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FORMER NATS HAVING THEIR TROUBLES THIS SPRING

[March 13th] -- I had a few free moments this morning and decided to sort through the Nationals' trash to see if there was anything the team threw away that might have been valuable.

Let's take a look.

The St. Louis Cardinals have three players who were on the Nats' roster last season, Junior Spivey, Deivi Cruz and Gary Barnett. Spivey is batting .172 with a .250 OBP and .207 SLG. Cruz is playing even worse, going 0-14 so far this spring. Gary Barnett is playing well, though, carrying a .286 batting average into Monday's games.

Vinny Castilla and Termel Sledge have yet to play for the Padres. Castilla is playing for the Mexican National team and Sledge [apparently] isn't healthy enough to play yet.

Brad Wilkerson seems to starting where he left off last year. In 18 at-bats, Wilky is hitting only .222, but with a .364 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging average. He's striking gout 33% of the time. Armando Gallaraga hasn't gotten any innings with the big club as of yet.

Jamey Carroll is doing well with the Rockies, hitting .308 in 13 at-bats. Preston Wilson is pounding the ball for the Astros, batting .364 with a .462 OBP and a .545 SLG average. Matt Cepicky is 6-18 with the Marlins with a homer [against the Nationals] and a .368 on base percentage. Vinny Castilla and Esteban Loaiza haven't played as yet because of commitments with their national teams. Rick Short is in Japan and no stats are available at this time.

Zach Day may be on the verge of moving to the minor league camp. He is 0-3, 14.00 in 9 innings, giving up 18 hits and 2 walks. Hector Carrasco has a decent 3.86 ERA, but has given up 7 hits and 5 walks in just 4 innings. Tomo Ohka, who played well for the Brewers after being traded for Spivey, has a 10.50 ERA this spring, allowing 10 hits in 6 innings. Darrel Rasner is doing well with the Yankees, winning one game and crafting a solid 2.08 ERA. He has struck out 4 in 4 innings.

Overall, the Nationals won't miss many of those players, with the exceptions of Esteban Loiaza. If Wilkerson had stayed, he would have continued to leadoff, and I've got to tell you, having a guy at the top of the lineup strikeout out as often as he did drove me crazy. Who knows; maybe Jim Bowden was "right" in the decisions he made.

Maybe.


Comments:
Strike outs don't matter. An out is an out is an out. A ball in play is as likely to cause a double play as it is to advance a runner.

The crucial statistic is OBP, and Wilkerson has that in spades over Soriano, or any of these other guys the Nats are trying out in the leadoff spot. Wilkerson drew walks, a ton of them. But people keep ignoring BB and looking at K's like they're a negative. His OBP showed that he was using up less outs than anyone on the team except Johnson.

Sure, this is "sabrmetric" talk, but it's true. Wilkerson would have been a better, cheaper leadoff batter and defensive outfielder, and continued to be a fan favorite. Soriano will continue to waste outs (you only get 27 a game) and negate his "offense" with his "defense." Signing Soriano to an extension would be a disaster for this franchise.
 
It's Gary Bennett with the Cardinals, not Gary Barnett.
 
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