those things you mention are just various forms of arbitrariness. The decisions of whether to include this number or that factor were not backed by any kind of science or rigorous analysis, they were just made. And how were they made? Arbitrarily.

  30. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    For Faraz: btw, another movie for your "to see" list might be, as referenced by Gorse, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 version).

  32. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Faraz, My apologies. It was just a simple typo and it was too early in the morning,

  33. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Gorse Hacker — You entirely miss the point. You cannot look at Harper in 2012 and say, "I see Dave Parker," and then predict what he'll do in 2013 based on what Dave Parker did. You can only predict what he'll do based on (A) which skills are improving, which have plateaued, those (if any) at which he will never be particularly good; (B) the team around him (e.g., what position he'll play, for example, is LF less stressful than CF; where he'll hit in the batting order, what will he be expected to do — hit for average, hit for power, etc.); (C) how will Johnson manage him (e.g., green light him on the bases). I don't expect Harper to break out in 2013 just because other 19-year old players doubled their nos. in their age-20 seasons. I expect him to break out because (A) he is more mature; (B) has learned the league; (C) underperformed his tool kit in July and first part of August; (D) figured things out and tore up the league in September. I don't need a bunch of logorithms to figure that out.

  34. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    I think Vazquez would be terrific insurance but I also don't feel that he would be a practical signing because if he comes out of retirement one would think he would want a situation where he can be a part of the regular rotation. I think guys like Chris Young and maybe even Matuszaka might be more inclined to take a minor league contract.

  35. SCNatsFan - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Sorry but I'm still facinated by HRod and that devistating curve. How much of a glutton for punishment am I?

  36. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    In (somewhat old) 1B/DH news, a number of teams are looking at Lance Berkman, who wants a bigger carrot. (I'm, sorry, what?)

  37. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    You cannot look at Harper in 2012 and say, "I see Dave Parker,"Now I'm confused. As I understand it, the stats guys are precisely NOT doing that–if anybody is, it's the "eyes" guys, and as you say, probably not many of those.

  38. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Feel Wood, What makes the stats used un-arbitrary is the fact that the predictability models are tested against actual data and are modified accordingly. So if a projection misses wildly across a population over a significant period of time you know you have a bad hypothesis somewhere and you modify your inputs to correct. No one here is claiming that any projection is gospel but similarly one should consider the fact that James et.al have been doing this for years and if their stuff wasn't reasonably correct it would have gone by the wayside. We are also keenly aware that the game is played by humans and there are any number of factors which cannot be measured by any statistical formula but this too does not make statistical analysis invalid or as you call it arbitrary.

  39. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    I don't expect Harper to break out in 2013 just because other 19-year old players doubled their nos. in their age-20 seasons. I expect him to break out because (A) he is more mature; (B) has learned the league; (C) underperformed his tool kit in July and first part of August; (D) figured things out and tore up the league in September.But why do you think those things, A-D, will help him, if not based on the experience of seeing those things help other players? Or are you saying a hypothetical Martian who has never seen baseball before could come to the same conclusions?

  40. Sam - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    I look at other projections for other teams, and I think to myself, "Hmm, that's fair." And then I look at those for the Nationals and think, "How could they low-ball that guy so much???"Funny how that works…

  41. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    That's OK, JD.thanks 1a. I have seen the 2008 remake but I hear the old one is a bit different and much more acclaimed than the remake.

  42. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    So some people seem to be arguing that sabremetrics isn't science and is therefore invalid; others that it IS science and is therefore invalid; and others that it is science, not a satisfaction-guaranteed warranty.The most interesting part to me is that I find myself defending a system that does things I don't care about. Weeerd.

  43. NatsNut - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Holy starting rotations, batman!! Strasburg's projected ERA! If those 5 come anywhere close to these projections, this is going to be FUNNN!Still, count me as one more who's a little nervous about starting depth. I think we were beyond lucky last year with the health of our starting 5.

  44. sjm308 - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    SCNatsFan – as painful as it has been, I have been and continue to be an HRod fan as well. I rejoiced early in the season as he left batters bewildered or just blew them away. It is well documented how truly awful he was when he was bad. What bothered me more then his wildness was his total lack of focus with runners on base. It is, to me, one of the keys to us going back to the playoffs. We obviously did it without him last year but if he is just decent, I think it gives our pen another piece and makes us even stronger (duh). I am guessing it will be an easy choice for Davey and Rizzo. He is either lights out or if he continues with his issues, he will be waived and I guarantee another club will snap him up. I would not like to see them play that dl game with him again. Go Nats!!

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I also think that Strasburg and JZim due to their FB/GB ratios will be extra beneficiaries of the #1 outfield defense in the NL. On JZim's projected 190 innings from James and the projected 3.32 ERA is a 70 Earned Runs allowed in his projection. If the total defense saves 5 additional runs, JZim's ERA would drop to 3.07.I believe JZim will be closer to a 2.80 ERA showing improvement over his 2.94 in 2012. I also brought this up last year that JZim didn't mesh well at all with Kurt Suzuki behind the plate while doing excellent with Ramos.2012 ERA's with:Suzuki 9 games: 4.44Flores 13 games: 2.57Ramos 7 games: 2.18This was one of my criticism's of Davey that he has to stop being stubborn and work on matchups. Davey stated he doesn't do pitcher/catcher matchups. I think that's a mistake.When you have pitchers like Stras/JZim/Gio who are amp'd types of personalities you have to put them in their happy zone. Gio pitched great with Suzuki and Ramos and not so well with Flores:Suzuki 10 games: 2.00Ramos 5 games: 2.20Flores 15 games: 3.43Strasburg's ERA stats in 2012:Suzuki 5 games: 4.50Flores 17 games: 3.63Ramos 4 games: 1.38

  46. SCNatsFan - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    I agree SJM – I can't see Hrod developing back/neck/finger problems again to let us hide him in the minors for a few weeks.

  47. Tcostant - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    I agree that I kind of like seeing these projections and any new post is a good post.With that said, I wonder if these items truly tie out.Here what I mean, a lot of time before the football or baseball season you’re here “experts” say I think this is a 10-6 team or the like. But you will find in many cases, not all, that the math doesn’t work and if you took all their picks it doesn’t come to .500 as it must (you need to have the same the number of winners as losers).So for this, I wonder if they “tie” their hitting model to their pitching model or are they more independent. What really needs to be done with the data base is take all the expected pitchers earned runs, HR allowed, strikeout, etc. Then take all the hitter average, runs, RBI, etc. And see if the two sets actual can be tied, i.e. can that many runs be scored based on these pitchers ERA’sI really wonder if they tie these together… I would hope.

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    My prediction on HRod is that he will continue to thrive in low pressure situations but struggle in the higher pressure situations. To me he has been the exciting carnival sideshow hitting 3 digits on the radar gun. That seems to impress many of you. I don't give a hoot about anything but overall team success just like to me an out is an out no matter what it looks like and I buy into McCatty's theory in proper context that "Strikeouts are bullsh**"

  49. EmDash - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Ghost of Steve M – I don't know if that's necessarily fair to Suzuki, as since he came in at the end of the season, he got Strasburg and Zimmermann when they were more tired out and inconsistent at the end of the year from pitching more innings than they'd ever done before. Ramos was working with them at the beginning, when their arms were fresh.The only pitcher who seemed to me to have really consistent differences with Flores vs. Suzuki over the same period of time was Jackson.

  50. Feel Wood - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    We are also keenly aware that the game is played by humans and there are any number of factors which cannot be measured by any statistical formula but this too does not make statistical analysis invalid or as you call it arbitrary.Invalid and arbitrary are two different things. What is arbitrary about the statistical analysis is the decision of which factors to include in the analysis, how to characterize the factors, how to weigh them against each other, etc. Once those arbitrary decisions are made, the analysis can be refined and validated as you state. So it is not statistically invalid, but it is still arbitrary.Consider everyone's favorite "advanced" stat, WAR. It has been built and statistically validated based on the fundamental concept of a "replacement player", something that does not exist in real life. The definition of what a replacement player is was determined arbitrarily. Analyses like the one mentioned yesterday that seem to validate WAR because the Nationals' total WAR for 2012 was close to their actual number of wins would fall apart completely if the number of wins contributed by the arbitrarily-defined "replacement player" was different. So the whole concept of WAR is not invalid, but rather it is arbitrary. It is only as good as the decisions made by the mathematicians who wrote the formulas.Decisions made by scouts and baseball lifers are arbitrary as well. But that doesn't mean that the arbitrary decisions made by the advanced stats geeks are better just because they have numbers and formulas to plug them into.

  51. SCNatsFan - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Ghost of Steve M… you can say they are BS but remember when JZim came in at game 4 and blew the side away… team would not have got the same emotional lift from three ground outs.

  52. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Gorse Hacker — Re: the hypothetical Martian. Not if he'd never seen a baseball game. But if he'd been watching baseball for a reasonable period of time, and Harper for a year, he could draw those conclusions without ever seeing a single stat. Some of the advanced stats are completely redundant (of observation). I don't need a stat to tell me Lannan gets lit up by a lot of line drives. Others understate (and therefore obscure) the obvious, e.g., BB/9 — although it's a broad measure of control — doesn't tell you the number of times Lannan starts walking batters just in time to let the game leech out of control, and it doesn't tell you the no. of ringing doubles Lannan surrenders because he has no command of the strike zone. Things that are statistics — e.g., WHIP, OBP, Slugging% — are useful, just as a .300 BA predicts a hitter will hit safely three out of ten times. Things that are subjective evaluations masquerading as statistics, e.g., UZRs, WARs, are auditors' tools at best and useless at their worst.

  53. sjm308 - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Ghost: that is exactly how I wish they use HRod this year. Maybe a wasted spot but starting him out in low pressure situations will have to help him adjust. I realize he has had years to adjust but he is coming off the same surgery that Storen had so I am going to hope for the best. I also feel the more years a player has to learn the language the easier it will be. It is totally apples to oranges but look at the development this year of the Terps center. I have to think he understands what is wanted a lot more after a full year of studying English.

  54. EmDash - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Also, I'd agree with JD that no projection is, by even the biggest stat-fans, considered the last word. For individual players especially, there are always going to be some who overperform their projections and some who underperform, often for reasons that can't possibly be accounted for – injuries, especially. It's just that the most consistent tool for predicting past performance is future performance; some will progress and some will regress, but you've got a better percentage if you bet that players mostly are who they are.It's generally assumed – though it doesn't always work out that way – that the team's underperformers and overperformers will balance out, and that makes the team projection more likely (though again, not certain) to be closer to accurate.Also, as a confirmed nerd, let me assure you that we really do enjoy watching the games too. *g* We just also enjoy the numbers side of things and trying to figure out what they can tell us. That they're never perfect, and people can always surprise you, is what makes it fun, and sometimes what helps you add in factors you may have previously missed. That adds a different layer of fun, for some of us.

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    EmDash, if you look at JZim's finish to the season his last 5 starts were all very good but again I'm not talking in hindsight as I made these comments in the game logs.I was commenting on the synergy they had from the 1st few starts as I was watching the games and Zuk caught his first game as a Nat on 8/4 and JZim was pitching and it didn't go well. The next time Zuk caught JZim it was a shutout but the opponent was the bat-less Astros and then he didn't catch him again until Aug 20th and that didn't go well while the 2 starts that Flores caught JZim in August did go well. JZim then had his worst game ever as a Nat on 9/1 with Zuk but after that they seemed to do better together giving up 9 Earned over the last 5 starts so they actually finished strong.It was the same thing with Flores and Gio as they just weren't meshing.

  56. EmDash - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Ha, obviously that should be "It's just that the most consistent tool for predicting *future* performance is *past* performance," because time is linear. *g*

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    SCNatsFan said… Ghost of Steve M… you can say they are BS but remember when JZim came in at game 4 and blew the side away… team would not have got the same emotional lift from three ground outs. January 04, 2013 10:56 AM That's a relief appearance and McCatty I believe was talking starters and getting them deeper into games since K's generally expend more pitches.

  58. SCNatsFan - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    OK, my bad. You look at someone like Maddux who just killed the corners and you see it isn't all about the fastball.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    sjm308 said… Ghost: that is exactly how I wish they use HRod this year. Maybe a wasted spot but starting him out in low pressure situations will have to help him adjust. I realize he has had years to adjust but he is coming off the same surgery that Storen had so I am going to hope for the best. January 04, 2013 11:03 AM When you have a bullpen of 7 and 1 is a long-man, its hard to hide a player to use only when you are behind or ahead by a bunch. Davey tried to do that last year with HRod and then put him in the closer's role when the stakes were high.Every player has to carry their weight. I think HRod makes the roster and Christian Garcia is the insurance policy in AAA just in case.

  60. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    SCNatsFan said… OK, my bad. You look at someone like Maddux who just killed the corners and you see it isn't all about the fastball. January 04, 2013 11:12 AM True. The Nats have a player named Dan Haren and while the scoreboard may call some of his pitches "fastballs" at 85MPH they won't be too fast. Its movement and deception and painting corners for him.Its not all about Velo.

  61. peric - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    The Nats have a player named Dan Haren and while the scoreboard may call some of his pitches "fastballs" at 85MPH they won't be too fast. Its movement and deception and painting corners for him.We'll see about that. For most of his career his fastballs and cutter averaged above 90. They have been slipping the past 2 years. If that velocity drops too low you could have another CM Wang.

  62. TheManBearPig - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Intuitively, it would seem that projection of performance is something that a computer model won't do as well in general as someone who understands the game, watches the player whose performance is to be predicted and is aware of important circumstances, including past performance, the player's development, injury or recovery from injury. Projection models have value to fans regarding players those fans don't have the time, opportunity or inclination to follow closely. I wouldn't think computer model projections have any value at all for GMs because GMs have scouts and will learn enough about a player to be able to predict future performance more accurately than computer models. The computer model projections of Nats players' performance have value here as a discussion topic during an off-season when everyone is starving for baseball, but probably not as a predictive tool because everyone here knows more about the Nats' players than is incorporated into the prediction models.

  63. peric - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Consider everyone's favorite "advanced" stat, WAR. It has been built and statistically validated based on the fundamental concept of a "replacement player", something that does not exist in real life.Not my favorite. Reminds me of Strat-O-matic baseball. And really that is all that fantasy baseball is if you think about it. I was desperate to get my team (the Nats) to win. So, of course I would grab the Big Train's card, Ossie Bluedge, Goose Gosling, etc and pile them into a lineup against current players in an attempt to be the tar out of them because it wasn't happening at the time. You still had to roll the dice but there were ways to make it so that no matter how the dice fell good things happened.Yes, the same thing **IS** possible today using advanced computer systems, but one other thing is needed beyond fast hardware with a galaxy of memory on board … advanced weighted statistical algorithms. How do you 'weight' key variables? You use objective analyses by as many professional scouts looking at a player as you can. Could GM's employ such a strategy to their advantage. Yes, but they would also have to employ a field manager who knew how to use the constantly updated model to his advantage. Its just possible Davey Johnson is using something along these lines. I have no evidence either way. But he does have the technical acumen to attempt such a thing with help from some techno-dweebs.

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Peric, in Haren's last start he didn't record one pitch that even touched 90. His 4-seam averaged 88 and his cutter averaged 84.

  65. peric - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Intuitively, it would seem that projection of performance is something that a computer model won't do as well in general as someone who understands the game, watches the player whose performance is to be predicted and is aware of important circumstances, including past performance, the player's development, injury or recovery from injury.See Moneyball: Billy Beane current GM of the Oakland A's. And where did they finish last year after some canny trades with the Nats and other teams?

  66. peric - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Peric, in Haren's last start he didn't record one pitch that even touched 90. His 4-seam averaged 88 and his cutter averaged 84.And as I stated before he was extremely effective because he didn't lose faith in his pitches and start nibbling. His 4-1 strikes to balls ratio is better than anyone on the Nats except possibly JZimmnn. He's not afraid to goafter hitters. But, another significant drop in velocity might paint a different picture entirely. As happened to Brad Lidge and CM Wang. And Yunesky Maya.

  67. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Peric, CM Wang's issue was he couldn't get his sinker to sink and that's a problem for a 1 trick pony.

  68. peric - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Speaking of Mathematicians, another Nats Math type Jeff Mandel is having a sterling season of winter ball as a reliever and starter. Looks better than fireballing Hassan Pena. He might just be another possibility (albeit a right handed one) for the bullpen but a sure, reliable starter in Syracuse.

  69. peric - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Peric, CM Wang's issue was he couldn't get his sinker to sink and that's a problem for a 1 trick pony.In part inconsistent arm motion, in part lost of a a lot of his velocity on that power sinker he used to feature.Again, if Haren's velocity drops we might find him to be less than effective … just like Lidge.

  70. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Aside from his injuries, a cross checker I know well, attributes Haren's initial drop in velocity to his penchant for trying to cut everything. Obviously, the injuries contributed but while he probably won't hit his previous top velocity the feeling is that if he gets back to his standard fastball and limits the use of the cutter while utilizing that killer split, Haren will be fine.

  71. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Peric, Haren is a 5 pitch guy and his best pitch is his cutter which he will throw the most of all of his pitches. His cutter, split finger and 2 seam in that order get his most swing and miss in an average start.When Haren has his best stuff he will throw 40% cutters and 25 – 30% 4-seamers and its his 4-seamer at 88 to 89 mph that will get the most swing & miss as the batter is thinking cutter or split. Then to really confuse them he throws the split finger or the dropping 2 seamer. He can get 4 fastballs to move in different directions from the same arm slot and look.By the way, he doesn't throw a slider.When Haren is on, he is great to watch!!!

  72. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Ghost…..that's what the cross checker (AL West guy, too) said. He said Haren fell in love with the cutter and he lost sink and velo on his fastball. Told me his split was killer.

  73. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Guys, Haren also doesn't have to be Cy Young level next year to make his signing successful. This team won 98 games with EJax at no. 4, with Strasburg on an innings limit and still learning, with JZImm 1 year removed from TJ and with Detwiler just establishing himself as a viable starter. Only Gio was at full capacity all year and only Gio could be categorized as having over achieved. If Haren gives us what EJax did we'll be fine and anything more will be gravy.

  74. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    NatsJack, I think Haren will help JZim and Stras immensely by teaching these guys to use their arsenal and rely on movement and deception.JZim got into a bad habit of sometimes relying on 2 pitches (fastball and slider). That works great when you are a reliever not so great 2nd and 3rd time through an order as a starter.Haren and Doc Halladay have been masters at keeping the batters off-balance. When you have 4 "plus" pitches that all look the same out of the pitchers hand, the advantage is even more in the pitchers favor.I wonder if Haren will throw more split-finger pitches and less cutters as I expect McCatty to have a lot of input.

  75. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    JD, well said but I don't think Haren will be pleased if he is north of 4.00 ERA. I'm hoping for a 3.60 type year from him if he is healthy.

  76. ehay2k - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Interesting discussion here. My personal belief is that the sabermetrics are very valuable in helping round out player evaluations, but that by themselves they are not as useful. And when I look at Harper, is do NOT see Dave Parker. Dave Parker is at least 61 years old. That's a clown comparison bro! ;-)

  77. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    I think overall 2 factors that have to go into the pitching equation is that Ramozuki as the catching tandem could be the best catching duo for play calling in the Majors and the Nats defense I believe will be better than last year with much greater range in the outfield.Experience matters and my hopes is Haren will be the player mentor this rotation needs and another year of experience will help all these pitchers.I like Buster Olney's ratings and believe the Nats have the best starting rotation in the National League.

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    http://nationalsprospects.com/2013/01/final-winter-league-update-3/Final tally on the Winter Leagues. Eury Perez with a horrible winter and Zach Walters looks like he will never be anything but a AAA guy.Davis did well in his pitching appearances and like Peric said Mandel's numbers look promising.

  79. sjm308 - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Still never got an answer why the catcher is not included in ranking the infield??

  80. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    SteveJM, they only consider 1st, 2nd, short, and 3rd as infielders.Its a great point you make though as you need to account for it somewhere!

  81. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    When life goes according to plan, you can sometimes slot a catcher in as a pitcher's personal caddy, one start each time through the rotation. Circumstances, however, force deviations from the plan, including day games after night games (there seemed to be a lot of "getaway" day games last year) and the rare double-header. Given Ramos's injury, Flores's nagging injuries, and Suzuki's late acquisition (and lack of familiarity with the individual pitchers), I don't think Johnson ever had the opportunity to develop a real rotation among his catchers. And I don't think Zimmermann's blips w/ Suzuki were anything more than blips that will be erased with experience. First, I think Suzuki has the starting job until Ramos demonstrates that (A) his knee is recovered; (B) he is in physical condition — a real question mark; and (C) he has knocked the rust off.Assuming Ramos demonstrates he is fit, adopting a caddy system on a team w/ two quality catchers trends toward under-utilizing one of them. I don't see any reason not to tell Z'mann to just throw to whichever glove is in front of him.

  82. Doc - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    RE: Final Tally on Winter LeaguesWad's up with Eury Perez; only played 27 games and hit close to Medoza. Was he injured. Two winters ago, he knocked the ball at a .400 rate.

  83. MicheleS - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    So the Washington Times did their layoffs today.. no word yet on who was let go. Everyone keep happy thoughts for Amanda.

  84. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Mexican and PR winter leagues are notoriously dominated by curve ball/other slop-throwing pitchers. I seem to recall Ryan Church was sent to Mexico one year to learn to hit the curve ball. Not sure how that influences how you analyze the nos. Looking at C. Maldonado, I doubt that any of the winter leagues is significant as anything other than a warm-weather laboratory in which to work on things that need to be worked on.

  85. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Theo, are you sure about that? I thought Ryan Church refused to go.

  86. peric - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    If Suzuki hits like he did at the end of last season I think the job is his. Ramos has never been consistent enough at the plate to offset his weaknesses defensively. He is still young, still needs seasoning and with the knee needs a body type that is more like Suzuki's not Maldonado's. He needs to shed pounds before spring training and keep them off.

  87. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    MicheleS, penny wise pound foolish if the Times cut into their Nats or Skins coverage. I guess they don't need much Wizards coverage to just say they stink and there's no NHL.Fingers crossed.

  88. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Theo, my distinct recollection was that Ryan Church refused to do Winter ball in Mexico for the Nats.I couldn't find that he was there.

  89. do1teach1 - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    I think this is exactly the kind of stuff we should be reading and talking about one a cold day in January. What else do we have, really?My grand assertion, looking at all of yesterday's and today's predictions, is that if you take injuries out of the equation, both these prognosticators probably do pretty well, year to year. The guys they project for too-great an improvement balance out the guys they project for too great a fall-off.My only quibble in the post is with Mark. I think all of us have got to disconnect the formula in our computers that requires the words "Game 5" to follow the words, "Drew Storen."Storen had a major screw up. There's no question about it. But we don't need to anchor every comment about him with a reference to that one disastrous inning.Think of the worst moment of your life, being brought up every time your name comes up in conversation. Mine would be, "do1teach1 has led a good life, but don't forget him streaking on the Johnny Carson show."

  90. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Ghost — That may explain several things about Ryan Church.

  91. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    You have to page-down a bit, but this is an interesting analysis of Ben Rovere's situation (potential) on the Fillies, especially whether he can improve his walk rate (no). If you don't like WAR, ignore that part. Hopefully, our guys are paying attention: no need to pitch around this guy, the worst he'll do is get a ground ball single.Some Fillies Stuffhttp://crashburnalley.com/2013/01/04/crash-bag-vol-35-lets-throw-jeff-loria-into-sagittarius-a/comment-page-1/#comment-229261

  92. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    If Times cut off their sports section(s), that will be ninety-six percent of my reasons for canceling my subscription.

  93. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Oh, hopefully you read this, but in case not: DC Washington sang the National Anthem last week at the pointy ball game and will do a repeat on Sunday. There is a profile of him in WaPo.

  94. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Re: WashTimes. This guy got let go. Took it with some humor. I also saw an ad on Twitter that sportswriters are needed in Ottawa, so maybe he will land on his feet.Patrick Stevens ‏@D1scourseCan go ahead and cross "live tweeting while being fired" off the bucket list.

  95. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said… Ghost –That may explain several things about Ryan Church. January 04, 2013 1:53 PM If memory serves, there was speculation that he was traded based on his rumored refusal to play in Mexico.

  96. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    The Mets financial situation is not good.They just received $700 million in loans, and their rating is reduced to BB. It's a vicious cycle, because they can't spend any money to improve the team, so attendance keeps going down. I'm not following this minute-to-minute, but I'm wondering if there is any chance the Wilpons would be forced to sell, and a situation like the Dodgers could ensue, where well-funded owners come in to restore the team?sports/2013/01/7050696/standard-and-poors-thinks-fred-wilpons-mets-have-yet-hit-bottomhttp://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/sports/2013/01/7050696/standard-and-poors-thinks-fred-wilpons-mets-have-yet-hit-bottom

  97. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Thanks for the link, Tcostant. Bourne will get something. So will Lohse. Soriano is a little different, because teams are not going to give a multi-year contract and a draft pick for a reliever. He maybe should have taken the qualifying offer.LaRoche, IMO, will end up with the Nats on a 2-year, unless the Red Sox can't work things out with Napoli. I am wondering if the issue for an "option" for 2015 has to do with that qualifying offer/draft pick? My question is, if a team has an option, or a mutual option, for a player, and do they have to turn down that option and then make an qualifying offer? Or once they turn down the option is that the end? If the Nats could offer the option without any "penalty" then I don't know why they wouldn't. LaRoche saves face and gets some kind of buyout for 2015 if necessary. BUT, if buying LaRoche out means the Nats lose on the draft pick. that could be a sticking point. Right now, if ALR accepts the offer, the Nats would get the draft pick if/when he leaves at the end of 2014. If there is some kind of option in play, could the Nats lose that pick?

  98. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    sjm308, how was Les Miz!?

  99. EmDash - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I don't think the Nats will ever get a draft pick for LaRoche if they re-sign him this year – teams are reluctant to give up their pick for a 33-year-old LaRoche coming off the best year of his career, so he'd have to do something genuinely spectacular when he's 35 to even get a qualifying offer in the first place.

  100. 3on2out - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Peric:I concur with you whole heartedly on the Suzukamos situation. Ramos's weight and his knee really trouble me. A torn ACL is the type of injury that someone who has to squat for living may never completely recover from. Throw in his body type and his apparent inability to keep the weight off I see a worrisome situation.

  101. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Thanks, Michele. Hope that Amanda is either retained or lands on her feet.I remember reading that as well, Ghost, but can't recall where.Ghost Of Steve M. said… Theo, my distinct recollection was that Ryan Church refused to do Winter ball in Mexico for the Nats. I couldn't find that he was there. January 04, 2013 1:47 PM

  102. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    EmDash, I agree with you. That is why it's puzzling to me that Rizzo doesn't just offer ALR a "team" option or a "mutual" option for 2015, since the end result would be that the Nats would most likely decline the option and buy him out for 2015. Seems like, depending on the $$ of the buyout, that would settle the matter for both parties.

  103. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Reading the Mets article, they appear to be (A) insolvent, unable to meet their obligations as they come do, if not now then by 2014; (B) unable to climb out of their hole because of the debt on the stadium. That's the smell of bankruptcy looming. Good for the Wilpons, Selig won't allow that to happen — some buyer w/ a ton of cash will be found, probably not hard to do because of the value of the real estate and the W's and friends will walk out the door with several hundred millions. Running the Dodgers into the ground was the best thing that every happened to McCourt.

  104. MicheleS - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Ramos has dropped weight this offseason.. Amanda did an update on him not to long ago and he dropped quite a bit(can't remember the number). he has stayed in DC for the majority on the offseason for his rehab. He did go back to Venezuela for a a charity event for that little girl he helped get the operation for. But otherwise, all the reports are that he will be ready by spring training and that they will ease him back in. Can see him being the #1 by seasons end.

  105. MicheleS - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    and another piece of info on the catching situation:James Wagner‏@JamesWagnerWPSomething to keep in mind next season, especially as Wilson Ramos plays: Kurt Suzuki's '14 club option vests at $9.25M w/ 113 starts in '13.

  106. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  107. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    If no option for LaRoche, maybe the best deal he can get is Nats agree not to make a qualifying offer — unlikely they would anyway as the no. likely will probably be north of $14MM.

  108. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Theo, agree on both points. Re: qualifying offers. I would be free agents are putting that into their contracts from now on. Re: Wilpons. Yes, unless Selig continues to value them as friends, they will drive their way toward bankruptcy and new ownership. Yes, I want the Nats to win the division, now and forever. OTOH, a weak, poorly run team is not in the best interests of baseball, as competitive "entertainment."

  109. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Sorry. Meant to say, "I would bet…"

  110. Tcostant - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    NatsLady said… Soriano is a little different, because teams are not going to give a multi-year contract and a draft pick for a reliever. He maybe should have taken the qualifying offer.Me –> Ironicly Soriano had a contract an opted out. The qualifying offer was about the same as his 2013 salary would have been under the old contract.LaRoche, IMO, will end up with the Nats on a 2-year, unless the Red Sox can't work things out with Napoli. I am wondering if the issue for an "option" for 2015 has to do with that qualifying offer/draft pick? My question is, if a team has an option, or a mutual option, for a player, and do they have to turn down that option and then make an qualifying offer? Or once they turn down the option is that the end? Me –> As long as they make a qualifying offer and the player declines, the teams gets a draft pick if he signs elsewhere. ALR had an option this year, it doesn't matter if it was his or the teams.I kind of like the logic of the Theo, but for one year not worth it; but how about we tell ALR that if he signs for two years, the Nats will not make a qualifying offer after the 2014 season. The reason I wouldn't do this for one year is you may as well just keep Morse then and get a pick for ALR and Morse the following year.

  111. Feel Wood - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    That is why it's puzzling to me that Rizzo doesn't just offer ALR a "team" option or a "mutual" option for 2015, since the end result would be that the Nats would most likely decline the option and buy him out for 2015.There is one simple reason for that. Rizzo does not want LaRoche back, even on a two year deal. He gave LaRoche his opportunity right before the winter meetings, when Davey was begging him to sign. LaRoche turned it down. This whole storyline about the Nats still having a two year deal on the table for LaRoche is fiction. He will sign with whichever other team makes the best offer, and there will be at least one other team that wants him.

  112. The Fox - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Speaking of Mexico, here is your useless fact of the day. If you can throw a good curve-ball in Mexico City than you have one hell of a curve-ball!This is due to the Magnus effect which is an atmospheric effect that works on a ball thrown with backspin or sidespin. Since the the air is less dense, the Magnus effect is less pronounced, and the ball curves less. It has been estimated that a curve-ball will bend about 20 percent less in Denver and that percent would increase at higher altitudes. MLB has actually looked into this because of possible expansion to Mexico City which is over 7,000 feet high, much higher then Denver which has the same elevation as Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city.

  113. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Thanks, Fox. Might have been useless but it was interesting!

  114. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Feel Wood, I am not sure how you are so sure of your opinion being correct. You may be right but you may also be wrong. IMO ALR was always the 1st choice for bot Davie and Rizzo and they are protecting Morse's value by not being too public about it. I think the 2 vs. 3 year disagreement is real and I think ALR has really dug in after seeing the contracts given to Swisher and Ross. I think the kicker with ALR is the draft pick. The Red Sox would have signed him but are really loathe to give up the pick.

  115. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    The reasons (I think) Davie especially prefers ALR to Morse are: 1) LH hitter. 2) Better defense. 3) More serious approach to the game. I don't think it's a tragedy if ALR leaves as a matter of fact I don't think it's awful if Tyler Moore ends up in the position. All of which leaves Rizzo in a great position and not likely to give in to ALR at all.

  116. TheManBearPig - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    JD, I'm curious as to why you think Morse's approach to the game is less serious than ALR's (or do you think that's Davey's opinion?). Approach to the game influences what a player does in the off-season, in spring training and before games, not just his demeanor in the dugout. Is there any reason to think that ALR has worked on his game any harder than Morse has? I don't think that Morse's occasional goofiness or his appearing to have more fun on the field than ALR means his approach to the game is less serious.

  117. TheManBearPig - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Feel Wood, if Rizzo doesn't want ALR back, do you also think the Nats aren't all that interested in Howell? If they are, then why not be more aggressive in trying to sign him (Howell), since they won't be able to use Morse to trade for LHRP?

  118. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    JD, well spoken. I was one of those that in October was for ALR–"pay the man." Given Morse's pay rate, and perhaps the difference in age, I'm willing to call it even. In my heart, I still prefer LaRoche, but I won't be unhappy with Morse. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we have both on April 1.

  119. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    ManBearPig, That's just my interpretation of what I think Davie thinks about both men; I could be totally wrong but this is how I'm reading the tea leaves.

  120. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    NatsLady, I would be surprised especially since Tyler Moore is potentially a younger cheaper version of Michael Moore.

  121. NatsLady - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    JD, agree on Moore. However, if ALR signs, I think Rizzo will simply wait until Morse's value is at its highest. That might be before April 1, but it might be after April 1–depending on other teams' needs and injuries. Also, I am with you on the tea, but I'm also trying not to assume my feelings are the same as Davey's.

  122. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    If these "projections" by which some people are so awestruck are correct, Moore turns out to be a Carlos Pena-type hitter (.233) with an Adam Dunn glove. So you better hope (A) the projections are wrong or (B) they manage to hang onto either one or both of Morse and LaRoche.

  123. TheManBearPig - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    JD, that's not an unreasonable reading imo. I was just wondering if you had heard of anything specific (other than gatorade shower stuff).

  124. JD - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    Theo, I think Moore's projections are less reliable than most because there is not much historical data to go by. Moore may very well hit for a lower average than Morse but he did flash some enormous power in a very small number of at bats.

  125. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Sounds like Amanda might still be on board.

  126. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 5, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    JD — The lack of "historical data" is why a plan that relies on Moore seems unwisely risky. And by "data" I don't mean the stuff that goes into and comes out of computers but observation, over time, of a guy doing the same thing, time after time. Moore indeed shows a lot of power. However, he seemed to me to have less liftoff and range on his rockets than Morse, and he really seems to be a dead pull hitter, where Morse last year was going to the opposite field — an injury compensation, I think, but something he can duplicate — more often than not. Second, my observation is that Moore is mostly a "mistake" hitter. Those HRs, by and large, were FBs or cripple curves that found their way over the meat of the strike zone. There's nothing wrong w/ mistake hitters — LaRoche is a mistake hitter but he has shown he can do it 32 times over the course of a full season. I'd like to see Moore at least replicate — or even improve on — last year's part-time results before crowning him as anybody's replacement.

  127. Jack Rodgers - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    I just hope everyone stays healthy – but i also think Gio will have a HUGE Cy Young year

  128. peric - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    Have to concur with FellWood PRAA on LaRoche somewhat, it's not that Rizzo doesn't want him back but they are going to have to make room at the very least for Rendon and we know there are others including at least two left handed bats. At age 36 without the flexibility of Werth he becomes Matt Matt Stairs on the Nats. And for Werthian money? Factor in almost no production in 2011 for 8 million? LaRoche is better off in the AL where he can be used as as a DH and PH

  129. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    It looks like Howell is going to sign with the dodgers, another LRP off the board…sigh…

  130. Gonat - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    Yep, JP Howell on his way to LA

  131. Steady Eddie - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Howell had too many BB/K for the $.But with so many candidates off the board, I would hope Rizzo is expecting to resign ALR and deal the Beast for a bullpen restock.

  132. NatsJim - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:48 AM

    Now I'm getting concerned about the lefty relief situation – it seems that we've missed out on some pretty solid relievers none of whom were asking for unreasonable money. If this ends up being an achilles heel we could end up costing ourselves a WS over a couple of million dollars… In Rizzo I trust, but that's a classic penny-wise, pound-foolish situation.

  133. peric - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    In Rizzo I trust, but that's a classic penny-wise, pound-foolish situation.As I recall everyone was worked up about losing the lefty Buehrle. And Rizzo went out and found someone better and a lot younger.Give the man and his brain trust a chance. Unlike us he REALLY KNOWS who is truly available and who is not and what they will cost trade-wise. I'm more worried about injuries in spring training at this point. And so should you.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
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