November 2009

30 Players in 30 Days: Garrett Mock

Garrett Mock


082009-382 garrett mock.JPGRight-handed pitcher Garrett Mock played many roles for the Nationals this season, beginning the year with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. He then joined the Nationals bullpen where he made 13 appearances between April 20 and May 18. After another short stint in the Minors, he was recalled for good on July 16 and joined the Nationals starting rotation.

In between his two Major League stints, Mock was back in Syracuse with the Chiefs, this time as a starter. He dominated the International League in that stretch, going 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA. He earned International League Pitcher of the Week honors after going 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in two starts during the week of June 22. The highlight of that week was throwing a three-hit, 10 strikeout complete game shutout versus Columbus on June 22. Mock struggled a bit once he was called up and didn’t get his first win until his fifth start on August 8. Overall, he went 3-10 with a 5.62ERA (0-2 with 6.92 ERA as a reliever and 3-8 with a 5.40 ERA as a starter.)

Looking closely at his numbers… While his ERA this year was 5.62, his FIP (fielding independent pitching) was 4.32. FIP measures a pitcher’s skill based on the things he can control (home runs, strikeouts, walks and HBP) while removing the things he can’t control, such as the defense behind him. Mock is actually over a run better than his ERA dictates. His K/9 ratio is 7.09, just slightly higher than the league average of 6.99, and a solid number. However his BB/9 ratio is 4.34, almost a full walk over the league average of 3.46. Why is this a problem? It puts runners on base which creates a situation that is difficult for Mock to get out of. Batters are hitting .317 against him with runners on base, while they are only hitting .299 when the bases are empty. Mock is also in more situations with runners on base (50% versus a league average of 45%). Keeping his walks down will help him avoid these situations and improve his performance overall.

Mock, 26, is still young and has time to work on his control. He impressed people this season and could be a candidate for the rotation going into Spring Training.  

 

Garrett Mock Final Major League Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

3

10

5.62

28/15

0

91.1

114

65

57

9

1

44

72

.308

1.73

1.41

The Storen Identity – 11/13

Drew Storen, 22, is now playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League and is writing for Notes for NatsTown. Be sure to follow the tenth overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft as he writes for Notes from NatsTown and gives you an inside, behind-the-scenes look at the AFL and his climb to the Major Leagues. Here is his post…

 

As I mentioned on my twitter, my mother informed me that I needed to blog. I guess I had been caught up in the AFL Rising Stars game and the regular games and haven’t gotten around to it. So here’s my little update on life down here in Phoenix:

 

Last weekend was the Rising Stars game. It was a great honor to play in it, and was a lot of fun to watch and play with such elite players. I did get the loss in it, giving up a two run home run. It is not something that haunts me or anything, I know it’s part of the gig. I am big on not getting too happy or too down depending on how my outings go. That is something I learned at Stanford, it’s a long season and if you ride on the emotional roller coaster of getting too up or down, you will implode. It wasn’t the first home run I have given up, and certainly won’t be the last.  It is key for me to learn from each outing, whether positive or not, and to make adjustments next time out.

 

We are moving into the last week of the season here in the AFL. It seems like we just got down here. We have a chance tomorrow to clinch a spot in the final game, to help keep the Phoenix Desert Dog championship streak alive. nascar c.jpgHopefully I can find my way in there and help us clinch it.

 

Sunday I am going to the NASCAR race down here in Phoenix. It is something I am excited about. Being from Indianapolis, I have seen my share of races at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I have seen IRL, F1, and NASCAR there, so it will be awesome to see racing at a different venue.

 

There’s my quick update, I will throw another one up later this week to update the D-Dogs quest and NASCAR experience.

30 Players in 30 Days: Jesus Flores

Jesus Flores


042009-193_jesus_flores.JPGCatcher Jesus Flores is a crucial part of the Nationals’ plans for the future. Flores made his Major League debut in 2007 at the tender age of 22. The Nationals selected him from the Mets in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft, meaning they had to keep him on the Major League roster for the whole season or give him back to the Mets. He soon proved he had what it took to become the Nationals catcher of the future.

Jesus Flores was supposed to have a breakout 2009 season and cement himself as the Nats everyday catcher. It didn’t quite go as planned. He missed the majority of the season with a broken right clavicle when he was struck with a foul ball in Arizona on May 9. Flores hit .311 with four homers and 15 RBI in 26 games before the injury. He tried to play in September but after three pinch-hit at-bats, he was shut down on September 12. Flores also missed the final month of the 2008 season with a sprained left ankle.

Flores only appeared in 29 games for the Nationals this season and after his brief September return, Flores was diagnosed with a torn right labrum. General Manager Mike Rizzo said the injury was not directly related to the broken clavicle but it did creep in during his rehabilitation. Dr. James Andrews surgically repaired the injury on September 16 and the timetable for the recovery is three to six months. The Nationals are optimistic about Flores returning by the start of Spring Training.

“I think his future is still bright,” Rizzo said. “I think once we get this injury fixed, we get him on track. I still think we’ve got a 25-year-old starting catcher.”

Jesus Flores Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

29

93

13

28

47

3

2

4

15

11

1

26

0

0

.301

.371

.505

.877

30 Players in 30 Days: Ryan Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman

 


080509-016_ryan_zimmerman.JPGIt is official. Zimmerman can now decorate his mantel with a Rawlings Gold Glove.

 

It was hardly a surprise but it was by no means a guarantee when the official announcement was made that he won the first Gold Glove of his career. It is always tough to speculate how players and managers will vote: reputation, performance, spectacular plays or fewest errors? Traditionally, reputation trumps numbers.

 

Zimmerman ranked among league leaders in total chances (MLB-best 459), total chances per 9.0 innings (second in NL, 3.09), assists (MLB-best 325) and putouts (third in NL, 117). For what it’s worth, he was the leading contributor to ESPN’s nightly Web Gems segment too–typically the top-five best, most acrobatic, spectacular defensive plays of the day. At the same time, he committed 17 errors and posted a .963 fielding percentage. Of the 17 errors, 13 were throwing and four were with the glove.

 

But as we’ve documented before, those superficial defensive stats only tell a fraction of the story. Zimmerman might as well be a black hole at third base, he has unrivaled range and sucks up everything hit in his direction.

 

Just a day after receiving his first Gold Glove award, Zimmerman’s mantel got a little more crowded when he was honored with his first Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger award. He provided it all season long at the plate and was recognized for it.

 

On May 9, the Nationals were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the top of the eighth in Arizona. Zimmerman was 0-for-3 and at the plate with his 26-game hit streak on the line. He didn’t waste any time extending it. He hammered the first pitch from Juan Gutierrez over the center field fence to give the Nats a 2-0 lead and extend the hit streak to 27-games. They won 2-1.

 

Zimmerman put up career numbers in 2009: a .292 average, 33 home runs, 106 RBI and 110 runs but there is one statistic that stands out. He cemented himself into Washington baseball history with a 30-game hit streak during the first month of the season. The streak started the second game of the season on April 8 and ended on May 13, with a 0-for-3, one-run, two-walk performance at San Francisco–not a terrible day at the park either. During the streak, he batted .382 (50-for-131) with 11 doubles, eight home runs, 26 RBI, 11 walks and 26 runs. It is the longest streak in Nationals history, longest streak for a third baseman since Royal’s Hall-of-Famer George Brett posted a 30-game hit streak in 1980 and third longest streak in DC baseball history behind the 33-game streak by Heinie Manush in 1933 and 31-game streak by Sam Rice in 1924. The hit streak propelled Zimmerman into the Mid-Summer Classic for the first time in his career.

 

The Nationals made sure to lock up the face of the franchise in 2009 and they did on April 20. Zimmerman is signed through 2013 but he doesn’t want to wait any longer to produce a winning ballclub. The 2010 Nationals will ride Zim’s glove and bat all season long.

 

Ryan Zimmerman Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

157

610

110

178

320

37

3

33

106

72

9

119

2

0

.292

.364

.525

.888

Riggleman named manager


Riggleman.jpgThe Washington Nationals named Jim Riggleman field manager.

 

Riggleman will return in 2010 after posting a 33-42 (.440) record upon assuming the Nationals’ helm on July 13. Riggleman’s Nationals displayed marked improvement in extra-inning (3-1), one-run (13-9) and NL East (17-16) contests despite having a rookie starting pitcher toe the rubber 45 times in 75 games (60%). His club also posted eight- (August 2-9) and seven-game (September 28-October 4) winning streaks to account for two of the Nationals’ four longest winning streaks since Major League baseball returned to The District in 2005. 

 

Defensively, the Nationals allowed 11 fewer unearned runs after the All-Star break compared to before, a trend mirrored by an improved fielding percentage (.979 in second half, .975 in first half) under Riggleman’s gaze. Riggleman’s renewed emphasis on defense and fundamentals paid nearly immediate dividends as only 10 of Washington’s 37 multi-error contests in 2009 came after the All-Star break.

 

Riggleman’s post All-Star break tenure also featured a precipitous drop in the Nationals’ ERA (4.75), which fell almost half a run from the 5.21 mark posted prior to the All-Star break. Washington’s ERA improvement of 0.46–first half compared to the second half–ranked fourth in the National League, seventh in baseball. The pitching improvement was especially evident in Riggleman’s bullpen, which posted a 4.35 ERA compared to Washington’s 5.71 relief ERA in the season’s first half.  

 

The Nationals are Riggleman’s fourth big league managing job. He has compiled a 585-694 record while managing San Diego (1992-94), Chicago-NL (1995-99), Seattle (2008) and Washington (2009-present). He posted a pair of winning records in five seasons with the Cubs, including a 90-73 (.552) record and a NL Wild Card in 1998.

 

Riggleman draws off 29 professional seasons of experience as a manager or coach, 17 at the big league level. Riggleman has served stewardships under Tony LaRussa, Jerry Manuel and Jim Tracy, among others.

 

A third baseman by trade, Riggleman played eight professional seasons after being drafted by the Dodgers in the 1974 First-Year Player Draft out of Frostburg State (MD) University. Riggleman grew up in nearby Rockville, MD and is a graduate of Richard Montgomery (MD) High School.

Zimmerman Gold Glove-caliber photos and quotes

ryan zimmerman photo credit Ezra Shaw Getty Images.jpg

“It’s hard to measure defense. Defense can be looked at so many different ways–whether you take away runs or you get to a bunch more balls or maybe it’s something else.” -RZ

 
093009-266 ryan zimmerman.JPG

“I try to get every single ball that comes my way. I think in the past that’s kind of hurt me a little bit–I get to many balls and instead of not throwing the ball I try to make the play. This year I learned when it’s smart to make the play and when it’s not. I think if you try to make every single play, it hurts the team more than it helps it.” -RZ

 
051909-137 ryan zimmerman.JPG

“I’ve only been playing third base for four years in the Big Leagues and two-and-a-half or three years in college, so it’s not a new position to me anymore but I think there are things to learn once you slide over there from shortstop. I played shortstop my whole life and you just fine tune things and make yourself better at each individual part of it.” -RZ

 
061909-115 ryan zimmerman.JPG

“I remember the last time I sat around and waited to see if I won something, I came up short to Hanley [Ramirez] in the Rookie of the Year. So, I’ve been just doing what I usually do and to hear this news is very exciting for me and my family.” -RZ

 
082009-436 ryan zimmerman.JPG

Zim wins first Gold Glove

090409-171 ryan zimmerman.JPGWashington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman today was named the recipient of the 2009 National League Rawlings Gold Glove for third basemen. The defensive citation is the first of Zimmerman’s career.

 

“Winning the Rawlings Gold Glove has always been important to me, as I take a lot of pride in my defense,” Zimmerman said. “When I was drafted by the Nationals, I was known as a defensive player first and there was a belief that my bat would mature with time and experience. But the core of my game has always been defense, so today is a special day.”

 

Zimmerman led all National League third basemen this season in total chances (MLB-best 459), assists (MLB-high 325), range factor per game (2.97) and games started (153). At 18.1, Zimmerman also paced NL third basemen in Ultimate Zone Rating, a figure that blends the number of runs above or below average a fielder is in three categories: range runs, double play runs and error runs combined. Zimmerman’s 18.1 rating ranked third in baseball among ALL position players at any of the nine positions.

 

Last month, ESPN named Zimmerman as its 2009 Web Gem Champion after he amassed 19 Web Gems and 61 Web Gem points during the 2009 campaign.

 

Zimmerman is only the second Washington-based Big Leaguer to earn a Rawlings Gold Glove. Senators catcher Earl Battey earned the first of his three career Gold Gloves in 1960, his lone season in Washington. Rawlings established the Gold Glove in 1957 to reward defensive excellence.

30 Players in 30 Days: Alberto Gonzalez

Alberto Gonzalez

Once rated the best defensive infielder in the Yankees farm system by Baseball America, Alberto Gonzalez was a great asset for the Nationals this year. He is a versatile player, seeing time at third base, second base and shortstop in 2009.


041909-462 a. gonzalez.JPGThe Venezuelan infielder has often been described as a plus defender, something highlighted by his .995 fielding percentage at second base this season. Originally slated to be a utility player, Gonzalez earned the starting job at second base following the 2009 All-Star break, making way for his predecessor, Anderson Hernandez, to be traded to the Mets.

Gonzalez ended the season on a high note. In the final game of the year at Atlanta, with the Braves and Nationals tied after 15 innings, Gonzalez laced a single to center field off of reliever Boone Logan to drive in Elijah Dukes for the eventual game-winning run. This capped off a seven game win streak for the Nats, their second longest winning streak of the season.

With the Nationals second base situation still uncertain for next year, it is unclear what role Gonzalez will play in 2010. What is known is that Gonzalez is a young, quality defender with a stellar fielding percentage at second base in 2009 to prove it. He will succeed wherever the Nationals decide to use him.

Alberto Gonzalez Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

105

291

31

77

102

16

3

1

33

14

1

27

1

1

.265

.299

.351

.650

 
 

30 Players in 30 Days: Craig Stammen

Craig Stammen

The Nationals relied on their young guns all season long–they knew there would be growing pains and there were. Craig Stammen made his Major League debut on May 21 against the Pirates and went on to lead all Nationals rookies with 19 starts. He went 6.1 innings in that first start with three strikeouts and four earned runs. He received the no-decision in the 5-4 victory. He was one of three Nationals–Jordan Zimmermann and J.D. Martin being the others–to make their debut this season as a starter. The Nationals led the National League with 95 starts by rookie pitchers. That’s more than the Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Dodgers, Brewers, Mets, Yankees, Pirates, Giants and Cardinals combined. Those teams only had 75 starts by rookies collectively–still 20 short of the Nationals.

A pitcher’s first Major League win is always a memorable moment but Stammen made it a magical moment. On June 18 at the new Yankee Stadium, Stammen kept the Bronx Bombers bats at bay pitching 6.1 scoreless innings. The win secured the series victory over the Yankees.

Stammen was drafted by the Nationals in 2005 and slowly worked his way up to the Majors. Before his call up this year, he pitched seven games for Triple-A Syracuse and was named the Syracuse Pitcher of the Month for April. In that time, he went 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA and .205 BAA in four starts.

Stammen struggled at times, like all rookies, but pitched well in July. If Stammen can pitch in 2010 like he pitched in July of 2009–2-2 with a 3.18 ERA (34.0 IP/ 12 ER)–he will be a force at the back end of the rotation. He also had a season-best K/BB ratio of 2.60 during that month too. The highlight of the month was on July 11 when Stammen threw a complete game in a 13-2 win at Houston. He scattered nine hits with two strikeouts and only one walk.

While Stammen didn’t have a winning record, he held his own in his first Major League season. Stammen did not get to finish the season and was shut down in September due to bone spurs in his elbow. He had arthroscopic surgery and should be fully recovered by Spring Training 2010.

 

Craig Stammen Final Major League Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

4

7

5.11

19/19

0

105.2

112

67

60

14

3

24

48

.271

1.29

1.35

 

 

Craig Stammen Final Minor League Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

4

2

1.80

7/7

0

40.0

33

10

8

4

0

8

14

.223

1.03

2.03

 
082309-129 craig stammen.JPG

30 Players in 30 Days: Adam Dunn

Adam Dunn


061909-209 adam dunn compressed.JPG
Today is Adam Dunn’s birthday. Happy Birthday Adam!!!

 

The Nats were rolling on June 19. The starters were wheeling and dealing with a 3.11 ERA for the month of June and they had just returned from a series victory over the Yankees in the Bronx. Next up: the Toronto Blue Jays at Nationals Park. The game didn’t involve a rain delay but it was a rollercoaster ride of highs, lows and missed opportunities. The two clubs combined to go 2-for-15 (.133 BA) with runners in scoring position. The Jays left 13 men on base while Washington left 16. But in the bottom of the 11th with the game tied 1-1 and the bases loaded, Adam Dunn drove an 0-2 fastball to right field for the game winning hit.

 

It was the Nats first walk-off win and extra inning victory of the season. Dunn got it done all season long. He led the Nationals with 15 game winning RBI and 30 go-ahead RBI. He has a great batting eye and is extremely patient at the plate. He saw an average of 4.32 pitches per plate appearance, good for fourth in the Majors. He wasn’t signed to make spectacular plays with his glove. The Nats didn’t expect stellar defense out of Dunn–a trade off for the tape measure blasts to right–but he was a pleasant surprise in the field after moving to first base when Nick Johnson was traded to the Marlins on July 31. At the plate, he was a tenacious, home run-raking, RBI-producing clean-up hitter–your best bet is to walk him. He was on pace to hit over 40 home runs for the majority of the season but finished just short of the mark with 38 bombs. He wasn’t able to extend his streak to six straight 40 home run seasons, but he didn’t care. He cares more about wins than individual numbers. He finished the season with a .267 average, 105 RBI, 116 walks and an on-base percentage of .398.

 

Last offseason, the Nationals were looking for a power bat. They found one in Dunn. Dunn is entering the final year of his two-year contract and at the young age of 30, he could have a monstrous 2010 season.

 

Adam Dunn Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

159

546

81

146

289

29

0

38

105

116

16

177

0

1

.267

.398

.529

.928

 

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