Considering the turmoil from the spring of 2009, the seven-game improvement of the DSL Nationals to a winning season of 36-35 has to be considered progress. But perhaps more promising is that this was done with a crew that was younger than the year before (yes, even with “Smiley”) — the average batter was 18.9 years old, the average pitcher was 19.3 years old; a year ago, those figures were 19.3 and 19.7. Still more than the league averages (18.4, 18.8) but better than two years ago (19.3, 21.2).
As I ease into metaphorically big shoes of Mr. Oliver, let me also disclose fully that I’m modeling this review (and future reviews) after the ones he did back in ’07, which were the first ones I found while rummaging through his online morgue. Without further ado…
* GPA = Gross Production Average. This is a stat that Aaron Gleeman invented several years ago that corrects the two problems with OPS: (1) it corrects the imbalance between OBP and SLG (simply put, OBP is about 80% more valuable) and (2) it puts it on a scale that everyone is familiar with (same as batting average). I like it because it’s relatively easily to calculate — (1.8*OBP plus SLG)/4 — compared to similar sabermetric exercises (wOBA, EqA) and achieves the purpose of an all-encompassing offensive stat nearly as well.
As you might expect from a .507 team, the D-Nats were slightly above average on offense and slightly below average on pitching with the notable exception of strikeouts and walks, categories in which the Nationals were in the top third of the league.
Given the nature of the league, playing time is much more spread out but for the purposes of displaying who’s who, I’m using defensive games to determine “starters” and the 100AB mark as the cutoff for the bench. The full statistics for the team can be found here.
|First Base||Jean Carlos Valdez||17||25/60||.978||8||237||.228|
|Second Base||Nelalexfred Ortega||17||63/63||.964||10||272||.204|
|Third Base||Bienvenido Valdez||19||38/62||.893||12||245||.275|
|Left Field||Jose Arismendy||17||39/51||.980||3||156||.183|
|Center Field||Edgar Gonzalez||??||53/59||.976||2||223||.256|
|Right Field||Narciso Mesa||??||45/58||.966||2||213||.193|
|Utility (1B, 2B, SS)||“Smiley” Alvarez||24||14, 4, 24||.966||9||234||.320|
|Bench (1B, LF)||Victor Chavez||21||3, 19||.850||3||167||.293|
|Bench (C, 1B)||Paul Chacin||19||21, 13||.983||4||167||.244|
I’m just as troubled as you might be to see those two “??” in the age column. Defensively, you can see that 1B, 3B, and C were a little bit of a merry-go-round in terms of playing time (fielding percentages are for the primary position only for the starters, the bench players are cumulative. Second base was the only stalwart, so it may be safe to say that “Fred” Ortega may be stateside by 2012 at the latest.
On to the pitchers, listing the top 12 in terms of innings pitched…
|Antonio Guzman||22||14/13||4-5, 1||3.36||83||74||27||81||1.217||13||15|
|Wirkin Estevez||18||15/14||6-7, 0||2.61||82⅔||74||12||95||1.040||5||8|
|Silvio Medina||20||13/11||5-4, 0||3.06||67⅔||68||19||46||1.286||9||7|
|Adalberto Mieses||20||13/12||3-3, 1||2.98||63⅓||57||33||40||1.421||5||7|
|Anthony Marcelino||17||14/7||0-2, 0||3.20||45||34||20||24||1.200||5||13|
|Inocencio Heredia||??||26/0||3-3, 10||1.69||37⅓||24||11||34||0.938||6||4|
|Wander Suero||18||15/4||2-3, 0||4.72||34⅓||35||23||39||1.689||1||7|
|Jorge Hernandez||20||13/0||2-1, 4||2.05||30⅔||21||9||38||0.978||1||1|
|Andy Santana||19||13/1||5-0, 0||1.27||28⅓||19||14||24||1.165||0||1|
|Juan “Slim” Diaz||19||7/6||2-4, 0||5.74||26⅔||25||10||28||1.312||4||5|
|Jesus Guzman||19||18/6||1-1, 0||3.43||21||18||18||23||1.714||3||3|
|Saskuel Herrera||20||18/6||1-0, 1||4.32||16⅔||19||11||13||1.800||0||11|
The too-old criticism may be valid here as it appears that only Wirkin Estevez and Anthony Marcelino will be Viera-bound in ’11, though the obvious caveat that perhaps one or two of the 19-year-olds may have that intangible that we can’t see from a box score (which is the caveat that applies to all of this review). Inocencio Heredia was a constant in our daily reports but the lack of a DOB has to raise a red flag.
OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
Having seen these players as much as Rush Limbaugh has seen his name on college diploma, I present the five batters and pitchers to watch in ’11 with the full knowledge that I’m doing exactly what I hate: basing my judgment solely on stats and boxscores.
Top 5 Batters
1. Jean Carlos Valdez
2. “Fred” Ortega
3. Wilmer Difo
4. Adderling Ruiz
5. Paul Chacin
Top 5 Pitchers
1. Wirkin Estevez
2. Anthony Marcelino
3. Andy Santana
4. Wander Suero
5. Jesus Guzman