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What lineup makes sense?

Jan 9, 2013, 12:00 PM EST

With Adam LaRoche now officially back for 2013 (and beyond), the Nationals' entire starting lineup is now set.

Or, more accurately, the names who will comprise the Nationals' entire starting lineup are now set. The actual order in which they'll step to the plate still must be determined.

There are a number of ways Davey Johnson could choose to approach this venture, with several of his regulars capable of hitting in a variety of lineup slots.

This much we do know: The Nationals will have a new leadoff man in 2013, with Denard Span taking that role away from Jayson Werth, who performed admirably over the season's final twoRead more ยป

130 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MurrayTheRed - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Bring on Summer! The team is now ready and so am I.

  2. MicheleS - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    In the words of our esteemed host "SWEET FANCY MOSES!" that is one heck of a lineup!!!! everyone please stay healthy!!!

  3. Joe Seamhead - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Mark, at this point in time I think your lineup will be the lineup. It makes a ton of sense and I'll be darned if I'd want to pitch against it, or manage against it in late game situations. I only know Denard Span by reputation, a few video clips, and what I read on the likes of Fangraphs. But I am getting very excited at the prospect of a speedy, high OBP lead off guy, whose career seems to be ascending, followed by Werth, Harper, Zimmerman etc. I am a believer in that speed kills you in many ways, and with these guys behind him Span has a realistic chance to be near to, if not at, the top of the league in runs scored. Another great thing about this lineup is the fact that not one guy has to feel like everything depends on him to carry the team on his back for it all to work. Top to bottom this lineup not only projects as the best the Nationals have had since coming to town, but also as possibly the best in the NL East, if not in the whole league. Davey has to be salivating, especially if you consider the defense, and starting pitching, that comes with it.Also, slightly OT, I rarely mention advanced defensive stats, but it is interesting to delve into Josh Willingham's defensive stats in Oakland, then compare them to his stats in Minnesota, and they are starkly superior with the Twins. He goes from a quite overall negative rating to an overall positive, and sources I read said that the difference was playing next to Span made him look much better. Thanks for another terrific piece, Mark. GYFNG!!!

  4. Aaron - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Span is actually a great candidate for the unconventional #9 spot (pitcher hitting #8).Obviously they won't do that though, having repeatedly called Span a "true lead-off man".

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    I think even JayB would be hard pressed to complain about that lineup. I know I like it.

  6. Donald - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    I might be inclined to make one change — bat Zimmerman 3rd and Harper 4th. I know that messes up the L-R-L scheme which has some value, but I think Harper has more power than Zimmerman and if the first 3 batters get out, I'd rather have Harper leading off the second than Zimmerman, given his speed. He can even revert to lead-off man mode and bunt his way on.

  7. Aaron - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Here's baseballmusings Lineup Analysis for the above (Bill James' projections):'s a bit crude, not caring about handedness or speed on the bases, but it's still worth thinking about – we lucked into finding our optimal leadoff man last year and now we're going to regress to "traditional" thinking…

  8. sm13 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    There's really not a bad option here. Mark's lefty-righty balanced lineup will be a nightmare for opposing pitchers and managers. Against righties, Davey could slot Harp back in the 2 spot and move Jason down to 6th. All good options.

  9. Don - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    I think that Mark's lineup aint gonna be the lineup, his confidence in it notwithstanding. There is pretty much no way that the club moves Harper to the 3 hole at this point in his career. He has yet to hit for high average in the bigs, he has struggled against breaking pitches, Ks too much and lefties can get him out — he's just not good enough yet to be that guy. Not gonna happen. And after the guy drives in 100 and swats 33 bombs, the Nats would be moving ALR out of clean-up? Don't see that happening either. Werth has 30 HR power and can mash 40 2Bs, he's had by far his best success in MLB as a 6 hole hitter and his talent is wasted if all the club is looking for is for him to take pitches, put the ball in play to the right side, drop a bunt and the like in order tohope to get on or to move Span over. And no club has ever paid a guy $126M to bat 2nd (with the excpetion of maybe Jeter). It all comes down to Lombo. If he beats-out Espi, then he's the 2 hole guy on most days. Switch, he can run, he makes contact, he can do all the small things that 2 hole hitters do. We'll see what happens, lots of thing can happen between now and Opening Day.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    People just don't want to accept that Lombo is a utility guy and Espinosa is a gold glove second baseman with pop. Davey wants Harper in the 3 hole, surrounded by Werth and Zimmerman. Werth is a perfect 2 hole hitter. LaRoche is a perfect lead in to Desmond and Espinosa.This is a terrific lineup.

  11. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    I like that lineup. Seattle tried Ichiro as their number 3 in the beginning of last season and it did not work out but I am more confident that Harper, who is viewed as a power bat, can handle number 3. If nothing else, along with Span and Werth, he should provide more RBI situations for Zimm and LaRoche.

  12. sjm308 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    I like a couple of things about Mark's line-up including the L-R thing. I don't think it was mentioned but this still allows Harper to follow Werth which worked so well last year. I am not sure how many pitches Span sees but I would guess since he prides himself as a leadoff guy, that is part of his makeup. Werth also does this well.I also like Span-Werth-Harper because of the baserunning we would see. If you put Zimm 3rd it slows things down for Harper. Those 1st 3 as Mark has it will take extra bases, and give pitchers fits. I also like LaRoche 5th because if there are baserunners, teams will not be able to put the huge shift on that we saw so many times. You can't have the 3rd baseman playing SS with 3 guys on the right side if we have men on, and with this lineup we will have men on.One last rebuttal to Laddie (it is with a j by the way). Your reasoning of Morse being a problem in the dugout because he would not start would lead us to getting rid of Suzuki or Ramos because both have potential to start and one will obviously be on the bench. Same with Lombardozzi who has potential to start. Hell, a good player always thinks he should start. This is one job the manager has to get right. He has to make sure everyone is on the same page as they march to the World Series. If your theory is correct and players with potential for starting are going to cause problems, we would have a bench filled with DeRosas, Tracys, and Stairs. god forbid!!!Again, I realize Morse is 99% sure gone but I am fighting the good fight here and actually having fun with it.Mark – when we play AL Teams, don't forget to put Morse 5th as DH and move everyone else down.Go Nats!!

  13. Don - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    I accept that Espi is a great fielder and that he has good pop, but the club does not lack pop and it does lack a 2 hole hitter. The club has guys who can mash, they need guys who can be on when the ball goes over the fence. Espi's game has great upside, more than Lombo's, but it has great flaws too. Espi's Ks and low contact may not be worth his 15-20 HRs over 650 ABs for a club trying to win now. Lombo wants his job, and he has good skills of his own, I think that Espi needs to make some big adjustments to his offensive game in order to cement his role or he may end up on another club's roster sooner than later (he has good trade value in that he can play SS and he does have that pop). We'll see.

  14. MicheleS - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Can you imagine the number of times Harper would be on Zim's heals around the bases? It would be funny 1 time only.. Zim would need oxygen after that!

  15. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    With pitch counts being so influential in a starters outing, Span and Werth at the top of the order provide the the Nats with 2 guys who will see alot of pitches in the first 5 innings of a game. And Zimmerman is a great 2 strike hitter.I can see this lineup working counts and getting bull pens in action earlier than opponents would like.

  16. DHamm - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    I don't just accept that concept, NatsJack, I embrace it!Now, let's go get David Price. It's still Hot Stove season, I'm still allowed to dream, right?

  17. sjm308 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Does NatsJack owe me a drink?

  18. RaleighNat - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I love Mark's lineup and it was what I've been coming up with too. Harper is the wild card…I want him in front of Zimm. His energy, aggressiveness and speed on the base paths needs to be in front of Zimm and LaRoche. With Span and Werth in front of him, you also take advantage of his ability to knock in runs too. With this line up and health, Zimmerman will have a monster year.

  19. CPT Michael Korte - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I hope we keep Morse and use him in the OF and at 1B as a super-sub that plays 130+ games. He can be the first guy in if someone in the OF gets hurt at all. And someone will because its baseball and for some reason standing around for 3 hours hurts.

  20. alexva - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    I think Harper likes hitting 3rd to assure he gets up to bat in the first inning. No disrespect intended to Zimm but I like that too.

  21. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    What Michele said, having Zimm in front of Harper will slow him down. I think this lineup is good to go. I am not going to defend Danny anymore. I have done that many times before. Everyone else in the league seems to value him accurately more than some fellow Nats fans around here.Aaron, the lineup where you have Span hitting ninth by that website. Also has Suzuki or Espinosa hitting third.

  22. MicheleS - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I hope LaRoche comes to NatsFest. As soon as I got home last night, put on my LaRoche shirsey. I was afraid it was going to be donated to goodwill. Thankfully, I have two more years to wear it out completely!!!

  23. MicheleS - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    And Zim is probably just salivating over having 3 speedsters in front of him.

  24. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    yeah, may Zimm finally have the MVP season he is capable of next season and forever!

  25. SCNatsFan - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Espi cannot hit third; he just doesn't make enough contact. There is no way I see Lombo beating him out if he is healthy but there is no way I see him batting anywhere other then 7.

  26. ExposedinDC - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Been advocating Harp 3rd and Zim clean up for a while, especially if Harp shows e can handle LH pitching

  27. ExposedinDC - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    As for the Lombo/ Espi debate no way Lombo wins that job unless an injury is involved, Davey see's a lot of himself in Espi and has developed a wee bit of a man crush

  28. Feel Wood - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    As with the pitching rotation, it's the sequence of the batting order that's important, not the number associated with each guy in the sequence. Davey established last year that a sequence of Werth, Harper, Zim, LaRoche, Morse, Desi, Espi and Suzuki worked quite well. Now he has to remove Morse and add Span to that sequence. Putting Span at the front, pulling Morse out and sliding everyone else down accordingly will basically maintain the great sequence from last year and give the added benefit of L-R-L-R-L-R-S-R down the order. I see absolutely no reason Davey wouldn't do that.

  29. RickH - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    I like it!

  30. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Amazing lineup, hard to see a flaw with it even our touted pitchers are one of the best hitting staffs in the league can't wait for ST this is our year.

  31. Aaron - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Faraz @ 0846, yes, the third spot isn't nearly as important as most think.Principally because it will quite often (disproportionately to 2,4 & 5) come up with 2 out 0 on, which is a low-importance situation. So you can safely put a lesser hitter there.

  32. Gonat - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Looks good! Peric may not approve. I think Mark owes Ghost a drink as he posted that exact lineup yesterday.

  33. Joe Seamhead - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I agree, Feel. Also,any talk of Span not leading off is fantasy babbleball, in my opinion. Rizzo traded our # 1 pitching prospect for a guy that he, and Johnson, feels is going to be the leadoff that this team has coveted since they came to town. End of conversation, again, IMHO.

  34. Gonat - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Joe, I think Peric has Bryce in CF and Span on the bench. LMAO

  35. howl31 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Why do folks think that Lombo is a good on base guy? His career OBP is .310… that's lower then Espinosa at .315… add in Espy's clear edge in power, speed and defense and it isn't close…And Werth is at .362… Lombo is a great utilty guy… he'll have some nice moments for us… but he's not capable of being an everyday 2 hole hitter in a lineup this strong…

  36. The Fox - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I think that is the line up as long as Harper can handle batting 3rd, and I think he can.Davey has been known to stack RH bats against some tough LH'r so I would not be surprised if Zim is batting 3rd when that happens. Span or Harper could be moved or taken out of the line up depending on their numbers against said LH'r.If you think this is not possible ask Roberto Alomar who batted for him when Davey managed the O's and Randy Johnson was on the mound.

  37. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Aaron, if you have team's two best OBP guys as 1 and 2, then isn't number 3 more likely to not see that 2 outs, 0 on scenario than others?

  38. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… 1. Span2. Werth3. Harp4. Zim5. LaRoche6. Desmond7. Espi8. RamozukiL R L R L R S R That will be tough for any opposing team to pitch against. January 08, 2013 2:59 PM Gonat, yah, I thought that lineup looked familiar. That's 2 this week.

  39. SCNatsFan - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Lombo and a cathing prospect added to Morse to get a better haul. Barring injury you have to think Espi/Desi will play 150 or so games each; I believe Rizzo could find a suitable fill in at backup middle IF.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    SCNatsFan, if anyone else gets added to the trade its because the team on the other side wants to make it a larger deal.I don't see where that benefits the Nats to start adding more players to Morse +.It works the same way as when Arizona was offering up JUpton. They offer the main guy and request what they want in the package. The other team then maybe says I will put Player X in if you add in that Pitcher Y into it. I could see Tampa as one team wanting Morse + Player X.I think if the Nats packaged Morse with anyone it would be Henry Rodriguez. He's out of options and could yield a bigger haul back.

  41. Don - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Why would anyone have Harper batting 3rd? There is no evidence that he'd be in that spot and the club has no need to move Zim, who is by far the club's best hitter, barring injury, from his spot hitting 3rd. Davey has not said that he wants Harper hitting third, Harper has reportedly said that he wants to hit third (he probably thinks he can pitch too). Big difference. Harper either stays in the 2 hole because that is where he has hit in the past and there's not much of an alternative, or, more likely in my mind, his huge power bat (why have a guy who might hit 35 HRs dropping bunts?)hits 5th on most days, 6th aginst LHP. We'll see.

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Gonat said… Looks good! Peric may not approve. I think Mark owes Ghost a drink as he posted that exact lineup yesterday.January 09, 2013 9:24 AM I need to type mine in larger fonts and indent. I also wrote Ramozuki instead of Kurt Suzuki/Wilson Ramos which probably confused some.

  43. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    please stick with Ramozuki, sounds way cooler than Ramos or Suzuki.

  44. The Fox - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Don,Performance and match ups will end up determining most of the batting order. Davey has a few options with the players he has and when you add in spot starts from Bernadina, Lombo, and Moore we will see quite a few of them this year.

  45. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Lombardozzi gets traded if Rendon becomes established at the major league level but not sooner. The scenario is that some one among Espinosa, Desmond and Zimmerman gets hurt, Rendon is called up. Rendon does not get called up in order to sit on the bench so he plays, distinguishes himself, and sticks around once his fallen compatriot returns to the lineup. At which point Lombardozzi becomes expendable. Its conceivable — to me — that Rendon hits .350 in ST, with power, and it makes no sense to send him down. That puts a bunch of other forces in motion which will give us all other reasons to speculate.

  46. Feel Wood - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Why would anyone have Harper batting 3rd? There is no evidence that he'd be in that spot and the club has no need to move Zim, who is by far the club's best hitter, barring injury, from his spot hitting 3rd.Because there is nothing sacrosanct about "hitting 3rd." It's just a position in the sequence. The sequence that works is Span(L) Werth(R) Harper(L) Zimmerman(R). If that puts Harper batting 3rd, so be it.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Don, there will certainly be some tweaking but that looks like a really good lineup given your high OBP guys and the power in the 3 to 5 spots plus Desi has proven to be so clutch behind ALR.I don't think Davey wants to stack the 2 lefties together in Span to Harp and the Werth/Harp tandem with Zim behind them has worked great.

  48. Aaron - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Faraz, well, hopefully not. But two outs are still a relatively likely outcome from #1/#2 when they lead off. Whereas your #4 is very likely to come up with men on or 0 out – both higher-leverage situations – for their first at bat.There's a good article on lineup construction here: that I expect any of the more radical stuff to happen; and happily with our pretty well-balanced offence it shouldn't make too much difference what we do.

  49. Section 222 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    John C. said…….This is not complicated. How you line up the 3-6 hitters will depend on who the 1b is and how you want to line up the L-R batters. If the 1b is Morse then you're looking at Span/Werth/Zimmerman/Harper/Morse/Desmond (LRRLRR). If the 1b is LaRoche you're looking at Span/Werth/Harper/Zimmerman/LaRoche/Desmond (LRLRLR). There! Done. Time for my Diet Coke …December 10, 2012 5:16 PMActually Ghost, it appears you owe John C. a drink. The NIDO spreadsheet awaits. But let's face it, it wasn't rocket science to figure out this lineup. I think someone actually suggested it the day that the Span trade was announced: :-)Section 222 said…I feel like it's even money whether our 1B next year is ALR or Morse. The difference is that we might be able to get something to help us win the World Series for Morse, while ALR just gets us a compensation draft pick. (Nothing against compensation picks — they got us Jordan Zimmerman and Denard Span — but they don't pay off right away.) So I'm coming around to the sign ALR and trade Morse camp. This is a big move for me since I've been on the Beast's bandwagon since Jim Riggleman thought he was better used coming off the bench. But a 1-6 of Span (L), Werth (R), Harper (L), Zim (R), ALR (L) and Desi (R), is pretty darn fearsome and will drive opposing managers nuts in the late innings.November 29, 2012 5:31 PM By the way, that December 10 post is a great one to revisit for predictions immediately after the Span acquisition of whether LaRoche or Morse would sign. This is my favorite:"He's made his decision. He's not coming back. He doesn't know yet where he will be playing next year, but it's not going to be DC. If he really wanted to sign with the Nats, he would have taken Rizzo's two year offer because he knows that's the best he's going to get here. But he didn't. That's all you need to know."That's all we needed to know. Yeah, right.

  50. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    I think it makes sense — when possible — to have the team's best power guy in the 3rd spot in the lineup. At a minimum, he gets to bat in the first inning. W/ OB guys like Span (I hope) and Werth ahead of him, there is every likelihood he'll find a runner on first, or runners on 1st and 2nd, or 1st and 3rd. The clean-up spot is mis-named as, on many occasions, the power guy ends up leading off the 2nd w/ the bases empty. Of course, your #3-hole hitter can't be a swing-and-miss guy who squanders opportunities, but Harper isn't/won't be in 2013 that kind of hitter.

  51. Don - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    I think that Espi might get traded. Desi's had the breakthrough so the club would not easily move him now, and Lombo does not have the upside of either Espi or Desi. Espi has the pedigree and the power and can play SS. Like I said above, Espi's power and glove are great stuff, but the Nats are in win now mode and he's still something of a project and he does not fit into the lineup very well right now. I think he's the most tradable guy of the three, presuming Rendon is untouchable. We'll see.

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Theo, well said and I have to believe that's the way it will happen. Rendon has to stay and healthy and play well enough to force Rizzo's hand."Its conceivable — to me — that Rendon hits .350 in ST, with power" The only thing I don't agree with is Rendon's power which I believe will be gap doubles and triples and 10 HRs a year right now. What I think he will be is a high average and OBP guy with decent speed.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Sect 222, he only wrote spots 1 to 6 ๐Ÿ˜‰ but serve that man up a drink as 7 & 8 were gimmes!

  54. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Aaron, thanks for the article. Will read it in my lunch hour.

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Sect222, I added a drink for you and John C. to be fair.

  56. Don - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Feelwood: "Because there is nothing sacrosanct about "hitting 3rd." It's just a position in the sequence. The sequence that works is Span(L) Werth(R) Harper(L) Zimmerman(R). If that puts Harper batting 3rd, so be it."I don;t think that it works that way. Harper and not Zim getting an RBI opportunity in the first inning in every game would be a loser of an idea. Zim's odds of getting a hit (and he can get extra base hits pretty well too) are much higher than Harper's. Do you think it would work to go Espi, Suzuki, SP, Span, Werth, Harper, Zim, LaRoche, Desi? No. It's not just the sequence, it's where it starts and who can do what in each spot.

  57. Section 222 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    It's conventional wisdom that the best hitter on the team bats third (everyone from Babe Ruth to Albert Pujols to Ryan Zimmerman hit in that spot), but I'm pretty sure the sabermetric guys will tell you that the No. 3 hitter comes up with no one on base more often than any player other than the leadoff hitter. The player that comes up most with men on base is the No. 2 hitter, and some argue you should put your best hitter there. Others think the cleanup hitter should be your best hitter because he'll come up in the 1st inning if any of the first three hitters get on. I think Zim will be just fine as a cleanup hitter, and unlike Werth, he won't be as easy going about a different lineup spot. But I'm sure he'll see the advantage of the LRLRLR lineup, and of providing protection to Harper batting third.

  58. The Fox - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Ah the old batting order discussion. So far no one can say mathematically what the best one is however it does look like having your best hitters batting in the first 3 slots does allow them to get more AB in a season. These best 3 hitters could change depending on who is on the mound and who is healthy and productive which is subjective. Therefore the argument becomes who are your best hitters and how do I get them the most AB's. Also it would seem the defense might play a role in the game too. :-)If you want to read something different about batting orders look up the Mobius lineup theory.

  59. Section 222 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Much obliged Ghost. If anyone is inclined to add definitions of Patterson-ed and Lannan-ed to the Glossary, feel free. And for anyone who hasn't looked at the Glossary yet, it's a definitely good for a chuckle or three. :-)Watching a bit of MLB Network last night, it's amazing and fun to see that the Nats have become the consensus best rotation in baseball, likely World Series participant from the senior circuit, etc. Remember when Mitch Williams was laughed at last year for picking the Nats over the Phillies?

  60. MicheleS - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    222… the glossary is Hilarious! Anywho, I put some thoughts down on Lannan-ed. It SHOULD be edited, because I am an accountant not an english major or a writer, so feel free anyone to update.

  61. sjm308 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    I am still with Harper batting 3rd because of the outstanding speed we will have in our top 3 hitters (actually same thing I said at 8:27am duh). I don't think Zimm will be hurt in this lineup and I do agree he is our best hitter but I really like him hitting cleanup.don, I just don't see Espinosa being traded. You are not a fan but if you look at his skill sets, his glove, power and ability to play both 2nd and short make him invaluable to this team. Yes, he strikes out a bunch and yes he is a free swinger and can be frustrating. I don't look up those complicated stats but I think I read where he was one of our top guys in WAR or one of those number things. If you traded Espinosa, who would be the back up SS?? Maybe not a huge concern but the one thing you can't determine at this early stage is who will be injured. I like having options and Espinosa is a top 2nd baseman who can also play SS. Other options???? Mikey Morse!!!

  62. sjm308 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Don, no way you are not a fan, I meant, you are not a fan of Espinosa.

  63. sjm308 - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Just visited the drink site! I am not willing or able to add anything but I might suggest adding several more OOOOO's to MicheleS's WOOOOHOOOO. I can't remember when it was just two or three as we got more excited as the season went on.Good definition of Lannened and this would not be the case with Morse. Yes, there is no position for him but he would not be sent to the minors. His position in my dreamland world is super utility player/pinch hitter deluxe/DH in those few AL games played away.

  64. JD - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Sec222, That's the lineup I put together when Span arrived ;it's the most straight forward lineup but I do have a few small issues with it: 1) I like having a lefty hitter batting 2nd to take advantage of the gaping hole between 1st and 2nd when Span is on base. 2) Werth could be slotted in at no. 6 wher he hit in Philly. An alternative lineup could be: Span,Harper,Zip,LaRoche,Desmond,Werth,Espinosa,RamZuki. I guess will see how it shakes out.

  65. Noirelune - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    How many games the Nats will play away against an American League Team. In other words, how many games will we need to put a DH in the line-up? If it many games, keep Morse, please, keep Morse.Frenchie

  66. JD - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Sec222, You correctly pointed out in a previous stream that the Nats don't really have any glaring holes to fill at the major league level and barring injury they are expected to be in that position for a couple of years so the strategy should be to obtain high ceiling prospects who are 2 – 3 years away rather than fringy major leaguers or AAAA type players. You fill your AAA roster (taxi squad) with some veterans who are either coming off a bad year or injury or are on the down slope of their careers; you don't give up talent for that. Most of the time you wind up with fairly useless pieces but once in a while someone surprises you. You also use the trading deadline if you have one or two missing pieces due to injury; under no circumstances should you trade a sought after player like Morse for a LOOGY as an example.

  67. Don - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    sjm — I understood, but thanks. I like Espi a lot and I agree that he has great value. I just think that he might have more value for another club, a club that does not have Desi and Rendon in the wings with a capable guy in Lombo ready today. Twins, Brewers, Pirates, among other clubs could use Espi at SS and might be willing to give the Nats great value in return. The club seems to have excess at MI, and he just looks to me like the most likely to be moved, if anyone gets moved. Rendon is coming so something has to give at some point, I would think.Anyway, Best 25 go North!!

  68. JD - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Don, And what makes you say that Rendon can be slotted in the middle infield. When has he played there?

  69. Tcostant - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    I also think Zimm is more suited for 3rd and that Werth should stay at 2nd; I think I would bat Harper 6th like this:1. CF Denard Span (L)2. RF Jayson Werth (R)3. 3B Ryan Zimmerman (R)4. 1B Adam LaRoche (L)5. SS Ian Desmond (R)6. LF Bryce Harper (L)7. 2B Danny Espinosa (S)8. C Kurt Suzuki/Wilson Ramos (R)BTW – In case anyone missed it. Car owners in VA get now get a curly W License Plate; the Nats need 450 people to sign up before DVM will move forward. For info:

  70. Aaron - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Noreilune – there are 10 road interleague games.Baltimore (2)Detroit (2)Kansas City (3)Cleveland (3)7 are on or before the trade deadline (though the second Detroit game is on deadline day).

  71. JD - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Peric, I agree with you that Rendon is very unlikely to need 2 years in the minors; I am thinking more along the lines of half a season; to establish health and to prove that he can handle other teams best prospects. Circumstances will dictate how he gets into the every day lineup (it will be at 3rd base) but he won't be brought up to sit on the bench. I am also struggling to figure out how we get Tyler Moore 350 – 300 at bats this year.

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Early in games I like that lineup but the problem with going Span to Harper back to back is the late inning matchups when teams bring in that lefty throwing 3/4s that eat up most lefties.I don't think there's any lineup that is etched in stone but I think with ALR officially back that this lineup looks to drive the opposition nuts. Speed at the top of the lineup with legit power in the 2 to 8 hole.

  73. JD - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    TCostant, I think Harper must bat in the 1st inning; he brings too much energy and momentum to the game.

  74. Noirelune - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Don,Thanks. So bye bye Mike.

  75. MikeinDC - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Oh the problems a 1st-Place team has! Remember when we only had 1 decent bat?I like most of Mark's lineup but it leaves Desy in the 6-hole with very little protection. Wasn't that guy in the MVP convo before his injury? I'm sure there are other number-crunchers out there who can come up with a statistically-best lineup, but for one simple question to ask is "Who do you want to get more at bats this year?" Span is the only lock at lead off.I don't expect the starting lineup to be the same all year so to start the year, I'd set it to everyone's ego and adjust accordingly per performance. I'd start the year: Span, Harper, Desy, LaRoche, Zimm, Werth, Espy, RamoZuki. (Remeber: Who needs more ABs?)

  76. Candide - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Honestly, the Nats look so strong that I think a regular batting order that looked like this…Ramos/KSuzEspiPitcherDesiWerthDSpanLaRocheBamBamZimm…could be .500 for the season.

  77. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    MikeinDC, when Ramos gets back at it then maybe he moves into the 7 hole. Agreed that Espi last year wasn't providing much protection for Desi.

  78. SCNatsFan - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    JD, I agree. Harper ramps the park up; can't wait until 2 out in the bottom of the second to hear the noise and let Bryce bring the pain.

  79. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    All the espi haters just remember he is a top ten second bssemen in the mlb due to gg defense and xbh plus his avg is not terrible don't spit at it 20teams would love his skill set

  80. The Fox - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Candide,As strange as it sounds your line-up would only marginally score a few less runs in a season maybe costing the team 3 games. In fact the better the players are in the line up the less important it is where they bat.

  81. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Apart from the L/R thing, in which Espinosa is both and protects Desmond from a RH reliever, among Espinosa, Suzuki and a recuperated (slimmer) Ramos, the better hitter should bat eighth and roll over the lineup to the pitcher.In my mind, the R/S/R order is more important and, because I think they are likely to bat w/in 20 points of each other (and the least of them probably will bat around .240), who's immediately in front of the pitcher won't matter very much.

  82. MicheleS - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Theo. and let's not forget that Stras is a silver sluger winner and provides protection for Danny (sounds like Haren can handle batting as well).Can you imagine the day Stras pitches? even if the opposing team sends out their #1 pitcher, it's going to be fun watching.

  83. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    You should be happy to leave Desmond in the 6-slot. He's not a HR hitter. His specialty is the "FB ambush HR," and he got as many of those last season as he's likely to ever get. You should count on 15-20, not more. He's free-swinging enough without suggesting to him that he should be hitting a lot of dingers.

  84. MikeinDC - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    No Espy-hater here! Love the guy he is no slouch, no one has said that.But his batting isn't enough for a pitcher to stop throwing off-speed junk to the #6 hole if no one's on. I'd much rather see that guy get a couple fast balls than one outside and the rest off-speed. (It's one reason I put Werth there, it wouldn't matter to him what comes down the pipe. Desy, I think it would.)But heaven help any pitcher who sees Espy with a man or two in scoring position. He WILL deliver. (Hoping he keeps the beard, too.)

  85. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Teddy Rochlis said… All the espi haters just remember he is a top ten second bssemen in the mlb due to gg defense and xbh plus his avg is not terrible don't spit at it 20teams would love his skill set January 09, 2013 12:07 PM I'm not a hater just a realist. The Gold Glove skillset is over-rated IMO since he is #3 to #5 in the NL by most ratings and probably won't see a GG any time in the near future. I still believe he gets too much credit for his range and while his arm is the best at 2nd it is like putting in a larger engine in a car that can only drive 75mph so its overkill. The engine sounds great when it revvs.The problem with Danny is the power comes from over-swinging which is why he led the NL in strikeouts and the power doesn't match the K's. Give me 40 HRs then you have a true power guy.The worst part is how poor he is in RISP and men on 3rd situations. Worst for a starter in the Majors with K's while a runner is on 3rd with less than 2 outs. Get the darn bat on the ball!

  86. The Fox - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    On a blog where most people use sabermetrics as a religion it is funny how it is completely ignored when it come to batting order?I'll admit creating batting orders is fun and we all like to do it but pretending that it makes a lot of difference just can't be proven.

  87. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Re: Rendon's power, when drafted he was pronounced to be a potential 30 HR guy. That's a high level for any hitter but I don't think he's a 10 HR guy, either. He's 22, so should be near his physical maturity; I suspect his limited power output last year was rust as much as anything else. So when I say "power" in ST I'm suggesting a couple of dingers and some doubles or triples in the gap, to the wall. Probably won't happen but it would be a sign he's ready for the big leagues. He's not a big guy, like Harper, or muscled like Morse, but I think the Nats imagine an Aaron-type hitter whose reflexes and quick wrists accelerate a lot of FBs on their way out of the park.

  89. Section 222 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Fox, very true. But isn't discussing potential batting orders much more fun than arguing over whether LaRoche will sign or whether the Nats were being cheap by not signing Burnett or Howell?Batting order seems to be alot about team chemistry and how pairs of players work together. I remember being very impressed, in the latter part of the season, with Davey's pairing of the speed of Werth and Harper as 1-2, and Desi and Espi as 6-7, allowing double steals, hit and runs, etc. Zim got good protection from LaRoche, Morse from Desi, etc. Davey definitely likes finding an effective batting order that works and sticking with it, allowing each player to grow into a certain role. And I'm delighted to be thinking about this in January, rather than wondering who's going to play CF or whether Desi is suited to the leadoff spot.

  90. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Theo, there are power hitters than there are those like Espi who wants to be a power hitter and does it at the expense of poor clutch and Ks.Espi is not Adam Dunn or Mark Reynolds with a bat. Espi K'd 189 times while Reynold K'd 159 times and Reynolds had a OPS of .763 vs Espi at .717 OPS.

  91. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Fox — Batting Order does matter. You put the on-base guy and table setter (#2) at the top of the order so the run-producers get to drive them in. The complementary objective is to get more ABs for the better hitters and fewer PAs for those guys who get fewer hits per PA. Assume a team where the same eight guys start 155 games, the difference in PAs cascading from one through eight ranges from 150 to 40-50 over the course of the season. Of course batting order matters.

  92. Dan! - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Very interesting in that the Lineup Generator at Baseball Musings has the "best" possible Opening Day batting order scoring 4.478 runs with a lineup that will be extremely similar to what Davey runs out there.SpanWerthHarperZimmermanLaRocheEspinosaSuzukiDesmondStrasburgI'd be surprised if the lineup isn't this one, which is just a slight less at 4.476 runsSpanWerthHarperZimmermanLaRocheDesmondEspinosaSuzukiStrasburg

  93. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Ghost — I'm not talking about Espinosa.

  94. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Dan — The idea of a batting order that values Espinosa, fewer HRs, fewer RBIs, and a lower BA almost everything else over Desmond illustrates the not-infrequent stupidity of trying to play baseball with a microprocessor.

  95. Section 222 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Dan!, any theories as to how a lineup with Desi as the No. 8 hitter is projected to score more runs than the lineup that Mark (and others) propose?

  96. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Theo, I know. I went off on a tangent. I don't want to see Rendon do what he did in the AFL Rising Stars game where he dropped his back shoulder to get under a ball and just popped it up.If he does what he is best at he will be fine and that is a line drive hitter with gap power. I highly doubt he will ever be a 30HR guy.

  97. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Section222, obviously garbage in garbage out. And Strasburg has a higher OPS than Danny Espinosa!

  98. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Lineup configuration is about scoring runs. You need to have clutch guys in the best position to drive in your high OBP guys with speed.While Wilson Ramos has a very high OBP, he doesn't have speed which is why I would eventually move him to #7 to drive in runs.

  99. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    .267 /.334 /.445 /.779.277 /.333 /.426 /.759 .267 /.321 /.404 /.725 .247 /.315 /.402 /.717 .218 /.250 /.286 /.536Here are the slashes of different players and 1 player from another team at the bottom. See if you can name the players. Note that the player at the top is his 2011 stats.

  100. The Fox - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Theophilus thanks for the reply,Number of AB's matters. I wrote that much earlier. It's not rocket science have your better players bat more often but this usually only makes a 50 to 30 bat difference for your first 3 hitters.The reason batting orders don't matter is that they are a loop. Span is only your lead-off hitter once, Zimmeramn is only batting 3rd once etc. From "The Book" Playing the Percentages in Baseball 2007.guidelines for creating the optimal lineup:- Put your best hitters in the #2 and #4 spots, with the better slugger hitting cleanup. The leadoff hitter should be of similar quality and have high on-base skills.- The #3 hitter should be of a lower quality than the 1, 2, and 4 hitters because he comes up in lower leverage situations on average (ie, he comes up more often with 2 outs and nobody on). In fact, the #5 hitter gets the higher overall run value chances vs the #3 hitter.- The #3 hitter faces the most double play situations.Also it has been shown statically that batting the pitcher 8th should get you .09 runs a game but most teams don't do this. Batting orders are fun to make and I overall agree with Mark's line up and I do like L,R,L in most situation, but I do find it interesting that most arguments on this site use sabermetrics to defend their positions but they are completely missing from this discussion. I wonder why?Look Davey has forgot more baseball then I will ever know and managing people and getting the most out of them is a skill so there is a psychological factor too. Also having the best defensive team on the field and pitching match ups make a difference. I'm not really worried about the batting order and I've had this discussion many times from a friend of mine who was a baseball statistician, now retired, and he beat this into my head after many years of me resisting it. I still have certain views on batting order, I don't think it is a good idea to put all your poor hitters together creating a real weak area in the order which is what most teams do. I would space them out a little so that in the late innings a could use a PH in different spots.Not trying to upset anyone, this was just an observation and I'm off work today.

  101. Tcostant - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    I'm okay with any batting order as long as Werth bats second after Span. Werth sees so many pitches that is only going to help Span, and I rather him to that, then someone like Harper who need to attack the baseball.I really can't wait for this season.

  102. bowdenball - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    GoSM- There is virtually no such thing as clutch. At this point that is essentially a verified fact. From the Wikipedia entry:"Cramer's study was the first of its kind, and it found that clutch hitting numbers between seasons for the same player varied wildly; in fact, the variance was the kind one would expect if the numbers had been selected randomly. Since Cramer published his results, many others have tried to find some evidence that clutch hitting is a skill, but almost every study has confirmed Cramer's initial findings: that "clutch hitting," in terms of certain players being able to "rise to the occasion" under pressure, is an illusion."With respect to Ramos, his OBP is artificially inflated by batting in front of the pitcher so often in his career.

  103. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Tcostant, Span also is excellent at seeing pitches and not sure we can find the stat but I'd like to know which batter first sees a new pitcher.I have to believe guys like Ryan Howard get more calls to the bullpen than most players. I think Bryce Harper will be that way also.

  104. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Bowdenball, the ability to hit in high leverage and with RISP and such are calculated in stats.

  105. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Clutch to me is the ability to come through in the highest leverage situation, man on 3rd and 2 outs for instance.

  106. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    GoSM, I doubt anyone gets it right without looking up stats. I know Danny is number 4 since I have seen his stats more times than I would like to admit.Also we agree on many things but Danny is one topic I completely disagree with you.Danny's defense is easily top 3, if not the best in major league (not NL or AL). Phillips (who is usually handed GG at the end of each season despite what he actually does) can make more fancy plays but he wished he had Danny's range and arm. I agree with Teddy that Danny is top ten 2B in majors. Not only that I think many teams are envious of our middle IF combination of power, speed, and superb defense. I am not willing to break that combo to gamble on Lombo's contact skills. Ks is definitely danny's problem but saying he had more Ks than Reynolds is not the correct conclusion since Reynolds had worse K% (due to 100 less PAs) than Danny. It is pretty obvious that I love the guy to death so some of my conclusions may be biased but I really think Danny (and Danny-Ian combo) is very valuable to Nats.

  107. baseballswami - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    I like Span and Werth together for the amount of pitches they will spend. I like Bryce after Werth because it seems to do something special for Bryce. I like Zim and ALR with runners on base ahead of them. I like Desi and Danny for speed IF Danny can get on base. And I like it that our pitchers can handle bats instead of just being a giant black hole, instant out in the line up. And this is all without Morse? Can we please fast forward? By the way, imaginary friends, is anyone else getting just a bit tired of the HOF, steroids debate? I will be glad when it's over, even though they will probably continue to talk about it for a while.

  108. bowdenball - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    GoSM-Yes, those things are calculated. But just because something is compiled doesn't make it meaningful or important.There is virtually no correlation between how a player does at the stat in one season relative to his "normal" performance and how he does the next season. It's purely random. That's why it's said that "clutch" doesn't exist. Clutch hits and clutch performances exist, but clutch performers do not. So there's no reason to incorporate it when putting together a lineup. A player's "normal" stats and skill set tells you everything you need to know.

  109. JD - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    GoSm, the ability to hit in high leverage and with RISP and such are calculated in stats. And the recorded data shows that what Bowdenball is saying is exactly right. The concept of clutch hitting is an idea created through fan emotion based on specific memorable situations but in the end good hitters hit well in all situations and bad hitters generally fail in most situations.

  110. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Faraz, here you go:.267 /.334 /.445 /.779 Wilson Ramos 2011.277 /.333 /.426 /.759 Stephen Strasburg.267 /.321 /.404 /.725 Suzuki w/ Nats.247 /.315 /.402 /.717 Espinosa.218 /.250 /.286 /.536 Suzuki w/ A'sWhile you can say a good #8 hitters OBP may inflate due to walks, batting average wouldn't since you have no protection. Poor #8 hitters don't get walked. Also of note is Espinosa had 13 HBPs which led the team and is factored into OBP and OPS.

  111. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    On 3rd – 2 out: we please say small sample size? To be honest, I am not a big fan of these numbers to argue for or agaisnt Danny because pitching match-ups, rookie or not, and small samples.

  112. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    JD, I'm giving you my definition of clutch that its what you do in certain situation and stats are kept on that. I'm not talking about a great feeling in my stomach.

  113. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Faraz, those stats are always going to be small because of the opportunities in that spot but his RISP isn't.

  114. The Fox - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Ghost,Both Span and Werth see a lot of pitches which is a very good thing for this team that does strike out a lot. I would like to see Span and Werth bat 1 and 2 but after that I'm open for almost anything. I would look at pitching match ups, play whose hot etc. Having a fast LH'r batting 3rd like Harper might decrease double plays? Getting ALR up to the plate with a man on 2nd or a base stealer on first would probably negate the shift?I would see what works it's a long season and the pitching will be the most important thing for this team although I think this team will hit pretty well too.

  115. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    Espi's RISP with 156 plate appearances in 2012: .209/.308/.358/.666

  116. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Fox, a very good thing. Harper has a chance in the 3 hole to put up some MVP type of stats.

  117. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    GoSM, thanks for those stats but my main comparison has been between Danny and Lombo since Lombo should replace Danny or so you are suggesting.

  118. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    Harper in the 2 hole can score his 100 runs which he would have if he played the whole month of April but in the 3 hole will have the opportunity to knock in 100 runs. When you do the combination of both with a solid OPS you get in the MVP discussion.Harper deserves it!

  119. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Faraz, I'm not suggesting that at all unless Espi was traded. To me, that time has passed and Espi gets his chance to prove himself. Lombo will be the backup.

  120. MicheleS - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Big Fat ZERO into the HOF this year

  121. natsfan1a - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    I was just scratching my head trying to think who wore uni number zero. Ohnevermind. New post. :-)

  122. JD - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    GoSm, What Bowdenball is saying is that statisticians have compared massive data for many players over a very long period of time and have shown that there is no statistical data to support the concept of a 'clutch' hitter. Your Espi example above is still statistically insignificant because the difference between .209 and .289 on 156 at bats is what? 5 hits? There is a great feeling in New York; universally believed that Derek Jeter is one of the greatest post season performers of all time and that he outperforms his regular season by a lot. The sort of thinking that when the chips are on the line he tries and performs better. The data has shown that this theory is completely bunk because Jeter's numbers in the post season are virtually the same as they are in the regular season. I am going to contradict myself a bit here. I do believe that some people (not just athletes) handle pressure better than others but I do think that players that wilt under pressure quickly find themselves out of work.

  123. Gonat - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    After looking at Kurt Suzukis career numbers his stats with the Nats look like a blip. He's been a butcher with the bat.

  124. Gonat - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    JD said ….players that wilt under pressure find themselves out of work.______________________Agreed. HenRod and Espi and the spotlight on Storen and Gio."we smelled blood in the water"

  125. peric - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Yes, and it is I suspect, how Davey will likely see it. Your lineup looks about right Mark.

  126. Unknown - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:11 AM

    Last night I posted my predictions for a worst-case scenario for this lineup this coming year.I'm almost afraid to do this but here goes my predictions for a best case scenario. A # indicates best major league season and a * shows what I think could happen:CF-Span (#) .311-8-68, 25 SBRF-Werth (*) .275-20-70, 20 SBLF-Harper (*) .300-30-100, 20 SB3B-Zimmerman (#) .292-33-106, 1B-LaRoche (*).265-25-95SS-Desmond (#) .292-25-73, 20 SB2B-Espinosa (*) .250-21-66, 25 SBC-Suzuki/Ramos (*) .270-20-60That's a pretty amazing lineup if they are hitting on all cylinders. Combine that with our starting lineup, and 100+ wins is a real possibility. I'm a little concerned with the bullpen but Mike Rizzo is a whole lot smarter than me, and I'm guessing that the Nats will end up with one or two strong middle-relievers in a trade for Michael Morse.Farid @ Idaho

  127. realdealnats - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:32 AM

    Just went back looking for when I posted Mark's lineup–many of us did I'm sure b/c it makes so much sense–so I started on November 29th right after we got Span–and JD had it shortly after 5 pm…

  128. John C. - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:34 AM

    Thanks for the drink, Ghost! My beverage of choice is Diet Coke; happy to collect at the NI bar :-)For clarity, I'm pretty sure (too lazy/too tired to look it up) that I had the #7 and #8 spots the same way Mark does, too. They just didn't change based on who the 1b turned out to be.One of the things that makes Derek Jeter special is that, year in and year out, against the best teams in the major leagues and under the intense spotlight that is playoff baseball, he produces at the same level as he does in mid-July playing against the Royals or Orioles. That is a gift, my friends.

  129. John C. - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:35 AM

    And more drinks all around, this time for realdealnats and JD! As my post noted, the lineup isn't rocket science. We'll see if Davey sees it the same way.

  130. Unknown - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    Some here have suggested that Kurt Suzuki's numbers weren't very good in Oakland. Here are his 162-game averages:Ave:.258–Double:31–Triples:2–HR:15–RBI:74He's not Johnny Bench but neither is he Jim French.



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