Wire Taps: Washington Post's Adam Kilgore On The Washington Nationals' Front Office

Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo still refuses to watch "Moneyball" but he's embraced the statistical revolution, though the Nats are still a scouting-first organization. The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore provided everyone with a look at the two men who are leading the Nats' stat-based research in today's BIG STORY...

After he was officially named the Washington Nationals' GM back in 2009, after a summer as the "acting" GM, Mike Rizzo talked to reporters about how he integrated statistical analysis into his decision-making process. The former scout and scouting director explained that he and his front office staff relied heavily on scouting, but factored in stat-based analysis when making trades, signings or roster decisions. "We looked at zone ratings a lot and that kind of thing," Rizzo said in discussing the deal that summer that brought Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett to the nation's capital, "so we bring the statistical analysis into it, although, you know, I trust what I see more than what I read, but it's always nice when what I read corresponds to what I think I see." When Rizzo was given the opportunity to staff the front office with his own hires he reshaped things in D.C. along these lines, adding scouts from around the league and putting together what Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore describes in today's big story as the "Nationals’ analytics department."

"Rizzo has always trusted his experience and his eyes over numbers," the WaPost's Mr. Kilgore writes. In the article that went up last night the WaPost writer talked to the two men who bring the stats to the discussion in what they admit is still a "scouting-first organization." Check out Kilgore's story and the rest of today's links below. There are a lot of them. Links that is. And they start... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!! (Today In Two Parts):

• "Mike Rizzo, the general manager who grew up the son of a baseball scout and boycotts the movie version of 'Moneyball,' may turn for advice to any number of voices within the Washington Nationals front office." - "Nationals rely on scouts-first approach, but take information from elsewhere, too" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "The information the Nationals’ analytics staff seeks is not all numeric or statistical." - "The Nationals and analytics, extended cut" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• '[Bryce] Harper didn't take batting practice on Wednesday and planned to get more treatment, but he felt accomplished with his 67 at-bats already this spring." - "Harper rests thumb, expects to return soon" - Joey Nowak, nationals.com: News

• "Provided they stayed healthy, the Nationals knew their only real question would come in the bullpen." - "Nationals' Opening Day roster nearly set but bullpen intrigue remains" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Henry] Rodriguez allowed a single and walked two batters in a scoreless seventh inning today, while [J.C.] Romero allowed a single and a walk in a scoreless eighth." - "Nationals Pastime: No decision yet on final bullpen spot (Abad, Maldonado cut)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Though general manager Mike Rizzo said it was 'unrealistic' Romero would make the team upon signing the 36-year-old to a minor-league contract on Friday, it has become obvious the Nationals are considering the possibility." - "Nats make 2 more cuts, Romero headed north" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Washington

• "In the Sports Illustrated poll, all seven of its writers picked the Nats to win the NL East title for the second year in a row." - "Nationals look like the favorites in 2013" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "'I hit the ball good,' [Ryan] Zimmerman said. 'I'm starting to feel better, and we're about a week away [from Opening Day], so it's nice to start to get going.'" - "Ryan Zimmerman's trio leads Nationals' home run parade" - Joey Nowak, nationals.com: News

• "It would be hard to name a better development for the Nationals’ this spring than the full health and outstanding performance of catcher Wilson Ramos." - "Wilson Ramos comes all the way back; Ryan Zimmerman hits three homers; Rafael Soriano returns" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Three days ago, [Wilson] Ramos worked with hitting coach Rick Eckstein on his swing, in earnest, for the first time this spring." - "Wilson Ramos hits first homer since knee surgery, then adds another as part of Nationals' six-homer day" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Coming into today, [Wilson] Ramos was homerless on the spring, so these longballs marked his first since blowing out his right knee last May." - "Nationals Pastime: Ramos making a late case for the opening day catching job (Nats win 11-2)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "It was a triumphant way for [Wilson] Ramos to finish off his spring, one that proved far more encouraging than even his most ardent supporters could have predicted." - "Ramos pushing for Opening Day nod" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nationals' biggest issue coming out of spring training is one that won't generate much sympathy from 29 other big league clubs..." - "No sense of sixth starter for Nationals" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "[Ryan] Zimmerman led off the fourth inning with a home run against Rodriguez, led off the fifth with one off Christian Martinez and then hit a two-run shot against Dusty Hughes in the seventh." - "Zimmerman hits 3 HRs, powers Nationals over Braves" - AP/WTOP.com

• "Forbes magazine released its annual valuation of Major League Baseball teams on Wednesday and the Nationals were estimated to be worth $631 million, 14th highest among the league’s 30 teams." - "Nationals valued at $631 million by Forbes, ranked 14th" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Forbes says the team's attendance at Nationals Park was up by 22 percent in 2012, when the Nats made the postseason." - "Forbes values Yankees at $2.3 billion, Nats at $631 million" - WTOP.com

• "'Beautiful Viera, where the wind always blows out,' [Ross] Detwiler joked as reporters approached him in the Nationals' clubhouse after today's outing." - "Nationals Pastime: His spring complete, Detwiler will play the waiting game" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Ross] Detwiler began last season as a starter before a six-outing stint in the bullpen from May 30-June 19. He was back in the rotation by the end of June and finished the year there." - "Detwiler embraces rest before first start of season" - Joey Nowak, nationals.com: News

• "Facing a lineup made up of members of the Nats' Triple-A team, Strasburg's outing was largely uneventful." - "Nationals Pastime: Strasburg gets in his final work of spring, final cuts coming soon" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Both [Henry] Rodriguez and [J.C.] Romero pitched today, and their performances underscored their potential opening day destinations." - "J.C. Romero will head north with the Nationals, roster fate not final" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Facing a Nationals club that did not feature a player on Washington's 40-man roster, the Cardinals cruised to a 10-1 win on Wednesday..." - "Cardinals too tough for Nationals' Minor League squad" - Jenifer Langosch, nationals.com: News

• "Years before anyone heard of Frank Howard, another ballplayer came to mind whenever the name 'Hondo' came up." - "Nationals' Micah Owings changes it up for one more swing" - Phil Wood, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "With all those minor leaguers the Washington Nationals were putting on the field, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny needed to make a call." - "Garcia throws 8 innings as Cardinals top Nationals" - AP/WTOP.com

• "If you think [Davey] Johnson is concerned about the way his relievers have been pitching this spring, however, you don't know how the 70-year-old skipper operates this time of year." - "Nationals Pastime: Relievers' lofty spring ERAs not a concern in Nats camp" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

Nats' Final Grapefruit League Lineup:

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Unifying Replacement Level" - Dave Cameron, FanGraphs Baseball

• "Also a high school draftee, [A.J.] Cole was highly regarded entering his draft year but fell to the 4th round in large part due to high bonus demands." - "Spring Pitcher's Duel: Jarred Cosart vs. A.J. Cole" - Al Skorupa, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

• "The Nationals don't have the healthiest Top 10, but there's plenty of upside. - Keywords: Michael Taylor, Chris Marrero, Anthony Rendon, Brian Goodwin, Lucas Giolito." - "Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Washington Nationals Top 10 Prospects" - Jason Parks, Baseball Prospectus

• "The Nationals look great on paper, and they'll probably be very good in reality. But the Braves will be good themselves..." - "Pressure just shifted to the Nationals" - Mark Bradley, Baseball Wires - MiamiHerald.com

• "I’ve been hailing the Nationals as the best team in baseball due to the fact that their roster really doesn’t have any glaring flaws, but Detroit is similarly sound across the board." - "2013 Positional Power Rankings: Wrap-Up" - Dave Cameron, FanGraphs Baseball

• "How the Nationals use analytics" - Craig Calcaterra, HardballTalk

VIDEO: "Eric Karabell and David Schoenfield give their National League bold predictions." - "SweetSpot TV: NL Bold Predictions" - ESPN Video - ESPN

• "The Nationals are confident they're ready to return to the playoffs — and make a deep run this time. 'World Series or bust' were the words used by Johnson, who plans to retire after this season." - "Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves loaded up on talent in the offseason: 2013 NL East Preview" - AP/PennLive.com

• "No early shutdown for right-hander [Stephen] Strasburg. No waiting around in the minors for left fielder [Bryce] Harper. To hear the 70-year-old [Davey] Johnson tell it, no shortage of high expectations, either..." - "Washington Nationals expecting big things in 2013" - AP/Boston Herald

• "Washington Nationals: Top 2013 Prospects (3/28/2013)" - Scoutingbook.com

NATSTOWN:

• "As part of our upcoming 2013 season preview, we thought it’d be fun to ask the Nationals about their earliest baseball memories." - "Baseball memories: Drew Storen’s chicken pox, Stephen Strasburg’s makeshift bases and more" - Lindsay Applebaum, Washington Post

• "Getting to Nationals Park: Baseball fans have multiple transportation options" - WTOP.com

• "Baseball America’s Revised Nats Top 10" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• "13 Things We’re Excited About for 2013: #6" - Curly W Live

• "Just Gio at a playground" - Nats Enquirer

• "Healthy Signs" - Curly W Live

• "Offensively the Nats are ripe for a regression. I wouldn't be surprised if [Ian] Desmond and [Adam] LaRoche both took steps back..." - "So What Do I Think?" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "A day after Jonny Venters left a game with an injured pitching elbow, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he hopes for the best, but might not have an update until Thursday." - "Braves wait for update on health of Venters" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

Mets: "It is time for Daniel Murphy to prove he is ready to play in the big leagues again. Murphy will start at second base on Thursday against the Nationals in his first game this spring..." - "Second baseman Daniel Murphy to play in first game this spring when NY Mets face Washington Nationals" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News

Marlins: "As many as four roster spots — three bench jobs and a bullpen role — remain unsettled as the Marlins prepare to break camp and embark on the season." - "FORT MYERS: Miami Marlins might plug roster holes with trades" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Phillies: "The next big question for the Phillies will be answered Thursday in their Grapefruit League finale, when Roy Halladay pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays at Bright House Field." - "Roy Halladay can answer Phillies' questions in Grapefruit finale" - Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer

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