ROTATION SET: AT LEAST AT THE BELTWAY BOYS
[March 1st] -- Beware the Ides of March. Romans. Julius Caesar. You dig? I thought using the "Beward the Ides of March" thing would be apropos considering that - probably - March isn't going to be particularly kind to the Washington Nationals. But then I remembered from an Ancient History class I took a few years ago that the "ides" of March is specifically the 15th of the month.
So, after two intra-squad games, I'm ready to name the team's starting pitchers. I don't want to wait and see how they do in spring games - that would muddy up my thought process with facts.
- John Patterson (15-13, 3.66): Finally, his breakout season.
- Jerome Williams (11-15, 4.22): I know, these numbers look very similar to what Ramon Ortiz produced last year, but with Williams, he'll put up better numbers as the team gets better over the next few years. Williams has sucked because he was injured; Ortiz just sucked.
- Tim Redding (11-13, 3.88): For a while, he and Roy Oswalt were co-studs for the Astros. Things have changed, however. That said, he's come back from mediocrity and had a nice little season last year, going 12-10, 3.40 with 'AAA' Charlotte. If he regains his confidence, he could be a solid #3 starter for the Nationals for years to come.
- Joel Hanrahan (10-10, 3.89): I don't care that he's never pitched a day in the major leagues; a career 62-45 career record in the minors shows he can pitch. The variable is his control (he averages four walks a game). If he finds the strike zone, he'll do well. If he continues to have difficulties, he'll get rocked. Look for Mr. Hanrahan to impress.
- Beltran Perez (8-10, 4.11): I really like Perez, and I think he can do much better than this, maybe 12-9, 3.80.
There are other possibilities, of course. Jason Simontacchi has impressed some of the coaches, and Brandon Claussen has a real potential if he can regain his health. And I don't even think the team's best pitcher will even make the opening day roster. Matt Chico has the potential to be very special, but why put him in the rotation to open the season? A few weeks, a couple of months at Columbus can only make him better and more prepared for the major leagues. Were he to make the team, the Nationals would likely have to waive one of the veterans trying to make the club. Why not give them a chance before cutting them? If they do poorly, get rid of them and recall Matt Chico. If they do well, give Chico more seasoning and then - perhaps - trade one of the veterans for draft choices. That said, I'm going with my guys until Manny Acta tells me I'm wrong.
And he probably will.
Why Nook Logan will make the All-Star team: Because in the long run, things have a way of evening themselves out. How many years in a row can a major league team make the same mistake with the same position? First it was Endy Chavez, and then it was Brandon Watson. The names changed, but the superlatives remained constant. Fast. Good defender. Only has to get on base. He could add 30 points to his average by bunting more often. Those remarks could just as easily have been said about Nook Logan. Wait, they were. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Nook Logan will succeed where Chavez and Watson failed.
And that's why he will. I mean, what's the chance of the team being wrong three years in a row?
Oh wait ....
Seriously, Nook Logan hit a home run in Wednesday's practice game. And from the left side, no less. Hopefully, that one lucky drive won't turn him into another Willy Mays Hayes with the leagues best warning track power.
That said, I bet Mitchell Page was smiling like a new papa.
Things Are Quiet: I am very surprised at the general lack of interest in the Nationals, at least based on reading some of the other blogs. Over the first two springs, all of us were churning out stories daily. This year, however, some of the blogs (including me) don't seem quite as excited. Even the major message boards have less postings that this time last year.
Perhaps it's because we all see a long road ahead? I hope not. Wins or losses aside, this should be a fun year.
Nook is beast. I would really like for him to keep tearing it up. I like Escobar alot but if Nook can feild and hit AND stay healthly, I take him over Alex anyday
I think it's easy enough to talk about 1 or 2 position battles and try to figure out what's going on, but 4 pitching slots? We're kind of forced into a wait and see situation.
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