The Washington Nationals are off to a hot start in Spring Training. The only injury news is that Yunel Escobar strained a lat putting in extra work at second base and had to be shutdown for a couple days. Nothing major there. What is major is the hitting of Tyler Moore. The man is eating Spring Training pitching alive which should come as no surprise as it is basically AAAA pitching and Taylor Moore is a basic AAAA player. That isn't to say he doesn't have a future in MLB or even a role on this team. His hot start combined with the way people are talking about it, we are getting a clearer picture of how the Nats want to shape their bench
Before I figured Tyler Moore was competing for the last spot on the bench and he wouldn't get it because he was right handed and the Nats want a lefty, but that is assuming the right handed pinch hitter has to have some defensive position. Last season for a team that had more than its fair share of injuries Scott Hairston started 11 games while appearing in a total of 61. Hairston was the main right handed pinch hitter and he had no true defensive position. Between Danny Espinosa, Nate McLouth, and Jose Lobaton the Nats have a back-up for seven of the eight positions and whoever the left handed pinch hitter is can be the back-up first baseman and that means back-up only as much as giving a regular a day off and going in when an injury happens mid-game. The true back-ups at many positions will be on the AAA roster like Michael Taylor for any outfielder that happens to hit the DL. If the Nats want to ignore his history and give Tyler Moore one last shot they can do it.
This Jeff Sullivan piece at Fox Sports is interesting in that it says the Nationals have the easiest schedule in baseball, but I can't help but be bothered by something. Even if we go ahead and say the AL is the better league having every single AL team ahead of every single NL team in strength of schedule is weird. The fact that it uses opponent WAR gives us the answer in my opinion. The average pitcher hitting WAR for an NL club is going to be negative and the average DH WAR positive. That one extra hitter AL clubs get doesn't mean the schedule is easier even though it gives the opponent higher WAR. Two AL East teams are given the toughest schedules in baseball but that division doesn't have much in the way of contenders where the NL Central is a deep division. If I had to say which clubs I think have the hardest schedules it would be the Brewers and the Reds, or maybe I'm a nut for not taking the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays seriously.
Jayson Stark of ESPN believes this has to be the Nationals year. If you agree with this consider the projected 2016 rotation everyone is so worried about is Scherzer, Strasburg, Gonzalez, Roark, Giolito.
Because Bryce Harper just can't keep his mouth shut Dan Steinberg has the transcription of an interview he gave on the Flagship's mid-day show. That Bryce Harper always saying stuff like he believes in his team and wants to win. When will the jerk learn to keep quiet and play the game the right way.
Trea Turner is San Diego Padres property but the Washington Nationals future and is currently trapped in limbo.--Ben Reiter, Sports Illustrated
Arms are exploding all over baseball and Yu Darvish and Cliff Lee are just the latest victims.--Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports
And now it's again time to shill our awesome 2015 Nats primer: the Washington Baseball Annual, Vol. III! If you've already acquired your copy please be sure to leave us a review and let us know what you thought!
Until tomorrow Natstown...