Major Changes

Since neither Bryce Harper nor Steven Strasburg figures to play for the Nats in 2011, can any change be major? Well, yes, they DID shock the world by signing Jason Werth to a mega-contract, to replace Adam Dunn’s bat (Werth has a glove, too!). They also replaced Adam Kennedy, Josh Willingham, and Mike Morse.

Hitters 2010 D 2011 D+

On paper, the offense looks slightly better. They take a big hit at first base, where the new Adam (LaRoche) can’t approach the old Adam (Dunn) in hitting, though he CAN catch the ball. They are about the same at every other position, and make a big jump in right, with Werth taking over for Morse.

Starters 2010 C- 2011 D+

The Nats’ surprisingly decent rotation in 2011 was the result of a great season by Livan Hernandez and a superlative half-season from Strasburg. Neither will be repeated in 2011. On the other hand, Jordan Zimmerman looks like he can pitch, and Jason Marquis CAN’T be as bad as he was in 2010, so some slack will likely be picked up. I see a small decline this year.

Bullpen 2010 B 2011 D

Joel Peralta was the Nats’ most valuable reliever in 2010, and he is gone. Next were former Yankee great Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett, both of whom pitched very well, and neither of whom had shown any indication that they could do so previously. So what should we expect? I would think a collapse of some sort is in order. Sadly, I look for the Nats bullpen, and therefore its team, to be BAD in 2011.

Overall 2010 D- 2011 D

I look for a small, incremental improvement in their win total, to about 72 wins. This team may be only a season away from .500, but it will be a LONG season.

Charts

Player Position Age 2011 2010
Ivan Rodriguez Catcher 39 0.9 1.0
Adam LaRoche First Base 31 1.2 3.6 Dunn
Danny Espinosa Second Base 23 1.5 0.8 Kennedy
Ryan Zimmerman Third Base 26 5.0 5.3
Ian Desmond Shortstop 25 0.4 0.6
Rick Ankiel Left Field 31 0.8 1.7 Willingham
Nyjer Morgan Center Field 30 0.6 -1.1
Jayson Werth Right Field 31 4.4 1.3 Morse
14.8 13.2

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Livan Hernandez Starting Pitcher 36 1.2 3.4
John Lannan Starting Pitcher 26 1.7 0.3
Jason Marquis Starting Pitcher 32 0.6 -1.3
Jordan Zimmermann Starting Pitcher 24 1.5 1.6 Strasburg
Tom Gorzelanny Starting Pitcher 28 0.6 0.5 Stammen
5.6 4.5

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Sean Burnett Relief Pitcher 28 1.4 2.0
Doug Slaten Relief Pitcher 31 0.1 0.3
Craig Stammen Relief Pitcher 26 0.5 -0.3
Todd Coffey Relief Pitcher 30 0.2 0.6 Batista
Tyler Clippard Relief Pitcher 26 1.4 1.7
Drew Storen Closer 23 1.0 0.6 Capps
4.6 4.9

2 Responses to “2011 Projection – Washington Nationals”

  1. They traded Morgan a couple days ago to the Brewers and are going to start Ankiel in CF and Morse in LF. This is what I get for relying on depth charts that I got from ESPN a month ago 🙂 Apparently Morgan was a bit of a bad apple. It still baffles me why they went all in on Jayson Werth, and the “falling dominoes” of that move ended up really bothering me as the Angels were so desparate to spend some money that they relieved the Blue Jays of the most onerous contract in baseball, thereby freeing the Jays to join the yearly fracas for the AL East pennant. BOOOOOO.

    • I think I wrote this before the trade, but didn’t get it put together and posted. I have never been high on Morgan, so I think the trade is a good idea, and probably makes the Nats a bit better. I understand the Werth signing, though it may have been premature: a few seasons back, the Tigers had an historically bad season, lost 119 games (and had to win the last couple to avoid more losses than the 1962 Mets). As they began to claw their way back, no decent player would sign for them. So they overpaid to sign Ivan Rodriguez, and everyone wrote the same stuff they are writing about the Nats and Werth. But what they were doing was serving notice to their players, their fans, and their future FA negotiations that they were serious about getting better; it was not just talk. They went from 40 wins to about 70, signed a similar contract with Magglio Ordonez, won 70 again, convinced Jim Leyland to manage them, brought up some kids, and won 90+ games.

      I think this is what the Nationals are attempting – they paid the big money for Strasburg and Harper, and then signed Werth to show that they MEAN it. If the kids gel, they will be in a position to offer some money to other free agents, and try to join the hunt in 2012 or 2013.

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