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Zimmerman and the walk-off -- plus call-up news

Lots of Didn't Make the Paper material from yesterday, and plenty of it from GM Jim Bowden, though I might save some of it for later in the week. But lets add this info on call-ups, which have some expected and unexpected names:

Tomorrow, which is the first day after the minor-league season concludes, the Nationals will add lefty Ross Detwiler and outfielder Justin Maxwell, straight from Class A Potomac. They will also bring up right-handed reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, who excelled at Class AAA Columbus after being promoted from Class AA Harrisburg, as well as lefty Arnie Munoz and outfielder Ryan Langerhans.

Detwiler news was in the notebook this morning. He went a combined 2-2 with a 3.56 ERA between the rookie-level GCL Nationals and Potomac. I had hinted at Maxwell before. He was a fourth-round pick out of Maryland in 2005, will turn 24 in November, and next year could be a make-or-break year for him. He combined to hit .281 with 25 doubles, 26 homers, 80 RBI and 35 steals between Potomac and low-Class A Hagerstown. According to the Nats, he's the only guy in minor league baseball this year to have at least 25 doubles, 25 homers and 25 steals.

Albaladejo, 24, had a 0.78 ERA at Columbus in 14 appearances since moving there the last week of July. He struck out 20 in 23 innings for the Clippers and held opponents to a .150 average. He signed as a minor league free agent with the Nationals on May 3, so he's a bit of a find. He had a 4.17 ERA in 21 appearances for Harrisburg.

Munoz, 25, has intrigued lots of Nationals' personnel this year with a very consistent performance at Columbus. He went 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 54 appearances there and had a 2.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lefties hit .198 against him.

Langerhans obviously was with the Nationals for much of the season. He hit .255 with two doubles in 13 games for the Clippers.

Also, for those who care, Micah Bowie will likely be activated tomorrow.

OK, on with the original post. I thought we might use today to talk about Ryan Zimmerman's penchant for the walk-off hit. Kinda ridiculous what he has done in the last two seasons, with seven walk-off at-bats. Here they are:

June 18, 2006 - Two-run homer off the Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang gives Nationals 3-2 win on Father's Day

July 4, 2006 - Three-run homer off Florida's Joe Borowski with two outs and two strikes gives Nationals 6-4 win on Independence Day

July 6, 2006 - Single up the middle off Florida's Jason Vargas scores Brian Schneider in 8-7 win (no holiday involved)

Sept. 2, 2006 - In first game of day-night doubleheader, draws a bases-loaded walk in bottom of the 11th off Brandon Lyon, scoring Bernie Castro for 8-7 win over Arizona

May 12, 2007 - Two rain delays force early-morning action on Mother's Day, when Zimmerman hits grand slam off Florida's Jorge Julio at 1:42 a.m. to beat Marlins 7-3

Aug. 3, 2007 - Single to left off St. Louis's Ryan Franklin scores Felipe Lopez from second in 3-2 victory over Cardinals

Sept. 2, 2007 - One-out RBI single to right off San Francisco's Brian Wilson scores Lopez from second and gives Nationals 2-1 win over Giants

Not bad. Because Zimmerman has done this more often than anyone in baseball over the past two years - which is saying something, given David Ortiz's knack in such moments - I asked around the clubhouse yesterday evening if there is something different about such at-bats.

"You probably wish that was like all your at-bats," right fielder Austin Kearns said. "All your focus and attention is right there. It definitely has a little different feel."

Even Zimmerman acknowledged it. After he said he couldn't do that kind of thing if his teammates didn't put him in the right position - which is, I suppose, true - he and I talked about those at-bats. Some of that is reflected in today's gamer in the $.35 edition, which goes over his routine in such situations. But here's a bit more.

"You got to want to be there. I'll take some of the credit. I enjoy being in those situations. I think you have to. You have to want to be up there. If you want to do well, you have to have confidence in yourself. I think when people kind of get - not scared, but they get flustered. They get caught up in the moment. That's when people try and do things that don't really," he paused, thinking, "It's when you get away from your plan."

I asked him if he had a knack for doing this in college at Virginia. "I've never done it before I got to the big leagues. I never had a walk-off hit in college. I don't think I ever had one in the minors. I don't think I ever even scored a run like that. Maybe sometime coming up in high school or something."

He has quickly mastered the art of how to prepare for such an at-bat, though. Watch him in those situations, because whether it seems like it or not, he's trying to slow things down. It points to what Kearns said, that all your focus and attention is right there in front of you. There's no way to be distracted.

"I take a little bit more time in those situations," Zimmerman said. "I walk up to the plate. I do my regular thing. But then I'll stand outside the box for a little bit and kind of say [to myself] what I'm looking for and kind of just take a deep breath and just relax. You tell yourself to relax, because you can get caught up in the moment. It's real easy to."

The danger, of course, is that Zimmerman will be relied on to come through in this situation every single time. He has, of course, failed before, though those memories fade easily in light of all the success.

"That's the guy you want up to bat," Brian Schneider said. "There's no doubt about it. It's just, you don't want to expect him to do it every time because you know what, it's not an easy thing to do. He's making it look easy right now, but the last thing you want to do is sit there, and when he doesn't [come through], you're disappointed. You don't want to be disappointed. It's not very easy to do what he's doing right now."

I'll get to the Bowden stuff for a post tomorrow, when everyone's back at work and we might have a real discussion. Find your lineups below, but for today's Labor Day purposes, please pick your favorite Zimmerman walk-off win.

And as bonus trivia, who can name the other walk-off wins at RFK since the Nationals moved to D.C. in 2005? I've got a partial list here at my seat, and will let you know how many other ones there are when I figure it out.

Ramirez - 6
Uggla - 4
Hermida - 9
Cabrera - 5
Willingham - 7
Jacobs - 3
Ross - 8
Olivo - 2
VandenHurk - 1

Logan - 8
Lopez - 6
Zimmerman - 5
Young - 3
Kearns - 9
Pena - 7
Belliard - 4
Schneider - 2
Bergmann - 1

Oh, and here's the notebook, which has some info on Guzman (which we discussed yesterday) as well as Ross Detwiler's impending call-up.

By Barry Svrluga  |  September 3, 2007; 12:00 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Guzman to return?
Next: Starting pitching: The future is now?


Can someone explain to me the point of calling up Detwiller...Why not just wait and give him a year to develop in the minors next year...What happend to Bowden saying we're not rushing our prospects? Maxwell I don't mind cuz of his age and w/ us likely looking for a CF this offseason we do need to see what we've actually got. Btw why aren't we calling up J. Whitsell?

Posted by: GMU | September 3, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

What happened to Ballester?

Posted by: Tom | September 3, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

My favorite Zimm walk-off was the 4th of July one. Only because I was there.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | September 3, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I care that Bowie is coming back, Barry. I think he has been valuable for the Nats the last 2 years. His best role is as a middle reliever, but he did OK as a starter in a pinch.

Posted by: Scrub fan | September 3, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Wily Mo!

Posted by: mrm0to - Chicago | September 3, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

June 18, 2006....nooooo doubt about it. Anytime you can spank a yank is most satisfying...INdeed.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 3, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I've seen the Nats win two unusual walk-offs at RFK this year. On June 6, they beat the Pirates on a walk-off wild pitch, and on July 19, they beat the Rockies on a walk-off single in the 10th by D'Angelo Jimenez, who was 1-for-25 going into the game.

Posted by: aces | September 3, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

guzman walk-off on wild pitch...austin kearns sac fly v. giants 7/26/06...marlon anderson wild pitch in tenth against phillies aug. 31, 2006 (night he was traded)

Posted by: Mary | September 3, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Wily! Wily! Wily!

Posted by: Jason | September 3, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget Jiminez the stud. And didn't Batista have one this year too? Or was that Bells?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 3, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Favorite walk Zimmerman walk off -- June 18, 2006 against the Yankees Chanting "Yankee go home" in the concourse on the way out will always be one of my favorite RFK memories.

Posted by: Sect 422 | September 3, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

GMU inquires: "Can someone explain to me the point of calling up Detwiller...Why not just wait and give him a year to develop in the minors next year...What happend to Bowden saying we're not rushing our prospects?"

Speaking selfishly, the point is that Detwiler is somebody you just gotta see pitch. His fastball has zing and movement, the kind that could frustrate hundreds of hitters in the seasons to come.

Speaking unselfishly (I think), it should be as much fun for Det to get to see some major league hitters as for us to see him pitch. Don't worry about torching him. Chances are he'll be in Harrisburg for at least the beginning of next season, although if he's got the stuff, for him to be a part of the major-league rotation on Opening Day 2008 would be a dream come true for him -- as well as, I hope, for us.

Posted by: Hendo | September 3, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

By the way, if you haven't read Barry's gamer from yesterday, go read it now. (If you have read it, go read it again.) The description of Zimm's at-bat during the walk-off is worth your investment either of $.35 in ink or whatever proportionate amount in electrons.

Posted by: Hendo | September 3, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

What a gorgeous day in DC! RFK was a perfect place to soak in some rays and watch a Curly W go in the books.

That 8th inning took about an hour and a half, didn't it? Bergmann was good today - from where I was sitting, I couldn't tell how low those strikes were, but he was getting the call, so keep killing it at the knees!

Re: the Detwiler call-up,
There's a couple good reasons for it, even if it doesn't mean "rushing him." It gives a good example for future draft picks of the opportunities that can be possible in this system - for college draftees, it sure sends a strong signal to "get off the negotiating table and get on the field and you might be in the bigs THIS year."

That is incredible negotiating leverage, and no one knows how much longer the Nats will be able to offer it. Even if Detwiler just spends several games in the dugout vs. the bullpen, the atmosphere will be enough to get him excited to battle next year - and that's the key.

My prediction is that he starts in AA or maybe even AAA and gets called up next year in by July 4, depending on how our rotation is holding up.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 3, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"For those who care?" What does that add to the discussion? That we all now know you hold Micah Bowie in contempt for some weird reason? Very professional. I suppose "for those who care" goes before every sentence everybody writes in the paper, so why not leave it out, and let those of us who like the players react to the good news.

Posted by: Markfromark | September 3, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Shaw Nats Fan that calling up Detwiler is good marketing for the organization. The minor league season is over, so there's nothing to be gained there... and it gives a top prospect an experience that essentially costs nothing. Calling him up in August to start the next day is rushing it... calling him up to sit in the bullpen and get the experience is not.

Posted by: Wigi | September 3, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Homework for noisy fans:

You can read all about Jonathan Albaladejo above. Besides his tasty numbers, he has an irresistable baseball name -- although somewhat unconducive to a double dactyl, but the muse is on hiatus anyhow.

I'll start the nonsense here for the middle-inning situation when the starter must be pulled with men on base. To the tune of "Guantanamera":

Albaladejo [one-two-three] -- we love some Albaladejo
Al-ba-la-deee-jooo, we need some Al-ba-la-deee-jooo

That's the chorus. How about some verses from our other lyricists?

Posted by: Hendo | September 3, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Bowden & Co. deserve lots of credit for finding the hidden gems to go along with the genuine prospects. After watching the O's let guys get away year after year, it is great to have a team that tries hard to attract players with MLB potential.

And Mark, Barry probably said "For those who care" about Micah Bowie as a way of saying "With all these new guys, we also get to see a guy you are already used to." I didn't read it as negative.

Posted by: Ed | September 3, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

We can't say it
and we can't spell it
but when he pitches
hear us yell it.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 3, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"For those who care?" What does that add to the discussion? That we all now know you hold Micah Bowie in contempt for some weird reason?


That's Barry for you. He has his favorites and if a player is not one of them, he couldn't care less. Look at the stuff he writes about Patterson. I guess Patterson, Bowie, and Fick (perhaps others) must have done something - real or imagined - to get in his bad graces. Anyway, I care about Bowie - also Patterson and Fick!

Posted by: skeptical1 | September 3, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"For those who care?" What does that add to the discussion? That we all now know you hold Micah Bowie in contempt for some weird reason?

That;t Barry for you. Look at the stuff he writes about Patterson. He has his favorites and if a player isn't one of them, he couldn't care less. Bowie, Patterson, and Fick must have done something - either real or imagined - to get in Barry's bad graces. Anyway, I care about Bowie - and Patterson and Fick, too!

Posted by: skeptical1 | September 3, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post. It took so long to appear that I thought it hadn't gone through so I sent it again.

Posted by: skeptical1 | September 3, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Y'all are off your rockers. Barry wrote for those who care simply because he thinks most of us don't care. All of Bowie's moms out there: How many times have you brought him up in the Journal? Must have ALL been that week I was in Missouri.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 3, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

For those who care: Irony. Humor. Ar, ar.

Lighten up some, huh?

Posted by: Hendo | September 3, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I wrote that I care about Bowie, but was not challenging Barry. I can understand the sentiment- our team does stink, if not as badly as predicted. Most folks are probably looking only to the future.

Still- Bowie is a left-hander, and one who has played pretty well for us. Maybe he is average, but an average left-hander has value in this league, and he should be signed again to be played or eventually traded next year. Don't discount the guys we have had in 2007; they really have played hard, and above their supposed talent.

Posted by: Scrub fan | September 3, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

One other thing- no matter the draft implications. I still badly want the nats to finish with a better record than the orioles for a 3rd year in a row. We are certainly close to accomplishing that.

Finishing ahead of the Fish would be even better, of course.

Posted by: Scrub fan | September 3, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

so why not fill the 40 man? i know blah blah days major league service money blah blah. you will have to fill the 40 man at the end of the year to protect guys like marrero, balester, hinckley, zincola, whitesel...why not give them a chance now like maxwell and detwiler. this just seems stupid.

Posted by: love | September 3, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse


It is easy to spend the team's money for our own gratification, regardless of whether call-ups are real prospects or not. I am with you on the emotional level, though- I would love to see them pack the team to the 40-man limit.

Posted by: Scrub fan | September 3, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Micah Bowie's ERA is 4.34.

Bowie would be among the O's most reliable relievers, way ahead of high-priced guys like Danys Baez. Of the 24 guys who have pitched for the O's this year, 16 have ERAs over 5.00. Only two of the O's relievers have ERAs better than Bowie's.

Posted by: Ed | September 3, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

8th inning was just torture today. We were sitting directly in the sun and, I swear, in that inning, the temperature felt like it rose about 5 degrees and the breeze stopped. Even Nook walked over to the bullpen for some water during the pitcher change. But good on Rauch for getting outta that jam.

Favorite walk-off? Absolutely Zim's walkoff last year against the Yankees. The kid was barely 22, all rookie, fresh and wide-eyed, giving it to the YANKEES? Awesome. I wasn't there, but I replayed that highlight over and over again.

This year's walk-off wild pitch was kind of cool in an anticlimatic way.

I really don't think they intend to work Detwiler too hard when they call him up. They'll put him in some non-threatening situations just to get a look-see, a chance to get a feel for the bigs so his first real start (next year?) won't be so freaky for the kid.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 3, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Detwil is being called up for a couple reasons, but the manin one is that he is going back to college this fall and is thus unavailable to pitch in ARI Fall Ball or in the instructional league, so the only way to get him more innings is in the bigs over the next 28 days.

I also believe they promised him when he signed that if hedidn't blow up in the minors that he would get to see "the show" by the end of the season.

I don' think they would do this if theu didn't think he would be in the rotation at some point next season.

Posted by: estuartj | September 3, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mind Barry's comment about Bowie ("those who care"). But I took great exception to the, tomorrow..."when everyone's back at work and we might have a real discussion."

What are we, chopped liver?


Posted by: NatsNut | September 3, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut: Barry is getting cocky. There are only 32 posts on this thread, and he's used to getting at least 200.

We need to get busy if we're gonna help him beat La Canfora and those other blog lamers. ;^D

Posted by: Hendo | September 3, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barry, what's the story on Mike O'Connor? I thought for sure he'd be back around the same time as Ayala.

(Doing my best Hendo...)

Posted by: NatsNut | September 3, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Also regaring call-ups, I'm very excited about Maxwell, I've gotten to see him play 3-4 times since he got hot at Potomac and IF he can stay healthy he might be able to solve or Center Field question very quickly (and extremely cheaply). He has a rare combination of power and speed, and multiple types of both (HR power and double in the power alley's or triples down the line) and that to speed to steal, stretch a single or leg out a triple. On top of all that he has great range on defense and you have a major league quality outfielder. If he hadn't been hurt his junior year at UMD he would have been a first rounder. If not a top 15 pick.

Posted by: estuartj | September 3, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm very curious about the guys left off, some names not called up that really surprise me are Traber, Perez and Balester. I hope the organization isn't losing faith in Balester and they just want to rest his arm (which I think is the case with Lannan).

Other guys I think are either official goners or close to be are O'Connor, Broadway, Whitsell and Watson. I think Whitesell is the only one of those for in the system next year, and even then he'll only have one season in AAA to show he has the juice or he'll be out too.

I think we sre pretty close to "stacked" in the farm, but only up to High A, maybe next year that will extend to AA, but they are going to have to let a lot of older (bball suck in that a 25 year old can be "older") guys out of the system to make room for the up and comers.

Posted by: estuartj | September 3, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

And another thing. Despite some grumbling about him awhile back, Kearnsy is starting to grow on me. He has played darn-near everyday, didn't notice until somebody pointed out he has only one error all year. And today he went 3 for 4. He doesn't attract a lot of attention (except for that concert he and some others went to which I'd like to forget) and he's not sparkly, but he goes about his business with a good attitude and does his job. He's also quick to compliment his teammates. I like that about him.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 3, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I might have an answer to why Nook is hustling these days. Scanned the dugout with my binos about 20 minutes before the game and I saw him downing a Red Bull.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 3, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse


And he had wings before the Red Bull!

Posted by: Wigi | September 3, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Detwiler's call up: Please remember that he is not an 18 year old just out of H.S. If he is going to be a key member of the rotation, he needs to be in the majors, for good, no later than 09 and probably mid-'08. Some of the other draftees, who locked down the opposition in Vermont can grow an extra year or two in the minors.

As to why we are gradually coming to appreciate Kearns. Just look at what happened in the first today. Lead off hitter at 3rd. One out. Medium fly to Kearns. The third base coach almost tackled the runner before he could take off for home, and for good reason. Kearns' throw to Schneid was on a line, one foot down the 3rd base line. The Ump was set for the out call. That changes the whole game.

Posted by: Catcher50 | September 3, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I hope that new guy gets a chance to play against the Phillies, if only to hear Harry Kalas say "Jon-a-than Al-ba-la-deee-jooo." For Harry, that would be right up there with "Can-dy Mal-do-na-do." And as a Maryland grad, I'm glad to see Justin Maxwell follow in the footsteps of ex-Terrapin Tom Brown -- and as far as I know, Maxwell has no intention of playing pro football.

Looks like everyone's forgotten Nick Johnson's walk-off blast vs. Tampa Bay on July 1, 2006. Please, let him have a chance to post a walk-off in the new park.

(BTW, believe it or not, Frank Howard never had a walk-off homer at RFK. The all-time stadium leader is Don Lock, who hit five between 1963 and '66.)

Posted by: Vincent | September 3, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I'd be a lot happier if Nick Johnson could walk-ON the field...

Turns out, waiting until today for the GB/A ratings allows us a little more sunshine. We're back in sole possession of fourth place in the National League East, the Birds once again have a worse record, and we're only one game away from leading the last third of baseball. While some may scoff at the aspiration to be the best of the worst, anyone who has been told quite haughtily that they would be the worst of the worst of all time is happy to cross his or her fingers. And lest you all tire of hearing over and over again how the Nationals are not as bad as predicted, remember, They are not yet tired of using the "lowly" Nationals as a punch line. So do your duty and rub this list in someone's face!
30. Tampa Bay (57-81), .413 (-4)
29. Chi Sox (58-79), .423 (-2.5)
28. Baltimore (59-77), .434 (-1)
27. Florida (60-78), .435 (-1)
26. Pittsburgh (60-77), .438 (-.5)
25. NATS!!! (61-77), .442 (--)
22. Houston (62-76), .449 (1)
22. Cincinnati (62-76), .449 (1)
22. San Francisco (62-76), .449 (1)
21. Kansas City (62-75), .453 (1.5)
20. Texas (63-74), .460 (2.5)
19. Oakland (68-70), .493 (7)

The Nationals are again on pace for a record of 72-90. To finish with that better-than-last-year record, they would have to complete their remaining 24 games (!) with a record of 11-13. That's one winning game each from the seven remaining series (which doesn't count the current series) plus four more here or there.

And since it should be in your minds (sharing space with the search for Not-Last-Place in NL East, the desire to Beat the O's, the yearning to Better Last Year's Record, and the mission to Beat As Many MLB Teams as Possible), I'm inaugurating ANOTHER new feature of these weekly updates: WHO TO SPOIL?

Since we only have division games left, here are our two opponents that are vying for contention, the number of games back they are from their goal, their elimination number, and the number of games we have against them. Currently, it looks a little ambitious, but as soon as next week - I think - we'll be able to tell how long before we can determine the end of their seasons. When E# is 0, they're done.

ATLANTA - 6 games (4-6)
Division (7.5 GB, E#: 18) - sweep would move E# to 12
Wild Card (5.5 GB, E#: 19) - sweep would move E# to 13

PHILADELPHIA - 7 games (4-7)
Division (5 GB, E#: 21) - sweep would move E# to 13
Wild Card (3 GB, E#: 22) - sweep would move E# to 14

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | September 3, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

2008 starting Rotatio;
Shawn Hill
Ross Detwiler
Jason Bergmann
Matt Chico
Colin Balester

Starting line-up by position;
2 - Flores
3 - Johnson
4 - Lopez
5 - Zimmerman
6 - Guzman
7 - Pena
8 - Maxwell
9 - Kearns


Posted by: estuartj | September 3, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

2008 starting Rotatio;
Shawn Hill
Ross Detwiler
Jason Bergmann
Matt Chico
Colin Balester

Starting line-up by position;
2 - Flores
3 - Johnson
4 - Lopez
5 - Zimmerman
6 - Guzman
7 - Pena
8 - Maxwell
9 - Kearns



Posted by: estuartj | September 3, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

There was an interesting post earlier in this thread about the Nats system being "stacked." I think the pitching at the lower levels is strong, but I'm really concerned about the position players. In particular, we are exceptionally weak at SS/2B/1B and CF. (I'm not worried about 3B due to Z.)

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | September 4, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse


I'm with you. Position player wise the Nats are definitely not stacked anywhere. It's nice that Maxwell hit some HRs. Anything done below AA though must be treated with lots of caution. They had zero prospect types who had any sort of good offensive year at the higher levels. And please don't tell me about Whitesell or Watson or any of these other guys. They are older and/or really didn't have great years. Look at the minor league stats of the really good prospects. At 22 or 23 they are hitting well over .300 at AA or AAA or are hitting lots of HRs with a BA at least around .300. That's not what is going in this organization. Even the much heralded Marrero tailed off quite a bit in September. I say for the umpteenth time that AA and AAA stats project to 82% in the big leagues. To be a .280 big league hitter, a guy needs to hit about .330 in the minors - particularly if he's 25 or older.

I say all this not to disagree with bringing up Maxwell. He's 23 and needs to start at AAA next year in the hopes that he can be ready by mid-2008. A taste of the big leagues will be good for motivation.


Thanks for the shout out to Tom Brown. He was my little league coach and was tremendous at it. He's one of the great "forgotten" area athletes - the original Bo Jackson. For many years he was the answer to the trivia question: "Who is the only athlete to play MLB and in a Super Bowl?" He played for the Packers in Super Bowls I and II and for the Senators. Deion Sanders is now on that list among others I think.

Posted by: #4 | September 4, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I understand shutting Lannen down, but why not bring him back up for "more exposure?" - especially since that is what they are doing with others?

Posted by: Missed Florida | September 4, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I stand by my statement that we are stacked up to single A. We moved a lot of guys out of Harrisburg to Potomac, probably because of the low level of facilities there. Besides the pitching we have all talked about we have a host of very young and talented position players, Burgess, King, Englund, Daniels, Smiley, Marrero and a whole host of others who only played at GCL this year.

Since we haven't been drafting college position players after the first 2 rounds we have tons of guys in the low farm level who will be in the fall instructional league, then extended spring training before going to Vermont, Harrisburg and maybe Potomac. Most of these guys are at least 3 years away from the bigs.

As for the comment that Marrero "tailed off" we have to remember that he is only 19 and this is his first full season playing pro ball, he's probably played more games this year than his entire life before being drafted combined.

To sum up, our farm system is finally stocked with talent, but that talent is only up to Single A level and with some luck that might extend up to AA next season (depending where Detwiler, Marrero, Daniels, Zimmerman, etc play in '08). If these guys continue to develop and stay health and we have results in future drafts to match the last 2 we might have a glut of talent in the AAA range and be able to make big moves like Atlanta did for Texiera by 2010.

Posted by: estuartj | September 4, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Yes estuartj, the patience to adhere to the goals of the plan is crucial to forward progress in the organization. Add some top level FA players to the mix, and bang-zoom, the fireworks will explode more often. I wouldn't say that the Nats will be a contender next season, but a 5 to 10 game improvement could/should be expected. It will be very interesting to monitor the return of NJ, and if he is able to make a full recovery, what will become of DY. Seems thoughts of him playing left are over. If NJ does well next spring in Viera, might they try to move DY to an AL contender? Another intriguing question is, when Guz settles in at short again, who will be his 2nd base mate? Can FLop be content riding the pine behind RB? Or will RB be content riding the pine behind FLop? Perhaps a move will be made to replace one or the other thru FA...who knows what JimBow and Stan the Plan man will do this off season. Winter meetings may or may not bear fruit, we'll just have to wait and see. Often, the off season can be more important than regular season. Ah, the anticipation of it there a better game than baseball??? I really don't think so. GO NATS...STAY HOT

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 4, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse


I like the optimism. Judging from the performances by the guys on your list though, I would say that realistically there might be one productive big leaguer in the group. Marrero's tail spin may have been youth, but I say again that if we're looking for stars, not just 4th outfielders or platoon players, that these guys should be ripping it up, not petering out. Part of becoming a star is having the make-up, often at a young age, to push through a long season.

Where are the Justin Uptons or the Cameron Maybins? I just don't see them. When we do, then we can say the Nats are "stacked".

Posted by: #4 | September 4, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

texiera will be a free agent the exact perfect time for the nats to sign him. hopefully he doesn't extend his stay in atlanta. he's the one guy i'd like us to start targeting in the back of our minds.

please give Wily Mo 550+ at bats next year. i think i may actually bring a glove and just wait behind the cherry trees.

also, i like bringing up detwiler. he signed fast. thats a precedent with zimmerman and detwiler. besides, that bullpen could really use a breather. they should bring up all the arms they can.

Posted by: longterm | September 4, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Getting from 70-75 wins to 80-85 wins will be the easy part. Having Nick and Guz back, plus a little more depth and stability in the rotation (10 pitchers in ST instead of 37), plus maybe a few small upgrades (of a big splash with a Rowand, Hunter or Dunn) and we are over .500 witha shot at the wild card if we can get hot, get luck or make a big move at the trade deadline.

I don't think a playoff appearance is likely for '08, but a possibility. Once your in of course, anything can happen, but this organization is probably at least 2-3 years away from being able to beat the Mets, Diamondbacks, etc. To say nothing of the power players in the AL.

Still, there is enough talent already in the organization to believe a world championship is on the (distant) horizon.

Posted by: estuartj | September 4, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday, the Braves TV commentators said, "Let's not forget the Washington Nationsals. The East and the Wild Card could be decided by who plays best against the Nationals. Unfortunately, the Braves do not play that well against the Nats."

Posted by: flynnie | September 4, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but I disagree with those that don't think Josh Whitesell deserves a shot with the Nats. Sure, he's 25 and in AA, but that's mainly due to him being blocked from any kind of promotion by Larry Broadway (how'd that work out?). He signed in 2003 and played the last couple of months in low A ball. He played A ball in 2004 and did okay:

.250 avg, .351 obp, .453 slg, 16 hr, 29 2b in 113 games.

He moved up to High A ball in 2005 and posted:

.293 avg, .416 obp, .524 slg, 18 hr, 32 2b in 113 games.

Good improvement. In 2006 he moved up to AA and struggled a bit (as most ball players do):

.263 avg, .353 obp, .432 slg, 19 hr, 11 2b in 127 games.

He didn't move up because 1) he needed to improve his power and his defense and 2) Larry Broadway. In 2007 he stayed in AA and did he ever improve:

.284 avg, .425 obp(!), .505 slg, 20 hr, 22 2b in 117 games.

So, while Whitesell's average may not be over .300, his obp is pretty decent (good eye at the plate). What I like most about him is that given a chance, it seems that he improves upon his performance. He needed to work on his defense and he improved. He needed to increase his avg and obp and he did. He may not hit a ton of homers (now) but he does have decent gap power. All I'm saying is that instead of throwing him under the bus, let's give him a taste of the limelight and let him come up and get a couple of at bats in DC. At the least, he sees what he needs to do to stay up here and he goes back to AAA (bye bye Broadway) and he focuses and improves some more.

BTW ... keep an eye on these two position players: Bill Rhinehart (1B) and Aaron Seuss (OF). Both were in Vermont this year and I suspect they may be candidates for Potomac/Hagerstown next year.

Posted by: e | September 4, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I loved Zimm's version of his walk-off hit: "an emergency hack".

Posted by: NatsNut | September 4, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

e and others:

None one is saying that Whitesell, Suess, Rhinehart, etc. will never be big leaguers. It's just that these guys have already shown that they are bench guys at best. Whitesell's stats translate to a pinch hitter off the bench with a little bit of power, maybe. Sure it's nice to have but the Nats aren't winning a division with him starting at 1B. Guys don't make as much improvement as you think. It's not like these guys are sophomores in HS.

Posted by: #4 | September 4, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The walk-off in front of 30,000 Yankee fans has to be tops, but the one on August 3 (which made Fox's Best Moment of the Day) was great because it showed him fleeing the "congratulations" of his teammates. Can someone explain why it's ok to punch a teammate after a walkoff and "not hold back, either" (Kearns' words.)

Posted by: flynnie | September 4, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Because it's a fun thing to do.


Can someone explain why it's ok to punch a teammate after a walkoff and "not hold back, either" (Kearns' words.)

Posted by: Congressman Wexler | September 4, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Bad Attitude = 9th inning double that became the winning run Sunday and triple that became tying run yesterday, and he went 2 for 3. None of which was mentioned, much less featured, in the .35 2-day feature on St. Zimm.

Posted by: KeepFelipe | September 4, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Wexler, you don't come from Lubbock where boys like to give a good whuppin'. Bobby Knight thinks it's fun to hit players, too, but he doesn't do it that often. Frank would have loved to hit Tomo Okha and almost all of the pitchers at one time or another, but he didn't do it. When the Rookie pitched the no-hitter, I saw Veritek and Big Popi huggin, not hittin. Zimm didn't look like he was running from somehting fun on Aug. 3 against the Cards.

Posted by: flynnie | September 4, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

As an out of town fan, I'm ticked at ESPN for not bothering to show Nats hi-lites, not even on the baseball tonite show. Sure, we're not in the running for anything, but still, the Nats do have fans that want to see the hi-lites of there games. Am I alone here with my thoughts or what?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 4, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Just wait til you don't have RFK to save your sorry pitchin asses next year, and have to play teams as good as the Yanks. Sawx, and Jays 19 times, as well as the Mighty Rangers without Brad Wilkerson. As the Great Ray Knight said during the Nats' sweep of the O's, "They're going to have to spend a lot more money on pitching if they want to win in this ballpark."

Posted by: O's Pen | September 4, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

New post is finally up for Tuesday. Sorry about the late hour.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | September 4, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

No doubt, RFK has won more games than any Nats player, and disguised a minor league pithing staff. How many "warning track" shots would have been walk-offs in any other park? 20 a year?

Posted by: RFK for MVP | September 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Amen, SC Nats fan. I long ago gave up on SportCenter and now I find Baseball Tonight frustratingly sparse with their coverage. I get particularly peeved when they spend twenty minutes re-capping whatever Yankees or Red Sox game they just broadcasted - in addition to their lack of attention they give the Nats (and I'm not asking they treat them as contenders, just give a quick report with highlights).

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | September 4, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I hear ya lowcountry, but I fear our words will go unnoticed by anyone who gives a damn.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 4, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Or anyone posting on the new post! See ya there.

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | September 4, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Still catching up on posts after playing hooky. I vote for June 18, 2006, vs. the Spankees. In fact, that may be my favorite all-time series of those I've attended at RFK.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 6, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

What are we, chopped liver?


Yesterday, the Braves TV commentators said, "Let's not forget the Washington Nationsals. The East and the Wild Card could be decided by who plays best against the Nationals. Unfortunately, the Braves do not play that well against the Nats."

Posted by: The Marlins | September 6, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

July 4, 2006. Heard it on the radio. Charlie Slowes' call was phenomenal: "Line drive! Deep left field! Back goes Amezaga, to the warning track, to the wall, and gooonne, good-bye!" (the "goodbye" was nearly drowned out by the roar of the crowd)

"The fireworks in our nation's capital go off early today, on a two-out . . . walk-off . . . three-run homer by Ryan Zimmerman!!"

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