Thursday, February 23

Washington Nationals: Another Year Wasting Away

Head back to the home discussion

Starting Pitching:

Inning hogs. That's what the Nationals are fortunate enough to have in their rotation - Livan Hernandez counts for 1 1/2. Cap'n RubberArm should be up to his old tricks this year; his injury and hissy fit seem to be all in the past now, and chances are he'll throw up a good 200+ innings of pretty solid ball. Granted, he's not what you think of when you think "ace", but he pretty much fell off the table in the last month of the season. Were it not for that, his ERA would've been somewhere in the 3.5 range, which is at least passable in the canyon known as RFK.

John Patterson will slot in as a solid #2 now, even if attempts to nastify himself have been, well, rather humorous. Whatever floats his boat, I suppose. He has been working on a changeup to add to his repetoire, and if that goes off as planned, then he'll have quite the arsenal. As for the rest of the rotation, Ramon Ortiz, Brian Lawrence, Tony Armas, Jr., and Ryan Drese will fight over the last 3 spots. This is, of course, until either Armas or Drese - or both - go down to injury. Over/under on that is 3 weeks.

Rough Rotation Guess:
Ace: Livan Hernandez
2nd: John Patterson
3rd: Brian Lawrence
4th: Ramon Ortiz
5th: Tony Armas, Jr.

Fantasy Value:

Livan is a solid option; Patterson has a good amount of upside and will probably get drafted above Livan in drafts where people know their stuff. As for the rest - well, it depends on what you want. Lawrence should be a little more reliable than he was in San Diego last year, but that's not saying a whole lot. I wouldn't touch anyone else on the staff, though.

More Information:
John Patterson

Closer / Bullpen:

Well, Hector Carrasco's gone (and with the price of the contact he signed, it's not like the Nats could afford to hang onto him at that price, anyway - they needed backup second basemen), but that doesn't mean the 'pen is going up in flames. Chad Cordero is back - and word on the street is he won't be worked to death this year. Luis Ayala is back, too; Gary Majewski was effective as well. Joining them is Mike Stanton (situational lefty, anyone?). Some other random names (Joey Eischen, some guy they found on the back of a pickup, Jesse Orosco - just kidding, he didn't ever play for the Reds when Bowden was GM) will fill out the 'pen.

Rough Bullpen Guess:
Closer: Chad Cordero
8th inning: Luis Ayala
7th inning: Gary Majewski
Sit. Right: Joey Eischen
Sit. Lefty: Mike Stanton
Mop-up: Jon Rauch

Fantasy Value:

Cordero was fantastic last year. Ayala will provide solid periphials, but hurt somewhat in the strict K ratios. Beyond that, there's not a whole lot (but there never is in a bullpen unless you're in a deep league).


Well, there's no shortage in the middle infield, that's for sure. We'll hit that last. Anyway, Brian Schneider was resigned - let's hear it for some more league average production. At least he's got a pulse, I suppose. Have to take what you can get sometimes. Nick Johnson - when healthy - should have a pretty good season, all things considered. Power numbers won't be there, but in that stadium, that's true for everyone. Robert Fick (who got a nice contract, for reasons escaping, well, everyone) backs up first. Of course, he's behind Matthew LeCroy (who got a nice contract, for reasons escaping, well, everyone).

The future has arrived at third base, and his name is Ryan Zimmerman. His offense won't be anything to write home about - especially this year - but his glove, by all accounts, is outstanding. Kudos to the Nats for doing something right for once...

...and let's take those kudos away right about now. Jose Vidro slots in as the starting second baseman - and you can bet newcomer Alfonso Soriano (maybe you've heard of him) is a little pissed off about this. As of now, he's "starting" in left field. We'll see how long this lasts. Marlon Anderson (who got a nice contract, for reasons escaping, well, everyone - sense a trend?) backs up at second. Of course, this is actually understandable compared to the clusterfuck that is shortstop. Cristian Guzman - baseball's answer to the Razzies last year - is back, God help the Nats. He shouldn't suck as much as last year (if he does, there will be a literal black hole at short), but just to be safe, the Nats went out and acquired the rotting corpse that is Royce Clayton (who got a nice contract, for reasons escaping, well, everyone - let's hear it for macros!) as insurance. Of course, Marlon Anderson will back both of them up, too. And he'll back up first. And act as emergency pitcher. And coach the team when Frank gets tossed. And serve you ice cold beer. And....

Projected Infield:
C: Brian Schneider
1B: Nick Johnson
2B: Jose Vidro (for the first three weeks of the season)
SS: Cristian Guzman (*gag*)
3B: Ryan Zimmerman

Fantasy Value:

Zimmerman will have some long-term potential. Schneider shouldn't suck, which is about the nicest thing I can say right now. Nick Johnson should be at least around league average when healthy, if not slightly above. Vidro is due to fall off the table at any point now; he scares me a little bit.

More Information:
Jose Vidro
Ryan Zimmerman
Alfonso Soriano


Soriano's in left. Let's get that conundrum out of the way now. We'll see how long that statement is valid. As for right field, Jose Guillen - everyone's favorite headcase - is back. He's actually not half bad.

Center, well, there's where the fun is. Right now (at least according to the official depth chart - which, by the way, has Marlon Anderson backing up in left AND right field. Is there nothing he can't do?), Ryan Church is slated as the starting CF. However, rumors out of training camp are that Frankie likes him some speed, and Brandon Watson at least comes closer to that. Plus, the Nationals have a time-honored tradition of shitting on Ryan Church - why stop now? Ah, if only Brad Wilkerson was around... oh, right, that's the cause for the headache in left. Marlon Byrd and Michael Tucker are also floating around.

Projected Outfield:
RF: Jose Guillen
CF: Brandon Watson (or anyone else not named Ryan Church)
LF: Alfonso Soriano (..let's be honest. Jose Vidro)

Fantasy Value:

Wherever he is, Soriano will at worst be rosterable - he'll either be massively underrated or overrated, and I honestly don't know which right now. Guillen shouldn't be too bad. Church ...well, probably won't play. Watson will provide a little bit of speed, but nothing to write home about.

More Information:
Ryan Church

Extra Stuff:

I can't talk about the Nats too much - I just get kind of pissed off when I see the clusterfuck that has become their bench. Seriously, they have about 45,000 people as backup second basemen - and 5 on the depth chart at RF! That's insane.

They overperformed last year - probably out of a little bit of spite, I'd like to dream. That'd be awesome. They'll regress this year, watch out. Of course, if the pitching staff comes together, they'll be competitive. Right now, their top 2 can run with anyone in the division (which speaks more towards everyone else than it does their top 2), but beyond that it's shaky. If they can put up more runs at home (i.e., manufacture), then they'll stay competitive longer than anyone will give them credit for.

Know what'd help this team? Actual leadership in the front office. An owner. Ye gods. National disgrace, indeed.