Anthony Rendon is gone, and that leaves a gaping hole at the hot corner for the defending World Series champions. As I mentioned in mySpring Training primer, the ideal scenario was for top prospect Carter Kieboom to take over the starting job. Whether it was his job to lose or if it was simply his to compete for has come into question recently, but either way, Kieboom starting early in 2020 was undeniably the organization’s preference. If it wasn’t, they would’ve pursued a third baseman — Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, Eduardo Escobar; the list goes on — much more seriously this offseason.
As time passes, it looks increasingly likely that Kieboom starts the season in the minor leagues. There’s still a chance that he wins the third base job, but he hasn’t done himself any favors offensively — he was 1–12 (.083 average) this spring before going 2–2 off the bench yesterday — or defensively — he has two errors (and a third that could’ve gone against him) on only 13 official chances. Nonetheless, he still has a chance to improve before Opening Day — and get off the bench. For the sake of this exercise, however, I’ll assume he doesn’t crack the initial 26-man roster.
Before the start of Spring Training, I touched on the key roster battles the Nationals were faced with. Most of those don’t have significant clarity yet, but one appears to have taken center stage: the fifth starter role.
Aside from Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin— who will make their debuts over the next two days — and Max Scherzer— who just made his second appearance last night — every starter has thrown one time. With that in mind, here’s a look at how round one went for the men whose jobs are most in limbo and how they project going forward. Continue reading “Round One of Spring Training Goes to Austin Voth and Joe Ross”→
He’s already won Comeback Player of the Year once before. If Jonny Venters pitches next year, he should win it again by default.
Venters has already undergone “three and a half” Tommy John surgeries. He also looked like his prime self — one of the most dominant left-handed relievers in baseball — in 2018. The fact that he was even available in late May (when the Nationals signed him to a minor league contract) was largely due to his checkered past health-wise. Continue reading “The Adventure of Jonny Venters in D.C.”→
If Anthony Rendon isn’t your top-rated free agent in Washington, it’s because Stephen Strasburg is. Once viewed as an overrated, overhyped prospect who would never rediscover his pre-Tommy John surgery self, Strasburg became the unequivocal ace of a star-laden starting rotation.Continue reading “A Monster Deal for Stephen Strasburg?”→