After taking a guess at which position players will end up where, last year I tried it for the pitchers for the first time and now it’s time to see how I did.
Of course, with the roles of “Big Nats” largely set going into camp, this was not exactly courageous of me. But the goal is not about being right so much as keeping the conversation going (though being right is nice!).
So, let’s take a look at who I picked last February:
|Yunesky Maya||Craig Stammen||Ryan Perry|
|Erik Arnesen||Austin Bibens-Dirkx*||Ryan Mattheus|
|Matt Buschmann*||Ryan Tatusko||Atahualpa Severino|
|Mitch Atkins*||Rafael Martin|
|Gaby Hernandez*||Waldis Joaquin*|
|Mike Ballard*||Josh Wilkie|
|Bold = On 40 Man Roster||Italics = Non-Roster Invitee||* = ’11-’12 Minor-League FA Signing|
Granted, no matter what I was going to be wrong on at least five because I “overpicked,” selecting 17 names for roughly 12 slots. I did this at every level because that’s the nature of the beast; pitchers and catchers report first because there are always a lot more of ’em than spots available.
I got nine wrong — two made the big club (Stammen, Mattheus), two started the season at AA instead (Mandel, Ballard), a third joined the Senators a couple weeks later (Tatusko), and the rest never played for the Nationals in 2012. The most obvious thing as I apply that 20/20 hindsight is that it appears I put too much stock in the FAs (though I might have gotten Zach Duke right had he been signed in the offseason). Otherwise, I pretty much feel like Blinkin.
We’ll see next year if I do any better with this set of picks:
|Yunesky Maya||Ryan Tatusko||Erik Davis||Brad Meyers|
|Ross Ohlendorf*||Fernando Abad*||Pat Lehman|
|Tanner Roark||Pat McCoy|
|Jeff Mandel||Hassan Pena|
|Matt Torra*||Cole Kimball|
|Bold = On 40-Man||Italics = Non-Roster Invitee||* = ’12-’13 MLFA|
This time around, I’m hedging my bets a lot less. I added a “DL” column as a nod to the M*A*S*H unit on this year’s Watchlist. And I’m leaning back towards the “OGs” and away from the FAs — especially the retread relievers such as Jeremy Accardo and Will Ohman, who I think are longshots (Bill Bray is probably the NRI with the best chance).
“Swingmen” isn’t a literal or old-school definition — basically, it pitchers that can (or have) start(ed) or relieve(d), or I feel may be changing roles — especially in the lower minors. A kind of neither-here-nor-there category, if you will.
The top-to-bottom order is intentional — which does mean that I was on the fence about Ryan Perry beginning at Syracuse or Harrisburg, but with Cole Kimball it’s more a gut feeling that he may not be fully healthy yet. Shoulders, as the old saw goes, are harder to fix than elbows.