November 2009

30 Players in 30 Days: Pete Orr


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Pete Orr

Utility infielder Pete Orr has been a valuable asset for every team he’s played for. He is a versatile defensive player and can play almost every position: third base, shortstop, second base, and all three outfield spots. He played for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic twice and participated in the 2004 Olympics. Orr was brought up to the Majors in 2009 when Nyjer Morgan was hurt on August 28 and came off the bench to give the Nationals a boost to close out the season.

Originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1998, Orr was signed as a free agent by the Braves in 1999. He made his Major League debut in 2005 and batted .300 in 112 games coming off the bench. While he has never been an everyday player, this multi-talented ballplayer has shown that he can contribute at any time.

“I love to be here. I want to be part of this team,” Orr said. “All I can do is play and be myself. I get in trouble when I do things that are not really me. If I stay within myself, I’ll be here. I love to be here.”

While nothing is set in stone, Orr will most likely get another shot at the Big League club out of Spring Training in 2010.

Pete Orr Final Major League Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

27

75

10

19

26

2

1

1

10

3

0

15

2

1

.253

.272

.347

.618

 

Pete Orr Final Minor League Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

120

412

50

101

151

13

5

9

50

27

3

77

18

8

.245

.305

.367

.671

 

30 Players in 30 Days: Mike MacDougal

Mike MacDougal

 


062009-248 mike macdogual 1.JPGIt was a tale of two seasons for MacDougal in 2009. He went from being discarded by the White Sox–4.1 innings with a 12.46 ERA and a .389 BAA in five April appearances–to being dominant as the Nationals closer. He can thank his confidence in a ferocious fastball for the turnaround.

 

It was quite the contrast to the start of the 2009 season. MacDougal started the season with the White Sox but struggled to hit his spots with his overpowering fastball, so he threw his slider more than 50 percent of the time. That changed when he was released by the Sox and signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals on May 3. He pitched for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs when then-Chiefs pitching coach Steve McCatty, later the Nationals pitching coach, told MacDougal to have faith in his fastball. It saved his season.   

 

In 38 appearances with the Nats from May 29 to August 30, MacDougal successfully converted 14 of 15 save opportunities and posted a blistering 1.93 ERA and .203 BAA. For as fantastic as those 38 appearances were, the majority of September was forgettable. He battled through injuries from September 2 to September 27, converting his only two save opportunities but went 1-1 with a 11.57 ERA and a .405 BAA in 10 games. But he never threw in the towel and finished the year with four straight scoreless appearances.

 

At 32, MacDougal is no longer the erratic fireballer that he was in Kansas City, he is now a lights-out closer. His career-best save percentage of 95 percent in 2009 is proof of that. Further, his fastball is still strong, averaging 95.7 mph but topping out at 99 mph.

 

Following the conclusion of the season, MacDougal underwent arthroscopic surgery on his hip, an injury he pitched through for the last month of the season. He should recover fully by Spring Training.

 

 

Mike MacDougal Final Stats

W

L

ERA

SV/SVO

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

1

1

4.31

20/21

0

54.1

52

31

26

3

3

38

34

.260

1.66

2.97

 

Nats claim Doug Slaten off waivers

Baseball’s offseason has officially begun. The Nats made their first move to bolster the bullpen today and claimed left-handed reliever Doug Slaten off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

The 6-foot-5, Venice Calif., native is 3-5 with 13 holds and a 3.68 ERA in 126 career Major League appearances with Arizona spanning four seasons (2006-2009). During his four-year Big League career, Slaten has suffered just one blown save, stranded 77 percent of inherited base runners (60 of 78) and limited left-handed batters to a .322 on-base mark while yielding just four home runs. 

 

Slaten’s finest season came in 2007, when he posted seven holds en route to a 2.72 ERA in 61 appearances as the Diamondbacks claimed the NL West title.

 

The 29-year-old Slaten was on the D-backs Opening Day roster but struggled a bit in 2009. When it was all said and done, he made three brief Major League stints, appearing in 11 games (6.1 innings). He spent the majority of the season with the Triple-A Reno Aces, going 3-2 with nine saves and a 3.09 ERA in 39 appearances.

 

Slaten was Arizona’s 17th-round selection in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of Pierce College in Los Angeles.

 

Nationals Park… more than a baseball field

Nationals Park has hosted over 150 non-baseball events in addition to 164 Nationals games since its inception in March of 2008. The park has been home to a Papal Mass, the Elton John & Billy Joel Face2Face Tour, birthday parties, bar mitvahs and even a wedding.

 


BillyJoel-EltonJohn1.jpgOver the past few months Nationals Park has emerged as an ideal place to host a charitable event–especially fundraising walks. The Nationals partnered with five different organizations this year and provided them with a unique twist on a common fundraising venture–a walk around the ballpark. The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, American Diabetes Foundation and American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks all took place in and around Nationals Park. Additionally, the Opening Ceremony for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk and the Symposium for the Avon 2-Day Walk took place at the park.

 


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 Thousands of people participated in these events and raised over a million dollars–while enjoying the beautiful concourses and sightlines at Nationals Park for a cause close to their heart.  The club looks forward to expanding these ventures in 2010–anything is possible at the ballpark with a little imagination. For information on hosting your event at the ballpark click
HERE.

 

 

 
 
 
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The Storen Identity – 11/3

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…

 

Hello returning readers, thanks for coming back. I just wanted to post here before I head to bed. I just got back from the gym where I did a one hour yoga session. I started doing yoga when I was at school, a few of my buddies on my Stanford team and Nationals prospect Jack McGeary also got me into it. Yoga is a good way to get good hip and core flexibility which is key for pitching. Flexibility is crucial for pitching and yoga definitely helps with that.

 

Our game went to extras today only to find us on the losing side. Hopefully we can rebound tomorrow with a win against one of the Peoria teams. I also wanted to express my excitement for being selected to play in the Rising Stars Game. It is Saturday in Surprise at 8 p.m. EST on the MLB Network. It is a great honor to be invited to play in this game and it will be a lot of fun to play with and against the top stars. Strasburg is starting the game for our side, so I like our chances with him on the hill. It will be funny to see him throw at Surprise Stadium again because they have a pitch speed display on the scoreboard. Only problem with their display is that there are only two slots for numbers, so when Stras threw there the other day, his first pitches read “00”, “01”,”93″ which was a change-up, and “00”. So it should be fun to see more zeros tossed on the board this Saturday.

 


Chuck Norris c.jpgOn a lighter note, I saw a great effort on Halloween night in the form of a group of guys dressed as the characters from the movie Major League. The Rick Vaughn had all the great touches–hair cut and a cut off sleeve jersey–but I did not check for a motorcycle out front. Also, there was a guy dressed up just like Charles Barkley, and we quickly figured out it was actually King Charles himself. So that was cool seeing him in person. I stuck with the Walker Texas Ranger get up, minus the beard of course. I feared no one would understand my Summer Catch reference so I decided to stay away from my Eric Van Leemer costume. Like they always say, there is always next year.

30 Players in 30 Days: Justin Maxwell

Justin Maxwell

Justin Maxwell made waves in the DC-area long before he was on the Nationals. The Bethesda, Md., native was a standout at the University of Maryland and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft by the Washington Nationals. Since then, he has quickly ascended through the Nationals Minor League system.

Though hampered with a fractured wrist last season, Maxwell came back full force this season. The tall, speedy outfielder with strides like a gazelle stole 35 bases with the Triple-A Chiefs, good for fourth overall in the International League. He was the Syracuse Player of the Month in June when he hit six home runs, drove in 17 RBI, walked 20 times and scored 21 runs in 28 games. He was brought up to the Big Leagues three different times this year, the last being a September call-up. He has always impressed the club with his athletic ability and range in the outfield. On May 23 at Nationals Park, Maxwell made perhaps the finest catch in his career as he tracked a long line drive over 60 yards into right-center field, leapt up and reached over the wall to rob Baltimore’s Adam Jones of what would have been a first-inning home run.


Maxwell 1 c.JPGIn the final home game of the 2009 season–Fan Appreciation Day–Maxwell blasted a walk-off grand slam off of Francisco Rodriguez to lead the Nats to a 7-4 victory over the Mets. While he definitely ended the season with a bang, his hitting is the one facet he will focus on this offseason. He struck out 136 times in 111 games, good for seventh-most in the International League.

“He has done all the facets of the game,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “He can play defense, run and throw. It’s a just a matter of consistently putting the bat on the ball.”

Maxwell has not been slowed down by last season’s injury and proved he can be a valuable asset for the Nationals. His athleticism and speed are great tools both on the basepaths and in the outfield. Next season, he will get the chance to prove himself again and will compete for a roster spot out of Spring Training.

Justin Maxwell Final Major League Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

40

89

13

22

40

4

1

4

9

12

0

32

6

1

.247

.343

.449

.793

 

Justin Maxwell Final Minor League Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

111

384

68

93

152

10

5

13

42

54

2

136

35

8

.242

.344

.396

.740

30 Players in 30 Days: John Lannan


 
Lannan NY c.jpgWhen John Lannan took the mound on June 17 against his hometown team, the New York Yankees, he couldn’t help but get excited. It was a ‘please, can somebody pinch me’ moment. He grew up a Yankees fan in Long Island, N.Y., so the game was naturally a memorable moment for him pitching in front of his family, friends and former high school teammates at the new Yankee Stadium. He made it magical. He had the daunting task of keeping the Bronx Bombers’ bats at bay–mission accomplished.
Lannan pitched 8.1 innings of four-hit ball and the Nationals beat the Yankees 3-2. Lannan completed the New York circuit and beat the Mets and Yankees in the same season. The New York native tossed his first career complete game against the Mets on June 6 and less than two weeks later, kept the Yankees lineup in check.

 Those two outings gave us a glimpse at how good Lannan can be and the 2009 season proved that he is a dependable, resilient pitcher that is here to stay. The Nationals pitching staff was anchored by Lannan’s left arm and he didn’t miss a start. He led the team with 33 starts, nine wins, a 3.88 ERA and 206.1 innings, up from 182.0 innings in 2008. Lannan doesn’t try to overpower batters with his fastball. He pitches to contact and is a ground ball specialist. According to StatCorner, 41.6% of plate appearances against Lannan resulted in ground balls, against the league average of 31.8%.

 He didn’t post a win-loss record to boast about, but that’s more indicative of the run support he received and not his pitching ability. Lannan sported the sixth lowest run support average in baseball this year. During the 2009 season, there were 11 games when Lannan pitched at least 6.0 innings and gave up three runs or less but walked away with the no-decision or loss. In those 11 starts, he went 0-3 with a 1.89 ERA (16 ER/ 76.1 IP) with 41 strikeouts and a .215 BAA.

 Look at this interesting comparison:

ALCS MVP CC Sabathia vs. John Lannan

 Number of games started allowing three runs or less:

Sabathia:         23

Lannan:           23

 ERA in those games:

Sabathia:         1.78 ERA (32 ER/ 161.2 IP)

Lannan:           2.24 ERA (39 ER/ 156.2 IP)

 Individual Record in those games:

Sabathia:         18-0

Lannan:           9-5

 Team Record in those games:

Sabathia:         20-3

Lannan:           12-11

 Lannan is the only pitcher that is assured a spot in the Nationals 2010 rotation right now and he will give the Nats a chance to win every fifth day in 2010.

 

John Lannan Final Stats

W

L

ERA

SV/SVO

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

9

13

3.88

0/1

0

60.1

36

20

18

9

1

32

67

.172

1.13

0.53

30 Players in 30 Days: Ross Detwiler

Ross Detwiler


detwiler c.jpgRoss Detwiler entered the 2009 season ranked as the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect by Baseball America. At times he pitched like a prospect but he showed the he can pitch at the Major League level too. He earned his first career win and posted a 1.90 ERA (23.2 IP/5 ER) with a .220 BBA in five games (four starts) after he was called up in September. He was drafted in the first round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and became the first member of his draft class to reach the Big Leagues when he pitched an inning in relief on September 7th, 2007. This year, he began the season at Double-A Harrisburg and joined the Nationals rotation on May 18th for a spot start against the Pirates. He pitched so well–5.0 innings, two earned runs and six strikeouts–they couldn’t send him back down. He was eventually optioned to the Triple-A Chiefs on July 12th.

 

While at first glance the stats from his 15 Major League starts don’t look that impressive, there are some bright spots on horizon for Detwiler. While he was 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA overall, he continued to grow as a pitcher. See September. We can also look at his FIP (fielding independent pitching) to see how effective his pitching is. FIP measures a pitcher’s responsibility for the runs allowed based on his walks, strikeouts and home runs allowed, displayed as an ERA. In Detwiler’s case, his ERA is 5.00 but his FIP is 3.86, meaning he is actually over a run better than his ERA.

 

Though Detwiler did not put up stellar numbers this year, he proved that he can be a reliable pitcher in the future. Detwiler, along with Zimmermann, Lannan and Strasburg, is a part of the young, homegrown pitching arsenal the Nationals have been accumulating over the last few years. You can count on him being a significant contributor in the future.

 

 

Ross Detwiler Final Major League Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

1

6

5.00

15/14

0

75.2

87

43

42

3

2

33

43

.289

1.59

1.02

 

 

Ross Detwiler Final Minor League Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

4

5

3.05

16/16

0

76.2

84

37

26

4

1

30

70

.273

1.49

1.16

The Storen Identity – 10/30

Drew Storen might not be Jason Bourne but he is special. He can’t fend off 30 people at once, dodge bullets or drive a car like Jeff Gordon during a high speed chase while weaving in and out of oncoming traffic. Well, he might be able to do all that… he doesn’t know. He hasn’t tried. He won’t need to if he continues to sit batters down the same way Bourne puts bad guys on their back. They are one in the same, two people extremely good at what they do. Storen saves games and Bourne saves humanity. Here is his post from the AFL…

 
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In an attempt to make this a more frequent publication, I am throwing up a little post here to cap off a chilly week down here in Arizona. Keep in my mind, “chilly” is a relative term, the mornings here have been mid-40’s and highs in 60’s during the day. It is kind of a nice change from the extreme heat of the past few weeks, but I am ready for the infamous Arizona dry heat to return.

 We lost a close one today with Peoria, almost making a big comeback in late innings. Fellow National Chris Marrero hit a home run to dead center that stayed about 10 feet off the ground the entire time. It was like he was playing darts with the batters eye in center field.  I tossed the rock around a little in the bullpen in case we tied the game up, but I did not end up going in. Hopefully I can find my way to the bump tomorrow for some work. I have stayed in the closing role since I have been down here. I love the role and am glad things have worked out as they have where I can stay down there and come in during the pressure situations. It is also cool to be teammates with other closers/late inning relievers from other organizations. It is fun to watch them throw on days I have to rest. I also pick their brain about throwing at different levels and in different leagues.

 With Halloween tomorrow, I only find it appropriate to reveal some disguises from the past. Being from Indianapolis and having no real hometown MLB team to root for, I was a combination of a White Sox, Reds, and Mariners fan when I was little. Naturally, I rocked the Chris Sabo get-up for at least one Halloween. I believe I wore swimming goggles instead of the Rec Specs, so complete authenticity was not reached, but a good effort nonetheless.  Another year, I wore my dad’s high school football uniform and referred to myself as a “Dead/Ancient Football Player”. Looking back, that may have not made my dad feel too young.

 Thanks for stopping back, I’ll throw something else up early next week to update the baseball happenings around here, but also share some of the best costumes of the weekend.


 
Storen AFL 045.JPG
 
Storen c.jpg 

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