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Guess Who's Back, Olsen's Back

Yesterday, the first interview conducted with Scott Olsen began at around 12:35. It lasted, oh, about six minutes. And when that one ended, another reporter approached him. Then another. Then two more. After about 25 minutes of talking, a throng of Miami reporters walked into the visitors' clubhouse. Olsen held court for 30 more minutes. Later, on the field, I saw him on a chair giving a television interview. The guy, without complaint, talked for an entire afternoon about what is happening tonight -- when he pitches against his former team. It's a pretty standard storyline, but for Olsen, this is a little more than a standard game.

Olsen still lives in Miami, and considers it home. The Marlins drafted him in 2002, a sixth-rounder. The organization never rushed him through the minors. He spent a full year in rookie ball, a full season in low Class A, a full season in high Class A, a final season in Class AA. "They took care of me," Olsen said.

By the time he arrived to the big leagues in 2006, he was fully invested. That year, the Marlins had one of the youngest rotations in baseball. Dontrelle Willis was 24. Olsen was 22. Ricky Nolasco was 23. Josh Johnson was 22.

Today, Johnson is pitching for the Marlins.

Toward the end of last year, Olsen got the sense he was on his way out. He was arbitration-eligible, and Florida had another wave of young pitching ready for spots.

"I knew I was gonna get traded," Olsen said. "I knew. Just the way the Marlins work, and the way I was going to arbitration this year. They had Josh Johnson, Nolasco, Volstad, Sanchez, Miller -- that's their five right now. And they've got Class AA guys that are loaded with talent. It's just a plethora of pitching talent in that organization. We knew somebody was going to go. And I knew out of the starting pitchers that were going to arbitration, I would get the most money. That's why I knew I was going to get traded."

By Chico Harlan  |  April 7, 2009; 3:23 PM ET
 
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Comments

Show some mettle, Marlboro Man.

Posted by: Zornado | April 7, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"Is it safe to extrapolate from these numbers that Dukes and Harris cover that much more territory than Dunn and Milledge, respectively. If their fielding percentages and errors are roughly similar, then the difference in their UZRs is territory covered?"

I think you're going to tie yourself in knots thinking of it that way. To keep straight, Dukes and Harris cover the territory they are responsible for much better than Milledge and Dunn.

Fielding percentage works a little differently, in that it simply uses errors to determine what percentage of the time a clean play was made... which assumes that specific fielder got to the point where the official scorer thought he could have made the play.

So Dunn is a little worse at playing the area he is responsible for than Milledge, even though they both flub a very similar number of balls they actually get to.

The big caveat with this statistic, though, is it doesn't take into account runs created. The argument with Dunn is the number he gives you is so much higher than the number someone who didn't lose as many runs would give you, that you're doing fine.

Posted by: Section506 | April 7, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

McGeary up the road at Hagerstown this year. Might he make it down to Woodbridge? Also, a step back for Ozzie Rodriguez, who also starts for the Suns. Either he makes it to Harrisburg this year, or goodbye to the OzMan?

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 7, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse


A LASTINGS MILLEDGE INSIDE-THE-PARK-STORY

The applause and laughter grew as Lastings Milledge touched every base, racing around an empty infield after the last pitch was thrown.

Finishing the team's second and final intrasquad contest of the spring, Mets manager Willie Randolph saw to it that Milledge didn't leave the diamond without completing his "cycle." The 20-year-old outfielder singled, doubled and tripled in three at-bats against Mets pitching Wednesday.

Telling the top prospect that the team was going to work on conditioning and start with inside-the-park home runs, Randolph assembled the entire team at home plate and summoned Milledge to kick off the drill.

So, like any eager youngster in his first Major League camp, Milledge grabbed the bait, flying down the baseline and making a trio of hard left turns.

"By the time I rounded third, I saw they all walked off," Milledge said. "I was the only one running. When I came around third, I knew what time it was."

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 7, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

But the UZR is primarily tied to fielding %, errors commited, and territory covered. To your knowledge, does it take into account assists and arm strength?

Obv, using it to compare Dukes and Milledge is unfair, but corner outfielders cover roughly the same territory, so it gives you an idea of Dunn v. Dukes defensively.

Posted by: dclifer | April 7, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Right you are, dclifer. UZR does not contain arm strength, or count assists. It also does not count double plays as more than one put out. It's purely a one-man dependent stat.

All of those, I think, are very necessary to evaluate an outfielder. In the same way we throw out AVG / OBP / SLG to approximate offensive talent, you would need FPCT, UZR, and arm strength to evaluate defense. What other stats would you use?

Posted by: Section506 | April 7, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Not sure, territory covered pretty much assesses speed and direction to the ball. Arm strength to some extent dictates assists, but they can also be inversely related (e.g. Runners were more likely to test Soriano, thus more opportunities for assists). Stats like hitting the cut-off man seem too esoteric. I would just add assists as an indicator (poor, I know) of arm strength and accuracy. Which would, IMO, rate Dukes higher for RF and LM slightly lower in CF.

Posted by: dclifer | April 7, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I think the Milledge conundrum is that he is a poor CF by any measure, but his bat has been above average for a CF. It's not good enough to justify LF (when we can get a liability, like Dunn or Willingham that hits for more).

So, can he learn to be tolerable in CF? If he's merely slightly below average, then he is worth it at the plate, I think. Still, I'd like to see some standard deviations from the mean to see exactly where he falls.

At some point, I'll break down UZR for Milledge over the course of the season and see if he progressed. Or if someone else wants to....

Posted by: Section506 | April 7, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Sheinin on MASN right now, in case anyone wants to see Dave.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 7, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The Bog has a Nats-Phoolies post. 506, you may want to take some deep breaths before heading over there to read it. Wow, Stan. Just, wow.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 7, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

taking bets on who Olsen plunks tonight.

TimDZ: Brandon Webb got knocked around last night too.

nova_g_man: I LOVE the 2B pickoff. Also the double steal.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 7, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Boni = plunkee

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 7, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

unassisted triple play for me

and hitting for the cycle, but that's more than one play

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 7, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Stan must go.

Posted by: swang30 | April 7, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, 1a--everyone really should go check out SteinBog's post. Stan's comments are sickening. Hey Stan, here's an idea: why don't you try fielding a major league team, and then you wouldn't need to beg and invite Philly fans into your home ballpark for Opening Day! Stan's knees must be sore from the groveling.

Chico--didn't Stan promise to address total season ticket sales figures once the season started? I'll be interested to hear what his number is. The announced attendance at the exhibition game against the Os was 11,864. Did all partial plan holders get a ticket for that game? If so, then FSEs would be even lower than that pathetic number. Looks like Stan is getting the attendance that he deserves--just desserts for his arrogance.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 7, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to sentence Stan to a home stand spent amongst these wonderful drunken idiot philly fans ("college kids") that he's so fond of.

Ooops, did I just use "philly fans" and "drunken idiot" in the same sentence? How redundant of me.

Posted by: joebleux | April 7, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

With a Capitals team loaded with stars that were almost all developed from within the organization headed for the postseason as a top contender, who really is going to pay attention to the Nationals until the playoffs are over?

Check out the ratings. As long as the Redskins are out of the news, the Caps are really the only thing going on in town.

The Wizards are on the sideline until next season with injuries.

And the fans figure the Nationals have another 161 games to stink it up.

Posted by: leopard09 | April 7, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

won't be Bonifacio, he'll steal again if he gets on. I'm thinking Uggla or Cantu or Hermida. If anyone.

Posted by: AnonymousSources | April 7, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"Did all partial plan holders get a ticket for that game? If so, then FSEs would be even lower than that pathetic number."

No. All full season plan holders were forced to buy tickets to the exhib game, but not partial plan holders. So you can figure that the number of full season ticket holders is at least 10,000., because surely not many people walked up and bought tickets for that game. You'd need to add in the prorated number of 41 game and 21 game plans to get the number of FSEs. At any rate, though, you can figure they've probably got a base of at least 1,000,000 tickets sold this year before they sell even one single-game ticket.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 7, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

My favorite play is the one where the pitcher fakes a throw to third and then whirls around and tries to pickoff the runner on first. That, and the hidden ball trick.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 7, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"The Bog has a Nats-Phoolies post. 506, you may want to take some deep breaths before heading over there to read it. Wow, Stan. Just, wow.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 7, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse"

~~~~

... and I thought Jim Bowden was the consummate used-car salesman.

... how do I go about reporting abuse ... on the Bog/blog?

Posted by: natscanreduxit | April 7, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see what Olsen can do against the Marlins. He's definitely going to be an asset to this team.

Hey If anyones interested I'm trying to build up a Nationals community over at ExtremeNats.com We have a great group of posters and would love to get more Nationals fans in!

Posted by: ExtremeNatscom | April 7, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I told all of you last year that Jimbo was a goofball and Stan the Plan have the Lerners put together like a two piece puzzle and now this on the Bog, why is anyone surprised? the man's a joke plain and to the point. I'll be going to Braves home opener Friday night so i'll let you guys know how it goes and yes i'll be wearing my Sunday Nats cap and jersey!

Posted by: dargregmag | April 7, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I know that Dukes had a bad spring, but I think you have to find a way to get him in as a regular. Adam Dunn is a lock for one slot, but you need to find a place in one of the other two slots.

Posted by: BT23 | April 7, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"You can figure that the number of full season ticket holders is at least 10,000, because surely not many people walked up and bought tickets for that game."

The lines at the three windows were 10 deep at 7PM when I got to the game, I'd put the individual tickets sold at above 2K, so the full season ticket holder number has fallen below 10,000. Great job Stanky!

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 7, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

>Show some mettle, Marlboro Man.

Looking for good things from the Duke. Cowboy!

Posted by: Brue | April 7, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing to think about how much goodwill the Lerners and Kasten have squandered since they took over the team in '06. Hopefully, they can turn things around. But regaining goodwill is a lot harder than building on it. As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 7, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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