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Posted at 12:17 PM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Long toss: Who will be this year's spring training sleeper?

By Washington Post editors

Pitchers and catchers report in a mere 11 days. As spring training draws near, which player do you think is most likely to play a bigger role than expected?

By Washington Post editors  | February 4, 2011; 12:17 PM ET
 
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Comments

another punt

Posted by: Sunderland | February 4, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that would surprise me about Michael Morse is if he actually gets any playin time. DoubleSwitch hates that guy. But he can ball.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 4, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I would vote for "Other" if it was an option.

Posted by: ImWithStupid | February 4, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Could have been worse, Sunderland. At least they're not repurposing a Poopy McPoop comment. Yet.

Posted by: FeelWood | February 4, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Bryce Harper will (should) be our starting right fielder. Move Werth to center, Bernadina/Ankiel in left. Morgan gone.

Posted by: Log711 | February 4, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that is going to surprise Natinal fans is just how BAD the Natinals will be in 2011.

I mean, I'm talking possibly 120+ losses bad.

Meanwhile, right up the road in Baltimore, the O's are primed to win 95+ games.

That'll make the Natinals tv audience (heck, even the live audience) dwindle to the smallest viewership ever. More people will be watching Gossip Girls reruns than watching the Natinals (both in person and on tv).

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 4, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Maya is the guy who would seem to hold out the most unexpected upside for the coming year. He was given reasonable MLB money to sign with the Nats based on his previous high-end production in Cuba. Unless they totally missed the boat on his talent, which is certainly possible, his abbreviated and ill-timed introduction last year should be long forgotten once he settles in and "pitches" a la Livan. Right now it seems he keeps getting listed as mere rotation depth. In any event, with all the numbers of pitchers and the possibilities but uncertainties in LF, CF, and extra bench player,position and this is likely to be the most interesting spring training the Nats have held to date. Also will be interesting to see how guys like Tatusco and Roark will fare.

Posted by: McKinley2 | February 4, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Agreed, Sunderland and Feelwood. Also...the "bigger role" depends on what we're expecting of the players named, right? So if I'm expecting "big things" from , say a Maya....well, what constitutes an even bigger role?
Not only is this post a punt-it's a shanked punt as well!
On another front, a couple of good pieces on fangraphs with Nats content: a look at "Brett Gardner:2011's Nyjer Morgan?"(a look at the likelihood of Gardner having a Nyjer-like collapse). Also a look at dear departed Dunn("Adam Dunn's Changed Plate Approach").
And finally...stretching farther afield (from an ex-Nat to a never-been-Nat!)there's a piece on Zach Greinke and his pitch selection/declining effectiveness. I was never a upset at not landing him, but for those who were-this makes me think we may have dodged a bullet.
Any hooo....
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | February 4, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Maya is the ace in the rough ... he's really the key to this season. On this I agree with Ladson. But he's not a #5 starter, Ladson. That really should be Marquis of all the choices ... if anyone he ends up in the bullpen not Gorzelanny ... they can't trade him he is too expensive ...

I also think that Gorzelanny could be another eye opening surprise ... let's hope he is completely past his arm burnout from Pittsburgh and can pitch comfortably. I believe this is still a risk that the Nats and McCatty are hopefully aware of. The guy had an all-star April, May into June as a starter until Zambrano came back. Then when he was returned to the rotation the results were less than good ... I think they have to take the same kind of care they will with JZimm and Stras with this guy.

Posted by: periculum | February 4, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"Meanwhile, right up the road in Baltimore, the O's are primed to win 95+ games.


As Jim Callis put it ... I'd be astounded.

Posted by: periculum | February 4, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I think Maya will be given the most opportunities to succeed more than anyone else on this list. If anyone else on this list has a bad spring, they might find themselves in Syracuse or permanently riding the pine... However I see Maya as a guy who is given continual opportunities, in hopes he MIGHT perform.

Posted by: PNatsFan | February 4, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I realize he has a slim chance of returning to form after the shoulder surgery BUT if CM Wang can actually pitch and pitch well he would be a huge key to us moving from just a 5 or 6 game improvement to actually approaching .500. Again, I am not expecting it, but its almost spring and this is the time for silly thoughts like this. Our starting pitching really is a series of IFS and if they all prove to be glass half full we will be OK, not great but OK. Zimmnn - 8 to 10 wins
Marquis - at least 10 wins
Livo - 8 to 10 wins
Lannan - at least 10 wins
Gorz - 8 to 10 wins
Combination of Maya, Detwiller, Wang 10 wins
Again, just a dream but its my dream.

Go Nats!!

Posted by: sjm3091 | February 4, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Yea, Peri...I think Maya will prove to be a quality 3/4 starter. And I'm also intrigued by Gorz as well.
Another aside: some good chatter over on the Insider(try as I might, I still can't get any posts up over there!)So I gotta come over here to throw another bouquet to Sunderlands' comment on Insider....
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | February 4, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

>>I think they have to take the same kind of care they will with JZimm and Stras

Tommy John X 2. Let's hope not.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 4, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

zendo mentioned fangraphs. I checked out their projections for 2011 for some Nats and thought it was interesting. Bill James has Espinosa hitting .255, with 21 HR's and 60 RBI's (with a .772 OPS), which would be fine with me. He also projects that Nyjer will have a bounce back year (.285 BA, .347 OBP, 29 steals) and he even projects that Wang will pitch and pitch well (25 starts, 9-7 record, 3.99 ERA, 1.34 WHIP). All in all, some positive news.

Posted by: baltova1 | February 4, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

21 homers with only 60 rbis?

That's freaking pathetic, along with that projected average.

Of course I can completely understand why Natinal fans would view that as one of the best players on the team.

As for Wang, hahahahahahaha.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 4, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Deitweiler will be the second best starting pitcher the Nats have before the season is over. You heard it here first.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | February 4, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Note to all:
There is a person on this blog who adds no value to this blog. Their childish behavior is wearing on a lot of nerves. I suggest you email the WaPo Sports Editors is block this person from the blog in order to have a reasonable dialog. We don't need to take anymore crappity crap from anyone when there is no need for crap at all. Let's get rid of the crap, please.

Posted by: Berndaddy | February 4, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

It's like a wish sandwich - you got two pieces of bread and you wish you had some meat in between in it.

-Dan Ackroyd
Blues Brothers
1978

Posted by: Brue | February 4, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

>>It's like a wish sandwich

I WISH Ted Leonsis owned all the teams around here!!!

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 4, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

If you are Detwiler, Wang or Maya you know if you can bring it there will be a spot amongst the 5 for you; its not like our starters are so strong that if you excel there is no room for you.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 4, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"I realize he has a slim chance of returning to form after the shoulder surgery BUT if CM Wang can actually pitch and pitch well he would be a huge key to us moving from just a 5 or 6 game improvement to actually approaching .500. "

Let's get this under control shall we? Why is Wang so interesting to Rizzo (and this pitcher is the one given as many chances as it takes to see if he performs ... NOT Maya who actually still has options!)? Rizzo likes his sink? NO, indeedy because at his height his fastball, according to fangraphs), averaged 93.7 mph with movement. That is upper echelon, elite ... given his slight frame, and height one can see how he destroyed that shoulder ... still hope springs eternal. I would not expect to ever again reach those heights and I fear the best he will do is to become yet another soft-tosser to add to ever lengthening litany. I see a stint in the bullpen in his future.

Maya is a different pitcher. He too can throw up to 94 but he relies more on Livo-guile. Almost the same pitching repertoire as LIvo and brother Orlando ... the difference? More velocity. Command of five pitches and that multi-speed curve. This is where a discerning Nats fan must place his hope ... that and on 3-pitch Gorzelanny plus an improved Jordan Zimmermann. If Zimmermann becomes as good as Matt Caine our Ori'hole fan will be crying in his beer before too long.

"Again, I am not expecting it, but its almost spring and this is the time for silly thoughts like this. Our starting pitching really is a series of IFS and if they all prove to be glass half full we will be OK, not great but OK. Zimmnn - 8 to 10 win"

Its nice to get those wins that's for sure ... but if JZimmnn can consistently generate quality starts ... say 15-20? I would be relieved and happy.

I wouldn't put any faith in Marquis except as trade bait toward July (at least that is the Nats FO hope). If they guy can't even pitch as well as Livo with his 83mph fastball ... well ... its not like the guy is 25 or 26 like Lannan. Marquis looks like he may be toast.

"Again, just a dream but its my dream."

KLaw's Nats sleeper is AJ Cole. Let's hope he is right because that guy along with Stras, JZimmnn, Gorzelanny, and Maya could be a truly competitive NL East rotation.

Posted by: periculum | February 4, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

>>We don't need to take anymore crappity crap from anyone when there is no need for crap at all. Let's get rid of the crap, please.Posted by: Berndaddy

I vote we ban any1 who sez crap more than twice in one sentence.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 4, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"Tommy John X 2. Let's hope not.
Posted by: skins_fan_22 "

Dude neither pitched 100 major league innings before it happened? Lincecum and Caine get to around 200.

What do you want them to do? Not pitch them at all ... typical skins fan ... beast, beast, get us a beast on the D-line! Here come Haynesworth and Orapko. Oh we're saved we'll be devastating. Meanwhile, the Ravens and their fans are laughing at the pure stupidity.

Posted by: periculum | February 4, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

i voted for jesus moreso based on a love for him that will never die than anything else but maya would probably be the best thing for the team if he came out like gangbusters, also if bernadina isnt our cf something went wrong

Posted by: bford1kb | February 4, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

>>its not like our starters are so strong that if you excel there is no room for you.

Posted by: SCNatsFan

Quit your moaning - MLB Hot Stove showed Marquis and Dan Plesac says how he'll have to get by on 'guile' this year. And then they show some hitter chasing one of his pitches off the plate. That's guile. Real guile. Wtf is guile, some word they trot out when your arm is shot? He'll have to spot his fastball baybee chuck and duck!!!!

Posted by: Brue | February 4, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

>>Cla Meredith

Poopy how come no love for the Cla man? Except for last season he's always been a real solid reliever. Pretty much mid 3 ERA. Nuthin wrong wit dat.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 4, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Morse. If he gets enough ABs I think he has a monster year. Like to see him starting at 1B.

Posted by: TreezieFoSheezie | February 7, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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