Monday, August 11, 2008

Two More Signed. #1 To Go

Late this afternoon, Our Washington Nationals announced the signing of their 3rd and 4th Round Draft Picks from the 2008 entry draft. Shortstop Daniel Espinosa and Left-handed Pitcher Graham Hicks. Now, Washington just need to sign their Number 1 Pick Aaron Crow. Four more days get him under contract.

Another Good Sign (or signings--depending on how you read it).


The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with shortstop Daniel Espinosa and left-handed pitcher Graham Hicks, their third and fourth-round selections in this year’s First-Year Player Draft. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden, Vice President of Baseball Operations and Assistant General Manager Mike Rizzo, and Director of Scouting Dana Brown made this joint announcement.

The 21-year-old Espinosa is a plus defensive infielder who hit .309 with 13 doubles, six triples, four home runs and 37 RBI as a junior this season at Long Beach State (CA), while compiling a .392 on-base percentage and earning an honorable mention nod on the Easton Big West All-Conference Team. Prior to his junior campaign, Espinosa was the starting shortstop and won a silver medal for Team USA in the 2007 Pan American Games.

A two-time All-Big West honoree, he was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year after batting .281 with 19 extra-base hits, 31 runs scored and 23 RBI as a college rookie. He batted .319 with a team-best seven home runs, 44 runs scored, 13 doubles, four triples and 40 RBI as a sophomore. The switch hitter graduated from Mater Dei High School (CA), where he lettered all four years and was twice recognized as an All-League selection. As a high school junior, he was a starter and batted .483 for the 2003 US Youth National Team that won a gold medal in Taiwan.

Hicks, 18, is coming off a spectacular career at George Jenkins High School (FL), which included a 15-2 record and 0.41 ERA with 155 strikeouts in 119.0 innings over his final two seasons. The 6-foot-5 southpaw dominated his competition as a senior, going 8-1 with a 0.24 ERA and earning a spot as a FACA Senior All-Star. He received an All-State honorable mention as a junior, compiling a 9-1 mark with a 0.53 ERA en route to a district title. Hicks led his AAU team to a 2007 national championship in the World Wood Bat Association’s 18-and-under division.

To date, the Nationals have agreed to terms with 28 players selected in this year’s Draft:


DC Baseball Lives said...

Looking over the Nationals' roster, you see all kinds of holes.

-- No left hand power
-- Inability to take walks, leading to poor on-base percentage
-- too many strike outs
-- too many first-pitch swingers

Jamie Moyer said it best "overanxious." Jeremy Guthrie said "they were swinging at my pitch and getting themselves out."

An indictment of Lenny Harris and the team's inexperience.

The team has a chance to be excellent afield, but weaknesses are at 2 key positions - SS (unless Gonzalez plays) and CF (Milledge is getting better, though).

Pitching, the team has some good starters, but lacks the shutdown guy other teams fear and the guy who stops losing streaks.

The bullpen is a disaster. No strong set-up man (Rivera is ok, he doesn't allow many HR's), no good LH stopper, an unproven closer (the Sunday loss was the first time the team really missed Rauch, oh, the Colorado loss, too).

There will be free agents to plug these holes, but they won't come cheap and they won't play for the Nats unless the Nats overpay. That seems unlikely.

I don't see much hope for 82 wins until 2011. Kasten forgets that he made an early FA signing -- Terry Pendleton, who made a huge difference in those Braves clubs by giving them a steady veteran presence.

Unless the Lerner's open their wallets, it could be a long time before this team wins.

Anonymous said...

If Jimbo can pull off signing Crow he may have bought himself another year as GM!

SenatorNat said...


1. 25 home games to go, all but nine v. teams in the pennant & WC race. Should translate, when you add Manny in Dodger Blue, to 30k average, meaning Lerners get near 2.4 million for first year at Nationals Park. Add fact they unilaterally have declared area a "Rent-Free Zone" and payroll of no more than $50 million, and they should have revenues in '08 sufficient to make them play the Free Agent Game seriously...

2. 25 games to lose to equal the fourth year expansion Senators in their "Off the Floor in '64" season (1964), equaling that 62-100 mark; this also should propell them into the Free Agent Game seriously in order to sustain season ticket sales for 2009...

3. 25 being the number on the back of the worst clean-up hitter in modern baseball history, the second half of the bust that has been Lopez-Kearns. Should he continue to hit below .220 (or even .250 with "surge")with virtually no power numbers, he should be gone in 2009, like his ex-Reds counterpart "Mr. Energy - ex Flope"...

4. 25 being the number of Major League Players a major league team should carry on its roster. Currently, the Nationals carry, at most, 18 such players, including rookies like Flores; Bonifacio; and Gonzalez; and rookie pitchers like Lannan and Shell. Players like Kearns, Langehans, Orr, Casto, Ayala, Manning, Colome are not major league caliber and should be discarded. Obviously, DYoung and WMPena are busts as projects, too. Nick Johnson ("That's just it Nick - you are a steer") unfortunately cannot be relied on to fill a roster spot. Dukes, on the other hand, clearly a major leaguer, unless he also suffers from Johnson syndrome. Presuming Dukes is on the roster, then team needs to fill 6 spots - two everyday players (e.g. Holliday, Texiera) and one front-line pitcher, and Cordero at back of relief rotation, and three others...

5. 25 (times 3): the amount the payroll needs to be in 2009 - $75 million, despite the fact that the Lerners also have to pay rent in 2009.

Trust in The Sun Also Rises. All Good.