Nationals Infield Preview – 2019

Second special edition episode of our Washington Nationals Spring Training Preview! Check out how the infield spots check out in our minds. Plus, will Anthony Rendon become the new “Face of the Franchise?” Take a listen…

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Nationals Season Preview: Five Random Thoughts on Pitchers/Catchers

As we continue our season preview (check out the podcast episode we did here: (https://dccrossover.com/2019/03/04/dc-pitchers-catchers-preview-2019/) I wanted to add some other key thoughts as a companion to our preview podcasts. For this installment, I’ll go over five random thoughts regarding the Nats Pitchers/Catchers. 

1. I’m terrified about the Nationals Bullpen

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Overall the Nats are getting glowing reviews regarding their off-season acquisitions, and deservedly so. But an area that still absolutely terrifies me is the bullpen.

Per RotoChamp (and various other projections) here is the current setup for the bullpen:

Closer: Sean Doolittle

Relievers: 

Kyle Barraclough

Matt Grace

Justin Miller

Trevor Rosenthal

Sammy Solis

Jimmy Cordero

Koda Glover

(other candidates include Kyle McGowin, Tanner Rainey, and Austin Adams)

Last year’s Nats were just “okay” in the pen. They gave up the 6th most Home Runs (81), were near the bottom of the league in strikeouts, and as a team were middle of the pack in ERA (4.05).

For a team that is trying to contend for a World Series, they didn’t do a lot to improve in this area. Barraclough is an innings-eater and brings some value, and Rosenthal is more of a low-risk gamble but is coming off a major injury and hasn’t been good for 4-5 years.

Koda Glover has already been bitten by the injury bug early in his career and left a spring training game with forearm tightness, Sammy Solis is only around because he is left-handed, and a lot is riding on guys like Matt Grace and Justin Miller to repeat their strong 2018 campaigns.

I’m nervous, the bullpen has constantly been an issue for the Nats and Mike Rizzo as they shipped out Madsen and Kintzler last year after a failed season. A lot is riding on Doolittle who is also coming off a shortened season due to injury.

Rizzo either needs to make a few more moves, or cross his fingers and pray this group can get the job done.

2. I think Strasburg will beat the projections

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves

Everyone is very hesitant to give Strasburg the benefit of the doubt that he will come back strong in 2019. I get this somewhat, last year wasn’t disastrous but it also wasn’t great (10-7, 3.74 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 156 K’s, with opponents hitting .309 on balls in play). He got hit around a bit, and only pitched 130 innings.

In both 2016 and 2017 Strasburg tallied 15 wins each season, with his 2017 campaign being in contention of a Cy Young with a 2.52 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He was dominant, and most projections say he won’t get back to that level this season. I’m seeing a lot of 12-8 records with an ERA in the 3.50 range but I think a fully health Stras can get back to his 2017 form.

That is the key though: fully healthy. Strasburg made his spring debut early this week and looked good (2 scoreless innings with a couple strikeouts). The big thing last season was the disappearing velocity, but his fastball topped out at 94 in his Spring debut so hopefully he can push that up a tick before the season starts.

I think a healthy, confident, Strasburg can rebound from a roller coaster 2018 season and snag 14+ wins with a sub 3.30 ERA.

3. I like Justin Miller and you should too

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In case you wanted a quick background on Miller:

This was a guy that signed with the Nats in a minor league deal last year, and worked his way up to the big club. Prior to last year he had pitched sparingly, 42 innings in 2016, 33 innings in 2015, and 8 innings in 2014.

Last year for the Nats here’s what Miller was able to accomplish:

52 Innings, 3.61 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 60 K’s, 17 BB’s, 12.8% Swinging Strike percentage, 83% of runners Left on Base, and opponents only his .254 on balls in play against him.

Miller has a 94-95 MPH Fastball, decent slider, and solid changeup and really held together the broken bullpen last year with his performance. He is known to be a good clubhouse guy as well.

Unfortunately, right now he’s got an injury that could possibly keep him from being ready for Opening Day, but when he gets back I’m sure he’ll go back to having a key role in this questionable bullpen.

4. The Nats don’t seem to think Pedro Severino is ready

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Pedro Severino had a pretty bad 2018 (to be fair, so did the Nats as a whole). With an injury-prone Matt Wieters also playing the same position, Severino had a great opportunity to solidify himself as the catcher for the immediate future. Instead he hit .168 in 70 games, with only 2 HR’s, 15 RBI, with a .254 OBP and .247 Slugging.

You can see in the highlight reel there is still potential obviously, and he is still very young:

The twenty-five-year-old now has to wait a bit, as the Nats bring in Yan Gomes and bring BACK Kurt Suzuki to split time at catcher.

Neither is expected to blow away the league offensively but both are improvements over last year and Suzuki brings Veteran leadership and already was a beloved National before.

Severino still will have time to grow, but the position has now gotten a little more crowded. My gut is the Nats simply don’t think Severino is ready whatsoever to take the reigns, the trust just isn’t there yet.

5. Please for the love of god can we just pick a 5th starter

On the 1st, Hellickson was quoted discussing his desire to solidify the 5th spot in the Nationals rotation: https://www.federalbaseball.com/2019/3/1/18243361/jeremy-hellickson-wants-fifth-spot-washington-nationals-rotation-wants-to-go-deeper-in-starts

And to be fair, he probably has earned that after a strong run in 2018 (5-3 Record, 3.45 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) but it appears Davey Martinez has not fully decided on that 5th spot. Joe Ross is clearly the guy with the highest upside, but he is only some months removed from his full recovery from surgery, and Fedde didn’t have a great 2018 but then again he only threw 50 innings and is still young.

I would love for this spot to be solidified out of camp. Here is how the guys are doing so far (though Spring Training stats themselves don’t mean THAT much)

Joe Ross: 5.2 Innings, 5 K’s, 1.59 ERA, 1.59 WHIP

Erick Fedde: 5.1 Innings, 5 K’s, 11.81 ERA, 3.19 WHIP

Jeremy Hellickson: 5 Innings, 7 K’s, 1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP

Based purely on that it is clearly a two-dog race between Ross and Hellickson for that 5th spot. Do you lean on the younger, higher upside Ross? Or do you go with the 31 year old Hellickson who performed last year when the Nats needed a band-aid?

Please just make a choice and stick with it, we know this rotation tends to get banged up anyways so I’m sure whoever doesn’t make the initial rotation will work their way in. What I don’t like is any idea of working in different guys constantly. Pick a man, let them perform, and adjust from there.

DC: Pitchers & Catchers Preview – 2019

The first special edition episode of our Washington Nationals Spring Training previews. Up to bat first are the Pitchers and Catchers. We discuss the additions of Corbin, Sanchez, Gomes, and Suzuki to the club. Take a listen and come back next week as we breakdown the infield for our Washington Nationals.

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BREAKING: Bryce Harper signs with Philadelphia Phillies

And there it is. Bryce Harper signs with the Phillies. Now let me start by saying this whole article may be an overreaction to what has just transcribed a few hours ago, so I apologize if some of my thoughts are irrational.

I have loved baseball my entire life. The sound of the lawn mower cutting those last few blades of grass in the outfield. The smell of the freshly manicured ball field dousing your senses. The subtle noise of the crowd chatter in the background. Honestly, there is nothing like going to a baseball game. You can like whatever sport you want. But baseball is in a class of its own.

Fast forward to 2009. In comes Stephen Strasburg throwing lightning and hearing the thunder of the crowd. I was there against the Pirates when he threw for 14 K’s and electrified this city. Then it happened. The following year, we drafted BRYCE HARPER. The golden boy had landed in D.C.

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The anticipation of Harper grew and grew. Strasburg was one thing, but the hype for him was not compared to the intrigue an everyday player who was labeled “the chosen one” brought to the table. After a couple of years, the Nationals surprised us all and headed to the post-season. Then this happened:

Every year since 2012, we have been one of the favorites to win the World Series. Yet, we have been one of the most disappointing teams year in and year out since that year. Missing the playoffs multiple years, and not making it passed the National League Division Series in four tries, even though having one of the best “on paper” rosters in the league was heart wrenching. Yet, one thing remained, Bryce Harper.

With Bryce Harper, anything was possible. Eyes were always on Washington D.C., because we had the rights to arguably one of the Top 5 players in all of baseball. Other cities didn’t get that type of recognition because Harper was an icon at his young age. The hair, the Sports Illustrated Body Issue (see below), the sound bites, and above all else, the monster bombs he hit over countless fences. You never knew what could happen because ANYTHING was possible with this guy.

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So here we stand as a franchise, poised to make a deep run this year and for multiple years to come. The average age of the core group for this team is only 22.25 years old (Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Carter Kieboom). That takes into account over half your outfield and infield with only those five guys. Mike Rizzo has built this team for the future and it has started to come to light. The only question, where was the face of our franchise going to end up?

The Nationals offered a “fair” offer at first. (Nationals Initial Offer For Bryce) The Lerners, Rizzo, and the city wanted Bryce back, at first. Then, rumors swelled and the debates began as time passed. “Where will he go?” – “Does he want to stay in D.C.?” – “Is he only in it for the money?” – “Doesn’t he want to win?” These were just some questions that arose in the beginning portion of this Free-Agency period.

But, the vitriol start to arise with the fan base after Bryce turned down Washington’s initial offer. People’s rationale started to decline. Everyone did not understand that if they were in his situation, with his talent, upside and prowess, we would want to get fair market value as well. Now I am not going to say I was happy Bryce was shopping with other teams, because I honestly wasn’t thrilled about the idea. Yet, I saw the bigger picture about how our team was constructed and decided to let the whole Harper thing fizzle out.

After over four months of discussions, four months of back and forth’s, four months of almost pure torture, Bryce Harper has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Did we expect him moving on? Yes. Did we expect other teams in this sweepstakes? (i.e. Yankees, Cubs, etc.) Yes. Would we have rather him go to any other team besides one within our division? YES.

SERONE’S TAKE:

Okay, here is my view on what this whole process has boiled down too. I wavered so much during these last four months debating in my head the pros and cons to having or losing the face of our franchise. But then it happened. It actually happened. The Phillies were the last team in the running to swoon over “our guy.” Now I could honestly care less about how much money yada yada yada. I am more so hurt by the fact he decided to take the job in Philadelphia, the city in which dreams are shattered because of their fan base. Take a look at some examples of what I am talking about.

NHL PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

(Fans throw TRIBUTE BRACELET OF LONG TIME OWNER on ice and at players)

NFL PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

(Fans pelt opposing fans with countless snowballs for many minutes)

MLB PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

(Fans throw Duracell Batteries and Trash at JD Drew)

Who would ever want to play in front of these fans? I literally hate when Philly fans try to say things like: “Oh we are just passionate people!” or “We love our teams!” No, no you don’t. I am a diehard Redskins, Nationals, Capitals and Wizards fan and you don’t see me throwing beer on a Houston Astros fan or a Miami Dolphins fan. You don’t see other fan bases doing these things year in and year out. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good fans out there but the majority ruins it for everyone. Would you ever wear a rival jersey in one of their stadiums? Would you ever jump in a pool with piranhas? They are classless and literally will scold you until you break down. I am not sure if Bryce was only in it for the money or not but wanting to play for these fans and that city over ANYONE OR ANYWHERE else is a gut-wrenching blow.

It is free-agency, I get it. But you have to think of your legacy at some point, right? I loved watching Bryce. Every at-bat was something to get excited for. But now, it is over. He has pulled an Anakin Skywalker and turned over to the Dark Side. We are Obi-Wan Kenobi and he is Darth Vader.

The D.C. hero has now become possibly one of the most hated sports figures for all of our nations capital. He went from Washington D.C’s sports “Mount Rushmore,” to our evil Thanos. The rivalry has been ignited once more, now with even more despise and more hatred. I loved Bryce as a baseball icon, but now he is gone and we have to deal with it. Enjoy your next 13 years Bryce. My last thought comes from one of the best movies of all time. There is only one thing left to do now. (Clip Rated: R for Strong Language)

 

Let’s Go Nats!

Episode 21 – (Capitals, Wizards, Nationals)

The duo is back on the mics from the brief hiatus of the holiday weekend. Spring Training has begun and the boys are ginned up. Join in on the action as Ben talks about the “Lovers Kit” from his hotel during Valentines Day. Also, we discuss a Frenchmen getting 4-Months in prison for a brilliant theft attempt, and answer a few Spring Training questions for the Nationals!

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Trade Deadline Acquisitions – (19:10)
  • Wizards Terrible Defense – (38:45)
  • Spring Training for Nationals – (1:00:00)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:33:00)
  • Long-Time Guest “Ian Hollerin” – (1:43:30)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (1:45:50)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

 

Is it weird that I literally don’t want Bryce Harper?

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks

Am I an idiot? Bryce is one of the best hitters of our generation right? The Millenial Mickey Mantle? The Vegas Golden Boy? I should be kicking myself for even CONSIDERING the idea of not wanting him on the Nats right? RIGHT?!

And yet…I am.

bryce bryce

Look, the credentials speak for themselves. Six all-stars, Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, with an absolute TEAR of a 2015 season.

But as a Nationals fan I have the ability to see more than the numbers. Some of the characterizations are unfair. Coming out of high school, and in his early years in the MLB, the guy had a really bad rep.

Umpires baited him, media-types pounced, and overall Bryce was the “crybaby” in a lot of eyes.

Going beyond some of the unfair criticisms lies a small grain of pitching mound sand of truth. The guy cares ALOT. He is emotional, he is combative, that much is a fact. You watch a season of Nats games and you can see it both on the field and with occasional camera shots to the dugout.

Is it a problem? Max Scherzer is intense too, right? Here’s the difference. When I see Max Scherzer giving his all and being a psycho on the mound, I see it as “I am doing everything in my power to help my team win”. When I see Bryce lose his mind I see “I am doing everything in my power to help ME win.”

I’m not in the dugout, I’m not in the clubhouse, I can’t REALLY speak to his abilities as a leader. But I think a fan perspective is worth something, and I have not ever looked at Bryce as the “Leader” of the Nats. We look to Zim, or to Max as leaders.

Bryce cares about Bryce. Is that a bad thing? No. Is it bad for a team that is trying to contend for a championship? In my opinion, yes.

As much as I envy the World Series champs from previous seasons, look at the guys on those squads.

world series

Those were TEAMS. Those guys worked as a UNIT. Did they each have their own stars? Of course. But it was not one guy leading the charge. And the stars that were at the front, would you put them in the same realm as Bryce as far as competitive and combative attitude? I don’t think so.

The point is, I look at this year’s roster without Bryce Harper and I’m excited. I don’t see one guy leading the charge. I see a cohesive unit. I see young studs mixed with guys in their prime mixed with crafty vets. Without Bryce, I don’t see this weight hanging over this team.

If you resign Bryce to a monster contract you will forever have the “Is he worth it” debate for the next decade. It won’t be about the Nationals, it will be about the scrutiny of every action Harper takes, every at-bat he swings and misses. Everyone will constantly be doing calculations “Oh look, is that ground out worth ___ million dollars?”

Without him I’m looking at a unit that can play free, maybe fly under the radar and surprise some people.

None of this is taking into consideration any of the financial impact or handcuffing of the team. The shuffling of the outfield, and any other logistical impacts along the way. This is one fan’s opinion, purely on emotion and gut feeling.

I think Bryce Harper is an incredible talent. I think Bryce Harper could be a hall-of-famer. I think Bryce Harper could win multiple MVPs in the future.

I just don’t want him.

A few Nats get completely disrespected by MLB Network’s Top 100 List

MLB Network concluded their Top 100 list last night, naming the Top 10 Players to finish off the list.

How is the Top 100 list compiled? MLB Network’s research team, in conjunction with the show’s producers, use statistical analysis to rank the Top 100 players in MLB for the 2019 season. (It’s different from the Shredder, which is used to determine the network’s annual ranking lists for the Top 10 players at each position.)

Let’s take a quick look at which Nats made the cut, and who got absolutely disrespected by the analysts:

#89-Sean Doolittle (Last Year: Unranked)

Sean Doolittle

No doubt Doolittle is finally being considered one of the more elite closers in the game right now. A few pitchers that were ranked higher than him: Kenley Jansen, Ohtani, and Mike Clevinger. Ohtani supposedly won’t even touch the pitchers mound this year, and will bat occasionally as a DH later on in the season. Is that enough to bump him higher than a healthy closer? I guess so.

#84-Trea Turner (Last Year: #47)

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Jean Segura barely edges out Turner and nabs #83 somehow, and I don’t understand the huge drop in ranking for Trea. Turner has had some really nice moments, and he’s had some bad spots as well. Still young, still a ton of potential, but he hasn’t established himself as a consistent stud yet. But a 40 spot drop seems drastic. He still hit .270 with close to 20 bombs on a team that underperformed. This seems like too big of a drop.

#80-Stephen Strasburg (Last Year: #28)

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Strasburg has had a roller-coaster career. One season he’ll be on fire, the next he’ll be struck by the injury bug and find it hard to stay on the field. Strasburg’s 2017 season was freaking SOLID. 15-4, 2.52 ERA, and his own version of MJ’s “Flu Game” in the playoffs

Last season was not great for Stras, and I think the league continues to overlook him after his initial entry was filled with so much hype. But to go from 28th to 80th?????!! Especially being completely healthy heading into a season with a loaded pitching rotation and re-tooled team. Another head-scratcher.

#78-Patrick Corbin (Last Year: Unranked)

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Nats fans are going to like what they see out of Corbin. He’s a guy coming off a really strong 2018, and earning himself that big contract. I love having his lefty arm in the rotation. I’m fine with this ranking. We’ll have more to say about this as the season progresses.

#36-Juan Soto (Last Year:Unranked)

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Again the logic here is not adding up to me. Soto put together an INCREDIBLE 2018 campaign, of that there is no doubt. But is his freshman year enough to vault him into the top 40 players of the LEAGUE?? I love Soto, I think he is going to be fantastic for a long time, but can we make that declaration already? They have Soto higher than guys like George Springer, Charlie Blackmon, Cody Bellinger, etc. I love the enthusiasm but this seems a little much.

#21-Anthony Rendon (Last Year: #35)

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I’m perfectly okay with this ranking. Rendon had stealthily moved up the ranks season after season and he’s one of those sleeper talents. I like a 14 spot rise for him after putting together yet another strong season.

#5-Max Scherzer (Last Year: #11)

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Mad Max is the heartbeat of the Washington Nationals. A grunting, swearing, sweaty, workhorse of a heartbeat. He IS a top 5 player in this league. On his pitching days he is the best player on the field, he controls the game entirely.

All hail Max.

Where does Ryan Zimmerman rank among MLB 1st Basemen?

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In November of 2018 Will Leitch of MLB.com wrote an article about the Top 20 First Basemen and ranked Ryan Zimmerman #15. This put Zim in front of guys like Josh Bell, Justin Bour, and Brandon Belt. This astounded me. I remember the pretty incredible 2017 campaign for Zim wherein he batted .303 in 144 games. But here we are in 2019, and the 34-year-old is coming off an 85-game .264 average season with one year left on his Nats contract.

It has been chronicled heavily on the podcast( Click here to download) of Mike and I’s disdain for the rope that the Nats give to Zim. So it begs the question: Is Zim the worst first baseman starting in the MLB this upcoming season? Or am I just a know-nothing jilted fan talking out of my ass? Let’s take a look.

The first thing to do is start with the nerds. Let’s take a look at the projections:

2019 projections

As you can see the bottom is what Ryan did in 2018, and the five lines above that are possible projections by various sources. The consensus appears to be that he will have a pretty similar season to 2018 numbers-wise, obviously a bigger sample size with him in theory playing more than 85 games in 2019.

Personally, I like Composite’s projections, so let’s use them as an example:

.266 avg, 21 HR, 57 R, 68 RBI in 406 at-bats.

I want to start in the NL East, and look around the other first basemen inside the division. This is based on MLB.com’s projected depth-chart as of today:

Braves-Freddie Freeman

Phillies-Rhys Hoskins

Marlins-Pete O’Brien

Mets-Todd Frazier (but really Pete Alonso)

Immediately place Freddie Freeman and Rhys Hoskins WAY above Zim in pretty much any sort of category. Now we are left with Pete O’Brien (who sounds like the guy that helps me with my taxes) and the shell of Todd Frazier with one of the top Mets prospects Pete Alonso waiting on the wings.

Here’s the Pete Alonso mixtape in case you were wondering:

Don’t bother looking up Peter O’Brien, just know that he may one of the few Zim has beat. So far the only first baseman I would rank lower than Zim is O’Brien.

Current Ranking of Zim: 4th (of 5 Teams)

Now let’s dive into more of the National League starting with the NL Central:

Cubs-Anthony Rizzo

Reds-Joey Votto

Brewers-Jesus Aguilar

Pirates-Josh Bell

Cardinals-Paul Goldschmidt

The Central is LOADED with First Base talent. Immediately place Rizzo and Goldy above Zim. Votto is up there too, especially for Fantasy Baseball owners. That leaves a non-household name in Aguilar, and Bell.

Aguilar has CRAZY pop, 35 dingers last year, and in 2018 really broke out. His potential immediately vaults him above Zim.

Bell is an interesting case because I would put him in a similar boat to Zim, and the projections do as well. Bell underachieved last year coming off a pretty solid 2017. I think the power numbers will be better than Zim, as well as the average.

Current Ranking of Zim: 9th (of 10 Teams)

I’ll zip through the NL West

D-Backs-Jake Lamb

Rockies-Daniel Murphy

Dodgers-Max Muncy

Padres-Eric Hosmer

Giants-Brandon Belt

Murph and Muncy are easily placed above Zim. Hosmer is probably looking at a 20+ bombs .270+ avg season as well, so put him up there too.

Jake Lamb had solid power numbers in 2016 and 2017, and last year wasn’t able to do much only playing in only 56 games due to injury. His power should be back, so he should double (maybe triple) Zim’s homer numbers. Belt is very very close to Zim. I will actually give Zim the SLIGHT edge for Zim because I think he can beat Belt out this year.

Current Ranking of Zim: 13th (of 15 Teams)

The American League! Let’s go to the AL East, where things may surprise you a bit.

Orioles-Chris Davis (You could make a case for Mancini)

Red Sox-Mitch Moreland 

Yankees-Luke Voit

Rays-Yandy Diaz

Blue Jays-Justin Smoak

For all the hype the AL East gets, the position of First Base isn’t loaded here. I would put Zim above Chris Davis, but lower than Mancini. Moreland and Yandy Diaz aren’t great options either.

Let’s go ahead and say Mancini represents the O’s in this scenario. Zim ranks higher than Diaz and Moreland to me.

Current Ranking of Zim: 16th (of 20 Teams)

On to the AL Central:

White Sox-Jose Abreu

Indians-Jake Bauers/Carlos Santana

Tigers-Miguel Cabrera

Royals-Ryan O’Hearn

Twins-CJ Cron

The ghost of Miguel Cabrera is still better than the ghost of Ryan Zimmerman, so I’ll give him the edge.

The Cleveland situation is a tad unfair because the Indians plan to platoon between Bauers and Santana, but Santana is still better numbers-wise than Zim.

As for Ryan O’Hearn and CJ Cron, O’Hearn is young and projecting for a .250-type season. Cron is coming off a 30 bomb year that earned him a spot with the Twins after being released on waivers by Tampa Bay. So put Zim over O’Hearn, but slightly behind Cron.

Current Ranking of Zim: 20th (of 25 teams)

Our last division is the AL West:

Astros-Yuli Gurriel

Angels-Albert Pujols/Justin Bour

Athletics-Matt Olson

Mariners-Ryon Healy

Rangers-Joey Gallo

Here’s a fun shift the Astros did on Gallo

Gallo, Olson, and Gurriel are easily picked higher than Zim on any sort of fantasy or real life rankings. Pujols and Bour will probably share some time at first, but gotta think Bour will get more actual starts there and Pujols nears the end of his career.

Honestly, the only guy you could put lower than Zim here is Healy. A strong 2017 lead into a mediocre 2018 for Healy.

So after all of that here is where we stand:

Final Ranking of Zim: 24th (of 30 teams)

Looking through the Nats pipeline, there isn’t a lot of excitement at the first base position either once you get past Zim and Matt Adams. I was wrong, Zim is not the WORST first baseman in the MLB, but it still doesn’t look great.

Let’s take a look at a player on the list of Nats Non-Roster Invitees: Tres Barrera

C-Tres Barrera

tres

Per FederalBaseball.com, the 24-year-old Catcher (drafted in the 6th round in 2016 by the Nats) is “solid defensively”, handles pitchers well, and leads the defense.

In 2018, Barrera hit .263, with 6 bombs, 24 RBI, and 68 hits in 259 AB’s. Barrera currently sits 14th in the Nats prospect list per MLB.com (list was from 2018, new prospect list comes out this month). The consensus seems to be his bat has pop, but sometimes pulls the ball way too much and doesn’t have much self-control at the plate.

As you can tell in this video, he’s a strong dude with a lot of raw power, the question will be if he can be consistent and work his way up through the Nats ranks.

Overall this seems to just be a good experience builder for Barrera, don’t expect him to be on the big squad for a few years, if ever.

Let’s take a look at a player on the list of Nats Non-Roster Invitees: Henderson Alvarez

RHP-Henderson Alvarez

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If you recall, and likely you don’t, the Nats signed Alvarez to a minor league deal back in November of last year. Alvarez, 28, pitched in 2018 with the Phillies.

He had a 4.30 ERA in 14 2/3 innings for Philly. His last GOOD season was in 2014 where he went 12-7, 2.65 ERA in 187 innings pitched (per Federalbaseball.com).

A lot of old glory years for this guy, including a no-hitter:

This is purely one of those low-risk invites that could lead to some depth pitching-wise if needed. The guy throws a Fastball, Sinker, Curve, Slider, and Changeup, mainly relying on his Fastball and Sinker.

Basically, this is a guy who’s promising career was derailed by injuries, and now has a chance to showcase himself with a Nats spring training squad. My guess is the Nats could stash him somewhere in AAA and wait for the inevitable injury bug to strike the rotation at some point and have Alvarez give the team a few starts.

Overall, nothing to be too excited about, but keep an eye on Alvarez’s numbers here in Spring as he hopes to climb his way back to the big time.