Nationals Baseball: Silver Slugger talk. Why? Because.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Silver Slugger talk. Why? Because.

Sorry - HVAC issues have kept me out the last few days.

For the past 3 years there really has been only one consistent bright spot for the Nationals, and that's Ryan Zimmerman. They've had a nice performance here and there and a couple guys that hold their own, but there is only one true star on the team and that's Zimm. His awesomeness has been acknowledged league wide by winning the Silver Slugger the last two years. Meaningless award? Perhaps, but when your team (and a shifting definition of "valuable") is keeping you from being a legit MVP candidate*, you take what you can get.

(4th in WAR in 2009 - 25th in MVP voting. 3rd in WAR in 2010 - 16th in MVP voting)

This year is going to be a tough one for Ryan though. A long time-off because of injury and a mini-slump upon return has him behind the 8-ball. It looks like there are only two candidates ahead of Ryan. Here are their slash lines:

Pablo Sandoval : .307 / .347 / .511
Ryan Zimmerman : .300 / .371 / .464
Aramis Ramirez : .297 / .340 / .513

Pretty close right? Looking at that and you probably have Ryan being the sabermetric favorite, with Sandoval edging Ramirez. But all are pretty worthy. Now lets look at HR and RBI.

Pablo Sandoval : 14-46
Ryan Zimmerman : 8-29
Aramis Ramirez : 23-76

Uh oh. Here is where the loss of games really kills it for Ryan (and Sandoval for that matter). Aramis Ramirez has played 116 games this year. Ryan 64. That matters in the voting and it should matter. That's half the season so far Ryan had no impact on. Barring a crazy last 50 games of the year there no way Ryan is going to overcome that. These number also highlight a lack of power for Ryan this season - scaled up he'd have 15 homers or so (scale Sandoval up to 120 games and he has 21 homers) but that issue seems to be behind him now with 3 homers and 7 XBH total in his last 11 games.

With Ryan out of the running are there any Nats up for any awards? Hitting wise it looks doubtful. Mike Morse is obviously a beast but Prince Fielder has been a tad better and has been that way all year long. If they don't want to give Fielder the MVP AND Silver Slugger; Votto, Pujols and Ryan "RBI" Howard are all going to muscle Morse out. The Nats young studs have slipped dramatically. Ramos has quietly gone from being one of the better hitting catchers to one of the worst hitting regulars. (take that Doug Glanville!) Danny hasn't seen quite that large a drop but he's now middle of the road. Wouldn't worry about either of them yet. It's the end of a long first full major league season and they have good minor league stats to back them up. But they aren't taking home the silver sluggers (or the ROY for that matter). No one else hits enough to warrant a mention.

Pitching wise - Storen could sneak in and get Rolaids Relief Man of the Year. If it were up to voters I would say no (Kimbrel has a solid save and ERA lead on Storen) but it's not. It's up to some silly statistical formula. Here is the leaderboard. (there's another relief award sponsered by DHL that IS voted on, which means there's no point in going over it.) Outside of that, ZNN has been good but Cy Young is not happening. There are no awards Clippard is going to get.

Fieldling is a moot. It's going to go to the best hitter who is also a decent fielder and at the position the Nats are best at (catcher, 2nd, SS, 3rd) there are clear favorites who fit that criteria (Molina, Phillips, Tulowitski, Sandoval...please not Rolen). Manager of the year is going to Kirk Gibson, even if the Nats squeak over .500 (which would just mean Davey got them back to where they were when he started). Comeback of the year is almost certainly Berkman's.

Hmm this got a lot more depressing than I thought it was going to, but think about it this way. If I wrote this column last year at this time would I even have had to bother with the previous 3 paragraphs? No Espy, Ramos, ZNN, Morse in place, Storen as closer. I can't imagine I would have.


WebberDC said...

What about ZNN for Silver slugger? He went over .200 last night and could catch Werth if Jayson isn't careful

Harper said...

They do award it for pitchers but Zambrano is a perenially great hitter who's won it before and is doing great (.318 / .348 / .500; 2 HR 5 RBI) this year too.

Funny enough the guy not good enough to trade Dunn for, Daniel Hudson, has not only been holding steady as a good #3 type pitcher but is hitting great (.327 / .353 / .449, 1 homer, 13 RBI) If you think that's a lot of RBI for a pitcher - it is. Since 1972 the best number is only 17. (handful of 20+ RBI seasons in the 50s and 60s)

Scott said...

Would they still give it to Zambrano if he "retires"?

Donald said...

What about a Gold Glove for Espinosa? I don't think he'll get it as a rookie, but I wouldn't entirely rule it out.

Harper said...

Scott - maybe he's missing the boat by retiring - maybe he should just DH now.

Donald - not with Brandon Phillips hitting well, committing the least amount of errors and leading in UZR (Maybe other places have it different but I'm not subscribing to bill james online just for fielding stats)

Nattydread said...

A walk off grand slam gives Zimmerman a nice statistical nudge. If he keeps this up he'll be a contender.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

Awards are nice, but I will be happy with the 75-79 wins the NATS will get get this year.

Zimmerman being out most of the season, not only cost him any awards but also the NATS about 5 wins out of all those 1 run losses endured while he was out.

Werth has left a lot of RISPs this season, but is it not interesting that he played a key role in the 9th and 10th inning heroics that allowed the NATS to take 2 out of 3 from the Philthies? Baseball is strange.

calindc said...

@Sec 204

I'm being a bit more optimistic with their final win total. I say with their very soft September schedule, the Nats can easily win 81+ games. The next three series are Ari/Cinn/Atl. After that it's the Mets/Dodgers/Hou/Mets/Fla/Phi/Atl/Fla.

There's a good chance Atlanta and Philly will have their playoff spots locked up by the time the Nats play them. September can be a very good month for DC baseball.


Your 2013 Free-Agent-of-a-Lifetime has been officially taken off the market...sorry. :-)

DCNatty said... you know why Ankiel is starting over Bernadina? He is horrible. Everyone always comments on how great he is in the field...Bernadina is better. And hitting he was hot for 2 weeks, but has been horrendous. He simply swings as hard as he cna at everything. its painful to watch. We only signed this Bozo for a year right?

DCNatty said...

Golf glove for Espinosa? He BLEW 2 plays yesterday. Two errors which the home scorekeeper decided not to give him.

1. Falling down after fielding the bal land not making the play at first. Next better parks it

2. Bobbling the ball in deep right from Howard, that allows Victorino to advance to 3rd.

Harper said...

dread - sure. If he can hit a grandslam a game he'd make a strong case.

sec204 - 5 wins? That's a lot. I'd say a win or two but you know, that's enough to put the Nats right at .500. Nats could be .500? Baseball is strange.

calindc - sure but haven't we said "the Nats should gain ground here" a few times only to watch the Astros and Dodgers beat them down? I make no assumptions.

Oh no - no Weaver! I didn't think the Nats would get him but I figured he'd test the FA waters which would take up a spot from everyone else. Still a much better class without him, hard to see it not being better than post-2011 even after the extensions and trade/signings.

DC Natty - my guess is that Ankiel's swing for the fences at bats gives them what they want from his lineup position better than Roger's more balanced suck. Maybe showing him off for a waiver move? I don't know. It' a classic move bad teams make.

Never said GG for Danny, he does need a little polish but if Ian can make himself good, Danny could make himself great.