Monday, April 27, 2009

The Shawn Hill Challenge

There's been some self-satisfied clucking among Nationals fans as Shawn Hill went to the disabled list with another bout of his recurring, undiagnosed forearm soreness. It would appear, perhaps, that maybe the Nationals did the right thing by letting him walk. After all, 12 IP for $800k? No thanks.

Of course, Hill could be back shortly, and I hope he is, but let's assume he's done. In that case, he'd be finishing the year with 3 starts, a 4.10 fielding independent ERA, and a +0.2 VORP (value over replacement player). That means that in his 12 innings, he contributed two-tenths of a win over what a typical AAA call-up would do. Hill didn't last, but while he was out there, he was better than replacement-level.

Here's my challenge to the Washington Nationals pitching staff. In order to prove beyond a doubt that the Nationals as a team (as opposed to Ted Lerner's bank account) are/were better off without Hill, they need to have 5 starting pitchers reach above-replacement territory. Currently, two-fifths of the rotation is in the red when it comes to VORP. Scott Olsen is at -5.8 VORP and Daniel Cabrera's at -5.1.

There's my challenge get five guys above 0.2 VORP, and I'll tip my cap to Rizzo for doing the right thing on Shawn Hill. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Right?


Trapper John said...

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This is a death ship.

Rob B said...

Here's a challenge: find a rotation who's best pitcher is a rookie, and second-best starter is a second year guy(I think there's a pattern there). And a bullpen who's best pitcher is a journeyman lefty on the DL.
This team finds new ways to lose every night. Hanrahan as a closer?
Great fucking idea.
I'm sorry for anybody who has bought a ticket this year.. The Lerners are laughing all the way to the bank with your hard-earned cash.

Elan said...

I'm dying of anger right now, but I wanted to focus on the positive so here is something. One, obviously the offense. Two, Kip Wells is midly impressive out of the bullpen, and I think we should let him close. Three, Anderson's bunt in the ninth was gutsy. Four, sixteen game hitting streak! Five, at least Lannan's starting tomorrow...

James Bjork said...

Oh man, you're setting your own bar even lower.

So we're supposed to believe that somehow the team investing a rotating roster slot for training, infrastructure and videotaping and tape review and scouting etc for 16 DIFFERENT pitchers coming in for 12 innings each (before self-destructing) is supposedly feasible and preferable to finding a single decent pitcher, giving him the slot and moving on? That is exactly what your "challenge" implies. I just don't think that is feasible.

Yes, I can see where there would have been some upside for milking Hill for 80 innings before casting him aside when his arm barked too much. But, c'mon, 60-80 innings? There was no reason for Rizzo et al to have reasonably predicted anything but what has adctually transpired- sadly.


Admitted self-satisfied clucker

dcusimano123 said...

In my anger at that hideous game, I wanted to throw a ball through the TV, but much like the Nationals pen, I threw it high and outside.

That was terrible, just terrible. There better be a "closed door meeting" or somesuch bullshit coming out of that debacle.

Throw. A. Fucking. Strike.

John said...

I cannot watch this steaming pile continue to mount higher and higher on a nightly basis. I'm taking the next two weeks off from following this team and hope to return with some sense of renewed optimism (or scouting reports for the top picks in the 2010 draft...). Good night, and good luck.

Steven said...

Make that three-fifths of the rotation below replacement level.

Steven said...

@James--The rotation really is so terrible that 3 starts and 12 innings would have been helpful. It's a statement about the rest of the rotation, not Hill.

James Bjork said...

As a neuroscientist by training, I can only hope that diagnostic imaging and other technology can in the future pinpoint the anatomical cause of mystery pain like Hill's and make a targeted intervention.

The fact that no-one could ever find (and thus correct) the anomaly in Hill's arm is why I think Rizzo made the least-worst decision.

Hill is a great stand-up guy who deserves better than his fate.

Oh, and yes, I agree that this pitching staff is a steaming pile of excrement. If only Beimel didn't try to be a shortstop...

I will be attending Monday's game-- wearing my Bagwell replica jersey.