With Day Off, Nats Nap & I Recap
Nationals Napping Today
With twenty-two games under their shiny new red belts, some trends have begun to develop from which we can make some conclusions about this team and their chances for the rest of the season.
First: The Nationals aren't going win anything, except perhaps the hearts of many thousands of Washingtonians. They have showed they have don't have the talent for an extended winning streak, nor do they look like the kind of team that's going to lose 10 in a row or 12 out of 14. Win one. Lose one. Win three out of four. Lose two out of three. No, they're good enough, but not that good.
P L A Y E R P R O F I L E S
Nick Johnson is doing everything we expected of him as Nationals fans, and more. He is playing flawless defense -- who's better in the NL in the field? J.T. Snow ...maybe. He has an outstanding on base percentage, and his hitting consistantly in every game, and driving in runs when he's got the opportunity. No, he hasn't been hitting a lot of home runs yet, but that will come. PREDICTION: .283-24-84
Jose has been one of the cogs in the Nationals' lineup. He is playing all-star offense and defense, in spite of the fact that he isn't 100%. He is a leader both on the field and in the clubhouse. His production is automatic. And he signed an extention with the Expos when he didn't know hwere they'd end up. What does that tell you? PREDICTION: 303-18-94
SS] Christian Guzman
Eeeeeeeeeeeee. I know. It's becoming more obvious why the Nats were able to sign him so early in the free agency period: no one else wanted him. I think he's one of those players whose job is not to be a negative on the team -- no one expects him to be a real contributor. By season's end he'll be right where his career statistics suggest. PREDICTION: .266-8-44
3B] VINNY CASTILLA
Not much was expected of Vinny Castilla. He was "past his prime." He was a "Coors Field" hitter. Both true, but he's still providing flawless defense and hitting as if he was still in Coors Field. All the Nats need him to do repeat his last year in Atlanta, and he will fulfill JimBowden's hopes and wishes. He's well on his way. PREDICTION: .276-23-77
Sign him now! Sign him now! Don't wait Jim! Brad Wilkerson has gone from "potential star" to "star" this year in Washington. Long gone is that .255 career average, though those strikeouts still do haunt him. He is more than a hitter. He is a clutch player. He is more then a player. He is a team leader. He is this generation's Frank Howard. His defense will improve when he's finally given a permanent position. PREDICTION: .287-27-77 [assuming leadoff role]
Ryan Church? Termel Sledge? JJ Davis? No one has stood out among this group, although Termel is at least holding is own. This is the weak spot in the Nationals lineup. Maybe a callup from New Orleans or a trade?
I would take Jose Guillen for the Nationals right field over Sammy Sosa any day of the week. We still haven't seen all that he can do. I doubt he's going to be that monsterous clouter that some had envisioned, but he will be a consistant 30 homerun a year guy that every team needs in their lineup. He makes contact, isn't prone to slumps, and has the best arm on a rightfielder this side of Ichiro. Once you've signed Wilkerson, Mr. Bowden, take care of this guy. PREDICTION: .288-32-111
Would you rather have Mike Piazza, a guy who crushes the ball but can't throw a runner out, or Brian Schneider, a decent hitter but a defensive dynamo as your catcher? Easy. Gotta take Schneider. After throwing two balls into centerfield during the first week the season, he's been throwing out 50% of basestealers. No, he's not going to be a big bat in the lineup, but he will win a few games with a clutch hit or two, and he'll win many games with his glove and arm. PREDICTION: .252-10-44
NEXT INSTALLMENT: PITCHING [coming this afternoon]