Tuesday, April 24

Masochism 101: Looking at the Nats' Staff

I don't know why I'm even posting this; as the title suggests, I must enjoy pain. Still, since I'm here and yesterday was an off day, I feel like something should be said, even if it's largely cursory. (Alternate explanation: I feel bad for not posting anything last weekend, or this upcoming weekend, as I'll be out of town yet again.) With that in mind, let's bust out the old grading scale, and our criteria are as follows:

1 - effectiveness (60%). This includes not allowing runners to score - and, failing that, at least stranding them.
2 - durability (20%). In short, what's the likelihood of these guys being stand-ins in those old Timex commercials where the guy smacks the hell out of a fly on his Timex watch?
3 - length of appearance (20%). For the love of god, keep the bullpen from killing itself.

John Patterson (D-)
He'd get an F, but at least he's struck out some guys. Well, relatively speaking. He avoids a F mainly based on his singularly-realized potential and the possibility he may actually be injured. (No, I'm not letting that go.) Average innings per start: 4.5. Good times.

Shawn Hill (B+)
Story of the season so far and the de facto ace - he will be the ace once Patterson gets injured. Not a whole lot of press outside of the Nats' circles, but that will change. Two quality starts in a row so far, and he's got better odds than most of continuing that streak.

Jason Bergmann (C-)
I really don't know what to make of him. He's durable for a Nats' pitcher, and he stands at least a passing chance of going 6 ... but I'd be lying if he doesn't spend the entire outing scaring the hell out of me. If you believe that the Bodes talk straightened him out, then good for you; I'd place it more on Randy St. Claire myself. Fittingly enough, this grade could bounce either way. Another bad outing puts him somewhere in the D range and another good outing puts it at C+ or so. Still scared, though.

Matt Chico (D)
He gets a small pass over Patterson because we expected him to suck. He's also thrown (.1) more innings. Still looks kind of lost out there, though.

Jerome Williams (F)
Human gas can! I'm surprised, really; I figured he'd be good for a 5.something ERA. It's still possible, but he may be doing that in Columbus.

So the question now is this: who else is better than these guys? I have no idea. Check Columbus, maybe; Billy Traber? Tim Redding? Joel Hanrahan? Maybe. Would they be any better than Williams, Chico, or (god forbid) Patterson? Probably not too much so, but I doubt they could be that much worse.