Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So Much For Our Top "Prospect"

The Nationals did the right thing, and sent Kory Casto down to Triple-A, purchasing the contract of right-handed all-or-nothing slugger, Michael Restovich (minor league stats).

With the emergence of Chris Snelling, Casto was superfluous, and it makes sense to send him somewhere where he can get regular ABs. And the Nats have desperately needed a right-handed hitter on the bench. All too often, we've been forced to watch Josh Wilson flail away at Billy Wagner's pitches in crucial situations, hearkening back to the dark days of Tony Blanco.

Restovich ain't much, but he's a power threat. That's one of the things this team lacks this year. Were have ye gone, Daryle Ward?

I had been meaning to hack a few words together on Snelling v. Casto, and now's as good a time as any. It's been said before, but Casto and Snelling are the same age. Yet Casto 'feels' like a prospect because he's ours, and because he's never had a sniff of the big leagues. Yet, Snelling has a much higher ceiling.

Here's what Snelling did in his first full year of AA: .333/ .371/ .468
Here's Casto's line: .272/ .379/ .468

They look like similar players, right?

Well, Snelling did his as a 20-year old. Casto's was last year, as a 24-year old.

Age matters. If a toddler learns how to use the potty, it's no big deal. If I'm just learning last week, then, well... that's a bit different.

Snelling and Casto have put up similar stats at every level, but Snelling was doing it against tougher competition because his age was 'handicapping' him. Plus, as we heard all spring, his long injury history held back a lot of his performance, so if he's healthy, there's more potential for growth there.

Neither is likely to be a star, but Snelling has a better chance of being average or better. Sure, Snelling's been around a bit longer, and he was never the Nationals Minor League Player of the Year (as if that's an accomplishment; I think I was ranked 14th!). But had Snelling been in our system all along, we'd be drooling all over him.

Sending Casto down isn't going back on "The PLAN!" It's part of it. If Casto goes down and builds on his success at AA last year, he'll be back up before too long.


  • snelling was casto and escobar insurance all along. more along the lines of escobar's star-crossed pedigree but i think we obtained him b/c he didn't fit anywhere in seattle and we know our muddled OF situation needed another contender, in light of the potential for escobar being injured and casto being overmatched (i'll let other debate which was more likely).

    thanks seattle! btw, how's jose vidro doing up there, on his way to becoming the next edgar martinez, right? right?

    (expletive-filled tirade from mariners fans deleted)

    oh, wow, sorry to hear that. that's shocking, shocking i tells ya! he still plays a nice 2nd base though...

    By Blogger DCPowerGator, at 4/18/2007 9:53 AM  

  • Well, Vidro is outhitting Zimmerman so far this year. It is very early in the season, but that is not my point.

    Do people root against Vidro, or former members of your of your team, so that a trade will look good? I always liked Vidro and hope he does play well for Seattle. It doesn't really affect the Nationals in any way.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 4/18/2007 10:09 AM  

  • well, dan, vidro also annoyed me as a national, what with his giant salary, anemic bat and zombie-like fielding. i'm just being consistent!

    By Blogger DCPowerGator, at 4/18/2007 10:54 AM  

  • Vidro was one of the best players in the Expos/Nats organization.
    Injuries, age and declining range hampered him the last few years and unfortunately some may choose the "what have you done for me lately" treatment for this team player, who never griped and greeted everyone with a smile.
    Vidro is a lifetime .301 hitter in 4300 at bats, one of the few major leaguers with a BA above .300. He is a three time All Star and was named on the 2003 NL Silver Slugger team.No present Nat even comes close to his achievements.
    As previously stated by Dan, hope all the players in the Seattle trade help their teams

    By Blogger dd, at 4/18/2007 11:53 AM  

  • Well, the Vidro in DC wasn't the Vidro in Montreal. This one DID gripe, very publicly, and that turned off a lot of fans, especially with the lack or energy it seemed like he was showing. (In his fairness, it wasn't a lack of energy, but just injuries, though his conditioning likely didn't help there).

    Right after the trade, I wrote a long (and boring) post about the Vidro we never saw.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/18/2007 11:58 AM  

  • wow, who knew jose vidro had apologists! 'what have you done for me lately' has nothing to do with this. because this is more a case of what did he EVER do for the nats? (answer - nothing)

    i could care less what ANY of our nats did while they were exiled in montrerico. why? it's very simple, i wasn't a fan of the team then. the dc book on everybody started when they arrived here.

    if vidro had ANY of those years in THIS city, i would probably feel differently. since he didn't, i always begrudged him his fat paycheck and fatter ass. which is my right as both a season ticket holder who wrote a big check for the third year in a row (have you all done likewise?) and as an american!

    along the same lines, if you got any personal pleasure out of vidro's performance in montrerico, then bully for you! but, as usual, our fearless leader chris got it right. read the post he linked. all hail, chris needham!

    By Blogger DCPowerGator, at 4/18/2007 12:57 PM  

  • Wow, did not know that several of you were so anti Vidro! Yes, I did watch Jose in "monterico" and am somewhat "jaded" as I saw him excel there. His injuries had much to do with his inconsistencies in Washington. Sad to see all the animosity towards "monterico" as the fans there were put through major mismanagement. If you check attendance stats and profitability, the Expos thrived in the late seventies and early eighties under the Bronfman tenure.
    I, for one, was glad Washington received another major league team after so many years but sad to see the Expos go.

    Hope "Fruity" and Snelling contribute to the Nats, but you can rest assured that Vidro will contribute to the Mariners.
    Time will tell!

    By Blogger dd, at 4/18/2007 1:12 PM  

  • Bill, how do you feel about Wilkerson?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 4/18/2007 1:30 PM  

  • thanks dd and dan, obviously i wrote some of those posts tongue in cheek, and appreciate your follow up, not getting pissed, etc.

    don't get me wrong, i felt bad for all the montrerican players while they (and we) labored in multiyear limbo (although for $8M a year, i felt a lot less bad for vidro than for the guys making minimum). i saw their childlike joy and enthusiasm at opening day and at other games with big, excited crowds. i saw players actually come out of the dugout to look at the stands shaking as if they didn't believe it could happen. and i felt happy for all of them since many of them had never experienced that in their professional lives. hopefully, they all removed cadillac bud from their christmas card lists.

    you raise a good point (damn you!) as wilky and vidro present similar situations (i.e., pre-nats performance followed by nats disappointment).

    since i am about to take up for wilky, am i being fair to hose-b? (let's face it, jose guillen will always be the nats hose-a, just ask section 320). no, probably not.
    in the interest of full disclosure, i own 2 wilkerson number t shirts and a wilkerson home jersey (in fairness, the latter was purchased last year at modells for a whopping 75% off).

    so why all the wilky love? i saw wilkerson play in college (Go Gators!) and in the SEC championship tournament in Birmingham (in which they finished second to alabama but went to the CWS anyway). we called him "the franchise" b/c he was also our pitching ace! i am completely and utterly biased toward liking him and admit as such.

    so my best attempt to differentiate the two of them will have to rely primarily on chris' well-crafted attitude and conditioning comments. wilky didn't whine about the fences, incessantly and publicly. wilky didn't let himself get out of shape. wilky played hurt, sometimes to his detriment. finally, wilky wasn't being paid $8M a year to underperform.

    hey, it always comes back to money. just ask juwan howard. players who take the big bucks (and who wouldn't?) ought to know that, if they want the brinks truck to back into their driveway, they need to be prepared to be subjected to a higher degree of public scrutiny. just ask a-rod.

    ironically, of all the super former expos omar minaya could have provided to us (vlad guerrero, bartolo colon, cliff lee, grady sizemore), the one he managed to keep around was vidro? man, if we didn't have bad luck, we'd have no luck at all!

    sorry for hijacking the thread, which probably should have included a bunch of posts about how sad our minor league organization was/is if a 24 year old who had never been above AA and is widely considered to be a middling 4th OF ML prospect is the organization's two time player of the year! uggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

    By Blogger DCPowerGator, at 4/18/2007 3:45 PM  

  • Bill:

    Christian Guzman

    (just adding more chum to the water)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/18/2007 4:58 PM  

  • hey mick, LOL! fortunately for me, guzman is NOT (i repeat, NOT) a Florida Gator! i friggin' hate guzman and even openly advocated for the lopez move back to SS as soon as we signed belliard.

    however, i am a native Clevelander, so my AL team is the tribe. as such, i knew belliard could be at least adequate in this lineup. and i haven't seen anything from guzman in 2+ years that i would even remotely describe as adequate.

    on guzzie, i wish him well but, as per my results-oriented nature, you may have heard me in year 1 yelling "get a friggin hit" from 319 row 2 each time he was announced for another "at bat" (using that term very loosely).

    ok team, although i've really, really enjoyed this (although why do i imagine chris is shaking his head in disbelief at this thread), i gotta walk the dogs and get ready to go to the game with a few thousand of my closest friends (i.e., season ticket holders too cheap to eat more tickets). let's go NATS!!!

    By Blogger DCPowerGator, at 4/18/2007 5:22 PM  

  • Good to see some sense. Another Nat's blogger was signing Casto's praises and claiming Snelling had not had put up the sort of numbers that would indicate he should be considered a serious contender for starting duties, looking at the small sample size Snell had in the majors, some of which came when he was 19 I think!

    Anyway, from a long time fan of Snell I am glad to see the Nat's community getting behind the lad. He's a champion guy too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/18/2007 7:26 PM  

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