This Just In...Hill Looks Like Big Leaguer!

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, April 27, 2007 | 0 comments »

Shawn Hill had a nice game yesterday. Eight-plus innings, 4 hits, 2 BBs 3 Ks and 2 earned, lowering his YTD ERA to 2.76. Makes me wish he was the Nats rookie pitcher I drafted in my NL-Only league (unfortunately, that honor went to Matt Chico). All in all, a very nice performance for young Mr. Hill.

These Nats are going to have their problems all year long-there simply isn't enough talent. But there will be things to watch, as in the development of Hill, Ryan Church finally proving he is a full-time big leaguer, Zimm's fighting the sophomore slump, and finally--and for the long run most important--whether Manny Acta is a big league manager or just talks the part. So far, he's proven to be able to get the players to back him, but he's made a couple of head-scratchers that we'll chalk up to newness, but by the all-star break better be taken care of.

First, Chad Cordero must NEVER be allowed to hit under any circumstances. Wanna bring him into a jam in the 8th inning with the pitcher spot due up in the 9th? Fine, but pinch-hit and let Rauch clean it up. If it's a close game that you're bringing Cordero into, don't throw away the out. Period.

Second, Brain Schneider must be given the day off against lefties. The past three years he's hit .249/.309/.332 against them. That's not just bad, it's Guzmanian. Flores has already shown some patience at the plate, as if he has an idea about what to do with the bat in his hands. Let him play a little. It's not like we're talking about sitting Johnny Bench here. If a Rule V catcher can't play a little bit for this team, where could he?

Here's my last pet peeve for the new manager, for today anyway. No more Bob Fick in the OF. Especially starting Bob Fick in the OF. I can sorta understand why the Nats want Fick around--he's willing to play wherever they put him since he's not good enough to command time in any one place. Quite simply, Fick is the worst type of anonymous "Utility" player in the game. He's a no-power, no-speed, moderate-defense corner outfield/first base/emergency catcher. He's a lifetime .259/.328/.411, and so far this year his Runs Created sits at a whopping 1.35 per game. To put that in perspective, in 2005, Guzman's RC was 2.62 per game.