Power Outage on the Bench

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | , | 4 comments »

The decisions to waive Elijah Dukes, cut Jason Maxwell, and to start Ian Desmond at short and put Cristian Guzman on the bench has impacted the roster in a lot of different ways.  But one of the most intriguing to me is that it leaves the bench with absolutely no power to speak of.

Let's take a quick look at the construction of your 2010 Washington Nationals opening day roster.

The infield is set, with Adam Dunn, Adam Kennedy, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman.  The outfield will consist of Josh Willingham, Nyjer Morgan and Willie Harris, at least on opening day.  Ivan Rodriguez will be the catcher.

They will probably carry five players on the bench, giving them 13 hitters and 12 pitchers.

As it looks now, the bench will feature Wil Nieves, Cristian Guzman, Mike Morse, Roger Bernadina or Willy Taveras, and Alberto Gonzalez or Eric Bruntlett.

Yikes!  Where's the pinch-hitter with pop?

I guess that's going to come down to Morse, a 28-year old right-handed bat, with six career major league home runs in 352 at bats.  If we look back at his minor league track record, we see 66 homers in 2979 plate appearances, or one every 45 appearances.  That's not exactly tearing the cover off the ball.

Morse hit 16 in the minors last season split between Tacoma (SEA) and Syracuse.  That's the first time he's hit double digits since 2004 in Double-A.

And he's it.  Seriously.

Guzman has 66 career homers in 5017 at bats.  That's a homer every 76 at bats.

None of the rest have hit enough homers in their professional careers to bother even calculating the rates.

A very quick look around just the rest of the NL East shows us that just within the Nats' division the other teams have a source of power coming off the bench.

The Phillies have Ross Gload, Greg Dobbs or Ben Francisco (15 homers with CLE in 2009) in reserve.  The Marlins feature Wes Helms and Mike Lamb as pinch-hitters with a little pop.

The Braves can send up Matt Diaz (13 homers in 2009) or veteran Eric Hinske (113 career dingers).  Even the Mets have Mike Jacobs (19 homers in 2009) and Fernando Tatis they could turn to.

The Nats have Mike Morse and his six career home runs.  That's it.


  1. Anonymous // March 30, 2010 at 2:02 PM  

    Wow - I hadn't considered that. Depressing...

  2. Jenn Jenson // March 30, 2010 at 4:36 PM  

    Dave, Dave, Dave,
    While taking your point, my impression from seeing a bit of Mike Morse during spring training is that he might provide a bit more power than you're expecting.

    Go treat yourself to a cup of Kool Aid. It really should be the only drink for the rest of the week, at least.

  3. Dave Nichols // March 30, 2010 at 6:20 PM  

    thanks Jenn. I'm allergic to Kool-Aid. :-)

  4. Cheryl Nichols // March 31, 2010 at 5:35 PM  

    Actually.....Livan Hernandez might be some power off the bench! Livo has a career 9 homeruns. :)