Results tagged ‘ 30 in 30 ’

30 Players in 30 Days: Sean Burnett

Sean Burnett


sean burnett1.JPGBurnett was acquired in the same trade that brought Nyjer Morgan over from Pittsburgh and immediately boosted the Nationals’ struggling bullpen. The hard-throwing left-hander became one of the most reliable arms out of the ‘pen this season before being sidelined by a bruised thumb on August 23rd. He was never put on the disabled list, but the injury decreased his playing time significantly.

Burnett began his career as a starting pitcher in the Pirates system. He enjoyed a fair amount of success as he worked his way up through the Minors. He made his Major League debut in 2004 and went 5-5 with a 5.02 ERA in 13 starts. Unfortunately, an injury late in that season led to Tommy John surgery and Burnett missed the entire 2005 season. He remained a starting pitching in the Minors in 2006 and 07. He became a full time reliever in 2008 and appeared in 58 games for the Pirates after he was called up at the beginning of May.

Burnett’s strongest assets include his command of the strike zone and his unusual pitching motion. He is a sidearm pitcher and throws across his body, causing the ball to take a different path to the plate than most players are used to. Even though he is left-handed, he is almost as effective against righties as he is against lefties (See chart). It appears that left-handed hitters do not get on base as often as right-handed hitters but lefties do hit the ball harder when they make contact. 

 

Burnett

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

vs. Left

97

18

4

1

3

12

11

24

.186

.273

.340

vs. Right

102

18

3

0

3

9

17

19

.176

.306

.294

 

 


sean burnett2.JPGThe trio of
Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard, and Mike MacDougal proved to be a solid core in a bullpen that saw a lot of changes this year. Burnett is arbitration eligible and he will be counted on to be a stopper in the bullpen in 2010.

 

Sean Burnett Final Stats

W

L

ERA

SV/SVO

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

2

3

3.12

0/3

0

57.2

36

21

20

6

3

28

43

.181

1.11

1.34

30 Players in 30 Days: Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond


desmond photo shoot c.jpgAfter being drafted in the third round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, shortstop Ian Desmond made his long-awaited Major League debut on September 11, 2009. His Big League career got off to a picture perfect start when he went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run in his debut.

Offensively, Desmond exploded this year. After being a career .247/.313/.373 hitter during his first five Minor League seasons, he went .330/.401/.477 in the Minors this season. Even though he didn’t hit at that same clip in the Majors, he still tore the cover off the ball. In 21 games during the month of September, he hit .280/.318/.561 with seven doubles, three triples and four home runs.

“This is a year where balls fell in,” Desmond said. “I changed my approach to the plate. I’m a lot more confident with two strikes. Besides that, I’m just getting hits. I’m hitting the ball on the ground a lot more, which is creating base hits.”

In 2009, Baseball America’s Best Tools Survey named Desmond “Best infield Arm” in the Nationals system. While he has a strong throwing arm, he has cast some doubts due to his recklessness, collecting 28 errors in the Minors and six in the Majors. However, he is a good athlete and has great range in the field.

“He is very comfortable,” Interim Manager Jim Riggleman said. “He knows he can play here. He’s fielding the ball nicely, throwing to first nicely, [has good] communication with the other [players]. He was a real boost for us.”

As of now, Desmond looks to be the shortstop of the future for the Nationals, potentially moving Cristian Guzman over to second base. In preparation for this, Desmond will spend time in the Dominican Republic this winter playing for the Licey Tigers with teammate Elijah Dukes.

 

Ian Desmond Final Major League Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

21

82

9

23

46

7

3

4

12

5

0

14

1

0

.280

.318

.561

.879

 

Ian Desmond Final Minor League Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

97

348

54

115

166

24

3

7

32

36

 

71

21

5

.330

.401

.477

.878

30 Players in 30 Days: Tyler Clippard

Tyler Clippard


Clippard 10 c.jpgRight-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard experienced a metamorphosis of sorts this season. After being a starter for his entire career, Clippard was moved into the bullpen. He began the season in Syracuse and was promoted to the Majors on June 25 and appeared in 41 games this season, going 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA.

Clippard didn’t earn a spot in the Nationals rotation after Spring Training and was sent down to Syracuse to start the season. It was there that then-pitching coach Steve McCatty turned Clippard into a reliever. He went 4-1 with a 1.92 ERA and a .150 BAA in 24 games (one start) while in the Minors and did not allow an earned run in 19.0 consecutive innings (14 games) from May 18-June 23. After being brought up to the Majors on June 21, he ended up going 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 41 appearances.

Clippard has always been especially strong against left-handed batters. This year, righties hit .234/.360/.500 against him while lefties hit .122/.217/.226.  As he faced both righties and lefties almost equally, 114 and 132 plate appearances respectively, the huge difference between the two is no anomaly. This has been the trend through his short career, even as a starter righties hit .269/.379/.911 and lefties hit .167/.269/.317. It is still early but the numbers indicate that Clippard is a “reverse-splits” pitcher, as his splits are the opposite of what one would assume for a right-handed pitcher. 

“He’s still a work in progress,” Interim Manager Jim Riggleman said. “He’s got to get a little better at commanding his fastball, but he’s really a rare exception to put up good numbers in spite of that. So that just shows you the quality of his other pitches.”

Now a little more comfortable in his role as a reliever, Clippard’s stock is rising. He proved to be a reliable tool in a shaky Nationals bullpen. Clippard now has his sights set on a new goal, to become a closer and is ready to do what it takes to get there.

“Absolutely. I’d love to be able to close,” Clippard said. “But at this point in my career, I’m a young guy in the Big Leagues.

 

Tyler Clippard Final Major League Stats

W

L

ERA

SV/SVO

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

4

2

2.69

0/1

0

60.1

36

20

18

9

1

32

67

.172

1.13

0.53

30 Players in 30 Days: Cristian Guzman

Cristian Guzman


christian guzman1.JPGComing off of his second All-Star season in 2008, Cristian Guzman had a good season offensively but might have lost a step defensively. The 11-year veteran from the Dominican Republic continues to be a productive hitter and a crucial cog in the Nationals lineup.

Guzman has been a solid hitter throughout his career. He had 49 multi-hit games this season, which ranks most on the Nationals, and had a 17-game hit streak. The shortstop ranks fourth on the career active triples list with 85, including the seven he hit this season.


christian guzman3.JPGOne area where Guzman could greatly improve is his plate discipline. This year he averaged 3.25 pitches per plate appearance, which is the second lowest in the Majors out of all qualifying batters. In comparison, teammate Adam Dunn is fourth highest overall and sees 4.32 pitches per plate appearance. For Guzman, this resulted in only 16 walks this season and an OBP of .306. With a batting average (.284) so close to his OBP, Guzman relies almost entirely on his hitting to get on base. If he drew more walks, he could continue to be productive at the plate even when he is not hitting the ball well. For a veteran such as Guzman, this could prove to be a hard adjustment to make.

Plans for Guzman in 2010 include possibly moving him to second base to make room for Ian Desmond at short. Guzman missed the last two weeks of the season with a shoulder injury and underwent arthroscopic surgery for it on October 8. He is expected to recover fully and should be ready for the 2010 season.


 Cristian Guzman Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

135

531

74

151

207

24

7

6

52

16

0

75

4

5

.284

.306

.390

.696

 

 

30 Players in 30 Days: J.D. Martin

 J.D. Martin


j. d. martin2.JPGAfter pitching phenomenally well in Triple-A Syracuse, J.D. Martin made his Major League debut with the Washington Nationals on July 20. While his first few starts were a bit rusty he eventually garnered his first Major League win on August 9 against Arizona.

Prior to the 2009 season, Martin spent eight years in the Cleveland Indians system. He overcame a number of arm problems along the way which culminated with Tommy John surgery in 2005. The surgery was a success and in 2008 he was named to the Eastern League All-Star team. Following a stellar 2008 season, the Nationals signed Martin to a Minor League contract as a way to bolster their pitching staff.

Martin more than proved his worth while pitching with the Syracuse Chiefs this season. He went 8-3 with a 2.66 ERA which earned him an All-Star selection and his eventual call-up to the Majors. He was voted Best Control in the International League in Baseball America‘s annual Best Tools survey voted upon by league managers and earned the Nationals Triple-A Pitcher of the Month distinctions in May and June.


j.d. martin3.JPGOne place where Martin surprised many people was on the basepaths. In his second Major League start, after not having any plate appearances in his eight years with Cleveland, Martin drew a walk and went from first to third on a single by Nyjer Morgan, sparking a five-run rally (see what he had to say about it
here). While he didn’t bat enough to make any significant contributions to the Nationals offense, it was great seeing him contribute to the team on the basepaths as well as on the mound.


j.d. martin1.JPGIn the Minors, Martin was a serious strikeout pitcher with great command of the strike zone and a well-crafted curveball. In 88 innings pitched, he had a strikeout/walk ratio of 6.30 (63/10). These numbers dipped in the Majors where he had a K/BB ratio of 1.54 (37/24 in 77 IP) because of the difference in hitting ability between the Major and Minor Leagues. Martin was still a key asset for the club, going 5-4 with a 4.44 ERA. What his won/loss record doesn’t say, however, is that the team was 10-5 when Martin started, which is the best out of all Nationals starters this year. If Martin can continue his success into Spring Training, he will compete for the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation in 2010.

 

 

J.D. Martin Final Major League Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

5

4

4.44

15/15

0

77.0

85

40

38

14

6

24

37

.341

1.42

0.72

30 Players in 30 Days: Willie Harris

Willie Harris

 

willieharris.jpgWillie Harris has always been a fan favorite because of his easy going personality and his ability on the field. The versatile utility player saw plenty of action this year, appearing in 137 games and showing that, with regular play, he can be a productive member of the team.

 

As he has done throughout most of his career, Harris came off the bench to pinch hit, pinch run and as a defensive sub in 2009. He started a combined 82 games at second base, third base and all three outfield positions this season. While his favorite position is second base, his speed and range rank him among the best Nationals outfielders so he spent the majority of his time in center field when Nyjer Morgan went down with an injury.

 

While Harris couldn’t match his career season last year (.251/.344/.417), he came pretty close to it this season, batting .235/.364/.393. Harris, 31, can still move on the basepaths. Last season, he stole 13 bases with 16 attempts, a success rate of 81.25%. This year he stole 11 bases with 15 attempts, a rate of 73.33%.

 

Harris has a great attitude for the game, which makes him so easy to cheer for. He is a team player that can always be counted on for a few good laughs. The Nationals have Harris signed through next season, so you can look forward to him adding that spark off of the bench again next year.

 

Willie Harris Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

137

323

47

76

127

18

6

7

27

57

1

62

11

4

.235

.364

.393

.757

30 Players in 30 Days: Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann


J. Zimmermann.JPGNo Nationals pitcher’s debut was more hyped going into the 2009 season than Jordan Zimmermann’s. The 23 year-old pitcher, drafted in the second round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, was rated as the Nationals No. 1 prospect by Baseball America. On April 20, Zimmermann joined the Nationals rotation and won his Major League debut, beating Derek Lowe and the Atlanta Braves 3-2. He allowed two runs and six hits, with three strikeouts and a walk on a cold, rainy day that included two rain delays.

Zimmermann’s Major League debut concluded his improbable journey to the Majors. He made his mark at Division III University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he pitched in the Division III World Series. He didn’t turn a lot of heads in high school but when his fastball jumped from 88 MPH to 93 mph, he began to get noticed. Zimmermann was eventually drafted in the second round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft by the Nationals and quickly rose through the Minor League ranks.

The hard-throwing right-hander now tops out at about 95 mph and he made 16 starts for the Nationals in 2009. He went 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA, and struck out 92 in 91.1 innings pitched. He has an excellent strikeouts per nine innings ratio (K/9) of 9.1 which is comparable to pitchers such as Dan Haren and Jorge De La Rosa. On the flip side, his hits per nine innings ratio (H/9) is 9.4, a number which he will try to bring down in the future.

Unfortunately his debut season was cut short when, on July 22, Zimmermann went on the 15-day DL. His fate was sealed when he underwent Tommy John surgery in August. It will take him 12-18 months to recover, all but postponing his return to the majors until 2011.

 

Jordan Zimmermann Final Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

3

5

4.63

16/16

0

91.1

95

51

47

10

4

29

92

.332

1.36

1.33

 

30 Players in 30 Days: Elijah Dukes

Elijah Dukes


elijah dukes1.JPGElijah Dukes came into his second season with the Nationals hoping to make an improvement over last year’s injury-riddled season. He faced a different sort of challenge this year when he was sent down to the Minor Leagues for a month following the trade for Nyjer Morgan on July 1. That did not stop this young outfielder from continuing to try to improve his play on the field.


 elijah dukes3.JPGBefore being sent down, Dukes batted .244/.308/.415 with six home runs and 30 RBI. When he returned to the Majors on August 1, he came with a new attitude towards the game which resulted in some offensive improvements. While he wasn’t hitting the ball as hard, his slugging percentage dropped to .368, he increased his batting average by 13 points and raised his OBP to .366. This can be attributed mostly to increased patience at the plate. Dukes picked up 28 walks in 50 games (205 PA) in the second half of the season as compared to 18 walks in the first 57 games (211 PA).

Dukes was acquired by the Nationals from the Rays prior to the 2008 season. While he missed 72 games due to injuries, he still managed to set career highs across the board. He was among the team leaders in OBP (.386) and slugging percentage (.478) and ranked fourth overall in the NL in OPS after June 5, 2008. Yet surgery on a meniscus tear and subsequent leg injuries kept him out for 72 games.


 This offseason, you can follow Dukes as he plays for the Licey Tigers of the Dominican Winter League. Looking ahead to next year, Dukes needs to try to stay healthy as he has been plagued by knee injuries in the past. This winter, he will need to work on hitting breaking balls.  Sliders are especially troublesome for him. Dukes is currently jockeying to become the full time right fielder, a role that, if he can stay healthy for the whole season, he can certainly flourish in.

Elijah Dukes Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

107

364

38

91

143

20

4

8

58

46

2

74

3

10

.250

.337

.393

.729

30 Players in 30 Days: Collin Balester

Collin Balester


colin ballester1.JPGAfter making his Major League debut last season, Collin Balester saw just over a month of action for the Nationals this year. He came up to replace the injured Jordan Zimmermann on July 22nd and was sent back down to make room for Livan Hernandez on August 26th. In that time, Bally made seven starts, going 1-4 with a 6.82 ERA. The highlight of the season for Ballester was his win over Milwaukee on July 28th. In that game, he pitched 6.0 innings giving up two runs on five hits and throwing a season high 93 pitches.


collin balester2.JPGThe 23 year-old right-hander from Huntington Beach, Calif., also went 7-10 with a 4.44 ERA in 20 starts with Triple-A Syracuse this year. His best month was June where he went 4-1 with a 2.30 ERA over five starts.

 The former Futures Game Selection is perennially one of the Nationals’ top prospects and could be a candidate to fill a key role in the Nationals pitching rotation in the future. In 2007 and 2008 Baseball America ranked him the No. 1 then No. 3 prospect, respectively, in the Nationals farm system. On July 1, 2008, Balester became the first Nationals pitcher to win his debut when he gave up one hit and struck out three in 5.0 innings against the Marlins.

Balester is an avid surfer and credits surfing for helping him build arm strength. This offseason should be an exciting one, as he is planning to marry his fiancé, Ashley Sterling, in October.

Collin Balester Final Major League Stats

W

L

ERA

G/GS

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HB

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

1

4

6.82

7/7

0

30.1

34

24

23

10

0

14

20

.281

1.58

0.82

 

 

30 Players in 30 Days: Nyjer Morgan

While Nationals Park may be empty and the players are back home with their families, Notes from NatsTown does not take a break just because the season is over. We’re here to give you your Nationals fix to hold you over until next spring. Starting today, we will run 30 Players in 30 Days, a feature which highlights members of the Nationals and their achievements this season. Tune in each weekday to see who we cover next!

First up, center fielder Nyjer Morgan


nyjer morgan1.JPGNyjer Morgan sprinted his way around the bases and into the hearts of the citizens of NatsTown when he was acquired from the Pittsburg Pirates in a trade on June 30. His dazzling plays in center field and flamboyant alter-ego, Tony Plush, brought life to the team both in the clubhouse and on the field.

The trade for Nyjer Morgan, one of GM Mike Rizzo’s biggest and best moves of the season, filled two of the Nationals’ biggest holes: a ground-covering center fielder and speed on the basepaths. Morgan’s range and speed allowed him to get to balls which routinely had fallen for hits in the past. He is essentially a younger version of Juan Pierre–a contact hitter with blazing speed and who fields his position well. According to his Ultimate Zone Rating, a defensive stat which tries to quantify the number of runs a player saves above a replacement player factoring in arm strength, range and defense, Morgan saved 27.4 runs this season–second most among all Major League outfielders.

 
nyjer morgan4.JPGMorgan’s time with the Nationals was limited this year as he was sidelined with a broken hand after 49 games. That didn’t keep him from ranking second in the National League with 42 stolen bases.  Yet he was caught 17 times, making his success rate 71%. The breakeven rate for stolen bases is 75%, meaning that, while Morgan’s mad dashes around the bases were exciting, he hurt the team’s ability to score runs a few times. He is not that far off and can improve if he just learns to pick his spots better which will come with more experience. Remember, this season was Morgan’s first full year in the Majors.

In his time with the Nationals, Morgan also exploded offensively. In Washington, he hit .351/.396/.435 as opposed to his Pittsburgh output of .277/.351/.356. He hits fastballs at an exceedingly high clip. However, he has trouble with off-speed pitches, something he can work on during the offseason.


 
nyjer morgan3.JPGWhile Morgan may make some appearances at hockey rinks this offseason, NatsTown is eagerly awaiting his  return next spring. Though he only played for just under two months, it was clear that he is just what the Nationals need to succeed. In games where Morgan played, the Nationals went 23-26 (.469) versus 36-77 (.319) in games where he didn’t play. The prognosis on his wrist injury is good and Tony Plush, or Nyjer Morgan, should be as ready as ever come Spring Training. 

Nyjer Morgan Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

120

469

74

144

182

15

7

3

39

40

2

74

42

17

.307

.369

.388

.757

 
nyjer morgan2.JPG
 

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