For Washington Nationals fans, it may seem like all hope is lost. After a three game sweep by the Tampa Bay Rays, the Nationals fell to a major league worst 16-45. With attendance declining faster and faster with every home date and with rumors of Manny Acta's firing flying about, it is hard to see a bright spot if you are a Nationals fan. Not so fast. There are a few simple ways to turn this sinking ball club around. Small ball and the farm system.
About six or seven years ago, the Colorado Rockies' management decided to do things the very cheap way after what happened with Mike Hampton. The Monforts simply did not want to risk signing another big name star and not having him perform. Thus, the farm system was the center of attention. The Rockies would draft decent players out of college, develop him in the minors and he would end up turning out all right. The farm system of the Colorado Rockies is one of the best in the major leagues and it is starting to finally pay off. If the Nationals ever hope to get out of the cellar of the East, they must develop their farm system. Draft solid players that have good potential, sign him for a reasonable amount of money and develop him. If the Nationals would take a stab at this strategy, they will improve. This certainly is not an "Easy Button" for fixing a team and it will not happen overnight. However, in two or three years when the players have developed, the Nationals are going to have a decent team.
The Nationals must develop speed and a little bit of power. Not all players are meant to drive the ball 400' to dead center field. This is where small ball comes into play. The hit and run, the suicide squeeze, it's all part of a master plan to score runs. Small ball incorporates timely hitting as well as discipline at the plate. Taking a fastball down the alley while the man on first swipes second. Being able to hit the ball to the outfield with a man on third to score the run. Very basic things that lead to sparks in an otherwise lifeless offense. Small ball is one of the more entertaining ways to score runs effectively. The Nationals must incorporate small ball into their offense if they ever hope to regain any ground in the East, or if they ever hope to even regain some of their fan-base.