Results tagged ‘ 30 in 30 ’

30 Players in 30 Days: Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg


strasburg 100 c.jpgThere has never been a draft pick as highly anticipated as Stephen Strasburg. The No. 1 overall pick by the Nationals has a blazing fastball and solid mechanics. Though his contract negotiations went down to the wire, causing a lot of Nationals fans to worry, he ended up signing a four year, $15.1 million contract, the largest ever for a draft pick. Strasburg made his professional debut playing in the Arizona Fall League for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, along with fellow Nats Drew Storen, Jeff Mandel, Danny Espinosa, Sean Rooney, Josh Wilkie and Chris Marrero.

Strasburg was not drafted out of high school. He joined the San Diego State University baseball team overweight and out of shape. Yet something inside of him clicked and he changed all that. In the last three years he worked hard to lose the weight and work on his pitching, increasing his fastball from 89 mph to 102 mph. Strasburg finished up his college career with a 13-1 record, a 1.32 ERA, 59 hits allowed, 19 walks and 195 strikeouts in 109 innings pitched. He even pitched a no-hitter against Air Force on May 8, 2009.

Strasburg also got a taste for the big stage while he was in college. He was the only college player selected to be a member of the 2008 Olympic team in Beijing. During the competition, he pitched against the Netherlands and current Nationals teammate Shairon Martis. Strasburg won that game, but lost against Cuba in his next start. Overall he finished 1-1 with a 1.67 ERA and a Bronze medal.

While his professional career is still young, Strasburg is living up to the hype. Throughout the AFL he hit 100 mph on the radar gun. His change-up clocked in at 90 mph making it brutal for batters to face him. Scouts commend him for the ease at which Strasburg pitches. He doesn’t have to rear back and expend a lot of effort to hit three digits on the radar gun; he maintains his posture and form while pitching hard.

As a young pitcher, Strasburg still has things to work on, such as his location and getting used to pitching against better talent. While he will not single-handedly turn the Nationals around in 2010, he has the skill and drive to make it in the Big Leagues and will be exciting to watch in the future.

 

Stephen Strasburg Final AFL  Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HB

BB

SO

WHIP

4

1

4.26

5/5

0

19.0

15

10

9

3

0

7

23

1.16

 

30 Players in 30 Days: Drew Storen

Drew Storen


090909-161 drew storen c.JPGAs you might have read on “The Storen Identity”… Drew Storen is not 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 but don’t put it past him. 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.

Storen is your typical 22-year-old that likes country music, NASCAR, twitter and rocking out as Chuck Norris on Halloween. He is just really good at baseball and that’s why the Nationals used their second first-round pick in this year’s draft to snag him. He signed the next day and began his climb through the Nationals Minor League ranks starting with the Single-A Hagerstown Suns. In 28 appearances between Hagerstown, Potomac and Harrisburg, Storen went 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA. The right-handed reliever struck out 49 and walked just eight batters over 37.0 innings holding batters to a .161 BAA. While many hoped to see Storen in the Majors during September call-ups, General Manager Mike Rizzo was keen on keeping him in the Minors and in the Instructional League.

“He needs more seasoning than that,” Rizzo said. “I don’t believe that it’s a positive developmental thing for him or any draft choice to come right to the Big Leagues. We like the progression he’s shown so far though.”

Instead, Storen was the stopper for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League in October and November. Storen pitched against the best Minor League talent from around the League and was teammates with fellow first round selection Stephen Strasburg. He was the sure-fire closer for the Desert Dogs and didn’t disappoint. The Desert Dogs lost in the championship game but Storen went 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA (1 ER/ 13.2 IP), 13 strikeouts and four saves in 12 games. 

While at Stanford University, Storen studied Product Design, a major that combines his creativity with engineering. Even with his Major League contract, he still plans to finish school and enjoys designing sportswear such as sneakers.

He is a rising star and could be the back end of the bullpen guy the Nats have been looking for since Chad Cordero.

 

Drew Storen Final Minor League Stats

W

L

ERA

SV

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

2

1

1.95

11

0

37.0

21

8

8

2

2

8

49

.161

0.784

0.71

30 Players in 30 Days: Brad Meyers


meyers c.JPGThe Nationals organization has made it their priority to stock pile young, talented pitchers and it is starting to pay off in Washington. The franchise’s 2009 Minor League Pitcher of the Year could be one of the next young guns in the Nation’s Capital. Brad Meyers was drafted in the 14th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft by the Mets but decided to attend Loyola Marymount (CA) University. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Nats in 2007.

 

He has the prototypical projectable pitcher’s body at 6-foot-6 with a fastball in the low to mid 90s. He went 9-7 with a 4.79 ERA with the Suns in 2008. He made a few adjustments during the 2009 season and was brilliant. He started using his legs and throwing all his pitches for strikes–it worked. He went a combined 11-3 with a 1.72 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) with Double-A Harrisburg and Single-A Potomac. Meyers led all full-season Minor League pitchers with a microscopic 1.72 ERA and allowed two earned runs or less in 20 of 23 starts (87%) this season.

 

The 24-year-old went 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA (12 ER/48.0 IP) and a 3.9/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (43 K/11 BB) in nine starts with Harrisburg.

 

“Walking batters is kind of a pet peeve of mine,” Meyers said. “I don’t like to walk people. I try to force contact and make hitters put it into play. Usually things go good when I’m doing that.”

 

Prior to his July 7 promotion to Harrisburg, Meyers dominated the Carolina League, going 6-2 with a league-best 1.43 ERA (14 ER/88.1 IP) in 15 games (14 starts) with Potomac. He was selected as a midseason Carolina League All-Star and was a two time MiLB.com Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honoree (May 4-10 and June 29-July 5).

 

 

Brad Meyers Final Minor League Stats

W

L

ERA

SV/SVO

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

11

3

1.72

0/0

0

136.1

111

31

26

3

32

108

.223

1.05

1.20

30 Players in 30 Days: Derek Norris

Derek Norris


022508-207 derek norris c.JPGAll the hype surrounded Nationals first round pick Ross Detwiler after the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Fourth round pick Derek Norris went under the radar. He can’t hide any longer. He made a name for himself this season and was named the Nationals 2009 Minor League Player of the Year.

He joins Justin Maxwell (2007) and Leonard Davis (2008) as past recipients of the award. The Goddard, Kansas native, Norris turned down a scholarship to play at Wichita State and signed with the Nationals in 2007. He immediately become one of the Nationals top catching prospects. He hit .286 with 30 doubles, 23 home runs, 84 RBI and 78 runs scored in 126 games with the Single-A Hagerstown Suns this season. He paced full-season Washington farmhands in home runs, walks (90), on-base percentage (.413), slugging percentage (.513) and OPS (.926). He was selected to play in the Arizona Fall League but fractured his left hamate bone while working out in the Instructional League.

He is built like Russell Martin, a short, stocky catcher with a powerful stroke at the plate. He doesn’t have a time table for making it to the Majors, as those never seem to go as planned anyway. He will likely start the 2010 campaign with the Single-A Potomac Nationals and he has no intention on switching positions. 

“No, I’m not looking to change any positions,” Norris said. “I know my numbers look a little shaky at times, as far as passed balls and errors but I think that if I keep progressing from year to year I’ll achieve what I want to achieve.”

The Player of the Year award adds to the laundry list of accolades the 20-year-old received in 2009. The right-handed hitting slugger earned both midseason and postseason South Atlantic League All-Star honors. Norris was named the SAL Most Outstanding Major League Prospect. He was recently cited in Baseball America‘s annual Best Tools survey voted upon by league managers as the Best Batting Prospect and Best Power Prospect in the SAL. While this was a banner year for Norris, there are many more accolades to come in his baseball career.

Derek Norris Final Minor League Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

126

437

78

125

224

30

0

23

84

90

116

6

3

.286

.413

.513

.926

30 Players in 30 Days: Wil Nieves

Wil Nieves

Going into the 2009 season, Nieves was expected to fill his previous role as the Nationals’ backup catcher. When Jesus Flores went down with an injury 29 games into the season, Nieves’ role increased and he became a platoon catcher with teammate Josh Bard.

Prior to joining the Nationals, Nieves made his Major League debut with the San Diego Padres in 2002 and then later spent time as Jorge Posada’s backup on the New York Yankees. While he is regarded as a solid defensive catcher, his offensive numbers have kept him from becoming a starter.


042508-266 wil nieves c.JPGThough he finished this year with a .259 batting average, Nieves actually performed slightly better than his numbers suggest. His BAbip, or the batting average on balls in play, was .311. This shows that, when Nieves does make contact with the ball, he hits it well.

What Nieves can improve upon are his power numbers. Going into the 2010 season, he only has two career home runs–his first coming in the form of a walk-off winner to right field on April 25, 2008 against the Cubs at Nationals Park.

Nieves was slowed down at the end of the season by a pulled hamstring but is on the mend and preparing for 2010. With Flores expected to recover by next season, Nieves looks to return to his role as a veteran backstop. It’s a role he has flourished in.

Wil Nieves Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

72

224

20

58

67

6

0

1

26

17

1

45

1

0

.259

.313

.299

.612

30 Players in 30 Days: Jason Bergmann

Jason Bergmann


j bergmann c.jpgIn his five seasons with the Nationals, Jason Bergmann has learned to adapt. This righty spent time as a reliever and a starter before being converted back to a fulltime reliever in 2009. Bergmann started this year on the Opening Day roster but went back and forth between the Big Leagues and Minor Leagues, eventually making it to Washington for good on July 4.

Bergmann pitched well for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. In 19 relief appearances he went 1-1 with two saves, four holds and a 1.16 ERA, while posting a .212 batting average against. He appeared in a career-high 56 games for the Nationals in 2009. Overall, he went 2-4 with a 4.50 ERA and ten holds with the Nats.

This year, Bergmann raised his K/9 ratio to 7.5, up from 6.2 last season meaning he struck out more batters relative to the innings he pitched. On the flip side, his BB/9 ratio also went up from 3.0 last year to 4.7 this season, something Bergmann can definitely bring down for next year. His BABip, or batting average on balls hit into play, was .311 compared to his opponents’ batting average of .270. This shows that, when batters hit the ball off of Bergmann, they hit it well, so he needs to work on reducing contact on his pitches.

“I’m not worried about throwing a perfect strike,” Bergmann said. “I’m throwing a good pitch with conviction and knowing it’s going to be a quality pitch.”

No matter what role he finds himself in, Bergmann has always worked to improve and succeed. For instance, this year he worked on mixing his pitches better. This allowed the Nats to use him in more pressure situations, where Bergmann thrived. He finished 2009 with 10 holds and only allowed 14% (7/50) of inherited runners to score, which is below the league average of 30%. Look for Bergmann to continue to grow as a Big League ballplayer in 2010.

 

Jason Bergmann Final Major League  Stats

W

L

ERA

SV/SVO

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

2

4

4.50

0/1

0

48.0

50

28

24

7

3

25

40

.278

1.56

0.89

30 Players in 30 Days: Shairon Martis

 Shairon Martis


 
051909-171 shairon martis.JPGShairon Martis led off the 2009 season with an impressive 5-0 run over his first seven starts. This included a complete game win over St. Louis on May 2 where he struck out six, walked one and allowed five hits.

Martis has been a strong pitcher, even from a young age. As a member of the Netherlands 2006 World Baseball Classic team, Martis pitched the only no-hitter in WBC history against Panama. After originally being drafted by San Francisco, the Nationals acquired him in a trade for Mike Stanton in 2006. He made his Major League debut for the Nationals on September 4, 2008 at 21 years, five month and six days old.

While he finished the 2009 Major League season with a winning record, the record was more indicative of the production from the offense during the games he started (6.48 RSA in his first seven starts) than his ability to shutdown opposing lineups. Martis had some mechanical issues throughout the season that led to a Minor League demotion

Martis improved in the Minor Leagues, increasing his K/BB to 2.22 and lowering his ERA to 4.96. At 22, he is still one of the youngest pitchers with Major League experience and has a bright future.  

 

Shairon Martis Final Major League Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

5

3

5.25

15/15

0

85.2

83

52

50

11

4

39

34

.255

1.42

0.83

 

 

Shairon Martis Final Minor League Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

4

4

4.96

13/13

0

74.1

90

42

41

9

1

18

40

.304

1.45

0.61

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

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

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