2021 ZiPS Projections: Washington Nationals

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for nine years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Washington Nationals.

Batters

There are a lot of names from the 2019 World Series championship that are no longer here, but the two most important ones are: Juan Soto and Trea Turner. After missing Opening Day due to a positive COVID-19 test result, Soto made up for lost time, playing like a man possessed and hitting .351/.490/.695, one of those lines mainly produced by players with Hall of Fame plaques. He now has a 152 wRC+ in 1,349 major league plate appearances and turned 22 a month after his season ended.

There are 14 players in major league history with a wRC+ of at least 130 in at least a thousand plate appearances before their age-22 season. The two other active players besides Soto, Mike Trout and Ronald Acuña Jr., are two of the other brightest young superstars in the game (or at least youngish in Trout’s case). Another is Tony Conigliaro, one of the game’s saddest examples of a brutal injury derailing a career. Everyone else on the list is a Hall of Famer. And I’m not talking run-of-the-mill Hall of Famers; this is a list that features Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, and Mickey Mantle. The worst of this group is either Ken Griffey Jr. or Arky Vaughan. As such, Soto gets Ted Williams as his top offensive comp at his age. Not the Ted Williams who played in the minors for the Mariners, not a data error that led to an odd result, but the Ted Williams. I believe this is a first.

No matter where the Nats go from here, the team’s first priority ought to be locking up Soto’s services with a very, very lucrative contract for a very, very long time. Whether rebuilding, retooling, or pushing in the whole stack of chips, Soto is a foundational talent any team can build around. I’m a fan of Bryce Harper, but he was no Soto.

Next to Soto, it’s almost possible to forget about Turner, but that would be a mistake. Turner was even better than Soto overall in 2020, hitting .335/.398/.588 as a shortstop. Snagging Turner in a three-way deal, getting one over on the Rays and Padres, and somehow getting the best player in a Wil Myers trade that didn’t really involve his team will always be up there in president Mike Rizzo’s career highlights. Decision time on Turner is coming fairly quickly, however, as he’s only two years away from free agency, so the Nats are going to have to consider where they are as a team.

That’s the big question for the Nats. Like a lot of champions, the team blew hot and cold in their follow-up campaign. They did their best to mitigate the loss of Anthony Rendon, but it was a real hit to the team’s present-day roster and they’ve bled talent elsewhere. Adam Eaton’s miserable 2020 made the decision to decline his option easier, but that doesn’t answer how to fill another hole on the team. ZiPS is confident about better times ahead for Victor Robles, but Washington needs serious upgrades in left field, and at second and first base. And unlike last year, they aren’t so good that they can afford to just shuffle around with Ryan Zimmerman and whatever unsigned first baseman is looking for a team in March.

Pitchers

Max Scherzer showed some signs of mild decline in 2020: his control wasn’t quite as sharp, his swinging strikes dipped to his lowest percentage in years, and his fastball didn’t get quite the results it has in the past despite the velocity holding. But the word “mild” is key here. There’s no reason to actually be concerned, just enough to possibly put him an extra hair or so behind Jacob deGrom in the mental rankings of Cy Young candidates. This is hardly a major shock for a pitcher who turned 36 at the start of the 2020 season. The downhill slope is coming, but he’s still near the top of that hill. Importantly, it also likely ends in Cooperstown. If 76 projected WAR isn’t enough to make Hall of Fame voters check the Silver Hammer’s box, the 233 projected wins and his postseason performance plus bulldog reputation likely will be.

Stephen Strasburg missed most of the season due to injury, but in this case, it was a less concerning nerve issue in his wrist rather than the more traditional pitcher season-enders related to elbows or shoulders. Both Strasburg and the team believed discretion was the better part of valor here, and even though he pitched well through the pain, they decided to take the long view and avoid further damage. Assuming he’s healthy, I have few worries about Strasburg.

I’m slightly more concerned about Patrick Corbin given his velocity loss and the big drop-off in his slider. ZiPS isn’t panicking, however, and he still projects as one of the better third-starters in the league.

If I were a Nats fan, I’d be very happy and confident about the rotation’s top three. And I’d think about them non-stop because it would keep me from thinking about…the others. The back of the team’s rotation is very iffy and it’s a testament to the front-end talent that the Nats currently rank third in our depth chart rankings among starting pitchers. The bullpen remains in serious need of a talent infusion; ZiPS has most of the projected pen with an ERA+ under 100. The offseason is long, but they have a lot of work to do this winter.

Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Depth charts constructed by way of those listed here

Batters – Standard
Player B Age PO PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Juan Soto L 22 LF 640 528 122 161 34 4 37 141 105 107 16 3
Trea Turner R 28 SS 650 593 108 176 34 8 26 84 51 111 38 8
Victor Robles R 24 CF 583 517 74 132 27 5 14 62 35 135 23 7
Carter Kieboom R 23 SS 537 462 70 116 19 2 12 62 60 122 3 3
Starlin Castro R 31 2B 587 552 69 157 29 3 19 75 28 103 3 2
Adam Eaton L 32 RF 540 476 76 129 25 4 11 47 45 91 11 2
Yan Gomes R 33 C 378 344 42 87 18 1 13 49 25 86 2 0
Jacob Wilson R 30 3B 463 409 57 101 21 1 17 63 42 99 2 1
Asdrúbal Cabrera B 35 3B 500 451 60 118 26 3 18 79 42 94 1 0
Mac Williamson R 30 LF 345 312 45 77 15 0 17 59 27 89 3 2
Tres Barrera R 26 C 387 353 40 82 19 1 9 38 26 86 1 1
Raudy Read R 27 C 396 373 44 95 20 3 14 54 18 81 1 1
Andrew Stevenson L 27 CF 447 407 53 107 21 5 9 49 31 116 12 4
Howie Kendrick R 37 1B 357 327 45 97 17 0 10 51 22 54 2 1
Eric Thames L 34 1B 386 339 48 78 16 2 18 52 41 120 4 1
Jakson Reetz R 25 C 374 331 40 68 13 1 11 41 32 114 2 3
Kurt Suzuki R 37 C 327 292 37 78 16 0 10 54 22 45 1 0
Luis García L 21 SS 559 535 64 141 24 4 9 52 19 106 8 5
Ryan Zimmerman R 36 1B 352 320 42 83 18 1 14 58 27 71 1 0
Welington Castillo R 34 C 301 282 27 69 13 0 12 49 16 84 0 0
Yadiel Hernandez L 33 LF 410 369 50 94 17 1 16 56 36 104 3 2
Adrían Sanchez R 30 SS 371 348 38 88 19 2 5 34 17 65 8 4
Brock Holt L 33 2B 333 294 36 73 15 1 4 29 31 70 4 3
Alex Dunlap R 26 C 249 219 24 42 9 0 6 21 23 83 0 0
Josh Harrison R 33 2B 343 310 37 77 13 1 7 37 18 59 5 4
Wilmer Difo B 29 2B 382 345 43 82 12 3 5 29 31 76 8 4
JB Shuck L 34 RF 302 276 30 71 15 2 4 25 23 39 5 3
Jake Noll R 27 3B 486 457 52 114 18 2 10 45 20 97 5 2
Yasmany Tomás R 30 1B 432 412 49 105 22 3 19 68 17 123 2 0
Cole Freeman R 26 2B 544 487 58 116 25 3 4 37 37 84 21 7
Luis Sardiñas B 28 SS 338 313 34 81 14 1 5 29 16 56 3 6
Jake Lowery L 30 C 86 76 8 13 3 0 2 7 10 32 0 0
Brandon Snyder R 34 1B 421 387 50 85 18 1 19 61 25 151 2 1
Bengie González B 31 SS 345 317 31 70 14 2 3 24 23 67 6 4
Nick Banks L 26 RF 501 468 48 107 21 3 9 45 25 131 7 4
Omar Meregildo R 23 3B 331 301 33 60 14 1 10 34 25 115 0 1
Rafael Bautista R 28 CF 168 156 14 34 4 1 1 9 8 31 5 2
KJ Harrison R 24 1B 507 458 53 94 24 1 16 57 43 165 1 2
Emilio Bonifácio B 36 CF 244 227 27 54 10 3 4 24 12 55 9 7
Manuel Geraldo B 24 SS 540 511 51 114 17 6 9 51 24 161 13 5
Kyle Marinconz L 25 2B 361 330 34 69 10 2 4 24 26 95 7 4
Aldrem Corredor L 25 1B 515 478 48 111 24 2 8 48 30 131 1 1
Israel Pineda R 21 C 359 333 34 66 9 0 8 28 20 109 1 2
Jacob Rhinesmith L 25 RF 463 421 47 95 19 3 6 38 35 94 9 3
Gage Canning L 24 RF 374 346 31 66 13 5 5 30 22 136 6 4

Batters – Advanced
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Juan Soto .305 .420 .595 160 .290 .323 9.9 -2 6.3 Ted Williams
Trea Turner .297 .355 .513 122 .216 .329 7.4 -2 5.2 Jim Fregosi
Victor Robles .255 .327 .408 90 .153 .321 5.0 5 2.4 Jerome Walton
Carter Kieboom .251 .348 .379 90 .128 .317 4.7 -1 2.0 Ron Wotus
Starlin Castro .284 .319 .451 97 .167 .321 5.4 -3 1.9 Freddy Sanchez
Adam Eaton .271 .346 .410 96 .139 .316 5.4 3 1.8 Mike Kreevich
Yan Gomes .253 .312 .424 89 .172 .302 4.9 1 1.6 Mike Heath
Jacob Wilson .247 .320 .428 92 .181 .287 4.9 0 1.4 Brad Seitzer
Asdrúbal Cabrera .262 .324 .452 99 .191 .295 5.4 -7 1.3 Bill Mueller
Mac Williamson .247 .313 .458 97 .212 .291 5.1 1 1.0 Ernie Young
Tres Barrera .232 .293 .368 71 .136 .283 3.8 4 0.9 Dave Vangorder
Raudy Read .255 .290 .437 86 .182 .291 4.6 -3 0.9 Edwin Bellorin
Andrew Stevenson .263 .320 .405 87 .143 .348 4.9 -5 0.8 Cesar Geronimo
Howie Kendrick .297 .342 .440 102 .144 .331 5.8 -2 0.7 Juan Beniquez
Eric Thames .230 .324 .448 98 .218 .299 5.2 -2 0.7 Chris Richard
Jakson Reetz .205 .292 .350 67 .145 .277 3.4 3 0.7 Marc Sullivan
Kurt Suzuki .267 .330 .425 95 .158 .287 5.2 -8 0.7 Bob Boone
Luis García .264 .288 .374 71 .110 .314 3.9 1 0.6 Ozzie Guillen
Ryan Zimmerman .259 .318 .453 98 .194 .294 5.3 -2 0.5 Jeff Conine
Welington Castillo .245 .289 .418 81 .174 .306 4.3 -3 0.5 Damian Miller
Yadiel Hernandez .255 .320 .436 95 .182 .313 5.0 -3 0.5 Joel Youngblood
Adrían Sanchez .253 .289 .362 68 .109 .299 3.8 3 0.4 Carlos Garcia
Brock Holt .248 .327 .347 76 .099 .314 4.0 -1 0.4 Dave Berg
Alex Dunlap .192 .281 .315 55 .123 .277 3.0 4 0.3 Adam Donachie
Josh Harrison .248 .307 .365 74 .116 .287 3.9 -1 0.2 Warren Morris
Wilmer Difo .238 .300 .333 65 .096 .292 3.5 3 0.1 Kevin Castleberry
JB Shuck .257 .316 .370 78 .112 .288 4.2 0 0.0 Orlando Palmeiro
Jake Noll .249 .287 .363 68 .114 .297 3.8 0 0.0 Steve Springer
Yasmany Tomás .255 .285 .461 90 .206 .319 4.8 -5 0.0 Kevin Young
Cole Freeman .238 .303 .326 64 .088 .281 3.7 -1 0.0 Jay Pecci
Luis Sardiñas .259 .297 .358 70 .099 .302 3.6 -1 0.0 Al Pedrique
Jake Lowery .171 .267 .289 45 .118 .262 2.5 -1 -0.2 Tom Nieto
Brandon Snyder .220 .276 .419 77 .199 .304 4.0 0 -0.3 Leroy Stanton
Bengie González .221 .273 .306 51 .085 .271 2.8 2 -0.4 Chris Petersen
Nick Banks .229 .273 .344 59 .115 .299 3.3 9 -0.4 Gregory Thomson
Omar Meregildo .199 .267 .352 59 .153 .284 3.1 0 -0.4 Christian Snavely
Rafael Bautista .218 .265 .276 42 .058 .266 2.6 1 -0.5 Ric Johnson
KJ Harrison .205 .278 .367 66 .162 .282 3.4 4 -0.5 Felix Colon
Emilio Bonifácio .238 .278 .361 65 .123 .298 3.3 -5 -0.7 Willie McGee
Manuel Geraldo .223 .259 .333 53 .110 .308 3.1 0 -0.8 Buddy Biancalana
Kyle Marinconz .209 .272 .288 47 .079 .281 2.6 -2 -1.1 Jonathan Schuerholz
Aldrem Corredor .232 .279 .341 61 .109 .304 3.3 2 -1.1 Travis Hinton
Israel Pineda .198 .249 .297 42 .099 .269 2.4 -2 -1.2 Drew McMillan
Jacob Rhinesmith .226 .290 .328 61 .102 .277 3.4 -3 -1.3 Erold Andrus
Gage Canning .191 .245 .301 41 .110 .298 2.4 -1 -1.9 Mickey Hall

Pitchers – Standard
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO FIP
Max Scherzer R 36 13 6 3.22 27 27 164.7 136 59 24 40 219 3.29
Patrick Corbin L 31 12 8 4.00 30 29 173.3 172 77 25 52 186 3.86
Stephen Strasburg R 32 9 5 3.50 21 21 126.0 111 49 15 37 142 3.50
Steven Fuentes R 24 8 6 4.40 35 13 104.3 106 51 16 34 97 4.44
Tim Cate L 23 8 8 4.95 20 20 100.0 108 55 17 31 80 4.90
Mario Sanchez R 26 8 8 5.08 27 21 113.3 127 64 23 24 89 5.04
Sterling Sharp R 26 6 6 4.95 19 17 87.3 98 48 11 34 61 4.79
Will Harris R 36 3 2 3.50 53 0 46.3 42 18 5 13 48 3.42
Austen Williams R 28 5 5 4.75 26 11 77.7 83 41 12 28 67 4.74
Kyle McGowin R 29 5 5 5.03 23 16 91.3 95 51 16 32 91 4.68
Carson Teel L 25 4 4 4.96 22 12 74.3 79 41 11 29 59 4.85
Sean Doolittle L 34 4 3 3.77 47 0 43.0 39 18 7 10 48 3.83
Austin Voth R 29 7 8 5.32 25 24 116.7 128 69 23 40 105 5.15
Wander Suero R 29 6 4 4.09 66 0 66.0 62 30 8 24 70 3.91
Erick Fedde R 28 5 6 5.25 26 19 106.3 119 62 18 42 79 5.22
Aníbal Sánchez R 37 7 8 5.42 22 21 111.3 123 67 23 39 94 5.34
Joe Ross R 28 5 5 5.32 28 16 93.0 104 55 17 33 77 5.09
Ryne Harper R 32 3 2 4.37 51 0 55.7 56 27 9 15 54 4.26
Tanner Rainey R 28 4 3 4.55 60 0 57.3 43 29 8 44 86 4.51
James Bourque R 27 4 -56 4.92 38 4 60.3 58 33 8 33 64 4.57
Sam Clay L 28 4 4 4.93 42 3 65.7 65 36 6 47 57 4.96
Allen Webster R 31 3 3 5.26 17 6 37.7 42 22 6 16 30 5.17
Kyle Finnegan R 29 3 2 4.61 47 0 52.7 50 27 8 26 57 4.59
Ben Braymer L 27 5 6 5.62 21 17 91.3 103 57 17 43 74 5.56
Ryan Tapani R 27 4 5 5.37 21 6 62.0 68 37 12 22 52 5.28
Kevin Quackenbush R 32 3 3 4.70 50 0 53.7 52 28 10 17 62 4.35
Roenis Elías L 32 4 4 5.25 34 6 61.7 67 36 10 26 48 5.09
Seth Romero L 25 0 0 5.40 4 4 13.3 13 8 2 7 14 4.83
Aaron Barrett R 33 0 0 4.68 34 0 32.7 32 17 4 17 31 4.62
Daniel Hudson R 34 5 4 4.78 55 0 52.7 49 28 9 25 56 4.93
Jacob Condra-Bogan R 26 5 5 5.01 39 1 55.7 62 31 10 13 40 4.94
Paolo Espino R 34 4 5 5.79 19 13 74.7 83 48 19 24 72 5.68
Jake Irvin R 24 5 6 5.86 19 18 83.0 95 54 16 36 60 5.72
Dakota Bacus R 30 3 3 5.16 37 1 45.3 47 26 7 24 40 5.14
Javy Guerra R 35 2 2 5.06 43 0 53.3 56 30 9 19 47 4.79
Joan Adon R 22 4 6 5.91 19 14 70.0 76 46 11 45 53 5.85
Wil Crowe R 26 6 8 5.92 20 20 100.3 116 66 20 45 79 5.72
Sam Freeman L 34 2 2 5.19 38 0 43.3 43 25 5 28 39 4.96
Gabe Klobosits R 26 0 0 5.82 17 0 21.7 23 14 3 14 17 5.49
Ronald Peña R 29 1 2 5.70 37 0 47.3 49 30 8 30 45 5.57
Frankie Bartow R 24 2 2 6.06 29 0 35.7 43 24 7 14 19 6.01
Merandy Gonzalez R 25 3 5 6.26 34 8 64.7 72 45 11 45 51 6.04
Jackson Tetreault R 25 5 8 6.29 24 24 113.0 136 79 23 59 82 6.13
Joan Baez R 26 5 8 6.35 34 12 79.3 88 56 12 64 59 6.27

Pitchers – Advanced
Player K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BB% K% BABIP ERA+ ERA- WAR No. 1 Comp
Max Scherzer 12.0 2.2 1.3 6.0% 32.7% .296 140 72 4.3 Curt Schilling
Patrick Corbin 9.7 2.7 1.3 7.1% 25.3% .313 113 89 3.1 Jimmy Key
Stephen Strasburg 10.1 2.6 1.1 7.1% 27.1% .296 129 78 2.9 Dolf Luque
Steven Fuentes 8.4 2.9 1.4 7.5% 21.5% .301 102 98 1.3 Si Johnson
Tim Cate 7.2 2.8 1.5 7.1% 18.3% .299 91 110 0.8 Rich Rundles
Mario Sanchez 7.1 1.9 1.8 4.9% 18.2% .301 89 113 0.8 Dave Eiland
Sterling Sharp 6.3 3.5 1.1 8.7% 15.5% .310 91 110 0.7 Rick Aguilera
Will Harris 9.3 2.5 1.0 6.8% 25.0% .296 129 78 0.7 Paul Quantrill
Austen Williams 7.8 3.2 1.4 8.2% 19.5% .307 95 105 0.7 Jack Lamabe
Kyle McGowin 9.0 3.2 1.6 8.0% 22.8% .309 90 112 0.7 Mike Grace
Carson Teel 7.1 3.5 1.3 8.8% 17.9% .301 91 110 0.5 Al Aber
Sean Doolittle 10.0 2.1 1.5 5.7% 27.3% .291 120 84 0.5 Jamie Walker
Austin Voth 8.1 3.1 1.8 7.7% 20.3% .307 85 118 0.5 Frank Campos
Wander Suero 9.5 3.3 1.1 8.5% 24.6% .303 110 91 0.5 Doug Sisk
Erick Fedde 6.7 3.6 1.5 8.8% 16.6% .303 86 116 0.5 Jim McDonald
Aníbal Sánchez 7.6 3.2 1.9 7.9% 19.1% .301 83 120 0.4 Aaron Sele
Joe Ross 7.5 3.2 1.6 8.0% 18.6% .309 85 118 0.3 Bill Swift
Ryne Harper 8.7 2.4 1.5 6.4% 22.9% .301 103 97 0.2 Bobby Tiefenauer
Tanner Rainey 13.5 6.9 1.3 16.9% 33.1% .297 99 101 0.2 Doug Bochtler
James Bourque 9.5 4.9 1.2 12.2% 23.6% .307 92 109 0.2 Jose Segura
Sam Clay 7.8 6.4 0.8 15.3% 18.5% .304 91 110 0.1 Dan McGinn
Allen Webster 7.2 3.8 1.4 9.4% 17.5% .310 86 117 0.1 Karl Drews
Kyle Finnegan 9.7 4.4 1.4 11.2% 24.5% .300 98 102 0.1 Bill Zuber
Ben Braymer 7.3 4.2 1.7 10.3% 17.7% .308 80 125 0.1 John Courtright
Ryan Tapani 7.5 3.2 1.7 8.0% 18.9% .303 84 119 0.1 Reid Santos
Kevin Quackenbush 10.4 2.9 1.7 7.4% 27.1% .304 96 104 0.1 Mike Schooler
Roenis Elías 7.0 3.8 1.5 9.5% 17.5% .302 86 117 0.1 Gene Bearden
Seth Romero 9.5 4.7 1.4 11.7% 23.3% .306 83 120 0.0 Derek Thompson
Aaron Barrett 8.5 4.7 1.1 11.6% 21.1% .301 96 104 0.0 Milo Candini
Daniel Hudson 9.6 4.3 1.5 10.7% 24.0% .288 94 106 0.0 Don McMahon
Jacob Condra-Bogan 6.5 2.1 1.6 5.4% 16.6% .297 90 111 -0.1 Pedro Borbon
Paolo Espino 8.7 2.9 2.3 7.3% 21.8% .303 78 128 -0.1 Kevin Jarvis
Jake Irvin 6.5 3.9 1.7 9.5% 15.8% .302 77 130 -0.1 Preston Larrison
Dakota Bacus 7.9 4.8 1.4 11.7% 19.4% .301 87 115 -0.1 Gary Wagner
Javy Guerra 7.9 3.2 1.5 8.2% 20.2% .301 89 112 -0.1 Bob Scanlan
Joan Adon 6.8 5.8 1.4 13.6% 16.0% .300 76 131 -0.2 Blue Moon Odom
Wil Crowe 7.1 4.0 1.8 9.8% 17.2% .310 76 131 -0.2 Rick Sutcliffe
Sam Freeman 8.1 5.8 1.0 14.0% 19.5% .302 87 115 -0.2 Marshall Bridges
Gabe Klobosits 7.1 5.8 1.2 13.9% 16.8% .303 77 129 -0.2 Ken Wright
Ronald Peña 8.6 5.7 1.5 13.6% 20.4% .304 79 127 -0.5 Gary Wagner
Frankie Bartow 4.8 3.5 1.8 8.6% 11.7% .298 74 134 -0.5 Steve Barber
Merandy Gonzalez 7.1 6.3 1.5 14.6% 16.5% .307 72 139 -0.6 Lloyd Allen
Jackson Tetreault 6.5 4.7 1.8 11.1% 15.4% .313 72 140 -0.6 Jake Joseph
Joan Baez 6.7 7.3 1.4 16.5% 15.2% .305 71 141 -0.7 Brett Merriman

Players are listed with their most recent teams wherever possible. This includes players who are unsigned, players who will miss 2021 due to injury, and players who were released in 2020. So yes, if you see Joe Schmoe, who quit baseball back in August to form a Finnish industrial death metal fourth-wave ska J-pop band, he’s still listed here intentionally.

Both hitters and pitchers are ranked by projected zWAR, which is to say, WAR values as calculated by me, Dan Szymborski, whose surname is spelled with a z. WAR values might differ slightly from those which appear in the full release of ZiPS. Finally, I will advise anyone against — and might karate chop anyone guilty of — merely adding up WAR totals on a depth chart to produce projected team WAR. ZiPS is assuming that the designated hitter will continue in force in 2021; if it does not, there will be widespread minor adjustments across the board come April.

ZiPS is agnostic about future playing time by design. For more information about ZiPS, please refer to this article, or get angry at Dan on Twitter or something.





Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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J.D. Martin
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J.D. Martin

Juan Soto with the casual Ted Williams comp. Wow

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

I’m totally down with Soto down as the best offensive player of his generation, but since Williams was the greatest offensive player of his generation plus or minus one, plus missing a bunch of his years to wartime service, this is a bit much for me. Isn’t there some other super-important hall of famer we could comp him to? Stan Musial, maybe? Frank Robinson?

carter
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carter

I think Soto is about to take it to a level that we haven’t seen since Bonds. I don’t know when, but I’d say it is a toss up between Trout and Soto on offense currently,. and Soto will certainly pass him soon.

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

Roided out Bonds is probably the only exception (which I don’t count because we’re obviously not seeing that again), but there hasn’t been as good a hitter as Ted Williams since Ted Williams. And it’s not even particularly close.

I think Soto is probably the best hitter in the major leagues right now. But Ted Williams has a career wRC+ of 188. And that was including him taking a chunk of time out during the most productive time in his career. He had a 209 wRC+ in 1942, and then when he came back in 1946 he had 215.

I am just thinking that Soto is probably not in contention for being the greatest hitter of all time? It would be cool if he was, I admit. But also, you can be an inner circle Hall of Famer without being in the same breath as Williams. The difference between someone like Ted Williams and Albert Pujols is stunning. (I think there’s a decent chance that Soto is better than Pujols, though.)

Stan Musial has a career 158 wRC+. I somehow find this more plausible.

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

But maybe you can understand my confusion when the comp, in this case Ted Williams, had a season with a wRC+ of 159 and then the next year had a wRC+ of 221?

jrogers
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jrogers

So you know Dan doesn’t pick the comps editorially, right? It’s just what the computer spits out as the closest match at that age. And boy, I really hope Soto doesn’t lose prime years to wars or pandemics or anything, but the 2020s are just getting started.

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

Oh I know. I just find it impossible.

Ivan_Grushenko
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Ivan_Grushenko

Bryce Harper had this once also

Menthol
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Menthol

Juany Ballgame!

lupus9999
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lupus9999

The eye catcher to me was the casual Rick Sutcliffe comp on Wil Crowe. Didn’t see that coming.

Also – I’m convinced some of these are made up to see if anyone is paying attention. Dolf Luque for Strasburg?

dodgerbleu
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dodgerbleu

Luque was a stud

Petey Bienel
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Petey Bienel

In all seriousness, I looked up Luque and that’s a head scratcher. Never had higher than 4 K/9, pitched 21 years. I don’t see it.

Anon21
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Anon21

Sure, but he pitched in an era when the league strikeout rate was below 3 per 9. It’s a bit weird to have deadball-era players in the comp pool at all, but if you’re going to have them, you have to scale their performance to their era.

Nats Fan
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Nats Fan

That would be nice wouldn’t it! He was a very solid pitcher for a decent while.