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Draft Perspective

Just a few quick things for the morning.

First, as a reminder, we're chatting at 2 p.m. today.

Here, ZB recaps the action: Notebook, gamer.

As you can read in the notebook, Bowden is already starting to posture in the event the Nats are unable to sign their first-rounder. "On our end," he said, "I think we had a great draft. Our scouting department is not going to complain if we go into next year's draft with two picks in the top 10."

As you've long heard, the Nats will receive a compensatory pick in next year's first round if Crow does decides return to Mizzou. Whether that pick actually cracks the top 10, of course, depends on whether the teams who picked ahead of the Nats this year actually sign their first-rounders, too. The list that follows is just to provide a frame of reference for what's going on in baseball this season, negotiations-wise. As you'll see, all but three teams in the top 10 still have work to do with their first selections.

And if we enlarge the lens a bit, looking at teams' abilities to sign their first 10 selections, you'll notice that the Nats have fared better-than-average so far.

Here is a list of the first 10 teams to pick in the first round this year, with a comment on how they're doing overall...

1. Tampa Bay -- Tim Beckham, SS, Griffin HS, Ga. ($6.150,000)
Status: One of first 10 picks (the second-rounder) is still unsigned.

2. Pittsburgh -- Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt (unsigned)
Status: Five of first 10 picks are still unsigned, including second-rounder and fifth-rounder, and Alvarez.

3. Kansas City -- Eric Hosmer, 1B, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. (unsigned)
Status: Three of first 10 picks are still unsigned, including Hosmer.

4. Baltimore -- Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego (unsigned)
Status: All top-10 picks are signed except for first-rounder, Matusz

5. San Francisco -- Buster Posey, C, Florida State (unsigned)
Status: Four top-10 picks are still unsigned, including three of the top four selections

6. Florida -- Kyle Skipworth, C, Patriot HS, Rubidoux, Calif. ($2,300,000)
Status: Everybody is signed except for sixth-rounder and tenth-rounder

7. Cincinnati -- Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (unsigned)
Status: All top-10 picks are signed except Alonso.

8. Chicago White Sox -- Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia (unsigned)
Status: Everybody is signed except for seventh-round pick and Beckham

9. Washington -- Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri (unsigned)
Status: All top-10 picks are signed except Crow

10. Houston -- Jason Castro, C, Stanford ($2,070,000)
Status: All top picks are signed except the third-rounder

By Chico Harlan  |  August 13, 2008; 8:25 AM ET
 
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Next: Lineups

Comments

And I sort of agree with CSLaD on Crow in the sense that he's asking for too much. There's an air of entitlement that just galls me, especially from some punk-a$$ kid.

(Of course, sign him and I'll probably have instant amnesia about saying that, as is the NJ way)

I'm very happy with the position we are in in signing 2 thru 10 and would not be the least bit upset if we don't sign him.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 13, 2008 8:33 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I encourage everyone to check out SoCH's thoughtful commentary on the Crow signing issue at firejimbowden.blogspot.com -- "No Matter What, Crow will NOT be Overpaid". (It hardly mentions Bowden, by the way.) My two cents offered there was as follows:

It's frustrating to hear people blame the kid (or his agent) when all he's trying to do is get the best deal he can under a totally stacked system. If he's successful as a pitcher, the Lerners stand to make millions off his labor and he has no leverage to command anything near the salary he deserves for many years. I hope the Nats come up with enough to make him think it's worth signing with us, but if he walks and rolls the dice on performing well and being drafted higher next year, more power to him.

Posted by: Section 222 | August 13, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I will be upset if they do not sign Crow. We need every prospect available. He will adjust his price, as will the team. It will get done.

Posted by: Positively Half St | August 13, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Regarding these bonus demands from Aaron Crow. How sure are we that they are legit? All we've heard from is the Nationals side with the posturing and rhetoric. Nothing on the record from Crow or Hendricks.

As for the sense of entitlement. Crow is just playing the game within the broken process that is the MLB draft. Slot bonuses are merely suggestions and not concrete requirements. Crow is only looking for the best possible deal he can get. The next time (if there even is a next time) he'll have any sort of control in the process is once he becomes arbitration eligible after three years of major league service time and even that has its limitations. After that, the next time he can have some say in what he gets paid is when he is a free agent.

I'm not saying the Nationals should break the bank and give him whatever he wants. But I think it's fair for him to try and maximize his return right now.

Posted by: Brian | August 13, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Didn't I read somewhere that there are some major risks associated with Crow's delivery?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 13, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Got new posted.

I think we may be judging Crow entirely by hearsay. JB and unnamed sources attribute various statements or positions to him but we hear nothing directly from either him or his agent. I'm not willing to judge him entirely on the statements of others. I am not a JB hater, but I think we can all agree JB would not cause Diogenese the slightest pause.

I am going to withhold judgement until he either signs (please!) or tells his side of the story.

As for the rest of the draft, I'm pleased with the signing of 2-10 but am a little disappointed with 11, 14, 15 & 20 plus my pipe dream of Silverstein. I consol myself that they may be waiting until the last minute because (I'm begging here) they are willing to go way over slot and want to hide that fact.

Oh, well, so far so good.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 13, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut,
Ref AK's steal.

Those are the moments of pure joy that this game bestows on those dedicated to it and respectful of it. I'm not talking about AK here, I'm talking about you.

Thanks for posting so we can all share joy with you.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 13, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

In the last post, IHWs suggested I shouldn't point to Ladson's article about Crow, because Ladson is a mouthpiece for Kasten. That may or may not generally be true, but in this instance that's kind of my point. You all should give it a read if you haven't already.

I haven't seen the $8-10M bonus demand rumor reported anywhere else--so where is that number coming from? Also, the tidbit that Crow declining offers to visit DC is interesting--is that a negotiating ploy since Crow would (presumably?) need to pay for the trip himself to retain his amateur status?

Anyway, as Chico says, looks like the Nats are laying the groundwork to not sign Crow. I can't wait to see all the Dominican and Venezualan kids the Nats sign (and then steal from) with the money they "save" from not signing Crow (yeah, right).

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 13, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Also got new posted, and I hate when that happens to my researched rants.
--------------
I'm going to assume they'll keep trotting Boni out there the rest of the year with an occasional start to Harris or Belliard. If that is right, then Manny really ought to flip-flop him and Harris in the order. Harris has been an effective lead-off hitter. Manny's tried to take some pressure off Flores and Milledge by batting them 5th and 6th instead of higher in the order, and they seeem to have prospered a bit. Do Boni the same favor by batting him 7th, and put a more disciplined hitter 8th. We've made a long term commitment to Boni, so we need to play him.

Oh, since more than a few of us coveted Jed Lowrie, I thought maybe a comparison between what he's done since the Rauch trade to what Boni's done would make a few of us spit some of our morning coffee (and thereby ruin productivity):

Since July 23:
Lowrie: 16/59, 6 Rs, 7 2B, 2 3B, 7 BB, 16 RBI, 0 SB, .271 / .353 / .458
Boni: 12/52, 5 Rs, 1 2B, 3 3B, 0 BB, 4 RBI, 2 SB (1 CS), .231 / .231 / 365.

Recall JimBo reportedly asked for Lowrie and Boston's top minor league starter for Rauch. Maybe it would have been more realistic to offer Rauch and Guzman instead of resiging Guz, then trade for the ex-Attorney General. Lowrie would have wlaked into the club house and been our best healthy young hitter.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 13, 2008 9:13 AM

Posted by: PTBNL (ranting / EE#4 mode) | August 13, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The way I read Chico's info is this: first, the Nats are hardly the only team with signing issues and we're doing better than most. Second, it would appear that $2.5 to $2.7 million is a legitimate offer. Yes, they might have to go above slot but I think it would be hard to justify the $6 million some have mentioned. If the #1 pick signed for $6 mil, I find it tough to accept the argument we should pay the same amount for the #9 pick.

Posted by: grf15 | August 13, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Also carrying forward (with a tip of the hat to SlowPitch - let's post two!):

I also thought that Kearns' steal was awesome, NatsNut. Not surprised with the silence from the Kearns haters, though.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a,
lol.

Let's ..er...OK....POST two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 13, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

To answer my own question, yes, he is likely to need Tommy John surgery.

Must-see link of the day:
http://www.saberscouting.com/2008/03/28/aaroncrowmechanalysis/

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 13, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"So, unless teams are convinced (and it sure sounds like they aren’t, neither am I) that [Crow is] going to have chronic elbow problems or multiple TJ surgeries, it’ll be pretty hard to put another pitcher ahead of him in this draft, and I can’t see him out of the top 3 overall unless there is a serious injury, serious drop in performance, or serious makeup revelations, none of which anyone sees happening."

Posted by: The rest of the story | August 13, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"Didn't I read somewhere that there are some major risks associated with Crow's delivery?"


He cups the ball during his stride to the plate. Bowden has said that he is not concerned about it, because the ball clears his back leg and his wrist relaxes before he's ready to release.

Given the success of other pitchers with quirky deliveries (well...Lincecum), I hope the Nats won't screw around with his mechanics.

Posted by: 756* | August 13, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Chico,
Thanks for updating on the 1st round signings. Like most posters, I'm guessing, I am NatCentric in my thinking and have just kind of assumed everything was going smoothly for the other teams.

As of now we are doing well, I am just hoping for so much more. Hope, afterall, is the coin of the realm for this fan of this last place team.

Ya gotta have hope!
Lots and lots and lots of hope

Who cares about those Damned Yankees anyway.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 13, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Of course he is worth drafting and signing. But higher risk equals lower signing bonus. If he's not happy with that, let him walk.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 13, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

They knew he was going to be a tough sign when they drafted him. It will be fun/agony to see how it plays out. I'm thinking that Bowden is the sporting type and will ultimately sign him.

Posted by: 756* | August 13, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

is the scouting report on Johan Santana to swing at the first pitch? There were at least two innings last night where each Nats batter swung at the 1st pitch. Maybe if I have time I'll look back to see how many 1st pitch swings the Nats took last night ...

Posted by: e | August 13, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I think we should make predictions on the signing bonus.

My uneducated guess:
Signs at deadline for $3.1 mil

Posted by: 756* | August 13, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@S506 - Where is your criticism of the Nationals for "wasting" a top ten pick on a guy who is apparently so flawed and destined for an inevitable injury?

Posted by: Just sayin' | August 13, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

maybe it's right next to the criticism of the giants signing lincicum, since it was obvious he would need arm surgery when they drafted him. i remember hearing similar things about pedro, too.

Posted by: 231 | August 13, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

If the Nats fail to sign Crow this year, what makes any of you think they will sign Strasburg and the other 1st round pick next season? I'll admit the Lerners have dished out some dollars to our draft picks, but they need to get Crow now.

Posted by: Dagger | August 13, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@S506 - Where is your criticism of the Nationals for "wasting" a top ten pick on a guy who is apparently so flawed and destined for an inevitable injury?

Posted by: Just sayin' | August 13, 2008 10:35 AM
___________

Did you read the link he posted? The whole point is that it's a "red flag," but needing TJ is by no means inevitable.

Posted by: 3434 | August 13, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

and the Nationals apparently knew of (1) this flaw and (2) his bonus demands, yet still drafted him. You can't have it both ways. If they get kudos for signing players to over-slot deals, they should get criticism for screwing them up.

Posted by: Just sayin' | August 13, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

506 BM, 756* - With Crow, the injury projection has to do with his elbow positioning relative to his shoulder when he loads his shoulder before delivery. I'm not a scout or a coach and will defer to others, but there is a thought that when the elbow is above the shoulder and the ball below (the "Inverted W" in contrast to a W), that it is an injury waiting to happen. Many of the modern pitchers with long careers have a W, while many of those with inverted Ws have muliptle arm problems and short careers. It's not unanimous. Comment #9 to the saberscouting post you linked to above discusses this, more critical, view of the inverted W (the Chris O'Leary link). So, the consensus view of Crow and the Nats purport to buy is that Crow was one of the top 2 pitchers in the draft, while the minority view is he's an arm injury waiting to happen and let someone else take that chance. One view will be right in hindsight. A guy whose talent could have gone top 3 but slips to 10 because of the injury and signability risks sounds like a decent risk / reward tradeoff.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 13, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Right, well I'm still pretty sure we're going to sign him. (Both sides benefit from a signing--and Brian says it will happen, so it must be true.)

The Nats seem to make a habit of drafting hard-to-sign guys late in the game (example off the top of my head is Jack McGeary), then paying them over slot. I have no reason to believe they won't keep this up.

Posted by: 3434 | August 13, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@3434 - Appreciate the confidence, but my guess is just that ... a guess. Nothing inside.

The perception I have is that it makes no sense for either side to walk away from the deal.

The Nationals won't get a comparable talent at 9A next year (unless they re-draft Crow which then becomes an extremely fascinating circumstance).

And Crow is not going to do any better than what he can get this year.

Posted by: Brian | August 13, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

If (and that is a big If) this kid does want between $8-10 mil as the 9th draft pick, and the #1 pick signed for $6.2 mil I hope the Nats tell the guy to pound sand.

#6 signed for $2.3mil I know that he is a pitcher and the other top ten players signed are position players, but $8-10 mil seems so far out of line that I am wondering if he is really asking for it. Detwiler was drafted 6th last year and got $2.15 mil

For $8-10mil Crow can go back to college, but for $3 mil the Nats should pony up and get him.

Posted by: Nats Verse | August 13, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

You know what I don't get? Is the fact everyone is bashing his mechanics. Well a certain Tim Lincecum was said to have flawed mechanics and a delivery that was susceptible to injury ... he has never had that problem. Sign the guy already!

Posted by: Section 111 (Formerly 223 @ RFK Stadium) | August 13, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Section 111 et al,

According to PTBNL and that link from 506, the weird aspect of Crow's delivery has shown a correlation with elbow injury in the past. This is not to say he WILL end up injured, but it's a risk that brings his draft number and signing bonus down.

It's certainly worthwhile to mention Lincecum as an example of the exceptions to that correlation. But I don't think it's reasonable to _assume_ that Crow isn't going to follow the established trend because we can all name a similar guy who didn't.

That said, I assume we wouldn't have drafted him if bunches of people much smarter than me hadn't given him the okay. So if he's not being ridiculous, we ought to sign him.

Posted by: 3434 | August 13, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Okay, whew. Either I didn't explain myself well or it is human nature to read what one wants to read.

My point on Crow is not that he should not have been drafted or that he should not be signed! Bang!

My point is that if he has a huge red flag that means he's a higher risk signee, which means that his value is lower. That's the reality we're dealing with. We'd be idiotic to pay $HypotheticalHighOverSlot for Crow with a red flag. Instead, we should pay from $HypotheticalMediumOverSlot to $HypotheticalSlot for him.

"i remember hearing similar things about pedro, too."

This makes me feel worse, not better. Where is Pedro now?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 13, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

And lets not just stop with Crow. Let's get the top 20

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 13, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"Given the success of other pitchers with quirky deliveries (well...Lincecum), I hope the Nats won't screw around with his mechanics."

I read a SI article that said Lincecum had the perfect delivery. What's wrong with his form?

Posted by: Incredulous | August 13, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"Where is Pedro now?"

Presumably resting on his laurels somewhere with his 212 career wins, including a stretch of 13 years where he averaged 15 wins per year. I guess his arm turned to be OKish.

Posted by: joebleux | August 13, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Don't use Pedro as a bad example, 506. He had a number of supremely dominant years. If we can get the same out of Crow, I'll be doing backflips.

Posted by: Offense/offensive | August 13, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I read a SI article that said Lincecum had the perfect delivery. What's wrong with his form?

Posted by: Incredulous | August 13, 2008 11:18 AM
===========

Before that there were worries about his delivery. Now that he's proven he can stay healthy and dominate at the MLB level, some of baseball's minds are changing their stance of his delivery/mechanics.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"Where is Pedro now?"
Some would argue that he's on his way to the HOF.

re: Lincecum
There was (maybe still is) a fear that he generated so much torque from such a small frame and that would eventually cause arm problems. What I meant by "quirky delivery" was his over-stride and twisting motion, which he turns his back to the place. He is also quirky in other ways, like in his refusal to ice his arm. Apparently he told SF before he was drafted that they shouldn't bother if they were planning on reworking his mechanics.

Posted by: 756* | August 13, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to beat the dead Pedro horse too much, but when we all recognize the guy in question by just his (not uncommon) first name, he's probably not an example of things NOT working out.

Posted by: tbda | August 13, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm starting to think that "baseball's minds" is an oxymoron. There's a lot of stupid groupthink out there.

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 13, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Wow, tbda, that was a lot of double negatives.

Posted by: 3434 | August 13, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm starting to think that "baseball's minds" is an oxymoron. There's a lot of stupid groupthink out there.

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 13, 2008 11:31 AM

==============

No offense but they do know more about baseball than you. That's why they are in the business and none of us are.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Bill Ladson, the writer for Nationals.com, wrote the following a few days ago:

"Crow wants a Major League contract and, according to published reports, $8 to $10 million. The Nationals don't want to give him that kind of money or contract."

Does anyone know where these "published reports" are? I searched and searched and couldn't find any reference whatsoever to $8 million to $10 million dollars. Or, as Ladson says, Crow wants anywhere between eight bucks and $10 million. I can't find that anywhere, either.

Posted by: Incredulous | August 13, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

haha well Ladson also called Aaron Crow Adam Crow, so who knows where he gets his info.

Posted by: Section 111 (Formerly 223 @ RFK Stadium) | August 13, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

$8-10 mil?
He must like college.

Posted by: 756* | August 13, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Those $8-10 million dollar rumors came out right around draft time, but were never attributed to anyone other than "sources".

Until Ladson referenced it last night, I hadn't seen/heard/read those numbers since draft day.

Posted by: Brian | August 13, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

yeah, it's tough to judge pedro on his last three years (33-36) instead of his first 12 years as a full-time starter. he was arguably the most dominant pitcher of our generation for a few years (97-03, when his highest ERA was 2.89, two sub 2.0 ERA seasons, and a couple of seasons where his ERA was around a run lower than the next closest starter).

Posted by: 231 | August 13, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I just remember the deadline last year. We thought all was done, McGeary was lost to Stanford, etc. We weren't even really talking about it anymore. A few of us were still up chatting away here on NJ, probably about nothing, and BOOM: At something like 11:50, Barry posts "McGeary signed." We were all whooping it up like crazy. It was the biggest surprise I think I'd had since the team came here.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 13, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Any chance that Crow is looking at how Detwiler has not progressed and possibly regressed in the Nats farm system and is thinking he likes College rather than having an ERA over 5 at Class A?

If he really wants $8-$10mil, he really does not want to play here.

Posted by: Detwiler's ERA | August 13, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

anon-
you must not read these comments very often - there are plenty of folks here who are waaaay smarter than the professional baseball minds :)

also, this is an individual observation, but it's pretty amazing what being a Nats fan is like, viewed through the prism of living 1 mile from Fenway (site of last night's Three Ring Circus). The FO, the offense, the fan reactions, etc - all interesting in comparison. I will say, however, that NJ & NFA rank up there with Sons of Sam Horn as some of the most interesting, insightful fan commentary out there. Reading a NYC or Philly fan blog is torture, by comparison.

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 13, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I've been on vacation so forgive me if this has been addressed, but...all of our comments were lost when they "ugraded" the software? Seriously? That's too bad.

nat in beantown, can you elaborate on your interesting comparison? I'd be interested to hear it. I find it interesting how many members of Pink Hat Nation have forgotten--or never knew--about Red Sox baseball pre-2003.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | August 13, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected on Pedro, I'm sorry, I had a junior moment.


Entirely unrelated: how do they determine how many IP or AB are necessary to qualify for the league leaders list? Is it a formula, or a set number at certain points in the year?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 13, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

CiL,
I'm totally stealing "Pink Hat Nation" - what a great phrase.

I'd say that from my years in DC, many of the New-England-to-Washington transplants were among the worst offenders of fair-weatherdom. But that also points out the key difference between Boston and DC - being a Sox fan is a cultural thing here. You might not have a clue about the current team (or even about baseball), but you still have a cap and you're still a fan. The easiest parallel to the casual BoSox fan that I can draw is with Americans and the Olympic team: How many people knew a thing about the US team before this week vs. how many people were yelling through their tv's at the gymnastics judges last night? It's the US, you're an American, you just have that homegrown pride. Same thing here - you're a New Englander, it's the Sox, the pride is just THERE.

The most interesting comparison to me, though, is between the knowledgable "core" fans. Both cities are real "baseball towns", where the fan base - while different in size - is very knowledgeable. I wasn't there last night, but I'd bet there were some boo's at JF's bunt attempt, knowing what a dumb move it was (and I know there would've been a lot more if it was a veteran). Fans know their baseball.

We (and the Lerner-stans) know that we need both kinds of fans to be a successful franchise. But my (somewhat limited, with almost no West Coast) experience leads me to believe that Boston, Minny, St. Louis, and Baltimore have the *best* fans in the league, in terms of critical optimism and knowledge of the product on the field. DC's fans are a lot closer in personality to those teams' than to the Phils, NYC, or Cubs. I'd be interested if anyone else's observations are similar, or if they think I'm waaaay off.

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 13, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to the Nats for signing 9 of their first 10 picks this year. That means they've signed what, 19/20 of their top picks the last two years? 95% success rate is pretty freakin' fantastic by anyone's definition.

As advertised - this team is building from within. I'm all for it.

Would be nice to see a win against the Mets though. Harder to lose 7 in a row than win 1. Go Nats!

Posted by: StanThePlan | August 13, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I think I posted up some Tin Yurl's last week on analysis of Crow's mechanics - not going to do that again, but the debate comes down to two possible "flaws" or "red flags," both of which previous posters today have alluded to.

- First one is the "wrist wrap" in which Crow curls his hand and wrist around the ball when he's got his arm behind his back as he starts his motion towards the plate.

- Second one is called, alternatively the "inverted L" or "inverted W" in which he raises his elbows above his shoulders as he drives towards home plate. It's quite similar to Prior's motion, and so analysis by analogy suggests Crow may have elbow/shoulder problems eventually.

Generally, most of what I've read tends to dismiss the "wrist wrap" as not too serious, but some are more concerned about the "inverted W" motion. My "expert" contribution to this is to note that when I try to raise my elbows above my shoulders while sitting in my cube it stretches my shoulders and back, so yeah, it pinches a little. Not to mention my officemates look at me funny, so Crow may have to endure the public embarrassment of that, too.

There's really no comparison with Lincecum - Lincecum looks weird because of the HUGE stride, but fundamentally, he's sound. The strain on his arm is somewhat less because of that stride.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | August 13, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Cubs fans are underrated. Yes, Wrigley is a draw and a social scene, and yes, we have been known to tolerate lovable losers. But at the park, it's all about the game. There's no HD scoreboard, no racing mascots, no fireworks, no fireworks, no rock music, just the organ. The place is always packed, and the vast majority of people know the players and are paying close attention to the game. Here's hoping Nats Park gets within a country mile of that atmosphere a few years down the road.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 13, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I discovered that when I was searching for an older posting, CiL. The pre-July 18 comments seemed to be gone as far as I could tell. It is too bad and it grieves me as the non-official NJ archivist. ;-) Many Great Moments in NJ History may have been lost to the ages. On the plus side, we can all now wax poetic about our numerous profound, witty, and insightful past postings. Also, I do believe that I have some of the best postings from the Willie Harris super thread stashed away somewhere. Whew! :D

-------

Haven't heard anything from the Post editors as far as details on what was accomplished by the upgrade.

---

I've been on vacation so forgive me if this has been addressed, but...all of our comments were lost when they "ugraded" the software? Seriously? That's too bad.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Did I mention that there were no fireworks?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 13, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'll bite. I'm kind of the opposite of nat in beantown; I'm from DC, and I go to school in Boston.

The biggest difference I see is that a lot of fans up there are RED SOX fans, and the fans down here are more likely to be BASEBALL fans. Yeah, I know a few Sox fans who can tell you the final score of any of yesterday's MLB games, complete with the best highlights. But I know a lot more who can list the full Red Sox (and possibly Yankee) roster, but couldn't name a single player in the Tigers lineup. (I literally had this conversation with a Sox fan earlier this year.) This probably has to do with the fact that no one grew up watching the Nats and the fact that the Nats are awful. Most of the biggest Nats fans were rooting for a different team six years ago, so they must have some knowledge of baseball beyond these city limits.

As for knowledgeable fans, I think the die-hards are everywhere. I think what distinguishes fan bases the most is the casual observer. Like nat in beantown said, Red Sox Nation is a deeply ingrained culture. It’s hard to spend any time in Boston without getting sucked in, and even the people who don’t follow the sport honestly care when they ask who won last night. At Nats Park, I see a lot of people who show up to the game after work as an alternative to happy hour, and they leave around the seventh or so when they start to get bored. The difference between the traffic after a 2-hour, 45-minute game and a 3 1/2-hour game is appalling--two thirds of the park empties out at 10:00, regardless of the inning!

There’s no reason that Washington can’t build a real, solid fan base in time, but I think we’ve got a long way to go. Part of that comes from having a good team, but I have a hunch it’s mostly an issue of time. Just give it a few decades :)

Posted by: 311 | August 13, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

ESPN rumor central says that numerous teams put in waiver claims for Huston Street but that the claim was awarded to a team not currently in contention and that a trade could not be worked out, such that Street will remain with the As. Anybody think JimBo might have claimed him and then refused to part with any of our prospects?

The same site says that we're talking to Redding and Harris about extensions.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 13, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Because all of the extensions Bowden has worked out thus far have been brilliant choices

Posted by: No no no no | August 13, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Bob, you make another good point re. Clint, the Playstation Pavillion, the Singstar challenge, that thing where people do pushups, the DC Lottery Lucky seat, the Fox 5 Weather update, the Papa Johns Pizza Delivery, the Build-a-Screech, the Red Loft, even the racing Presidents.....

All of these things and all of the ones I didn't bother listing detract from baseball in the worst way. I guess not everyone goes to Nats Park just to watch nine innings of ball, but I wish they'd tone down the distractions. Pittsburgh has a vaguely-less-obnoxious version of Clint, but I don't recall having seen that anywhere else.

Also, props to CIL for the phrase "Pink Hat Nation." Definitely made me laugh.

Posted by: 311 | August 13, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Nat in beantown, thanks for the response. Feel free to use that phrase all you want. I know there is at least some tension in NE on the whole pink hat/fair weather fan thing and I have fun riling them up on it. I enjoy listening to Remy on NESN sometimes rip the pink hat fans (one time he did this was when Damon got booed in the Yanks' first trip to Fenway), though he may have toned that down now due to his exalted position ;-) You might also enjoy this article from the Globe from earlier this Summer: http://tinyurl.com/552sq4

As to your comparisons with other towns, some interesting points. I will try to respond further at some point but don't really have time right now. My one point of response for now is that having attended a few games at the Metrodome, I don't consider Twins fans to be especially knowledgeable, or enthusiastic. I found the experience to be downright depressing to be honest.

BobL--a Cubs fan, seriously? Anyway, as a former Lakeview resident in the late 90s, I will have to disagree with you. Yes, the place is now always packed (but not since forever, viz. the Lee Elia rant), and has a great atmosphere, but in my experience most of the people there are (a) families coming from Southern Ill., Iowa, or Indiana for their 1 Cubs game of the year and not paying much attention, (b) there to kick back many cans of Old Style, (c) paying more attention to women in the stands than to the game, or (d) all of the above.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | August 13, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"Is it a formula, or a set number at certain points in the year?"

Both. It's a certain number of AB or IP per game (I don't know exactly what the numbers are, though) that they multiply by the number of games into the season they're at in order to get an ever-increasing number of fixed point values as the season progresses. Or maybe, since not all teams have played the same number of games on any given day, they use an MLB-wide average of number of games played or the number of days since Opening Day or something like that. But at any rate, for a full season the qualifying number is 162 times whatever the per-game AB or IP number is.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | August 13, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The cutoff for batting-average leaders is 3.1 plate appearances for each game your team has played. This is 502 over a 162-game season and can be prorated (including if a team finishes with only 161 official games). Innings pitched I think is 1 per team game.

Posted by: Scooter | August 13, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I hope we're not going to get distracted by all these signings from the fact that the Lerners are just trying to get by. And if they eventually assemble a contender and win the Series, that will just be more of their subterfuge. Keep your eye on the main point!

Posted by: Arkymark | August 13, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, RKGF and Scooter!

Fair weather fans will come and go (hence their nickname). They don't really bother me, because the one thing you can be certain of with any team is that before you know it (or want it) the fair weather fans will all be gone.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 13, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"Fair weather fans will come and go (hence their nickname)."

Okay. But when they come, why do they have to wander the aisles and rows during play and block my view?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | August 13, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

2 things
One, the duplication in here is really starting to confuse me.
The Just Sayin at
Posted by: Just sayin' | August 13, 2008 10:35 AM
is not me. I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin.

Two, Chico: Dude, you write English for a living. Adverbial phrases don't get hyphenated, adjectival phrases (sometimes) do. That's like not knowing the Infield Fly rule.
OK, that was more like complaining. Lecturing, really.

Posted by: Just sayin | August 13, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

To StanThePlan 12:29,
Last year we signed 20 of the top 20.
This year we have yet to sign#1, 11, 14, 15 and 20 so we have 15 of 20.
For more than you can imagine on the draft and the farm go to Nationals Farm Authority.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 13, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

bite me, Grammar-Boy

Posted by: NR CH | August 13, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

SP63, I'm no Planista, but I think Stan was saying we're 19-20 on top ten picks.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Anon,
Thanks, you're probably right. It is amazing how often I see what I expect to see as opposed to what is there.

The line comes to mind from the old country song from the man caught cheating;

Who you goin' to believe
Me or your lyin' eyes?

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 13, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Chat time - da da dee da dee daaaaahhhh! (just sayin')

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

CiL, yep, I grew up in suburban Chicago and started watching the Cubs when Jack Brickhouse and Lou Boudreau were calling games in the mid-1970s. And the folks you mention are definitely there, particularly on weekends in the summer. But there are a lot of people in the stands that know the game as well. They've learned from years and years of watching the Cubs fail to execute it properly.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 13, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the laugh, Bob L.!

"They've learned from years and years of watching the Cubs fail to execute it properly."

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Nice, BobL, thanks.

1a, as to the comments being lost, it is too bad. Though I imagine that NatsNut is happy that Barry's nuggets are now just a distant memory.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | August 13, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Good one, CiL!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who imagines all these "unnamed scouts" SI.com keeps quoting as fat guys sitting in the front row with two beers and sunflower seeds spilling out of their mouth loudly shooting off their mouth on anything that occurs to them in a brooklyn accent?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 13, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Can't speak for everyone else, 506, but that's not what I picture. You reminded me of something fun:

I was at a P-Nats game in ... aught-six, I think it was. We were behind home plate. There was this skinny reliever with his cap pulled low like the Chief, and when he came in the game, about 15 guys in the rows in front of us pulled out radar guns, note pads, and ... I dunno, voodoo dolls or something. It was quite entertaining to watch.

But basically, those guys passed hardly a word with anyone else that whole game. Nor were seeds in evidence.

Posted by: Scooter | August 13, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus and Kevin Czerwinski from MLB.com have both recently stated Crow had bonus demands of $8-10 million even before draft selections were made.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | August 13, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Scooter reminded me of another P-Nats game where one of the pitchers was seated behind the plate tracking pitches. I asked him how fast the speediest pitch had been for the P-Nats starter that day and was duly impressed with the speed when he told me. If I recall correctly, the starter was Shairon Martis, but I don't recall what the pitch speed was.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris can measure pitch speeds accurately without using a radar gun.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 13, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, LDO, that's the first attribution I've seen for the $8-10M claim.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 13, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Good one, Bob L. Speaking of Harris, I watched the film of his latest Mets-defying catch on the team site this morning. Nice!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The thing about Willie Harris is, he doesn't make those catches. The ball is just so excited to be near him that it rushes down into his glove.

Posted by: Scooter | August 13, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Crow and his agent are out of their minds asking for that kind of money. That is not a fair and reasonable asking price. And on top of that he wants to be on the 40 man. Enjoy facing Big 12 hitters for another year, Aaron.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | August 13, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

In all of the signingthedraftpick talk today -- thanks for calling attention to Willie The Great's catch and throw last night - I had to watch it on the tiny screen replay -- pretty awesome. And - how about Langerhans coming up with the pinch hit home run??? I hear Manny actually had a meltdown?

ps -- it's nice to talk about people not named Favre or Phelps

Posted by: masnstinks | August 13, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

People were cheering as loudly for Manny when he came out as people did for Willie's catch! Great stuff!

Posted by: WN | August 13, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Maine 4.13 ERA => 9-7
Bergmann 4.13 ERA => 2-8

Runs Nationals => 448
Runs Mets => 574

Yes, pitching is very, very important.

But a little offense would be nice.

The Nats have scored 22% fewer runs than the Mets YTD. And, 35% fewer runs than the Texas Rangers. That is a huge differential. Runs scored are just a small part of the story, you also have to count runs allowed, but the Nats are last in the majors in runs scored. Strangely they are also worst in won-lost percentage. The Nats are also tied for last in on base percentage.

I'm just spit-balling here, but I tink we need to improve our offense this off season.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 13, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

If Willie were swimming in the Olympics he would win 9 Gold medals

Posted by: Willie Harris's swim coach | August 13, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

NatBisquit,
I'm fascinated by your analysis, and would like to talk to you about a position in our organization that my be opening up.

Posted by: Stan K. | August 13, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I wish we could call redo on our trades and have Rauch and Jhonny Nunez back and give Alberto Gonzalez and Bonifacio back.

I thought MLB destroyed the Nats so I wonder why the GM is trying to help continue that practice

Posted by: Bad Deals | August 13, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris can't compete in the Olympics, WHSC, because Willie Harris is ALWAYS a professional.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 13, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris has been known to win equestrian events without a horse.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 13, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

How have players fared since trades?

We gave up:

Johnny Nunez (AA): 3 Games, 7.2 Innings, 0.00 ERA, 9 SO

Rauch: 8 games, 8.1 innings, 11 SO, 2ER, 2.16 ERA

We Get:

Gonzalez: 4 Games, 13AB, 6 hits, 0 RBI
Bonifacio, 12 Games, 52AB, 12 hits, 4 RBI, .231 Avg


GREAT DEALS BOWDEN

Posted by: Bowden's 2008 trades | August 13, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Over the radio, it did sound like the crowd was really into it during Manny's meltdown. I was also impressed with the Langerhans dinger (RIBS in DC???)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Also, it goes without saying (but I will anyway) that Willie would not have needed wires to perform any of the acrobatics featured in the opening ceremony of the Olympics last week.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris eats 12000 calories a day to keep up with his high metabolism

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08132008/news/nationalnews/phelps_pig_secret__hes_boy_gorge_124248.htm

Posted by: Willie Harris Diet | August 13, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and lineups are up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Though they used a little girl to Lip sych, that was Willie Harris singing at the opening cermony

Posted by: Willie Harris' vocal coach | August 13, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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