Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ten Worst Nats

While others are celebrating the excellence of their franchise, including one that was blatantly stolen from DC by a racist [To clarify, Mr. Griffith's the racist, not that blogger!], given our team's short history, there's much less to celebrate. And given my proclivities to accentuate the negative, here are the 10 worst Washington Nationals:

10: Jeffrey Hammonds: .219/ .286/ .250 32AB
Bowden signed Hammonds as a spring training invitee, and when he got his chances in the majors, he played like it. Five years from now, if he's remembered at all, it will be because of his game-winning single in a 1-0 game against the Brewers. (VIDEO) Excellent moustache, though.

9: C.J. Nitkowski: 8.10 ERA, 7 games, 3.3 IP
After Joey Eischen flopped off the mound and broke his arm, Bowden ran out and acquired the much-traveled, Jesus-loving, Pirates minor leaguer. Brought in as the team's left-handed reliever, he managed to hold lefties to a .571/ .667/ .714 line. (Yeah, I double checked that!) In his fairness, the .714 slugging average (which if actually compiled by a batter would be 26th all-time) was compiled without a home run. He kept lefties in the park, even if that just meant they were spraying line drives. (Here's one he gave up to Chipper!)

8: J.J. Davis: .231/ .286/ .231 26AB
Davis started the year as the platoon outfielder, and would've been better off as a pine-rider. Davis, who actually put up decent minor league numbers, just couldn't hit a slider to save his life. And he played some spectacularly bad outfield defense, taking angles to balls that turned singles into doubles and doubles into triples. Despite the platoon arrangement, he hit .158/ .200/ .158 against lefties. Ouch. At least Hammonds had the decency to get a game-winning hit.

7: Claudio Vargas: 9.24 ERA, 4 GS, 12.2 IP
Vargas was simply rushed back too soon. He was trying to recover from elbow surgery and when he made the majors, he was unable to throw his curve. As a result, batters sat back and teed off his fastball, making every Vargas start cringe-worthy. Rather than waiting to see if he was healthy or seeing if he needed more time, Bowden waived him, giving him away to Arizona for nothing -- where he's pitched decently. This clip sums up the Vargas experience nicely.

6: Cristian Guzman: .219/ .260/ .314 456 AB
If you watched the Nats last season, the only surprise here is that he wasn't ranked higher. I'm being charitable, and in his defense, his ummm.... defense, wasn't putrid, even if it wasn't great. And sometimes blind squirrels find nuts.

5: Gary Bennett: .221/ .298/ .271 199 AB
On an adjusted OPS+ basis, Bennett's season was just as bad as Guzman's. And no one who saw him catch can say he plays defense. In 64 games he committed 6 errors and allowed 4 passed balls -- not to mention a larger number of 'wild pitches' than occurred when Schneider caught. Despite having a platoon advantage, he batted just .198/ .261/ .272 versus lefties making Robinson's end-of-season platoon completely senseless.

We'll never forget the Gary Bennett game though! I could watch this video alllll day!

4: Tony "Dizzy" Blanco: .177/ .215/ .274 62AB
I'm not going to hold it against him that the Nats kept him on the roster instead of other useful players, or instead of just releasing pitchers. He did plenty of stinking on his own. The Nationals top Pinch-hitter (on an AB basis) did anything but hit in those situations. (Save for here, which I do NOT remember at all!)

3: Antonio Osuna: 42.43 ERA, 4 games, 2.1 IP
No matter how few the appearances, this all-time stinker is seared into our consciousness. He couldn't get anyone out, but when your arm is about to fall off, that's to be expected. Want to relive the pain? Click here. He did manage to hold righties to a 1.143 slugging average(!)

2: Wil "Wife Beatin'" Cordero: .118/ .161/ .157 51 stinktastic ABs.
When he went down in the Opening Series with Philadelphia, it was a blessing. There was a good chance that Cordero was going to be a platoon partner with Nick Johnson. His injury allowed Johnson to grab control of the job. And when Cordero came back, his name was penciled into the lineup night after night after night, typically coming up in crucial spots, crushing the Nats chances. Cordero has been the target of my ire almost since the blog's inception. But his position here has nothing to do with his wife-beating ways, but with his pathetic performance.

1: Joe Horgan: 21.00 ERA, 8 games, 6 IP
What can you say about Joe Horgan other than "Man, he sucks?" Coming out of spring, Frank Robinson wanted a second lefty in the bullpen, meaning Horgan got the call and Gary Majewski and Hector Carrasco got to visit New Orleans. Yet Frank didn't use him like a left-handed reliever. Two-thirds of the batters facing him were right-handed. And while a lefty still needs to get righties out, he was never put into a position to succeed. Even if someone who allows righties to bat .667/ .667/ .958 off him probably isn't going to succeed in the first place!

Further, I'll forever hate the guy for helping my girlfriend to hate baseball. We went to this game, and the sight of him yielding four consecutive doubles to Marlins batters was enough to make her give up the game. A pox on you, Mr. Horgan!

Dishonorable Mentions: Brandon Watson, Deivi Cruz, Zach Day, and TJ Tucker. (It's sad that I originally started with a list of 19, isn't it?)


  • Great idea! I'm kicking myself for not thinking of this! ;-)

    Henry Mateo has to make a list; maybe not THIS list (he did have a .500 OBP or something in his only game), but SOME list. I mean, there's pointless, and then there's Henry Mateo.

    By Blogger Basil, at 3/19/2006 4:06 PM  

  • It should also be noted that a ton of these players (6? 7?) were signed by Bowden in his first winter with the club. For the few successful "scrap heap" signings (Loaiza, Carrasco), there are a lot more stinkers. To think, there was a time I was actually excited about J.J. Davis. BTW, it's positively horrifying to think about W. Cordero and Nick Johnson splitting time at 1B. Nice post!

    By Blogger Natty Bumpo, at 3/19/2006 4:09 PM  

  • Henry Mateo was one of the final cuts. But a .500 OBP IS a .500 OBP! ;)

    For the record, the full list (which I just eyeballed, nothing rigorous!):
    TJ Tucker
    Matt White
    Sunny Kim
    Zach Day
    Brandon Watson
    Keith Osik
    Henry Mateo
    Tyrell Godwin
    Deivi Cruz

    Most of those got cut because of PT.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/19/2006 4:36 PM  

  • And by my rough count, Bowden signed 8 of the 10 on the main list.

    What happens when a bolt of lightning strikes a mason jar full of dung? Hmm... potential marketing slogan for '06?

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/19/2006 4:38 PM  

  • Sort of like "Let Yourself Go!" ;-)

    By Blogger Basil, at 3/19/2006 7:42 PM  

  • WFY's Top Ten Worst Nats

    10. Jim Bowden
    9. Jim Bowden
    8. Jim Bowden
    7. Jim Bowden
    6. Jim Bowden
    5. Jim Bowden
    4. Jim Bowden
    3. Cristian Guzman
    2. Jim Bowden
    1. Jim Bowden

    By Blogger WFY, at 3/20/2006 8:18 AM  

  • That's funny wfy my list is

    10. Cristian Guzman
    9. Cristian Guzman
    8. Cristian Guzman
    7. Cristian Guzman
    6. Cristian Guzman
    5. Cristian Guzman
    4. Cristian Guzman
    3. Jim Bowden
    2. Cristian Guzman
    1. Cristian Guzman

    By Blogger Harper, at 3/20/2006 9:46 AM  

  • If they stick around, Daryl Ward and Damien Jackson will be at the top of your "Ten Worst Nats" for this season

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/20/2006 11:20 AM  

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