First their STAT OF THE DAY feature, which ranks the 2008 bottom 5 offenses in the NL, by VORP, which is a composite stat they invented called Value Over Replacement Player. Basically they add the number of runs over the course of a season that an offensive player is worth, compared to the average scrap-heap pickup.
Here it is:
STAT OF THE DAYThe amazing thing here is that not only are we the worst, but look how much worse we are than the other worst teams in the NL. We knew this intuitively, but to be 28 VORP behind the next worst team in the league? Cristian Guzman has a 22 VORP, and Jesus Flores has an 11 VORP, so what this is telling you is that the difference between the Nationals WITH and WITHOUT Guzzy and Flores, our two best offensive players this year, is nearly as much as the difference between us and the NEXT WORST team in the NL, which is the San Diego Padres, who are a terrible offensive team.
Bottom 5 2008 NL Offenses, by VORP
Team, EqA, VORP
Washington Nationals, .238, 21.3
San Diego Padres, .253, 49.7
Colorado Rockies, .250, 54.0
Los Angeles Dodgers, .250, 55.4
San Francisco Giants, .255, 66.1
The other item of particular interest is this column from Will Carroll on "the Next Ten" MLB GMs who are due to be given opportunities to run clubs. (The newsletter says this is premium content, but right now it appears to be available to everyone.) It's an impressive list of clearly very talented people who have played key roles on some very successful teams. The take-home message here is that MLB is loaded with young, smart talented people who MIGHT turn out to be top-tier GMs, which we know beyond a doubt that Bowden is not.