Friday, June 29, 2012

The Nationals OTHER Rookie

Bryce Harper is not the only Nationals rookie that is making a huge splash in his first season in the majors. And by seasons end, statistically, he may not even be the most impressive rookie that the Nationals had this year.

He's batting .339 with an on base percentage of .413 and a slugging percentage of .607. He's got 19 hits, two doubles, four home runs, ten RBI, has drawn seven walks, and has even stolen three bases.

And one more thing...he's the Nationals first baseman of the future.

Got it yet? Let me throw a few more numbers at you.

In his final two FULL seasons in the minor leagues, 2010-2011, he hit 62 home runs, 201 RBI (111 in 2010), and 78 doubles. In 28 games prior to being called up this season, he already had nine home runs and 26 RBI.

By now, either you've known the whole time (in that case kudos to you, loyal Nats fan), you've stopped reading, or you've gone and looked it up. For those of you that don't know who I'm talking about, it's Tyler Moore.

Since being called up, Moore has been dynamite with his bat. He's already had his first multi-homer game of his potentially amazing career. Last Tuesday, he recorded the longest home run of the day in the MLB in the thin Colorado air with a towering 462 foot blast.

He started off slow, that's probably why some of you have never heard of him, and even went back to the minors for a brief moment in time. But now, Tyler Moore is one of the most explosive bats in the Nationals arsenal.

Attribute the ongoing success of the Nationals and Tyler Moore to Washington's farm system. Moore slowly worked his way through the ranks and earned his spot once Jayson Werth went down and Bryce Harper left a void a left field.

The Nationals are in possession of what could become the two most potent rookie bats in the majors by the end of the season. Bryce Harper may have brought the hype, and yes...he can also hit well, but Tyler Moore has brought the power.

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RGIII Runs Pratices

Griffin, above, is a leader of this Redskins team. (Photo:
According to, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is leading his teammates in player-only passing practices in Waco, Texas. Players that are in Waco include Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon, Fred Davis, Anthony Armstrong, Aldrick Robinson, and Brandon Banks.

With Griffin being a rookie, this is a very impressive feat that he has accomplished. He has collected veterans of the team for private practices that he is leading. This speaks to the leadership that he is capable of. He's only been in D.C. for a couple months and he is already a bonafide leader of the team.

This will also help the Redskins be more ready for when training camp rolls around. Since the quarterback and the recievers are already getting reps together, they won't have to waste time getting used to playing with each other. Now, they will be able to dive right into the playbook and begin learning/perfecting the offense.

Already, Robert Griffin III has had a huge impact on this Redskins team. Not only is bringing a sort of hoopla that hasn't been seen around these parts in a while, he is also bringing this team together (another thing that's new).

In an interview with one reporter, Griffin said: "I think next year we'll do it somewhere more flashy, more vacation-like. Miami or Los Angeles."

Wizards Draft Review

Beal, above, was the obvious pick at number three. (Photo:
Last night, the NBA draft went exactly as predicted: Anthony Davis, then Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and the Bradley Beal to the Wizards.

With the third overall pick in the NBA draft, the Wizards selected shooting guard Bradley Beal from the University of Florida. The Wizards had another pick in last nights draft, as well. With the 32nd pick in the draft, the Wizards picked Tomas Santoransky from the Czech Republic.

Bradley Beal (University of Florida)
Beal was exactly the player that the Wizards were hoping to select. Fortunatley for the Wizards, no late trades were made by that Bobcats that gave that pick to someone else. Beal was a great pick up that certainly upgrades the talent of the team.

Beal is a good shooter with a chance to become a great shooter. He's got great upside and some have even said he could shoot just as well as Ray Allen by the end of his career. He shoots very well off the screen and will compliment John Wall very well. While Beal doesn't create as well as other shooting guards, he can spot-up behind the arc and knock down a kick-out jump shot. Beal will battle with Jordan Crawford all season long for the starting 2-gaurd spot, but Beal has the ability to be the long term starter at shooting guard for the Wizards.

Player Draft Grade: B+ (a very high B+)

Tomas Santoransky (Czech Republic)
For me, Santoransky, who hails from the same homeland as Jan Vesely, was a bit of a surprise pick by the Wizards in the second round. With players like Quincy Acy and Kyle O'Quinn left on the board, I think the Wizards could have gotten themselves a more NBA-ready player.

With a little more TLC in the European Leagues, Santoransky could become a contributor to the Wizards line-up. The 6-7 gaurd (yep), is hardly NBA ready as of right now, but could become a solid backup for when John Wall, Jordan Crawford, or Bradley Beal needs a breather. According to the experts, he's a good passer and that helps since the Wizards take a pass first approach in their offense. His jump shot, and scoring ability in general, needs to improve before he is brought over from Europe. Don't look for Santoransky to even arrive in the states in the near future. The Wizards will most likely hold him in the European Leagues so he can improve.

Player Draft Grade: C

The Washington Wizards have quietly created a fairly decent team through trades and the draft. After acquiring Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor, and now Bradley Beal, the Wizards have upgraded positions that were lacking last season. My final Wizards draft grade takes into account both picks as well as the trade to acquire Ariza and Okafor (the Wizards included a draft pick in the package to New Orleans).

Wizards Draft Grade: A-

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Radio Appearance 6.27.2012

Last night I was on Bill Smiths "News, Notes, and Rumors" to talk the Wizards and the NBA Draft. Here is the complete discussion between Bill and me. Enjoy!

Wizards Draft Preview: Final Edition

I know...this has to make...what?...the third or fourth "Wizards Draft Preview" article that I've done in the past week. But, THIS TIME I've got it. Barring any trades, THIS is how the Wizards draft is going to go tonight...well the third pick anyways.

With the recent acquisition of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, you can pretty much rule out the drafting of Kansas forward Thomas Robinson and UConn forward Andre Drummond. Now, I'm sold that the Wizards will draft a shooting guard with the third overall pick.

As a fact, the Wizards will draft either Michael Kidd-Glichrist from Kentucky, Harrison Barnes (below) from UNC, or Bradley Beal (right) from Florida.

Yesterday, the Bobcats, who own the second overall pick, made a trade with the Pistons to acquire Ben Gordon. That's a good thing seeing as how that may fulfill their need for a shooting guard and they will instead look for a forward with their pick.

To continue on with the Bobcats and the second overall pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in trading up to get that pick. They would be willing to give up the fourth overall and the 24th overall pick to move up into the number two spot. If that happens, I wouldn't be surprised if Thomas Robinson drafted second overall.

If the Bobcats stay at number two, Thomas Robinson could very well still be the second overall pick. The Bobcats are lacking height and could really use a guy like him. However, many in Charlotte believe that the Bobcats will select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the second overall pick.

If either of those two scenarios play out tonight, the Wizards are fine. The two players that it will come down to tonight for the Wizards are Harrison Barnes and Bradley Beal.

The Wizards have been lacking on the perimeter. Their three point shooting ability in the past couple years has been mediocre at best. They need someone fast, who can finish at the rim, can shoot off screens, and compliments John Wall.

So, without further adieu...

With the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select...Bradley Beal; shooting guard from the University of Florida.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Comes Oates, Next Comes Parise?

Parise, above, played for Oates in New Jersey. (Photo:
Yesterday, the Washington Capitals signed Adam Oates as their new head coach. Oates was an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils for the past three seasons.

With Alexander Semin most likely on his way out, the Capitals will be needing to sign a quality goal scorer to fill his void. Adam Oates just happens to know a guy who could do just the thing: Zach Parise.

As of right now, only two teams are believed to fighting for the rights to Zach Parise. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Minnesota Wild are both believed to be trying to sign Parise.

The Capitals, however, have an ace in the hole that just might allow them to sign Zach Parise.

Parise was coached by Oates while Oates coached for the New Jersey Devils. They created quite the relationship and now that Oates has come to Washington, Parise may want to come with him.

Parise would certainly jump right onto the first line with the likes of Ovechkin. He would also fill in well for Alexander Semin who, like stated before, most likely will not be back next season.

Oates has barely gotten his feet wet in the head coaching ranks. Right now, the Capitals haven't made a move towards signing Parise. Still, the point remains that Parise is available and Oates has a good relationship with him.

I'm not trying to get everyone's hopes up, but, the possibility of Zach Parise becoming a Washington Capital is very real. Only time will tell, however, as the newest Capitals head coach begins to put his plan for success into action.

Nats Have Historic Night

LaRoche gets greeted by the team after one of his two home runs. (Photo:
Last night, the Nationals had an offensive outburst that we haven't seen from the club since they arrived in D.C. in 2005. 12 runs off of 21 hits and 11 extra base hits added up to a 12-5 win for the Nationals last night.

It took four Rockies pitchers 168 pitches to get through last nights offensive onslaught from the Nationals. All four gave up at least two hits. Rockies reliever Guillermo Moscoso took the blount of the beating going just 1.2 innings, giving up 8 hits, 8 earned runs, and three home runs. He couldn't get off the mound fast enough.

Every single Nationals starter knocked through a base hit last night. A total of ten Nationals got hits. Six Nationals had an RBI last night including the starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez. Five Nationals hit doubles and three Nationals combined for four home runs.

Fun Fact: According to, Tyler Moore's home run last night...traveled 462 feet...not bad, rookie!

Adam LaRoche (twice), Moore, and Ryan Zimmerman all went yard in last nights victory.

The Nationals were 6-13 with runners in scoring position.

There were two glaring stains on the Nationals box score, however. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman both comitted an error last night (tisk tisk! back to the minors!).

Whether or not the Nationals recently found offense is here to stay we won't know until tonight. But, Davey Johnson finally got what he has been trying to get out of his lineup this season. Everyone was seeing the ball well last night and was feeding off of each others energy.

We finally know what this Nationals team is capable of. It was rumored that they were capable of this before, but now we have evidence they can do this. Who knows, maybe last night was exactly what they needed to kick-start their offense.

All I know is that if the Nationals can even come close to that offensive performance night in and night out, the rest of the year is going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Zim Reaches 1,000

Hopefully we see Zimmerman, above, celebrate more after his shot. (Photo:
Last night during a momunmental offensive outburst from the Washington Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman knocked his 1,000th base hit.

Zimmerman also hit a home run to go along with his milestone single. Another National that collected his 1,000th hit this season is Adam LaRoche.

After recieving a cortisone shot in his shoulder earlier this week, the Nationals star third baseman is beginning to swing the bat well. Zimmerman has collected at least one hit in his last three games including two doubles and a home run. He also has an RBI in each of the Nationals last three games. He's also had much better plate discipline as he has only struck out once in that span.

Don't expect to hear it from the Z-Man, but I'm sure that his shoulder was effecting him at the plate. Now that he has taken this shot, his offense has definitly improved. Look for the face of the franchise to turn it around now that he's had the medication.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

RG3 Extorted

Do you want to know when you're good? How about when someone tries to extort you? That ought to tell you that you've made it to the big time.

That's exactly what happened to Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. A former basketball star at Griffins Alma-Mater, Baylor, was arrested for allegedly trying to extort Griffin.

According to a report written by Rich Tandler, the way Richard Hurd tried to execute the alleged extortion went something like this.

1) Contact agency in St. Louis and identify yourself only as "B.D."
2) Tell said agency that you have derogatory information on one of that agencies clients.
3) Say that you will release the information unless said client pays you a sum of money.
SIDE INFO: Griffins agent is named Ben Dogra and his agency has an office in St. Louis.
4) Tell the authorities the information...and get busted and sent back to Waco, Texas.

In a way, RGIII could be flattered by this attempt to extort him. It means that people back home have taken notice in his recent explosion of popularity.

I wonder how many other NFL quarterbacks face the same problem...

Capitals Name Head Coach

Oates, above, was the clear cut favorite for the job. (Photo:
Today, TSN reported, and Pierre LeBrun later confirmed, that the Washington Capitals have named Adam Oates their new head coach. This comes just a few days after general manager George McPhee admitted that he had a strong feeling towards one of the candidates he had to choose from.

The other two men that were believed to be in the running for the job were Jon Cooper and Mike Haviland.

Oates, a stellar hockey player in his day, played for 22 seasons in the NHL before retiring in 2004. He played for seven different teams including the Red Wings, Blues, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers, Ducks and Oilers. He spent six seasons with Washington and even made it to a Stanley Cup Final with the Capitals.

He was a five time All-Star and is sixth all-time in assists with 1,079. He has played in over 1,300 games and scored 341 goals and 1,420 points.

Prior to coming to Washington, Oates was an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils.

Oates is by far the better choice to be the next Washington Capitals head coach. He has many years of experience playing in the league and has even spent time with the Capitals organization in the 1990s. He knows what D.C. is all about and he knows the kind of mentality that is expected from a D.C. sports franchise.

Oates has also been to the Stanley Cup Finals twice in his career. He made it there in 1998 with the Capitals and in 2003 with the Ducks. Both times, however, the opposing team ended up hoisting the cup.

That could work into the advantage of the Capitals. Oates knows what it takes to make it to a Stanley Cup Final. Since he has never won, he is just as hungry as the rest of the Capitals roster to get there again and bring home the Cup.

Oates has also been getting his licks in up in Chicago. He has spent the past three seasons there as an assistant coach so he knows what it is like leading an NHL team.

The Capitals definitely got this one right. They chose a quality coach, with a solid coaching background, and a guy that has grown up in the sport of hockey. He knows the city of Washington D.C. and knows what Capitals fans expect from their beloved franchise. Look for Oates to lead the Capitals to big things in the near future.

Nationals Release Lidge

Lidge, above, was not who he used to be for the Nats. (Photo:
Late Monday night, the Washington Nationals parted ways with former MLB World Series Champion Brad Lidge. This comes just nine days after designating him for assignment.

The Nationals signed Lidge to help fill the void in the bullpen. They were hoping that he would be able to come in and be the Nationals number one closer. Following an abdominal injury and sports hernia surgery, Lidge was forced to miss most of the season.

Looking back, Lidge never became the pitcher that the Nationals had hoped he would be. In 11 appearances, Lidge managed only 9.1 innings and a 2.46 WHIP and 9.64 ERA. His numbers haven't been that bad since his rookie season. He saved two games while blowing two more save opportunities.

In the long run, the move makes sense. With Cole Kimball and Drew Storen set to return within the coming weeks, Brad Lidge would not see much action on the mound anyways.

Also, the Nationals bullpen has panned out in a way that they didn't expect it to. Following the injuries to Storen and Kimball, the Nationals did expected Tyler Clippard to be their number one setup man and then Henry Rodriguez to be their number one closer.

It became quite the opposite. Clippard has now assumed the role as the teams closer and the likes of Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzelanny, and Ryan Mattheus have all proved to be solid setup pitchers.

Monday, June 25, 2012

DeRosa To Return Soon

The Nationals top utility man, Mark DeRosa, could rejoin the Washington Nationals as soon as this week according to some reports.

DeRosa has missed nearly half of the season due to a strained left oblique muscle as well as a personal matter.

Last night, the 37 year old suited up for the Nationals Class A affiliate Potomac Nationals. He went 1-3 with an RBI and a walk. He was replaced by Blake Kelso in the seventh inning.

DeRosa was a much anticipated signing over this past off-season. Costing the Nationals just $800,000, Davey Johnson and Co. were hoping to have DeRosa become a key player off the bench. When DeRosa does return, expect him to fill in with the likes of Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady as members of the famed "Goon Squad".

Once DeRosa does return to the Nationals, a likely place to find him from day-one will be at third base. It has become apparent over the past week that Ryan Zimmerman's shoulder has been hindering his ability at the plate. His defense hasn't been lacking, but he is obviously uncomfortable at the plate and many attest that to his shoulder.

Over the course of the next few weeks, the Nationals are anticipating a few key players to return from injury. Drew Storen, Cole Kimball, and Mark DeRosa are all expected to return within the coming weeks.

Capitals Draft Review

Forsberg, above, models his play after Peter Forsberg (no relation). (Photo:
This past weekend the NHL conducted their annual draft. The Washington Capitals made ten selections in this years draft.

Of those ten selections, two of them are centers and three of them play wing. One player, Chandler Stephenson, is listed as both a center and a left wing. The Capitals also selected three defensmen and one goalie.

 Here are a few notable players that they selected.

In the first round, the Capitals had two picks: the 11th and the 16th. With the 11th pick, the Capitals selected Filip Forsberg from Leksand, Sweden. Forsberg is a 6-1 center and weighs 188 pounds. In 2011, he won the silver medal at the World Under-18 Championships.

With the 16th pick, the Capitals selected a bruising right winger from Plymouth of the OHL. Thomas Wilson recorded 141 penalty minutes in a season in which he didn't even play every game. He had to sit out part of the season due to a sprained MCL and a broken knuckle. Wilson is not afraid to bring the pain as he was voted Best Body Checker in the OHL's Western Conference Coaches Poll.

The Capitals selected center/left wing Chandler Stephenson in the third round. His cousin, Joey Kocur, won three Stanley Cups over his career (Detroit: 1997, '98 and NY Rangers: 1994). Stephenson was also named his teams Most Sportsmanlike Player this past season.

Here is the complete list of the Capitals 2012 Draft Picks:

Round 1 (Pick 11): Filip Forsberg, C, 6-1, 188, Leksand, Sweden
Round 1 (Pick 16): Thomas Wilson, RW, 6-3, 205, Plymouth, OHL
Round 3 (Pick 77): Chandler Stephenson, C/LW, 5-11, 190, Regina, WHL
Round 4 (Pick 100): Thomas Di Pauli, C, 5-11, 188, US-18, USHL
Round 4 (Pick 107): Austin Wuthrich, RW, 6-1, 190, Notre Dame, CCHA
Round 5 (Pick 137): Connor Carrick, D, 5-11, 185, US-18, USHL
Round 6 (Pick 167): Riley Barber, RW, 5-11, 194, US-18, USHL
Round 7 (Pick 195): Christian Djoos, D, 5-11, 158, Brynas, Sweden-Jr.
Round 7 (Pick 197): Jaynen Rissling, D, 6-4, 223, Calgary, WHL
Round 7 (Pick 203): Sergei Kostenko, G, 5-11, 187, Novokunetsk-2, Russia-Jr.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Radio Appearance

This audio clip is of me on Bill Smiths "News, Notes, and Rumors" on Moohead Radio network. They are an internet radio network in Cleveland, Ohio.

They brought me on to discuss the Robert Griffin III and the Redskins as well as the Wizards and the NBA Draft. Here is the complete interview.


(It begins with an advertisment. The actual interview doesn't begin until about 3-4 minutes in.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Nationals Have Pitching Problems

A couple days ago, Davey Johnson finally switched the roles of pitchers Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler. Detwiler was taken out of the bullpen and back into the rotation while Wang was sent back to the bullpen.

Let's be honest, if it ain't broke don't fix it. And that is exactly what Davey Johnson tried to do. He tried to tweak the best starting rotation in all of baseball and it blew up in his face. Having Detwiler as the number five starter to start with was just fine. At one point, statistically he was the Nationals best pitcher ( heard me).

The best reason that anyone ever gave me as to why the switch to insert Wang (oh...that sounds bad) in the starting rotation was that he has more experience in a late season playoff push drama type of situation. Let me ask you this, if you don't want Ross in there because he doesn't have the experience, then how is he supposed to get it?

I'll answer that for you...he won't. If you don't water the seed, the plant won't grow.

Then, Chien-Ming Wang stunk it up out there. Rarely did he get out of the third inning alive and even then he would get torn apart in the fourth inning. His first pitch back in the majors came on a relief appearance in which he gave up a two run double.

Detwiler, while he may feel right at home coming out of the bullpen, should be a starting pitcher for the Nationals. If it makes him feel more comfortable, just have him run out of the bullpen at the beginning of the game.

I fear that we haven't seen the last of Chien-Ming Wang. The Nationals are standing firm on their 160 innings limit that they have placed on Stephen Strasburg. With the way the Nationals organization has handled injuries in the past (and they've done quite well, really), I wouldn't expect to see Strasburg past September 15th.

So, since the Nationals ace will be out for the season, that leaves just one guy available: Chien-Ming Wang.

To better prepare Wang, and the organization, for a late season playoff push, it would serve them well to have sent to Triple or Double A until then. He needs to work on his mechanics and gain some confidence. He isn't necessary to have in the bullpen.

While it may seem that the Nationals have it all figured out with their pitching staff, there are still some foreseeable tough decisions coming in the near future and down the road. The Nationals will need to sort out their dilemma with Chien-Ming Wang and prepare for when Stephen Strasburg is shut-down for the rest of the season.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wizards Trade For Ariza, Okafor

Yesterday, the Wizards made a trade with the New Orleans Hornets to acquire Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza for the 46th pick in the 2012 draft and Rashard Lewis.

In my opinion, the Wizards got a great deal with this trade.

They acquired two solid (not great) players in Okafor and Ariza and all they had to give up was a late draft pick and a player that didn't really make a difference last season.

This trade also makes a huge difference when you look at the draft picture.

A week ago, I wrote a post stating that the Wizards will likely select Thomas Robinson from Kansas or Andre Drummond from UConn with the third pick. Following this trade, however, I would like to make an adjustment to that prediction.

With acquisition of Okafor, the Wizards now have to starting low post men Okafor and Nene. The Wizards also filled their need for a small forward with acquiring Trevor Ariza. Now, all they need is a shooting guard to compliment John Wall.

That's where the draft comes into play...

The Wizards will now have the option to pick between two quality shooting guards: Harrison Barnes from UNC and Bradley Beal from Florida. In my post last week, I stated that Bradley Beal would be the best option for the Wizards if they were to take a shooting guard with the third pick...I still stand by that.

Beal is a great shooter off the screen and does well when he puts the ball on the floor. I think that he and John Wall will compliment each other very well. Also, since Beal was not the point guard through college, he will already be used to his role on the floor.

Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor were two great pickups by the Wizards. Ariza, an NBA champion back in 2009, has been bouncing around the league his entire career. Still, however, he manages to make a difference no matter what team he is on.

Okafor, the second overall selection in the 2004 NBA Draft, has been a solid player throughout his career, as well. In 2005, he was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and was also the Rookie of the Year that year. Okafor can give the Wizards at least 12 points night in and night out.

I like the direction that Ernie Grunfeld and Co. are taking the Wizards. While they haven't made any major moves, they have still added some quality players to the roster.

When the season tips off, I wouldn't be surprised to see this starting line-up on the floor: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor, and Nene.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Strasburg Takes Mound At Right Time

Today, the Washington Nationals try to stop what is now a four game home losing streak. They have just the right guy heading to the mound to complete that feat, however, in Stephen Strasburg.

This season, Strasburg is 8-1 with 100 strikeouts. He's got a 1.04 WHIP (walks, hits per innings pitched) and an ERA of 2.45 this season.

Strasburg has been even better in the month of June.

In three starts, he's gone at least six innings and has struckout a total of 30 batters. He's got a 1.89 ERA this June and is 3-0. His WHIP rating is below 1.00, as well.

Multiple times this year Strasburg has stepped in to help stop the Nationals bleeding. Whether it's avoiding a sweep or stopping a losing streak before it spirals out of control, he's been reliable in both situations.

During the Nationals first three game series against the Pirates, they dropped the first two games to the Pittsburgh team. In the previous series, they lost the third game against the Phillies. In three straight losses coming into Strasburg's start, the Nationals were outscored 18-9.

Strasburg then pitched six beautiful innings striking out 13 batters and giving two runs and just one earned run in the Nationals 4-2 victory. Strasburg even had a hit in that game.

The second time Strasburg stopped a Nationals losing streak was on May 20th against the Baltimore Orioles. The Nationals had dropped three straight going back to game three against the Pirates the series before.

Strasburg then took the mound and was just what the doctor ordered. He didn't pitch a gem, but he pitched well enough. He struck out eight batters and gave up just one earned run. The Nationals bats came alive and Strasburg got credited with a 9-3 win.

A third time Strasburg came to the rescue of the Nationals was against the Braves on June 2nd. The Nationals had just returned from a three game sweep at the Marlins where they were outscored 13-7.

Strasburg then pitched arguably his best game yet. He struck out nine batters and only gave up four hits and no runs over seven innings to give the Nationals a 2-0 win.

Strasburg, the last Nationals pitcher to win a game this season, takes the mound again today looking to stop the bleeding for the Nationals. Following a home sweep from the Yankees, the Devil Rays came in swinging hot bats and took a 5-4 win yesterday.

If there was ever a pitcher to take the mound during a teams time of need, it would be Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals desperatly need a win and Strasburg is their best bet to pick one up today.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why Fans Hate LeBron...

I can think of not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, but seven reasons why fans can't stand LeBron James. The funny thing is...when you think about it...those seven reasons can be boiled down into two reasons.

First off, "The Decision" was a huge P.R. blunder that never should have aired. EVERYONE in LeBron's camp is to be blamed for that. At some point, whether it was LeBron James himself or not, somebody had to think "Man, this could really be a bad idea". The rest of the people in his camp then talked that one person into it being a good idea and well, you know the outcome.

Secondly, the welcome party to Miami was well, a Miami Heat deal. Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and LeBron James really did not plan or put that whole thing together. Let's face it people, it's Miami. They like to party and they like to party big down there. They would have done it no matter who their Big Three was.

However, the infamous LeBron James quotes "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach" and then the one promising seven championships did all come from LeBron's head. And let's be honest, he is correct on one of them...

LeBron did take his talents to South Beach. In two regular seasons with the Miami Heat, James is averaging 27 points per game, 76 percent from the free throw line, nearly eight rebounds per game, and seven assists per game. (His numbers are about the same in the postseason. This postseason he's averaging 30 points per game.)

His numbers aren't up from what they were in Cleveland, but they're not down, either. They have dropped a point or two from his days in Cleveland, but that's only because he's playing alongside two other great players in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

The second quote, however, I can't defend. LeBron has yet to win the Miami Heat seven championships like he promised. But, this is only his second year with the organization. Last season, they cam pretty close. This season, they are even closer.

Allow me to ask you these questions:

Has LeBron ever done drugs?
Has LeBron gone out drinking after a big win?
Does LeBron not take care of his own son?
Has LeBron ever been in trouble with the law?
Does LeBron blame his teammates after a loss?
Has LeBron ever attacked the media for whatever reason?
Has LeBron ever turned down reporters following a loss?

If you answered "YES" to anyone of these questions...then you obviously are either crazy or LeBron's stalker.

LeBron has never done drugs and doesn't drink. Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots parties and drinks after a loss and I don't see people hating him.

LeBron James takes great care of his own son. He loves that kid more than the game of basketball itself. You can't say that about all parents. There are some people, who don't even play basketball, that love the game more than their own family.

LeBron has never been in trouble with the law. Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers has been a couple times. I don't see fans around the league thinking he's a terrible person.

LeBron James has never pulled a Kobe Bryant and blamed everyone BUT himself for a loss. James shoulders the blame and keeps moving. Bryant, well, he'd be more than happy to throw everyone under the bus.

LeBron has been great towards the media. He's handled all their tough questions with dignity and grace and has never attacked a member of the media over a question. He always addresses the media after every game.

Enough with comparing him to Michael Jordan. That's an insult to both men. James changed his number to avoid that. They are two totally different players with two totally different career paths. Those internet meme's are annoying and for people with nothing else to do and are seeking attention.

Enough with saying he's not clutch. Nobody in the history of the NBA made every buzzer beater that they attempted.

To Cleveland Cavalier fans...get over it. It's time to move on. I know that's a tall order, seeing as how you named a football team after Paul Brown...who you all hate because he moved the Browns to what is now the Ravens...but that's another story.

I'm not a LeBron James fan or hater. I'm not a Miami Heat fan or hater. I'm just a guy with an objective view on an awkward situation.

Look, LeBron James is going to win an NBA title this season whether you want him to or not. He is the best player in the NBA right now and he will be for a long time.

Respect the man for what he is: an amazing basketball player. Instead of going gaw-gaw eyed like we all did over guys like Jordan, Chamberlain, Byrd, and Johnson, people find it better to point out everything that's wrong with him when there is so much that is right with him.

In the eyes of the NBA fan, LeBron James will never be great enough. No matter what, someone will always have something about him to criticize.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who Should The Wizards Take At Three?

Thomas Robinson, above, would compliment Nene down low. (Photo:
On June 28th the NBA will hold their annual two round draft. The Wizards will have the third selection that night following the New Orleans Hornets and the Charlotte Bobcats. So the big question is...who should the Wizards take with the third pick?

There are three players in particular that I think the Wizards can't go wrong with if they selected them.

Obviously, Anthony Davis is going to go first overall. New Orleans would be insane not to pass up a player with as much upside as him. Following that, however, it gets a little fuzzy.

Some experts think that power forward/center Andre Drummond from the University of Connecticut will go second overall to the Bobcats. Other people think that power forward Thomas Robinson from Kansas will go second overall.

It's simple, really, the Wizards just take whichever one doesn't get picked...right? Wrong!!

In my opinion, the Wizards will  have a choice between two players: one of which will compliment John Wall and one will compliment Nene.

The compliment to Nene would obviously be either Drummond or Robinson. I think that the Bobcats will go with the physical freak that is Andre Drummond. He is a stronger big man that can get very long in the paint.

That would then leave Thomas Robinson. The 6'9" 244 pound junior hails from the Washington D.C. area. He's very strong in the paint and is tough to beat defensively. When you take his wingspan into account, he can stretch out to be 7'1". Robinson can also put the ball on the floor and finishes well at the rim.

The other player that the Wizards would be wise to select would be an excellent compliment to John Wall. Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal is a guy that remind many of Eric Gordon and Marcus Thornton.

Beal is a solid shooter that is great at shooting off a screen. He's got a quick, high release that stays consistent throughout the course of a game. If he needs to, he has no problems with putting the ball on the ground and finishing at the rim.

The Wizards can't go wrong with picking either Robinson, Drummond, or Beal. Either one of them will score points and can compliment another player on the roster. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Kentucky could help fill out the small forward position, but I think that the Wizards could do much better by selecting one of the other three.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lombo Solves Lead-Off Problem

Lombardozzi, above, has been great for the Nationals. (Photo:
Last season, the Nationals could not find anyone suitable for the lead-off spot in the line-up. They started off this season with Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa both taking turns. However, they seem to have landed on the lead-off man they have been looking for.

Standing at six feet flat and weighing a whopping 195 pounds, Steve Lombardozzi hardly looks like your typical major league baseball player. He's a right handed switch hitting second baseman that can play in the outfield if Davey Johnson so pleases. The Fulton, Maryland native is your prototypical do-it-all baseball player.

After batting a satisfactory .265 in the month of April, Lombardozzi exploded in May batting .348 throughout the entire month. He had a slugging percentage of .435, but never hit a home run (he hit six lead-off doubles). He struck out just twice and reached first base on a walk three times. He also scored eight runs in May.

Steve Lombardozzi is a critical piece to the Nationals puzzle that often goes over looked. Last season, the Nationals would have given anything for a lead-off man this good. This season, it's a spot that they seldom have to worry about thanks to his consistently great play.

Last night, Lombardozzi hit a lead-off double to start the game. Bryce Harper then stepped into the batters box and knocked him in with an RBI single. Lombardozzi barely beat-out Jose Bautista's laser throw from right field to score the games first run before an out was even recorded.

That is the kind of luxury that the Nationals have been getting from "Lombo" ever since he took over the lead-off role. He gets on base early, and then let's the combination of Harper-Zimmerman-LaRoche-Morse bring him across the plate to score the run.

What's more impressive than his batting average is his on base percentage. Throughout May, he maintained a .392 on base percentage. He was hit by two pitches and took three more for a called ball four. Simply put, the man gets on any way he can.

This June, Lombardozzi has gotten off to a cold start. He's batting just .154 with and on base percentage of .241. He's been walked three times (which isn't bad considering it's the beginning of the month) and has struck out five times already.

Despite the slow start in June, Lombardozzi is a gem that the Nationals have uncovered. He can play any position on the diamond (including the hot corner the Ryan Zimmerman usually occupies) and plays them all very well.

The top of the Nationals order is fast becoming one of the most treacherous in the MLB thanks to Steve Lombardozzi. The more you break this team down, the better they look for a HUGE push into late October.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nats Have Their Fix At Closer

Tyler Clippard, above, has recorded 8 saves for the Nationals. (Photo: 
The days of Henry Rodriguez blowing a save in the ninth inning are long gone thanks to Tyler Clippard.

Ever since the all-star reliever turned closer he has been lights out for the Nationals. Clippard has recorded eight saves this season with just one blown save. His lone blown save came back in April in a 2-1 loss against the San Diego Padres.

Since May 22nd, the day Clippard recorded his first save of the season, he has been absolutely deadly for the Nationals. Clippard, himself, saved all three games of the Nationals series against the Red Sox. A series in which they swept the AL East giant.

In nine appearances since May 22nd, Clippard has recorded eight saves and has given up just one hit and has walked just three of the 21 batters that he has faced. His ERA has steadily decreased from 3.15 to just 2.30. He has a WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitched) average of .99 and has struck out nine batters.

Does this come as a surprise to anybody? Even with Drew Storen in the mix, Clippard is by far the best pitcher that the Nationals have in their bullpen. After all, he was an All-Star.

What's not to love about the long-haired, glasses wearing, 27 year old from Lexington, Kentucky? He's got great stuff that is virtually unhittable. He can come in in any situation and get the job done.

June 8th against the Red Sox the Nationals decided to go with Brad Lidge instead of Clippard in the ninth inning. Following a walk and one-out RBI double off the Green Monster, Clippard came in and got the remaining two batters to fly out to end the game and pick up his sixth save.

Tyler Clippard is the guy that the Nationals should have had in the ninth from the beginning of the season. The best part is, as the season goes on, Clippard's numbers just get better and better. Let's break this down by the month...shall we?

In the month of April, Clippard pitched a total of ten innings. He gave up 11 hits, six runs, and had a monthly pitch count of 216. He had 1-2 record with a blown save and five holds. He had an ERA of 5.40 when the month ended.

He improved dramatically in the month of May. He pitched 11.2 innings and gave up just three hits and two runs (only one run was earned). He struck out 15 batters and had a pitch count of just 167. He recorded five holds and three saves and finished with a monthly ERA of just .77.

He has gotten off to a hot start in the month of June. In 5.2 innings pitched, he has given up one hit and no runs. He has struck out three batters and has a pitch count of 88 (in his save against the Red Sox on June 10th, it took him 25 pitches to record the save). He has five saves so far this month and an ERA of 0.00.

The Nationals have finally found the closer they have been looking for since Chad Cordero left. Little did they know they already had him in the form of Tyler Clippard. Clippard has been getting stronger and stronger as the season progresses. If he keeps up his current performances, his name might be thrown around for the all-star game, as well.

The Nationals have a completed pitching staff. They can get 6-7 innings out of each of their starters on a daily basis. They have quality relievers that can come in during the 7th and 8th innings to hold the lead and then have sensational closers that can finish the deal in the 9th.

While a number of their pitchers are young, they certainly don't show their youthfulness on the mound. The Nationals pitching staff is fast becoming the best in the MLB. If they can keep this up, there will be a lot to celebrate come October.

Redskins Draft Profle: Keenan Robinson

Robinson, 1, was a fourth round pick of the Redskins. (Photo:
With the 119th pick in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected linebacker Keenan Robinson from the University of Texas.

In four seasons for the Longhorns, Robinson started in every game from his sophomore through  his senior season. He appeared in 12 games as a freshman. He recorded 316 total tackles including 24 tackles for loss. He also sacked the quarterback 5.5 times. Robinson caused three fumbles and recovered two fumbles. The Plano, Texas native intercepted two passes while breaking up 13 more.

Robinson is a two-time Butkus Award (nations top NCAA linebacker award) semi-finalist as well as second team All Big 12 following his junior and senior seasons. He was the Holiday Bowl Defensive MVP his senior season for his 10 tackle performance against Cal.

First off, looking back at your career for the University of Texas, what is the fondest memory you have of playing for them?
"I think my greatest memory at Texas is beating Texas A&M with a last second field goal my Senior Year. It was the final game of the series and the game was an instant classic."

Where were you when you recieved the call from the Redskins saying they were drafting you?
"I was in Dallas with my friends and family. I talked to Coach Shannahan and Coach Haslett. As soon as I heard their voices I knew that the Redskins had picked me."

What was the moment like when it was announced that the Redskins had drafted you and it became official?
"I was pretty enthusiastic. I had been waiting on that moment for a long time and when it happened it was almost too surreal. I knew that I was going to get drafted just now when and by who. To get drafted by a great organization like the 'Skins was the icing on the cake."

How were you recieved when you first arrived at Redskins Park to be introduced?
"I think the fans along with the staff were very receptive of me. Being a Texas guy I already have high expectations with players like Orakpo and Cedric Griffin already on the team so they already knew what Texas players were about."

What are your expectations or goals that you have for yourself this season?
"Every rookie wants to come in and be an immediate impact player. Realistically, I want to get the system down by the end of training camp and earn the as well as the coaches trust so that I can be a guy that can get in the inside backer rotation."

How are you going to contribute to and help improve the Redskins defense?
"I think that first and foremost I will help the team wherever they need me on special teams. Secondly, i can bring my combination of size and speed to the inside backer position which will allow me to make plays at this level."

How do you plan to get invloved in the Redskins community?
"The first thing I want to do is find a good church that I can get involved with. I know that Sundays are usually hectic with our schedule and everything, but I could attend a service or two during the week. The next thing I want to do is get with guys like Orakpo and Fletcher and see what they're doing in the community and see if I can get involved."

Once you get that first pay check, what is your first big purchase going to be?
"I want to help my parents. They have sacrificed for my brother and sisters our entire lives and now it's time I help them out so that they don't have to worry about making ends meet."

What excites you the most about becoming a Washington Redskin?
"The most exciting element of becoming a Redskin is the opportunity to play in arguable to toughest conference in the entire league amongst some of the best players in the league. The competition I will face week in and week out will challenge me and really help me develop my game even further."

Friday, June 8, 2012

Will Redskins Go From Worst To First?

On, they had a cute little segment where they ranked teams that finished last in their respective NFC divisions last season and then ranked them on whether or not they can win their respective divisions this coming season.

I know that the thought of that is exciting and all, but, it's not very practical. While, being a Redskins fan, I would enjoy watching them win the NFC East, the rest of the division simply won't let that happen.

Last season, the Redskins swept the season series from the Giants. While that was fun, that won't happen this season.

The dream has finally gotten rid of it's cockiest player, the back-up quarterback, and also had their ego's put in check. Look for them to come back better than ever.

The Cowboys...okay so the Redskins will finish third at the worst.

I'll be honest with you, people, the Redskins have a very slim shot at winning the division this year. While the Giants don't have Mario Manningham anymore and have lost Hakeem Nicks for a while due to injury, I don't see them being as shakey as they were last season.

The Giants have the best shot at repeating their divisonal win this season. With Osi Umenyiora taken care, now he and Jason Pierre-Paul can run wild in opponents backfields. You may scoffe at my praise of Pierre-Paul, but don't forget he recorded 16 tackles during the Redskins 23-10 week 13 victory.

What about the Eagles? Let's not forget one minor detail: they still have Michael Vick. The same Michael Vick that lit up the Redskins defense two-seasons ago during that Monday night ga-...meltdown.

DeSean Jackson is still going to be the same playmaker that he always has been. Remember that guy that defeated the Giants with that last-second punt return for a touchdown? Yeah...he's still there.

They Eagles also have Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie to try to stop Robert Griffin III when they meet.

The addition of one guy doesn't turn a team from the worst to the best by any stretch of the imagination. The Washington Redskins still have a ways to go before letting Rex Grossman make a ridiculous prediction and then fall flat on his face.

However, the Redskins are on the right track in the rebuilding process. Instead of signing high-priced, out of shape, past their prime free-agents, they are beginning to rebuild through the draft and by signing younger, more promising players.

The days of the Redskins being a constant threat to win their division are still a few years away. However, their is a reason to stop circling the Redskins as an automatic "W" on your teams calendar.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nats Draft Profile: Austin Chubb

This past weekend Major League Baseball held its annual entry level player draft. The draft consisted of 40 rounds in which each team got one pick each round.

With the 654th pick in this years draft, the Nationals selected Austin Chubb. Chubb is a 6'1" 220 pound catcher from Lake Mary, Florida.

What is your favorite memory you have of playing in college?
"My favorite college memory would have to be winning the Florida Junior College State Championship and playing at the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado in 2010 for the State College of Florida Manatees. (Bryce Harper was actually there as well with his Junior College Team.)"

Where were you when you got the call saying you were being drafted by the Nationals?
"I was sitting with my family in our living room at my home in Lake Mary, Florida."

How did it feel when you were officially drafted?
"It was the most unbelievable feeling I've ever experienced. This has been my lifelong dream, and it is hard to believe it has finally come true. My brother actually saw my name pop up on the computer before I did and he started screaming we all hugged and there were many tears of joy."

What sets you apart from the rest of the catchers in this years draft?
"This was a solid year for catchers. I feel that I can contribute offensively, as well as defensively. Also, I will bring an unmatched work ethic to the field each day. I also feel that I bring a number of intangibles, such as leadership, and have a knack for getting the most out of my pitchers when I catch."

How are you going to prepare yourself for the minor leagues and progressing through the Nationals farm system?
"Professional baseball is a grind. I plan to work as hard as I possibly can to maximize my potential. I feel that I'm well prepared because of the great college programs that I played for, State  College of Florida, and then Florida Southern. However, I also realize that learning is a coninual process, and I will always be a student of the game. I am excited about being able to pick the brains of the great coaches in the Nationals organization, and plan on learning as much from them as I can. Being able to play everyday, producing, and finding ways to help my team win will ultimately help me advance within the system."

What expectations do you have for yourself now that you have been drafted?
"The sky is the limit. I want to help the Nationals win a World Series Championship. Whether that is contributing at the minor league level, or hopefully playing a key role with the Big League club one day, winning the ultimate goal. If you prepare and play to win, everything else will fall into place."

Who do you try to model yourself after as a player?
"I always loved the way Jason Varitek was the leader and captain of his team. I also loved his defense mentality. But I also know that I am my own player, and I want to do things that I do best to help my team."

What excites you the most about being drafted by the Nationals?
"The Nationals are a first class organization. Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson are doing an outstanding job and have put the Nationals in a position to win, and to win now. I am extremely excited to represent one of the most professional and promising organizations in the game."

Redskins Move Camp

CSN Washington reported, and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell confirmed, that the Washington Redskins are moving training camp to Richmond, Virginia starting in the year 2013.

The breakdown is simple: the Redskins will hold training camp in Richmond, Virginia, and then return to Ashburn during the season for practices.

A renovation will be done to Redskins Park in Ashburn to upgrade those facilities.

I think this is a great move by the Washington Redskins. It takes them back to the good old days of professional football when teams used to leave their home facilities for training camp. Now training camp becomes just that...a camp!

Having training camp held away from family and friends will help build a bond between the players and the coaches. They will be together 24/7. They sleep, eat, and simply exist side-by-side during the months of mid-July and August.

Now-a-days, once practice is over the players just head back to their houses and sit with their wife and/or kids. They never get a chance to bond or connect with their teammates off the practice field.

They will also be more focused on the task at hand: improving the level of play they produce.

Their focus will solely be on football. There will be no talk of "where do we go to eat after practice?" or "whose house are we going to tonight?" That's all decided for them!

While the people in Ashburn, Virginia may be upset because now they can't go and watch practice everyday, I think that this will improve the Redskins tremendously. Their focus will be much better and therefor they will be much more prepared to play on game day.

It's not like they are leaving forever. For 3-4 weeks they will be in Richmond, Virginia preparing for the season. Once those weeks are over, they will back in Ashburn 4-5 days a week on the practice field.

I support this move 100%. The Redskins have had a few clowns get into some trouble during training camp in the past. By moving to a secluded location, the coaches will be able to control the players post-practice as well as keep their attention and focus on the game of football.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

For Harper, Only One Thing Left

Michael Morse, 38, gives Bryce Harper a Gatorade bath following his walk-off single. (Photo:
First career major league at bat: check. First career major league hit: check. First career major league RBI: check. First career major league home run: check. First career major league walk-off: check. First career All-Star game:.....

Ever since Bryce Harper entered the major leagues back in April, he has been one of the Nationals most electric players. His love for the game has been apparent since he first hit the on-deck circle in L.A.

His constant effort has been contagious throughout the Nationals clubhouse. For him, a should be ground-out turns into an infield single. A bloop single into left can easily become a bloop double.

When Harper leaves the batters box after making contact, he's already thinking about rounding first and heading for second. He's running so fast that usually his helmet is long behind him by the time he gets to first base. He plays with the kind of enthusiasm that has been long forgotten in professional sports.

His play in the outfield has been outstanding. Just because a batter hit a flyout to the warning track with a man on third does not mean that he hit an RBI sac fly. Harper's got an absolute cannon and when he throws, he uses his whole body to put maximum velocity on the ball.

The bloop single is never a sure thing when hit into right field. Harper has flown in seemingly out of nowhere a number of times this season to catch a ball that would normally drop in front of any other outfielder.

Simply put, he makes the team better on the field.

How about off the field?

Long forgotten of the days of Harper's immature tweets. He no longer blows a kiss at the pitcher while rounding third base after hitting a home run. Quite the opposite, really. Harper doesn't take his time after hitting a home run. He hustles around the bases, scores the home run, and heads back to the dugout.

He doesn't make snide remarks to the media about a stupid question or brag after a game in which he made an incredible play. He acknowledges his performance, commends his team on the teams win, and continues on his merry way. Never will you catch him pointing the finger at another teammate following a loss. He's grown up off the field.

On the field, he's that kid you see playing little league ball that is having a great time simply because he's getting the chance to play baseball. He's the professional athlete role model that parents dream about (with the exception of not going to college).

Bryce Harper has pretty much done it all. First major league hit, RBI, home run, and now walk-off. He hustles through every play and is a stand-up guy off the field. He's got the make of a superstar role model for this league. He doesn't take steroids. He is a legitimate superstar in the world of professional sports.

Up to this point in his rookie year, he has done just about everything and he has proven that his attitude has improved dramatically.

For Bryce Harper, there's only one thing left on his rookie year check list. Come on Major League Baseball fans and voters, send the kid to the All-Star game.

Nationals Have All-Stars

Via the teams Twitter page yesterday morning, the Hagerstown Suns, the Nationals Class A affiliate, announced that four of their players are heading to the Minor League All-Star game.

Third baseman Matt Skole, outfielder Caleb Ramsey, catcher Adrian Nieto, and right hander Aaron Barrett were all selected. Suns Manager Brian Daubach was selected as a coach for the Northern Division, as well.

Skole, a 2011 fifth round draft pick, is batting .294 this season with 12 home runs and 53 RBI. He has also stolen four bases. He has hit 11 doubles and has been walked 51 times this season. He has a slugging percentage of .545.

Ramsey, a 2011 eleventh round draft pick, is batting .299 with five home runs and 32 RBI. He has successfully stolen a base 7 times. He has hit four doubles, four triples, and has reached base on balls 20 times in 184 at bats.

Nieto, a 2008 fifth round draft pick, is batting .261 with four home runs and 25 RBI. He has eight doubles with an on base percentage of .333. He also has a slugging percentage of .406.

Barrett, a 2010 ninth round draft pick, has been an exceptional closer for the Suns this season. He has a 3-1 record to go along with six saves. His era is at 3.05 and he has given up just 15 hits over 20.2 innings. He has walked just eight batters and has struckout 33. Teams are batting just .203 against him.

The Suns sit in second place of the South Atlantic League Northern division. They are 6.5 games back of the Greensboro Grasshoppers who are an affiliate of the Miami Marlins.

This is just another testament to the quality of the Nationals farm system. This is just another season in which they have sent minor leaguers to their respective all-star games. Another notable minor leaguer that went the minor league all-star game was Bryce Harper.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Risky Business

Last night the Nationals drafted right handed pitcher Lucas Giolito from Harvard-Westlake High School in California. After his junior year of high school, Giolito was predicted to go first overall following his senior season. The Nationals got him at 16th overall. You may be asking....why so late?

Giolito sat out his senior season due to a sprained ligament in his throwing elbow. Since he had not seen legitimate game action in over a year, teams were nervous about drafting him. Teams also stayed away from him due to the injury that he sustained to his throwing elbow.

The Nationals and their fans know all too well what can happen when you injure your throwing elbow. Already, the Nationals have seen two of their own starting pitchers go under the knife for Tommy Johns surgery. Jordan Zimmermann had his procedure done three years ago and most recently Stephen Strasburg underwent to the procedure to repair a ligament in his throwing elbow.

While the injury was a sprain and not a tear, the point still remains that Giolito's throwing elbow was injured. With that in mind, the Nationals need to be extra careful when bringing him through the system.

Many experts think that Giolito will move through any teams farm system quickly. However, the Nationals will want to take some time to make sure that everything is A-OK with his elbow. Trying to hustle the kid through the minors and into the majors would be a terrible mistake.

The last thing that Mike Rizzo and Co. want to have happen is stake their claim on this guy only to have him never make it past Class AA due to a reoccurring throwing elbow injury.

One thing that the Nationals do quite well is handle injuries. Strasburg and Zimmermann have both returned from their injuries just as good as, if not better than, before. They made a plan, patiently stuck to that plan, and the results have been fantastic.

Expect much of the same for Lucas Giolito. Don't expect the Nationals to try to quickly move him through the farm system. He is still a teenager and also an investment. He's got great stuff and can really be a big contributor to the Nationals for years to come.

The Nationals took a bit of a risk last night when they drafted Lucas Giolito. If they handle him just as carefully as they do the rest of their injured players, he's going to be a difference maker for this ball club.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Nationals Draft Pitcher

Last night marked day one of the three-day 40-round 2012 MLB Entry Level Draft. The first two rounds (round 1 and 1A) were completed last night. The Nationals selected once throughout the evening with the 16th overall pick.

With that pick, the Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito from Harvard-Westlake High School in California. That's right, he's fresh out of prep school.

A bigger guy standing at 6'6" and weighing 230 pounds, Giolito was anticipated to go first overall following an impressive junior high school season. However, a sprained ulnar collateral ligament (in the elbow) kept him off the field for his senior season.

According to many scouts around the league, Giolito has three very good pitches that he can go to when on the mound.

His fastball has been clocked at 96 MPH on the radar gun, but usually tops out at 93 MPH. His changeup comes out looking like a fastball, breaks like a split-fingered pitch, but is slow enough to get batters to swing way out in front of it. He also throws an excellent curve that one scout said has a very sharp break when it hits the plate.

Another thing that scouts rave when talking about Giolito is his location. He keeps the ball down in the strikezone. Doing so allows him to get a many ground-ball outs which also allows for quick innings.

One thing that worries me about this pick is his injury history. He has already injured a ligament in his throwing elbow. Nationals fans know all too well the dangers when dealing with an elbow ligament injury (see Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann).

It would seriously put a damper on things if Giolito doesn't have the stuff that he used to have. However, if he's anywhere close to it, the Nationals have made a great pick.

The Nationals have certainly figured out what they want to build their team around. Starting pitching was a focus during the offseason and it was certainly one last night.

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Harper, Gonzalez Earn MLB Honors

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez and outfielder Bryce Harper earned All-MLB honors due to their performance last month.

Throughout the month of May, Gonzalez was dominant. He went 5-0 with a 2.25 ERA with an NL best 45 strikeouts. Gonzalez is the second Nationals pitcher to win the award after Strasburg won for the month of April.

Bryce Harper was named NL Rookie of the Month for the month of May. In 107 at-bats, Harper batted .271 with four home runs and ten RBI.

Both players can this to their already impressive All-Star resumes. Following May, Gonzalez and Harper should both be seriously considered for the All-Star game.

Redskins Sign QB

Via the teams Twitter page, the Washington Redskins announced this past week that they have signed rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft this past April.

According to many reports, the deal is for four years and I have even seen a dollar figure for the deal around $2.5 million.

The Redskins certainly made quite a buzz when they drafted the Michigan State product in this years draft after already drafting Robert Griffin III second overall. It led many to question whether or not it was necessary and whether or not they believe in RG3.

Most likely, Cousins will start the season as Griffins back up. The Redskins also have Rex Grossman on roster and Cousins will be battling Grossman for the number two spot on the depth chart.

Griffin will be splitting Reps with the number four QB, Jonathan Crompton, throughout OTA's and training camp.

Through four years for the Spartans, Cousins threw for 9,131 yards and 66 touchdowns. He is regarded as one of the most successful quarterbacks to come out of Michigan State.

The Redskins will have quite the quarterback battle in training camp. It won't be between RG3 and someone, however, it will be between Cousins and Grossman.

Grossman has been in the system for a couple years now so it would not be a bad idea to keep him around. He might be able to help Griffin learn the system. However, Cousins is a promising young prospect with enough talent to be at least a back-up on any NFL team.

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