Feb 022012
 

We’re still here, celebrating the occasion of a rodent seeing its shadow (no, we’re not), waiting for the actual spring to come.

As you’ve come to understand with these posts, I’m passing along a couple of links while we wait for something more minors-oriented to come along. Well, something less specious than a half dozen or so folks parroting the “Number One” ranking in the Baseball America handbook for the Nationals farm system yesterday, with the caveat of “published prior to the Gio Gonzalez” buried three or four grafs in, if at all.

Meanwhile, the stadium saga for the Potomac Nationals continues. As it so happens, Route 66 is roughly a tenth of a mile from where I’m sitting right now. I can assure you that during the HOV hours, it’s backed up, too. Any inference that it’ll be any better than it is right now for anybody is simply not true. That’s just the nature of the beast that is Northern Virginia’s traffic and underfunded infrastructure.

Out in Northwestern Virginia and Western Maryland, the cities of Winchester and Hagerstown are vying for the affections of the Hagerstown Suns, with the pending transfer of land to the Winchester Economic Development Authority and a possible renegotiation of the stadium lease.

I will repeat that the only dog I have in either fight is that the teams don’t relocate out of driving distance and/or I’m forced to attend fewer games. I don’t blindly support any government giving away monies to team owners, but I also don’t begrudge the owners their right to angle for a better deal; it’s still a business for them, after all. My motivation here is simply to pass along the information and keep the website from going stale.

P.S. Yes, I’m aware of the Chad Durbin signing, but it’s clearly a look-see. I’m not that desperate for “news” ;-)

  12 Responses to “Morning Reading”

  1. I think it’s perfectly fair for the team to publicize its Baseball America ranking, even though it was achieved prior to the Gio trade. Minor league systems are always fluid because of trades and graduation, among other things. So the important point is that the Nats built the number one system in the minors. The fact that they traded a chunk of it away for major league talent isn’t any different than Harper getting 160 ABs in the majors next year.

    The real question is whether the Nats can continue to draft and develop talent. Reaching BA#1 status once is all well and good, but I’d rather have a system that stays consistently in the top 10 and keeps producing quality big leaguers (through graduation or trades).

    • The team? Yes. But the beat writers? No. That’s pack journalism.

      • C’mon, you can’t expect the beat writers to ignore the story either. Especially given that they are filling space waiting around for Spring Training to start. I do agree that they should mention the timeline vis the Gonzalez trade, but to be fair I don’t think I’ve seen any coverage that ignores the timeline either. It was a one day story, nothing more.

        Now, if there were an equivalent story about the local NFL franchise, then it would have been the subject of breathless non-stop discussion all week. So let’s not rain on the beat writers for actually covering the team :-)

        • Zuckerman handled it the most professionally… didn’t lead with it in the headline, hinted at it in graf two, immediately deconstructed it w/o going overboard. And he put it out there three days before his colleagues.

          Yesterday, however, the Nats PR staff flacked the “fact” and the others “got on the bus,” to borrow from Tim Crouse.

          Of course, I’m going to be more critical/pedantic about it because I studied the subject for several years and got a couple of degrees, which, along with $2, gets me a coffee ;-)

  2. While it may be feelgood to the F.O. to be #1 for 2-3 minutes, that is a very distorted ranking; mostly because B.A. especially loves players who haven’t played a meaningful out yet. And we have lots of those players….. Rendon, Goodwin, Meyers et all.
    I also am glad that those players are with us, just would like to see some performance first. The Rays & Rangers systems are a whole bunch better than ours, before the trade.
    That said, I remember when the Nats system was 30th four (4) years in a row. And Bud wonders why he would still get booed in Washington!

    • I think it also bears repeating that last year’s draft class was an anomaly. It’s pretty clear that the FO had an inkling that it would be the end of paying over slot and they gambled heavily on some players that have high ceilings (or in Meyer’s case, has to duck when there’s a ceiling fan on) but have some very serious questions regarding their health or mechanics. As we saw yesterday, the Nats are mighty confident that they can make those adjustments, i.e. Steve McCatty will fix what seven other pitching coaches couldn’t with Edwin Jackson the past four seasons.

      • And even if Jackson doesn’t … Jackson would still be effective enough to provide:

        1. Trade before the deadline for prospects.
        (Because of the new rules have to figure Nats mgmt will be angling to do this more often than not for promising prospects? There wouldn’t be any cap or luxury tax?)
        2. An extra draft pick.

        • That is what I was thinking too. I wonder if there is anything in the contract prohibiting the Nats from offering arbitration to Jackson after the season.

  3. For me the key to how good the Nat’s prospects are (as you said Luke) is their health. I doubt if Purke will ever be a major league pitcher. Rendon has had several health issues (ankles, shoulder) and Solis has become quite suspect as well. Take those three out and the system is left with only one significant pitching prospect (Meyers) and one major position player (obviously Harper).

    • I don’t think anyone can project pitchers health. Purke did the ink dye test, which is very comprehensive.
      I remember Nolan Ryan struggle with injuries when I was young…………… and then he pitched injury-free for 20 more years!
      Rendon — Let’s talk about that April 15th.
      Solis — I’m nervous about.

      • I still cringe when Ryan makes comments about pitcher durability, conveniently ignoring that he himself was a freak of nature (something like 80% of his muscles were fast-twitch when he was tested in the ’70s).

        Don’t get me wrong: I believe in the Johnny Sain theory that an arm doesn’t wear out, it rusts out. But only Ryan and Dusty Baker seem to think that it’s nothing to have a pitcher throw 150 pitches or four days in a row out of the bullpen.

        • Luke, I have no idea what a fast-twitch test is, although it sounds like something from an S & M movie.
          Please, please don’t put Nolan Ryan & Dusty (blow it out) Baker in the same.

          Reminds me of a good Nolan Ryan story………
          I lived in England for part of High School and in the early 1980’s had some English friends visit when I was living in Houston. Took them to an Astros – San Diego game. Ryan’s pitching when in the middle of the game he drilled Dave Winfield: Winfield charges the mound and all hell breaks loose. My friends (cricket fans) look to me and say ” You told us baseball was a more sedate game like cricket.” :)

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