The Nats and the junkheap
The Nationals' rise to something sunnier than mediocrity has yielded lots of amazing numbers, and will surely yield lots more for as long as it continues.
This, though, is one of the greatest. Fabulous local columnist Thom Loverro -- now writing for ESPN980.com -- calculated that pitchers responsible for 189 of the Nats' 323
322 starts in 2008 and 2009 were no longer on Major League rosters as of last week. As in, out of the big leagues. That means for 59 percent of their games, the Nats trotted out a starting pitcher who would not be an MLB player within two years. The only two pitchers who started for the Nats in 2008 and are currently in the Majors are John Lannan (31 starts) and Tyler Clippard (two).
"When you look at the 2009 Nationals -- and taking it a step further, a look back at the 2008 squad -- it makes you ask not how those teams lost more than 100 games each of those two seasons," Loverro writes. "The question is, how did they manage to win more than 50 games each of those years?"
The numbers don't get any less grisly as his report progresses. A total of 16 guys who pitched a combined 362 times out of the 2009 bullpen are gone from the Majors. Ditto for 15 relievers from the 2008 team. Eleven position players from the 2008 Nats are out of the bigs, and eight from 2009.
"The standard for what passed as a major league player was finally raised in the organization to a legitimate level, following the departure of a general manager who is currently not in a major league front office," Loverro writes.
Please read his full report here.
Incidentally, Byron Kerr sounded a similar theme on MASNSports.com this week, and he's getting sort of excited:
No longer will the Nats front office allow mediocre (or worse) play. If they are not getting what they need from a particular player or area of the team, they make a change....
With apologies to George Constanza, The "Summer of Nats" begins now. Dates for you to remember: May 16 --- Drew Storen. June 4 -- Stephen Strasburg makes first start. June 7 -- Bryce Harper drafted.
Not 2011. Right now. 2010. The Nats are going for it.
With or without Kory Casto, Kip Wells and Brian Bruney, apparently.
One final note: I was too over-the-top in my Dibble item last week. Yes, the arrrrrrrggggghs and whooooooooeeeeees and Get Ups! annoy me, but I watched the entire 2nd half of Saturday's double-header, and Dibble repeatedly agreed with umpires' calls that worked against the Nats. So my apologies. Arrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh!
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