Monday, August 25, 2008

Mailbag answers

Why send Kory Casto to the Minor Leagues when more than half of the team is struggling? Let him figure it out like the rest of the players are doing.
-- Aaron P., Minneapolis

.193/.292/.281 on the year, 1 for his last 17...who else is struggling THAT bad? The only worse position players on the year: Fastrada, MacKKKKKowiaKKKKK and Bernadina. And he has options left.

I read that the Nationals decided not to sign first-round Draft pick Aaron Crow over a difference of less than a $1 million. For a team that emphasizes building their farm system, isn't this move a bit hypocritical?
-- Pat R. Oakton, Va.


I really do feel for you. Any team that loses 12 straight games has more than just injury problems. The Nationals' manager -- Manny Acta -- can't play small ball and I don't like Jim Bowden. He reminds me a lot of Jim Beattie. Hang in there.
-- Scott S., Halifax, Va.

I agree on one part and disagree on the other. Jim Bowden is absolutely awful and needs to be fired, ASAP. His personnel moves aren't really what bother me the most, it's how he treats his players and other GM's. If some GM's refuse to talk to him for being a moron, he's not a good GM. Ostracizing other teams leaves out hundreds of prospects we could otherwise trade for. Not a good plan.

On the other hand, I'm a bigger believer that small ball wastes outs. This is not a team who can play small ball, mainly becuase they can't afford to lose any outs. So it don't matter that Manny can't play small ball, becuase it's a waste.

The Rays have gone from worst to first with Joe Maddon's no-nonsense approach. Shouldn't the Nationals take note? Isn't a taskmaster needed?
-- John S., Alexandria, Va.

That's not why they've gotten better. It's the farm system. Maddon is a good manager, but it works for some guys and not others. I shudder when I think of what would happen if Elijah Dukes had a no-nonsense manager.

At this point in the season, on a scale from A-F, how would you rate the performance of Jesus Flores? Please rate his defense and offense.
-- Jason H., Rockwood, Tenn.

B. He's been slightly above average with the bat and with the glove. I'm comparing him to league average, not expectations.

Will Adam Dunn be headed for D.C.? We know Bowden loves Reds players he once drafted and traded for. The Nats need a huge power bat and Dunn could fill that void.
-- Chad B., Hitchins Ky.

50/50 if Bowden is still here next year.


I really believe that Nick Johnson should call it quits. He has spent more time on the DL than in the field. At his age, things aren't going to get any better.
-- Jorge, Springfield, Va.

Without any long-term injuries, it doesn't make sense for him to call it quits. Maybe if he had a real serious injury (such as breaking his leg again), but not at this point.

Will the Nats re-sign Willie Harris? He's been extraordinarily useful and I also like his attitude.
-- Richard M., Lexington, Va.

Yes. They better.

It doesn't take rocket science to determine that the Nats just can't hit. Is Lenny Harris the best hitting instructor available? Have the Nationals talked to Paul Molitor? He comes highly recommended -- 3,319 hits.
-- J.W., Springfield, Va.

Just because he has a lot of hits doesn't make him a good hitting coach. I'd rather have someone in-house like Ladson noted (Rick Eckstein?) though.


  1. Right on re small ball wasting outs. We need to hear, and say, more of that.

    Also, you touched about all the bases regarding JimBow. If it were argued that he cost us this draft, I'd have to hear a lot of evidence on the other side to be convinced otherwise.

  2. Good grief... I just read the REAL Ladson mailbag. Has he been paying attention?

    Do the Nats REALLY stand a chance to draft Crow again (at least with Bowden in the saddle)?

    Will a $100 million budget improve Bowden's reputation in the industry?

    We already talked about small ball. The thought of "Zimmerman bunt[ing] and steal[ing] bases often" leaves me speechless. This is 1908?

    Adam Dunn is not Dave Kingman. For all that he strikes out, I'll still take Dunn every time for his overall (yes) plate discipline. Not that I want him on the Nats as long as JB is around.

  3. Good answers for your questions! Also wanted to let you know that the Matt Bradley interview is now posted on A Capitals Affair! The Chris Clark interview will be up tomorrow.


  4. How can you say Kory is struggling THAT bad? Did you look at how many at bats he has? Less than HALF that everyone else has. Idiot

  5. I love reading things you people write about cus you obviously don't know anything about baseball expect how to look at a batting average.

  6. kory does great..when he plays everyday!!! Tripla A has the same if not better pitchers than the big leagues as you would know if you knew why is it Casto can play everyday there and get at least 2 hits a night? Cus he is playing everyday! You try coming off the bench once a blue moon. Its not easy. So to say he is struggling that bad is a bit harsh. He was doing great until they benched him. They should figure it out, but they wont bcus the nationals are the stupidest organization in america.

  7. 3x Anonymous:
    114 AB is enough to make a judgment on a player for the season, not a career. I'm not counting out Casto for all of eternity nor am I saying pinch hitting is easy. If you'd like to throw out some numbers to justify how a .193 BA, .292 OBP or .281 SLG are ML-worthy, feel free. I love Kory as much as the next guy, but he's just not cutting it right now. He'll continue to get chances both this year (once the rosters expand to 40 in less than a week) and next year (doubtful Boone, Young, Johnson, Belliard, etc. will all be back).

    And I think I might just print this quote out and stick it on my wall: "Triple A has the same if not better pitchers than the big leagues as you would know if you knew baseball."

  8. Hoagie: You're a Blogging Machine! Don'tcha ever sleep? Good stuff here, though. Ella Numera Una took the BF to the game tonite. At least they can enjoy the lovely weather and the view!

  9. Good. You print it out and stick it right on your forehead if you don't agree. I've heard veteran ML players say this.

    And yes I hope he gets more chances I just really think hes a great athlete with great work ethic and Id love to see him in the nats future.

  10. My point was that he was cutting it when he was being played everday, then they bench him to try other things and coming off the bench he was even doing good at first, then he didnt play in a whole game for weeks. Kind of hard to do that...He should get a sept call up but knowing the nats he wont. He didnt even get one when he was minor league p.o.y The nats are stingy when it comes to sept call ups

  11. I'd like to see a ML veteran say that, let alone a bunch of them.

    And actually if you look at his splits, Casto has been a better hitter as a sub than as a starter (.179/.297/.232 as a starter and .263/.263/.526 as a sub). It is a very small sample size, but I still don't see your point.

    But I do agree, the Nats should have called him up a few years ago. I'm not sure exactly what the situation was, but I'm pretty sure at that point the only position Casto could play was 3B so it wouldn't have made too much sense to call him up. 70-90 minor league AB's > 15 ML bench AB's was their rationale I suppose.

  12. First I got to disagree with you on a couple of your answers. I think you give Acta too much of a pass, just as I think everyone gives Acta too much of a pass. If last year Acta did an exceptional job with a historically bad team (and I think it was a REALLY BAD TEAM), then logically he should be getting a less than stellar grade for doing almost historically bad with a much better team. Granted no one thought this team was going to the WS this year but there was plenty of more talent and depth than one year ago. I'm not a Jim Bowden apologist but he did put together a solid team:
    C: Lo Duca, Estrada -yeah some age and defensive concerns but better than schnider. With Flores in the wings

    1B: Young, Johnson, Boone -beats Young and Fick last year

    2B: Lopez and Belliard- same as before just a bit more confidence, then goes out and adds Bonifacio

    SS: Healthy guzman beats playing Lopez and Jimenez

    3B: Zim-same with boone and belly as backups

    OF: Milledge, Dukes, Pena, Kearns, Harris, is light years in talent ahead of Langerhans, Church, Logan and Kearns

    Sp: much better this year, Perez, Redding, Lannan, Bergmann Balester being ready and an injured hill, better than the Spiegnar, Bowie, Basick Traber ect. who were taking the mound last year.

    Bullpen roughly the same just ineffective.

    Yes there are injuries this year but just look at FJB column on our numbers by position you'll see that the injuries aren't the issue. Also there were injuries last year as well, Johnson whole year, Young over a month, Guzman 75% of the year, other guys like Logan and pitchers Bergmann, Hill, ect all missed time. Acta has to take some of the blame for the ineffectiveness this season it goes both ways.

    Now I'm not by any means advocating for a change, I like Manny Acta. But here I have to agree with Ladson, and the question, with a team lacking impact bats small ball is the way to go. It can work and is not just a waste of outs. Hell even the Angels practice small ball and they are in the AL. Plenty of NL teams can win with small ball and good pitching. In my opinion the Nats don't have a choice on the matter b/c they lack the bats but have the speed. When you have guys like Milledge, Dukes, Lopez/Bonifacio you should be a threat to steal every time one of them are on base. While I have no problem with the mentality of looking for a high stealing efficancy, no statistician can quantify the psychological effect a quality basestealer can have on the defense. You don't think that when Jose Reyes is on first he's in Bergmanns head?? or is on Flores mind. You create holes in the defense by keeping the firstbaseman occupied. And while Reyes is the epitome there is no reason a Zimmerman or guzman shouldn't be stealing more as well as your 3 top fast guys. Zim has some footspeed and with good matchups and technique can be an effective base stealer. I think situational small ball is an area where Acta is lacking and it shows, esp. when the lineup can't always hit there way home.

  13. I was thinking more along the lines of wasting outs with bunts rather than stolen bases. If these guys can top a 70% SB rate, then it's worth stealing. I do agree with you that Manny should steal more.

  14. my point is no one on this team is that great right now with a few exceptions. and i think casto is a great thlete who given an oopurtunity to play everyday could be awesome, just look at when he does. i would say he will be an everyday big leaguer with the nats or some other team in the future.

  15. im sure you would like to see an ML veteran say that. Because you probably dont even know players you just talk about them like you know what you're saying. I happen to be around them all the time and yes Ive heard it. Sorry, you cant argue with the fact Ive heard it

  16. Noone is great right now, that is right, but Casto's numbers were worse than everyone else's who is still on the team AND he still had options.

    Can you blame me for not believing an anonymous commenter who says something outlandish? Get a name if you want any credibility. And until you name actual players rather than saying you're around players all the time, nobody will believe what you say either.

  17. a name means nothing. kind of like yours. wheres your credibility? i bet you havnt played a day above high school baseball. Youre just that guy who reads stats and acts like they know everything. well my friend you dont have a clue about the inside life of baseball unless you live it or know someone whos close to you that does. anyone can make up a fake name so a name isnt gonna matter.

  18. and ps. i dont care if people "believe me" thats not why i wrote anything, i could care less if anyone believed me. i was just telling you what i have heard many times. signing my name wouldnt change what you think. thanks

  19. Oh just saw that you're 19 years old. HA HA and you have credibility. Excuse me while I laugh. Son you have a lot to learn

  20. At least I stand behind my name and my blog. You come here and post anonymously and pick fights about Kory Casto (a player I actually like). You try to convince me he's a good hitter (which he may eventually become, but he's not there yet). You try to tell me AAA pitchers are better than ML pitchers (when in fact most AAA pitchers are guys who couldn't cut it in ML). And then you say I have no credibility just because I'm 19 years old. Well if you're some big shot who hangs with ML guys all the time, what are you doing picking on a lowly blogger anyways?

  21. dude Im sorry didn't mean to get personal. I just find it funny when guys will argue to the death about things that they might not know everything about. I could "stand behind my name" but you still wouldnt know me. Ha Ha so why does it matter. My name could be Joe Shmoe and what I speak is still the truth.

    and that is a very untrue statement. most guys in aaa couldnt cut it in ml? actually a lot of them are who become the next star ml pitchers. what game are you watching? Oh and also i never said kory casto is ready right this minute to be an everyday player and has proved himself. I simply am saying he obviously can hit against ml pitchers because he has, but in streaks. he does need to get more consistent, but its hard to do when you play so inconsistantly. thats my point.

  22. No prob, I know it wasn't meant to go this far.

    I (unfortunately) don't have a whole lot of time to go through AAA vs AA pitchers, but the top prospects with electric stuff tend to spend more time in AA than anywhere else. AAA is about half young guys looking to get into the Majors and half guys who have made it and are trying to make it back. I forget what exactly it was that I was reading (maybe Moneyball) that said if a guy can hit in AA, they can hit in the Majors, because pitchers develop ML-quality breaking stuff once they get to AA.

  23. True that. i agree there. And again Ill point out Casto playing EVERYDAY in AA hit 270 with 20 HR 80 RBIS and over 20 doubles. And that was his first year there. He also got rookie of the year for the whole organization that year, and 2nd year p.o.y. and still no sept. call up. The nats are shady. And if he did this with NO ML experience, hadn't seen a pitch above AA I wonder what he could do given the chance to play every day in the ML now that hes had some experience up there. I just want to see the kid do well and i dont like when people say hes not ready or hasnt become a great hitter. He is a great hitter, but for whatever reason with the small stints he gets up there he only gets on small streaks. I am a true believe some guys need to play everyday and will do their best. Same thing with Ryan Church. He didn't have a great year with the nats, they didnt play him consitantly, he goes to the Mets and before he was hurt was unbelievable

  24. I definitely agree with you on the similarities to the Church situation. Maybe Bowden just doesn't like Casto, just like he didn't like Church?

    I'm hoping Kory can learn how to play the outfield well (I'm not sure that he does now, I've only seen him once and he was fine though), because the more positions he can play, the more chances he'll get.

    FYI I'll be at work for the next few hours so I won't be able to comment back.

  25. Oh He can play the outfield. Kory was drafted as an outfielder. Played it all through college. They switched him to 3rd base in High A Potomac. He is a great outfielder. Natural right fielder, switched to left, so he can play RF, LF 3B and 1B. Thats one reason i think the team does think hes valuable. It seems Bowden actually loves Kory. I recall stories about him in the minors where Bowden was in love with him and when he got called up the first time Bowden was quoted saying "Im smiling because Ive got Kory Casto up here now. Im Kory Casto happy" Nice one Jimbo. So Im not sure....we will see though, next year he's out of options and itll be interesting...

  26. One more reason I like Casto is he never knows where he is going to play, but they've stuck him at all positions, he played his frist game at 1B at the major league level....not one error. he has not 1 error at every position. IM sure its an adjustment every game when you're in a new pos. Especially going from something like the hot corner to outfield, or first base where you see lots of action. I just really admire that he can be thrown anywhere, play great defense and have no errors. especially playing 1B in the ML fir the first time. Its pretty impressive.

  27. Let me specify I meant no errors at the ML level.

  28. Random tidbit of info: Just saw Kory got a grand slam a couple nights ago. And has 8 rbis in 5 games


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