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Surprising stats

Jun 25, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

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It doesn't matter how many baseball games you've watched in your lifetime, your eyes have a way of deceiving you. You may think you know what you're seeing, but the truth often bears little to no resemblance.

Take the 2013 Nationals. You think you know this team inside and out, right? I certainly did … until I started doing some research and came up with these following statistical surprises that will leave you scratching your head, furrowing your brow and rethinking everything you thought you knew about these Nationals.

For example, did you know that…

Stephen Strasburg ranks in the top 10 among all NL pitchers in ERA (2.40), hits per nine innings (6.67) and strikeouts per nineRead more »

107 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Julie B - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Well aren't you just a ray of sunshine this morning? Some of these things show the peculiarities of stats. For example– of course Stras has a better K rate than Jordsn, that's more his style. And as for the W-L record–'just ask Brian Kenny why that is a foolish thing to judge a pitcher by. He has a campaign going that is Kill the Win. Every day he has a feature about amazing pitching performances where a guy does not get the official. Most of the other things are not all that surprising. But it does show that stats need to be used in context.

  3. MicheleS - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Just saw Mark's piece with Bryce from last night Harper's Hero's event. Good to see Bryce doing stuff in the community.

  4. RickH - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Thanks, Mark. Interesting stuff.

  5. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    The only thing that surprised me was the number of games and ABs that Lombo has compiled. None of the rest should surprise anyone paying even casual attention.Strasburg has been excellent all year, but broke down, early on, when the defense behind him did not hold up. I called the Rendon – Espinosa dynamic before it even happened. As well as the effect on Suzuki of having to play every day in that small frame. And the improvement in the left side defense, too, as well as in the pen since Abad and Krol replaced Henry and Zach.Anyone who pays attention does not have to consult the stats. Its the stats that can be deceptive, and your eyes that tell you the whole story.

  6. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    What RickH said.

  7. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Another thing that happens with stats at this time of the year — a rough start can make a player look worse than he has been more recently. Holes are hard to dig out of. I like to see not only season stats, but maybe last ten games, or last four starts. I also like to see not only batting average, but on base, runs scored, RBI. A player can be driving in runs on outs, which is good, but not raising the average. Combo of season, recently , and the eye test– big picture. A newish stat that I like us BABIP- luck factor. A stat I am suspicious of is WAR.

  8. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Player WAR is ok. Pitcher WAR overvalues strikeouts, so a pitcher who strikes out a lot of guys will get a high FIP and hence WAR, even if when he's not striking out guys they get hits and runs.

  9. Scott Margenau - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Mark must not read his comments. Everything here has been mentioned by posters at some point, albeit not with the same level of detail.

  10. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    I. Am looking for us to get on a long roll soon. The Braves injuries to the set up men slowed them enough we can catch them.

  11. Scooter - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Disirregardless of how surprising I, personally, found each individual fact (SPOILER ALERT: some more than others!), thanks to our host for taking the time to research and quantify all of this for us.

  12. Sam - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    None of this stuff was really a surprise to me, save for Detwiler's WHIP being higher than Haren's. Strasburg has been dominant over the past two months (when healthy). Suzuki has been awful offensively. I still cringe every time Zimm throws the ball, but it usually gets where it's supposed to go.Haren's biggest problem this year has been his affinity to giving up home runs (> 2 hr / 9 ip). If he could get that under control, his ERA would probably be similar to or lower than Detwiler's (just my educated guess).

  13. Muddy - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Another (unsurprising) stat: the Nats OPS is .667, 29th out of the 30 teams. Ouch. I sure the Nats had hoped for more pop from Werth. And Ramos' unfortunate hammy is a set back, too. Zim is a good but not great offensive player, not a 3 whole hitter IMO. The de facto exchange of Morse for Span naturally lowered their slugging but should have increased their OBP but hasn't so far. Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to Bryce and Anthony in the lineup together. I'd bat them 3 and 4 and move Zim to 5 or 6. (I hope Bryce and Anthony's fulltime status will help them avoid the same regression as young Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi.)

  14. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Phillies blow another late lead. Do I feel bad for them? No.

  15. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    I predicted I would be surprised by these stats back in February, and got beaten with rubber hoses for it.

  16. Muddy - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Since the subject today involves numbers and since Boz is apparently advocating spending even more of the Nat's money, I'd like to see an analysis of "bang for bucks", maybe even Nats vs. other big spenders. The Nats have spent $145 million on Zim, $125 on Werth, $25 million on Jackson, who was pretty good for 1/2 a year, and our boy Haren. That's over a quarter billion, very little of which of course is my money. But Boz wants to spend more …

  17. phil dunton - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    It is no secret that Suzuki doesn't hit when he has to catch almost every day. He is much more effective when he shares the job with Ramos.

  18. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    "Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to Bryce and Anthony in the lineup together. I'd bat them 3 and 4 and move Zim to 5 or 6."I like Span, Rendon, Harper, Zim, ALR, Werth, Desi, z00kI have to think Zim, ALR, and Werth are our best hitters with RISP (where can I look up such stats?). Desi often presses too much in those situations (although I think that will change by the end of the season), so I like him a little lower in the order.

  19. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    >DisirregardlessHa!

  20. BigCat - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Wow…Desi. Guys an all star in my book. Still chases to many balls, but I'll blame Eck for that

  21. D'Gourds - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    actually, I wasn't surprised by any of those stats! whip means nothing if you give up a hr every other hit. Strassburg has pitched well this year. werth and bryce have been out a lot. rendon is such a breath of life compared to that cancer espinosa. speaking of cancer, glad to se we excised from the rotation. now let's improve the most important stat, wins!

  22. bowdenball - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    The Strasburg thing got me wondering- why don't pitchers just take up a movement to ignore wins and losses? We all know the pitcher W or L is the worst statistic in sports. It generally hurts pitchers far more often than it helps them; after all you can take an L without recording an out but you can't get a W as a starter unless you pitch five innings. Why don't they just pick up on what everyone else already knows, and start acting like they don't matter and making statements to that effect? If the pitchers don't think they matter, they won't matter, and everyone except beat writers and columnists looking for story angles about "run support" and "hard luck pitchers" will be better off for it. Especially the pitchers. Don't you think Strasburg has to be tired of hearing about how he's struggling this year when he's not?

  23. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    BigCat said…Wow…Desi. Guys an all star in my book. Still chases to many balls, but I'll blame Eck for thatJune 25, 2013 8:46 AM————————-Desmond's OPS is 153 points higher than it was 2 years ago. Do you blame/credit Eck for that?

  24. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Im not surprised about Lombo having more plate appearances since Werth and Harp have been injured and because we needed to try something different at 2nd base…Im not surprised about Det having a worst WHIP than Haren… Haren gives up home runs, which is a bigger problem…

  25. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    @Eric you have a similar idea, but I think this is what I would go with if all were healthySpanRendonHarperDesmondLaRocheZimmermanWerthcatcherpitcher

  26. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    This piece reminded me of Wonk's tid-bits…Thanks Mark!

  27. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said…Strasburg has been excellent all year, but broke down, early on, when the defense behind him did not hold up. I called the Rendon – Espinosa dynamic before it even happened. As well as the effect on Suzuki of having to play every day in that small frame. And the improvement in the left side defense, too, as well as in the pen since Abad and Krol replaced Henry and Zach.====Couple of things – I honestly believe looking at SS this year, we see JZimm (to an extent) from last year… Remember JZimm was great most of the time but he didnt get the run support…I was apprehensive about Rendon to 2nd because of his ankles.. but I realize that we needed the bat…The whole lefties in the BP bit make me laugh now becuz I remember when we let the other 3 go and how DJ tried to sell the whole 'we are fine with just righties becuz they can pitch' crap that he was trying to spew… Im just glad that the pen seems stable now… They have been lights out lately…

  28. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    MNF, I just think Desi is still too likely to swing for the fences rather than swing for solid contact to get runners across.I do think it's possible he'll be batting clean up or in the 5 slot within a couple years, though.

  29. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    >I was apprehensive about Rendon to 2nd because of his ankles.. but I realize that we needed the bat…For awhile there I was very encouraged by his fielding, but now I'm a little concerned again. He hasn't yet cost us runs in a critical situation, but I'm back to holding my breath…This in no way detracts from the incredible plays he *has* made, nor from his phenomenal skills at the plate. And, I still think his biggest issue is a resolvable one: rushing plays.

  30. SCNatsFan - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    While I'm usually on Eck's case, I give him credit for Morse and Desi.

  31. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Rendon doesn't worry me too much ,Eric. The 2nd basemen in the OF however…

  32. Don - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    The stat that counts is wins and losses and the club has been lucky to float at about .500. They don't score – same problem as last year's club. The D has solidified and the pen has improved, the SP is all in all has been and still is very good (even with Haren and Det not being in good form), but the club still does not score. Harper being out, and Werth not producing when he's in are the big problems that need fixin. Presuming Harper comes back in good shape and Werth picks it up (they have to bat this guy 6th if he is going to hit .250), the club can go on a roll and win a bunch of games, but time is slipping away. I hope Rizzo is more aggressive this year than he was last year in terms of getting the club some help.

  33. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    My confession of the day- I am taking way too much pleasure in seeing Papelbon blow another save. The Barves and Phils are trying to open the door for us, but we are not a accepting their offer. It would not take that much. If we picked up one game a week and got hot late in the season… I just do not think it is going to take 98 this year.

  34. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Furthermore, what Scooter said.I'm surprised you'd say that, sec3. Also, wasn't it wet noodles? Or perhaps mini-bats?Sec. 3, My Sofa said… I predicted I would be surprised by these stats back in February, and got beaten with rubber hoses for it. June 25, 2013 8:40 AM

  35. d'grviii 8 - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    "We all know the pitcher W or L is the worst statistic in sports."No, the worst statistic in sports is the "quality start." Either that or WAR.

  36. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Also, in re. Big Cat at 8:46, d'oh! I forgot to vote. I left my first batch of ballots with my Chicago/Denver baseball buddy because we never got around to doing them. Then blank ballots weren't available at the special voting table before the game on Sunday because there were too many people. They were going to open the boxes later and give them out when they got caught up. "But you might be able to find some in the display boxes around the park." Uh, what? (And the ones I checked were empty. Uh, what?) Okay, I feel much better now. Thanks for being there, folks. :-)

  38. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    And I was there two hours before game time. But I did get my Bryce bobble, so there's that.

  39. D'Gourds - Jun 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    wouldn't walks + total bases per inning be a more valuable stat than whip? haren would lead the league in that stat!

  40. Section 222 - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Mark must not read his comments. Everything here has been mentioned by posters at some point, albeit not with the same level of detail.Mark does read the comments, at least some of them. But, shockingly, not everyone who reads his blog reads all the comments, so I'm sure that many readers found this post pretty interesting. Even for pretty dutiful reader and follower of the team, the stats involving Lombo, Det/Haren, and Zim were a bit surprising. I also hadn't quite realized the extent of Zuki's collapse. That's sad.

  41. PDowdy83 - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Bowdenball, pitchers don't want to get rid of the "win" stat because it is still valued heavily in arbitration and contract negotiations. The arbitration process doesn't work too well for sabremetric type players. It is why you see guys who are very valuable sabremetric players make less in contract extensions ala Denard Span. Span has a very team friendly contract. He has, historically, been a pretty valuable player. More so than a guy like Michael Morse when the total package is put together but makes less per season than Morse because he doesn't have the huge homer totals etc. As far as pitchers go you can look at a guy like Jason Marquis getting a 2 year $15mil deal from the Nats. He got that contract because he was coming off a 15 win season. He didn't pitch like a 15 win guy but the win stat still drives up the price just like saves do.

  42. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Oh, wait. I can still vote online. Yay.On another note, we have some candidates for worst stat, what would be the worst call? I vote for the balk, because there are like, a bazillion ways to do it and it's too hard to remember all of them. Plus, if the batter calls it, just how was he being deceived, anyway? Discuss. Or not. ;-)

  43. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Your winnings, sir. :-)But, shockingly, not everyone who reads his blog reads all the comments, so I'm sure that many readers found this post pretty interesting.

  44. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Stats-related-resposnes:D'Gourds said… wouldn't walks + total bases per inning be a more valuable stat than whip?Fascinating. I never thought of that one before, but, that would be useful. Has this been done before?Eric said…I have to think Zim, ALR, and Werth are our best hitters with RISP (where can I look up such stats?).Go to any players stats, e.g., http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/z/zimmery01.shtml, then click on "Splits"

  45. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Since we are on stats, Week 12 for Nats, D-Backs and Mets is ready. Sorry about the formatting, tried to present the data better so you can compare the teams, but it's a work in progress…Week 12 statshttp://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/06/nats-stats-week-12.html

  46. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    My problem with the balk is two-fold. First, it is very complicated for even pitchers to totally grok, much less the average fan.Secondly, it is not enforced consistently from umpire to umpire, thus rendering it to be enforced ambiguously, which can lead to questions of fairness of when it is called, or not. School the umpires and the players on the rule and enforce it uniformly.

  47. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    MrsB loves the Nats said… This piece reminded me of Wonk's tid-bits…Thanks, and with that introduction, let me do (drum roll)Tuesday's Tidbits- Gio's last 8 starts: ERA of 2.18; BA against: .174; 8.71 K/9 IP; WHIP 1.025 (!!). And an 0-1 record.- Jeremy Hellickson’s ERA coming into this start was 5.50, and he threw seven innings of shutout ball against the hottest team in the majors — breaking the Blue Jay's 11-game winning streak. (And despite and ERA that's still over 5, he's 6-3).- OTOH, Esmil Rogers, for the Jays, had allowed only 3 HR's all year (48.2 innings), but then allowed back-to back-to back home runs from James Loney, Wil Myers, and Sam Fuld (Fuld? That's the guy who raised his batting average to .181 that game, and doubled his HR total to two).- Heath Bell already has more home runs allowed and wild pitches than last year.- Mike Morse is second on the Mariners with 11 home runs despite not having hit one all month.

  48. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Manassas Nats' Fan said… I. Am looking for us to get on a long roll soon. The foot long? At Subway? Is there room for us? Or longer? ;-)

  49. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Agreed about uniformity in enforcing the rules, although I have this crazy idea that Hirshbeck and Balkin' Bob and balked Desi home as penance for tossing Harper in Pittsburgh. ;)"Go to any players stats, e.g., http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/z/zimmery01.shtml, then click on "Splits""Thanks, Wonk!

  50. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Go figure: Desi has a better BA than Werth with RISP.Zim: 333LaRoche: 286Desi: 277Werth: 268

  51. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Sorry to be gloomy, but the most important stat — really more of a calculation/projection — above is that the Nats need to play better than .600 ball to get to 90 wins. When they were at the 100-games-left mark, playing exactly .600 ball (hard enough to achieve) would have gotten them to 91 wins, but they've played under .500 since then. They're rapidly nearing the point where they'll need two wins to make up for every loss (in fact, they're already at that point to reach 95 wins). Maybe the Braves will fold, the Phillies will continue blowing saves, and 90-95 wins won't be necessary to win the division. But the loss column in the standings can't be reduced.

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    MrsB loves the Nats said… I was apprehensive about Rendon to 2nd because of his ankles.. but I realize that we needed the bat…The whole lefties in the BP bit make me laugh now becuz I remember when we let the other 3 go and how DJ tried to sell the whole 'we are fine with just righties becuz they can pitch' crap that he was trying to spew… Sometimes you convince yourself of something that doesn't seem right and later gets proven wrong and that happens all the time in sports.Those who kept saying Rendon couldn't play 2nd because he's a 3rd baseman or because of weak ankles or because you were protecting a "liking" for Espinosa might have been the same fears managerment had.Building a winner requires out of the box thinking and sometimes going against the grain. Tony LaRussa made a career of doing that.I thought the Righthanded dominant bullpen would work because good pitchers get out good hitters. The problem I believe was Henry and Duke just weren't good so you can't have 2/7 of your bullpen idle in Hi Lev spots and situationally the guys you would use to face the lefty weren't on the roster and Davey was going inning by inning instead of batter by batter and he did that once again last week when the situation called for Abad and he brought in Storen—it worked out okay but Davey still does things his own way.The stats certainly prove out many obvious strengths and flaws of the 2013 team that was assembled.2nd base, 4th outfielder, lack of LHPs in the bullpen and the risk of Haren all bit this team firmly in the backside. That $13 million spent on Haren could have been apportioned to the weak areas.

  53. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    baseballswami said…My confession of the day- I am taking way too much pleasure in seeing Papelbon blow another save.———-///Cholly Manuel blew that game as much as Papelbon. Lee had thrown 109 pitches after 8. Why wait until he gave up two hits to start the 9th before bringing in your closer when you had the lead?

  54. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Eugene in Oregon said… Sorry to be gloomy, but the most important stat — really more of a calculation/projection — above is that the Nats need to play better than .600 ball to get to 90 wins.We only need to get to 90 wins if we think the Braves are going to get to 89 wins and the Nats want to win the division. In most years 86-88 wins are enough to get the second wildcard.The Braves have some weaknesses? Can the Nats exploit them? To be determined . . . .

  55. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    That $13 million spent on Haren could have been apportioned to the weak areas.Not all of it. Nats still needed a fifth starter, right?

  56. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Cholly is not having a good week- bit a long time sports writer's head off. Sad thing is the guy is a total homer and apologist for aforementioned manager.

  57. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    And I really do think the NL East will be won with a pretty low number. Yes, the teams are weak, but we also all beat t up on each other on any given day. I predict that at the end of the season , all the in division series will be pretty even.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Eric said… >I was apprehensive about Rendon to 2nd because of his ankles.. but I realize that we needed the bat…For awhile there I was very encouraged by his fielding, but now I'm a little concerned again. He hasn't yet cost us runs in a critical situation, but I'm back to holding my breath…This in no way detracts from the incredible plays he *has* made, nor from his phenomenal skills at the plate. And, I still think his biggest issue is a resolvable one: rushing plays. June 25, 2013 9:12 AM He has made 2 fielding errors of the oops variety and the rest are errors of aggression like trying to get the lead runner at 2nd instead of the safe out at 1st and throwing into the runner. That comes with learning. Desi did that a lot 3 years ago.The area I knew he would have trouble as I said is the vertical game as 2nd baseman have to take the angles and get into the outfield. His drop on the foul ball will improve with experience.I have found him to be even better than I anticipated at this point in the season. He is learning on the job at the highest level and has already been a difference maker on Wins and that is impressive.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    A DC Wonk said… That $13 million spent on Haren could have been apportioned to the weak areas.—–Not all of it. Nats still needed a fifth starter, right? Yes, $6 mill for a 5th starter and $7 mill for other holes in the roster.

  60. Tcostant - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Another amazing stat: Dan Haren makes more than all the other starting pitcher's combined.

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Eric said… Go figure: Desi has a better BA than Werth with RISP.Zim: 333LaRoche: 286Desi: 277Werth: 268 June 25, 2013 10:30 AM Team leader is the rookie, Anthony Rendon who is batting .389 with RISP!

  62. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Ghost, re: Rendon, yeah, as I said, his issues seem correctable, particularly his tendency, imo, to rush plays.Still, I'm hoping he continues to get lucky and only make them without RISP and that the team continues to pick him up immediately (as they did after the dropped foul pop).Even more than that, I'm hoping the fans don't turn on him too hard if he boots one at a critical moment.

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Tcostant said… Another amazing stat: Dan Haren makes more than all the other starting pitcher's combined. June 25, 2013 10:44 AM Isn't that typical baseball. Josh Hamilton is making over 30 times what Mike Trout makes in the same outfield!JZim and Stras will have their paydays. Haren won't make $13 million next year but I bet some team pays him $8 million plus incentives for 2014.

  64. Depot Master - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Ok guys… Argue with this…1) Werth – have him concentrate on aggravating the pitchers which he clearly enjoys2) span – if werth doesn't get on, he will. Plus you likely stay out of DP.3) Desmond – clutch with guys on base4) Harper5) Zimmerman until he stops trying to pull the outside pitch at which point he swaps with Desi6) LaRoche7) Zook/catcher8) Rendon – yes 8th. Gives us a chance rather than Death Valley in the bottom third and if and when gets on you have the9) pitcher, who can get Rendon over, and werth can then drive him in.This way there is never a series of 3 in a row where you don't expect something good to happen!

  65. 3on2out - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Tconstant!THAT is an amazing factoid and incredibly depressing. I guess the take home message is: Build from Within. There ain't no bargains on E-Bay.

  66. bowdenball - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    PDowdy83-I understand the arb process and how it favors traditional stats, but you didn't really answer my question. Yes the win stat can play a role in arbitration, but as I said it's mostly bad for pitchers, not good. As I explained, you can lose a game in a half-inning but can't win one unless you throw five full. The gap between the two means all those wins go to middle inning relievers who aren't making much in arbitration and nobody cares about their W-L records anyway. So why are the pitchers complicit in this? You name one example of someone it helped- Marquis. But it seems to me that for every one Jason Marquis who is helped, there are several pre-2013 Jordan Zimmermanns and 2013 Stephen Strasburgs that are made to look worse by the stat. It's not a zero sum game because of the way it's compiled, as I explained. Starting pitchers get a lot more hard-luck Ls and NDs than they do lucky Ws. So why are they complicit in this?

  67. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Ghost, In Hindsight you are obviously correct but when the moves happened they did make some sense. Haren for 1 year was enticing because even if he could come close to the pitcher he was you have yourself a killer rotation. That's simply a gamble that failed. Since Rizzo didn't perceive a weakness at 2nd base he didn't feel a need to address that. I know you were a huge detractor of Espinosa even before this year but who could have predicted that his numbers would fall to the level they have? 4th outfielder – I think we all expected Bernadina to be just fine in that role. Firstly; he hasn't been and secondly injuries have forced the 4th and 5th outfielders to be thrust into regular roles. They aren't good enough for that. Why would you expect Span's OBP to drop by 30 points? The lefty reliever thing is also bit complicated. Rizzo ws absolutely right in refusing to overpay veterans for past performance for positions of a limited role. I do agree with you that we could have jettisoned Henry and Duke sooner. It just took that long to establish Abad and Krol. So basically everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for Rizzo and still there is plenty of time to right the ship.

  68. mick - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Interesting food for thought stats, but with all due respect, the only one that maters is the team record. I learned that back in 1970 with the Senators, Dick Bosman was top 3 in ERA, Hondo top 3 in homeruns…team lost 90 plus

  69. mick - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    the story that should concern every fan is Werth's health, the boys on MASN addressed this last night…is Werth injury prone period? if that is so, then what a waste of contract, he is missing about half a season a year

  70. D'Gourds - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I know what would make dan haren feel better–he should hire a helicopter and fly over nats park during a game and make it rain with a couple million dollars. he'd feel less guilty about sucking crap while stealing 13 mil from the nats and their fans. rizzo should join him and throw some of his salary down too to amend for signing such a stiff.

  71. mick - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    also the boys on MASN kinda blasted the Nats for already labeling Lombo a a utility player…give the kid enough at bats…he hot 300 in the minors, his glove is soild. I agree that both Rizzo and Davey are just obtuse in their thinking

  72. Scooter - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    about 17 hours ago, Sec. 3, My Sofa said…I predicted I would be surprised by these stats back in February, and got beaten with rubber hoses for it.You are a beautiful, beautiful man.And somebody pass me a fresh hose.

  73. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    mick, This happens to aging veterans. Ask the Phills. 2 of Howard, Utley, Halladay, Rollins, Ruiz, Lee can expect to be on the DL at any given time. Ghost suggested a move of Werth to 1st base last night and someone gave him a hard time about it but this is actually an intriguing and reasonable idea. I think Werth is athletic enough to play a very solid 1st base if he does so through spring training and this stops him from running around the outfield pulling muscles. If we move Werth to 1st we can find a left handed hitting outfielder via FA to improve on the production we are not getting from ALR.

  74. Section 222 - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Why wait until he gave up two hits to start the 9th before bringing in your closer when you had the lead?Another example of the conventional wisdom (better to let a closer come in with the bases empty at the start of the inning) AKA closer worship backfiring.

  75. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Eric, errors are part of the process and many come with being aggressive. You also have to know when to just eat a ball and that was Desi's biggest issue in 2010. Early in RZim's career he would get a throwing error after diving for a ball that no other 3rd baseman could ever reach. Those types of errors should go into a different category -Error While Robbing A Hit.Rendon has Gold Glove type of instincts and a great bat. This kid and Puig and Shelby Miller and Gregorius are now in the Top 4 of Top Rookies in the NL.

  76. Scooter - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    I think you've got this one backward, Deuces. The starting pitcher began the 9th, in this case. In hindrospect, it appears that closer worship would have helped.

  77. mick - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    JD…interesting move…so that would mean all the rumors of Zim moving to 1b would be done

  78. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    mick, Please stop with Lombo already. He is carrying an OBP of .247 which combined with a total lack of power ranks him as one of the worst players in the NL AND he's getting plenty of playing time as is outlined in the article above. What exactly do you want Davie and Rizzo to do? bat him cleanup?

  79. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Tyler Moore is back!!

  80. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    And as for Jayson- I still believe there is something more behind his problems. The gluten free diet, the gastro issues. If he has celiac disease or some other GE type issue, then he is not going to be full strength. I feel that there is a health issue behind the injuries. He has looked determined, but not all that energetic. When he had a great game recently, he looked gassed in the late innings. I am really concerned.. Moore back says they need a bat and an outfielder.

  81. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Moore hit : .178 .264 .356 at Syracuse. He's obviously not coming up on merit.

  82. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Swami, Did they DL Werth?

  83. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Im not surprised T Moore is back… Im hoping his time down in the 'Cuse will give him his confidence back although I still think he is someone that needs to play every day…

  84. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    'Moore back says they need a bat and an outfielder.' He's done neither of these particularly well this year.

  85. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    "Wins" are still a meaningful stat. First, it means the pitcher's team was ahead when he left the game. You can't entirely blame the offense for Strasburg's low Ws. When you know warming up in the bullpen that it's a fact of life your team is likely to score 1 or 2 runs (if that) your job is to hold the other team to zero or one. A lot of pitchers on weak hitting teams ('59 Chisox), recent Giants teams) have lived with that. Can't be giving up runs in the early innings, at least. Second, Ws usually mean the pitcher went deep in the game, didn't stress the bullpen. Third, lots of Ws mean the pitcher didn't spend time in the dugout or the whirlpool stretching sore shoulders or stiff forearms. Which necessitates under-qualified spot starters and further stresses the BP.Strasburg's record on all of those counts this season has been mediocre (whether or not you think some of it was beyond his control).He's got 17, maybe 18 more starts this season, so I expect he will end up with 14 or so wins. But it won't be nearly the season it could have been.Sorta sad to realize he'll be in his fifth major league season before he'll have a chance to be truly dominant.

  86. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    D'Gourds said…wouldn't walks + total bases per inning be a more valuable stat than whip?It would be better if it were weighted, i.e., more emphasis on runners that reach first over runners advancing, because getting to second or third is worth something, but not as much as getting on in the first place.I think the Runs Created stat does something sort of like that for hitters. Maybe there's a pitchers' analog to that? Anybody?

  87. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Or am I thinking of wOBA?

  88. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    DL Haren. Moore did not have a great average in his short stint in AAA, but doubles, homers , walks and rbi's. No worse than most of our offense at this point . Listen, he has been intentionally walked this season because other teams know he could cut it loose at any moment. That threat is there. We have almost no power in our lineup. Why not? And who else?

  89. do1teach1 - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Scooter– "disirregardless." Hilarious–one of my favorite words. Thanks.

  90. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    JD said… mick,This happens to aging veterans. Ask the Phills. 2 of Howard, Utley, Halladay, Rollins, Ruiz, Lee can expect to be on the DL at any given time.Ghost suggested a move of Werth to 1st base last night and someone gave him a hard time about it but this is actually an intriguing and reasonable idea. I think Werth is athletic enough to play a very solid 1st base if he does so through spring training and this stops him from running around the outfield pulling muscles.If we move Werth to 1st we can find a left handed hitting outfielder via FA to improve on the production we are not getting from ALR. June 25, 2013 11:12 AM Last night when I suggested Werth to 1st base it was immediately met with skepticism the same way as when I suggested Rendon to 2nd.2 good points brought up was Jayson's recent injuries could be a fluke. Other point was Jayson played 1st base in the Minors.I think Jayson would even embrace the change to 1st base. Less stress on his body and it gives the Nats the ability to bring in a corner outfielder like Giancarlo Stanton. That is a Win/Win.

  91. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Ghost, The problem with the Stanton idea is the Marlins will want a kin's ransom. He is their one big chip and they have no motivation to move him cheaply. They supposedly told the Mets: Wheeler and D'Arnaud +. What do we have that can net us a Stanton?

  92. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    JD, yep, pass on Stanton. ;)

  93. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Theo, I disagree. Stras has had exactly 3 so so games the entire 1st half (Cubs, Mets, Cinci) but then so has JZimm otherwise they have both been money.

  94. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    JD, agreed. The amazing thing about both is how they get by even when they don't have their best stuff and it's due to their secondary pitches.

  95. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    TyMo recalled for Haren?

  96. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    NEW POST

  97. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Mrs. B -"Couple of things – I honestly believe looking at SS this year, we see JZimm (to an extent) from last year… Remember JZimm was great most of the time but he didnt get the run support…"JZ has evolved as a pitcher. Mixes speeds and elevations much better this year, and he now has a killer change-up – got Cargo to strike out on 2 in a row. Strasburg is starting to mix it up better this year, too.Bot GIO and SS have had little run support this year, and JZ has actually blown 2 5-run leads this year. Interested to see what Rizzo does to bolster the offense. TyMo has not been hitting in AAA any better than he was when they sent him down.

  98. Scooter - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Sec3, I'll put something at the end, here, instead of in the new post. wOBA does indeed measure each contribution, like you're talking about — walk, single, double, etc. I'm pretty sure there's a Runs Created that does the same kind of thing. (There have been many things called Runs Created over the years.) Also Linear Weights, which I'm not sure anyone uses any more — boring name.What I don't know is who's tracking this stuff for pitchers. It's not that hard to find things like average, OBP, or OPS against a pitcher, but I can't recall seeing opponent wOBA or some such. I just took a quick look at Fangraphs, where they love them some wOBA, and I don't see it.All of this is, of course, pending NatsLady telling us what-all's REALLY out there, but she's not here right now.

  99. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    The question isn't whether Werth is capable of playing first base; if Dunn can play first, Werth certainly can manage, and as Ghost points out, he came up as a catcher, so his hands there should be adequate, if not better. But 2015 is still a ways away, and there's really no telling what Zimmerman's throws will be doing by then. Maybe they'll be fine, and he has another five years at third in him. Could happen. But if it doesn't, he seems an unlikely candidate to play left field every day, by that time. And then there's the whole power-bat-position thing about first base and Werth. Not to mention Marerro and Moore–do you give up on them ever being everyday players for the Nats, after next season? So I think there are lots of legitimate unanswered questions there.

  100. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Thanks, Scooter.I'm most familiar with Bill James's RC, having tried to adapt it to my rec league (decided it required more data than currently exists, and bagged it, but it was an interesting exercise).

  101. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    "I have found him to be even better than I anticipated at this point in the season. He is learning on the job at the highest level and has already been a difference maker on Wins and that is impressive."He already makes the routine plays look easy. That foul pop was breaking away from him on his glove side, and would have been breaking into his throwing hand if it had been at 3rd base with him playing 3rd. Rendon seems to be a really fast learner. I would be surprised if he did not take a much better angle, next time, and make the play. Rendon's play at 2nd will just get better and better. As you noted, Desi took well over a year in the bigs to get to where he is now. Rendon's transition to 2nd will not take as long as Desi's arrival as a plus defensive SS.Every once in a while a guy comes along who was born to play baseball. If there was no baseball, Rendon would have invented it.

  102. Section 222 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Right you are Sofa. I misread what had happened in the game. I'd have been all four giving Lee a shot to complete the game.

  103. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Right you are Sofa. I misread what had happened in the game. I'd have been all [for] giving Lee a shot to complete the game.Did you mean to address that to Scooter, in re his 11:16 comment on the closer role?

  104. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Odd, one of my posts just disappeared…Rendon seems to be a really fast learner. I would be surprised if he did not take a much better angle, next time, and make the play. Indeed. You can almost see him learning while the ball is in the air. I'm impressed.

  105. Scooter - Jun 25, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    'Sokay. My wife often says it's hard to tell where I end and the Sofa begins.

  106. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    teehee

  107. TheManBearPig - Jun 25, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Is anyone surprised that Ian Desmond has been the Nats' most consistent hitter since the beginning of the 2012 season and is now leading the Nats in BA, HR, RBI and hits? Since the beginning of the 2012 season, he's had only 3 months when his OPS for the month was lower than .800 – April of 2012, August of 2012 (coming back from his injury and his OPS was .799) and May of 2013.

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