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Reading Material

Yesterday, the Nats had a winning streak. Tomorrow, they get the Red Sox for three games. Today, they have an off day -- and hopefully this reading material helps fill the gap.

* The game story from Sunday's 9-4 loss against the Blue Jays focuses on Ryan Zimmerman's extended hitting slump. I throw in some numbers just because that's the first thing they tell you to do in Sportswriter Class, but Zim's slump is apparent even by watching his swing. When he's going good, he cranks balls up the middle -- with prodigious power to both gaps. Eight of his 12 home runs this year have come in the middle third of the field. But right now, he's waving at balls out of the zone, hitting Kearnsian grounders to short and third, and grounding into way too many DPs.

* Here's the perspective from up north. Globe and Mail writer Jeff Blair notes that Toronto starter Ricky Romero threw 118 pitches yesterday. Inhumane, I tell you! Somebody notify Amnesty International.

* This weekend, in their ongoing effort to reach out to the Nats' blogosphere, the team hosted a group of Web reporters at Nationals Park. There, the bloggers were invited to discuss/chat about the team with Mike Rizzo and Stan Kasten. Ian Koski, at NationalsPride.com, highlights some of the most revealing stuff to come out of it.

* Speaking of blogs... Steven at FJB makes a case -- which I am posting because I believe he's right -- that Willie Harris should be playing more. Harris might not be a natural centerfielder, but his instincts out there are certainly way better than anybody else on the current 25-man roster. For all the complaining about Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes has been no improvement. And Dukes hasn't contributed the offense to make the experiment worthwhile. My thought: Let Dunn stick in LF, let Harris play about two-thirds of the time in CF, and give Willingham and Dukes the ABs in RF. When Harris is out of the lineup, Dukes can play CF.

By the way, one thing to point out about Harris's offensive numbers: Yes, they're underwhelming, but don't forget how last year Harris picked up the pace when he started playing more regularly.

Harris, as of June 22, 2008:

87 AB, 14 H, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .161 AVG, .322 SLG.

Harris, by season's end:

367 AB, 92 H, 13 HR, 43 RBI, .251 AVG, .417 SLG.

Harris, as of June 22, 2009:

118 AB, 27 H, 2 HR, 11 RBI, .229 AVG, .390 SLG.

* Some final links for the morning, courtesy of the Boston Globe.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is officially placed on the DL, clearing John Smoltz to start on Thursday at Nats Park.

Columnist Tony Massarotti breaks down why the Sox are so strong in interleague play.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 22, 2009; 8:28 AM ET
 
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Next: Looking For A Strasburg Parallel

Comments

Thanks for the readings, Chico. Maybe they'll help keep us out of trouble on the off day. ummm...

Carrying forward:

Perhaps so, but then you'd have to run a poll to determine which commenter from NJ should represent the Nats.

---

At what point is Zimmerman no longer the clear choice to represent the Nats at the All Star Game? Who's next on the list? NJ?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 22, 2009 8:06 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 8:31 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

From Chico's game report: "Zimmerman was batting .348 one month ago, .310 entering this series, and .299 entering the series finale. His 0-for-5 day dropped the number to .293."

At what point is Zimmerman no longer the clear choice to represent the Nats at the All Star Game? Who's next on the list? NJ?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 22, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

NJ All-Star? My vote would be for JayB.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 22, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Wow, sometimes I really forget just how godawful the Nats are when you post the Willie Harris numbers. That's what we're down to folks lobbying for more playing time for a guy who hit .251 last year and is at .229 this year. Go ahead and do it anyway, cause there is nothing to lose - you're not scoring runs now and Dukes is indeed a profound disappointment, but please don't show me those numbers again.

Posted by: bendersx6 | June 22, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Agreed that Harris deserves to be starting in center. For now, that leaves Willingham on the bench. But either Nick or Willingham is going to be moved in the relatively near future, which will clear up the logjam.

Posted by: jcj5y | June 22, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I am new to this game of baseball being really interested in it now for two years. I am going to ask a question that no one seems to want to talk about ,how much does a player's personal life effect his hitting? and I mean, how much does having a girlfriend , getting married, having children, effect the player's concentration on baseball? I am not looking to put the blame on love but it has got to have some effect, don't you think?

Posted by: bsballu5 | June 22, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Kearns full-time pinch-hitter/defensive replacement? He just looks so lost at the plate. Even when he makes contact, he is hitting it right at people. I kind of feel bad for the guy because he seems like a great person. Lets hope he can come around soon because this might be his last chance with the team.

Posted by: Tom8 | June 22, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

It's a good thing our bullpen isn't overworked, couldn't use a break after back-to-back extra inning games. Cause if they were, then taking Martis out of the ballgame after he appeared to be finding his rhythm after only 90 pitchers would be a questionable move. But then you would have to believe that Saul Rivera not Ricky Romero was the one who should be contacting Amnesty International.

Posted by: Juliasdad | June 22, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Now, I love me some Willie Harris, but he is not going to be a decent everyday player. His weaknesses will become apparent as he becomes a regular part of the lineup.

Watch the dip in his August numbers, particularly the mythical Li'l Man Power:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=harriwi02&year=2008&t=b#month

Projected over the course of the year, these adjustments stand a good chance of a major tailing off, bringing us back to the .250 average now.

Now, that's only supposed to be a splash of ice water. Willie Harris is definitely an improvement in center over anything else in our organization.

Posted by: Section506 | June 22, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

For the math challenged, the point Chico and others have been making is that once Willie Harris started playing regularly, roughly at this time last year, he hit .279, with 10 HRs and 35 RBI in 280 ABs. Good numbers for half a season. Chico omits his OBP, which was good also (good enough to have a season OBP aroudn .350). That's before even discussing his defense. Not a bad plan D (Lastings was Plan A, Dukes Plan B, Maxwell-Berndardina Plan C).

Keep on throwing stuff against the wall until something sticks. Been working OK for the rotation, and looks like it might be working for the Julian - Villone - Beimel - MacDougal group in the bullpen.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 22, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

506 - not directed at you.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 22, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Under the premise that I'll like a .290 hitter even better than a .190 hitter(and I do like Austin Kearns), it's time to permanently bench him and/or remove him from the roster. I love his defense, I loved his hard slide into second yesterday, I love his apparent even tempermant, but I hate his offense. He has to come out of the lineup and if injurries require his insertion, he cannot bat 5th.

What motivation does an opposing pitcher have to throw strikes to Dunn when Kearns is batting behind him. All they have to do is walk Dunn and induce Kearns to hit into a double play -- simple.

Players who I would rather see playing RF and batting fifth include: Willingham, Dukes, Maxwell, Patterson, Gonzalez, Langerhans, Teddy, and Joel Hanrahan.

If Daniel Cabrera was still on the team you could have him pinch hit for Austin.

If Austin Kearns was General Motors, the government would have forced him to sell his bat.

The goal post at Fed-Ex field has a better chance of hitting the ball than Austin Kearns.

Oh, its just too cruel to go on. I realize he is the best rightfielder we have, but Manny should be fined if he bats him higher than 6th again.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 22, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I agree there's evidence that Willie couldn't hold up playing every day for 162 games. But installing him in CF now would be just enough for his little body to handle.

The person who complained about Willie's BA should read up on how much more important OBP is than BA.

Posted by: sbiel2 | June 22, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Chico - any updates on Roger Bernadina's recovery? He's a guy that showed signs at the end of last year and beginning of this. I would love to see him given an opportunity in CF when his ankle heals.

Posted by: dlombardo1 | June 22, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Good god, even if Willie only plays four games out of five I'm sure he can manage. Or give him a day off if he tires. Either way why wouldn't the Nationals just play our best team which includes Willie Harris.

Keeping Austin Kearns on this team is not helping Kearns either. Someone will pick him up, let the man go.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 22, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Just a PSA to note that the Bog is having Write Nothing But Good Things About the Nats Week, so get on over there and get the click count up this week, guys and gals.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Chico, the stuff on Zimmerman is interesting. I thought it was a good point that you made in the gamer that, personality-wise, he seems well-suited to handling rough patches.

The interesting thing to me, though, is that over the past several years, Zimmerman has shown himself to be an extremely streaky player. While all players certainly go through hot and cold streaks, without doing any kind of statistical analysis, Zimm's streaks seem to me to be more extreme--on both the hot and cold sides. Also, during this cold streak--which is well more than 3 games long--Ryan is swinging at the bad curveballs out of the zone again that he was laying off during his hot streak, and which had been one of his biggest weaknesses in previous seasons. To me, this suggests that there is a significant mental component to his cold streaks, as opposed to just physical--whether that is caused by temporary fatigue, frustration, who knows? Certainly, Ryan's biggest problem in the field is also mental, when he gets the yips on routine throws.

All of this leads me to a question: Do the Nats have a sports psychologist who consults them or is available to work with players? I have read in the past that other teams have one affiliated with the team.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 22, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"The Bog is having Write Nothing But Good Things About the Nats Week"

I was certain that Steinberg was going to announce that he was going on vacation for the week.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 22, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Chico, your proposal leaves Kearns out of the mix, which is appropriate. Serious questions: Why haven't the Nats designated him for assignment? Are they going to keep him the whole year?

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | June 22, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

So that would be ...crickets..., powerboater? :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

From what I read when he got hurt, Roger Bernadina I thought was going to be out until very late August at best. He might be a September callup but I suspect they will just let him rehab in winter ball.

You folks who are beating on Zimmerman are the same ones who thought he could do no wrong during his 30 game hitting streak. Baseball unlike other sports is a very long season. HE IS IN A SLUMP. HE WILL COME OUT OF IT. ALL PLAYERS HAVE THEM. Get off of his back. Even some of the double play balls were hit well, just at the wrong place.

Willie Harris is a good player, good character, and very needed on this team. But he also is going through a hot streak. And unfortunately he too will come out of it. Thats Baseball.

Posted by: natsguy | June 22, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Update: Kearns is now the 4th worst RF in the entire major leagues...getting there slowly but surely.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 22, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I think it is time we stop dumping on Maxwell. He is by our best CF , defensively. I know his offense was lacking that last time he was up but i blame that on how he was used. He was asked to bat eighth and he sat for periods of time. Kearns has had more chances than him. The other times he has played for the Nats he has hit reasonably well. Sinc ehe was sent down his is knocking the cover off the ball in AAA. He deserves another chance. Come on Rizzo - improve you team - call up Maxwell.

Posted by: mjames0 | June 22, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Who is dumping on Maxwell? Everyone loves Maxwell, though I can't for the life of me figure out why.

Posted by: Section506 | June 22, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Willie in CF isn't a bad idea - if you coupled it with getting the carcass of AK off the roster and bringing up Maxwell or Langerhans, leaving Dukes as your everyday RF and Dunn/Willingham/NJ in an LF/1B rotation, with Willie or MaxHans as a defensive sub, you'd probably have something approaching major-league-minimum defense.

The young pitchers do look better when flyballs get caught, don't they?

As for Zimm being "streakier" than other players - that's because you watch him everyday, so you're more attuned to when he's going well or poorly as opposed to other hitters on other teams. Every player is a "streaky" hitter. Every player hits better sometimes and worse other times. Tony Gwynn, who most folks will tell you was one of the most consistent hitters ever, still had hot streaks and cold streaks - in 1989 for instance, Gwynn batted .309, .442, .241, and then .383 from May - August. Do you think, in July, 1989, when he was hitting .241, people were saying "Ah, that Gwynn - he sucks - he's so streaky!"

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 22, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Super Willie, happy birthday to him!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't recall seeing anyone "dump" on Maxwell for some weeks, now.

And "beating on Zimm"?? WTF? Nobody's beating on Zimm.

Today is Willie Harris's birthday? That makes tomorrow the anniversary of the day he strangled two snakes in his crib.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 22, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The Mets released WMP from the minors today.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 22, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The Mets released WMP from the minors today.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 22, 2009 12:41 PM


Theres the answer to our CF problem!

Posted by: FloresFan | June 22, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

295, I'm not certain I buy your point that Zimm just seems streakier than other players because I watch him every day. I watch a lot of baseball and have done so long before the Nats moved to DC, yet it just seems this way to me. Also, let me be clear on something here: this is with respect to his hot streaks as well, not just his slumps. Ryan seems to go on unusually good hot streaks for a career .280 hitter, which is only possible because of his slumps. Anyway, I recognized that my observation was anecdotal, and that it would take a statistical analysis to truly confirm my observation. I don't think your Gwynn example is very relevant--it just shows that all players have slumps, even the best hitters in the world--which I think we all recognize.

And natsguy, I don't think anyone is dumping on Zimm. And I don't think anyone expected him to finish the season at .350. For me, the question is whether he had progressed this season as far as his approach was concerned, to turn himself into a .320 hitter (as the end result of his streaks and slumps) as opposed to a .280 hitter (around his career avg. to date). During the first part of the season, I saw him make changes to his approach--not just reflected by results--by laying off the low-and-away breaking stuff and by going the other way/up the middle and not trying to pull most everything.

Changes in approach can be maintained for the most part, even through a slump. Or at least, the bad habits can be corrected quickly. But recently, it seems that Zimm has reverted back to his old habits. That leaves me wondering if he is going to remain the .280 hitter we have seen for the past several years, or if he will be able to show a real jump in his performance at the plate. .280 is nothing to sneeze at, but it is not the MVP/All-Star caliber performance we have been hoping for, and which Zimm's play early this season suggested he might be capable of.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 22, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Which raises the question, what's Eckstein doing about it? Assuming Zimm is asking him.

***********
Changes in approach can be maintained for the most part, even through a slump. Or at least, the bad habits can be corrected quickly. But recently, it seems that Zimm has reverted back to his old habits. That leaves me wondering if he is going to remain the .280 hitter we have seen for the past several years, or if he will be able to show a real jump in his performance at the plate. .280 is nothing to sneeze at, but it is not the MVP/All-Star caliber performance we have been hoping for, and which Zimm's play early this season suggested he might be capable of.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 22, 2009 12:56 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 22, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

From the bloggah's interview:
(Major League with Charlie Seen)

# Adam Dunn doesn't know what a blog is. "Is it like Facebook?"
# There really is no cheering in the press box. Even on a walk-off.
# "When there's only 5,000 people in the stadium, and 4,000 of them are rooting for the other team, it makes a difference."--Dunn

Posted by: periculum | June 22, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris needs to be in center field, and I have been saying this two months, even marketing possible Nick Johnson trades to get Willingham and Dunn on the field together. While his bat isn't what it was last season, he is likely to come around and bat better than .250 and play average CF defense.

Dukes clearly is best suited for the corners with Willingham and Dunn, and Maxwell and Corey Patterson are AAA players at best. Outfield defense is much more important for a team trying to get young pitchers confidence throwing strikes.

Posted by: deacondrake | June 22, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Zim appears to need rest more. Looks like fatigue. Not just physical but emotional. See Dunn's comment to the local bloggahs about the 'fan support'.

Posted by: periculum | June 22, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

the nice thing about zimmerman is even when he hits a slump with the bat he's great with the glove. no way do we "rest" zimmerman. he doesn't look tired in the field to me. he'll be fine. keep putting him out there and he'll hit his way out of it soon.

besides, our lineup looks terrible when he's not in it.

Posted by: longterm | June 22, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

CiL,

Just plain not sure I agree. Your premise is that Zimm is a "career .280 hitter," which sure he is, to this point in his career. The issue is that we don't really know what Zimm will be as a hitter yet. 25-28 are usually "breakout" kind of years followed by 2-4 "peak" years. Zimm's at the very beginning of that, and, recent cold snap included, is having a better year than he ever has. So he's either on a three-month "hot" streak, or he's actually moving his production to a new, higher, baseline. The real answer is that we just don't know. But if you look back at his monthly splits through his career, there's nothing in there that says "streaky" or certainly nothing that says "more streaky than most." In 2007, his OPS ranged from .735 - .922, his BA from .242 - .333. For comparison, David Wright had much broader splits in '07 (BA - .244 to .394, OPS .681 to 1.172). In his age 24 season, Scott Rolen (a favorite Zimm comp of mine) showed similar splits, ranging from .216 - .363 BA and OPS .724 - 1.105, again, broader splits than Zimm.

So anyway, it's by no means comprehensive, but I just think Zimm if anything, tends to be more consistent (both in lower highs and higher lows) than other folks. This year, he's showing a bit broader range in his splits than he has before, but it's a bit soon to tell, because his April/May were so hot and he's still probably got 30-40 ABs in June to improve. Still, though, I'd suggest his overall splits suggest consistency over streakiness.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 22, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Not to raise the spectre of coverage disparity once more, but how is a story about the new Redskins tailgate policy front page news?

Is this tailgategate?

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 22, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

GIDPs has been a problem for Zimmerman all season. If he's not leading the NL in such, he is close to doing so. Did you or anyone question the manager on yesterday's line up; specifically the rationale to bat Kearns 5th?

Posted by: mgilham | June 22, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"GIDPs has been a problem for Zimmerman all season"

The weird thing is, I can't picture Zim grounding to short except when there's a runner on first. I'm sure he does once in a while, but I just don't remember Zim running out a simple 6-3.

Posted by: joebleux | June 22, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

According to baseballreference, Zimmerman's 13 GIDP is leading the NL. He shares the lead at 13 with Miggy Tejada. I'm just sayin'.

Geo Soto and Andre Ethier have 12 each. There's 3 players (I-Rod, Y. Molina and Headley) have 11.

Kearns adds 10 of his own.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 22, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Good response, 295, thanks. I think you and I are in agreement on 1 of the 2 points I was making, which is we don't yet know where Zimm will end up as a hitter career-wise and how much he will progress over his established level to date. As to the stats on streakiness and his monthly splits, those are interesting and a bit eye-opening for me; 2006 monthly splits are actually pretty consistent as well. Nice job.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 22, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

There's a great article about Ian Desmond in the Harrisburg paper. He will probably be here in September. Next year will be his best chance. Soon he will have to compete with Espinosa. Thats going to be a good competition for the Nats. Combined with Gonzalez the middle infield might be looking a little stronger in the future.

Posted by: natsguy | June 22, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the Onion: http://www.theonion.com/content/news/fantasy_baseball_owner_rips_team

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 22, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

That's been posted on here before, "Soren," but it's still funny.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Found a link to the column that natsguy mentioned:

http://tinyurl.com/m2f7by

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Technically, I found the column, then copied the link and made a "tinurl." Eh, you get the idea.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks natsfan1a1! That was definitely a good read.

Posted by: FloresFan | June 22, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Ayala DFA'd by the Twins? I wonder if he'd be interested in joining the Island or Retreaded Toys in the Nat's pen?

Posted by: soundbloke | June 22, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome, FloresFan. Thanks to natsguy for bringing it to our attention.

Ayala? uh, um, hehe...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, do I hear crickets coming from the Hernandez for Ayala trade was ridiculous camp?

Posted by: soundbloke | June 22, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Just say no to Luis.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 22, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

SorenKierkegaard should change his handle to StorenKierkegaard.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 22, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

That would be awesome, JiM.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Man, is it really that old? I couldn't find a date on it. Perhaps I should go with SnorinKierkegaard...

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 22, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually looking at a copy of the Onion Vol. 45, issue 25 (June 18th). The sports page has the following snippet:

"Washington Nationals Accidentally Use First Pick In Draft On Own Starting Third Baseman"

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 22, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Not sure anyone should go the AllStar game.

Posted by: periculum | June 22, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, that your lucky stars Manny isn't managing. Kearns would be batting fifth. Right in front of Carlos Beltran.

Oh, shame on me. I'm not a Manny basher.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 22, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I very much dislike cross pollinating on this blog, but for anyone who missed it, there was an astoundingly interesting op-ed yesterday about using statistics to predict election fraud based only on reported percentage distribution of votes.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/20/AR2009062000004.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Something for my fellow stats geeks

Posted by: Section506 | June 22, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

soundbloke

gas canrahan and luis "gasoline alley" ayala reunited? and you thought that the dc fire chief went ballistic over fireworks debris?

Posted by: surly_w | June 22, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I think the illusion is that Zimm is doing something much different from what he did earlier. He's tempted to swing at bad pitches virtually all the time, it's just that he's starting to get tired, and he can't hold up his swing anymore. The stuff he reaches, he's not hitting as hard. But he has the same approach, the itchy trigger. Another thing is that the league is learning that you really don't have to throw him strikes, and anytime you do, you're doing him a favor. It's too easy to disrupt his timing with that big leg kick he has. Until there's a coach or manager he respects, he's going to continue to be undisciplined, which he's basically been since the beginning, except the year he played under Frank. It doesn't seem like he gets much coaching because all his ABs tend to look the same, only the pitches are different. He's like Ripken, he could be so much better at the plate if he just had the right approach, which for him is to keep his weight back, look for pitches middle-in, and look to pull the ball. If he can't pull it, he may hit some liners up the middle, but if he's trained himself to pull, he'd be laying off the outside pitches automatically. But he doesn't have a single-minded professional approach, he's like a little leaguer that just wants to jump on anything he can reach.

Posted by: Brue | June 22, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Brue, why don't you run your Zim theory by Ray Knight and report back to us once he's straightened you out (again).

Posted by: joebleux | June 22, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

lineups! where are the stinkin' lineups?!?

oh, wait...

crap. now I guess i have to do laundry or something. =(

Posted by: NatsNut | June 22, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Now, that's funny!

---

Man, is it really that old? I couldn't find a date on it. Perhaps I should go with SnorinKierkegaard...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

So is that. Guess I'd better go make dinner or something.

---

lineups! where are the stinkin' lineups?!?

oh, wait...

crap. now I guess i have to do laundry or something. =(

Posted by: NatsNut | June 22, 2009 6:04 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I really should read all of the posts through first, joebleux. That's three in a row.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Brue, I made a graph about how much sense that argument about Zimmerman made. Here it is:

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|________________________________

Posted by: Section506 | June 22, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

There is a lot of great info out on the NFA site. Definitely the best place to go for accurate info on the Nats prospects. Brian Oliver and the other contributors really know their "sh*t.

Posted by: natsguy | June 22, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

The NFA site is great.

Don't forget to visit the Bog for Good News Nats week (I am such a shill).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

anybody know any baseball columnists thats on tweeter?

Posted by: theredskin | June 22, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

When Harris is out of the lineup, Dukes can play CF - Noooo !!!!! I have to believe we can do better than Dukes in CF. I saw enough in Yankee Stadium

Posted by: JT2009 | June 22, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I was really hoping for Hanrahan to be DFAed today. It's just so terrifying when he's out there.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | June 22, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

506

Thank you. I don't laugh much inbetween Nat's induced suicide attempts but that make me chuckle.

I'm going to hold off napping in running car for a day or two.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 22, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Folks, we're basically at the half-way point in the high minor-leagues. Thought I'd take a moment of your time to point out some possible late-season "lookers" in the minors - Today, one-man's opinion of the Syracuse Chiefs.

Syracuse Chiefs (AAA):
> Padilla, Jorge (RH-RF) - 29-y.o., minor-league FA; Hitting for high average, no power, decent fielder. Wrong position for the parent club to consider.
> Balester, Collin (RH-SP) - 23-y.o., 40-man roster; Coming around after rough start to 2009 season - Worth another look if he can sustain current numbers.
> Mock, Garrett (RH-SP/RP) - 26-y.o., 40-man roster; Converted back to SP role in minors - Orginizational pitcher at this point, imo.
> Estrada, Marco (RH-SP) - 25 y.o., 40-man roster; Fair numbers, most likely an orginizational pitcher overall.
> Martin, J.D. (RH-SP) - 26 y.o., RuleV (minor), 2009; Good numbers in '09, coming back from surgery - Might be worth a look, if a roster spot clears.
> Clippard, Tyler (RH-MR) - 24 y.o., 40-man roster; Former SP, converted to reliever, throwing very well in AAA - Should be up now.
> Bergmann, Jason (RH-MR) - 27 y.o., 40-man roster; Management seems to has lost faith in this player - Orginizational player at best.
> Rivera, Saul (RH-RP) - 31 y.o., 40-man roster; Former setup pitcher, not throwing well enough to regain ML status, given age & experience - Another orginizational arm.
> Zinicola, Zech (RH-CL) - 24 y.o., '06 draft; Promoted from HAR (AA), needs to prove himself at AAA level before advancing - Outside chance for 2009 callup, should get a look in 2010 Spring Training.

Posted by: BinM | June 22, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

You never mess with a players batting stance but in the case of Zimmerman here goes, he needs to move in about an inch to a inch and a half closer to the plate if you've noticed like i have he seems to lunge at balls that are right off the plate resulting in him beating the pitch's into the ground,if he would just move in tad closer..... this would allow him to drive more balls to the opposite field and he wouldn't be prone to swinging at pitch's out of the strike zone and off speed stuff that look like strikes but are actually out of the strike zone, and another thing great hitters are defined by what they do when they are "locked in" just as they are when they are slumpng i.e. talking to your hitting coach,working on your weak points as a hitter, watching video. Ryan Zimmerman has skills no doubt but he has room for improvement,big time here'e hoping he finds it.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 22, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Man, I love blogs sometimes.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 22, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

>You never mess with a players batting stance but in the case of Zimmerman here goes, he needs to move in about an inch to a inch and a half closer to the plate if you've noticed like i have he seems to lunge at balls that are right off the plate resulting in him beating the pitch's into the ground,if he would just move in tad closer..... this would allow him to drive more balls to the opposite field and he wouldn't be prone to swinging at pitch's out of the strike zone

He would simply move the strike zone farther out if he moved closer to the plate and didn't change his approach. He doesn't have a problem with plate coverage, he covers the entire strike zone and then some. What happens when guys chase pitches away is that they THINK they're not covering the plate no matter where they're standing. They're starting to pitch him like Kearns, because it's junk away, and fastballs in under the chin. It's too easy to get him looking away, and that's compounded by the fact that the outside pitches don't even have to be strikes anymore.

Posted by: Brue | June 22, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

JD Martin was actually a minor league free agent not rule 5. Cleveland cut him loose after the rule 5 draft because they thought he had maxed out. Fastball too straight and TJ surgery. Remind you of Hanrahan. Good AAA pitcher.

Posted by: natsguy | June 22, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Given the Nats situation, I'd have no problem taking a look at Padilla and Martin. There's nothing to lose when you're 20-47. If these guys haven't earned a shot with their performance, then they ought to be told to hang it up.

For all the bad-mouthing of Bowden, he did something commendable in bringing Brandon Watson after his record-setting hitting streak in AAA.

Posted by: nats24 | June 23, 2009 2:39 AM | Report abuse

There's a new post up yonder, kids.

Posted by: Scooter_ | June 23, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

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