Spring Training Question 4: Can Tanner Roark Fit In the Starting Rotation?

@aNatsFan gets Roark on the mound.

@aNatsFan gets Roark on the mound.

So you may have heard in December that the Nationals have the best starting pitching rotation in baseball, or darn close to it. You may have heard more recently that the Nationals made that rotation even better with the addition of free agent Max Scherzer.

The rotation was already stacked. Ranked by fWAR across both leagues, The Nats featured Jordan Zimmermann (#10) and Stephen Strasburg (#13), two top 20 pitchers overall. Gio Gonzalez didn’t pitch enough innings to be a qualified starter (thanks shoulder issues), but still posted a 3.1 fWAR and would have slotted him around 30th overall. Doug Fister was technically the worst of the bunch, at 54th overall and a 1.3 fWAR, but I don’t think you’d find a Nats fan who’d complain about him (or wouldn’t agree that fWAR may be cheating him a bit based on how its calculated).  The rotation, as a whole, finished first overall in fWAR – and then they added the 7th best pitcher by fWAR to that.

A pitching rotation we thought was the the X-men turned out to be the Justice League, and now it is a Justice League with three Supermen (probably from alternate timelines), a Batman and a Wonder Woman (and you’re a damn fool if you’re snickering at Wonder Woman. She’s awesome).

And then there is Green Arrow, personified in this case as Tanner Roark. Resourceful, not super powered, but still one of the better Justice League alum: We all remember the time that the Arrow saved all his super powered bretheren (yeah, yeah, yeah: Batman doesn’t have super powers: But anyone who can go toe to toe with Superman and win counts). But is there room for Arrow on a Justice League of heavy weights like-

Sorry, I totally got side tracked. Point being: One of the questions that will resolve in spring training is whether there is room for 3+ WAR pitcher on a rotation of Ubermenches? The deck is stacked way against him, but let’s go through the possibilities anyway.

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Nats Spring Training Question #5: Is the 25 Man Roster Already Set?

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As far as I can figure, the 2015 Nationals will head into Spring Training with at least 23 of their 25 slots filled and ready to go. A luxury to be sure, and not one that will repeat itself anytime soon. Over the next few seasons, at least a handful of free agents will be leaving each year, many from key positions. For example, the 2016 Nationals could be starting the season without Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Ian Desmond and Denard Span: And that’s just me thinking of starters off the top of my head. Each year after next, similar names may be on the way out the door, each requiring a spring training for new players to become acquainted with the team, young players trying to play their way on, and a parade of healthy competition for starting spots.
But the future is the future, and today is today: And today, the Nats won’t have to think too hard about a lot of the spots on the team. Each MLB club is allotted a 25 man roster to play day-to-day with, and an expanded 40 man roster where the additional 15 players are in the minor leagues, but available for call up at a moment’s notice.
Seriously, I just went through the roster and I’m not sure there is anywhere for anyone to break into the top 25. There, legitimately, may be no camp battles in 2015. So let’s count them up.

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Get To Know A Nat 2014: Craig Stammen

Craig Stammen has been a stabilizing force in the Nationals Bullpen. -Photo Credit @AshburnNatsFan

Craig Stammen has been a stabilizing force in the Nationals Bullpen. -Photo Credit @AshburnNatsFan

Welcome to Get To Know A Nat. Thrice a week we will showcase a different Washington National expected to be on the 25 man roster come opening day (as well as a few others that may be on the cusp of making the team). By the end of Spring Training we hope you’ll have a good understanding of just who the guys taking the field at Nationals Park will be, what will be expected of them, and what to be looking for throughout the year.

Name: Craig N. Stammen
Nickname(s):  Not that we know of
DOB: March 9, 1984
Twitter?: @CStammen35
From:  Versailles, Ohio
Position: Relief Pitcher
Bullpen Role:  Long Reliever
Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Drafted in 2005 by Nationals, Debuted in 2009.

Just Who is this Guy?: Well you could always start with our 2013 preview, but here is some fun stuff about Stammen anyway!

In the 2012 offseason, Stammen volunteered (along with others including teammate Ross Detwiler) to be a part of the USO Holiday Tour deployed to visit American troops overseas in war zones.

Having attended the University of Dayton, Stammen was drafted and left college after his junior year and just 15 credits shy of graduating. In the 2013 off season, Stammen went back to school. Through online courses and a month long stint back at the U. of Dayton, Stammen will complete the remaining requirements of his undergraduate degree while in Spring Training and in the first few months of the regular season. Stammen hopes to complete his bachelors degree in entrepreneurialship in the Spring. His nickname should probably be something like “Professor Smarty-Pants.”

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Get To Know A Nat: Craig Stammen

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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: Craig N. Stammen
Nickname(s):  Not That I’ve Found
DOB: March 9, 1984 (Age 28)
Twitter?: @CStammen35
From:  Versailles, Ohio
Position: Relief Pitcher Bullpen Role:  Long Reliever
Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Drafted in 2005 by Nationals, Debuted in 2009.

Craig Stammen is a converted starting pitcher drafted by the Nationals that now pitches in the bullpen.  Primarily, Stammen comes in as right handed relief, particularly in long relief when a starter struggles and needs to be pulled out early.  Last year was Stammen’s first coming out of the pen and he did very well.  In 59 games, 28 of them featured Stammen pitching in 2 or more innings.  He does well against lefties and righties.  You can also think of him as a mini-starter of sorts-and one that was very successful in 2012.

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