Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Defensively Speaking

If Emilio Bonifacio turns out to be the Defensive Gem Our General Manager Jim Bowden and VP President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo claim--The 2009 Version of Our Washington Nationals could potentially be pretty solid--defensively.

Catcher--Jesus Flores. Young, Talented. Pretty much beloved by everyone.

1st Base--Nick Johnson. Injury prone, but is coming back. When Healthy, Our Number 24 one of the best fielders in the game at his position.

2nd Base--Emilio Bonifacio. Fresh addition to be given every chance to succeed.

3rd Base--Ryan Zimmerman. No question, arguably the finest fielding third sacker in the game.

Shortstop--Cristian Guzman. Serviceable, Hustles. Our Number 15 is fine and he never pouted over his poor 2005 Inaugural Season in Washington. Gets huge points for that. Rewarded justly with a two year contract extension yesterday.

Rightfield--Austin Kearns. Outside of Jeff Francouer of The Atlanta Braves--is there a better fielding rightfielder in The National League. Plays his position well, good arm, takes good angles to baseballs.

Leftfield--Lastings Milledge. Needs to work on his defense. Does not appear to have the arm for a centerfielder. A corner outfield spot might suit him best.

Centerfield--Elijah Dukes. Before his unfortunate knee injury was beginning to show the five tool talents some in the game love. No one plays harder on Our Team--No One. Great Arm, Perfect for Centerfield.

4th Outfielder--Ryan Langerhans. Great Glove, Good Speed. And I have not even mentioned Willie Harris--who has been a good versatile performer in 2008.

You could do a whole lot worse in the field with that lineup. It's not bad. In fact, if Our Washington Nationals break Spring Training with those 11 players on board, we could be one of the better fielding teams in the league.

Defensively Speaking--there are some fine gloves in that lineup for Version 5.0 of Our Washington Nationals. Pretty good in fact.

PS--Of course, the hitting potential for this lineup is a topic for another day, as well as, our ever changing pitching prospects.

But here is a speculative 2009 Batting Order



SenatorNat said...

Agree fundamentally, but it is folly for the brass to rely on Nick Johnson starting for 2009 - planning on him on the bench more realistic - and should he be healthy for a full season, by some miracle, take the windfall benefit. Thus, need to go out and spend $$$$ and get Matt Holiday in here, and pencil him in at first; or, perhaps move Kearns to first and put Dukes in right and Holiday in left.

I would offer this line-up for 2009, accordingly:

1. Bonafacio 2B
2. Milledge CF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. Holiday LF
5. Dukes RF
6. Flores C
7. Kearns RF
8. Guzman SS
9. S. Hill P

Take a Holiday. All Good.

SenatorNat said...

Meant to have:

7. Kearns 1B

MikeHarris said...

I love you guys but Guzman eighth??

He's the perfect No. 2 hitter. Good contact, a doubles machine. Get someone with some speed on in front of him and let them move.

My off the wall leadoff suggestion?

Elijah Dukes!

Sam R said...


You said "Austin Kearns. Outside of Jeff Francouer of The Atlanta Braves--is there a better fielding rightfielder in The National League."

Well Pence, Fukudome, Ludwick, Nady, Winn, Giles, Hart, Hermida, and Griffey Jr. all have better fielding percentages than Kearns and Giles and Hermida have a better Zone Rating (percentage of fielded balls in the position's typical defensive range) so that may be a very debatable point.

Take me out to the Ballgame!


Anonymous said...

I really like the speculation on the lineup, but I would ease Bonifacio into the leadoff.

Guzman needs to bat 2nd.

I don't see us picking up Holliday as the Rockies will send him to a playoff contender who will pay a premium for the rest of this season plus next year as he isn't a FA until after the 2009 season.

Unfortunately, I think we will again roll the dice with Nick Johnson at 1st. Again, I would take Dmitri Young circa 2007 so hopefully he gets serious about his Diabetes, weight, and conditioning.

1. Milledge CF
2. Guzman SS
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. Dukes LF
5. N. Johnson 1B
6. Flores C
7. Kearns RF
8. Bonifacio 2B
9. Pitcher

All this changes if we get the power hitting 1B and Bonifacio hits .270+.

Good idea to take WMP or Kearns and work them in at 1B when lefties are pitching.

Willie Harris is first guy off the bench!

My guess is in September we will see this exact lineup with the exception of someone else at 1B and probably in different numerical order.

An Briosca Mor said...

Kearns is a great defensive right fielder. Why would you waste that by moving him to first base?

asnowballschance said...

I prefer Harris' bat/fielding over Miledge.

SenatorNat said...

Kearns is indeed a great defensive right fielder - better to have a healthy Nick Johnson at first - and, maybe he will finally enjoy good health in 2009 - he deserves it. Plan B (should be Plan A actually) is put out some real $$$$ and get someone to play first, perhaps even Holliday, as I said initially.

Trust in Hondo at first-base. All Memorial.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Sam: Kearns is an excellent defensive player. On defense, I would take him over every single player you mention. Stats don't mean everything. You have to watch the guy play and how he goes about his business in the field. The man can play some great D.

Anonymous said...


A major problem with Holiday (aside from the offensive inflation of Coors -- see his home/road splits) -- is that he would make the projected lineup even more right-handed than it already is.

What I'd do at least until Bonafacio is clearly ready to lead off:

Guzman, SS
Dukes, CF/LF
Milledge LF/CF
Johnson, 1B
Zimmerman, 3B
Kearns, RF
Flores, C
Bonafacio, 2B

While it may seem like blasphmey to move Zim from third to fifth, remember how effective Milledge became hitting third behind Dukes before he went on the DL. The fifth spot in this lineup will give Zim a greater number (perhaps a far greater number) of RBI opportunities, as well.

Anonymous said...

Whether you love Johnson or not, I just can't see fielding a division winner with Nick batting cleanup. This lineup needs some power.

Anonymous said...

The biggest need is for a power bat with high on-base, low K rate. Those guys are rare, but Pat Burrell is all those things and can probably play 1B better than Meat Hook.

Is he a FA after 2008?

The team also needs a power arm in the bullpen and a solid veteran pitcher. Oh, and some decent LHers for the pen.

A lot of needs to fill, but I'm getting excited about watching the baby Nats next year!

p.s. Saw Alainiz (sic) pitch at Bowie last night -- he looked in over his head, but battled. No hitter looked good -- all lunged at every pitch and swung at sliders out of the zone -- just like the big league club.

From top to bottom, the org. needs new hitting coaches! Bottom line -- no one looks ready to help with the bat at AA right now. Drat!

Anonymous said...

Steve - Yes, Pat Burrell will be a FA after this season unless Philly ties him up before the season ends.

Sam R said...


I recall this year some notable hesitations on charging in from Austin. Perhaps this was caused by the memory of the collision with Nick and fear of it happening again. There were a few times he just didn't seem to commit to the play, plus don't forget the four errors. I'd take Winn over him. Austin is one of the top 5 NL RFers, defensively, but I wouldn't give him the #2 moniker, but we could probably argue this one for days.

Take me out to the Ballgame!


Anonymous said...

I love your comedy writing SBF, Nick Johnson is never going to start a game a 1B for the Nats again, he might be a pinch hitter off the bench if he can survive Spring Training 2009