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Statistical (in)significance, Part II

Yet another tour through Viera's small sample sizes, but this time without the poorly-formatted attempts at stats charts.

{Looks at stats}

You know what? Outside of Billy Traber (good), Anastacio Martinez (bad), Livan Hernandez (encouraging), Ramon Ortiz (discouraging), John Patterson (unbeatable), and Travis Hughes (thoroughly beatable), there's not much of note going on here. Even Andrew Good (5.79 ERA in 4.2 innings pitched) has been neither aptly-named nor an utter misnomer.

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One of the most pleasant surprises this spring has been the aforementioned Traber, who held the opposition (admittedly, the Marlins) to one run over five innings in his most recent appearance. Traber has been such a surprise, in fact, that most observers overlooked him until quite recently.

Similarly, not many of us realized that reliever Chris Booker was the property of the Nats, albeit briefly. The Phillies selected Booker in the Rule 5 draft back in December, and the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that Philly is reaching a certain transactional tipping point. Booker has been hobbled by offseason knee surgery and is scheduled to see his first live action (other than tossing batting practice) as a member of the Phillies on Thursday, in a minor league game. As the Inquirer article mentions, if Booker does not make the Phils' 25-man roster, he must be offered back to the Nats (for essentially half-price).

In the event we become subsequently become reacquianted with Booker, here was Nats Farm Authority's first impression back in December:

Booker did not play in the Nationals farm system in 2005, he was signed as a minor league free agent from the Reds at the end of the 2005 season. In 65IP in Triple-A, he had a 2.49 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 12.6 K/9IP, 3.9 BB/9IP, and 0.3 HR/9IP. He's another of the many faceless RH RP and the $50,000 payment from Philadelphia is probably better.

Speaking of small sample sizes (see above), Booker has appeared in three big league games, all last year with Cincy. His career ERA? A tidy 31.50.

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According to, Stan Kasten attended today's game versus the Mets. While Kasten was mentioned as an independent bidder early on in Nats Derby, he is commonly cited as a potential partner for one of the frontrunners, either Team Malek or (usually) Team Lerner. Infer what you will.

* * * also notes that Cristian Guzman might not just have bursitis, but super bursitis, in his right shoulder. Which is to say, reports that Guzman isn't responding to cortisone injections in the shoulder and suspects something much worse is ailing the wing:

Guzman's agent, Stanley King, said that the injury could be much worse. Guzman told his representative that he hears something inside the shoulder every time he tries to throw the ball. Besides having difficulties throwing the ball, the switch-hitting Guzman has a tough time swinging right-handed.

"The MRI showed something inside the shoulder, but [the Nationals] don't want to draw any conclusions until after he goes to Cincinnati," King said.

This suggests that either a) Guzman really has figured out the trick to free money, or b) something might really be wrong with the shoulder.

In either event, Royce Clayton stands ready as insurance. Yes, this is the same Clayton who has been dumped by three teams that were a combined 64 games below .500 in the past three seasons.

Update [2006-3-16 0:18:27 by Basil]: Capitol Punishment excerpts a whole bunch of defensive-sounding quotes from the principals in this drama. Bowden sounds defensive about Guzman's status. Clayton sounds defensive about his ability to assume the shortstop job. Everyone's defensive. Well, if the World Baseball Classic is any indication, everyone except for Soriano.

* * *

Camden Chat is running one of those features that wouldn't make any sense for a Nats blog: top forty players in franchise history. (I thought of doing the top forty Washington Nationals, 2005-present, and last year's roster could have supported it.) SC, the Camden Chat guy, rates Frank Robinson as the number five player in franchise history, although he rightly notes that Robinson is the best player ever to play for the Orioles.

Writes SC:

Robinson, of course, came to Baltimore in the greatest Orioles trade ever, for Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun and Dick Simpson. Robinson was about to turn 30, had just hit .296/.386/.540 with 33 homers and 113 RBI for the Reds, and they decided that he was ready to go downhill.

He did, a little. Eventually. In 1966, his first year in Baltimore, he won the American League MVP award and the Triple Crown, hitting .316 with 49 homers and 122 RBI. He also had a .410 on-base percentage and slugged .637, with 34 doubles, 182 hits and 122 runs scored. The 49 homers were a career high for Robinson.

SC also notes that Robinson has had a long and in a certain respect successful managerial career.

* * *

Finally, Reds Reporter notes that somebody out there doesn't like one of the prime objects of Jim Bowden's tools-lust, Wily Mo Pena:

"Way to go, Wily, way to get better for us!"
---An unnamed Red as Wily Mo Peña got in the high five line after another "DNP" (did not play) for the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic