Exactly How Good a @MASNCommenter #Nats Team Would Be #MLB15THESHOW

SOON.

MORSE!!!

UPDATE: I’ve determined I should be able to broadcast a computer simulated game featuring the MASNCommenter Nats vs. The Mets in an “Opening Day” Tilt. I will post the link here and on twitter. Should be a 1:05 start.

I am new to the world of Playstation, but I got one around Thanksgiving and I do enjoy it. As a baseball and video game fan, I’ve been anxiously waiting for MLB The Show to debut its 2015 edition, which did indeed “drop” on Tuesday. I’ve never played this game before and, frankly, I’m terrible at it.

Like with most baseball games you can play whole seasons at a time, or even set yourself up as the GM of a franchise and build your team from the ground up. I was iffy on whether I wanted to start that particular campaign last night, but a thought occurred to me:

There is a whole cottage industry of video game simulations being used to demonstrate theoretical concepts in sports. Breaking Madden being king amongst them. Routinely, as a blogger and a baseball fan, folks ask me “well, what about…” or “what if…”.

Some ideas are crazier than others, and there is perhaps no greater repository of don’t-know-it-all Nats thoughts than those archived by @MASNCommenter. We profiled MC last year, who faithfully copies the comments section of fans on the MASN Facebook page, generally the crazy/insane/overly emotional/poorly spelled ones. James O’Hara wrote a piece theorizing what a Nats team might be like if we made many of the trades proposed in tweets.

So here I am: Holding back the real bullpen and bench preview posts until the dust settles a bit more, a week away from baseball starting, I have this video game I am terrible at…why not turn to the experts for help?

So, yes. I created the 2015 season for the Washington Nationals in MLB the Show 15. I then proceeded to put together the most MASNCommenter 25-man roster I could. My plan is to then simulate the whole season (I won’t be playing the games, just telling the computer to play itself) and see how the Nats do.

Mike Taylor in CF. Nice, young, up and comer.

What Kind of Roster Does MASNCommenter Like? 

When I solicited help from twitter, I got one answer over and over. MASNCommenter would clone 25 Steve Lombardozzis and field them all. Sadly, the game won’t let me do that.

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Friday Round Up: #DCisReady

The 1895 Washington Senators 43-85 in the National League. via Cool Old Photos (Click for link) but H/T to @GhostsofDC

The 1895 Washington Senators 43-85 in the National League. via Cool Old Photos (Click for link) but H/T to @GhostsofDC

The Walking Dread: With any luck, this tweet from Chelsea Janes bodes well for the Nationals walking wounded:

-or, lightly running, as the case may be. But too bad, I wrote all of this out before I saw this tweet, so I’m going to continue with my “how ugly could this get?” post.
The worst news first: Anthony Rendon went from sitting out for a few days to having no timetable. That’s really scary.  CL strains (of any kind) can get ugly quick, even if they are mild. As HarperGordeck from Natsbaseball blog points out, the prospect of Kevin Frandsen at third for a month, or longer, is laughably scary.

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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.

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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Get To Know a Stat: wOBA and wRC (aka Lombo vs. Danny Part 567)

UPDATE:  This quote:

 

Welcome to Get to Know a Stat!  Once a Week (or so) I intend to take an advanced baseball statistic and present it to you in a way that’s understandable.

This week, I want to look at a stat called Weighted On Base Average, something mentioned by Court a few weeks ago in his Holding Court column.  A lot of folks hold on to batting average as the end all/be all of comparing batters despite the fact that there are many other metrics to look at-often giving a more complete picture of what is going on.

To give you a basis for what I’m talking about, allow me to parrot some of the more insane arguments I’ve heard/read to start Steve Lombardozzi over Danny Espionsa at second base.  Note:  [Insert my usual disclaimer of love for Lombo as a utility player even if I disagree with the position he should be a starter].  The case for Steve Lombardozzi goes something like this:

  • He’s just as good a fielder as Danny Espinosa [Not at all true, but we’ll deal with that another day]
  • Danny Espinosa strikes out too much, and Steve Lombardozzi doesn’t strike out nearly as much
  • About a week ago Danny Espinosa was only batting .155 (currently .185) and Lombardozzi was batting .365 (now .235)
  • Danny Espinosa can’t hit with runners in scoring position, and gets no RBIs.  Lombo is “scrappy” and “clutch.”

Now usually, I can go through the whole litany of reasons that is insane.

  • You can start with the fact that Lombo hasn’t nearly had the plate appearances Espinosa has had (so it’s likely that his average will drop-which it did recently).
  • You can point out that while Lombo doesn’t strikeout as much as Espinosa, he doesn’t draw walks (he has only one) which indicates maybe he doesn’t have a great eye, but just makes contact outside the zone (bad contact that leads to ground outs).
  • You can also take a look at Total bases which is the total number of bases a player gets per hit (a HR is 4, Triple 3, Doubles 2, Singles 1).  Espinosa’s total bases double that of Lombardozzi’s- meaning he’s getting much bigger hits than Lombo, who hits a lot of dribbler singles that squeak through.

You can do all that, and I can do all that, but it might be better to look at something come up with by Tom Tango called Weighted On Base Average (wOBA).

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Get To Know A Nat: Steve Lombardozzi

Lombo

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: Stephen Paul Lombardozzi Jr.
Nickname(s): Lombo
DOB: September 20, 1988
Twitter?: @S_Lombo1
From: Fulton, Maryland
Role: Bench Player  Positions Played: Primarily Second Base
Hand: Switch Hitter, but throws Righty
With the Nats Since: Drafted in 2008, Debuted in 2011

I have a special little place in my heart for Steve Lombardozzi. He was the first player in my first Spring Training last year that I saw and got to say “Jeez!  Look at him!  That guy is going to make the club this year!”  Plus, you know, he had a long Italian surname (which always makes me feel good).  Sure enough, Lombo worked his way up to the Nats as a bench player, playing in to 126 of the Nats 162 games.  He had himself a very nice little year, even helping to rattle the cages for the “replace Danny Espinosa” contingent in the fan base.  (I talked about that more on the Espi post and won’t reiterate here).

In 2013, Lombardozzi won’t have the luxury of being a pleasant surprise.  His performance as a utility infielder will be depended upon this year. The Nationals will need to give guys breaks, pinch hit and otherwise utilize Lombo to get their team through a very long season.  What’s more, the new-look Nationals aren’t as easy a fit for Lombo as they used to be.  Still, the Nationals will find ways to use Lombardozzi, and when they do he’ll need to perform like he did last year.

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