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Can Nats withstand prolonged loss of Ramos?

Apr 2, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

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NEW YORK — Though the Nationals have said nothing official about the status of Wilson Ramos’ injured left hand, all signs point to a broken hamate bone, the latest in string of unfortunate maladies for the snakebitten catcher.

If surgery is needed to remove the bone — and sources last night said that had not yet been determined — Ramos would likely miss about six weeks, give or take. The effects of the surgery could linger beyond that timeframe, though, especially when it comes to his power stroke at the plate.

Hamate bone breaks are quite common for baseball players (and golfers). They’re usually the result of repeated pressure on the base of the wrist from swinging a bat or club. When that particular bone breaks, it’s removed from the wrist altogether, given its unnecessary existence in the first place.

Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman both dealt with hamate bone injuries earlier in their careers, though Desmond was in the minors at the time and Zimmerman had his surgery performed early in the offseason and missed no actual game time.

Regardless of the final diagnosis and course of treatment, it’s pretty clear right now the Nationals are going to once again be without Ramos for a prolonged period. And that’s a significant loss, as we’ve seen in the past.

The Nationals simply weren’t the same team without Ramos during the first half of 2013, when he made two DL stints with hamstring strains. Once he did return in July, his impact immediately was noticeable.

Ramos led the entire club with 53 RBI over the season’s final three months. His presence behind the plate helped the pitching staff improve over the second half, and helped slow down opponents’ running game. And given the way he hit the ball all spring, and the way he looked and felt physically, there was ample reason for supreme optimism entering 2014.

So, what now? General manager Mike Rizzo, wisely taking into consideration Ramos’ injury history, traded for Jose Lobaton on the first day of spring training. Clearly, the Nationals are better prepared to deal with this situation now than they were before the trade.

But the drop-off between Ramos and Lobaton will be significant. The 29-year-old is a career .229 hitter, though he showed improvement last season with the Rays, hitting .249 with seven homers and .714 OPS over 311 plate appearances. Behind the plate, Lobaton has been touted as a strong pitch framer. But he’s still learning the Nationals’ pitching staff, and his throwing skills don’t compare to Ramos.

You also have to take into account the fact Lobaton won’t be catching every single day. Manager Matt Williams is going to need to give him regular days off, which means the new backup catcher (most likely Sandy Leon getting promoted from Class AA Harrisburg) is going to get more than his fair share of playing time.

Point is, the Nationals will suffer from a prolonged Ramos DL stint. They’re still loaded with talent across the roster, and Rizzo has done a nice job addressing depth issues to deal with exactly these type of situations.

But there’s simply no replacing Wilson Ramos.

109 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsLady - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:15 AM

    Well, the big bad Dodgers are going to be without Kershaw for April and Brian Wilson for who knows how long.

    Rizzo planned, hopefully the players can cope. Do we have a nickname for Lobaton?

    • Candide - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:22 AM

      I think I read somewhere his nickname is Ice Cream – apparently loves to gobble it down.

    • JW - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      No, but we have a Nick-name for Ramos. It’s Johnson.

      • texnat1 - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        How about “Lobatron”?

  2. Nats128 - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:40 AM

    Get well soon Wilson!

  3. Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:49 AM

    Damn! I hate to be all gloom and doom, but the loss of Wilson is devastating to this team in many ways. One thing that this team was determined to improve on was to hold runners, and though Lobaton was a great pickup, that is the weakest part of his game, and none of the other catchers have shown that they can hit worth a lick. These guys are all going to have dig down deep to overcome this setback. The biggest key is going to be for our pitchers and defense to keep guys off the bases to begin with, and for our hitters to get hot, and stay that way. Near flawless defense at every position is going to be imperative for this team to overcome this setback.

    Hang tough, Wilson. Godspeed on your road back.

    • sjm308 - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:01 AM

      Relax Joe, we got this!

      • Section 222 - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:21 AM

        You beat me to it sjm. Well played.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:25 AM

        OK, I deserve that, Coach.

        ( On a side note,sjm, how about those Lady Terps?)

      • natinalsgo - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:29 AM

        Hey yah! Lady Terps to Final 4!

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:00 AM

        And the fact is, I’m not relaxed. I need a chill pill, fo’ sho’!

        Davey Johnson’s Nats overcame the loss of Ramos and a host of other injuries in 2012 to make the playoffs with Kurt Suzuki catching and made Johnson look like a genius and earning him the manager of the year award. In 2013 they again lost Ramos for an extended time, the ERA’s and losses spiraled upwards and Davey went from genius to dumbass with no cojones to many here. Ramos came back, things improved, but just too little too late. So therefore, this will be a real IQ test for our new manager. If he keeps us in the hunt until Wilson returns he’ll be a genius I say, a genius,

    • sjm308 - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      Sorry Joe, couldn’t resist
      Actually watched the entire 2nd half of a women’s game
      I realize this is a baseball blog but how come women can make free throws and men can not?

      • zmunchkin - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        Simple sjm :-).

        The women rarely, if ever, get highlighted on ESPN. So they practice the fundamentals in lieu of the spectacular plays that make sports center.

      • RPrecupjr - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:59 AM

        Munchkin is right on point. No current NCAA women’s player can dunk, so when they drive the lane, they expect to get fouled and go to the line. If they can’t make free throws, the don’t make the team, unless they have a significant upside in another facet of the game, e.g. 6’7″ shot-blocker.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      I’m bummed too, but remember that this team thrived in 2012 while getting only ~100 PA from Ramos, with Kurt Suzuki and Jesus Flores doing most of the catching.

      I expect Lobaton + Leon to be adequate.

    • pdowdy83 - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      Joe, holding runners is more on the pitcher than the catcher anyhow. If the pitchers vary there looks and throw overs and don’t ignore runners like some of them had a tendency to do over the last couple seasons you are talking about a smaller issue.

      I think you are over estimating the loss of Ramos a bit. He has potential to be great but he has missed at least half the season or more each of the last 2 years. One year the team won 98 games the next they floundered. How much of that was truly because of Ramos?

      Another note though, if the injury is going to be more serious than 6 weeks there are several options available in trade. The Yankees seem to have Francisco Cervelli and JR Murphy. The Red Sox have Lavarnway. There are multiple free agent backstops as well in Torrealba and Ramon Hernandez so the team has some options if they want to make a move. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Wilson put on the 60 day DL and someone like Ramon Hernandez signed in the next few days at the least.

    • JW - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      Holding runners is on the pitchers, not the catcher.

      • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        Yeah, but if your pitchers are notoriously bad at holding runners, it helps to have a catcher who’s at least average catching runners stealing…

  4. wendellbelew - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:02 AM

    Well, at least we know who the #8 batter is.

  5. natinalsgo - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    Good thing the Nats didn’t put Solano on waivers as some suggested. Lobaton is a capable starter. Leon is much improved.

    • Section 222 - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:41 AM

      So, in other words, relax, we got this? :-)

      • natinalsgo - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:53 AM

        Exactly!

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:05 AM

        mmm-mmm! Nothing like a big helping of crow with a heaping spoon of homemade sarcasm dressing!

  6. thelatencn - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Tampa Bay made the playoffs last year with Lobaton as their regular catcher. (He played in 100 games.) So it can be done.

  7. Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    Well, at least the mystery of who hits 8th has been resolved for awhile, so we got that going for us!

    Get well soon, Ramos!

  8. sjm308 - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    Now, would you move Rendon up to 2nd?

    • Candide - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:44 AM

      No.

      I would have moved Rendon up to second around March 1. A disciplined hitter with opposite field gap power. The kid was made to be a #2. And putting anyone else there wastes that player’s value elsewhere in the lineup.

  9. sjm308 - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Span
    Rendon
    Zimm
    Werth
    Harper
    Desmond
    LaRoche
    Lobaton

    • tcostant - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      I think this might be right. Rizzo was so smart to get Lobaton when he did. That same trade now, might have been the same now except no pitching prosect coming back in return.

    • Candide - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      That’s my lineup. Would be a shame to put LaRoche at #7 like that, especially if he has a repeat of his 2012 season. But that just speaks to the overall strength of this order, when you have a guy who could whack 30 HRs batting 7th.

    • zmunchkin - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      The opening day lineup with 5-8 moving up to 4-7 with Lobaton taking the 8 spot is also a good option.

      And to make a contrarian point, Rendon’s plate discipline is so good that putting him in the 8 spot might be our best lineup, even if it is not ideal for him. He has some speed, shown a proclivity to get on base. And the pitcher does not have to lay down the perfect bunt to move him like they would for a slower runner.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:53 AM

      Folks on this board are eager for Rendon at #2 but I don’t think we will see it so soon–not because Rendon can’t ultimately thrive there, but because he’s young and I think could develop better in a lower pressure slot.

      Plenty of time for him to move up later this season, and surely in later years.

      • texnat1 - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:40 AM

        Perhaps, but one could just as easily argue that he will develop better at #2 with protection around him than at #8 where he will constantly be struggling to see good pitches.

      • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        My strong suspicion is that Lobaton will hit 8…

        Will be very interesting to see how Williams shuffles the rest of the deck…

  10. sjm308 - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    Ramos back to #8 when he does return because Rendon wil be batting .318 and playing all star 2nd base

  11. laddieblahblah - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    “Can Nats withstand prolonged loss of Ramos?”

    Yes. It’s a blow, but this year’s team is loaded. Lobaton has a chance to make Rizzo look clairvoiantly brilliant. And Rizzo has some chips to play with, should he decide to make a move.

    Other teams will test Lobaton, so all that work in ST to hold runners will be tested, early and often. These Nats will score runs, even without the Buffalo. They just need to make sure they score more than the other guys.

    So sorry to hear the news, but Ramos has been through, and survived, a lot worse. So have the Nats.

    It’s not a question of who will let them, it’s who will stop them.

  12. Hiram Hover - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    So Williams’ newfangled line-up for 2014 lasts all of 7 innings.

    Back to the drawing board!

    PS – best wishes to Wilson for a speedy recovery.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    Nope! :(

  14. flnatsfan - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    I’m bummed about Ramos, but let’s get all the bad luck out of the way and get him back and healthy for the rest of the season. We can weather this.

  15. Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    I’m surprised so many feel this is something approaching a death knell for us. How long was Ramos out in 2012?

    • tcostant - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:42 AM

      I don’t see many people on these boards saying that. Who are these people. Confused?

    • natsjackinfl - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:45 AM

      I agree, Eric. The only thing that really bugs me about losing Ramos is how terrific his bat makes the lineup. The ball was just exploding off his bat all Spring Training.

      Lobatan will be a solid replacement and here’s hoping Sandy ‘ s bat plays at this level. I like having 2 switch hitting catchers.

      • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:17 AM

        Yeah, I was really looking forward to Ramos’ contributions. He was looking string and healthy in FLA.

        Just have to wait a bit longer now…

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:43 AM

        +1 on the switch hitting catchers. Maybe Leon will really do well for us.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      Actually, I only counted two doom and gloomers, and Joe S and Faraz.

      • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        I agree it’s not many, still surprised by it. It’s a bad blow for sure, but I think we’re pretty well positioned to weather it.

        1 or 2 more blows like it, then I’ll start to worry…

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        Hey, I didn’t say that they couldn’t overcome it, but that they are going to have all dig down and play even better baseball. [there's also more than a little tongue in cheek playing with my well deserved pokes coming my way from last year's "Relax, we got this folly]. Also, for all who are lecturing me on “it’s on the pitchers to hold the runners” go back and look at my posts for the past several years, as I have said that repeatedly it’s on the pitchers, along with asking who’s responsibility it is falls on to coach them to do it better. But if you don’t think that a catcher also makes a huge difference on the controlling the running game, all I can say is you are wrong.

      • jd - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:22 AM

        Joe,

        When every single young pitcher has trouble controlling the running game regardless who the catcher is you have to assume there is a problem at the coaching level. For that and several other reasons I have never been a Mc.Catty fan.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:39 AM

        jd, again, I have made many slightly veiled criticisms of McCatty regarding the holding of runners by the pitchers just by asking the question of who’s responsible for putting more emphasis on it.

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:40 AM

        Joe –

        I included you as a “doom and gloomer” because your first post began “I hate to be all doom and gloom….” But if I miscounted you, great–that makes only 1.

        I agree with you, btw, about the catcher’s role in preventing SB–I think a poster above was getting technical meaning of “hold” the runner at 1B (by checking the runner, varying his tempo, etc.), but it was clear you meant the running game, overall.

        And I do have some concerns about Lobaton in that regard. His CS % was the 2d worst of all MLB catchers with at least 500 innings last year. Lowest was K Suzuki.

        Lobaton is young, and I think he’ll get better. But I do expect other teams to test him, and to succeed more often than we’d like.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        “Point is, the Nationals will suffer from a prolonged Ramos DL stint. They’re still loaded with talent across the roster, and Rizzo has done a nice job addressing depth issues to deal with exactly these type of situations.

        But there’s simply no replacing Wilson Ramos.”

        [The above are the last two lines from our highly respected host's column at the top of this blog. I happen to agree with both of his assessments]

    • Faraz Shaikh - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      more than the team, I feel bad for the guy. :(
      he hasn’t had good luck for too long. got kidnapped, injured, then again, and now this.

  16. jd - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    As Nats Lady so properly points out, every team will have key injuries to key players (one hopes it doesn’t happen in game 1). I think it’s a tough loss but let’s look at the glass half full outlook:

    1) Ramos will be back in May (hopefully).
    2) Lobaton is a capable replacement.
    3) Atlanta’s starting pitching is in shambles.
    4) No one else in the east should come close to us.

    In the end if the Nats fail to make the playoffs it won’t be because Ramos is out for 6 weeks.

    Also, don’t be so sure that the backup will be Leon. I’m sure Rizzo still has Chris Snyder’s phone number.

    • acethehammer - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      Snyder signed with the Rangers.

      • scnatsfan - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        Maybe Rizzo is just calling to say good luck in Texas lol.

    • therealjohnc - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      Atlanta’s starting pitching isn’t in shambles yet – their rotation of Teheran, Santana, Wood, Harang and Hale isn’t terrible, and they have Minor and Floyd rehabbing from injury. But their depth is pretty much toast. But if the starters stay healthy they have more than enough with the bats and the bullpen to make a lot of trouble for the Nats and the rest of the NL East.

      • masterfishkeeper - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        Harang is pretty bad, and Hale is untested. Harang’s projected FIP is above 4.5 in all three systems.

        Hale is harder to project, since he has little major league experience, but his AAA stats last year aren’t all that great.

        We’ll see if Minor and Floyd come back strong. If they do, I agree with you that the rotation isn’t in shambles, but if not it will be a pretty weak rotation.

      • DaveB - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        I agree strongly (and have this vague worry that we may, once again, become overconfident or complacent based on this meme that Atlanta is so damaged because of their pitching injuries). At this point, I could easily see the Braves pitching being upgraded over last year (as farfetched as that might seem after the last couple of weeks), given:
        – Last year their rotation was led by Minor, Medlen, Teheran, Maholm, and Hudson
        – Santana could easily be as good as (or even better than) Medlen was last year
        – Alex Wood looked great last night (after his 1st pitch), and his increased starts could easily replace Huddy
        – Hale / Floyd / etc. should easily be better than Maholm
        As you said, the problem is now depth, but perhaps they have already had their bad luck

    • Candide - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      +1

      Every team has significant injuries. NatsLady could probably put a list up here that would scroll down for four or five screens if she didn’t want to abuse her welcome on Mark’s board.

      Yeah, losing both Ramos and Fister for a month or more stinks. But look at our competition in the NL East. The Nats were favored to win it even BEFORE the Barves’ pitching staff looked like a triage ward. There was some talk about the Mets maybe being a threat this season, and yet, on Opening Day, they had trouble fielding a full starting lineup, and then found out Parnell, their closer, is headed for the TJ operating room. Philadelphia? Fuggedaboutit. Maybe the Marlins will make a strong run at 3rd place.

      But barring a gas line explosion in the clubhouse, if the Nats don’t win the division by ten games, Williams should be fired.

      Okay, that’s enough rose-colored optimism for one day.

      • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:57 AM

        I don’t think it’s at all a given that we will run away with it; however, if we keep our heads down for 9+ innings every game like we did Monday, we *might* run away with it, and we almost certainly won’t end up 10 games back like last year.

    • adcwonk - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      That’s right on the mark. Lobaton isn’t a Ramos, but he did play in 100 games for the Rays, who won more games, in a tougher division, than the Nats did last year.

      Players are dropping like flies all over the place. Mets lost Parnell after game 1. Kershaw is going to be out for a while, and, as you noted: the Braves’ starting pitching has some serious holes, and nobody else in the NE East should contend.

  17. janebeard - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    It’s hard to see him go away for a while again, but hurrah for jumping on it now rather than waiting. I bet this is another unsung way that Danny has helped this team: take injuries seriously and don’t waste time attending to them. And of course they can survive his absence. They planned for it.

  18. scnatsfan - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    If you make a move for a catcher – a real catcher – that might signal that the brass doesn’t have faith in Wilson being healthy full time for his career… and you couldn’t blame them for that approach. I don’t think they will do that but you could understand the move.

    • adcwonk - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      Lobaton _is_ a real catcher! To repeat what I noted just above: Lobaton isn’t a Ramos, but he did play in 100 games for the Rays, who won more games, in a tougher division, than the Nats did last year.

      And I’ll add: his OBP was .320

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        Lobaton is a real catcher, but he is not, at least yet, a really good defensive catcher.

        Last year, Ramos and Lobaton played very similar # of innings behind the plate: basically, about 5 more games for Lobaton. In those innings:

        Lobaton had 63 SB, 10 CS = CS% of only 13.7% (2d worst in MLB, to K Suzuki)
        Ramos had 34 SB, 14 CS = CS% of 29.2%, which was around MLB median

        Lobaton is young. He will get better–I just hope it’s a steep curve.

      • scnatsfan - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        But Leon may not be. Loboton is fine – for a backup. My p;oit was the franchise may want something more reliable then Wilson and better then Loboton to sit behind the dish in coming years. I have no problem with Loboton carring the load for 6 weeks.

      • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:58 AM

        Isn’t Lobaton 29?

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        Eric

        My bad – you are right about his age. He’s only had significant playing major league playing time the last two years, and I thought he was younger.

        Realizing how much minor league catching experience he has makes me less hopeful about his learning curve. But I’m still hoping that he improves with more MLB experience.

      • Doc - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        Actually, with all due respect to the ice-cream guy, at the age of 30 in this playing year, Lobaton just recently made it to the Bigs. By contrast The Buffalo saw playing time with the Twins in his early 20s.

        Not sure if his future learning curve should be based on his purported youth.

  19. Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Changing the subject, but I was tickled to see local kid [from St. John's H.S. in DC] LJ Hoes get a homer off of CC Sabathia to help the Astros beat the Yankees yesterday. I think that time will tell that the Orioles screwed up by getting rid of LJ. Bo Porter is really high on him.

    • natsjackinfl - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Joe. I wouldn’t say the Birds gave up on Hoes. It’s what they had tof give up to get Bud Norris from the Astros.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        All I’m saying is that I thought that they screwed up. Part of that is nothing but a blind loyalty on my part to the SJC baseball program. My son also played outfield for them. I am unabashedly prejudiced for all of the local kids playing in the pros, but I won’t be cheering for Gavin Floyd this year!

    • adcwonk - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      You had me at “Astros beat the Yankees”.

      All the rest is commentary ;-)

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        + several, especially your tag line and it’s provenance …

      • adcwonk - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        ;-)

  20. micksback1 - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    This sitituation is similar to when Nats obtained Suzuki, I feel that Lobaton is very similar to him. Both came from AL, both have significant playoff experience and both are better defensive catchers than Wilson. The quesion will be is how do you deal with losng a 30-35 HR hitter who can drive in 85-90 RBI’s? This hurts no doubt, but it is not fatal to Nats chances, considering the fact that the Braves injuries far exceed any other teams and the NL East is weak.

    • Theophilus T.S. - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      And Suzuki turned out to have a short shelf-life. I won’t get excited about Lobaton until he shows last season’s heroics weren’t a fluke. Catchers are notorious one-year wonders (thinking of Soto, Navarro) and underachievers (Saltamacchia, Laird).

      Maybe Lobaton is ready for a good, long run in the starting lineup. His base hit against the Mets was pretty good hitting. I think his value is in his bat (switch-hitter, too), not his D.

      For the short run the Nats will be fine. Leon tore up the Venezuelan Winter League so maybe he won’t be an automatic out. He strikes me as very athletic and he may have some success catching baserunners.

      Ramos’s injury history is alarming. (Somebody referred to Nick Johnson, which was chilling.) There is no doubt the Nats have been deficient in developing young catching talent. There is no telling how long Severino will take to become even a .225 major league catcher. In the next offseason Rizzo needs to make it a priority to get some other team’s AA catching prospect as a throw-in on a bigger deal.

      • micksback1 - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        good post, I agree with you

  21. Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    This from a Braves blog yesterday:

    “Fun fact of the day: BJ’s 2013 season was the 4th worst (statistically) in the HISTORY of baseball. This, by the way, is going all the way back to around 1890. This, my friends, is our #2 hitter in tonights lineup. Nice!”

    (I’m not sure what that poster was basing that on,but it caught my eye. Meanwhile,BJ has started this season 0-8 with 4K’s. Remember when one of our esteemed posters here thought the Nats should’ve signed him?)

    However, Kimbrel got his first save yesterday while striking out all 3 batters he faced.

    • Danny - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      Typical 2013 Braves game. Using the long ball for 4/5 runs. Shutdown bullpen. Wood could be very good.

    • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      I had the pleasure of opening up GameDay just in time to see Kimbrel decimate the Brewers final batters. Really sent me to bed happy!

      /sarcasm

    • masterfishkeeper - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      It is a pity that we can’t see BJ Upton try to hit Kimbrel.

  22. Danny - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    Williams says on the radio he expects the recovery to be 4-5 weeks. Really not so terrible.

    • David Proctor - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      Yeah, but he’ll be sapped of power for most, if not all, of the 2014 season. Think 2012 Jayson Werth. Still a good player, but not nearly the same.

      • JW - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        Werth had a broken wrist (second one on that wrist, actually) not a hamate. Very different injuries.

      • David Proctor - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        Indeed, but hamate injuries notoriously sap power. I wasn’t trying to say that the injury was the same, but the power outage could be similar.

      • Danny - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        We really don’t know for certain how long it will take for good power to come back. Many prominent players have had this surgery. Sandoval is an example who has had it done on each hand. Can’t remember the stats, but he put up great power numbers one year he had the operation.

      • JW - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        Then you should have used Espinosa 2011 or Zimmerman 2008 as your example, not Werth 2012.

      • David Proctor - Apr 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        Zimmerman had his removed early in the offseason and missed no time from it. He had several months to recover. Even with that though, he posted the lowest SLG% of his career that year.

    • Doc - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      4-5 weeks is a blessing, for us and the Buffalo.

      Will his power come with him? Hamate, as simple as the operation is, the power return recovery is somewhat elongated, and will stretch into the next season.

      i don’t know how much of a fast track that Severino is on, but it probably isn’t fast enough.

      • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        He’s as good for base hits up the middle with RISP as he is for home runs…I think he–like Werth–can still be a huge asset even if he’s not sending them over much until next year.

        Not that I wouldn’t love to see him at full power the day he returns!!!

  23. David Proctor - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Lobaton is a better pitch framer than Ramos and adds a lot of value in that. http://www.federalbaseball.com/2014/4/1/5568948/can-nationals-jose-lobaton-produce-like-injured-starter-wilson-ramos

    Last year, Lobaton was worth 3.9 runs last year via framing and Lobaton was worth 8.8. Now Lobaton played more (100 games vs 78 for Ramos), but even still he beats Ramos in that category. He can’t throw, so expect that if a guy like Eric Young gets on base, he’ll run. But I also don’t think the running game is as important as we, or apparently the coaching staff this year, is making it out to be. All I want is for guys to pay attention to baserunners and not fall asleep, but I was never a fan of devoting a lot of energy into that endeavor. Focus on getting the hitter out.

    • David Proctor - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      Sorry. RAMOS was worth 3.9 runs and LOBATON was worth 8.8.

      • Doc - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        Lobaton is a big improvement over Suk in the area of pitch framing. And obviously a big improvement over Ramos!

        Thanks for the stat, DP.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Interesting stuff–fascinating to see these new measures are developed, tho I’m a little skeptical of how they’re calculated and their reliability over small sample sizes.

      Lobaton does have the advantage of having apprenticed over the last couple of years with Jose Molina, who is quite a good pitch framer, per those stats and per most everybody’s eye test as well.

  24. Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Nat’s official site has an article up about how Gio wants to improve on “the little things.” They mention he and Werth got in to it in the middle of the first inning over Gio’s failure to get to 1B in time:

    First there was the Aug. 14 game against the Giants. During the Nationals’ 4-2 victory, Gonzalez found himself in a heated argument with right fielder Jayson Werth in the middle of the first inning.

    Werth was upset that Gonzalez didn’t reach in time for a potential inning-ending double play after Buster Posey hit a grounder to Adam LaRoche at first base.

    “It was another reminder,” Gonzalez said about the incident.

    Did that really happen? That was during or just after my MT vacation, before I circled back around to watching every game…

    • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Nevermind, there’s like 4,000+ videos of the incident. Heh.

  25. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    Am just catching up on Mark’s posts, having been out of town since Saturday with only a not-so-smart phone. I haven’t read through comments, other than a quick look at some of the shorter threads.

    Was at the game (our first time at Citi Field) on Monday and worried at the time about both Harper and Ramos. Was glad to see that Harper seemed to be okay, but was sorry to hear later about the potential prognosis for Wilson.

    On a game note, was pleased to see Stras throwing over to first with a runner on (if memory serves, my seatmates and I applauded). Was impressed by Danny’s at-bat. Cool to see Barrett’s debut (and first win). Oh, and the skipper’s debut (and first win) as well.

    On a ballpark note, there looked to be good views from most seats. There were lots of interesting food options at the concessions. I enjoyed seeing the artifacts in the Mets museum. (Well, except for Mr. Met. He’s a little creepy. :-)) There was a new display featuring the late Ralph Kiner, as well as a pregame tribute. On a scoreboard note, I liked that for pitching change situations, there was a display listing which relievers were still available for each team.

    We had some hilarious Mets fans sitting behind us (seriously – they were really entertaining – I felt like I should have paid them a cover charge or something). Granderson drew a nice round of applause when he was announced before the game. However, his first strikeout drew boos, and hearty “Go back to the Yankees!” We also chatted with a very friendly and knowledgeable Mets fan on the subway ride to the ballpark (he was even familiar with our MASN deal issues). He said he didn’t usually go to opening day but he made an exception because he credited Kiner with inspiring his own love of baseball and its history.

    I will stop now so as not to write a novel (oh, too late?), but all in all it was a most excellent day at the park!

    (btw, MicheleS, I think I saw you inside the park before the game. I would have said “hi” but wasn’t sure it was you and also wanted to get to my upper deck seat before the opening ceremonies started.)

    • Faraz Shaikh - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      awesome post! Thanks for sharing the experience!

  26. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Oh, and NatsNut is right. Get the pizza. That I didn’t was my only regret. But I did get have some Two Boots pizza at Grand Central yesterday. mmmm….

    • natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Oh, and they play this in the 7th inning stretch. Awesome. (I couldn’t remember which Godfather film it was in. It’s one. Anyhoo.)

      • Candide - Apr 2, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        Oh. My. God.

        When I was 14 years old or so, growing up on Long Island, for some reason, Joe O’Brien, the morning DJ on WMCA (570 On Your Dial) had some sort of thing for Lou Monte’s song, Pepino, the Italian Mouse. Why a guy with a name like O’Brien would be so infatuated with an Italian singer is, to this day, a mystery that surpasseth my understanding.

        I haven’t heard that song in almost half a century, and yet, I still know the lyrics, and even though I don’t speak Italian, I can even sing along most of the Italian with Monte.

        But I still can’t remember what I went into the kitchen for five minutes ago.

  27. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    “did get have”? I think I’ll get/have some coffee now.

  28. unterp - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    what choice do they have, next man up. If Ramos is the sum total of the whole, then the Nationals as parts did not total to much. They and Ramos are being tested right out of the gate and now we will see what they are made of the rest of the way. The test of man is time and time will tell what kind of men these are…

  29. Sonny G 10 - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    ʖ If we’re going to lose the buffalo for a while, maybe he should have both hamate bones removed, have a double TJ surgery, beef up the ACLs on both knees, and graft a hot set of spare hamstrings. Then maybe he’ll make it through a season ʖ :)

    • Eric - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      +10 points for use of the irony mark! I used to copy the one on Wiki but it’s broken now…they do have an inverted question mark on that page that can stand in now: ¿

      Is yours the Arabic letter?

      Finally, why do I know or care about these things? Sheesh.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Apr 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        Haha!!!

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 2, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        I used the Character Map on Windows…the Arial Font and copied the ʖ.

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