Sunday, November 23, 2008

Recommended Reads

Brian over at NFA has done a yeoman's job assembling the list of rule-5 eligible Nationals. MLB doesn't make these lists publicly available, so Brian put this list together by looking at the criteria and going through every player in the Nationals entire system to identify who's eligible for the draft and who isn't. Click here to check it out. The guys most likely to draw interest are probably Marvin Lowrance and Ryan Langerhans, but it's possible no one will get taken.

David Pinto has taken his Probablistic Model of Range, one of the better defensive metrics out there, and calculated the cumulative season-long quality of defense behind each starting pitcher in MLB, to see who benefited from good defense and who suffered from bad. You can find the full list here. For the Nationals, you'll see that four of the five the starters Pinto lists--Perez, Redding, and Bergmann--suffered from below par defense, while only Lannan got better than expected defensive support. I think the Nationals' poor defense last year (especially the debacle at first base, but also the poor range of the middle infielders, the carousel of bad fielders not named Willie Harris in left, and the terrible catching defense provided by Lo Duca and Estrada before they were hurt) is a much overlooked aspect of what made us the worst team in baseball. Perez had especially bad support, and if Balester was included I'd bet my bottom dollar that he'd be bringing up the rear in this category also.

Kyle Boddy at Driveline Mechanics has a post analyzing Stephen Strasburg's mechanics and predicting serious arm problems in his future. There's not a lot of good, consistent medical data or analysis on this topic, so take it with a grain of salt. But in short Boddy's worried that Strasburg's overall delivery is too fast, that he brings his elbow too far behind his head, and that his follow-through isn't the smooth, gradual deceleration but an abrupt, jerking motion. Each of these aspects of his delivery could place dangerous stress on his arm, especially his elbow. And as I've said before--pitchers don't get hurt from pitching too much; they get hurt from pitching tired. And if your mechanics cause additional stress, that will cause pitchers to experience greater fatigue and increase that injury risk.

10 comments:

JayB said...

Steven,

Why not point out Milledge's poor CF job? I know these defensive stats are problematic but the ones I have looked at for CF point to him being the worst in National League. I know you feel Milledge is worth the risk for longer term development but for the purpose of your post should he not also be named as a defensive player that hurt the pitchers?

As always thanks for the post.

Steven said...

Yes you're right. Milledge's defense was also part of that.

JayB said...

This issue of poor defense and playing the wrong players in the wrong position is why I place a great deal of blame for 2008's unwatchable baseball on Acta and/or Jimbo. Acta says Jimbo never tells him who to play and where to play them, but I think that is BS. That is also one reason I think Acta is not ready to Manage. Good Managers manage to win and do not let GM's tell them to play WMP every day.

Steven said...

Whether Bowden was telling Acta what to do or not is impossible to know, and certainly they both deny it. But it's clear that Willie Harris should have been getting starts early in the season that were getting wasted on Lopez, Lo Duca, and Pena.

JayB said...

I know you come from a different profession but I would love to know what harm comes from honestly is in baseball. What is wrong in saying we screwed up. Jimbo made me play the people he thought were going to come around. They did not help in fact they hurt the team. It was a huge mistake and caused many more problems than it solved. We learned from this error and pledge this year to play the ones who give us the best chance to win a game on the day of that game.

Would Jimbo or Acta lose their jobs? I do not think so...would fans be more likely to come to a game if they knew they new Nats way of doing things is to win a game rather than rationalize a FA signing or a develop a player at the MLB level who has no business being there.....I think it is a win win for Nats and Fans. Honestly is should always be the policy with a business so customer driven as baseball.

Steven said...

It would undermine Manny's authority in the clubhouse if people thought he wasn't in charge of things like lineups.

JayB said...

Steven,

Acta is not fooling anyone in that clubhouse. Do you think anyone did not know that sitting Flores for a week to play Estrada was not Jimbo making out those lineup cards. Lying about it does not help anyone.

Steven said...

You just asked why they would try to hide the truth. That's the reason. Whether anyone believed them or not is something else. Personally, I agree that it seems very hard to believe that the order to play Lo Duca at 1B and LF, for instance, didn't come from Bowden. It just doesn't match Manny's prior decisions. Estrada too. As I said at the time it was a travesty that Bowden was making Manny play with 24 or 23 or even 22 available and no firstbaseman and 11 pitchers... the whole thing was a disaster.

Kyle - Driveline Mechanics said...

For the record, I don't like Strasberg's mechanics becuase he is too slow into footplant - not because he is too fast.

Thanks for the link!

JayB said...

Interesting to read how Eddie Jordan lost the locker room and paid the price today. I think Acta will also be held responsible sooner than later for the Nationals product on the field. If the team continues to get the message through the lineup card that Jimbo is calling all the shots then just like Jordon, players will by pass the coach/manager and go directly to GM.

My advice to Manny is to come to Spring Training ready to take names and kick some butt. If Jimbo tries to tell him who to play again, take it to the papers. If the Nats wins Acta will stay.....if the Nats loses, Acta will be fired. Manny don't take the fall for Jimbo's bad trades (Pena) and FA signings like Lo Duca and Estrada and Rob M last year. Stand up and go out like a man, tell Jimbo what his job is and what it is not.