CHICO IS THE MAN ... AND OTHER THINGS
[March 5th] -- It only took three games for the Nationals to win their first game of the spring, and it took only a few more minutes after that before they lost again, running their record to 1-3. Ah, the perils of split-squads.
Though I wrote last week that three innings here, four at-bats there shouldn't make or break a player's chance to make the opening day roster, they do. And though - in the long run - four games worth of statistics are meaningless, decisions are already being made within the organization as to who is, and isn't going to be around come April based on these first four games.
- Larry Broadway: .375, though his three hits are all singles and he's struck out 3 times
- Ryan Zimmerman: He went 2-3 on Sunday and saw his average drop to .750. Now that's good.
- Alex Escobar: .429 with an RBI as a DH
- Jesus Flores: .667 in 3 at-bats
- Matt Chico: 0.00 in three innings, allowing only 1 hit while striking out 2. He only faced 2 regulars, but he was sharp nonetheless
- Billy Traber: 0.00 in 2.2 innings, giving up 3 hits and striking out 3. I think his place on this team is as a lefty reliever brought into the game to get a lefty out.
- Jason Bergman: No runs allowed in 2 innings (he doesn't have a chance to win a starting job though -- too many people in front of him)
- Shawn Hill: 2 innings, 2 hits, no runs. He's got to be a lock unless he gets creamed in one of his spring outings (kind of like Joel Hanrahan)
- Nook Logan: You don't want to be a fleet-footed centerfielder on this team and come out of the gates cold. Logan has; he's 0-7 so far
- Ryan Church: A 1-7 start (.143) has got to have Church worried, especially after what happened last spring. That said, I still think he's "the guy" in left and that he's going to hit 20 homers this year (unless he gets demoted to Columbus that is)
- Cristian Guzman: I don't want to hear any "I told you so's." Gooz is 0-5 with 2 strikeouts, and several reporters continue to hint that his shoulder isn't anywhere near being ready.
- Mike Restovich: I thought he'd be a great power bat off the bench for the Nationals. If that's going to happen, he's going to have to start hitting; he's 0-5 with a couple of strikeouts
- Joel Hanranan: Luckily for Emiliano Fruto, Joel Hanrahan is in camp. Fruto's 54.00 ERA looks downright unhittable compared to the former Dodger's 135.00 ERA. That said, he's much better than that and still has a chance to make the rotation (though one less-than-dazzling outing will likely send him to Columbus)
- Emilano Fruto: One outing does not a ticket to Columbus bring, but everything he did wrong he did wrong last year in Seattle as well. Not a good sign.
- Chris Schroeder: His grandmother had just died before he got torched. I want to see another outing before I say anything more about him.
There are several players who have played very well so far, but they don't have a chance to make the team, so it's the "if a tree falls in the forest and no one heard it, did it make a sound?" scenario.
Matt Chico was impressive, and I'm beginning to believe that a Livan Hernandez for Matt Chico trade straight up wouldn't have been a bad trade at all. I have had a chance to watch him pitch, and the comparisons to Mike Hampton are fair. I'd rather him start the year at Columbus and give some of the question-marks a chance to make it (or not), but Manny might have no alternative but to bring him north if he keeps impressing.