THE NatsGM Show #79 – Guest Andrew Bailey

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THE NatsGM Show Episode #79 has arrived and we are proud to welcome former co-host of the Red Porch Report and good friend, Andrew Bailey.

This week Andrew and I discuss everything 2016 Washington Nationals, beginning with how strange the season has been for several players, both positively and negatively.  Next we spend some time pondering this offseason, including will Mark Melancon return as closer and will Ryan Zimmerman be the opening day starter at first base.  Finally we preview the upcoming NLCS against Los Angeles, the strengths and weaknesses of each team, plus our predictions for the series.

Thank you to Andrew for being such a terrific guest and to No Halftime, for sponsoring our interview.  Please Rate and Review to our show on iTunes – Thanks for listening!

My 2016 IBWAA Baseball Awards Ballot

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Several years ago the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) graciously invited me to join their illustrious group, one of many humbling moments I have had since creating NatsGM.  One of the perks of this organization is each year at the end of the season they contact each of their members to help select winners for the various major baseball awards.

While the overall vote totals should be released shortly, I thought I should share my ballot, along with a brief explanation for my choices.  Without further ado, here is my 2016 IBWAA Baseball Award selections.


AL MVP :              1) Mike Trout  2) Jose Altuve  3) David Ortiz  4) Josh Donaldson 5) Mookie Betts

For me, Trout is the clear winner and the best player in baseball.  The next four players could have gone in any order, but being a middle infielder gave 2nd place to Altuve and sentimentality forced me to choose Ortiz third.


AL CY :                  1) Corey Kluber 2) Justin Verlander 3) Rick Porcello

Again, Kluber seemed like the obvious choice for me as the CY Young in the American League.  The decision between Verlander and Porcello was a coin flip, but the slight nod goes to Verlander for the larger strikeout total and importance to his team.

AL ROY :               1) Gary Sanchez  2) Michael Fulmer  3) Edwin Diaz

This was a difficult decision, as Fulmer pitched well this season before getting shut down.  I gave my vote to Sanchez because of the his outstanding offensive numbers compared to his peers, along with carrying the Yankees to a respectable record this season.

{* Editors Note – Fulmer was NOT shut down, he has failed to reach the 162 innings requirement for the ERA title.  I/We did not explain ourselves properly.  H/T to Dave Hogg @Stareagle for identifying our error.}

AL Manager  :    1) Terry Francona  2) Joe Girardi  3) Jeff Banister

Easy choice here, as Cleveland dealt with plenty of injuries and still ran away with the American League Central.  Francona did a fantastic job getting 94 wins from this roster.  Girardi takes 2nd as his front office sold at the deadline and he still got 84 wins from his aging club.  Finally, Jeff Banister gets 3rd as he quietly got 95 wins and a division title from a team several predicted to finish in 3rd place before the season.


AL Reliever  :      1) Zach Britton    2) Andrew Miller  3) Dellin Betances

All three pitchers were outstanding this season, but Britton’s complete dominance gives him my vote, with Miller’s numbers giving him the nod over Betances.

NL MVP :             1) Kris Bryant  2) Anthony Rizzo 3) Daniel Murphy  4) Nolan Arenado  5) Corey Seager

If this ballot was cast on September 15th, I would have chosen Murphy 1st, but missing the last two weeks of the season has him fall to third.  Bryant is the best player on the best team, making him my choice, with Rizzo a close 2nd.  If Arenado’s team had been better this year, he might have merited more consideration, but 4th feels about right, with Seager’s magnificent rookie season capturing 5th.

NL CY  :                 1) Max Scherzer  2) Jon Lester  3) Kyle Hendricks

I know wins should not matter, but 20 victories, plus all the innings and strikeouts made Scherzer my sentimental choice for this award.  Lester’s advantage in wins, innings and strikeouts gives him 2nd over his teammate Kyle Hendricks.

NL ROY  :              1) Corey Seager  2) Trea Turner  3) Trevor Story

Another slam-dunk choice, as Seager’s .308/105/26/72 stat line from a shortstop is one of the best rookie seasons in recent memory.  Turner’s energy and impact for the Nationals barely gives him 2nd place over Story’s 27 home runs this year.

NL Manager  :   1) Terry Collins  2) Joe Maddon  3T) Dave Roberts and Dusty Baker

Considering all the injuries the Mets suffered through this season, it is miraculous they won 87 games and have home field advantage in the NL Wild Card game.  Even fully acknowledging recency bias, Terry Collins job this season is one of the best I can ever remember.

Joe Maddon’s ability to manage expectations and the hype placed on the Cubs gives him 2nd place.  We should not overlook Dave Roberts’ effort with the Dodgers, who suffered through injuries and a mediocre bullpen to win the NL West.  Finally I had to include Dusty Baker, who reunited a divided clubhouse and helped the Nationals achieve 95 wins this year.

NL Reliever  :      1) Kenley Jansen  2) Seung Hwan Oh 3) Mark Melancon

One of the best relievers in baseball, Jansen had a tremendous season for the Dodgers in spite of a lackluster relief corps in front of him.  I wanted to include Oh in the rookie of the year award, as he has stabilized St. Louis’s bullpen and replaced the suddenly mediocre Trevor Rosenthal.  I guess he will have to “settle” for 2nd place in the reliever category. Finally Melancon quietly had another fantastic season, posting 47 saves and resolving Washington’s major hole at closer this summer.

* Any issues with my choices?  Post your thoughts in the comment’s section!

The Washington Nationals Trade Chris Bostick to Pittsburgh


In a slightly overlooked part of Joe Ross’s return from the disabled list, last week the Washington Nationals designated minor league infielder Chris Bostick for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.  Then Monday, in a related move, Washington traded Bostick to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for catching prospect Taylor Gushue and cash considerations.

The 23-year-old Bostick split time this year between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, hitting .250/.313/.386 with eight homers and 11 steals.  Acquired as part of the Ross Detwiler trade, Bostick showed promise in 2015 splitting time between High-A and Double-A, batting .258/.312/.398 with 12 home runs, 42 extra base hits and 31 stolen bases.  He possesses above-average to plus speed, and average raw pull power, but his inability to consistently make contact hinders his overall offensive profile.


Defensively Bostick does not project particularly well at any one position, as his fringe-average arm and mediocre hands makes him a liability in the infield.  In addition, he does not have enough arm strength for right field or center field, making him profile as a left fielder.  With experience, one would expect Bostick to play an average or better left field, but his offense do not profile at a corner position.  Hence the scout’s conundrum with Bostick is he does not hit enough to be a starter in the outfield and is not a good enough defender to play in the infield.  So while I believe in his ability to be a versatile National League bench player, this is likely also his eventual ceiling.

In return for Bostick, Washington receives the 22-year-old Gushue, Pittsburgh’s 4th round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft from the University of Florida.  Gushue spent this season at High-A, hitting .226/.282/.357 with 8 home runs and 38 runs batted in over 90 games played.  Gushue, a switch-hitter, flashes good raw pull power, but his barrel skills and hit tool need significant improvement.

Listed at 6-1 215lbs, Gushue is rather athletic for a catcher, possessing good receiving skills plus an average or better throwing arm.  His footwork and ability to block pitches need refinement, as they were raw coming out of college.  His career caught stealing percentage is below-average at 25%, likely in part due to his sloppy feet.   Gushue has an intriguing package of raw tools, but his inability to make consistent contact likely limits his upside to a backup catcher or career option lingering at Triple-A.

Overall I was disappointed by the team’s original decision to designate Bostick for assignment, as he has long been a sleeper of mine and I believe there are more expendable players currently on the 40-man roster.  Considering the team recently traded another infield prospect, Max Schrock, I would have preferred to part with relievers Rafael Martin, Matt Grace or Yusmeiro Petit rather than Bostick.

However, considering the circumstances involved in trading a designated for assignment prospect in late September, the Nationals did well to receive an intriguing catching prospect and cash in return for Bostick.  Washington has done a nice job in recent years developing catching prospects, and I am intrigued to see if the organization can develop Gushue’s skills into a potential major leaguer.  With the obvious caveat that I disagreed with the original decision, Washington’s front office made a solid trade getting Taylor Gushue for Chris Bostick.

NatsGM Grade     ->     B-

THE NatsGM Show #78 – Special Guest Meg Rowley


THE NatsGM Show Episode #78 has dropped like a dumbbell at the gym and we are proud to welcome Baseball Prospectus author Meg Rowley to the show!

This week Meg and I begin by discussing the current state of the Seattle Mariners, the overall success of this season and what the future looks like for the franchise.  Next we go “Old School” and talk mid-90s Seattle baseball, specifically Ken Griffey Jr., how A-Rod is viewed by Mariners’ fans today and the case for Edgar Martinez to be enshrined in Cooperstown.  Finally, Meg gives her thoughts on the new Fox series “Pitch” and the strengths and weaknesses of the show.

Special Thank You to Meg for joining us and to our Sponsor, No Halftime, for their promotional considerations.  Please consider Rating & Reviewing the show on iTunes and thanks for listening!