As the curtain comes down on the Washington Nationals for this 2021 season, they will be joined by 19 other teams who will have an early exit to the off-season. The only October baseball those teams will see is their final regular season game today. The Phillies, Mets, and Marlins are all headed to the same place as the Nats.
With some teams, heads will roll. Many feel that the Mets and Phillies will make moves to their coaching staffs, and possibly their front offices too. The Nats might not fire any coaches, and manager Dave Martinez said yesterday, that pitching coach Jim Hickey, will return which is what we reported earlier in the week. It was out of the norm to hear that official proclamation so soon, especially given that the Nats pitching will rank in the bottom-third of baseball — but surprisingly they are seventh from the bottom headed into this game at a 4.79 ERA.
Injuries to starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, and reliever Will Harris were major reasons for the demise of this pitching staff plus the team traded their best pitcher, Max Scherzer, at the trade deadline. But it was really more about the horrible season turned in from former ace Patrick Corbin that factored into the demise of the starting pitching staff as the bullpen had to come into games early too often during Corbin starts. The bullpen was the third worst ranked by ERA (5.05) and fourth by WHIP (1.44). Normally the pitching coach would take the fall for this, but in this case, he is safe for now.
While there will be a few relievers who won’t return for next year, most will stay with the organization. In addition, the team will most likely look to the outside for help in free agency and especially at adding a closer.
So today, the team will call-up Joan Adon to make his MLB debut. He was signed as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic back in 2016. Because of the 2020 COVID season, Adon hadn’t even pitched above Low-A ball prior to 2021. This season he was a fast mover pitching a combined 105 innings between High-A Wilmington (87 IP), Double-A Harrisburg (14 IP), and Triple-A Rochester (4 IP). His 10.5 K/9 rate and 3.4 BB/9 rate during his 2021 season looked good on paper, but that was at the minor league level and his combined 4.97 ERA points to too many runs scored and has you wondering what the rush was to get him up here.
Because Adon was added last year to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule-5 draft, the Nats just have to open a spot on their expanded 28-man roster today. We await that move to make this official.
Currently, MLB Pipeline ranks Adon as the Nats’ 22nd best prospect with a 60-grade fastball with mid-90s velocity, but scouts have not identified his breaking pitches as ‘plus’ pitches which is one reason he is so low on the prospect charts. Speaking of prospects, the Nats will choose the highest they have since 2010 when they picked at No. 1 overall that year.
The Washington #Nationals just clinched the 5th draft pick for 2022 because the Marlins just won. The small caveat here is this assumes any new CBA doesn’t change the draft order.
h/t to Wadlez and @StatmasterSteve
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats) October 3, 2021
While the youth is being added to the system, will today be the last we ever see of Ryan Zimmerman as a player? This is the one person who has been here from the start in 2005, his draft year, and debut season. His decision will be made by early December according to Zimmerman. There will be many fans in attendance at this game today just to see Zim who is expected to start this game.
The Red Sox have their lefty ace Chris Sale on the mound. If they win, they will clinch a Wild Card berth on the final day of the season. MLB will be starting all games today at approximately the same times just after 3 pm EDT.
Boston Red Sox vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 3:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, NESN, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-ups subject to change without notice: