The Nats just finalized their roster this week, and there were few questions remaining. We knew at this point that Mark DeRosa, for example, was going to make the team, and he’ll probably even start with all the early season injuries. But a few guys made this team that we didn’t even notice before spring training. And you may not notice them that much this season, other than an occasional start or pinch hit appearance.
Brett Carroll hasn’t hit much in the major leagues. Almost all of his plate appearances have been with Florida, and he’s only hit .203/.281/.322 in his career. His best season, and the one in which he played the most, was 2009. He had 158 PAs and hit .234/.306/.383, which isn’t particularly good for any position, let alone a guy who really only plays corner outfield. He is a righty, and in his career, he’s shown much more power against lefties, although his AVG and OBP have been pretty much the same. In that extended appearance in 2009m he hit with significantly more power against LHPs, and better OBP against RHPs.
Last year, at 28 years old, Carroll spent basically the entire year in AAA, where he hit .275/.345/.447. Nice numbers, if he wasn’t a 28 year old. The Nats can expect decent power off the bench against lefties, but probably not much more than that. Still, that isn’t the worst thing to do with a bench spot.
Unlike Carroll, Chad Tracy has had significant success in the majors. At 25 years old, back in 2005, he hit .308/.359/.553 with 27 HRs playing 1B and RF for the Diamondbacks. The next two years were not as good, but still decent, having an .800 OPS, give or take a few points, in 2006-2007. But injuries, including microfracture surgery on his knee, limited his playing time beginning in 2007 and his 2008-2010 seasons weren’t very good, with low OBP and a dip in power.
He spent 2011 in Japan, and since he’s back on an MLB roster, you might have expected a season of dominance in Nippon Professional Baseball. But if you thought that, you’d be wrong. He only hit .235/.293/.336in 164 PAs before hip problems sent him back to the US for treatment. The Hiroshima Carp released him in September, unsure of his timetable to return, and he wound up in Nats camp, likely due to Mike Rizzo’s familiarity with him thanks to both of their tenures in Arizona. Despite his recent troubles, a healthy Chad Tracy is more likely to contribute offensively than Brett Carroll, although a healthy Chad Tracy may not be all that likely.
Of the three guys on this list, Xavier Nady is the oldest, and he’s had the most success in the big leagues. He’s a career .275/.328/.438 hitter, and that’s certainly 4th outfielder territory. Unfortunately, those career numbers don’t reflect the precipitous decline he’s shown over the last three seasons. From 2009-2011 he’s hit .254/.299/.359 and only 10 HRs in 599 PAs. As a righty, he has hit better against LHPs recently, and throughout his career, but not well enough that you’d think he’s particularly effective against them.
I know he’s a veteran with experience, and there is something to be said for that. But unless he has a hot streak in him, it’s hard to imagine him providing much help on offense. Then again, they need someone on the bench who can come off and hit in a PH role, and using Nady is smarter than using a prospect who may bring you more, but really needs to get ABs every day.