Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ten Worst Nats

Over the last two years, Washington fans have been treated to some great performances. Who'll forget Soriano, Zimmerman, Johnson and... ummm... umm... There was that really good game that Ortiz pitched, and ummm... Ryan Church hit a homer once, I think.

We vividly recall those good times because they're so infrequent. And they've been so infrequent because the Nationals have had so many craptastic players playing for them. As we did last year, it's time to lay back on the couch to uncover those memories you've replaced. These are your Ten Worst Nats.

I've revised the ranking system this year. I've been hard at work at the CP Labs developing a new statistic, which I'm using for this year's rankings. The Heuristic Omnipotent Repeating Groundout Analytical Number (HORGAN) analyzes a Nats' crappiness on a scale with frequency of suckitude, spitting out a HORGAN. So if your favorite Nat appears on the list (or if you appear on the list), don't blame me. It's just HORGAN.

10: Pedro Astacio -- 17 GS, 64 Runs, 5.98 ERA
In those 17 starts, Astacio saw the 7th inning just four times, which is the same number of starts that he kept the opposing team under three runs. Entering his start against the Braves, he had a 5.56 ERA. He then inexplicably threw a CG shutout (the only one a Nat threw last year), and built on that by getting bombed with an 8.00 ERA for the rest of the season. If you missed him pitching, consider yourself lucky. If not, this was a typical result.

9: Tony Blanco -- 56 G, 62 AB, 2/19 BB/K ratio, .177/ .215/ .274
I've no doubt that you've blocked all memories of this guy who was, despite the team being in the midst of a pennant race, carried on the team's roster the entire year and getting more PH ABs than any other player. Not so coincidentally, the team went 21-35 in games he appeared in. Here's his first (and last) MLB homer.

8: Damian Jackson -- 67 G, 116 AB, .198 AVE
If there was a play that could be screwed up, Jackson did it. Throwing to the wrong base, forgetting to cover the bag, lobbing the ball wildly off his back foot, crapping out on every bunt opportunity, etc, etc. He didn't play for a stretch then blamed his failure on rustiness. So Frank played him and he blamed fatigue. Then he missed a chunk of time with esophageal spasms -- he was choking. Even when he made a good play, he was terrible.

7: Wil Cordero -- 51 ABs, 2 RBI, 2 SF, .118/ .161/ .157

Oh, Wil, how we miss you. The patriarch of the Wil Cordero All-Stars (membership requires you to beat your wife, but you don't have to use a telephone like Wil did) was terrible with the Nats, doing nothing but hitting weak popup after weak popup. His 2 RBI both came on weak flyballs to the OF, which was really all he hit. He just had the good fortune in those two cases of having a runner on third.

6: Billy Traber -- 43.1 IP, 6.44 ERA
Frank Robinson's least favorite non-Asian pitcher saved himself with a strong finish to the year. When Frank mercifully yanked him from the starting rotation after 8 starts, he had a 7.75 ERA and he hadn't gotten through five IP in four of those starts. Here's a typical AB against Traber. I think this one's still rolling.

5: Joe Horgan -- 6 IP, 15 Runs, 8 2B, 21.00 ERA
With Horgan, it wasn't quantity, it was quality, and he scorched a lot of earth in his short time with the Nats. He was the second lefty that Frank Robinson wanted in the pen so badly that he left Gary Majewski in the minors for a month. Despite that, Frank Robinson let Horgan pitch against mostly righties to disastrous results: .667/ .667/ .958. He was so bad, that MLB.com seems to have erased all video evidence of him having pitched. But my girlfriend still won't go back, after witnessing this game.

4: Felix Rodriguez -- 31 Games, 25 Runs, 16/15 BB/K ratio, 7.67 ERA
The only thing that saves FRodo from appearing higher on the list was the injury which took him out from May to September (to Randy St. Claire's relief). He pitched often. And he stunk often. He didn't strike anyone out. He walked a bunch. He gave up a bunch of homers. You name it, he couldn't do it. You know it's a monster when the pitcher flinches and turns to see how far it went. (Did you know that he actually received an MVP vote once?)

3: Gary Bennett -- 68 G, 199 ABs, 7 GIDP, .221/ .298/ .271, 6 errors, 4 passed balls
Not-so affectionately dubbed PB for his alarming ability to kick around balls, Bennett was thrust into a starting role a few times when Brian Schneider broke something or other. And he was absolutely brutal in September (.183 .286 .200, 60 ABs) with the Nats gasping for air in the pennant race, and the team finished 31-37 with him in the game. As terrible as he was, I'll forgive him for this game.

2: Cristian Guzman -- 456 ABs, 31 RBI, .219/ .260/ .314
The less said the better. He'd be higher were it not for his well-timed injury. I don't know where his recently earned reputation as an elite defensive shortstop has come from, but he did make a few pretty plays.

1: Antonio Osuna -- 2.2 IP, 11 Runs, 2 HR, 7 BB, 0 K, 42.42 ERA

If the rare few of us hadn't seen it with our own eyes, we'd pass off rumors of his existence as the beer-induced tales of people who think that Eddie Brinkman was good.

But there he is, standing on the mound as I remember him: right hand on hip. Glove at his side. Gazing, gazing off into the distance, perhaps thinking of his children back home in Sinaloa. If I close my eyes, and inhale lightly I can still smell it, the smell of those little crumbles in the bottom of your toaster charring. No, it wasn't a dream. He does exist. He is the worst Nat.

  • Dishonorable mentions:
    Jason Bergmann, Travis Hughes, Zach Day, Brandon Watson, Deivi Cruz, Bernie Castro

  • 18 Comments:

    • No love for Joey Eischen, or is he still fused to the decaying corpse of Joe Horgan?

      By Anonymous (other) Chris, at 3/21/2007 8:41 AM  

    • How can you leave Matt LeCroy off the list, the only player to reduce Frank Robinson to tears?

      By Anonymous jack g, at 3/21/2007 9:36 AM  

    • Eischen, overall, was actually quite effective as a Nat.

      Same with LeCroy. His defense blew, but he hit ok. His average was low, but he got on base and slugged a bit.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/21/2007 9:38 AM  

    • Damien Jackson belongs at the top of the list of the worst Nats. He couldn't hit, couldn't field and couldn't bunt. He was a malcontent, he had a bad temper and he was a malingerer. Any team that would give this low life a tryout, much less sign him, is in need of a new general manager.

      By Anonymous phil dunn, at 3/21/2007 9:50 AM  

    • How can Brian Lawrence not make this list?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/21/2007 11:01 AM  

    • Are you kidding? He was probably our best starting pitcher last year.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/21/2007 11:02 AM  

    • CJ?

      By Blogger D, at 3/21/2007 11:33 AM  

    • He was on the short list, but just 3.1 IP. If he had crapped out with more than 3 runs allowed, he'd be higher in the HORGAN rankings.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/21/2007 11:36 AM  

    • I reject your assertion that Billy Traber belongs on that list, if for no other reason than that he has a strong jaw, and I think he's handsome. Have we already forgotten his few excellent starts? Billy "Beanstalk" Traber: Slayer of giants.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/21/2007 12:11 PM  

    • I agree with Phil Dunn, HORGAN is in need of some serious refinement if Damian Jackson doesn't get the top spot (or at least top three).

      By Blogger Will, at 3/21/2007 2:28 PM  

    • How DARE you question the proprietary metric. How DARE you.

      In Jackson's defense, he did hit 4 homers, which is more than most of these stiffs. And he was versatile enough to be 'useful' in a double switch.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/21/2007 2:31 PM  

    • Only two seasons in D.C. and there are already so many good candidates that several of my "favorites" (Watson, Day) get left off the list.

      No doubt season three will provide us with many more such "entertainers."

      One minor quibble: Guzman should be number one for overall negative impact based on total playing time.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/21/2007 3:23 PM  

    • I have no doubt that he'll assume his rightful place at the top of the list by next season.

      Hell, by the end of April...

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/21/2007 3:25 PM  

    • Is it too early to put Dmitri Young on this list? Can HORGAN be used as a forecasting metric?

      By Blogger jeffreybeam, at 3/21/2007 6:40 PM  

    • At the very least, Meathook will be joining the Wil Cordero All-Stars if he makes the roster.

      By Anonymous (other) Chris, at 3/21/2007 6:59 PM  

    • He's already a Wil Cordero All-Star, regardless of his Nats' Status.

      If you look in the opposing dugout for tonight's game, you'll the All-Star's Hall-of-Fame manager.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/21/2007 8:23 PM  

    • Anyone else unable to ever play any of the video links posted here?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/22/2007 6:54 AM  

    • They work on mine, home and at work. I know they work for some others, too.

      MLB.com uses Windows Media Player. Maybe that's the problem. Don't have it? On a Mac?

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/22/2007 8:25 AM  

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