Get To Know Some Nats: Starting Pitchers

Every year, we put together player profiles for the Nationals players likely to make the 25 man roster. This way you’ll have a better idea of just who is taking the field. Except for a few notable exceptions, the Washington Nationals of 2015 will be the same team you’ve been watching for a few years. So we’re going to forego lengthy profiles of stuff you already know, and focus on capsules for a few players at a time. A quicker, more forward focused view for the savvy fan.

Note: If you’re here to read about Tanner Roark, I’ve moved him to the bullpen post later this spring. You can read why (and about him), here.

You can also read our outfielder preview here.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

Stephen Strasburg, RHP

2014 Profile | Fangraphs

In a pack of bums who are underachieving bums, Stephen Strasburg takes the cake. We should just trade him for some prospects or make him a reliever. Or so MASNCommenter would have you believe. To wit:

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Thanks for sending me the screen cap MASNCommenter.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The truth is that the Strasburg is an exceptional pitcher doing exceptional things, but hasn’t lived up to the hype that followed him into the league. I heard the phrase “Prospect Fatigue” the other day, and I think that applies perfectly. Strasburg’s debut was an instant classic. He entered Nationals Park like Zeus come down from Mt. Olympus to pitch. Fan disappointment stems from this night and the subsequent seasons in which Strasburg has proved to be “only” an Apollo or Ares on the mound.

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Talking Points #4: ZOMG it’s Opening F!!$*&^$ Day! (With GIFs)

Don’t like baseball? Don’t feel like you know very much about it? Don’t think that should stop you from sounding like you do? Nats101 presents Talking Points, a weekly series designed to take advantage of the BSing nature of Washington D.C., and make you sound like a seamhead on your very first try. (And maybe learn ya some baseball while we’re at it).

ZOMG it’s Opening F#($*#$ Day!

  • Okay, depending on where you are and who you are with, you may want to temper the language a bit. The point is, this is it: The day every baseball fanatic has been waiting for since the end of last October. (Hence my happy GIFs and Videos in the post today).
  • Your Washington Nationals open the season today, Monday, in the fair city of New York. They will play their National League East rivals the New York Mets. Their first home game is Friday, against their other National League East rivals (and much better competition) the Atlanta Braves.
  • The Mets are likely not to be very good. However, when you play 162 games in a year, and 18 against the Mets, the bad teams are going to win a few. The goal for the Nationals is to win 2 of the 3 games they plain in New York before they come back to DC. Winning all 3 would just be gravy.
  • Try and put the radio (or TV if you can) on at work, 1 p.m., and listen to the game. Here are your TV and Radio listings.
  • If you’re going Friday, great! Be sure and let everyone know that while you’re disappointed that Doug Fister’s health is stopping him from getting the start, you’re excited for Tanner Roark (Row-ark) to make a start.
  • If you’re not going Friday, that stinks. Clearly it is because you can’t get off of work and you’re so jealous of the people who are going.
  • There are more GIFs and videos and things below the line. Click it!

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Talking Points #1: How to Fake Nats Talk With Most Anyone

Let’s face it. You don’t really like baseball (yet). Or maybe you do like baseball, but you don’t feel like you know very much about it (yet). The point is you find yourself out of your depth when the conversation turns to the Nats and you wish you could just throw out a few things and sound like you know wassup

Whether you want to fake it til you make it, or just fake it, we got you covered. Nats101 presents Talking Points, a weekly series designed to take advantage of the BSing nature of Washington D.C., and make you sound like a seamhead on your very first try. Whether you’re a casual fan or just having a casual encounter with the sport, give the following sound bites a try. 

“I know its only Spring Training, but I really like what I see out of Danny Espinosa. I don’t know if he’ll start this year, but he’ll make the team for sure.” 

  • This is a great little tid-bit. First of all it makes clear you are aware that Spring Training is going on, and that it has something to do with players earning their spot on the team.
  • Second-it’s a bit of a controversial position, but a realistic one. Espinosa showed promise a few years ago absolutely stunk the joint out last year. He hasn’t got a ton of hits in Espinosa, but his mechanics (how he swings the bat) does look better.
  •  Whoever you say this to will probably go on and on about how terrible he was last year, and all the strikeouts, etc. When they do blow off their points and remind them he was injured (wrist and shoulder), he is an elite defender, and if he can “find his power stroke” again, he’ll be a fine “bat of the bench.”
  • If folks mention Anthony Rendon, the guy who will likely start at second base instead of Danny Espinosa, you’re allowed to like him. He’s a good player and a young kid and probably deserves to start-but that doesn’t devalue what Espinosa might mean for the team over the course of the season.

“You know, I was skeptical of the Matt Williams hire at first, but I really like how aggressively he’s managing the team. This could be just what the guys needed after ‘Club Davey.'” 

  • Ah yes, you clever baseball fan. You’re totally smart enough to know that the Nats needed a little discipline after last year when manager Davey Johnson retired in his mind about 6 weeks before the end of the season. A senior citizen with senior-itis shouldn’t be managing a baseball team.
  • This bald guy, Matt Williams, from Arizona? He’s eager to prove he’s got what it takes in his first year managing the team. Players are stealing bases left and right*, and that’s all part of the new aggressive Nats. (*well actually they only steal bases in one direction, counter-clockwise, but yeah).
  • Most folks will agree with you on this one, so for a little added trivia throw out there that Washington won its only World Series title under another first year manager, Bucky Harris-who was still playing on the field at the time too!

“Man, I’m glad it looks like Doug Fister will be okay. A little inflammation in his elbow should be no big deal. What a great trade for him, right?” 

  • WARNING: This is a bit of a test question for the person you are talking to. You may get a very heated response, so be careful.
  • Folks who like the trade for pitcher Doug Fister are likely to be worried that the inflammation will get worse, or something is wrong. This is because they know the trade to get him was unbelievably one sided (in favor of the Nationals) and assume something must go wrong.
  • The rest of the people believe the Nationals are complete idiots because they gave up Steve Lombardozzi, patron saint of “little engines that could,” for this guy from Detroit they never heard of. To put it nicely, these people…think with their hearts. I’ve written about the psychology of loving Lombo repeatedly, I won’t rehash it now.
  • The truth is Steve Lombardozzi was one of three players sent to Detroit for Fister, and he was kind of the “add on” to the deal.
  • You don’t want to get to argue with these people about the merits of Lombo because they believe he is the second coming of Ty Cobb. Their position is roughly “I really love my 1999 4-door sedan with the oil leak and 200k miles that doesn’t get warm in the winter. I would never sell it for $250k.”
  • While, yes, we all DO love our beat-up little cars, not one of us would pass on a quarter million dollars for it. (Doug Fister is the quarter million dollars in this scenario).
  • Again, don’t engage these people on this topic and say something about how its a shame and move on.

“So, do you guys read Nats101.com? It’s such a good blog!

Look, I’ll give you other Twitteratti and great Nats blogs names to throw out there over the coming weeks, but right now I’mma get a bit shameless here. Follow the blog by clicking the follow button or entering your email address at the top right of the page. Follow us also on Twitter (@Nationals101) and Facebook (facebook.com/Nationals101). And then tell everyone that’s what you do and they should do it too cuz the site rocks.

Get To Know A Nat 2014: Doug Fister

Photo Credit @AshburnNatsFan

Photo Credit @AshburnNatsFan

Name: Douglas Wildes Fister
Nickname(s): I haven’t heard any…
DOB: February 4, 1984
Twitter: @dougfister58
From: Merced, CA
Position: Starting Pitcher Rotation: Likely Fourth Pitcher
Hand: Righty (but bats left handed.)
With the Nats Since: Acquired via trade in 2013 from the Detroit Tigers

Who Is This Guy?: Doug Fister is the kind of guy that remodels his own bathroom even though he can pay someone handsomely to do it. That right there was enough to make me very happy he was becoming a Washington National.  Throw in the fact that, oh I don’t know, his 2013 campaign with the Tigers was arguably better than anything the Nats pitchers did in 2013, and the Nats got him for basically a Shake Shack burger and some Curly W Headphones…optimism abounds at Nats101 for Mr. Fister.

Also, I get to link to the @MASNCommenter article I wrote for folks who didn’t get why this trade was an absolute steal.

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How To Convince Your Facebook Friend That The Fister Trade Is a Great Deal

Doug Fister

The Nats101 Website was created to introduce new fans to baseball-particularly in a city relatively new to the idea of having a team.  As such, we’ve directed much of our commentary towards trying to make smarter, more inclusive and congenial baseball fans.

A few years later though, and many of you who started this journey with us are kind of “caught up” if you will.  Combined with the folks who already liked baseball, the demand for “explain this to me!” has dwindled a bit.  While we’ll still focus on that plenty (and there is always something to learn) it’s clear we need to up our game a bit.

As such, it’s time to go on the offensive a bit.  Rather than wait for folks to come to us, it’s time we took the message of baseball to them-and what better place than to start in the MASN Comments section on Facebook.  While all of Twitter was rejoicing in the stunningly good trade the Nationals made with the Detroit Tigers for starting pitcher Doug Fister, the relative backwater township (that is probably any comment section, actually) of the Facebook MASN post on the trade was enraged.  Unjustly so.

And so, with the help of MASNCommenter (A genius idea that is only funny because of how truly out there some people are) and some paraphrasing here and there, I am going to explain the trade for Doug Fister in a way even a commenter can understand. (I hope).

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