Clearing the Bases: Washington Nationals

Within the next couple of years the Nationals have the potential to be a scary team. Last season the team has a few bright spots. Everyone knows that Ryan Zimmerman is a stud at third base. During the season they traded for Nyjer Morgan. This was Nyjer’s first full season in the majors and he performed well at the plate for a CF and he put up some ridiculous numbers defensively. Elijah Dukes had a great 2008, but fell off a cliff in 2009. Hopefully he can rebound. Josh Willingham has quietly put together some very nice seasons. In 2009 he had a .373 wOBA, 129 wRC+, and a 2.3 WAR. Jesus Flores put together a great season in limited time, but that is probably due to his .381 BABIP.

They also have some nice pitching. Jordan Zimmermann’s ERA is deceiving. He posted a 4.63 ERA, but his peripherals were great. He had 9.07 K/9, 2.86 BB/9, 3.17 K/BB, and a 3.59 FIP. It is too bad he will miss 2010 due to injury. In the 2009 Baseball America Prospect Handbook they said “[h]e profiles as a frontline starter – probably a solid No. 2 on a first-division club”. His FIP and K/BB from last season suggest that he is well on his way.

While Zimmermann is a righty with a high ceiling, the Nats also have a lefty with a higher ceiling. According to the 2009 Handbook he “has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the system”. That was before they drafted and signed Stephen Strasburg. Earlier this week Baseball Prospectus came out with their top 20 players for the next decade. They ranked him 8th and had to say this about him, “Sure he’s never pitched an inning in the majors, but if you were setting odds, who would be your pitcher most likely to win three Cy Young awards in the upcoming decade? If Strasburg isn’t among your top three, you are only deluding yourself. On a scouting level, this guy is Tim Lincecum with half a foot more height, a better changeup, and a command that’s a full two grades higher than the Giants’ star.” That is saying A LOT when comparing a guy that has not pitched in A ball to a two-time Cy Young Award winner.

The Nats also have a promising young SS in Ian Desmond. Before the season Baseball America had two SS prospects ranked ahead of him, but after hitting .306/.372/.494/.396 in AA and .354/.428/.461 at AAA he leaped over the competition and earned a September call-up. He should be the starting SS on opening day. The other position players, Christian Guzman and Adam Dunn, are in the last year of their contract and will most likely be used as trade bait before the season is over.

The most intriguing thing about the Washington Nationals is that a year after drafting Stephen Strasburg with the #1 overall pick in the amateur draft they have the #1 pick again and have the opportunity to draft 17-year old Bryce Harper. Bryce is a catcher from Las Vegas who hit a 570-foot HR at the Area Code Games last year and a 502-foot HR at the International Power Showcase at Tropicana Field. He made history when he decided to get his GED after his Sophomore year and attend Southern Nevada Community College. Last season he hit .626/.723/1.339 with 22 2B, 9 3B, 14 HR, 76 R, 55 RBI, 5 SO, and 39 BB in 115 at-bats. If the Nats decide to draft him, and they would be crazy not to, they could be well on their way to winning a World Series in a few years.

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2 Comments on “Clearing the Bases: Washington Nationals”

  1. trecker987 Says:

    You gots to fix the spacing and formatting on this thing.

  2. trecker987 Says:

    Beautiful now.

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