Washington Nationals-The Pitchers and Hitters: 2005-2012 Best 25 Man Roster (Part 5 of Expos/Nats Series)
Wednesday July 25, 2012
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Lead baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- I think it safe to say that the best days of the Washington Nationals are purely ahead of them. They have a great nucleus of young talent with Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Drew Storen, Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Mike Morse and Gio Gonzalez. These guys are so good that they all made the ALL-Time 25 man roster for the 2005-2012 Washington Nationals. I am a firm believer that these guys will be the best team in the National League within 2 or 3 years. I like Ted Lerner’s attitude on spending for now. This will ensure the money will be spent on the team to keep competing for the city of Washington’s 1st World Series Title since 1924. I would venture to say that not many living fans of the old Washington Senators saw the club hoisting the trophy 88 years ago.
The Nationals Park went soaring up my ranks as a baseball venue to see in the 30 stadium circuit. This place is now electric. I was so elated when I was able to see Strasburg pitch and win for the Nationals back in April. Next year I hope to see Bryce Harper play ball when I go on another 30 park tour. Next year is when I will have the official rankings of all of the ballparks posted here. I can assure you that the President’s Race will probably be voted the most popular race of any in the Majors at the parks. My humblest of apologies to the sausage race fans in Milwaukee and racing legend heads in Arizona. I still follow the campaign to ‘Let Teddy Win’, however that may take all of the fun out of it if Teddy does win one of those races.
As a fan of the old Expos franchise, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Washington Nationals. Playing meaningful baseball in September and October this year would be incredible to witness. So without further speak, let us start with our 25 man roster for the best players in the last 8 years. I picked the roster based on longevity or utter greatness for a couple of players. If this team was to play an alumni game right now, all of the positions would be filled. I don’t think I excluded anyone entirely crucial here. Please feel free to let me know if I did on any social platform. If you make a solid case for someone for whom I may have omitted, I could always add them later.
For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Expos Hitters: click here
For Part 2 of the Article Series, The Expos Pitchers: click here
For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise of the Montreal Expos: click here
For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here
For Part 6 of the Article Series, The Nationals 2013 Payroll and Contract Statuses click here
Here is the highlight reel from Stephen Strasburg’s debut at Nationals Park. 14 Strikeouts is amazing!
Here represents the best 25 man roster that I could come up with given the parameters of length in career with the club and impact since the club moved to Washington.
Numbers are with the Washington Nationals-I will not post the rest of the career numbers for each player-I may write a note or two. If standings are from this year, they are taken from July.20/2012.
Bryce Harper OF .273 8 HRs 26 RBI- Harper has only played in 70 games for the big club but has scored 45 runs and made his first ALL-Star Game (becoming the 3rd youngest player in MLB History in the process.) Harper has raw speed, the best hitting mechanics I have seen since Don Mattingly and the best part of his makeup may be his baseball acumen. Harper takes the extra base, plays small ball, he hustles and it is rubbing off on his older teammates. Harper is going to be a mega star! Harper was selected with the 1st overall pick in the 2010 Draft as a 17 year old.
Alfonso Soriano OF .277 46 HRs 95 RBI 41 SB– Soriano had one of the greatest seasons in total franchise history in 2006 and definitely since the Nats were in Washington. Soriano signed a one year $10 Million Dollar Contract in Washington and boy did he deliver. He also had 41 doubles and scored 119 runs. He was an ALL-Star, Silver Slugger winner and finished 6th in MVP voting that year, only if he hadn’t of left for the Cubs!
Mike Morse OF .294 53 HRs 166 RBI– ‘The beast’ was brought over to the Nationals from the Mariners in a June of 2009 trade for Ryan Langerhans. The man has evolved into a power hitting machine and a major fan favorite. Morse finished with a .550 SLG % last year and sports a .515 SLG % ALL-Time total for the club. With numbers like this, he can be on my club any day.
Josh Willingham OF .263 40 HRs 117 RBI– Josh had 2 decent seasons with Nationals before being in part of a trade to the A’s that saw them bring back bullpen chucker Henry Rodriguez. Willingham is tearing it up for the Twins, but there was just not enough room for him in Washington to stay. He was brought in before the 2009 season in a trade from the Florida Marlins that saw Emilio Bonifacio depart the other way. Josh left the Nationals with a SLG% of .479.
Dmitri Young 1B/OF/PH- .310 17 HRs 84 RBI– ‘Da Meat Hook’ had a short career with the Nationals but it was highly memorable including finishing 8th in the 2007 NL batting race with a .320 average. The man made the ALL-Star game and won NL Comeback Player of the Year. He was a great team leader after several stints with other clubs where he was not depicted to highly. Dmitri Young’s career ended after 50 games with the Nats in 2008 due to injuries, but he makes this list. Young signed as a free agent prior to the 2007 season.
Ian Desmond SS- .268 39 HRs 178 RBI- Desmond is part of this young 2012 Nats team that is going places. He was named to his first ALL-Star game this season and has hit .289 with 17 HRs and 152 RBI so far. He is quickly emerging as one of the better hitting shortstops in the MLB. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 2004 draft. He is slugging .513 this year.
Cristian Guzman SS-.282 23 HRs 177 RBI– Guzman was one of the teams first free agent signings heading into Washington but it was a disastrous few season for him to start his Nats career off spending a lot of time injured and non-effective. Guzman rebounded in 2008 with an ALL-Star Selection and hit .316 for the year. He would leave the Nationals with 581 career hits.
Wilson Ramos C- .267 19 HRs 67 RBI– What a roller-coaster ride it has been for the young catcher. He was obtained by the club for Reliever Matt Capps in the 2010 season. In 2011, he finished 4th in Rookie of the Year voting and was the lead catcher of a team that only finished one game below .500. He was kidnapped in the off-season and then was hurt for the year and just had to have a second surgery on his knee. He turns 25 next month. Lets all hope for a speedy recovery before the start of the 2013 season.
Brian Schneider C- .252 47 HRs 294 RBI– The Nationals were lucky to have a veteran catcher like Schneider in their 1st year in Washington. While he never lit it up offensively, Schneider was a solid catcher and backstopped to 757 games for the franchise and had 586 hits.
Adam Dunn 1B- .264 76 HRs 208 RBI– ‘The Big Donkey’ lived up to his hype in his 2 year stint with the Nationals after signing as a free agent before the 2009 season . He had back to back 38 HR seasons and hit for a better average than he has ever before or after- with back to back .260 seasons or better. Dunn even played better than expected at first base. His slugging% with the team was .533 for the two years combined. Dunn signed a 3 year/33 Million Dollar contract with the Chicago White Sox prior to the 2011 year.
Nick Johnson 1B/PH- .280 56 HRs 248 RBI– Nick Johnson is a professional hitter, unfortunately he was hurt a lot as was the case anywhere the man played. Johnson has a career .408 OBP with the club and still managed to slug .460 too. His best year was in 2006 where he walked 110 times, hit 46 doubles and scored 100 runs. His power numbers were even 23 HRs and 77 RBI. He hit .290 that year and had a career best .428 OBP, easily in the top 5 of the NL . Johnson was traded to the Florida Marlins at the trade deadline in 2009. He was an original Nat back in 2005.
Danny Espinosa 2B- .235 34 HRs 107 RBI– The Nationals have not too many great second baseman in their time so I picked Espinosa. At 25 years old he has tonnes of potential and did finish 6th in Rookie of the Year voting in 2011 and led the NL in Hit By Pitches too. He has to try and cut down the strikeouts. He and Desmond have a great chance to be an awesome double play tandem for years to come. Another homegrown talent from the system
Jose Vidro SS/2B- .284 14 HRs 79 RBI– Vidro was a .301 hitter lifetime for the Expos/Nats Franchise in his career. He was a solid veteran presence in the clubs first 2 seasons. He only struck 78 times in 772 AB as a National. Vidro was an adequate fielding 2nd basemen. He was traded for Chris Snelling during the 2006 season. He had a total of 1280 hits in his tenure with the Nats/Expos.
Ryan Zimmerman 3B- .286 139 HRs 542 RBI– Zimmerman is the 2005-2012 Nationals Franchise all time leader in every offensive category. He was the Nationals first official draft selection in 2005. He made his debut a couple of months later at age 20. Zimmerman finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting in 2006 with 20 HRs and 110 RBI while hitting .287. Since that year, Zimmerman has continued being one of the better 3rd basemen in the game. He won back to back Silver Slugger Awards in 2009 and 2010-and made an appearance at the 2009 ALL-Star Game. He hit 33 HRs and drove in 106 RBI that year. Recent injuries have slowed the man from North Carolina down, but he is starting to pick it up again. Zimmerman is in the 4th year of an 11 YR-$135 Million Dollar Contract and will be part of the teams core for many years to come. He is the best National ever so far.
SP: Starting Pitcher, BP: Bull Pen Pitcher
Gio Gonzalez SP- 12-5 (.706) 3.32 ERA– Gonzalez made the All-Star game and was tied for the Major Leagues in wins during the first half of the year. He was acquired in a trade from Oakland for Derek Norris and 2 other players in return. His awesome half of a season is enough to propel him onto our list.
John Lannan SP- 38-51 (.427) 4.00 ERA– Picked in the 11th round of the 2005 Draft, Lannan has foraged a nice career so far with the Nationals. Quite often a victim of low run support, Lannan has been averaging 175 IP for the last 4 years. He is supposed to be recalled and pitch this weekend. At age 27, he should see his best days still ahead of him.
Livan Hernandez SP- 44-45 (.499) 4.20 ERA– During two separate stints with the Nats, Hernandez has amassed enough innings, wins, strikeouts and complete games to be the clubs all time leader. If there was a picture of a workhorse in the dictionary this man would be it. He led the Majors in 2005 for starts and it was his 3rd straight year leading in innings pitched. In 2003 and 2004 with the Expos, Livan led the league in CG and in Games started during the 2003 year. Hernandez was traded away in a waiver deadline deal to the Diamondbacks in 2006. He signed back with the club prior to the 2010 season.
Stephen Strasburg SP- 16-8 (.667) 2.60 ERA– Strasburg was drafted 1st overall in the 2009 draft. He has struck out 11.5/per 9 innings since his debut in 2010. He made his first ALL-Star game this year and currently leads the NL in strikeouts. He is dominant and has fully recovered from his 2010 Tommy John Surgery. He will pass everyone for the best pitcher in franchise in no time and maybe challenge the MLB’s elite for the best pitcher in the game.
Jordan Zimmerman SP- 19-24 (.442) 3.39 ERA– The other ‘Zimmerman’ is enjoying his best season thus far with a 7-6 record and a 2.35 ERA. He has been hampered by injuries, including undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2009. At age 26, he is part of a staff that leads the MLB in every pitching category. He was drafted in 2007.
Tyler Clippard BP- 21-14 (.600) 2.63 ERA- Clippard was acquired in a trade from the Yankees before the 2008 season. In the last 4 years he has been one of the top bullpen arms in baseball. He appeared in 78 games during the 2010 season, recording an 11-8 record. In 2011, Tyler appeared in 72 more games and made the ALL-Star Game. This year he has 15 Saves in holding the fort down for Drew Storen to return. Clippard has 51 Strikeouts in 41 innings pitched so far. In the last two seasons, he has registered 100 Strikeouts for the club.
Craig Stammen BP- 12-13 (.480) 4.44 ERA– I am giving Stammen the nod on this list because he has a 2.08 ERA this year with 50 strikeouts in 52 Innings pitched. He is yet another homegrown boy from the Nationals organization. He was taken in the 12th round of the 2005 draft. That is Ryan Zimmerman and John Lannan with Craig Stammen all in the same year.
Jon Rauch BP- 18-15 (.545) 3.33 ERA– Anytime I can include Carl ‘The Truth’ Everett into a blog I will do it. Rauch was traded to the Expos for the man that doesn’t believe in dinosaurs! The tallest man in MLB history has seen his best days with the Nats organization. He managed 23 saves in his tenure with the club. Rauch’s best year with WSH was in 2007 where he went 8-4 and led the NL with 88 appearances. Rauch was traded to the Diamondbacks for Emilio Bonifacio in 2008. So really Carl Everett turned into Henry Rodriguez because the Nats traded Everett to the White Sox for Rauch. Bonifacio went to Florida for Willingham, who went to Oakland for Rodriguez!
Sean Burnett BP- 8-14 (.364) 2.76 ERA– Burnett was acquired with Nyjer Morgan for Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge in 2009. He has been a steady influence out of the pen with a WHIP of 1.17 and a Strikeout to walk ratio of 2.5-1. Burnett has a 1.82 ERA in 2012 and has appeared in 42 games already. He also has 36 strikeouts in 34 innings.
Drew Storen BP- 10-7 (.588) 3.08 ERA- When Aaron Crow went back into the Draft with the Nats failing to sign their 2008 1st pick, the Nationals were given the 10th pick along with the 1st pick in 2009 Draft. They used it to draft Storen 9 spots after drafting Strasburg. Storen took over as the permanent closer in 2011 and recorded 43 saves in his 72 appearances. Storen started this year on the 60-day DL having a bone fragment removed from his elbow back in April. He made his 2012 debut on July.19 registering 3 outs on 9 pitches.
Chad Cordero Closer- 12-11 (.522) 113 SV 2.85 ERA– The inaugural season for the Nationals will often be remembered as the “Year of Cordero.” He led the league with 47 Saves, had a 1.82 ERA in 72 appearances including finishing 62 games. He played so well that he made the ALL-Star Game, finished 5th in CY Young voting and 14th in MVP voting. Cordero would register another 66 saves in the next 2 years but some personal problems forced him to quit baseball. He makes the grade as the Nats best ever closer so far. Our Lead baseball columnist wrote an incredible article/interview on Cordero awhile back here.
Honorable Mention to pitchers John Patterson and Henry Rodriguez.
There you have it, the 1st team out of the 30 to run the table on. The Next team up is the Philadelphia Phillies.
***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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Posted on July 25, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged aaron crow, alfonso soriano, all-star game, arizona diamondbacks, bryce harper, carl everett, chad cordero, chris snelling, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, craig stammen, cristian guzman, danny espinosa, don mattingly, drew storen, emilio bonifacio, florida marlins, gio gonzalez, henry rodriguez, ian desmond, joel hanrahan, john lannan, john patterson. henry rodriguez, jon rauch, jose vidro, livan hernandz, Mike Morse, minnesota twins, mlb, montreal expos, mvp, nationals park, new york yankees, nick johnson, nyjer morgan, rookie of the year, ryan langerhans, ryan zimmerman, sean burnett, seattle mariners, Silver Slugger, stephen strasburg, Ted lerner, tyler clippard, washington nationals, Wilson Ramos. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.