Here’s another video of a Bryce Harper home run. Notice that it’s lefty on lefty, and Harper just snaps at the inside pitch and launches it. Despite all his talent, this kid still has a lot to learn, which translates to a huge potential upside. Hopefully, he’ll be the catcher for the Nationals for the next decade.
The Nationals signed future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez to a 2-year deal this week. The catcher might be a shell of his former self, but he still has a lot to offer a Nationals franchise that could use the input of a veteran. I-Rod will be able to instruct our young pitching staff and teach them why nobody is going to be fooled by a hanging breaking ball on an 0-2 count. He can’t throw out guys like he used to, but Rodriguez is still an above average catcher. What he brings to the plate is the potential for power and a low average, but nothing worse than we’ve already seen. He’s better than the average catching replacement, and he’s got the experience to help the Nats grow, so I’m all for this signing. If we’re lucky, he might even stick around long enough to log his 3,000th hit in a Nationals uniform. That’ll put some fans in the stands folks, and we could use ‘em.
Nationals top draft pick Stephen Strasburg may have had a good first start in the Arizona Fall League, but his second appearance shows that he is human. He allowed 8 runs in 2 and 2/3 innings the other night, including 3 home runs. I’m afraid that Strasburg might lack the arsenal of pitches to get out of trouble on nights when his famous 90+ mph slider isn’t working or when he’s having trouble getting the ball down. Without a “plus” changeup, Strasburg is going to find it hard to keep hitters off-balance.
As much as I want Strasburg to succeed and be the Nationals ace next season, I’m very skeptical at this point. I frankly don’t trust hyped baseball prospects, and the fact that he’s a hyped Scott Boras client makes it an even more expensive gamble for the Nationals. He might represent some of the top names in baseball, but he’s also got a long list of clients who have been complete busts, along with many more that never managed to play up to their huge contracts.
Unlike Stephen Strasburg, who will probably hold out until the week of the August 17th deadline to sign with the Nationals, the Nats #10 overall pick in the draft is one of just a handful of 1st rounders to have already signed a deal. Drew Storen has agreed to a bonus of about $1.6 million. The right-handed pitcher from Stanford was a compensation pick for Aaron Crow, who the Nats failed to sign last year and who will likely sign with the Royals this year.
The Nationals have signed Horacio Ramirez to a minor league deal and sent him to AAA Syracuse. Ramirez was released by the Royals last week after posting an ERA of nearly 6.00 in 22 innings this season. It’s great to see that we’ll take unwanted players from any team, even the lowly Royals. Maybe we should start searching the independent leagues for talent, or maybe the Greater Los Angeles Softball League. I’ve heard Jose Canseco is still looking for work, let’s fit him for a Nationals jersey.
The Nationals have the day off, which means they have about the same chance of gaining a win as they would if they were playing today. This post is really just filler so I can test some new updates. You can go back to sulking over the Nationals poor performance this weekend now. Enjoy your day!
Bryce Harper is the most hyped baseball prospect since, well… Stephen Strasburg, and it’s possible the Nationals could end up with both of them. Strasburg was picked by the Nationals at #1 overall in last week’s draft and is just a mega-contract signing away from joining the franchise. Bryce Harper is only 16 years old, but he’s getting his GED and taking classes and the University of Southern Nevada, making himself eligible for the draft next season.
Let’s face it, at this point it seems inevitable that the Nationals will have the #1 overall pick again in next year’s draft. They have the worst record in baseball right now, and frankly it’s not even close. If they have that pick, will they use it on Bryce Harper? It would probably mean two consecutive years of giving mega “Boras contracts” to young players with no proven professional experience, but it would also mean having two potential superstars developing in the Nats minor league system. With any luck, the Nationals could become a team that actually contends for a playoff spot and isn’t just given the perennial #1 pick in the amateur draft.
ESPN is reporting that Stephen Strasburg’s advisor, the infamous Scott Boras, has said that Strasburg’s contract should be “special” because he thinks he’s among the premium 1% of picks that have a better track record of major league success.
The previous record for a draftee contract is Mark Prior, who received $10.5 million in 2001. Prior was on the fast track to success and even had one very good year in the majors before he broke down with injuries. He hasn’t played in a major league game in 2 years. The irony with Boras’ statement is that Strasburg has one major negative in common with Mark Prior: they both have an “inverted W” in their delivery that many claim should raise a red flag regarding future injuries. Strasburg might have some “plus-plus” major league pitches, but he’s also a huge injury risk. Getting pitchers to change their delivery while maintaining their “special stuff” has proven easier said than done.
I’ve heard about once-in-a-generation pitching prospects before. We were told that Ben McDonald was the type of pitcher who would change the game back when he was drafted in 1989. He finished his career 8 years later with a 78-70 record. Hardly game-changing. In 1991 Brien Taylor was supposed to turn the struggling Yankees system around with a fastball better than Nolan Ryan’s. He never made it past lower minor league ball after signing a contract worth a then-record $1.55 million. His advisor: Scott Boras. The last anyone in the media contact Taylor they found out he was living with his parents, working as a bricklayer and making $909 a month (according to child support records). He was just the second #1 overall pick ever to not make it to the majors.
I’m not saying that Stephen Strasburg is going to end up like Brien Taylor. Strasburg actually went to college and faced real D1 competition, which is a lot different than snot-nosed 16-18 year olds you’ll face playing high school ball. I’m just saying that the Nationals should be careful about paying major league money (akin to the $50 million the Red Sox paid just to talk to Daisuke Matsuzaka) for a guy that is unproven in the major leagues who could just as easily fail miserably as he could become a hall of famer. I’ll leave the scouting to the scouts, and Boras should as well when he’s “advising” Strasburg in contract negotiations. Scott Boras has had many failures among his list of “special” players, and what they all have in common is that win or lose they end up paying a cut to Scott Boras.
The Nationals were given the #10 pick as compensation for being unable to sign 1st round pick Aaron Crow last season. With their 2nd pick in the 1st round, the Nats took Drew Storen, a right-handed pitcher out of Stanford. You might remember him being used as a closer in last year’s College World Series. Storen is a bit underdeveloped, at 6′2″ and just 175 lbs, but the pro trainers should be able to help him add muscle in the right places. I’ve got to say, I really like this kid’s stuff. His mechanics are excellent and I think he’s the type of pitcher that gets pumped up when the pressure is on in the same way that Jonathan Papelbon or Joba Chamberlain do. He might be the surprise pick to come out of the early rounds of this draft. He wasn’t even on the mock draft boards a few months ago, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Storen push Stephen Strasburg in a race towards the majors, assuming the Nats are able to sign Strasburg.
In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, the Nationals selected Stephen Strasburg with the #1 pick in the amateur draft on Tuesday. Strasburg features a 100+ mph fastball and a slider that tops 92 mph on many occasions. He also has Scott Boras as his “adviser” (can we officially call him an agent now?), and he’ll probably be demanding a contract with at least $20 million in guaranteed money, and possibly a lot more.
The only pitcher drafted #1 in the past 10 years who has actually come close to meeting expectations is the Rays David Price. Pitchers tend to be a very risky selection at #1, because it’s hard to judge how good their stuff is going to be against professional hitters. I’m hoping the Nationals don’t bet the farm on Strasburg, because he could end up being the next Roger Clemens, or he could become the next Brien Taylor.