A few stories have been floating around recently, and I’d thought I’d give them each the once over. I don’t know how much I’ll be posting until New Year’s, but if something big comes up, I’ll try to find my computer.

Nats Gets A Lefty Bat

The Nats signed Rick Ankiel. If you want an in-depth analysis of what I think, check it out here. The basics are this – he’s a lefty who can hit righties pretty well. He can’t hit lefties at all. He might play in a LF platoon with Morse. He might also spend some time in CF. Or be a bench bat. Either way, he has some use and isn’t expensive.

The Results of the Trade

The Nats got two minor leaguers from the A’s last week in exchange for Josh Willingham. Baseball America rates them here, but I’ll give you the quick and dirty. Henry Rodriguez is a 23 year old righty reliever. He has an high-90s fastball but control issues. He was very good in AAA last season and they write “His fastball and slider give him the chance to be a big league closer—if he can refine his control and command.” Corey Brown is a 25 year old lefty CF, who didn’t hit well in AAA last season. But he cleaned up in AA, and is very athletic. He has some power and knows how to get on base. He is a little old to be considered a prospect, but has an opportunity to play this season with the Nats, depending on how he does in AAA.

So Far So Good

Stephen Strasburg is on track with his recovery. Nothing sensational about this news, it just means nothing terrible has happened yet with the rehab. It will be a long time until we know if he can still throw a million miles per hour.

If You Think Felix Should Have Had More Wins

ESPN has an interesting year end wrap up of weirdness by Jayson Stark. The beginning of the article might be the best chronicle of ineptitude I’ve ever seen. The Mariners scored less runs after 150 games, 12 short of the season total, than Boston scored before the All Star break. The entire Seattle team had a lower OBP than all but 10 qualified hitters. There a bunch more there, too.

Baseball America’s Top 10

Baseball America ranks every team’s top 10 prospects, and the Nationals edition just came out. The list as is follows, with MY take on each of them:

  1. Bryce Harper, OF – Not much of a shocker here
  2. Derek Norris, C – Could be somebody special soon
  3. Danny Espinosa, SS/2B – Still has to prove to me he’s a full time hitter
  4. A.J. Cole, RHP – An 18 year old drafted this year, he’s got 3 good pitches already
  5. Wilson Ramos, C – He’ll be playing alot this year, we’ll see if he can have a OBP over .300
  6. Sammy Solis, LHP – Drafted in 2010, he impressed in the AFL and is pretty polished
  7. Cole Kimball, RHP – He’s 24, and stunk for 4 seasons, but had a great 2010 and AFL
  8. Eury Perez, OF – Young CF prospect, won’t hit for power, but could be a speedy leadoff guy with great defense
  9. Chris Marrero, 1B -Only turned 22 this summer, he’s hitting well but not destroying the ball yet
  10. Brad Peacock, RHP – Long time starter turned reliever in the AFL and really impressed. Could be a move up quickly now

6 of those guys were drafted THIS YEAR, which shows how poorly the previous regime drafted. Or how good Rizzo drafted. Or both, who knows. Harper is great, Norris could be great, and Espinosa and Ramos have a chance to hold a starting job in the majors this year. Cole could be special, so could Perez, but they’re year’s away. The other guys probably won’t ever be real stars, but all have a chance to produce in the majors.

Tough luck, Ralphie-boy

Finally, I know it’s not baseball related, but it is local sports related. Kevin Van Valkenberg of the Baltimore Sun wrote an emotional article about Ralph Friedgen, if you’re a MD fan, it’s a great read. I will miss having a coach that cares more about the school and the students than anything else. Most schools don’t have that in both their basketball and football coaches.  I wasn’t always proud of their records, but I was always proud of that.

By Charlie