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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Review-Preview: Nats Obliterate Marlins, Move on To Cincy to play Reds

Smoooooooth Gio2

This is from @Section138. Please visit Gavin’s blog often and follow him on Twitter. He also has been making cool Nats shirts since before making cool Nats shirts was cool.

 

There are a million places to go get a recap and preview of every game, but here at Nationals 101 we prefer to take a slightly bigger slice of the pie.  The Review-Preview will take place between series and give a quick recap of the previous series (including anything we think you can learn from the series) and what you can look forward to in the next series coming up.

NOTE:  Due to some awful car trouble that ate up all of Friday, I didn’t finish the Preview part.  Given last night’s debacle it’s probably best to skip this editions “preview” section and just do a review.  Next week we will review the Reds series and Preview the White Sox series.  

REVIEW Miami Marlins Series

Quick Take:  The Nationals came into Opening Day with the reputation as one of the best teams in the league, and the Marlins came into the series as possibly a AAA team playing in the big leagues.  Nothing either team did changed anyone’s mind as to either of those mindsets.

The Nationals swept the Marlins and remain the only unbeaten team in baseball (a dubious distinction, but a distinction none the less) by beating the Marlins 2-0, 3-0, and 6-1.

So What Happened?  Simply put, the Nationals pitching over powered the Marlins in every contest, holding the lowly Fish to just one run over three games.  That’s the first time that’s happened since the late 70’s over an opening series by the way.  How good was the Nationals pitching?  Let’s look at the starters combined and bullpen combined stat lines:

Starters:  3-0, .47 ERA 19IP, 13H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 9K

Bullpen: 0.00 ERA, 8IP, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 9K, 2 Saves

The numbers are slightly more impressive for the Gio and Strasburg given that Jordan Zimmermann gave up the sole run and 8 hits.  Only 3 of the hits went for extra bases (2 doubles and a Home Run) and the defense was stellar (committing just one error)  in keeping these guys out of the run column.

The bats started a little quiet over all, but got louder as the series went on.  Scoring the first two games was more about timely hitting-Bryce Harper stole the show in game one with two Home Runs in his first two at bats.  Gio hit a solo homer, followed by two more insurance runs later in the game.  The Nats finally took the top off in game three, gettings 6 runs-scoring two in the first and adding four more between a Werthquake and Harper’s third bomb in three games.

Lost In the Shuffle:

Adam LaRoche and Danny Espinosa are struggling at the plate right now, but it’s only three games in (and Danny isn’t striking out as much).

The only really feared player for the Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton, was held to 1 for 9 with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.  He also did not put in a very good effort into getting to first base on a play, and just turned around and stomped off to the dugout after his strikeouts.  He’s the lone star on an awful team and rumor is that he’s not happy about the fire sale the Marlins put on this year.  He could be quitting on this team as early as game 3 of the season, which bodes even better for the Nationals

Rafael Soriano is very impressive in person.  His delivery is insanely smooth, he never looked troubled on the mound, and he just threw strike after strike.  Also, for the #haters, Henry Rodriguez found the strike zone no problem in his one outting, and Drew Storen also looked just fine in his first appearance this year.  Indeed, the bullpen could be lights out this year-as predicted by many.

Conclusion:  Exactly what was supposed to happen between these two teams happened. You don’t want to overrate beating up the Marlins, but the point is they did beat up the Marlins.  Houston won this weekend against a much better team, so don’t downplay getting the job done.  Often the Marlins have been awful and played the Nationals tough. This time, the Nats put the foot to the pedal and really didn’t let up.

Get To Know A Nat: Jordan Zimmermann

I call this my "A-Ha" Camera setting.

I call this my “A-Ha” Camera setting.

Welcome to “Get To Know a Nat.” There are currently 39 men on the 40 man roster, and we’re going to give you the straight scoop on all of them!  Not sure where to start with player and season previews?  Not ready to jump into heavy metrics?  Just want to get to know the players, what they do, and what to expect from them in 2013?  Then you’ve come to the right place!

Name: Jordan M. Zimmermann
Nickname(s): JZ, ZNN, J-Zimm
DOB: May 23, 1986 (Age 26)
Twitter?: Nope.
From: Auburndale, Wisconsin
Position: Starting Pitcher  Rotation: Third Pitcher
Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Drafted in 2007. Debuted in 2009.

Jordan Zimmermann (never forget the second ‘N’ folks) may be the prototypical Nationals development player. The Nats were awarded compensatory draft picks in 2007 for letting the overpriced Alfonso Soriano leave as a free agent.  With an extra second round pick they picked up JZimm (Cue the “Nationals don’t much overpay for players, and have developed great talent” storyline).

Two and half years ago, JZimm was also part of the “we take care of our pitchers” storyline the Nationals like to promote.  After Tommy John surgery in 2009, JZ has slowly but surely been worked back into the rotation-foreshadowing the team’s attitude in Strasburg-Gate last year.  Although bringing JZ up to speed slowly is much easier to do in the wasteland years of 2010 and 2011 than, say, shutting down your ace in a pennant race, it’s still consistent with the Nationals philosophy now being used.  (Ask top draft pick Lucas Giolito, he’ll tell you).

This year the Nationals best-pitcher-no-one-has-heard-of will again be pitching third, behind Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg- and the Nationals will be in the midst of trying to sign JZ to a long term deal.  What makes for an excellent pitcher, however, also makes for an expensive one. In 2013, JZ will be in position to break the bank.

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Homework! What would YOU award Jordan Zimermann in Arbitration?

Jordan Zimmermann is currently the third pitcher in a rotation that is among the best (if not the best) in baseball.  He has less than six years of service but no contract going into the upcoming year.  Hence, he is eligible for arbitration.  A bunch of Nationals were actually eligible for the process, but JZ is the only one who took the team up on the offer.  That arbitration hearing is scheduled for February 19, 2013. 

What’s arbitration? We covered that a little earlier this year.  But since we have a prominent National now in the process, let’s have a little fun! JZ thinks he’s worth $5.8 Mil this year, and The Nats think he’s worth about $4.6 Mil. As we discussed previously, the arbiter is not going to pick a number between these two, but pick which he thinks is closer to the actual value of Jordan’s services for one year.  Anything over 5.2, and JZ gets his 5.8.  Anything under 5.2, Jordan gets paid the Nats number of 4.6.

Kind of like a game show: “Place your bets!”

So, let’s put YOU in the arbiter’s chair.  You’re going to pick whichever you think is the better fit salary.  From this link (explaining the process a bit more fully) it seems you can consider the following type of evidence:

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