When Baseball Prospectus' Will Carroll published the Washington Nationals edition of his yearly Team Health Reports* back in early February, I was traveling between DC and New Jersey and I missed the opportunity to send some questions his way, but with the recent string of injuries once again affecting the Nationals' roster, I thought I'd see if Mr. Carroll would still be willing to answer a few questions, and he was...
(ed. note - " * = You'll need a subscription to Baseball Prospectus to read the full Nationals' Team Health Report by Mr. Carroll.")
1) How does sudden aging affect a prospects' health report? (Alright that's a joke.)
Ha, joke yes, but age isn't as much of a factor as most think. Conditioning and the response to aging is more important. 23 or 19 isn't as significant as 33, but while "old" or "young" teams often get thought of as more or less injury prone depending on who you speak with, it's really not the case.
2) Should DC fans be worried about Elijah Dukes' multiple leg injuries last season?
Worried, yes, but not so much so that you're not sleeping well. Dukes hasn't shown that he can stay healthy, but given all the focus on his off-field issues, is the fact that we're talking about sprains and strains a positive? I think Dukes is a fourth OF, maybe a DH and if he could be pushed to that role, he's more likely to be productive.
3) Ryan Zimmerman seemed to be missing some pop after suffering a labrum/shoulder injury last year, will the power return?
Good question. Was it the shoulder or something else? I think it was and that it was probably worse than we thought when you factor in park factors. He's going to have to find that power quickly or Kevin Goldstein's assertion** that he's the most overrated player in baseball might hold up.
4) You gave Shawn Hill a Red Light warning and he's already been back to Dr. Andrews this Spring, would a new role or a new delivery make a difference?
At this stage, no. It looks like the damage is already done. If he's able to come back -- and there's some precedent for this in Jon Rauch -- then maybe he can stay healthy, but there's really no reason to believe it so.
5) Does Jesus Flores' shoulder strain change his status as, (as you wrote), "one of the few green-rated catchers around?"
No, it's risk and probability not certainty. People win the lottery and that's not probable. Even though he's green-lit doesn't mean he's bulletproof.
(ed. note - "Thanks, Mr. Carroll.")
(ed. note - "Baseball Prospectus' writer Kevin Goldstein's quote about Ryan Zimmerman is from an article, (which you'll need a subscription to Baseball Prospectus to read in its entirety), entitled, "Future Shocks: Nationals Top 11 Prospects", where Mr. Goldstein lists Zimmerman 2nd on a list of the, "Top 10 Talents 25 and Under (as of Opening Day 2009)" in DC, with the caveat):
"The much-touted third baseman has become one of the more overrated players in the game, and is now just the best player on a very bad team, an outstanding defensive player with a career OPS just above 800—and that's just not a star."
Both sdsuaztec4, our resident Stephen Strasburg scout, and ROSCEtheNATSfan, a frequent Federal Baseball commenter, pointed to an article by ESPN.com's Buster Olney yesterday entitled, "Is Strasburg The Best Prospect Ever?", where Mr. Olney looks for holes in Strasburg's game while questioning someone he refers to simply as "a longtime scout", who'll have none of it, assuring Mr. Olney when asked just how good Strasburg is, that San Diego State University's starter is:
"'The best I've ever seen...And it's not even close.'"
But Mr. Olney injects some reality into the discussion for anyone thinking it'll be easy for the Washington Nationals to select and sign Strasburg, noting that Strasburg is, "...represented by Scott Boras, who has been known to hold out players for months, for years, in his effort to get his clients what he deems to be a fair market value." Mr. Olney then goes on to list six reasons why the Nationals need to sign Strasburg, and by the time your hear about Aaron Crow, Esmailyn Gonzalez and Jim Bowden again, you'll be ready to watch our favorite Strasburg video, which is linked at the end of the article.
GAME THREAD: New York vs Washington: Space Coast Stadium, Viera Florida...
Jordan Zimmermann's turn on the mound, against the New York Mets, who counter with righty John Maine. Zimmermann had 3 K's in 3.0 scoreless and hitless when he faced the Mets last Wednesday, starting opposite Mike Pelfrey, and the 22-year-old right-hander will probably face an equally-make-shift Mets' roster in this afternoon's tilt.
Last night the Nationals exploded for 8 runs on 14 hits, a double, a triple and 2 HR's,
as they beat the Houston Astros 8-6. Austin Kearns doubled and homered, with a three-run blast in the first. Nick Johnson, Corey Patterson and Ryan Zimmerman each knocked in runs, but it was Brad Eldred, who came up in a tie game, in extra innings, with 1 on and 1 out, and ended it with a walkoff blast in the bottom of the tenth. What will happen today?
Today's game gets underway at 1:05 pm EST...Who's Listening To The Nationals?