The infield has been our focus for the start of our 2017 team analysis. We are projecting the Nationals starting infield on Opening Day in 2017: 1B Ryan Zimmerman, 2B Daniel Murphy, SS Trea Turner, and 3B Anthony Rendon. Today’s shortstop is Danny Espinosa, tomorrow’s looks to be Trea Turner unless a bold move is made moving Daniel Murphy to 1st base or the Nationals acquire a new shortstop or come up with another plan.
Yes, it is possible that Danny Espinosa remains the starting shortstop in 2017 as he is under the Nationals’ team control for 2017. It is also possible that Espinosa could fit back in as a bench reserve or could be traded. Continue reading
The NL East was much stronger than the off-season projections for 2016, and the division put 2 teams into the post-season. The division was hit hard by injuries to key players, and the death of Jose Fernandez.
Fangraphs’ 2016 projections were perfect on their prediction ordering for the top 3 teams in the NL East and for nailing the Atlanta Braves wins even though their W/L was off by 7 for the Nats, 2 for the Mets, -1.5 for the Marlins and 5 for the Phillies. Continue reading
One of the many bright spots of the 2016 season was the resurgence of Anthony Rendon who was pacing himself with his tremendous 2014 season when he won the Silver Slugger and was voted fifth in the MVP voting. Rendon delivered only 1 RBI in the month of April with a slow start to the season while batting .242 as he knocked in 84 RBIs over the remaining 5 months of the season.
In April, Rendon was hitting 2nd in the batting order behind Michael Taylor and Rendon admitted he changed his approach to try to compensate for Taylor seeing so few pitches in his at-bats. When Dusty Baker moved Rendon back in the order he quickly became the “Tony Two Bags” that Nats fans had grown accustomed to seeing split the gaps with doubles.
Rendon was well above his season slash when it came to hitting with RISP (runners in scoring position) as he slashed .294 /.381/ .538 /.919. Rendon also provided Gold Glove level defense as Fangraphs rated him 3rd in the Majors and finished ahead of Manny Machado. Rendon had a +12.9 defense rating and a +10.6 UZR for the 2016 season. Continue reading
When StatCast™ began publishing exit velocities on batted balls, the baseball world had a new stat to talk about. The baseball world loves ‘velo’ whether it is measuring a pitcher’s fastball velocity or a hitter’s velocity of how fast a ball leaves the bat.
Greg Rybarczyk of Hit Tracker Online had been measuring distance on home runs and angles and speeds even before they became a property of ESPN. His site defined Speed Off Bat as the calculated speed of the baseball as it left the bat, in miles per hour (mph). Continue reading
Today, Scott Boras spoke to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports and covered the health of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. The encouraging news is that Boras’ comments might finally put to rest this fear we had of Bryce Harper having shoulder surgery in a clandestine location. Yes, too many cloak and dagger novels and Verducci tall tales to make it seem a possibility. Continue reading
There is no question that for the full season Daniel Murphy was the model of consistency as a producer in the Washington Nationals’ line-up, and the team’s MVP. Murphy finished the season with an fWAR (Fangraphs) of 5.5 to lead the Nationals, but he could not keep up his lofty numbers in the 2nd half of the season due to injuries to his hamstring and gluteal muscle.
Murphy was so good in hitting with men on base and slashed .367/.420/.598/1.019. He got better in RISP spots over his standard statistics and finished the season with 104 RBIs. It was perhaps the impact of those RBIs that was most impressive as Murphy was 3rd in the Nationals League in game-winning RBIs with 16.
Some would say Daniel Murphy’s defense was not a problem in 2016, but defense is much more than just making errors. Yes, Murphy improved his error rate in 2016 with only 11 errors compared to 13 in 2015; however, Murphy’s 2nd base defensive range rating worsened to a -7.0 according to Fangraphs meaning that he was not reaching some balls he should have. Per Fangraphs, Murphy actually was above average at 1st base on his defense and rated as the Nats best at a +0.9 even though he only logged 151.2 innings at 1st base. Continue reading
The MVP of the 2016 Washington Nationals was Daniel Murphy with honorable mention to Wilson Ramos, but the clear MVP for the second half of 2016 was Trea Turner. There was not a more impactful player in the Majors other than Turner in that timeframe. Turner also showed his versatility with all of the defensive positions he played for the Nationals, and that versatility will be a key to the formation of the Nationals 2017 roster. Continue reading
Post-season Game Plans
To get a new perspective on baseball now that we’re officially in the Nats off-season, it might be fun to take a different approach to the playoffs, and the two remaining National League teams. Take a step back and forget about Ryan Zimmerman’s contract, Espinosa’s batting average, Harper’s perplexing season, and Bob Henley‘s wave of misfortune sending Werth to the plate. Continue reading
12 Things I won’t, and will, do in the off-season:
What I won’t do: Continue reading
Someone would have to be living under a rock in order to not notice the amazing surge in home runs over the past two years in Major League Baseball. It hasn’t been since the steroid era of the 1990s that fans have been treated to so many baseballs leaving the ballpark on the way to becoming souvenirs. Assuming the baseball world is not seeing steroid era – part two, it begs the question, “What gives?. Continue reading