Friday, October 6, 2017

Episode 50 - Instant Reaction Game 1 Ft. Wally

Episode 49: Instant reaction to the NLCS game one loss versus the Cubs featuring a special guest. Includes reactions to the game one loss, some pessimistic outlooks from Paul, and prognostications about game 2.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Tom Petty - Won't Back Down

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Episode 49 - Getting the Band Back Together

Episode 49: Joe and Paul discuss the dwindling DL list, focusing on Jayson Werth and Trea Turner and the guys they are replacing, Howie Kendrick and Wilmer Difo. Plus, Giancarlo Stanton... as a Nat?

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music:Queens of the Stone Age - The Way You Used to Do

Monday, August 7, 2017

Episode 48 - How Confident Are You?

Episode 48: After the podcast's successful move to the West Coast, Paul and Joe are finally back to talk Nats. Specifically, they debate how confident they feel in every piece of the Nats roster going forward, with an eye towards the playoffs.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music:Young Rapids - What R U Saying

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Episode 47 - Making Moves

Episode 47: Apologies for the poor audio quality. But the podcast is in transition to the West Coast! That won't keep Joe and Paul from comparing Tanner Roark's struggles to Gio Gonzales' pristine ERA. Plus some bullpen banter, of course, and discussion of Scherzer's dominance and standout performances from the Nats bench.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music:Young Moe ft. Fat Trel - Workin'

Monday, May 1, 2017

Episode 46 - Eaton's ACL and Nats v Mets

Episode 46: Joe and Paul lament Adam Eaton's injury. They discuss the impact it will have on the Nationals and debate how the team moves forward. They also get into the Nationals' approach to injuries versus the Mets' rash of injuries. Plus some bullpen banter because, of course.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Jawbox - Cruel Swing

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Episode 45 - Hot Starts & Cold Bullpens

Episode 45: Joe and Paul talk about what they are excited for after the first two weeks of the season, including Ryan Zimmerman's hot start and Bryce Harper's health. Conversation quickly drifts to analyzing the bullpens' terrible start to the season.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Young Rapids - What R U Saying

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Episode 44 - All Things Statcast with Casey Boguslaw

Episode 44: Wondering what all the new Statcast data means? Casey Boguslaw of RO Baseball joins Joe and Paul to explain the new catch probability stat, it's benefits and short comings, and how what it tells us about the Nats outfield defense. Plus an update on the Nats prospects traded away in the Adam Eaton deal.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Lightshow - Now

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Episode 43 - 2017 Pitching Preview

Episode 43: The 2017 preview series continues, shifting focus to the Nationals pitching staff. In depth breakdowns of the starting rotation plus a debate on the make up of the bullpen and who will the "closer" and a quick peak into the minor league depth of the Nats.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Jawbox - Savory

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Episode 42: 2017 Position Player Preview

Episode 42:The only 2017 preview series you need! Joe and Paul kick off the preview of the 2017 season with a position player preview. Starting with the outfield and working their way to catcher, they analyze the Nationals position players and project their 2017 performance. Be sure to come back for the next episode: Pitching Preview.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Deep Dish - Say Hello

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Episode 41 - Back for Spring Training

Episode 41:

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Fort Knox Five - Blowing Up the Spot

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Episode 40 - Grab Bag Episode

Episode 40: Paul and Joe search for Nats baseball news by discussing Greg Holland not signing with the Nationals. The conversation quickly shifts to non-baseball topics including Maryland Terps basketball, Caps, Wizards, planning a Nats weekend trip and even a few minutes of politics. Sad!

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Minor Threat - Filler

Friday, December 30, 2016

Episode 39 - Nats NYE Awards Show

Episode 39: The Navy Yard Notes New Year's Eve award show is back for its second year! MVP, LVP, Most Underrated Moment and Best Post Game Interview awards all included, then some. Danny Espinosa definitely didn't win any awards.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Pietasters - Out All Night

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Episode 38 - Winter Meetings Wrap Up

Episode 38: Paul and Joe compare notes on the Nats big trade for Adam Eaton, discuss the return of Derek Norris and mourn/celebrate the trade of Danny Espinosa

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Ace Cosgrove - Making Moves

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Episode 37 - Jeff Todd MLB Trade Rumors

Episode 37: Jeff Todd of the MLB Trade Rumors website joins Joe and Paul to give the inside scoop on potential Nats moves this offseason and walk through MLBTR's top 50 free agent predictions

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: US Royalty- Old Flames

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Episode 36 - Ready for the Offseason

Episode 36: The 2016 season is over and the offseason is upon us. Joe and Paul discuss the playoffs and the state of Chicago following the Cubs win. Then they get down to business and address the big questions facing the Nationals as they prepare for the 2017.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Chesapeake Sons - She Got A Way

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Episode 35 - NLDS Game 5 Preview

Episode 35: Game 5 is here! Joe and Paul talk about their emotional state heading into the do-or-die showdown with the Dodgers then break down their expectations for the game. Plus an important PSA about getting to the ballpark for the game and #NatsRide

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Shark Week - Desire

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Episode 34 - Nats-Dodgers NLDS Preview

Episode 34: Joe and Paul preview the Nats-Dodgers NLDS matchup. They break down the rosters, discuss the Nationals injury problems, and debate the strengths and weaknesses of the Dodgers. The guys then welcome on (40:00) Marcus Pond from RO Baseball for an in depth preview of the Dodgers plus his prediction for the series (we must have done a good job in convincing him of the Nats strengths because Marcus updated his pick to Nats in 4!)

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Fat Trel - I Want it All

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Episode 33 - How Will the Nats Blow It

Episode 33: Joe and Paul address the pessimists in DC. They debate all the reasons to doubt the Nats in the post season (poor recent results, injuries, bullpen woes, etc.) and how well these fears hold up to scrutiny to determine where Nats fans should really be worried come playoff time.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Episode 32 - Dan Steinberg

Episode 32: Joe and Paul welcome Washington Post's Dan Steinberg to the podcast. Dan talks about the origins of the Post's blog, The Sports Bog, what it's like being a full time blogger, the backlash from parts of the industry, and some of his favorite teams and players from the 10 years of coverage at the Bog. Plus, the progression he has seen in the Nationals and Nats fans.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Beyond Modern - Tonight

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Episode 31 - Nats Youngsters

Episode 31: Paul and Joe banter quickly about Tim Tebow's attempt at baseball before breaking down the Nationals' young players. They debate the pluses and minuses of Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, gush again over Trea Turner, and give AJ Cole some props.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: The Slickee Boys - This Party Sucks

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Episode 30 - All's Good

Episode 30: Joe and Paul are feeling pretty good about the Nats and look ahead to the remainder of the regular season, talking about Jayson Werth's on base streak, Trea Turner's hot start to his season, the pitching rotation, and the bullpen.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Diamond District - First Step

Monday, August 8, 2016

Episode 29 - Rob Arthur on Bryce Harper

Episode 29: Rob Arthur from fivethirtyeight.com joins Joe and Paul to break down Bryce Harper's struggles this season based on his research, what might be behind the season long slump and what it could mean for the rest of the season. Read Rob's article here.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Black Clouds - Low Places

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Episode 28 - Trade Deadline Debate

Episode 27: With the trade deadline looming, Joe and Paul discuss who the Nationals could target, who could get dealt away, and what kind of internal options Mike Rizzo could call upon to improve the team.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Rites of Spring - For Want Of

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Episode 27 - Eno Sarris

Episode 27: Joe and Paul welcome Fangraphs, Beergraphs and ESPN writer Eno Sarris to the podcast. Eno talks about his new book "A Baseball Lover's Guide to Craft Beer" and ranks his favorite cities for baseball and beer. Eno then gives his take on Max Scherzer and the injuries to the Mets' pitching staff. Be sure to check out "A Baseball Lover's Guide to Craft Beer" and listen in for a special discount code.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: The Evens - Around the Corner

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Episode 26 - First Half Projections

Episode 25: Joe and Paul quickly recap the recent Nats news. Then they pass out first half awards like MVP, LVP, and worst podcast predictions. Plus, Paul has an apology for Danny Espinosa.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Ex Hex - Hot and Cold

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Episode 25 - Kate Morrison & Russell Carleton

Episode 25: Joe and Paul welcome Kate Morrison and Russell Carleton of Baseball Prospectus on the podcast. Kate and Russell recently published a four part series examining the challenges of working in baseball at BP and joined Navy Yard Notes to discuss their findings. The group discusses what it takes to get a job in baseball in today's environment, the challenges to certain groups of people in making it to the top of the front office and what changes may becoming down the line in the industry. Be sure to check out the full series at Baseball Prospectus.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Make Up - Born on the Floor

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Episode 24 - Cubs Series Review

Episode 24: Joe and Paul review the successful series Cubs series. They debate the struggles of Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. Then talk about bullpen management and trade theories on how to approach the trade market. Plus the debut of a new podcast segment.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Blackbyrds - Happy Music

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Episode 23 - Ryan Sullivan on Trea Turner

Episode 23: Joe and Paul welcome friend of the podcast Ryan Sullivan from NatsGM on the show. Ryan runs down the scouting report on Trea Turner, who is expected to get the call up to the majors soon. Ryan also runs through some other highlights in the Nats minor league system. You can find Ryan's work for NatsGM here.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Counting Down the Hours

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Episode 22 - Mets Series Breakdown

Episode 22: Joe and Paul breakdown the last week of games versus the Mets. They analyze Matt Harvey's struggles, grade Stephen Strasburg, and talk about the new and possibly improved batting lineup.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Loud Boyz - Hard Feelings

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Episode 21 - Strasburg's new Deal

Episode 21: Joe and Paul debate the merits of Stephen Strasburg's new extension with the Nats. Then they take a look at the NL East standings before talking the recent Nats' road trip and wrap up talking Bryce Harper's choice words with an umpire.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Congo Sanchez - Are You Ready

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Episode 20 - April Review with Craig MacHenry

Episode 20: Craig MacHenry of TheNatsBlog.com and Nats Talk on the Go joins Joe and Paul to review the first month of the season talking outfield, infield, and pitching. Plus some talk about former Nats greats.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Chaz French - These Things Take Time

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Episode 19 - Revere, Werth and Taylor

Episode 19: In the first podcast of the regular season, Paul and Joe talk Ben Revere's injury and its impact on the lineup, Jayson Werth's early season struggles (16:00), thoughts on Dusty's first week and a half in the dugout (20:30) and their opinion on the new double play rule (24:45).

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: RDGLDGRN - Lootin' in London

Monday, April 4, 2016

Nationals' Strength of Schedule @ The Nats Blog

My latest piece for The Nats Blog is up today! I took a closer look at the strength of schedule for the Nats in 2016. Hint - it's easy! http://thenatsblog.com/2016/04/examining-the-nationals-strength-of-schedule/

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Episode 18 - 2016 Opening Day Preview

Episode 18: Paul and Joe are pumped for Opening Day 2016. Today's podcast reviews the Nationals' Spring Training, the status of the bullpen and starting rotation(10:00), thoughts on the position players and potential batting lineups (19:45), get sidetracked with a Strasburg debate (29:00), and make predictions for the season (33:45).

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: The Simpsons - Were Talkin' Softball

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Episode 17 - ABC's Jonathan Karl

Episode 17: ABC's Jonathan Karl joins Paul and Joe to talk about his experiences on his recent trip to Cuba, his Nationals fandom, Bryce Harper, and outlooks for the 2016 season.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Yung Gleesh - Since When

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Exciting News

First of all, thanks to everyone who has been keeping up with all the fun here at Navy Yard Notes. I have some exciting news to share that will change some of what goes on here, though. The Nats Blog has invited me on to write for them this season. I'll be doing one to two stories a week there starting today with my first piece on the Nationals new baserunning aggression. Please check it out! The team at TNB has been brainstorming plans for this season and I think there are some fun things in the works. Give the blog a follow on twitter @TheNatsBlog to keep up to date.

The Navy Yard Notes podcast will continue though, have no fear. We have an exciting guest coming up in this week's episode plus a special Opening Day preview podcast to get you ready for April 4 versus the Braves so be sure to check back in. I'll post links for the next couple of pieces I do for TNB here, but be sure to give me a follow on twitter @seibj10 or bookmark The Nats Blog so you don't miss anything!

Monday, March 28, 2016

NL East Preview - Miami Marlins

Now we are getting to the interesting part of the division as the NL East preview hits the Miami Marlins:

2015 Record: 71-91
Fangraphs’ 2016 Projection: 79-83
Fangraph’s 2016 playoff odds: 15.6%

Friday, March 25, 2016

NL East Preview - Atlanta Braves

The NL East preview plows ahead through the doldrums of the division with the Atlanta Braves:

2015 Record: 67-95
Fangraphs’ 2016 Projection: 68-94
Fangraph’s 2016 playoff odds: 0.3%

It’s hard to talk about the Braves without repeating a lot of the Phillies story as the two teams are expected to duke it out for the bottom of the division amidst massive rebuilding efforts. But the Braves have been on the rebuilding train for a while now while Philadelphia is new to the party. Ever since the new Braves stadium was announced, the front office has set its sights beyond the current season to the 2017/2018 season when they make their move to Cobb County. That rebuild continued this offseason as the Braves made two major moves that moved players from two totally different ends of the spectrum.

In the bigger move, the Braves traded away Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks for a king’s ransom of prospects. Miller was only a Brave for one season as he was one of the pieces the Braves acquired from trading away Jason Heyward the season prior. Miller was an average-ish starting pitcher for the Cardinals who had flashes of brilliance mixed in with some frustrating moments. The Braves helped Miller tweak his pitch mix a bit and saw the hired gun take off as a result. The team quickly cashed in on that one year of success by flipping Miller to the D’Backs for starting outfielder Ender Inciarte, top pitching prospect Aaron Blair, and recent #1 overall draft pick shortstop Dansby Swanson. It’s an intriguing mix of current talent (Inciarte) and future talent (Swanson and Blair) that should serve the Braves well down the line.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Braves traded away the homegrown defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons to the Angels. In a real test of how much value teams place on defense, the Braves didn’t get back all that much in return for the top defensive shortstop in baseball since he struggled to top a .270 batting average and showed very little power. The Braves will take on Erick Aybar for the year, which will help give them a veteran presence in a clubhouse that doesn’t have many other veteran options, but the real focus of this deal were pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis. It’s an interesting move by the Braves as Simmons is young and under team control for a long time. He could easily have been the shortstop for the Braves when they return to competitive form in 2018-2020 but the Braves made the calculation that the downside of Simmons’ bat didn’t outweigh the majesty of Simmons glove.

In a smaller move that mostly flew under the radar, the Braves again made good on a buy low veteran in Cameron Maybin, flipping him to the Tigers for pitcher Gabe Speier and former National Ian Krol. It’s a move that may not make a huge impact in the long run but it proves that this front office has the ability to find some diamonds in the rough and capitalize on it.

On the field in 2016, the Braves will have an interesting mix of players you recognize and young guys trying to prove themselves for the first time. Freddie Freeman will continue to be the focal point of the offense. Freeman loves to beat up on the Nationals, but the rest of the year he is a guy who will hit for a solid average but not as much power as teams normally expect from their first basemen. On top of that, Freeman has been struggling with wrist issues for the last couple of seasons and there are questions about his health swirling in Spring Training camp. Outside of Freeman, the previously mentioned Inciarte will be a solid contributor in the outfield and Nick Markakis will still patrol right field and likely play average defense and hit like an average outfielder.

On the flip side, the Braves have some new faces that will look to prove themselves at the major league level. Jace Peterson came over in the Justin Upton trade and will man second base for the Braves. He’s held his own defensively and on the base paths but will have to prove he can hit major league pitching after struggling last season. The Braves have another new face in Hector Olivera, but he’s not your typical prospect. He’s a 31 year old Cuban import only a year removed from signing a big deal with the Dodgers. After a handful of minor league games and some injury concerns, the Dodgers quickly gave up on Olivera and flipped him to the Braves last year. He hit well in a small sample size of games for the Braves and potentially has the ability to play multiple positions defensively.

The starting pitching isn’t quite as clear cut for the Braves though. It’s essentially Julio Teheran, what’s left of Bud Norris, and lot of question marks. The Braves will hope that guys like Matt Wisler can step up. Wisler hit the big leagues last year after a solid minor league track record but over 19 starts posted a 4.71 ERA. 2016 will be the year for the Braves to see if his weak contact inducing approach can work in the majors. Keep an eye out for other prospects to hit the big league squad over the course of the year like Manny Banuelos and Mike Foltynewicz. It probably won’t be a pretty experience at first, but the Braves hope the steep learning curve in 2016 leads to better results a year or two down the road.

Player to Watch:Julio Teheran. After two years of ERA’s of 3.20 or under, Teheran took a big step back last season and posted a 4.04 ERA and 4.40 FIP. He walked more batters than ever before and really struggled facing left handed hitters. Of course, Teheran is only 25 years old and has been dominant at times. On top of that, he’s under contract through 2019 and has an option for the 2020 season so the Braves are going to give him every opportunity to bounce back in 2016. Does he turn back into the dominant Teheran of old who looked like a future ace or is 2015 a sign of things to come? This upcoming season might provide an answer.
 
Best Case Scenario:There are enough pieces in Atlanta to make 2016 an interesting year. It’s not enough talent to compete for the division even in a best case scenario but squint hard enough and it’s possible to see a competitive team here. Suppose Freddie Freeman continues to rake and the wrist injuries aren’t an issue. Nick Markakis fights off father time for another year. Erick Aybar plays a steady shortstop and provides more offense than Simmons ever did. Hector Olivera and Jace Peterson rise to the occasion. Layer on a quality bounce back year from Teheran and a couple break out seasons from the army of young pitching prospects and the Braves could be fighting for second or third in the division rather than fighting their way to the number on draft pick.

Worst Case Scenario:On the other hand, it doesn’t take much squinting to see how everything can go wrong. In fact, it’s almost expected. Freddie Freeman is still bugged with his wrist injuries and if he’s not 100% he won’t provide much power in this lineup that is built around his bat. Sure, Olivera looked good in a handful of games last year but he’s a player in his thirties having to learn how to hit major league pitching for the first time. What if he’s not up to the task? Nick Markakis isn’t capable of carrying a team, even in his best years. Finally, the pitching staff just doesn’t have enough proven arms to keep games close. If Teheran is really the pitcher from 2015 and not the Teheran of old, Bud Norris certainly won’t be carrying this team. If none of the young pitching prospects can pick up the slack, expect a lot of high scoring games from the opposing team. At least there is always the shot to earn that number one draft pick.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Episode 16 - 2016 NL East Preview

Episode 16: Paul and Joe settle on who could win the naming rights to Nationals Park. Then, with the season less than 2 weeks away, the guys preview the Nats competition in the NL East starting with the Phillies (4:30), Braves (18:00), Marlins (25:00) and close with the Mets (38:15).

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Lo-Fang - Look Away

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

NL East Preview - Phillies

Opening Day is nearly upon us. The Nationals will start the year without the target on their back in the NL East as the defending NL champ Mets take on that challenge. The NL East is yet again top heavy, but the dynamics of the league have certainly changed from last year, so let’s preview the rest of the division starting at the bottom of the expected standings for 2016 with the Phillies:

Friday, March 11, 2016

Episode 15 - James Wagner

Episode 15: Paul and Joe welcome James Wagner of the Washington Post on to the pod for an update on Spring Training straight from Viera. They talk about the makeup of the new bullpen plus Papelbon's presence in the clubhouse (5:50) and touch on Bronson Arroyo and starting rotation (14:00). They discuss the position battles in the infield and outfield (18:00) and the depth of the roster (25:00), closing with James' takeaways for the 2016 season (30:00).

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Me & This Army - You

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Why Math is not on Trea Turner's Side

It’s been a while since the Nationals had a gripping position battle play out in Spring Training but 2016 has all the makings of a barn burner. Instead of the usual Spring Training questions of who will fill the fifth starter role or which relief pitcher will be the 7th inning guy, the 2016 Nationals have a real competition on their hands for the starting shortstop role, a competition that will shape the future of the 2016 season.

In one corner is the once demoted Danny Espinosa now back in the spotlight after re-proving himself following the myriad injuries in 2015 that gave him his second shot at a starter role. In the other corner is the exciting youngster Trea Turner, less than one year removed from donning the curly W for the first time.

While we may debate exactly how much value Danny Espinosa provides on the Navy Yard Notes podcast, Espinosa is in some ways a known commodity. He is going to be great defensively, the ideal mix of agility, range, and strong throwing arm at the challenging shortstop position. He won’t post a big batting average but he knows how to take a walk and runs into his fair share of extra base hits. The question for Espinosa revolves around how often he can actually make contact as his past is full of months where he had trouble putting bat on ball.

Turner, on the other hand, is full of potential but has yet to actually prove anything at the major league level. The arguments in his favor come mostly from the scouts and personnel people who have ranked him as one of the top prospects in baseball since he was drafted only a short time ago. Splash in some impressive success at all of his minor league stops along the way and it’s not hard to understand why people are pulling for Turner to get the starting role right out of the gate.

Baseball’s convoluted and arcane service time rules may be too big of an obstacle, even for a prospect like Turner to overcome, however. Here is my attempt to summarize these rules as best as possible: players who are drafted and then promoted to the majors are under contract with their current team for six seasons and then become free agents with the ability to sign with any MLB team for their seventh season and beyond at whatever contract the market dictates. Simple enough concept, no? Except the definition of a “season” is anything but. In order to accrue one year of service time, a player needs to have spent 172 days on the major league team’s 25 man roster. It’s not until the winter following the player crossing the six year threshold that they become a free agent. There are a total of 183 days in the baseball season (162 games plus 21 off days) and players can accrue partial seasons and that is where the complexity kicks in.

For Turner, that’s also where the math turns against him. During his brief cup of coffee with the big league squad in 2015, Turner picked up 45 days of service time. If he starts in the Show from day one in 2016, he hits that six season mark six seasons from now. However, the Nationals have the ability to game the system, so to speak. If the Nationals wait until about May 29 to call up Turner, he will accumulate 171 career days of service time by the end of the 2016 season. That means his sixth season by these rules will actually hit in seven seasons from now. By holding Turner down in the minors for a month of games, the Nationals pick up a whole extra season of Trea Turner on his rookie deal.

Would the Nationals really do that if they thought Turner was a better player at short than Espinosa? Let’s turn to some quick math to find out. Since it’s impossible to know precisely how Espinosa or Turner will perform, I will turn to the ZiPS projection system. ZiPS is a pretty well established projection system and also sees Turner as a better player than Espinosa, precisely the situation this hypothetical is imagining. ZiPS projects Espinosa to accrue 1 WAR over the course of 120 games (.01 WAR per game) and Turner to get 1.9 WAR over 121 games (.02 WAR/G). If the Nationals do wait until the end of May to give Turner the call up, we are talking around 55 games Turner will miss. Over that course of time, Turner is projected to best Espinosa by 0.4 WAR. Essentially the Nationals wouldn’t be any worse off record wise with Espinosa over Turner over 55 games, even if you think Turner is twice as good as Espinosa. Don’t believe me? The Cubs did the same math with their stud of a prospect Kris Bryant (arguably a better player than Turner at this point in their careers) last year and held him down for the very same reason.

Of course, it is technically against the rules for the Nationals or any other team to hold a player back just to mess with his service time clock. It’s also impossible to prove this intent when it comes to young players. Just take a look at the 45 days Turner did spend in the majors and how badly he struggled against MLB level pitching to see how the Nationals argument for sending Turner back down for more seasoning works.

Finally, it doesn’t make sense to call up Turner to the big league squad on Opening Day, only to stick him on the bench and let him watch Espinosa all day. Starting Turner’s service time clock ticking again and keeping him off the field doesn’t help the team or Turner. Plus, between Espinosa, Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy, and Stephen Drew the Nationals have a versatile set of players capable of playing multiple positions and don't need Turner as depth off the bench.

Could Turner still claim the starting role on Opening Day? Of course he could. Scouts love him and when you pull out his 0-9 start to his big league career, his .290 batting average and .371 OBP look a lot prettier. That’s still a pretty small sample size, though, so Turner will have to prove in Spring Training he can handle big league pitching. He needs to cut down on his strike outs without sacrificing his above average walk rate. He needs to show he can at least hit for some doubles power (his highest ISO at any stop in the minors was .160 so power has never been his calling card). Scouts aren’t convinced across the board that he can handle shortstop at the major league level, so he will have to prove he can hold his own on defense too. He's just fighting an uphill battle as he has to not only beat Danny Espinosa but also the MLB salary structure.

Turner will play a role on the 2016 Nationals by the end of the season, there is no questioning that. The odds are just against him starting that role in April 2016.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Episode 14 - Betting on Baseball

Episode 14: Paul and Joe do a quick recap of Spring training news covering Ian Desmond and Dusty Baker's struggles with names. Then, (7:00) Paul and Joe discuss their best bets for over/under team win totals and World Series winners and close (37:30) with some Nationals specific prop bets.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: U.S Royalty - Monte Carlo

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Episode 13 (Part 2) - Outfielders Preview

Episode 13 (Part 2): In the final Spring Training preview, Joe and Paul break down the outfield depth chart discussing Bryce Harper, Ben Revere, Jayson Werth, Michael A Taylor and more. Only one bad Jayson Werth pun was dropped. Don't miss our previous episode reviewing the pitchers and catchers Part 1 of this episode covering the infielders!

If you have a minute, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast on iTunes. Your feedback is much appreciated!

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Shark Week - Why Did I Let You Go

Monday, February 22, 2016

Episode 13 (Part 1) - Infielders Preview

Episode 13 (Part 1): As position players get ready to report, Paul and Joe break down the Nationals' infield depth chart. Health is a major discussion point and, as expected, the guys debate Danny Espinosa vs. Trea Turner. Don't miss Part 2 of the episode, out tomorrow, for the analysis of the outfielders.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: GEMS - Soak

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Episode 12 - Pitchers & Catchers

Episode 12: Spring Training is upon us as Pitchers and Catchers are due to report to camp. Joe and Paul preview the presumed starting five and discuss their concerns about the beck end of the rotation. They cover off the new faces in the bullpen and wrap up talking about Wilson Ramos and the catcher position.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Gideon Grove - Smoking Gun

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fun with Statcast

It's an exciting time to be alive! We will look back on this moment in time and tell our grandchildren and great grandchildren about what it was like to experience all this first hand. We were a part of the first year of Statcast! If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, Statcast is the revolutionary new tracking system put in place by MLB. Statcast goes above and beyond previous tracking systems (like PITCHF/x) by recording and analyzing every movement on the baseball field, from how fast a curveball spins to how fast defenders run to catch a ball to how hard a ball is hit off the bat. Statcast is the reason we get cool videos like thisIt's also provided nerds like me with a lot of data to analyze. And we have a breakthrough! Hitting the ball hard is a good thing...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Episode 11 - Ryan Sullivan

Episode 11: Joe and Paul welcome on to the podcast Ryan Sullivan of NatsGM to discuss all things Nats off season including free agent signings, trades, possible minor league call ups, and much more

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Bad Brains - Banned in DC

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pouring Cold Water on Hot Takes

Seems like there have been a lot of hot takes regarding the Nationals following the decision of Yoenis Cespedes to sign with the Mets. This article from Eddie Matz at ESPN is one of the most recent, but it’s certainly not alone in declaring that Washington has now become a place free agents are avoiding. It’s an exciting narrative. It probably drives a lot traffic and conversation. And on the surface, it sounds like a reasonable conclusion. I just don’t think it stands up to analysis.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ramblings on Projections

FanGraphs today released the 2016 ZiPS forecasts for the Nationals (ZiPS is a well known projection system used by lots of websites including FG and ESPN). The ZiPS projections, and most other statistically based projections as well, are pretty optimistic about the Nationals’ 2016 season and that got me thinking. The break down of the specific projections will come in future blog posts or podcasts, but today’s release got me thinking on a more general level about projections.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Episode 10 - Breaking down the Revere - Storen Swap

Episode 10: The guys hit the double digit podcasts mark by breaking down the Ben Revere - Drew Storen swap, coming to different conclusions on the deal. They follow that up with some smoking hot takes on Jonathan Papelbon's future with the ball club.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Trouble Funk - Let's Get Small

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Big Trade For... Ben Revere?

In what might be the last move of the offseason for the team, the Nationals traded away beleaguered reliever Drew Storen to the Blue Jays for speedy outfielder Ben Revere (there is a player to be named later and some cash involved as well, but for our purposes it’s a straight up one for one trade). The general sense from fans and the media is that this deal is a win for both sides. In the most basic sense, the Nationals needed another outfielder and picked one up and the Blue Jays needed bullpen help and picked up a reliever, so I suppose that is true. But there is clearly more to this trade than just those most basic facts.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Pitcher Vs Pitcher

So I’ll admit up front, it’s been a while since my last blog post. The 2015 season review series wrapped up in December with Stephen Strasburg. We got you all caught up on the holiday Hot Stove Nationals’ news on the most recent podcast, plus a bonus year end awards edition. I guess I could blame it on the holidays. It’s always a hectic time. But really, it meant I had more free time than usual, including during my three hour delay spent in O’Hare airport. But no, all excuses aside it’s really because I’ve been binge watching the Netflix series Making a Murderer and that has kept me from writing. I guess it’s just another thing to falsely blame on Steve Avery.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Episode 9, Part 2: Passing out 2015 Awards

Episode 9: Happy New Year! To celebrate the end of 2015, Paul and Joe pass out awards for the year including MVP, LVP, most underrated moment of the year, and the inaugural Nook Logan award.

Catch up on part 1 of the episode, covering recent Nationals news, here

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Black Flag - Rise Above

Episode 9, Part 1: Nationals News

Episode 9: After a holiday break, Joe and Paul return to get caught up on Nationals news including the Daniel Murphy signing, Stephen Drew pick up, Ryan Zimmerman steroid allegations, and Aaron Barrett's arm injury. Tune back in for Part 2 shortly where the guys pass out 2015 awards like MVP, LVP, favorite moment, etc.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Marvin Gaye - What's Going On

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Season Review: Stephen Strasburg

There is no bigger enigma on the Nationals roster, perhaps even in baseball, than Stephen Strasburg. The former first overall pick has overpowering stuff that translates into dominate outings, only for Strasburg to follow those outings up with a clunker of a performance. He has battled various injuries from the serious, Tommy John surgery, to the ambiguous, tightness in his back. Strasburg’s 2015 will likely go down as a disappointment to most Nationals fans based on his early struggles. However, that may not be an accurate assessment of his season.

Friday, December 18, 2015

2015 Season Review: Joe Ross

Joe Ross. To most people, he was that other guy in the trade that brought over Trea Turner. Maybe he was thought of as younger, less talented brother to Padres pitcher Tyson Ross. Even those that thought highly of Ross didn’t anticipate him playing a part on the 2015 Nationals. Despite all that, Ross ended up tossing 76 quality big league innings, stepping into the starting rotation spot vacated by Doug Fister after aliens stole his talent with a glowing baseball.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Episode 8: Talking D3 Baseball

Episode 8: Featuring the first guest of the podcast, brother of one of yours truly Luke Seib to talk about what it's like playing D3 baseball: the struggles of balancing school and baseball, perks of being on a college team, the difference between D3 and D1, and one of his former teammates, Michael Matuella, who is now in the Rangers minor league system.
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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Minor Threat - I Don't Wanna Hear It

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2015 Season Review: Tanner Roark

Of all the season reviews to write, Tanner Roark’s is the toughest. It was hard last year because of the lack of real, reliable data to base an analysis off of. Roark had a bumpy minor league career, made some tweaks to his pitching types and pitching mix in mid-2013, and blew up in 2014. At the end of 2015, because of the way Roark was used during the season, it’s almost back to square one. Is the real Roark the starting pitcher who posted a sub 3.00 ERA in 2014? Is the real Roark the middling reliever from 2015? Is the real Roark the nearly 5.00 ERA starting pitcher from 2015?

Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 Season Review: Max Scherzer

The Nationals shocked the baseball world last offseason when the signing of Max Scherzer was announced. Added to an already impressive starting rotation, Scherzer was supposed to be the ace among the other Nationals' aces. Unlike some big name free agent signings, Scherzer has actually lived up to the hype that accompanied that massive contract.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Episode 7: Baker and Bullpens

Episode 7: Latest podcast starts with a quick discussion of Dusty Baker's disappointing performance in his Winter Meetings interview. The conversation quickly shifts into a sometimes heated debate about the construction of a bullpen and what the off season might still hold in store for the Nationals.
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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Foo Fighters - Times Like These

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2015 Season Review: Gio Gonzalez

For someone as boisterous and outgoing as Gio Gonzalez, Nationals’ fans might miss that he quietly posted another solid year in 2015. It may be because the same guy who gave an entire interview on his dog posted a middling 3.79 ERA. Dig a little deeper, though, and it becomes apparent that the ERA from 2015 doesn’t do justice to Gonzalez’s year.

Monday, December 7, 2015

2015 Season Review: Jayson Werth

Jayson Werth, and Jayson Werth’s beard, may be one of the most popular Nationals but his 2015 season was nothing to cheer about. Expected to be a stalwart in the middle of the lineup, Werth started the season on the DL following off season shoulder surgery and took a fastball to the wrist in May that sent him to the DL yet again. Put it all together and Werth played in only 88 games while posting the worst numbers of his career.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Podcast Episode 6: Hot Stove

Episode 6: Back from Thanksgiving, Joe and Paul talk about the lack of early Nationals moves this offseason, discuss the Jordan Zimmermann and David Price deals, assess the state of the free agent market in advance of the Winter Meetings, and diverge onto a Wizards/Kobe Bryant tangent
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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Clutch - DC Sound Attack

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

2015 Season Review: Michael A Taylor

Coming into 2015, Michael A Taylor wasn’t expected to play a major role for the Nationals. He was expected to spend time in AAA refining his approach at the plate or hold down the 4th outfielder spot on the big league squad. Instead, injuries to Jayson Werth, Reed Johnson, and Denard Span forced Taylor into the starting line up. Over the course of the 138 games Taylor played in, he showed flashes of greatness interspersed with telling signs of his weaknesses.

Those flashes of greatness include some prodigious power. He hit 14 home runs on the year, including one of the longest home runs in the 2015 major league season. While I don’t buy into “clutch” as a talent, Taylor’s power certainly came at advantageous times as it felt like every single one of those 14 home runs pulled the Nationals tied or gave the team the lead in important situations. Despite Bryce Harper’s best efforts, the Nationals lost a lot of their power in Ian Desmond’s down year and injuries to Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, two players expected to provide the pop in the middle of the lineup in 2015. Taylor stepped in and forced opposing teams to account for his power in the lineup.

On the base paths, Taylor also offered impressive speed that the Nationals were sorely lacking, especially with Bryce Harper mostly limited to moving station to station to keep him upright and in the lineup. Taylor led the team with 16 stolen bases and was caught only 3 times. With only two other Nationals swiping more than ten stolen bases (Ian Desmond with 13 and Denard Span with 11), Taylor was one of the few players who would actually offer a distraction to opposing pitchers on the base paths.

In the field, Taylor’s speed and throwing arm were on full display. After a couple of seasons of minor league reports praising Taylor’s defense in center field, he mostly lived up to the hype in the majors. He was one of the few major league players to record a throw from the outfield in excess of 100 MPH (according to the new Statcast system). Advanced stats rated Taylor average or above average during 2015. These stats take a couple years to really settle in at a score, so take the DRS and UZR ratings with a grain of salt. The early hiccups the Nationals saw with Taylor’s defense, thinking especially of the debacles in the outfield during the Nationals blow out to the Red Sox in Fenway, probably skewed the advanced defensive measurements. Judging from the tape, Taylor’s speed is an obvious asset in center field and, as he grew accustomed to his role on the team, his instincts and first steps looked excellent.

Unfortunately, the positives end there. With the bat, Taylor posted one of the worst offensive seasons among regular big league players. His wRC+ (weighted runs created – total offensive output weighted by opponent, field, etc) of 69 meant he was over 30% worse than league average with the bat. That’s the same territory as the notoriously light hitting Jordy Mercer of the Pirates whose own offensive ineptitude got him benched for the Korean import Jung-ho Kang. For someone with the ability to hit the ball nearly 500 feet, Taylor’s ISO of .129 is closer to an ISO of a light hitting middle infielder than a slugger.

Taylor’s struggles at the plate all come back to swings and misses. He struck out in over 30% of his at bats. That rate was the 8th highest strike out rate among MLB hitters with at least 250 at bats. That kind of strike out rate doesn’t render Taylor unplayable. In fact, 6 of the 7 hitters with higher strike out rates than Taylor were not push overs at the plate. That group includes guys like Chris Davis who hit for a lot of power. In order to hang at the MLB level with that much swing and miss, a player has to hit for a lot of power. To that point, the lowest ISO among those 6 was .174. The 7th was tortured Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, not a player anyone wants to be compared to offensively. Taylor swung a lot, a 53% swing rate that’s higher than league average, but made contact only 69% of the time. That means Taylor had a swinging strike rate of 16%, 11th worst in the majors.

Taylor's strike outs are the result of his inability to handle off speed and breaking pitches. Because Taylor hit .242 against fastballs, he saw that pitch only 51% of the time. Instead, pitchers went after Taylor with sliders as he hit only .172 against the pitch with an ISO of .094. Taylor’s results against change ups were a little better, only a .200 batting average but a .225 ISO. Taylor had trouble laying off of those types of pitches, and clearly couldn't do much with the offerings when he was able to make contact.

Strike outs are nothing new for Taylor, though. He regularly posted strike out rates over 20% in the minors yet was able to make more contact and post acceptable batting averages. That power ability with a higher contact rate and Taylor’s usual league average walk rates explain why he was such a highly touted prospect. Young players have a tendency to struggle against major league pitchers’ quality off speed pitches. Pitcher's ability to control off speed is one of the biggest differentiators between the minors and the majors. As we touched on, adjusting to off speed pitches was a big part of Bryce Harper’s breakout last year. Hoping for improvement in this regard wouldn’t be asking the world of Taylor. He won’t ever post .300 batting averages regularly, but if Taylor can improve against breaking pitches reign in the strikeouts, 20 home runs and a .260 batting average on a regular basis isn’t out of reach for him. That kind of offensive line combined with Taylor’s great speed and defense would be a huge source of value for the Nationals over the next several seasons. Let’s hope that Taylor can take that next step forward starting in 2016.

Previous 2015 Season Reviews:
Denard Span
Ian Desmond
Doug Fister
Jordan Zimmermann
Wilson Ramos
Ryan Zimmerman
Danny Espinosa
Yunel Escobar
Bryce Harper

Monday, November 30, 2015

2015 Season Review: Bryce Harper

I don’t think you need me to tell you how great Bryce Harper’s 2015 season was. The fact he was the unanimous NL MVP tells you most of what you need to know. A lot of other writers spent a lot of words talking about how impressive the numbers put up by Harper were. Indeed, they were historically impressive. Rather than rehash the impressive numbers themselves, for this review I want to see what changed in 2015 for Bryce that resulted in such a monstrous year. This will offer more insight into the drivers behind Bryce’s career year and might give us a better indication of whether 2015 is a sign of things to come or an outlier.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Podcast Episode 5: Trade Targets

Episode 5: Analyzing the trade market and who the Nationals may target. Discussion starts with the possible market setting trade of Craig Kimbrel and moves into potential Nationals targets Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, among other relievers, and Brett Gardner and Jackie Bradley, among other outfielders.
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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Thievery Corporation - Lebanese Blonde

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2015 Season Review: Yunel Escobar

It’s hard to imagine where the 2015 Nationals would have been without Yunel Escobar. Originally brought over from the Athletics in the Tyler Clippard deal, Escobar was supposed to move from his natural shortstop position to second base where he would team up with Ian Desmond at short and Anthony Rendon at third to form a formidable infield. When Anthony Rendon went down for an extended period of time with an injury during Spring Training, Escobar shifted over to third base and never looked back. He posted a .314 batting average and a .348 wOBA on the way to earning the second or third most position player WAR (depending on your WAR source) on the Nationals.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Podcast Episode 4: Hot Stove Frenzy

Episode 4: As the hot stove heats up for the MLB free agency period, Joe and Paul discuss what holes the Nationals have to fill. It starts with a discussion of the catcher situation, moves to the infield, outfield, starting pitching and finally the bullpen with some sidebars for arguments over Danny Espinosa and Drew Storen.
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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: O.A.R - Crazy Game of Poker

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 Season Review: Danny Epinosa

You don’t have to believe me, but I was one of the last riders on the Danny Espinosa bandwagon. I know I was not the last; he has family members who surely held on longer than I did. But it came pretty close to being me and Espinosa clan, it felt like. Through his struggles in 2013 that saw him demoted to the minors and even into the start of 2014, I was pulling for the guy. While a lot of people looked at the strikeouts and low batting average and quickly passed judgment, his speed, defense, and power kept me interested. But even I gave up on him during 2014.

Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Season Review: Ryan Zimmerman

While the story of Wilson Ramos’ season revolved around his surprising full season of health, Ryan Zimmerman’s season was just the opposite. He played in 95 games in 2015, actually significantly more than the 61 he played in in 2014. Except, for a good chunk of those 95 games, he wasn’t fully healthy. Dealing with a debilitating case of plantar fasciitis over the first half of the season, it was clear that Zimmerman was really struggling to generate power in his swing, push off that foot running the bases, and making quick cuts on defense at first.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Podcast Episode 3: Examining the Qualifying Offer Decisions

Episode 3: With the Qualifying Offers due today (Friday), the newest pod examines the 4 Nationals' free agents potentially receiving the offer starting with Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond, Doug Fister and finishing with the toughest call of the 4 in Denard Span.
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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Wale - Chillin'

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Podcast Episode 2: Dusty Baker it is

Episode 2: Paul and Joe start with a discussion of the Bud Black / Dusty Baker merry-go-round. We move on to trading conspiracy theories about what really went down behind the scenes in the Nationals front office. And close with a prospective look at Dusty wearing the curly W.

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Intro Music: Fugazi - Waiting Room
Outro Music: Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers - Bustin' Loose

Monday, November 2, 2015

2015 Season Review: Wilson Ramos

At the conclusion of each of Wilson Ramos’ past seasons with the Nationals, the review always started with: "if only." If only Wilson could stay healthy. If only Ramos’ season wasn’t derailed by injuries. He was so productive over those periods when he was healthy, it seemed like all Ramos had to do was avoid injury and he would prove to be one of the most valuable assets on the Nationals roster, given how hard it is to find a catcher who can hit. Well, in 2015 he avoided major injuries. He played in 128 games, the most he has ever played over a single season. Except he wasn’t a huge asset. Rather, he posted the worst offensive season of his career.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Introducing the Navy Yard Notes Podcast


Today, I am proud to introduce you to the brand spanking new Navy Yard Notes Podcast. Today's podcast features myself and my friend Paul Hurt discussing the Nationals' options for a new manager: Dusty Baker, Bud Black, and Dave Martinez. Rumor seems to have it that Bud Black has wrapped the gig up, so listen to hear the pros and cons he brings to the table along with what the team may have missed out on in passing over Baker and Martinez. How timely!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015 Season Review: Jordan Zimmermann

If it was possible for a starting pitcher on a high profile team like the Nationals to fly under the radar in 2015, it was Jordan Zimmermann. He didn’t throw a no hitter during the season to compete for headlines with Max Scherzer. He didn’t get demoted to the bullpen like Doug Fister. He didn’t fluctuate between the worst starting pitcher in the majors and the best starting pitcher in the majors like Stephen Strasburg. 2015 Jordan Zimmermann wasn’t even in the running for the Cy Young like 2014 Jordan Zimmermann. However, that doesn’t mean Zimmermann didn’t put up a good year. He did. It’s just that 2015 Zimmermann wasn’t quite as good as 2014 Zimmermann.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

2015 Season Review: Doug Fister

During the season, we covered how Doug Fister’s pitches were getting less movement and how that was hurting his results. Over the whole season, that lack of movement played out into a disappointing 4.19 ERA and a demotion to the bullpen (where he actually picked up his first career save). Fister is another one of the soon to be free agents who could potentially get a Qualifying Offer (QO) from the Nationals, depending on how Mike Rizzo evaluates Fister’s 2015 season.

Fister is pretty much the real life example of a finesse pitcher. He makes a living throwing a fastball in the upper 80’s by putting a lot of movement on his offerings in order to induce weak contact and groundballs. While groundballs tend to find holes for base hits more often than fly balls, it’s impossible to hit a groundball over the fence for a homerun. Groundballs also have a tendency to result in double plays with runners on base, wiping away any seeing eye hits that sneak through the infield. This approach can be effective and it’s this type of approach that Fister rode to a career year in 2014. 2015, however, was anything but a career year.

Monday, October 19, 2015

2015 Season Review: Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond is probably happy that Matt Williams took so much blame for the failure of the 2015 Nationals season because a lot more people would be blaming Desmond and his disastrous year for the short comings of the team if not for Williams. After career years in 2012 and 2013, Desmond’s 2014 was a minor step back and his 2015 was a jump back followed by a tumble down the stairs.


Desmond hit only .233 on the year, the lowest batting average of his career. Analytically, the first stat to look at when confronted with a big drop off in batting is BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play). Poor batted ball luck can torpedo an otherwise successful hitter’s results. For Desmond, sadly, BABIP is not to blame. He posted a .307 BABIP in 2015. That’s a little lower than his BABIPs from previous seasons, but that mark was right around the league average, so there must be more to Desmond’s struggles than bad luck.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

2015 Season Review: Denard Span

The 2015 Season Review starts with one of the players potentially hitting the free agent market this Winter: Denard Span. His contract with the Nationals has expired and so the Nationals will have to decide whether to offer him a Qualifying Offer (QO), resign him to a long term deal, or let him sign with another team.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2015 Nationals Review: How Base Running and Defense Added to the Disappointment

The playoffs have been exciting and it hasn't even reached the division series yet. However, in short order the playoffs will be over and the baseball calendar will turn to 2016. The Nationals have a lot of decisions coming up this offseason as the team attempts to bounce back from the disappointing 2015 season that ended with a 2nd place finish and an 83-79 record.

Injuries, obviously, are what most fans and pundits have blamed for the disappointing finish. In spite of all the injuries, though, the team actually performed well on the whole. The Nationals finished the year in the top 10 of both runs scored and runs allowed. For the year, the team scored 68 more runs than they allowed. It’s not a world beating run differential but it left the Nationals in the vicinity of teams that made the playoffs, including the Mets (+70 run differential) and Dodgers (+72).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Search Begins

So it took less than 24 hours from the end of the last game of 2015 for Mike Rizzo to make the announcement that Matt Williams was fired. It wasn’t a surprising move, to be sure, and it puts a fitting cap on the disappointing season. Now the Nationals officially move on to the offseason by kicking off a search for a new manager.


Monday, October 5, 2015

A Nats Fan Guide to Picking a Playoff Team

After an exciting last day of games, the playoffs are finally here. But the Nationals will be watching from home. What’s a Nationals fan to do now? In picking which playoff team to root for, there are obviously pros and cons to each team. This guide runs through each team and makes the case for and against rooting for them in October, so you know what you are getting into when you pick a team.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Taking Those Lazy Baseball Players to Task

With thousands of hot takes being written regarding Harper v Papelbon, including one sports writer who is pro choking of young players, some of the most interesting takes are those coming from current and former baseball players. These are the guys who played the game themselves, which means they have been in the clubhouse and locker room and know how the game is supposed to be played. Guys like former pitcher CJ Nitkowski and his army of unnamed, baseball playing sources, veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins, and noted fan of running, former catcher Bengie Molina have come out if not in support of Papelbon's actions directly than at least in support of criticism for Harper's lack of hustle. They say that Harper needs to respect the game by running out every pop up. Clearly, these fore fathers of baseball have earned the right talk about the game they spent years playing, so let's examine the Harper situation and apply the lessons from these vets to the rest of the league to see who else out there is dogging it and deserves a talking to.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Now They're Done

Note from your author: What follows was written prior to the choke hold heard round the twitter-verse. If anything, I think it's even more applicable now. If you want an opinion on the Harper-Papelbon dust up, there are plenty of hot takes out there, including a good one by Boswell. But I will offer up a few points to consider: 1. Yes, Harper took his time getting to first. However, even if that lazy fly ball was dropped in shallow left, he would have been safe at first and no amount of hustle would have gotten him to second safely. 2. If the team does decide that his "lack" of hustle means something, it should be a veteran National pulling him aside in the privacy of the clubhouse. Someone like Jayson Werth or Ryan Zimmerman, not rent-a-closer Papelbon who has all of 5 weeks with the team. 3. This clearly goes back to Harper's comments to the media, venting his frustration at Papelbon's beaning of Machado during the Orioles series. It may have been ill advised for Harper to be so blunt to the media, but the repercussions of that should (and usually do) take place behind closde doors 4: This turns an already sticky situation into a disaster. In trading for Papelbon, The Nationals excommunicated their own closer, Drew Storen, who now has a broken hand. Papelbon has assaulted the Nats best player. Matt Williams looked on, and essentially sided with Papelbon (quick aside, his lame excuse of not knowing how bad the confrontation was ignores the fact that it's in his job description to know and, even worse, that two of his bench coaches were the ones breaking up the fight. If he didn't see it himself, he had the resources to find out, if he wanted to). The people siding with Papelbon in this honestly astound me. Can Harper rub people the wrong way on the field? Sure. But that's, like, your opinion man. That's not a justifiable reason to assault the kid. Anyways, fun end to the season right? Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, September 21, 2015

How Much Hope is Left?

So the Nationals have won 7 of their last 8 games. Over that same 8 game stretch, the Mets have gone 4-4, leaving the Nationals 6 games back of the NL East title today. Are the Nats drawing you back into this pennant race?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What's Left to Say About 2015?

While the season still drags on for another couple of weeks, the Nationals have essentially (while not mathematically) been eliminated. Even the Racing Presidents have given up on the season and set up shop in the middle of Nationals Park to watch the playoffs at home. The offseason isn’t upon us yet, so the time for a full blown review of the disappointing season is still a little ways off. But, there are plenty of big questions that need to be resolved as the page gets turned to the 2016 season, and the next few weeks will still play a part in answering those questions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hard to Put Into Words

There are people more eloquent than I out there who have and will do a better job of talking about the Nationals’ season and more specifically last night’s debacle. Mostly, I just feel like this.

Monday, September 7, 2015

On Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg and Shutdowns

Hey, did you know that the Mets are considering shutting down Matt Harvey? You probably didn’t. It hasn’t really been covered by the media much, so let me give you the quick rundown.

Obviously, Matt Harvey is coming off of Tommy John surgery. He didn’t throw a single pitch in 2014 as he rehabbed from the surgery, so 2015 is the first year back for the Mets star pitcher since going under the knife. While Tommy John surgery has gotten much more successful over the years, there is still a great amount of uncertainty around the whole process. What causes the injury in the first place? How quickly or slowly should one return to the mound following the procedure? How much should one pitch immediately following the surgery? It’s that last question that the Mets are struggling with today.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Assessing the Reinforcements

At the All-Star break, the Nationals were sitting atop the NL East having endured a rash of injuries and keeping their heads above water thanks to the impressive work of the bench and Bryce Harper. As the lead in the East slowly shrunk and the trade deadline approached, the Nationals had ample opportunities to make a move to reinforce the offense. Yoenis Cespedes got traded to the Mets, Carlos Gomez got traded to the Astros, Ben Zobrist got traded to the Royals. Bats were available, if you were willing to pay a price. Mike Rizzo opted to stand pat on offense, making only the move for Jonathan Papelbon. Rizzo was happy with the team he had constructed in the winter and was content to wait out the injury storm, counting on the guys returning from the DL to pick up the slack. Of course, the Nationals now sit 5.5 games back of the Mets after a big slide following the return of those key, injured players. The performance of those injured players has been a mixed bag, and how they play (or not) down the stretch will make or break the season.