Spring Training Game #19 Zach Davies with a key start

If you talk to Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, the Nats have plenty of spots open on the roster. Manager Dave Martinez has only publicly announced that center field is a competition. You have to wonder if the fifth spot in the starting rotation is an open spot on the roster? If so, non-roster invitee Zach Davies has tonight, and at most two more starts going forward in Spring Training to prove that he deserves that roster spot.

About Davies, he has proven in his career that he can be a good pitcher, but he is not a workhorse as age has certainly affected his stamina. By using analytics to optimize his effectiveness in regards to pitch count, you might be able to get more with less. So the real competition is between Trevor Williams and Davies for the final rotation spot. If Davies doesn’t get the fifth spot, he might be demoted to Triple-A, or to look at it another way, if Davies wins the fifth spot, Williams could pitch out of the bullpen where he has extensive experience. By the way, Williams set to pitch tomorrow night against the Mets on extra rest. There were earlier inaccurate reports that said Williams would pitch on the minor league side of camp.

Speaking about the center field spot, Eddie Rosario gets the start tonight. Don’t read too much into that as nobody expects Rosario to play center field. This is manager Dave Martinez moving chess pieces around. There is a real possibility that the team opts for more beef on the bench where Rosario or Lane Thomas would be the backup center fielder. That would mean that either Victor Robles wins the center field spot or Jacob Young. Most believe that Rizzo will choose Robles who is in the final year of his team control, and playing on a $2.6 million contract.

Again, this is a transitional year coming out of the Nats’ rebuild, and as such, change will happen sooner or later. The team is full of top prospects knocking on the door. But will any of them knock the door down. Look no further than Trey Lipscomb who is batting .367 with a .908 OPS in 34 plate appearances. That is getting close to a 10-game sample size. His defense was always his calling card making him the opposite of the incumbent Luis Garcia Jr. who is fairly far down the list on top offense in Spring Training. It was really the maturity of the 23 year old Lipscomb that was impressive, that he gets it.

“I played a lot of different sports growing up. But I loved baseball. I like the difficulty of the game. Anybody can be strong or fast, but the big part of baseball is the mental part. That was one of the coolest things for me, learning the game of baseball in and out mentally.”

Trey Lipscomb on a quote to @thomloverro

Certainly Yogi Berra would have liked that quote from Lipscomb. You have to get it. Keep the noise out and listen to smart people around you. Is it any surprise that in the offseason that Lipscomb and James Wood work-out in Montgomery County, Maryland with baseball guru Coach G as he is known to his friends, students and players — and known more formally as Gerardo Caceres to those who want to pay him by check.

A smart person once said that if you hire a consultant, make sure they add value to the task at-hand. Coaches are really consultants. Some are better than others, and have you noticed that the best players gravitate to the best coaches.

Tonight’s start time is a 6:05 pm EDT first pitch, and for the third time in Spring Training the Nats will face Jose Urquidy. This game is on the radio with no television coverage at the CACTI Park of the Palm Beaches.

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